Saturday, March 5, 2011

Classics: Farscape 1:17 - Through the Looking Glass

Overall: 8.7

Oh, look - it's a Weird Space Accident of the WeekTM! And yet - and yet - there's a kind of warm fuzziness about this episode that makes it strangely likeable.

Plot Synopsis:

Farscape World has a summary here.

The Skinny:

I'm sensing a theme here. The DS9 review I just posted covered a filler episode which managed to rise above its rather mundane plot on the strength of its characterization. Now I'm sitting here writing a review for a Farscape episode that does precisely the same thing. Funny, that.

You can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure the whole Blue Moya/Red Moya/Yellow Moya/Normal Moya mid-starburst fissure idea came about more through the liberal ingestion of mind-altering substances than through the reading of science texts. Does that matter, though? No, not really, because the sequence of events that leads our motley band into said predicament really touches me on a personal level. And yes, my biases are making an appearance here because it all has to do with Moya.

As I've said several times in the past, one of the things I love most about this show is the concept of a living, sentient ship. I love that Moya is a character in her own right with her own feelings and her own motivations -- and I love any episode which allows us to get a real sense of what Moya is thinking. This episode definitely falls into that category. I find it terribly poignant that Moya would risk her own life to keep her passengers from abandoning her. I also find it sweet that Crichton and Zhaan would later refuse to allow Moya to abort her baby in an attempt to extricate herself from the aforementioned fissure. There's also a very nice scene between Crichton and Pilot that really needs to be seen to be appreciated.

Speaking of Pilot, have I mentioned that the muppets on this show are awesome? You wouldn't think that a constructed creature could possess the full range of facial expressions, but Pilot does. I absolutely adore, for example, the look of puzzlement on Pilot's face when Moya is finally freed from her trap and the other characters pop in from the blue/red/yellow dimensions and start laughing hysterically over their triumph. That was just precious -- and hard to convey in a highlight.

The primary purpose of this episode is to build an odd sort of family, and it succeeds in this endeavor quite beautifully. Whereas the episode opens with the characters discussing their desire to leave Moya to avoid capture, by the end, those same characters are ready and willing to stick together through thick and thin. Will it all be flowers and rainbows for our crew from now on? No - far from it. There will still be quite a bit of screaming, kicking, punching, and bulkhead-slamming in the future because this is a dark show and most of the characters have hair-trigger tempers. Still, in the moments when it really matters, these crazy folks will come through for each other, and that fundamental comaraderie begins here with this episode.

Writing: 9.0

Even with the silly sci-fi science, this script deserves a high mark for effectively conveying, once again, the reality of Moya's personhood. There are also a few cute comedy bits that deserve honorable mentions.

Acting: 8.5

The plot of this episode does not call upon the actors to really bust out their acting chops, but I found their performances solidly enjoyable. The giggly moments in particular are delightfully infectious.

Message: 8.5

As I said in my most recent DS9 review, I like basic friendship stories. It's good to call a time-out every once in a while so we can watch something nice and uplifting.


John: Ugh! Sal-a-monella! What the hell is that?
Rygel: That's kroldar! A delicacy -- even for pagans.
John: Well, how long was it under your butt getting delicate? (LOL!)

Pilot: Excuse the intrusion, but Moya and I would like a word about your deliberations.
Chiana: That's what I've been trying to tell you guys: the DRDs have ears. No wonder you guys have been flying around in circles.
Pilot: Moya is aware of your concerns over her condition and regrets not being more responsive to your needs.
Zhaan: Please don't misunderstand, Pilot. We -- we simply --
Pilot: -- do not wish to be captured because of her pregnancy.
Zhaan: Yes.
Aeryn: We're just having a discussion, Pilot.
Pilot: That includes thoughts of abandoning us.
Rygel: You want us to stay?
Pilot: Of course. We are most fulfilled when serving others. Your presence is gratifying and comforting.
John: Let us talk a little while longer, Pilot. Your points are well taken.
Pilot: You may talk all you want. But please prepare for immediate starburst.
Zhaan: I thought Moya couldn't starburst for another fifteen arns!
Pilot: Her energy is low. However, she shares your concerns about being recaptured and wishes to prove to you all that she is capable. (Awww. See -- this is what happens when you forget that your ship has feelings.)

