Mark Watches ‘Farscape’: S01E20 – The Hidden Memory

In the twentieth episode of the first season of Farscape, the crew mounts a rescue mission for Crichton while Rygel, Pilot, and Chiana deal with Moya. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Farscape.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of sexual assault, consent, and torture.

Oh my god, I’m not going to repeat what I’ve said lately about the drastic improvement in quality for Farscape because I HAVE SO MUCH MORE TO SAY. Let’s get into it.


Y’all, I’m just so pleased with how this show dealt with Moya’s pregnancy, and this episode introduces a new chapter in this story. I didn’t really address the reveal that Moya was beginning to go into contractions. I was overwhelmed by the last episode and it was difficult to address everything. SO MUCH HAPPENED. The same goes for “The Hidden Memory,” which is a dense and twisting labyrinth of plots. But neither episode was confusing or too complex for me to follow. I love that we get so much in just fifty minutes! And while the bulk of this episode deals with rescuing John, there’s ample time given to Moya giving birth and the complications that arrive from it.

The surprising aspect of this, though, is how Chiana ends up playing the biggest role out of the characters left behind on Moya. While Aeryn, Zhaan, and D’Argo head to the Gammak base, only Rygel, Chiana, and Pilot remain to help Moya give birth. Both Chiana and Rygel are the most openly selfish characters on the show, so I wondered how they were both going to react to Moya prioritizing her child’s birth over them. They… well, they do their best, up to a point. Pilot can only control Moya’s reactions when she allows Pilot to do so, and then she assumes total control of her environment. It’s one of the things the writers have handled with a dedication to detail and realism, and LORD, do I love it. Here, Moya must create a vacuum inside of her in order to give birth, which gives us a scene that’s played for humor in a way that’s completely revolting and another that’s actually funny.

I understood the need for Chiana and Rygel to hide in a pressure tank to survive, and him farting helium was super funny. Sticking them both in an enclosed space? It’s instantly funny. Rygel groping Chiana and it being played humorously? Yeah, that’s gross. Don’t do that, Farscape.

Anyway, let’s talk about Chiana’s bravery. In the previous episode, she told Crichton that she wanted to pull her weight in the crew, to earn her spot among her peers. Crichton didn’t necessarily believe her, but I think this episode demonstrates that she is willing to contribute in a meaningful way to the greater cause. Sure, you could read her attempt to free Moya’s child as one of self-preservation. If the baby Leviathan wasn’t set free, he would destroy Moya in the process. But Chiana risked her own life to help! It’s not like what she did was risk-free, you know? So I found it pretty damn significant that she did what she did here. I just hope that the others find out that she saved both Moya and Moya’s child.


Seriously, this episode is just one surprise after another. “The Hidden Memory” draws a parallel between Crichton and Stark when Stark reveals that he’s faking his behavior specifically so that Scorpius leaves him alone. As it turns out, Stark is hiding something from Scorpius, but he’s from a race of people who have powerful memory clouding abilities. When Crichton learns this, it’s both inspiring and utterly disturbing. Crichton resolves to continue resisting Scorpius, but he also has to acknowledge that Stark’s been tormented for TWO YEARS. HAHA WOW EVERYTHING HURTS. And yet? Stark still gives Crichton relief from the pain he’s feeling. God, y’all, that scene is so touching because even after experiencing all that brutality, Stark still has empathy and kindness left in him. Scorpius never burned it out of him. AND THAT’S SO MEANINGFUL TO ME. I think you can see this aspect of his culture in how he treats Gilina at the end of the episode, too. Despite living a life of slavery, subjugation, and terror, he still has goodness to give the world.

AND HE’S ON MOYA AT THE END OF THIS EPISODE. Holy shit, does that mean he counts as a new crewmember? I GRACIOUSLY WELCOME ALL NEW MEMBERS OF THE CREW. I’d be so stoked if there were like fifty people beings on the ship by the end of the show. Maybe Moya can turn into like a floating anti-hero barge. YES PLEASE.


