October 3rd, 2019

The Bus

Two, or More, of Each

One of the fundamental horrors of existence is there are always people, just like you, suffering terribly. A jarring episode of Farscape gives some idea of what it's like when our mental safeguards against consciousness of this are stripped away.

Season Three, Episode Six: Eat Me

Zombies usually seem to me to be a metaphor for the homeless nowadays, or how people see the homeless--a mass of hungry humanity, the threat of their violence working as a transmutation of the vague feelings of guilt and anxiety the haves have regarding the have-nots. If that's so, the zombies in this episode of Farscape, the ravenous and dishevelled Sebacean cannibals aboard a wrecked Leviathan, are particularly effective for how they remove a layer of cognitive insulation.

But even before we get to them, there's already a forced identification with the less fortunate when Crichton (Ben Browder), D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe), Chiana (Gigi Edgley), and Jool (Tammy MacIntosh), travelling in a badly damaged transport pod, mistake another Leviathan class ship for Moya.

Or at least Crichton mistakes it for Moya. D'Argo spots the control collar and warns Crichton that this signifies Peacekeeper control of the vessel, and being imprisoned by the Peacekeepers may be worse than dying in space. But Crichton lands anyway and soon things appear to be even worse than D'Argo feared. The interior is wrecked and decayed and D'Argo is immediately attacked by a filthy, incoherent Sebacean who tries to bite his neck.

The disquieting sight of a living ship just like Moya in a state of decay is followed by an encounter with people reduced to behaving like rabid animals. Jool, the sheltered school girl, continues to freak out in Kate Capshaw fashion, and helpfully screams at Crichton that he needs to fix the transport pod so they can leave. Chiana's at her wit's end with the new girl and resorts to hitting her at one point. After everything everyone's been through, Jool's spoiled behaviour is naturally abrasive but Chiana soon finds herself confronting things outside her own comfort zone in some of the episode's most memorable scenes.

The episode's villain, Kaarvok, played by Shane Briant as an excellently eerie junkyard gentleman, lives by "twinning" people--turning them into two perfect copies, and eating one of them. He explains several times that one twin isn't just a copy of the other--both resulting beings are essentially the original. We see this power demonstrated when he encounters Chiana, twins her, and then devours one Chiana while the other watches and, after a moment's hesitation, runs despite her twin's pleas for help.

It's particularly hard for Chiana to convince herself the twin is illegitimate because she'd just cried and held a little funereal for D'Argo's twin. Edgley's performance at the end of the episode is vulnerable and chilling as Chiana dismisses D'Argo's description of how exact his twin was.

Crichton, who's been made more callous by his experiences (Chiana, as experienced as she is, is comparatively a child) brushes things off a little easier. He's even a little mean when he tries to get this Leviathan's Pilot (Sean Masterson) to cooperate in repairing the ship. So it's fitting that the episode ends with Crichton being twinned and his twin being the only one of the twins who survives. He's a manifestation of Crichton's unresolved internal issues as well as an interesting point for other issues throughout the season as it develops.

. . .

Farscape is available now on Amazon Prime.

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

Episode 7: Home on the Remains

Episode 8: Dream a Little Dream

Episode 9: Out of Their Minds

Episode 10: My Three Crichtons

Episode 11: Look at the Princess, Part I: A Kiss is But a Kiss

Episode 12: Look at the Princess, Part II: I Do, I Think

Episode 13: Look at the Princess, Part III: The Maltese Crichton

Episode 14: Beware of Dog

Episode 15: Won't Get Fooled Again

Episode 16: The Locket

Episode 17: The Ugly Truth

Episode 18: A Clockwork Nebari

Episode 19: Liars, Guns, and Money, Part I: A Not So Simple Plan

Episode 20: Liars, Guns, and Money, Part II: With Friends Like These . . .

Episode 21: Liars, Guns, and Money, Part III: Plan B

Episode 22: Die Me, Dichotomy

Season Three:

Episode 1: Season of Death

Episode 2: Suns and Lovers

Episode 3: Self-Inflicted Wounds, Part I: Would'a, Could'a, Should'a

Episode 4: Self-Inflicted Wounds, Part II: Wait for the Wheel

Episode 5: . . . Different Destinations