Farscape: Till the Blood Runs Clear   Rewatch 
August 8, 2015 4:24 AM - Season 1, Episode 11 - Subscribe

After creating a wormhole Crichton's module is repaired on a nearby planet by Furlow, while Vorcarian Blood Trackers Rorf and Rorg attempt to collect the Peacekeeper bounty placed on their heads. [via]
posted by along came the crocodile (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Given their relationship later on, the "we will never be friends" statement - along with D's reaction to the "torture" felt weird and sort of off, but I think that's actually a good thing - shows the growth of the characters and their friendship from a pretty shaky start.

Never liked the Rorf and Rorg pair much, and find them just as annoying this time.
posted by gemmy at 8:46 AM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I didn't like Rorf and Rorg either, but they do give Crichton a great opportunity to shine (and swagger), so I forgive them. I also notice that they have Rorg doing the tracking, which they don't call attention to until later. If I didn't know it was the female that does the tracking, I don't think I would have noticed. I never liked the Native American inspired clothing though. It stands on the boarder of being offensive, but I'm not sure why.

Aerie following Crichton's lead with regards to being his female is nice. The audience should expect her to object strongly; but she's clearly gotten to a point where she trusts him and that the Peacekeeper in-your-face instinct is taking a back seat. That being said, I didn't buy the way she was tossed around by the other bounty hunter. I think she would have been more ass-kicky (highly technical, I know) and we still could of gotten to the same place.

And while the Blood Trackers are annoying, we get Furlow, which more than makes up for them.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:59 AM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also, I too struggled with D'argo not understanding what Crichton was doing in regards to torturing him. But it is somewhat consistent; just a few episodes ago, we see him struggling with lying to the Sheeyangs. It could be that he just doesn't "get" subterfuge like that, at least not at this point.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:03 AM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Also also, is it too late to being the cast back for a miniseries on Netflix? Pretty please?! I looked up the case and they don't seem to be doing much.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:04 AM on August 8, 2015

I never liked the Native American inspired clothing though. It stands on the boarder of being offensive, but I'm not sure why

Yes. I know it's meant to be riffing on a Western but the handling is just downright awful with regard to the Vorcarians. Their costume is very problematic with all the dream catcher stuff and the tassels etc but I found Crichton then equating them with dogs even more so. There were people on that set who should have known better.

Everything just feels clumsy and off. I don't mind Team Moya being dysfunctional, that's what they do, but there's something about this episode that doesn't work for me. The way characters wander about in the desert is clunky. The heavy metal music doesn't fit. And yet it's another one of those episodes that sets up some really important plot lines - namely Crichton's dangerous obsession with wormholes, and Furlow.

We get the sense, for the first time, that John has a serious blind spot when it comes to wormholes, and Aeryn subsequently embodies that physically. And that John's obsession blinds him to her intense homesickness and exile. It was very brave of Aeryn to walk out blind into the middle of a fire fight. Kind of shows you who's the real hero in the midst of all the posturing, which I guess was the intent?

I didn't really get the D'Argo stuff either. We're basically told the episode is meant to be about alpha male crap and selfishness etc but... I don't know. I agree it's nice to see how D&C will become great friends.

Furlow is what saves this episode. Oh my god, Furlow. Still a fantastic performance but I'm getting twitchy Season 3 flashbacks already. Aeryn Sun unknowingly sews the seeds of one of the most traumatic episodes of SF EVER. For her and us. Picture me muttering 'no, no, nooooooo' at the end when she asks Crichton to handle the debt with Furlow.

I'm not sure about Zhaan's photogasms as a plot point. I don't mind her having them but it seemed an odd fit for this episode, although the bit where she teased Rygel about it was quite fun.

I liked the actual planet, very Mad Max and Tatooine. There appears to be a microwave oven and a coffee machine on the bar where the shoot out happened at the end, which made me laugh.
posted by along came the crocodile at 12:51 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

"Parts, labour, overtime, goggle rental"

"Goggle rental?"

"Okay... I'll throw in the goggles"

The interview with Claudia Black posted in the last thread mentioned that a problem the writers faced with John and Aeryn was finding a way to keep them believably apart, given the rapport between the actors and the compatibility of the characters, moreso than finding a way to put them together. The relationship between D'Argo and John reminds me in that respect of the relationship between John and Aeryn. They're such a natural double act, (relatively) little guy/big guy, fast talker/laconic growler, quick wit/serious frown, Han/Chewie, that sometimes the writers seem to have to force them into conflict. To their credit here the conflict flows very naturally from the story. John sees D'Argo as having walked into and massively complicated his bluff forcing him to improvise to save his ass. Meanwhile from D'Argo perspective what you do in that situation is obvious: You attack the blood trackers and try and get your comrade free regardless of the odds and regardless of how it upsets your previous plan.

