Farscape: Jeremiah Crichton   Rewatch 
August 18, 2015 11:43 PM - Season 1, Episode 14 - Subscribe

Seemingly abandoned after crash-landing on a planet, Crichton starts a peaceful life alongside inhabitants once ruled by the Hynerians. He unintentionally becomes involved in a power struggle which puts his life in danger. [via]
posted by along came the crocodile (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
That terrible beard! As I've mentioned, this is the episode where listening to the actors' commentary is gold. They mock this one pretty mercilessly.
posted by TwoStride at 7:29 AM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

The A/V club review touches upon some of the commentary, and the best part is that the idea for this entire episode began because Ben Browder was tired of shaving twice a day while filming...
posted by TwoStride at 7:30 AM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

The episode commentary is titled "When Bad Things Happen To Good Shows.” With creator Rockne S. O’Bannon, showrunner David Kemper, and stars Ben Browder and Claudia Black, "mercilessly deconstructing everything that went wrong with the episode. As such commentaries go, it’s second only to Ron Moore’s self-eviscerating podcast for the Battlestar Galactica episode “Black Market,” which is a way, way worse episode of sci-fi television than “Jeremiah Crichton.” Anyway, you can check out a transcript of the commentary here, in case you don’t have the DVD or Blu-ray."
posted by zarq at 8:22 AM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

From the transcript:
Kemper: Now, we can’t fault Doug Heyes, Jr. He wrote a great script. This is just one of those things where production... everything just... Some things are good, some are bad. We can’t lay blame on this to anyone. [Crichton pulls out the critter he’s just speared]. There it is! Shamelessly, my intent was to get Ben’s shirt off. He
is a sex symbol. I tried desperately to get Claudia naked to swim across a lake, you’ll hear in another commentary we did. [“I, ET”?] We wanted her to kill 6 bad guys...

Black: No. You wanted me to... I was standing with D’Argo, with whom I’ve already established a certain type of warrior relationship, and if this had occurred, it would have affected everything we’d shot already. You wanted me to spot some soldiers who were fully armored, across a lake, take off all my clothes, take on 8, 6 to 12 soldiers fully armored, while I’m totally naked; swim back across the lake, put my clothes back on, and walk off. When I could’ve just ignored the soldiers, and walked, and hid behind a tree with D’Argo.

Browder: That’s a great scene!

O’Bannon: Actually, that sounds terrific!

Kemper: It’s a fabulous scene, Claudia! And we couldn’t’ve sent D’Argo...

Browder: Could we get it in the miniseries?

Kemper: And you’ve got to understand: D’Argo was wearing latex, and he would’ve never surfaced! So it had to be you. So the idea was to get Ben and you, the sex symbol stars of the show, as scantily clad as possible. And of course, you know, [with] Ben, we had to do a lot of airbrushing, but this is mostly his body. And of course it’s since gone bad, so it’s really good we got you to take your shirt off early in the series.

Browder: I’d been hittin’ the caterers...

posted by zarq at 8:26 AM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is mostly just a silly episode, but I really wish they hadn't gotten pretty much the only dark-skinned actors in the entire series for it.
posted by chaiminda at 9:37 AM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is mostly just a silly episode, but I really wish they hadn't gotten pretty much the only dark-skinned actors in the entire series for it.

Yeah, it's a shame, a wasted opportunity. It actually felt like a really ropey episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - silly sums it up perfectly.

Crichton throws a massive strop (pretty understandable in the situation) and gets lost on a world sponsored by the Australian Tourist Board and inhabited by the Hynerian version of the Prince Philip cargo cult. With a really stupid fake beard. I think the failings of this episode are pretty self-evident, so I'll just focus on things that stood out to me:

Crichton being bitchy to Zhaan about abandoning the Seek. He's really not happy about it - I guess he was relying on Zhaan for a lot of support and feels let down?

Zhaan is quite edgy, I think. I got the impression she really didn't like what Crichton said to her at all. D'Argo is surprisingly sympathetic to Crichton about understanding his situation, even more than Aeryn.

Crichton, massive Trekkie that he is, is trying to enforce his own version of the Prime Directive. Bless.

Aeryn is quite proactive and still on her technical kick - which is cool because she's stretching herself, but I can't help but think that her jealousy of Gilina in PK Tech Girl has something to do with this. I did like her arguing strategy with Zhaan about how best to proceed.

Rygel - so this was the most interesting thing for me - we still don't really know how Rygel ruled in Hyneria. We know he's a sneaky little git so I always envisaged something like an amphibious version of the Borgias, but here he's actually quite concerned about the actions of his ancestors on their subjects - I wonder if his imprisonment at the hands of the PKs has opened his eyes to the actions of those in power, or if he was a better ruler than we suspect?
posted by along came the crocodile at 12:46 PM on August 19, 2015

Rygel was probably an okay ruler as long as the needs of his subjects didn't interfere with his own needs.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:30 PM on August 19, 2015

If you liked Farscape's clumsy handling of gender last episode...

The thing that struck me on re-watch is that they were obviously aware of some of the issues here. The racial diversity of the Aquaran's, the fact that the leader is a pacific islander and the number 2 is a black woman, the fact that their lack of technology was inflicted on them rather than being ascribed to 'backwardness', ditto their worship of Rygel, Crichton's complete aversion to trying to get involved... it seemed like they were desperately trying to avoid white saviour tropes. It may also help that I'm comparing it in my head to the TNG episode "Code of Honor". It's also just odd to see something so overall cack-handed and badly done by people clearly putting a lot of effort in.

Definitely concur about the observations above re: Rygel.

I read Crichton's interaction with Zahn a little differently though. Crichton was fed up with his name being followed by a sigh of disappointment or an eye roll. In that kind of mood "Gentle concern" and "Infuriating condescension" are indistinguishable, so he was lashing out.

Also, kind thanks to zarq for linking that transcript.
posted by Grimgrin at 5:52 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

I feel like one of the main problems with this episode is that it doesn't subvert any tropes like most Farscape. This plot has been done to death, and reminds me of the the Star Trek (original series) episodes(!) "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" and "The Paradise Syndrome." It's pretty straightforward with John in the Kirk role, Rygel and D'Argo in the Spock and McCoy roles (which is which?), and Zhaan and Aeryn are Sulu and Scotty. The costuming and set choices are just cheesy. In the commentary, the cast and crew also talk about a hail storm that destroyed a lot of buildings in that area, but their set didn't get hit (unfortunately). And, I think there is a problem with the script, too, but they were being nice.
posted by cshenk at 9:10 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

And, it's not even Ben's real beard (which we will see in "Crichton Kicks")! So, he still had to shave!
posted by cshenk at 9:12 PM on August 19, 2015

Browder: Understand the context of when we were shooting it. There was supposed to be
a break. We didn’t get the break. And uh, Sydney experienced the worst hailstorm in its
history! It destroyed millions and millions of dollars worth of property. Tons of vehicles
destroyed. Hail the size of softballs and watermelons hitting Sydney.

He's...actually not exaggerating, except for the watermelons. Softballs, yes. That was a hard week to get anything done at all, the city was in utter chaos.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:35 PM on August 19, 2015

Yes, well, these things happen. Now where did I hide that next episode?
posted by Atreides at 9:08 AM on August 20, 2015

This one is hard to watch, not necessarily because there's anything bad about it, but that it's just so pointless. It's hard to pay attention to.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:26 AM on August 20, 2015

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