Friday, August 02, 2019

A Mile in Someone Else's Brain

It's one of those perennial hazards of a sci-fi world--getting your brain switched with someone else's. On Farscape, it's just one more weird problem on a whole pile of weird problems.

Season 2, Episode 9: "Out of Their Minds"

While Zhaan (Virginia Hey) is aboard a hostile ship, dealing with some aliens who suspiciously resemble Skeksis from Dark Crystal, the rest of Moya's crew are scrambling to get the ship's scavenged defence screen up and running. When the Skeksis fire on Moya, the combination of energy from the hostile shot and the defence screen at 62% power results in everyone aboard Moya turning up in someone else's body.

There's something kind of sweet about Pilot in the body of Chiana (Gigi Edgley) patiently and sadly explaining to D'Argo in the body of Pilot (Lani Tupu) how to communicate with Moya. And Rygel in the body of Crichton (Ben Browder) is hilarious but I think the prize for acting versatility has to go to Claudia Black.

She never quite gets Crichton's American accent but her incredulous reaction when Chiana (Anthony Simcoe) and Aeryn (Jonathan Hardy) catch Crichton in Aeryn's body playing with said body is priceless. "I'm a guy. A guy. Guys dream about this sort of thing." Of course, women may as well--as Crichton suspects and is later confirmed, Chiana has been up to similar hijinks in D'Argo's body. A smirking comment from Aeryn at the end of the episode leaves the impression that a whole lot of sex occurred after the episode's close.

Black is also exceptional as Rygel when everyone's places are scrambled again later in the episode. Something about her big eyes, I think, helps convey his attitude. Though it's hard to top Rygel finding the need to urinate in Crichton's body and then, later, when finding a Skeksi he's leading around the ship suddenly needs to puke, saying grandly, "That's all right, we do that sort of thing all the time here on Moya. I just peed in the maintenance bay."

One thing the episode makes clear about the crew dynamics is that, despite the basic idea of there being no captain, by this point everyone seems instinctively to regard Crichton as being in charge. When a Skeksi comes aboard, everyone assumes he's going to want to talk to Crichton--when Zhaan needs information at the end of the episode, she won't listen to Crichton in Rygel's body, she'll only trust Aeryn in Crichton's body. Something Rygel remarks on with no small bitterness.

. . .

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

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