In the third episode of the fourth season of Farscape, the crew accidentally interferes with a strange species. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Farscape.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of bugs and body horror.
Well, this was a neat episode! For the most part, it didn’t seem to stray too far from some existing sci-fi tropes, but the whole symbiosis metaphor was what kept me interested. It’s a perfect exploration of the crew itself! There are seven different species here (Moya, the Pilot, Rygel, D’Argo, Zhaan, Aeryn, and John!), and if they’re going to find freedom, they’ve got to work together.
Still, it’s a bottle episode, something I’ve seen a lot of on science fiction television shows. Now, I have nothing against bottle episodes. Truthfully, I think that some of the best episodes of television are confined to a single location. (“Ice” in the first season of The X-Files is the first I thought of. “Midnight” is my personal favorite Doctor Who episode and does this extremely well.) For me, sticking a self-contained location episode this early into the show worked because it gave me a chance to see more of Moya. I know so little about her! And this show makes Moya seem GIGANTIC. In “Exodus from Genesis,” we get glimpses of John’s quarters, the medical bay, the maintenance bay, and the viewing deck. I still haven’t seen much of the parts of Moya that look… well, like a living creature? Which might be the point. I don’t know much about leviathans at all. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE.
This episode also gives us a huge dose of worldbuilding through Aeryn Sun. I now have confirmation that Sebaceans are a totally different species of human, namely in that they’re literally cold-blooded. It provides a great deal of the tension in the episode, since the Monarch must raise the internal temperature of Moya in order to facilitate her birthing process, called a Genesis. Oh god, I kind of don’t want to ever see an example of the Living Death? It sounds horrifying, but I’m guessing this is not the only time we’ll see it.
But while I’ve seen how Farscape is willing to subvert tropes, I never thought they’d kill off Aeryn in the third episode, so the threat of her demise wasn’t all that frightening. It’s the Drak themselves that are far more terrifying. But this episode does something that reminded me a lot of a Star Trek episode I saw recently. (That would be “Gur Qrivy va gur Qnex” in season one.) For completely justifiable reasons, the drak are revolting and scary and I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR HOW OFTEN I SCREAMED AT THEM. Holy shit, the design on them is UNREAL. But we’re meant to be afraid of them! We’re supposed to think of them as a malevolent force. How can you not when they’re stealing DNA and creating perfect replicants of the crew? IT’S SO CREEPY. However, their presence is purely biological in nature. The Monarch simply needed heat, and when Moya flew through her swarm, Moya disrupted the Genesis cycle.
So Crichton comes up with a compromise, turning the drak into something a lot more neutral than they were before. Like I said before, the symbiotic nature of their relationship is an important parallel for the crew. There’s that scene early in “Exodus from Genesis” where Crichton speaks openly to Zhaan about the difficulty he’s experiencing while trying to assimilate into his new environment. Understandably, it’s hard for the others to view Crichton as part of their world because he’s so alien and foreign. Over the course of this episode, though, he finds ways to demonstrate to Aeryn and D’Argo that he’s perfectly willing and able to contribute. Perhaps no better scene shows us this than Crichton using his replicants to threatening the invading Peacekeepers. Because D’Argo has a warrior mind, he was harder to win over than anyone else. Crichton’s actions showed military prowess in a way that D’Argo had never seen before. (Plus, it was actually a super great idea. Now, Crais will think that Crichton can clone himself or something. I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE IF THIS WILL COME UP AGAIN.)
I don’t think Crichton has totally won over Aeryn, though she definitely gained a respect for him after the events here. I could tell that she felt ashamed for her own uselessness during the past day, and perhaps that’s why she’s a bit cold in the final scene. Or perhaps she’s weary about trusting or liking John at this point, you know? She’s now an outlaw on the run with a bunch of prisoners. Like Crichton points out, everyone’s life has been altered and pulled off course, and they’ve got to find a way to make their own destiny.
Overall, it was a decent episode that was saved from mediocrity because of the intriguing character interactions. On I go to watch more!
The video for “Exodus From Genesis” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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