ORBzine - Farscape - December 1999

[Season 1 ! Season 2! Season 3! Season 4! Peacekeeper Wars]


Farscape [Season 1, Episode 1] Premiere
first shown 4th Week of November 1999

As the 1999-2000 SF TV season starts, Farscape appears on the scene - a jumble of SF cliches (most of them good) from the pen of USA SF TV uber-hack Rockne S. O'Bannon of Seaquest infamy. The story is in the mould of Lexx and Blake's 7 . A NASA astronaut (a la Buck Rogers ) breaks the lightspeed barrier, and finds himself in the midst of a battle between a large alien freighter and some unknown fighter-craft. He is tractored aboard the freighter, which is crewed by

  • some Red Dwarf skutters,
  • a Star Trek klingon,
  • a blue woman (Virginia Hey , who was the Warrior Woman in Mad Max 2: Road Warrior !) She was also in The Living Daylights as Rubavitch - possibly Pushkin's mistress, who shows a flash of nipple ...
  • an ugly muppet.

    The fighters are a bunch of fascist space-Australians, Peace Keepers - one is tractored aboard (a babe in black leather, played by Hercules bit-part player Claudia Black ) and by the end of the episode defects.

    All in all, not exactly Babylon 5 but you know where it is coming from, and it is better than darts or snooker. IMHO.

  • Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 2] I, E.T.

    The Peacekeepers have installed a tracking beacon aboard Moya. There is only one solution. Pilot must land Moya on a nearby M-class planet - something that has never been done before by a Leviathan.

    Crichton, Dargo and Aeryn Sun ( Claudia Black ) are sent off to find the element they need to destroy the beacon. The planet is inhabited by humanoids with 1960s-style technology. They do not have interstellar travel, and therefore cannot have translator microbes, but somehow their language is mutually understandable with English.

    Crichton encounters a young boy and his mother, who shelter him from the local police. As the title suggests, this episode is basically E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial , with Crichton in the title role.

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 3] Exodus From Genesis
    Shown Second Week, January 2000

    The ship is infested with some kind of parasites. These massive bugs [over 40 centimetres in length] sample the crew's DNA, then replicate them. The creatures' goal? To raise the ship's internal temperature to a level unbearable to its occupants.

    It is revealed that the Peacekeeper, Aeryn Sun (the delectable Claudia Black ), belongs to a cold-blooded species. They just LOOK like interstellar Australians. Very Star Trek! Anyhow, this explains her frigid attitude towards the human male.

    To save the babe from brain-death due to heat exhaustion, she must be stripped to her skimpy shorts and T-shirt, then doused with cold water.

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 4] Throne For A Loss

    The crew try to make a deal with a local gang, the Tavleks - although Crichton always calls them Tavloids by mistake! Unfortunately the Tavleks think Rigel is valuable, so they abduct him and hold him to ransom.

    One of Tavleks was captured. Zhaan stays on Moya with him, to help him go cold turkey after the alien steroid he uses is removed from him.

    Aeryn Sun ( Claudia Black ), Crichton and Dargo go after the Tavleks. The best weapon to use against the Tavleks' force-fields is one of their own gauntlet energy weapons. Unfortunately, this is the system that injects the steroid into its user. As a result, each crew-member who uses it ends up with side-effects.

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 5] Back And Back And Back To The Future

    The crew rescue a couple of Twilek scientists from an exploding ship. Dargo befriends them, because their species is allied to his own.

    Crichton begins to have visions of himself tussling with the female. Soon he realises a couple of things. Firstly, the visions are not fantasies, they are flashes of the future. Secondly, they are a lot more sinister.

    The female Twilek also gets to tussle with Aeryn Sun ( Claudia Black ), who is now wearing a belly-revealing outfit.

    The Twileks are at war with a species with a name which is a mix of Scorpius and the Skaarans. They are attempting to create a next-generation super-weapon - a weaponised black hole. All this is never mentioned again, although it seems to predict the major plot-line of the next few Seasons.