Furlow, who I've just realized will become a huge plot hole, (or two, maybe, but more on that later), is, as noted, great. I like that she's self interested, but a mostly-honest dealer, she's cunning, but not evil or malicious. She's angling for the wormhole data from the moment the module rolls in, and gets it by doing vehicle repair and hologram tampering. I also just love the detail in the character: The cigar smoking, vaguely Wisconsin accented speech, clearly does not get intimidated by anything or anyone portrayal makes her one of the best minor characters in a show that has a lot of neat ones.

This ep also gives a look at the question posed by "DNA Mad Scientist", if Namtar could have gotten John and Aeryn home, would they have hacked off one of Pilot's arms? True to form, the show says "Maybe". John is very clearly entranced by the possibility of a wormhole home. Aeryn is equally entranced by Crais' offer. They both say they wouldn't actually have done it; but that's really not the impression they gave each other at the time. The reason it's still "Maybe" is that Aeryn was never seriously considering the offer and John hands over the wormhole data to Furlow. In "DNA Mad Scientist" there is no way that any of the other three would have willingly given up the crystal, no matter what the situation.

Then there's Zahn and the photogasms. It's the sort of thing that seems like pointlessly sexualizing a female character. YMMV of course, but I think Farscape pulls it off. In the episode, we see Zahn embarrassed not because she photogasmed but because it distracted her from thinking about Moya's baby. We see Zahn post-photogams relaxed and teasing Rygel, and we see Zahn down on the planet, basically just annoyed that this physiological response is getting in her way. The fact that it's a facet that she reacts to in various ways in different circumstances is part of why it works. The other part of it is down to Zahn's previously established character and Hey's performance. Zahn is such a strong character that her reaction to light never becomes what defines her. This is all very vague I realize. I'll probably have more on "Less problematic that they seem on paper Farscape women" once Chiana shows up in a few episodes.

Finally Aeryn, Walking out, blind, into the middle of a firefight with a colossal bluff that saves everyone. She gets to be badass and, maybe for the first time, be the one with the clever lateral thinking plan. The smile she gives when it works is great, you can almost see her molars it's so wide.
posted by Grimgrin at 12:51 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Also also, is it too late to being the cast back for a miniseries on Netflix? Pretty please?! I looked up the case and they don't seem to be doing much.

They're still trying to make a movie apparently but that's been said many times before. Who knows.
posted by along came the crocodile at 12:55 PM on August 8, 2015

The way characters wander about in the desert is clunky.

A lot of Farscape, especially in the first season, has a sort of dream-like, wandering feel.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:48 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

A lot of Farscape, especially in the first season, has a sort of dream-like, wandering feel.

That's a good point, and I wonder if it's related to John's sense of being lost in a completely alien environment. He's meant to be the viewer POV character so it's kind of conveying how he's feeling? To me Farscape is pretty much Alice in Wonderland in Space, and we all get sucked down the rabbit/wormhole with him. But for this ep with the desert stuff it feels like more of a pacing issue. Also the trackers seem a bit inept so that's not really helping.

(For some reason that's just reminded me that I used to know someone who was convinced Crichton's entire wormhole storyline was inspired by lyrics from 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' by Pink Floyd. *shrug*)
posted by along came the crocodile at 2:01 AM on August 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Chalk me up as one more person who found the D'argo and John exchange very odd, and to a degree, almost infuriating. The Luxan black blood plot point is, in itself, a kind of silly invention created to produce drama for D'argo, himself a strong, powerful warrior who can be brought down by even minor injuries. But in that, we see the contrived nature of the problem - a powerful warrior race that literally turned their swords into laser rifles...and one small injury and they're goners without the appropriate treatment. It's a little silly, but it's magnified in this episode when D'argo, who obviously, should be more than fully aware of the problems of having this type of blood issue should cause, and intimately aware from growing up in his own people's culture and society, what is required to save his life, just leaps to this idea that John was purposefully torturing him.