LOOK WHAT THIS SHOW DID WITH ITS MAIN ANTAGONIST. Holy shit, nothing in the world could have prepared me for this. In an unsettling twist, Gilina is able to modify the Aurora Chair so that it implants a memory within Crichton’s mind. Now, I don’t know how the hell that’s even possible, but this episode also featured a spaceship giving birth to another spaceship, so I suppose that asking for an explanation on memory implantation is a bit much. Regardless, Crichton’s false memory ends up implicating Crais, which puts Crais in the Aurora Chair. IT IS SO HORRIFYING. Crais has to relive his painful, traumatic past over and over again, and I alternated between feeling slight sorry for him and then realizing that he was getting exactly what he’d dealt to others. This entire episode changes how I look at Crais in one sense, but if he does survive this, isn’t he going to become even worse?

I say that because “The Hidden Memory” gives us one of the BEST SCENES IN ALL OF FARSCAPE: Aeryn Sun’s confrontation with the man who banished her from the Peacekeepers. Oh god, OF COURSE she was going to find Crais when she needed a senior officer’s tags. I was reminded of Rygel’s confrontations with Durka as Aeryn taunted Crais. It was cathartic to watch, especially since she outright confirmed that she had no desire to return to the life of the Peacekeepers. In betraying her and rejecting her, Crais released her to a better world. A difficult one, one that constantly threatens her life, but she wouldn’t trade it back to get her old way of living. And then she turns the Aurora Chair on and leaves Crais behind, screaming, and WOW, THIS IS ALL SO DISTURBING. But you better believe I was proud of Aeryn for confronting him. AERYN, MY RADIANT SUN.


Oh gods, I should have known that Gilina wouldn’t outlast this episode. She had that trope written all over her, but I still held out hope that she wouldn’t be fridged by the end of all this. It’s an unfortunate end because I feel like there was a lot of potential in her character. But she really doesn’t serve much of a purpose by the end of “The Hidden Memory” except to constantly save Crichton and Aeryn, express her unrequited feelings for Crichton, and then die when she no longer fit in the narrative.

I was kind of hoping we wouldn’t be going down the path of the love triangle because those are rarely interesting and usually they’re not written well. Do the writers realize that bisexual people or polyamory exist? These love triangle plots always end with someone being killed or written out of the story, and I’m like, “… but what if all three of them fell for each other? What if Aeryn had a crush on Gilina instead?” Why make Gilina serve the plot and then kill her once she doesn’t? MORE QUEERS, THANK YOU. That’s my ultimate point. I liked Gilina, even if I didn’t necessarily buy her chemistry with Crichton in “PK Tech Girl.” But the only thing that feels clumsy about “The Hidden Memory” is the way that the writers portray Gilina. In the midst of a life-risking disaster, all she wants to know is if Crichton likes her back? It makes her seem childish and ridiculous because it’s such an absurd concept. Gilina has worked for the Peacekeepers for years. You’re telling me a Peacekeeper tech would basically pull out a letter saying DO YOU LIKE ME CHECK YES OR NO in the middle of a mission? Given how clever and cunning she is throughout this, she’s suddenly incredibly foolish. Like… she won’t save her own life unless a guy likes her back? IT’S WEIRD, Y’ALL.

A New Enemy

While Crais is not dead (WASN’T CONFIRMED DEAD ON SCREEN, I WON’T ACCEPT IT), it’s clear that the end of this episode sets up Scorpius as the new antagonist. Crichton and his friends were able to break into Scorpius’s base, steal a bunch of prisoners, turn a Peacekeeper against the force, and then escape successfully with the “hidden” memory referenced in the title. Oh, he is nowhere near done with Crichton. IT’S ON. And I imagine that the end of this season is going to involve some huge confrontation with the crew, isn’t it?

I’M ALMOST DONE WITH SEASON ONE. How did this happen???

The video for “The Hidden Memory” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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