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 6] Thank God It's Friday. Again.
    Shown Third Week, January 2000

    This episode has a message that is either conventionally Anti-drugs or unconventionally anti-Utopian. The crew land on a planet where all is love and peace - but maintained by keeping the entire population in a drugged stupor.

    Drek characters never used the bathroom, while Babylon 5 did the opposite and actually had important scenes set in the bathroom! In South Park's first episode Cartman farts fire - and Farscape shows its Australian toilet humour; Rigel the ugly muppet pisses napalm!

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 7] PK Tech Girl
    Shown Fourth Week, January 2000

    The team discover a derelict Peacekeeper battleship, and scout it Aliens style. Aeryn Sun ( Claudia Black ) even carries a steadicam-rigged LMG! The ship was called the Zelbinian, and it was declared lost a hundred cycles ago. Rigel was once held prisoner aboard it, and was tortured by its Captain, Durkha.

    They discover a Kes-type Peacekeeper technician babe, and the sexual chemistry between her and the crew's token human male is quite blatant. Of course, since she is not part of the regular cast we know she will probably not make it to the end of the episode - and even if she did, the relationship between them would not continue to the next episode. Still, this does help develop the relationship with Aeryn Sun.

    The ship is targetted by alien scavengers. Unlike cheapo Star Trek aliens (OK, the Sebations are just cold-blooded humans, but you know what I mean) these are full-suit aliens - as in Space Precinct and Dr Who.

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 8] That Old Black Magic
    Shown Fourth Week, January 2000

    Earthman Jack confronts his nemesis, Kreiss. They are both captured by an evil sorceror and forced to fight to the death. The blue-skinned priestess must regain her dark side in order to attack the sorceror - a possibility for future character development, though the chances are it will be ignored. The twist in the tale, though, almost makes it worthwhile.

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 9] DNA Mad Scientist
    Shown First Week, February 2000

    The crew meet a scientific genius who offers to help in exchange for samples of their DNA. He offers them a way home, but needs one of their pilot's limbs - and the heroes pounce on the luckless Henson creation without a thought. Only Earthman Crichton and Aeryn Sun ( Claudia Black ) stay out of the conspiracy - he has principles, while she has no home to go to. The scientist hands over a data crystal, but only one of the three destinations can be used; again the crew fall on themselves like a pack of Reservoir Dogs, each ready to doublecross the rest so that s/he can go home.

    Crichton wants Aeryn Sun to return to Earth with him. She thinks differently, and gives the scientist a DNA sample in exchange for the location of a Sebation colony. However, the scientist deliberately contaminates her with the pilot's DNA - she becomes an involuntary lab rat!

    We learn that Dargo (the Klingon) and Rigel (the muppet) were both arrested by their own governments! Yes, the Peacekeepers who kept them prisoner were only acting in accordance with the wishes of the prisoners' own people.

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 10] They've Got A Secret
    Shown Second Week, February 2000

    The Farscape crew hit yet another bump in the road home. They discover that the Peacekeepers had installed failsafe devices, and try to remove them. There is an explosion, and Dargo (the Klingon one) is ejected into space. He is recovered and revived, but he thinks Zhaan (the blue-skinned priestess) is his wife and Rigel (the muppet) is his son.

    Worse than that, Moya (the ship) and the DRDs (skutters) decide to kill the crew - at first it looks like a Peacekeeper virus, but it could be the ship's internal defence mechanism!

    By the end of the show we have learned a lot about Dargo and his past - not to mention the forthcoming plot mini-arc concerning Moya. And the concept of a relationship between a Sebation woman and a lesser species is given some airing ...

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 11] Til The Blood Runs Clear

    Crichton and Aeryn Sun ( Claudia Black ) are in the Module, start a wormhole, and have to go to Furlow's for repairs. This is on a desert world, which allows for some wonderful exterior photogaphy. It also means that Zhann has photogasms.

