Mark Watches ‘Farscape’: S02E09 – Out of Their Minds

In the ninth episode of the second season of Farscape, SKEKSIES. THEY’RE CALLED SKEKSIES. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Farscape. 

Trigger Warning: For light discussion of the issue of consent.

Seriously, I didn’t know how to write a preview of this episode without spoiling it for the casual reader. So! Skeksies! That’s what the Halosians reminded me of.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun watching this episode, and I know that it doesn’t deviate from the body swap trope much at all. It was still a treat to watch! I was reminded of “Who Are You” from Buffy the Vampire Slayer because the folks running Farscape made a brilliant decision here: they did not dub any of the voices. From the moment they all swap bodies, we’re treated to a hilarious exploration of each of these characters. And it’s not always funny, either, since there are some somber moments between D’Argo, Pilot, and Chiana.

I think that the issue handled consent well, as that’s usually not the case with body swap episodes. Thankfully, while there was some flirting and light exploration, no one had sex in someone else’s body! Well, Rygel and Chiana (in Crichton and D’Argo’s bodies) got a little close, but the writers pulled them away from it. By the end of this episode, everyone seems fine with how the others treated them during the swap, and I think that’s important! I’m also eager to read the comments to see if maybe there’s a subtext I missed while watching this.

I think it’s easy to write off “Out of Their Minds” as a humorous episode, but there’s so much more here than the comedy provided by the trio of Rygel, Aeryn, and Crichton. (If it had just been those three insulting one another, I would have watched hours of it.) FOR INSTANCE, I think the most compelling story here is how Chiana and D’Argo come to understand the chaos that is constantly unfolding within Pilot’s mind. Yes, it’s funny to hear Lani Tupu imitate D’Argo. (I’m serious, y’all, I did not know until after I watched this episode that Lani Tupu was both Crais and Pilot. I DIDN’T EVER GOOGLE IT, OH MY GOD.) But the only character prior to this who had even begun to empathize with Pilot was Aeryn. Now, two other characters have had an intimate experience within Pilot, and I’d be very interested to see if this affects their perception of him in the future.

Zhaan is incredible here, since her role in “Out of Their Minds” is entirely serious. Captured aboard the Halosian ship, she has to figure out a way to turn Yoz against Tak. She initially latches on to their Code, a cultural mandate of sorts which encourages “evolution.” It’s not explained well, but that’s okay. Zhaan recognizes it as a way to exploit Tak’s failure and hopefully prevent him from firing on Moya again. It’s a delicate situation because Zhaan is operating with so little information. And when it’s clear that her plan backfired, she MAKES HER OWN HAND SHRIVEL AND DIE IN ORDER TO ESCAPE. SWEET MOTHER OF GOD. Zotoh Zhaan: grossing me out while saving the world. MAKE THAT HER TAGLINE.

This is also the first big update we get from Crais and Talyn, since their presence technically set all of this in motion. Granted, it was the Halosians’ fault; they fired on Talyn first. But through this, we get to see that Crais appears to have taken his chance for redemption seriously. I KNOW, I COULD HARDLY BELIEVE IT. But there he was, offering himself up peacefully to the Halosians, and I had no reason to believe he was faking it. Wow, I really want a Crais/Talyn episode now.

But aside from these introspective moments, this episode is a chance for the cast to show off their impressions of one another, and I can’t decide who was my favorite. Claudia Black without an accent? Weird. ANTHONY SIMCOE AS CHIANA? It’s too much, I’m still overwhelmed. Ben Browder perfectly captures Rygel’s royal stuffiness and Rygel’s confusion over how humans urinate. That might be my single favorite scene in all of “Out of Their Minds.”

I admit that I’m struggle to think of anything substantive to say beyond this, which isn’t to say this episode was too simple or forgettable. On the contrary! The framing story wasn’t terribly complex, but I also don’t want to dissect all the the visual and dialogue gags present throughout this episode. I feel like there’s no way I could have caught everything here since the writers and the cast go to great lengths to pepper this episode with tons of little jokes about the other characters. I think this was the perfect time in the show’s mythology to have a body swap episode since I had enough time to understand and appreciate the performances here. Bravo, Farscape, for utilizing an oft-used trope and still making it a whole lot of fun.

The video for “Out of Their Minds” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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