“The Flax” and “Jeremiah Crichton.” I’m going to treat these two episodes together for several reasons. One is that “The Flax” is a lightweight episode of little lasting consequence. I’ll touch briefly on several things in it. The second is that “Jeremiah Crichton” is except for one major development, is a silly episode. I read a discussion online once that “Jeremiah Crichton” was one of the least liked episodes in the original series. I don’t think that’s fair, and I will argue against that, but it is the case that people aren’t much interested in it. The third reason for the short treatment of these two episodes is that they stand before the episodes in which Farscape finds itself and takes off, and those are the ones we are all waiting for.
So, “The Flax.” Rather Trekian. Mysterious force takes over the ship thing, even though the ship is a transport pod. MacGuffins and other ridiculousnesses abound,
(Staanz’s furnace clip)
and one very annoying character.
<merely annoying clip>
Staanz and the Zenetan pirates clearly wandered in off the set of a Mad Max sequel. D’Argo and Rygel have to deal with them. Rygel shows us his talent at subterfuge.
< I thought we’d never be rid of them clip>
We all felt that way, thank you, Rygel.
We do get the first Aeryn on Crichton action, they whole rest of the episode seemingly an excuse to set up that scene.
Otherwise, yeah, still more creative and entertaining than most science fiction, but for Farscape, not a memorable episode.
“Jeremiah Crichton” is a bit of an enigma. Some people really dislike this episode. It has its flaws but also its interesting elements.
On the negative side, the episode falls into Star Trek cliches. The worst one is my pet peeve of an entire planet’s population consisting of a few dozen people. And of course, the people have to be primitive and war-like. It also has the cliché of the young woman falling for Captain Kirk, I mean Crichton. These, by far, aren’t the best aliens in Farscape.
We only meet these aliens because Crichton ran off, fed-up with the tensions between him and everyone on Moya.
<fed up clip>
We do need to make allowances for stress on the ship.
<Rygel allowances clip>
Maybe Crichton was being childish, but he didn’t deserve to be abandoned, though yes it was accidental.
<I’m a dead man clip>
But this is TV, so of course there just happens to be a habitable planet within range of Crichton’s module.
<Rygel stuck here clip>
That’s the problem with this paradise—no power.
Transport pods, weapons, and Rygel’s throne sled do not work here.
This explains the primitive conditions of this tiny community, though not its double-headed hierarchical structure of Grondeer and priest, with a beefcake hot head stuck in the middle.
Nor does it explain this.
<Rygel’s appearance clip>
Alright, it’s a well-word trope—the local primitives mistaking our heroes for gods, but as always, Farscape does somet hing interesting with the trope. The locals don’t treat Crichton as a god, only Rygel.
< much of this is new clip>
Whether Rygel is considered sovereign or god, there is, of course, a catch.
<D’Argo celebration clip>
It’s in keeping with the trope that the thought-to-be god passes a test. Rygel is aware of the danger.
<Rygel ah yes of course clip>
Plus, Rygel is smart enough to figure it out.
<Rygel The ancestors of these people clip>
Yep, deeply frelled.
< Crichton: Lishala, what is the prophecy?>
<D’Argo they are expecting you clip>
Fortunately for the guys, the women are able to bail them out.
<the projectile clip>
Rygel rises to the occasion.
<Crichton and Rygel try to explain clip>
<By the hand of the Masata clip>
And the day is saved and we get one of the best lines in Farscape.
<the slug who would be king clip>
And the evil priestan gets her comeuppance.
The best part of the episode is seeing Rygel as the leader he was born to be, however briefly. In the midst of all of Rygel’s blustering and selfish scheming, remember this moment, when we get to see the Rygel we wish we could always see.
<Rygel speech clip>
It’s a little surprising in “Jeremiah Crichton” that the others spent so much time looking for Crichton. At this point, the inhabitants of Moya have not developed strong bonds.
Zhaan and D’Argo each mention that they’ve been searching for Crichton for the “last quarter of a cycle.” We can assume that’s quite some time. We never learn exactly how long a cycle is, but Crichton does refer to a quarter cycle as three months in this episode. That is an awfully long time to risk detection by the Peacekeepers. Certainly, the original series of Farscape centers on Crichton, so for the grand story arc, they need to chase after and rescue Crichton.
It’s mentioned only briefly twice, but Moya’s pregnancy is becoming an issue. Major foreshadowing.
Our Rygel mentions that his ancestor Rygel X sent these colonist out and then betrayed them by stranding them without technology. We aren’t told how long ago this was, but it brings up the question of lifespans in this part of the galaxy. We learned earlier that Rygel had been in Peacekeeper imprisonment for 130 cycles. There’s no indication that Rygel is old, or young for that matter. It is a standard science fiction trope that every other sentient species has a much longer lifespan than humans. This is also the case for most if not all of the species we meet in Farscape. If Rygel the XVI is middle aged for a Hynerian, which seems reasonable, then his forefather Rygel X is six generations earlier, so the Acquarians have ben stranded on this planet for … what 600 cycles? 1,200 cycles? We don’t know, but throughout the original series, Farscape hints at events unfolding over thousands and tens of thousands of cycles.
We receive a lesson in leadership from Rygel.
<Cease. I command it … clip>
<philosophical moment> What does it mean to be a leader? It is one of the many issues that Farscape explores. Rygel X was not a good leader, betraying his own people.
Rygel XVI, for all of his many flaws, is in this instance, a good leader. The Dominar chooses not to dominate but to liberate the people.
Ah yes, the “how do these people have translator microbes” question. For the Acquarans, there is a plausible answer.
< Kato-Re: Remember, our ancestors were space travelers too. We are but colonists here ourselves.>
When these people’s ancestors were within the Hynerian Empire, they must have been injected with translator microbes. But the one mention of the use of translator microbes in Premiere said the microbes are injected at birth, and would an isolated people deprived of technology be able to keep up that practice?
Anyway, Crichton leaves the planet and so will we. We have some exciting destinations directly ahead. And we have a stunning new arrival in the next Deep Dive. Things are about to get very interesting.