    Crais offers a reward for the three fugitives, and secretly offers Aeryn a deal. Two Blood Hunters (including Worf?) appear, so Crichton and Aeryn pretend to be Bounty Hunters.

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 12] Rhapsody In Blue
    Shown second Week, March 2000

    The episode centres around the priestess woman, Zhaan. We learn why she was condemned by her people's government, and why the Peacekeepers were involved.

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 13] The Flax
    Shown First week, March 2000

    Crichton and Aeryn Sun ( Claudia Black ) are trapped together, and their relationship develops. As one would expect from this kind of TV episode.

    Will Dargo (the Klingon) rescue them, or will he take the opportunity to loot - err, liberate - certain items from an abandoned Luxan freighter?

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 14] Jeremiah Crichton
    Shown Fourth Week, March 2000

    Crichton takes his ship out for a spin, and Moya (the pregnant bio-ship) jumps to FTL, abandoning him in deep space.

    Three months later Crichton as a massive beard that looks like it took six months to grow. He is on a sunny tropical beach with a sexy polynesian maid ( Natalie Martinez ) at his side. Her father, the village chief, is caucasian - while the village's best hunter (and the Princess's former beau) is negroid. Unlike Star Trek they admit they are colonists, and not Bajorans or something! It turns out the colonists were sent by Emperor Rigel 10th - and they think Rigel 16th (Crichton's muppet-like shipmate) is their god!

    The colony has a concealed negative power vortex that makes all electronic equipment (ships, weapons, communicators) useless. Crichton, Rigel and Dargo must disable the vortex, or suffer the wrath of the natives.

    This episode gives Rigel the muppet the opportunity for some character development.

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 15] Durka Returns

    The crew give a lift to the passengers of an alien shuttlecraft. One of them is Durka - the captain of the Zelbinian, the derelict Peacekeeper ship that was discovered in Farscape [Season 1, Episode 7] PK Tech Girl. It turns out that he was captured by a race called the Nebari. They enslaved him, using a technique they call mind-cleansing (AKA brainwashing), and doubled his life-span. He should have died of old age fifty cycles ago, but barely looks middle-aged.

    There is another prisoner too - a young Nebari woman named Chiana ( Gigi Edgely ). Her crime is that she was adventurous - the Nebari believe the nail that stands up, hammer it down. The punishment is mind-cleansing, to make her fit in with their society.

    Chiana is untrustworthy and potentially violent - a good potential recruit for Moya's crew. Also, she has the capacity to be seductive. Apparently the Producers decided to add the character to up the show's sex appeal, because they were unable to do this with the existing character of Zhaan.

    Durka, on the other hand, is a deranged former Peacekeeper. Even if Rigel was not obsessed with killing him, he would still have nothing to recommend him as a companion.

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 16] Human Reaction
    Shown April 2000

    The crew has been joined by a short blonde woman called Chiana ( Gigi Edgely ). Unlike Kes in Star Trek: Voyager , she is not dressed as Peter Pan but instead as a convincing non-Terran.

    Moya discovers a wormhole back to Earth, and Crichton takes the plunge. Once back he finds that his former comrades are more paranoid than he recalls, and is imprisoned as a suspected Alien because of the translator bacteria in his brainstem.

    Aeryn Sun ( Claudia Black ), Dargo and Rigel join him, and he has to choose between his comrades from Moya and the fascists who hold them prisoner. Finally Crichton and Aeryn Sun let their relationship reach a new level - not in the blatant, ratings-boosting way that happens in Buffy .

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 17] Through The Looking Glass
    Shown April 2000

    Moya goes to starburst (FTL) and splits into several realities - with the crew trapped in different parallel universes. Will this have negative effects on Moya's baby?

