Farscape: A Human Reaction   Rewatch 
August 26, 2015 1:10 AM - Season 1, Episode 16 - Subscribe

Returning to Earth through a wormhole, Crichton receives an unfriendly welcome but is reunited with his father. Aeryn, D'Argo and Rygel arrive to rescue Crichton but receive less than humane treatment. [via]
posted by along came the crocodile (16 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This might be my favorite episode of season one. I love the scene where John and Aeryn are in the hotel room together and he puts his head on her shoulder--it's so sexy and so representative of the typical gender role reversal that makes their relationship so interesting. He makes the first move by showing that he is vulnerable and needs her support--that's so different from your typical het romance on TV!

The scene with the dissections is horrifying in a great way.

And of course it's one of the most important episodes to the overall arc of the show. Interesting that it's about Crichton's desire to get home, while also showing that he's not sure how great going home would actually be...
posted by chaiminda at 5:44 AM on August 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

I've always thought of this, on rewatch, to be chapter 1 of Farscape, with everything before it the prologue. Looking back at it, its clear that the main thrust of the story starts here, even if we don't realize it for a few episodes.

Everything about what happens on "Earth" after Crichton and Aeryn escape is amazing, some of my favorite moments are:
- Aeryn drinking the rain as they make their way to the safe house
- "Jack" saying Thank You to Aeryn
- Crichton losing it as he realizes what's going on

This is also the beginning of my favorite relationship in my TV history. Given what happened in "The Flax", its pretty clear that they started sleeping together here, who knows what may have happened between here and when they end up actually getting together. Plus, there's always the theory that this is where Aeryn got pregnant, rather than later on Talyn...
posted by hobgadling at 11:14 AM on August 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think a lot of people who would otherwise love Farscape are put off by the puppets, but the sight of Rygel dissected was so upsetting to me, even on second viewing--it shows what fully realized characters they are.
posted by Mavri at 12:11 PM on August 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

That's always baffled me. You don't watch Farscape in spite of the puppets, you watch it BECAUSE of the puppets. Especially compared to traditional method of creating aliens, "everyone looks human with slightly different noses," the puppets allow for much greater creative freedom.

I do think the wormhole aliens are a bit goofy-looking.
posted by chaiminda at 1:00 PM on August 26, 2015

Such a great episode. All the previous episodes have established so much in terms of looks, feel, backstory and themes but here's where things finally start to move in a particular direction, even though we don't really know it yet.

I like that they run with the Wizard of Oz references throughout the course of the show, and having Crichton fly through a wormhole and literally end up in 'Oz' here tickled me.

This episode speaks to John's fears about Earth, for all his homesickness. In a way, he's been irreversibly contaminated as well, and 'Jack' exploits his memories to create a horrifyingly plausible test scenario - all that 1990's X-Files/Area 51 paranoia transplanted to Sydney. The whole thing with Rygel is so traumatising. It's horrific. And John being mind-frelled - we've had hints but this is where things start to get nastier. I think BB said it was this episode that began to harden John.

Team Moya are all genuinely teary-eyed at the thought of Crichton leaving, Aeryn's really cut up about it but doing her stoic soldier thing. Even Rygel's quite upset. (I have no idea why Rygel would agree to go in the transport pod and check out the wormhole though - is he that fond of Crichton?)

I liked the little hints that Earth may not be real, with all the seven month old magazines and memories. I'm sure I recognised a couple of those Aussie actors from soaps, so it was a bit deja vu for me as well. The part where they test the translator microbes, and then you hear Rygel, D'Argo and Aeryn speaking in their native tongues was good SF nerdy stuff. I guess translator microbes must distort visual perception so that mouth movements match up with the spoken part? It's also interesting because as we've already seen there's this ongoing thing with John and Aeryn and Sebacean and English, with Aeryn's attempts to bridge that gap becoming quite an important theme.

As for John and Aeryn, although it is very romantic, I like how the morning after Aeryn snaps straight back into PK mode - it's basically recreation before a terrible battle, but clearly there are more feelings involved than she's prepared to admit. As for any future events involving embryos... well, the romantic in me likes to think that this was indeed the episode, but I think CB implied it was TJ in a commentary. But for me, it's this one.

Of course, this being Farscape it's the ladies' toilet that gives it all away.

I thought the shot of the blue Australian surf at the end evoking the blue of the wormhole was a nice finishing touch.