John: The comms don't work. Rygel is on tier eight. You'll have to find him on foot.
Chiana: Me?! Get frelled.
John: Listen, Sunshine. You want to be part of this crew?
Chiana: On your good days.
John: This is one of the good days. I thought you were Junior Miss Tough Chick of the Universe.
Chiana: Yeah -- when I can kiss or kick or cry my way out of it. This is way, way, WAY, WAY different. (Heh.)

John: Rygel! (He walks towards Rygel, muttering.) Yellow light. Doesn't hurt. Can hear. This -- this is good. (Meanwhile, Rygel is howling with laughter.) What's so damn funny?
Rygel: You! You! You're making less sense than usual - but - in a cute way!
John: Cute? I don't know what you've been smoking, Buckwheat, but we've got a serious problem here. (LOL!)

John: We have to find a way out of here. It's hard to find. You gotta listen for a weird, strange noise -- something out of the ordinary.
Rygel: Hm. Weird noise. Does my stomach count? (They burst into laughter.)
John: (trying to regain his composure) No! That is not funny. That is not funny, Rygel! Look, I gotta get out of here before I end up like you!
Rygel: What? Handsome and with great sexual prowess? (LOL! Wow.)

Zhaan: I've always wondered what could be beyond height and width, depth and time.
John: Nausea. (Heh.)

John: You know, Pilot --- Moya did not have to go into starburst until she was ready.
Pilot: Now is hardly the time for recriminations, Commander. (Hmm. It's interesting that Pilot considers Crichton the commander. I don't think we see Pilot address Crichton in that way before this point.)
John: (placing a hand on Pilot's shoulder) It wasn't a recrimination. We should have been more up-front about our feelings. How's she doing?
Pilot: Same as us. Scared.
John: Well, we'll do what we can.
Pilot: She knows. (Awwwwwwwwww.)

D'Argo: I saw you earlier on. What the hezmana happened to you?
John: That's way too much to go into right now. Suffice it to say that Moya had a little problem during starburst. She's wedged herself into another dimension and split off into at least four distinct parts.
D'Argo: Have you ever heard of anything like this happening before?
John: D'Argo, I haven't heard of anything like anything before. My planet doesn't even go to the moon anymore. (And that's a crying shame.)
Chiana: I've heard of it. My - my people’s weapons scientists once - once poked a hole through another dimension. Once it widened, they lost control.
D'Argo: Yeah. And what happened?
Chiana: No one's sure. Our whole solar system - 4 populated planets - dissolved into tiny chunks. That's why I want to get out of here. (Gulp.)

Chiana: Do you know any good jokes?
John: Not besides the one I'm living. (Heh.)

Rygel: What are you doing?
John: Putting Moya’s propulsion system into full reverse.
Rygel: Mm? OH! Reverse? No Dominar from the house of Rygel ever travels in reverse!
John: Well turn around - pretend you're going forward. (Ba-dum-bum!)

John: Pilot -- report.
Pilot: Not good. Despite Moya’s best efforts, we are still being drawn in. But there is one -- very long shot.
Zhaan: Anything, Pilot.
Pilot: Moya could - willingly - lose the baby.
John: No!
Zhaan: No way!
Pilot: It will definitely increase her power quotient, though I am not sure it is enough to get us free.
John: Pilot, no. We cannot ask Moya to make that sacrifice.
Pilot: We should not have attempted starburst when we did. Our insecurities have brought us to this place. Besides, the baby cannot survive if we don't.
John: Pilot, listen to me. Whatever happens, we go together. We keep the baby. (At the risk of repeating myself: Awwwwwwwwwwwww.)

D'Argo: Everyone! Is it just me or is this the best food that we've ever had?
Zhaan: Nothing like the taste of death to clear the palate.
Aeryn: Mm. I suppose there isn't a thing here that I couldn't live on for a cycle.
Chiana: Except -- except maybe this. (She holds up a roll.)
D'Argo: I was assuming because of the lack of taste of that -- that it was a garnish.
John: Hey, those are Grandmother Crichton’s famous buttermilk biscuits!
Rygel: What's in them?
John: Self-rising flour, salt, shortening, buttermilk -- touch of honey.
Zhaan: But we have none of those ingredients, John.
John: Hmm... maybe that's the problem... (LOL! Cute.)

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