The 16th episode of Farscape, the original series, is the true start of the grand story arc. They’ve established the characters, done the worldbuilding, now the fun begins. Now, the true genius of Farscape emerges.
Yes, yes, the plan to deep dive into every episode.
Yes, a human reaction, not a YouTuber reaction vid in which more important than the show is a talking head going ooo, ahh, OMG. Instead, we will show Farscape the respect it deserves.
Farscape’s 16th episode, “A Human Reaction,” deserves a lot of respect. I won’t yell at it, I will dive into the complex wonders I’ve seen.
This episode is about Earth, humans, and as always in Farscape, people and relationships.
Home and Aeryn—those are Crichton’s priorities. This episode solidifies Crichton and Aeryn’s deep feelings for each other. Crichton wants to return home and take with him, Aeryn, the most familiar looking alien.
Familiarity is a theme of this episode, both for us and for Crichton.
Crichton is familiar with Earth and humans, as are we, the audience.
Science fiction is at its best when it uses imaginary worlds to shed light on our real world. In “A Human Reaction,” Farscape plays with our familiarity with human nature, showing us ourselves. Because it exposes the vain pretentions o f our society, if released today, a certain group would deride this episode as “woke,” That’s Farscape.
And that’s humanity, at least a big chunk of it. Arrogant, suspicious, and quick to move to violence. Crichton’s friends learn that when they arrive.
Crichton has to choose sides.
His choice is easy.
<You’re positive they’re not here to harm us?>
<Son, are you willing to die for those creatures in there?>
Yes, he is. That’s Crichton. He is the best of humanity. Wilson and Cobb are some of the worst of humanity.
Crichton and Aeryn escape the compound together, perhaps a bit too easily.
Aeryn also discovers beer.
And discovers what Crichton sees in Earth.
< Look at that clip>
We assume they did it, but Farscape is a family show, so they don’t show anything untoward. Speaking of family.
<It’s my father clip>
Yes, Jack is not exactly who we think he is. Neither is this world we think we are in.
<They’re all seven months old. clip> Yep, Crichton is too smart even for godlike aliens. This is not Earth, it’s a simulation, which is why everything was a bit too easy. It was a test.
Humanity failed the test.
That is, of course, a common science fiction trope, as is the trope that humans are inherently more violent than other sentient species. Farscape mentions that idea here, but doesn’t dwell on it. Are we so much more violent as a species? Until we meet another one, we can’t say.
As I mentioned at the beginning, this episode is the beginning of the grand story arc. We didn’t realize that at the time, though. This is not the last we see of the alien who pretended to be Crichton’s father. More importantly, the events of this episode resonate throughout the rest of the original series. We will see how as we continue through the episodes to come.
It would great to know more of what was going through Aeryn’s mind when Crichton is asking her to go with him.
< I’m not certain I’ll belong there clip >
That she’s conflicted is understandable. She clearly has feelings for Crichton by now, which she shows by looking for signs of Crichton’s whereabouts later in the episode. But she’s still working through figuring out who she is now that she’s no longer a Peacekeeper. Is she more afraid of not fitting in with alien humans or of her own feelings for Crichton the alien? It may take several cycles to find out.
< You did well, John, most species don’t do as well>
How many species have they put through this test? We’ll never know. We’ll also never know exactly where Crichton and his friends were. A planet? A spaceship? We don’t even know the name of this species.
Where did Aeryn go at the end of this episode? Crichton turns on her when he figures out what’s going on.
Not fair on his part, and uncertain what he was thinking. Did he suspect that Aeryn was also phony? Was she? He storms off back to the compound without her and she is not seen again in the episode. She is not with the real D’Argo and Rygel in the containment capsule. Aeryn is conveniently absent in the scene of the final reveal.
<D’Argo, get us back home clip>
Half-consciously, D’Argo is admitting that Moya is home now. That is the shift our heroes are undergoing, and that is the theme of the next episode, the episode where it all came together for Farscape. Join me next time as we go Through the Looking Glass.