(Oh, Chiana's accent was quite different here and apparently that's because TPTB couldn't decide what they wanted.)
posted by along came the crocodile at 1:24 PM on August 26, 2015

In which John's mind is violated by an alien power. No, not that one, the other episode, no the other other episode, oh okay, the other other other episode.

Seriously, I have this vision of a writer's room for Farscape with a "It has been [3] episodes since John's mind was last violated" sign hanging on one wall. It's one of those concepts that I would expect to get old, but that's so fundamentally horrifying it doesn't. Having the things that make you you pulled out of you, analyzed, and used to someone else's purpose, being forced to consider that there is nothing at all you can really trust, never fails to push my buttons.

I love Aeryn's mistrust of Crichton's father. She may have an intellectual understanding of how family bonds work, but not an instinctual one, as a Peacekeeper would be expected to choose duty over family. It's also wonderful (if possibly accidental) foreshadowing. Finally, I really enjoyed the detail that she was looking at a map of Eurasia when looking for somewhere to hide. She's used to living on a totally different scale.

Minor detail: I like that Wilson has two earrings. That's more personal style than amoral murderous apparatchiks are usually allowed to display.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:50 PM on August 26, 2015

Yes, this is where the entire plot kicks off, isn't it.

This episode proves to me what I've always suspected: ain't no way in hell we can handle aliens on the planet with us.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:28 PM on August 26, 2015

jenfullmoon: “This episode proves to me what I've always suspected: ain't no way in hell we can handle aliens on the planet with us.”
You think? I think all it proved is that Crichton didn't think so.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:11 PM on August 26, 2015

jenfullmoon: Your comment got me thinking about aliens and racism; the standard idea is that aliens show up and humans tend to put aside their differences. One thing that occurred to me "What if the aliens actually integrated so well that they were effectively white?". Whole swathes of people who are now considered white used to be the subject of vicious nativist rhetoric of the sort now (and then as well) turned on Hispanics. I don't know if there's a story there; I just thought the idea of a racist power structure being so persistent that it will accommodate actual aliens rather than allow itself to be dismantled was funny in a gallows humor "6 foot tall preying mantis ranting on fox news about how Illegals are taking jobs from god-fearing American aliens" sort of way.
posted by Grimgrin at 8:35 PM on August 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

The creator of Farscape, Rockne S. O'Bannon, also created Alien Nation, a movie about actual alien immigrants landing in California, which spun off a tv series that sort of explores the issue. Also Defiance, which I haven't watched but apparently also explores the issue.

And SeaQuest!
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:07 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Good solid episode. I loved Aeryn in the rain, but lead me to be perplexed that Aeryn has never been to a planet with enough of a liquid to have an established hydrologic cycle of one kind or another. Is 'rain' that alien in the galaxy? Some of my favorite Farscape episodes involve our aliens serving as outside observers to our own world and culture.

The one thing that bothered me was the absence of the U.S. While D'argo does get sent to a warehouse in Utah/Nevada, I would have assumed that John as an American would have instantly been placed in American custody - if only because the US Government would want to control any and all things related to his disappearance and craft. That he remained in Aussie control was always a little odd to me. Not to mention, there's a tradition of US government cover up and activities relating to aliens going back to Roswell. Is there one in Australia?

For all my complaints, I definitely enjoyed it. Poor John, no idea how horrible his life will become in part due to the wormhole aliens.
posted by Atreides at 8:29 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

And what are Hynerian Nodules, anyway?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:51 PM on August 27, 2015

Do you mean Hynerian Marjools? If so, snail things. You can see them wiggling away at the end on the plate.
posted by along came the crocodile at 11:26 PM on August 27, 2015

So all these years I've heard it mispronounced?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:56 AM on August 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Do you mean Hynerian Marjools? If so, snail things. You can see them wiggling away at the end on the plate.

*mind blown*

I thought it was "nodules" too.
posted by zarq at 6:51 AM on August 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'll probably be pointing out all the gooey romantic stuff, because John and Aeryn! I think this episode shows how much they already mean to each other. Aeryn won't go with John at first because she's scared, and then she follows him through a wormhole (she doesn't now it's not real)! I think she brought Rygel and D'Argo along so they could take the transport pod back to Moya, I think her plan was to stay. And when John has to choose between humanity (his entire planet) and Aeryn, he chooses Aeryn, no hesitation. (Not the last time he will do this.)

This mirrors when Aeryn chose John over her own people back in the Premiere when she stood up for him to Crais (she may not have known the consequences, but she did care enough already to not want to see John killed). Farscape is the best!
posted by cshenk at 3:52 PM on August 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

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