Season One, Episode Two: I, ET
In the previous episode they removed Moya’s control collar – unlike other tv shows, this has some continuity where it seems like that’s only caused more problems. The removal has activated a homing signal which means Peacekeepers could be tracking them down at any moment. Although Leviathans are not known for being able to land and take off from planets, the crew risk it, and bury Moya in a bog. They then need to search for something that can dull Moya’s pain as they rip more Peacekeeper tech from her.
A: John has an excellent line in eye-facial-winky-crinkliness while the Peacekeeper alarm is going and MAN they could have turned it off faster! I love that Aeryn comments on the facial shenanigans, too, plus “I’m new to all this escaped prisoner crap” ahaha.
K: How scary would that be though – on the run, somewhere in space, at the mercy of the ship itself who is also under attack. I’d be freaking out!
A: Oh absolutely – for John – but not our Aeryn, nuhuh.
D’argo is such an act-first-think-maybe-sometime-in-the-future kinda guy. It does get a bit old, but it is funny.
K: As a general rule I like that D’argo sticks around, but his attitude annoys me. And he’s quite old fashioned. Have you ever seen behind the scenes footage of the actor though? He’s so HAPPY by comparison, it’s weird!
A: I haven’t seen any behind the scenes stuff! I can see him being a genial guy, though.
New to this episode: bad fake profanity to match the fake measurements! I don’t know why, but Farscape doesn’t manage to do this nearly so well as Battlestar Galactica. For me, anyway.
K: I have to agree there. Though I do like frell in particular. Yotz and Hezmana has never done it for me.
A: John has a good idea! Take Moya down to the planet to muffle the alarm that’s still broadcasting! … which may not be a great idea, since it’s not entirely clear whether Leviathans can, actually, survive the gravity of a planet. But we’ll do it anyway, because we’re all about the crazy adventuring!
K: And of course it all works out for the better. If you actually were a scientist I thought you didn’t actually take such risky maneuvers just in case – surely try to outrun things and land on a junk planet where they can get it removed would have less risk? I’m sure at other times Pilot has been far more determined that they do everything possible to avoid harming Moya…
A: DUDE. John and Aeryn clinch as the ship goes for a ‘landing’! Reminds me so much of Han and Leia in the corridor… except they cut away before Aeryn backhands John, since I’m sure that’s what would have happened next. (Which also makes me realise how often John and Aeryn are together in the credits. NOT SUBTLE, SHOW.)
K: It isn’t subtle, no. And I think that’s what gets everyone so excited about the pairing? That they show chemistry straight away and they are snippy at each other like the whole ‘you could be a little more sensitive’ line, and she doesn’t shove him over for saying it. He always makes her think!
A: Rygel’s reaction to the mud is the first time I’ve liked him yet. “Mud is… mud.”
Meanwhile I ADORE the fact that Moya’s sentience and awareness and personhood is emphasised here. That she might die of pain, that she’s been enslaved, that she’s SCARED… it’s one of the great things about this show.
K: I don’t think I’ve met anyone yet who hasn’t felt a fierce protection for Moya, especially due to later episodes. And I love the bond she forms with— …but I should save that comment for another time.
A: Aw Aeryn. So sad to be on your own and to have to explain what this means to a nincompoop like John. And really, SO sad that you’re basically going to be targeted by your own kind for doing something that your viewers will think is just decent.
K: And yet John also manages to talk her out of the slump. He’s just like yup, your people have issues so come along, amaze us!
A: I love John being an alien! Hunted and everything! Also this marks the beginning of D’argo and Aeryn working together as the warriors they are. And we’re reminded that actually, John is a *scientist*, that’s what his bag is; not fighting.
K: That’s actually a good point – John’s a hero in this, but not always in a way we expect. And I do love Aeryn and D’argo’s common ground and how easy they are with each other in a way, somewhat unexpectedly.
A: Aaand John gets to be the alien to the equivalent of a SETI searcher. And uses all of his knowledge of science fiction to figure out how best to deal with her, which is really quite clever.
K: I just love how there’s people like Fox Mulder and Robbie Williams out there somewhere – people who want to believe.
A: This episode really is all about finding out about characters’ potential. Zhaan offering to share Moya’s pain is intriguing and suggests that there’s a lot of depth to her. This too is something I love about the show.
K: And we see Rygel out of his little glider for the first time too. He really does look royal in this scene. He’s such a little shit though.
A: Rygel never looks royal to me.
D’argo and Aeryn bonding over John being a savage: I love it.
K: D’argo’s hands look so weird and normal outside of his sleeves. Their banter really adds depth to the worldbuilding – how they shit talk each other’s species and such, kinda like how we banter with New Zealanders etc
A: Things really do go badly: John about to be captured, Moya and Zhaan passed out… Rygel apparently the only one on board with all his faculties. Which is never going to be good for anyone. And then Rygel attacks Aeryn, and licks the blood! Grotesque! To then turn around and make him – um – more human by admitting he doesn’t know what he’s doing is a very odd turn of character. And THEN a character moment of Aeryn and Zhaan together, with Aeryn concerned for Zhaan! Who would have thought? Of course Aeryn shrugs it off as practicality but WE ALL KNOW YOU HAVE A HEART, LADY.
K: Poor Moya. And Zhaan. Rygel is such a little creep! Maybe I should count how many times I say that line over the course of watching. Poor Pilot must be so scared too. And the little kid is a little brat (well, that’s unfair, I wouldn’t want to be left alone with some strange alien either…)
Aeryn’s such a little tough nut to crack. And I really don’t remember her eyes being so blue!
A: Meanwhile on the planet things are baaad. D’argo caught, the planetary scientist all conflicted about aliens, the military being as bad as the military can be. Even science lady is put off by D’argo’s appearance and assumed there’s something bad about him beacuse of his appearance and that he fought back against the soldiers… which is a bit sad. And John manages to be the hero, rescuing D’argo! How amazing.
K: ‘I thought you were a scientist!’ so what, scientists are supposed to look a certain way? What do we think about Peacekeeper colours, the clear/white, red and black?
A: And everyone lives happily ever after with just a little bit more respect for everybody else. D’aww.
K: And also the message that endure the pain even if you have to hold someone in place and force them on?
A: I’m not sure whether this is Aeryn being totally callous, or whether it’s her supporting Zhaan to do something that Aeryn knows Zhann wants to do but might lack the strength to see it through.
K: But D’argo is a big softie with the kid. Rygel learns that sometimes you need to be brave and Aeryn really does have some muscles. I would have liked to see Pilot act all high or chilled out from the drug too though.
A: This episode reminds me a lot of some of the episodes of Stargate SG:1, where people find out that they are not alone in the universe. BUT WHERE IS CRAIS?
K: Crais is off crying in a corner somewhere, wondering ‘But where is Alex?’ :p
I really have to watch Stargate SG:1 at some stage! I bought the full boxset eventually (yes, for John and Aeryn) but still haven’t got around to watching it…
A: You do. But I will not join you for a full 10-season rewatch because I do not have that sort of time. No seriously, I don’t.
In summary, John’s an alien and so is everyone else, but despite that we can usually work together, even if it involves being snippy.