Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Farscape: Thank God It's Friday, Again

My Farscape rewatch continues with "Thank God It's Friday, Again." To confess, I actually watched this episode (and quite a few others) months ago, but didn't get around to posting a writeup. So I'll be working my way through some of the backlog in the near future.

The episode begins with D'Argo experiencing "Luxan hyper-rage," a kind of testosterone-fueled meltdown which prompts him to want to kill Crichton. Crichton, sensibly enough, hides, so D'Argo takes one of Moya's shuttles and lands on a nearby planet. It makes more sense on the screen, trust me. Crichton, Aeryn, Zhaan and Rygel follow after allowing D'Argo several days to cool off. When they find him, though, the Luxan warrior is all "peace, love and happiness." He's joined up with the orange-skinned agrarian natives, a kind of hippie commune that digs weird root vegetables by day and parties well into the night, because "Tomorrow is a day of rest." Things get strange, quickly. The next day isn't a day of rest, but rather a repeat of the previous day, right down to the "Tomorrow is a day of rest" bit. Crichton is abducted and a parasitic worm forced into his gut. Zhaan falls under the "Peace, love and happiness" spell. Someone tries to kill Rygel with explosives, so Aeryn takes him back to Moya. Crichton tracks down his abductors and learns a drug from the plants harvested is put into the population's food to keep them docile and disrupt memory, so they effectively work as slave labor. The worm they forced into Crichton's gut metabolizes the drug, so Crichton won't fall under its influence. Aboard Moya, Aeryn (with some reluctance) runs tests and discovers nobody attempted to blow Rygel up--rather, his unique body chemistry reacted with the vegetable matter/drug and turned his bodily fluids explosive. Rygel and Aeryn return to the planet, meet up with Crichton and help overthrow the populace's ruler, in part, by having Rygel pee and them (which creates some pretty impressive fireworks). It turns out that the roots being harvested in the fields are regularly collected by Peacekeeper transports, then processed into fuel for the Peacekeepers' plasma-like weapons. The planet was once a lush paradise before the people were enslaved and their agriculture militarized. Moya's crew then departs, shaken by the realization that the Peacekeeper reach extends much farther into the Uncharted Territories than they'd realized.

Commentary: This is a standard, SFnal stand-alone episode common amongst many shows of this type. There is an element of Scooby-Doo mystery here, as they uncover the truth at the end. I almost expected the weird, albino ruler to shout "And I would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those meddling aliens!" Despite being a stand-alone episode, there were several references throughout that integrated it nicely with the ongoing season 1 story arc. It's certainly a worthwhile episode in that the writers begin to push the envelope some in regard to character behavior (Crichton wakes up to find Zhaan's hand firmly placed on his crotch and awkwardly extracts himself from the situation) as well as what I consider the single greatest dialogue exchange on the series, and the start of Aeryn's long-running struggle to master the "Engrish" language (see below).

Quote of the Episode:: Aeryn: "She gives me a woody. ... Woody. It's a human saying. I've heard you say it often. When you don't trust someone or they make you nervous, they give you..."
Crichton: "Willies. She gives you the willies."

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