Friday, January 27, 2012

Farscape First Watch: I, E.T.

This episode opens with an alarm going off inside the ship. (The ship is apparently named Moya. I thought it was Moira, but wikipedia corrected me). Considering that at the end of the last episode, everyone was on edge and hating each other, I was surprised that something that's merely annoying like an alarm sort of brings everyone together. I would have expected a lot more suspicion--especially suspicion of Aeryn. (I totally got in this episode that her name was something like "Erin" but had to look up the spelling).

Turns out there is a peacekeeper device on the ship that is signaling their position to the peacekeeper forces. And since Moya is alive, removing it will cause her extreme pain and could even kill her. (Which would be bad for the occupants of the ship to say the least.)

Pilot, the pilot of the ship, explains that there is a substance that would dampen Moya's pain, but its a forbidden cargo for her type of ship because it can mess with their functions. But they need it if they're going to get rid of the device.

They head to a nearby planet where John suggests they land--to the surprise of everyone else. Pilot admits it is possible and Moya thinks they can do it, so the ship lands. But the planet is basically Dagobah (seriously, this was my immediate thought), and like Luke's X-Wing, the ship sinks into the muck.

John, Aeryn, and our Klingon friend--who is named Ka D'Argo according to wikipedia--head out of the ship to find the substance they need. (I think its called clorium). John and Aeryn have a discussion where John compares the planet to Louisiana and Dagobah. (Can I just say it's excellent when a show makes me think of something and then the writers acknowledge it should have made me think of that!) John explains that Dagobah is where Yoda lives, and Aeryn is like who is that? John answers that he's a green alien who trains warriors, and Aeryn accepts that as if its real and serious. I love that!

While they're out and about, some inhabitants of the planet show up (though our crew is hidden) and start a manhunt because an alien spaceship just landed on their planet. The crew seem surprised the planet is inhabited. One would think they could have scanned the planet for lifeforms, or at least signs of civilization, but apparently Moya doesn't have that kind of capability.

Aeryn and Ka D'Argo distract the manhunt group, sending John to find the clorium (which he can find because he has a tricorder). John follows the tricorder reading to a barn where he is essentially caught by a little kid. The little kid gets his mom (like any sane kid would) but before his mom can get there he basically tasers John, because he's scared.

Turns out the kid's mom is essentially a SETI employee. She's one of the people on her planet looking for alien life. So she's both excited and scared to meet John.

John convinces her he's a peaceful scientist with a broken ship whose trying to find his way home. All technically true. The kid can't believe that an alien would be lost, but we viewers are used to that idea; hence the name of the episode. John is E.T.

The mom makes dinner for them, and John's tricorder goes crazy. Turns out the seasoning she's using for the meal is actually the clorium John needs. (Also, I loved the mom's little spiel when she was offering John the meal. She basically says she doesn't know if he can eat, needs to eat, or what she's offering will be toxic to him, but it seems impolite to do otherwise).

John is really excited because he found the clorium; however, his plans are foiled when the military shows up. John has to hide in the kid's room.

Aeryn and Ka D'Argo are both wondering where John is at this point. Ka D'Argo sends Aeryn backs to the ship and he goes to find John. When Aeryn gets back to the ship, she finds that they've already started trying to get rid of the device, without the painkiller. The priestess is trying to take away some of the ship's pain but she can only take so much. And the little dude on the flying chair is the one crawling around cutting away the device.

Back in the house, the mom is able to set up a radio/video chat device for John to contact his ship. She says it's broadcasting on a lot of frequencies which leads me to wonder why the military doesn't pick up the conversation. Anyway, Pilot updates John, and the mom is amazed because Pilot is so alien looking.

Then Ka D'Argo shows up at the farmhouse and tries to fight the military. They capture him, and mom sees this as a chance for John to escape. John, though, refuses to leave Ka D'Argo behind.

Mom expresses surprises that Ka D'Argo is so violent when John claimed to be a scientist, and John fesses up to the whole escaped prisoners thing. Really, John? I mean I know its good to tell the truth, but this is a scenario where I wouldn't have. Because why should mom help escaped prisoners? I would have said something like "even scientists need bodyguards." Seems plausible to me.

Anyway, Mom devises a plan. She shows the head military guy the video of Pilot's half of his conversation with John and then lies to the general about where the video originated from, thus sending him off on a goose chase. John then overtakes the last two guards left and sets Ka D'Argo free.

The kid is really excited and shakes Ka D'Argo's hand, which is really cute. John then says goodbye to mom by kissing her on the cheek, which is completely surprising to her and she's like "This is how you say goodbye?" I liked it.

John and Ka D'Argo get back to the ship. The priestess has passed out from all the pain, the little guy in the chair was disconnected the device, and Moya is in all sorts of pain. But they sprinkle the clorium around and make Moya feel better.

Strangely, despite the earlier concerns that clorium is a forbidden cargo because its bad for the operation of ships like Moya, they are able to take off from the planet.

Mom and kid watch the ship take off from their porch. Well, the kid fell asleep and Mom watches with a smile knowing she helped John get off the planet.

All in all, I really liked this episode. It was cute, and John played the lost alien trying to get home perfectly. Every SF show has this kind of episode, and I think Farscape pulled it off nicely. So the second episode of Farscape gets two thumbs up from me. Though I'm still having trouble with the character names.

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