Farscape: “Exodus from Genesis”

11/16/2011 § Leave a comment

Season 1, Episode 3. Writer: Ro Hume. Director: Brian Henson. Rating: C+.

Now that they’ve escaped the Peacekeepers, let’s check in with our heroes during their rarely seen downtime. It turns out that Rygel likes to draw (himself, naturally, and only while feasting), but isn’t very good at it. Zhaan, on the other hand, is trained in the masterful art of “spirit painting.” (Why would anybody imprison her?) Also, in this universe, one “brushes” their teeth by inserting a prawn-like Dentik, as D’Argo forcefully demonstrates, prying Crichton’s mouth open. (“It’s kind of minty,” he acknowledges, spitting the creature out.)

Oh, wait, this isn’t downtime at all. The vengeful Peacekeeper, Commander Crais, is still in hot pursuit of Moya and her crew, and in order to avoid detection from a scout ship, Aeryn recommends that Pilot hide behind a debris cloud. Oh, wait, this being Farscape, that isn’t a debris cloud at all: it’s a swarm of creatures who have secretly boarded the ship, and, in addition to causing some heat fluctuations, are collecting the crew’s DNA.

After everyone splits up to investigate the “blockages” in the air vents, Zhaan suggests that Crichton — who is tired of being treated like some “Earth idiot” — prove himself through actions. With this in mind, he fights his instinct to scream at the sight of one of these “space cockroaches” and captures one for Zhaan, who confirms that this one shares Crichton’s DNA. (“Wait, I’m related to this thing?”) As Crichton will soon discover — after each companion kicks the shit out of him — the other insects not only have the DNA of his crew, but have had the time to finished morphing into them: yes, it’s the requisite shapeshifter/replicant episode. (As for clothing, they actually address this, noting that this species can adapt to whatever it sees.)

Meanwhile, things are getting increasingly severe for Aeryn, who as it turns out is literally cold-blooded, and on the brink of the Sebacean living-death known as heat delirium. And Rygel, once again thrown into the vents — literally so, this time — happens upon an Alien-like nest, watching in horror as more of the insects begin to hatch. And just when it seems that things have gotten better — the Drak queen, speaking through Zhaan, clarifies that she’s simply trying to complete here breeding “genesis,” and she reaches a detente with the crew — the Peacekeeper Marauder returns, endangering the treaty. In the end, nicely wrapping this episode’s themes together, it’s up to Rygel to renegotiate with the queen, and it’s up to Crichton to prove to Aeryn that they are a family.

Farscape is still suffering from a pacing problem in its early episodes, and there’s little in this episode that hasn’t been explored on a more profound level. The shape-shifting is secondary to the plot — it’s just a defense mechanism of the Drak, though it’s unclear what situation would have led this deep-space dwelling species to develop it — and the fifth-act return of the Marauder negates the stakes from early on in the episode. (It is, however, nice to see Crichton bluff his way out of this situation, using his unknown “Human” powers to scare the Sebaceans, and hopefully getting Crais to back down.)

Ultimately, Farscape remains in the same boat as its lead, our window into this world of weird, Crichton. He’s still getting the hang of a few things, but the relationships he’s built are solid and engaging, and if the action is still falling short, there’s at least a grudging consensus from tough-as-nails Aeryn that even these “lesser lifeforms” have their uses. As the Drak disengage from Moya, they create a perfect solar sunset for our heroes to ride off into, and as our cowboy hero observes, “There are worse ways to end a day.”

Random observations:

  • According to Aeryn, the most ruthless and disciplined creatures out in space are Peacekeeper Commandos, an elite that she was about to transfer into, just before the mutiny aboard Moya. Crichton’s rejoinder? On Earth, they’re called “linebackers, or serial killers. It depends on whether they’re professional or amateur.”
  • The budding romance between Aeryn and Crichton: “What could I possibly need from you, human?” “Oh, I don’t know. Manners? Personality? Stock tips?”
  • D’Argo, working really hard on his people skills: “The part of me that wants Aeryn to live is greater than the part of me that wants all Peacekeepers to die.”
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