July 26th, 2019

Then Again

A Space Monster to Hang Your Hat In

When people are hungry on Farscape, they can always visit a giant corpse floating in space and the mining colony within. Anyway, Chiana thinks its a good idea. Relatively good.

Season 2, Episode 7: Home on the Remains

There's no food left on Moya so Chiana (Gigi Edgley) leads our heroes to a dead budong, a giant animal that dwells in the vastness of space and whose corpse evidently makes a suitable habitation if you don't mind forests of mould and rivers of bile. We get another glimpse into Chiana's past, from the period when she and her brother, Nery, were on the run from Nebari authorities.

Lodged in the flesh of this corpse are precious crystals around which a mining colony sprang up some time ago. Like Han's dubious reliance on his friend Lando in Empire Strikes Back when he and his companions are desperate for aid, Chiana has a similarly murky past with a miner she hopes to appeal to for assistance. Fortunately or unfortunately, he's on the verge of succumbing to fatal wounds when Chiana, Crichton (Ben Browder), Rygel (Jonathan Hardy), and D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe) arrive.

There's a creature loose in the minds, an ape-like being made from a pretty effective combination of fur suit and puppet face. The shadows of the mine shafts help a lot but its the convincingly disgusting jaws that raise the tension in scenes where Crichton combats the thing or clings to Rygel's hoverchair for dear life.

Even more effective, though, is a subplot in which, back on Moya, Zhaan (Virginia Hey) starts to exhibit signs of starvation unique to her species. She is a plant and somehow being deprived of meat causes her to sprout buds like a potato that's sat on a shelf too long.

These buds release fluff into the air giving everyone hay fever and, of course, Zhaan's reason is diminished and her murderous impulses are increased. Aeryn (Claudia Black) and Pilot (Lani Tupi) are forced to contend with this problem alone in a story that's the right mixture of absurd and dramatically effective.

It's an episode that has less to do with Chiana than it seems to at first but her budding relationship with D'Argo is advanced further when he finds himself angry that she's willing to trade sex for food. She also has some good scenes with a mother figure (Justine Saunders), a crystal miner who hopes to make a big score. Chiana also has an important dramatic climax in the episode where we see again, as we saw in "Durka Returns" and "Nerve", that Chiana can be pretty ruthless if the need arises.

. . .

This entry is part of a series I'm writing on Farscape for the show's 20th anniversary. My previous reviews can be found here (episodes are in the order intended by the show's creators rather than the broadcast order):

Season One:

Episode 1: Pilot

Episode 2: I, E.T.

Episode 3: Exodus from Genesis

Episode 4: Throne for a Loss

Episode 5: Back and Back and Back to the Future

Episode 6: Thank God It's Friday Again

Episode 7: PK Tech Girl

Episode 8: That Old Black Magic

Episode 9: DNA Mad Scientist

Episode 10: They've Got a Secret

Episode 11: Till the Blood Runs Clear

Episode 12: Rhapsody in Blue

Episode 13: The Flax

Episode 14: Jeremiah Crichton

Episode 15: Durka Returns

Episode 16: A Human Reaction

Episode 17: Through the Looking Glass

Episode 18: A Bug's Life

Episode 19: Nerve

Episode 20: The Hidden Memory

Episode 21: Bone to be Wild

Episode 22: Family Ties

Season Two:

Episode 1: Mind the Baby

Episode 2: Vitas Mortis

Episode 3: Taking the Stone

Episode 4: Crackers Don't Matter

Episode 5: Picture If You Will

Episode 6: The Way We Weren't