Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Following Scents in the Sand

Farscape starts to show one of the great benefits of shooting in Australia with an episode set on a desert planet. Crichton's first attempt at recreating the conditions that sent him through a wormhole goes awry and the crew are forced to deal with a pair of dogged bounty hunters called "Blood Trackers".

Season 1, Episode 11: Till the Blood Runs Clear

The title refers to D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe) whose species, Luxans, were established in a previous episode to have a strange circulatory system--when they bleed, the blood is initially dark, something that would eventually lead to death unless the blood is allowed to flow until it turns transparent. Whether this was ever worked out to any kind of scientific logic, I don't know, but it's a nice visual and dramatic idea.

D'Argo's role in this episode is relatively minor, though. Mostly the story involves Crichton (Ben Browder) and Aeryn (Claudia Black) trying to get his Earth spacecraft fixed by a local mechanic named Furlow.

She's played by English actress Magda Szubanski with a peculiar, clipped, sort of Chicago accent. She's appropriately used in small doses but her odd mannerisms and white eyes keep the viewer captivated and trying to guess her motives. There's an amusing sense of her eyeing Crichton as a piece of meat.

The Blood Trackers, though, seem to look at everyone as meat in a more literal sense. Rorf (Jeremy Sims) and Rorg (Johanna Kerrigan) are introduced with electric guitar on the score and their adherence to sexual hierarchy compels Crichton to pretend Aeryn is his subservient mate. This is one of the things that helps the viewer think she might actually be tempted by an apparent offer from Crais (Lani Tupu), hidden in a holographic wanted poster, promising her reinstatement, or at least "honourable retirement", as a Peacekeeper. On top of that, she ends up getting temporarily blinded by a solar flare, this being another especially unpleasant sequence of events for her. Already in the series we've seen her suffer from debilitating heat delirium, get her DNA crossed with a vastly different alien species with painful consequences, and get her hand glued to the floor. So it's nice seeing the big grin on her face in the episode's climax, a very rare sight.

No-one has a better time than Zhaan (Virginia Hey), though, who, we learn in this episode, experiences "photogasm" due to exposure to sun flare radiation, sometimes at inconvenient moments. Zhaan always seems amenable to the experience, though.

. . .

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):

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

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