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 18] A Bug's Life
    Shown April 2000

    Moya is boarded by some Peacekeeper Commandos. Crichton decides to bluff them, and puts on a Received Pronunciation accent so he can pretend to be a Peacekeeper Captain. Aeryn Sun ( Claudia Black ) uses her real name and rank, and actually manages to bond with the Commando leader.

    Unfortunately, the Commandos were transporting a special cargo. It is infected with an intelligent virus that can possess its victims and take over their minds. Predictably, Rigel and Chiana get nosey and the virus escapes.

    What lets the episode down is the relative lack of suspense. At every stage we the audience know who is infected, so the characters seem to behave in an idiotic fashion.

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 19] Nerve

    Aeryn Sun ( Claudia Black ) is dying from a wound received in the last episode - and the only place she can get a tissue graft is from the local Peacekeeper base. Crichton goes undercover there, and as you can guess things go wrong ...

    The show has a number of Arc elements collide;

  • Aeryn Sun's wound is from the previous episode
  • Moya is preparing to give birth
  • Crichton's only help is the blonde Sebation PK Tech babe
  • Kreiss is called to interrogate Crichton
  • The alternate Earth aliens embedded the secrets of Wormhole technology in Crichton's mind

    It is also the beginning of an entirely new story arc. A couple of new characters are introduced - a half-Skaaran named Scorpius (Wayne Pygram) and a mystical seer named Starke, also disfigured - with a metal face-mask.

  • Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 20] Hidden Memory

    Aeryn Sun ( Claudia Black ) tries to return the favour and rescue Crichton.

    Kreiss is put in the interrogation chair, and tries to conceal the fact that he murdered his own second-in-command in order to ignore orders to break off his search for Crichton.

    Moya finally gives birth to her long-awaited offspring. However, this means expelling the atmosphere from the crew quarters. Rigel and Chiana have to hide together in a tiny life-pod. Worse, Chiana learns the hard way that Rigel is claustrophobic and when he is nervous he farts helium.

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 21] Bone To Be Wild

    This follows on directly from the previous episode. Moya and her son are hiding out in the planet's asteroid belt. The Peacekeepers are in pursuit - Kreiss is somehow still in command instead of a prisoner. Lieutenant Brekka (David Franklin - Xena: Warrior Princess ) is Kreiss' second in command. However, Scorpius tags along and offers unwanted suggestions. Will Brekka and the crew follow Kreiss in his insane pursuit, or will they join Scorpius and mutiny?

    Crichton, Dargo and Zhaan take a shuttle down to a jungle-world, and rescue a young lady from a monster (english-sounding Marton Csokas - Kingdom of Heaven ). The female, Emily (Ben Browder's wife Francesca Buller), is reminiscent of Sadie Frost in Bram Stoker's Dracula . The obvious twist comes along, of course - but is followed by a couple more that are disguised by it.

    It is revealed that Zhaan's species, the Delphi (Delvians?), are actually mobile plants - their blue skin contains chloroplasts, they like the sun because they photosynthesise, and they have hard cartilege instead of bone. Also, they can blend into the background like a chameleon. Strangely this superpower was never used again.

    Meanwhile, Pilot sends Aeryn Sun ( Claudia Black ) over to the baby Leviathan. It is part gunship, and has an impressive array of weaponry. But will it accept her as its captain?

    Farscape Farscape [Season 1, Episode 22] Family Ties

    Kreiss and Scorpius, the Skarran half-breed, are closing in on Moya in the asteroid field. As a side-note, the alien girl rescued last week has been taken away on a shuttle, probably to Scorpius' secret base on the nearby moon.

    Rigel defects to the Peacekeepers, and offers a deal. However, the only one who wants to make a deal is Kreiss - Scorpius is going to kill him eventually, and he wants to defect to Moya.

    The good guys know they are cornered, and prepare for the worst. They start to say their goodbyes, and plan a last-ditch attack against the secret base to decoy Scorpius away from them.

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