It would be one thing if at the end of the episode, D'argo turned around and said, "Hey, John, I was really mad and I said some stupid things back there about you torturing me...thank you for saving my life." But, the best we get is, "I never abandon my allies!" I could appreciate a D'argo angry at John for any number of reasons, like the in-episode, "You look like a peacekeeper," or Luxuan Hyper Rage...but this incident of John doing exactly what was needed, what D'argo knew or definitely should have known was needed, is just ridiculous. A very weak moment of the episode.

Furlow definitely was a bright spark in it. My eyebrows perked up when I realized she was in it, and I was pleased, well, at least 60%, maybe 70 or even 80%.

The bountyhunters. Again kudos on creating aliens that aren't just head prosthetic wearers, but the American Indian like design wasn't necessarily the best. I have to imagine the idea of the "Indian Tracker," must have been thrown out during the brainstorming session for writing the script. I hadn't thought about the episode as a Western until reading this thread, but I definitely agree, particularly with the cues from John and his fake names for himself and Aeryn.

Heavy guitar and stomping in the desert....it was wacky enough to win me over. I had fun with it.

Finally, the episode definitely reinforced how Aeryn really has no options ahead of her other than not going home. It's death or being orphaned amongst the stars.
posted by Atreides at 7:26 AM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Background information

* Paul Butterfield and his effects team were unable to reuse wormhole footage and had to develop the look almost from scratch again. "We took the internal, liquidy-tunnel idea from the premiere and developed it so that we had a better entrance to the wormhole," he said. "A lot of energy was spent on discussing what everything looked like – things were redesigned time and time again until everyone was happy."

* Part of the episode was filmed at Stockton Sands in Newcastle, two hours north of Sydney. Pete Coogan recalled, "you look out one way to the Pacific, and you look back inland, and there's vegetation in the far distance. It was like the Sahara with all those sand dunes." Moving the filming here gave the desert feel, without having to take the production too far away from the Fox Studios home base.

* Matt Carroll recalls that it was difficult to execute this location shoot, "because we had gone on location before but never for anything as big and dramatic as that. We were taking the puppets and everybody in the prosthetics out into the middle of the desert. Everything had to be taken in four wheel drive."

* Rockne S. O'Bannon really liked the "lived in" look and feel in the episode commenting "Australians are just wildly different thinking people in terms of design. Look at films like The Road Warrior – a lot of aspects of the same stream of imagination that went into that one went into our show." He continued his comments discussing the props, especially the goggles, saying "They weren't just props off the shelf. The crew really got into what they were doing and make some really cool stuff."

* Furlow was originally scripted as a male character.

* Terry Ryan really liked the Vorcarians and remembers starting off "with that American western explorer sort of style, and I thought of a costume with a lot of fringes, so that when they walked everything swung and hung from their bodies. Their fringes were made out of human hair, which worked a treat."

* Anthony Simcoe recalled that after "cut!" was yelled on set, Crichton and D'Argo embraced and gave each other a big fake kiss after shaking hands.

* David Kemper noted that the Luxan blood needing to run clear or turn toxic "is an apt metaphor for this crew. While each carries their own wounds, the question is, will they become toxic, or will they each find the emotional trust and psychological pressure allowing the blood to run clear?"

* The set for Farscape-1 was originally built for Ben Browder to sit in alone and the crew had to break out a wall and jerry-rig it. In the end, Kemper stated that Claudia Black and Browder "were squatting together on top of a board in the most uncomfortable way to shoot what became a really good scene."

* The set at Dam-Ba-Da was hit by hailstones during filming.

* In the space of 20 seconds, Crichton refers to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Jesse James' Hole in the Wall Gang, and Star Trek's Klingon security chief Worf.

* Furlow's reference to the "kindness of strangers" was an intentional reference to A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams.

* The photogasms experienced by Zhaan in this episode are one of the early clues of her true nature later revealed in "Bone To Be Wild". Virginia Hey was not initially happy about the idea of photogasms, but realized that they added an important clue to Zhaan's nature as a plant.

* Dave Elsey hoped that "Fish Girl" would get a story written about her in the same way as the Sheyang did after "Premiere", but it didn't happen in the end.
posted by zarq at 11:58 AM on August 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

I've been rewatching now that the series is available for streaming again.

I was struck by the symmetry of Ayren telling Crichton, paraphrased, "You'd just fly into the wormhole and take me with you to get home," and Crichton's reaction to her and then Crais offering Ayren her own "wormhole home" later in the episode and her reaction to that. It's a really subtle part of the story, but I feel like it has a deep meaning.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:15 PM on April 8, 2019

« Older Movie: Lost Soul: The Doomed J...   |  Project Runway: Mad Dash Mayhe... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments