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Through the Looking Glass. By now, the 17th episode of the original series, most viewers are hooked. Farscape has already shown it is something special, a show that stands apart from other science fiction. But this episode, is something truly special. Let’s dive in.

As the episode begins there is considerable tension in the room as they discuss the conundrum caused by Moya’s pregnancy. Aeryn and Crichton want to stay on Moya. D’Argo and Rygel definitely want to leave and Zhaan is leaning towards leaving. Yhere is also hostility. D’Argo and Aeryn snipes at Rygel. D’Argo snipes at Aeryn. Aeryn snipes at Crichton. Everyone snipes at newcomer Chiana. And even Zhaan is colder than usual.
Meanwhile, Moya and Pilot are alarmed at the thought of being abandoned, and to try to alleviate their friends fears they rashly attempt starburst before Moya is ready. Moya and
Pilot’s insecurities reflect everyone else’s insecurities. Their action result in a dimensional Schism that divides Moya into four overlapping realities.
The dimensional schism mirrors the schism of Moya’s inhabitants. As Crichton remarks in
the episode’s first conversation, they all have separate goals; they are all separate individuals not getting along.
The failed starburst pushes the characters into separate dimensional realms–D’Argo into Red Moya, Aeryn into Blue Moya, Rygel into Yellow Moya. The colors are symbolic–red for D’Argo’s quick temper, blue for Aeryn’s coldness, and yellow for Rydel’s fearfulness and/or
greed. Zhaan remains on the normally-colored Moya because she is the most stable and level-headed of the the bunch in the first season.
In the midst of the dimensional schism, Crichton needs to travel to each other person who is isolated in his or her own realm and get them all on the same page and bring them together both physically and emotionally. Crichton begins with Pilot.

< Pilot! Are you there? clip>

We haven’t seen much of Pilot in the first episodes, but Pilot emerges in this one as the axis around which everything on Moya revolves.

< What is that out there? clip>

Crichton runs off and he spends most of the episode running around attempting damage control. I’ve mentioned before that a major trope of the first season is Crichton taking charge and saving everyone. No change of that in Through the Looking Glass. Why everyone follows his orders is a little unclear since he’s an outsider they think inferior, but hey, we need a plot and Crichton is the foothold for us viewers into this other part of the universe.

Crichton dispatches Zhaan to stay with Pilot and has to calm down Chiana.

<Miss Tough Chick clip>

Crichton gets disappeared himself, bumbling into whatever first D’Argo and then Aeryn bumbled into. Crichton’s first stop is the Red Moya.

<clip of Crichton on Red Moya>

In this dimension, the red light messes with vision and balance and makes people nauseous . . . eww, space vomit. He can’t see anyone else. Most disturbingly, Pilot is not there. Well, D’Argo is there, similarly affected by the red light. <D’Argo clip> But they miss each other.

Crichton stumbles onto a clue.

<It’s the same noise clip>

Clever boy, but what fresh hell is this? <Blue Moya clip>

He quickly finds Aeryn.

On Red Moya the affliction is the light, on Blue Moya it’s the sound. My guess is that the symbolism here is that D’Argo has difficulties seeing beyond his anger and Aeryn has difficulties hearing beyond her stubbornness. But we see a softening and even humor from Aeryn. <pantomime clip>

As the two search for the others, Crichton disappears again but into a better place.

< We-e-e-ell! Look at you! clip>


Humor rules Yellow Moya.

<joke clip>

Yes, our heroes face a serious situation. But as usual, Crichton is figuring out what’s happening.

<there’s my noise clip>

But it’s Pilot who understands what’s going on.

< John, where have you been? To Whatever’s on the other side.>

Crichton needs help but instead he has Chiana.

<they arrive in the Red Moya>(to:  … like anything)

Which is why it strikes me as odd that everyone takes orders from Crichton, the one who knows the least about anything.

Anyway, Crichton tells D’Argo about Pilot’s plan.

<button then lever slide clip>

D’Argo stays behind to start the engines in Red Moya because Chiana is no help.

<vomit and doesn’t affect me clip>

So, the two go to Blue Moya.

<they enter Blue Moya clip>

That the sound on Blue Moya incapacitates Chiana is more symbolism. Aeryn is resistant to listening to others, but Chiana is adamantly against it.

So, Crichton has to throw the no-help and helpless Chiana into Yellow Moya and then go find Aeryn. There is still the monster.

<attack clip>

Aeryn is actually helpful, and clever.

<helmet clip >

With that, Crichton is off to the chuckle twins.

< Well, I found Rygel … to … the one I’m living>

And the plan does not work because they have it backwards.       I did a video years ago about the lesson that Farscape is teaching here. Not preachy, just simple.

Pay attention <scratches are grouped clip>

Listen.

<interdimensional being clip>(it’s trying to communicate)

And when in trouble, go forward.

So, Crichton begins his mad dash through the four Moyas. During which we get two memorable moments.

<one mippippi clip>

<I’d never leave you clip>

More softening from Aeryn. She smiles, partly from feeling endearment and partly from feeling Crichton’s sentiment is silly. Their bond is forming.

But it all works, the going forward plan.

<Pilot fails to see the amusement clip)

Oh, Pilot, we long to hear you laugh. We’ll have to wait for that. But we hear more laughter in the last few minutes of Through the Looking Glass than in the first 16 episodes combined.

What We Learn in This Episode

We learn a lot.

. They are fulfilled by serving others.

Apparently, everyone has some ability to cook; even Aeryn, who knows how to make something called “smoked pronga sinew.”

We learn a tiny bit about the physics of starburst. We had figured out it was a faster-than-light form of space travel that took Moya out of normal space. Now, we hear that Moya has the power to enter into the seam between space-time dimensions and ride that seam for awhile to re-emerge someplace else. We learned earlier that the endpoint of starburst is unknown. That is the most explanation of the mechanism of starburst that we get in the entire original series. Starburst is not meant to be used as a means of navigation but only a defense mechanism like a squid uses a jet of water to escape a predator.

Because starburst involves traversing the seems between dimensions, it is possible for starburst to go wrong and the Leviathan to become trapped between or divided among dimensions.

We get the first indication that Crichton’s physical senses are less acute than the others because the red lights and blue sound have less of an effect on him than it does on the others.

This is the first episode in which Crichton calls Rygel “Buckwheat” and is the first episode he calls Rygel by multiple nicknames.

Chiana is indeed a brat.

<brat clip>

And the others don’t treat her with any respect.

<do I get a say in this clip>

<can I say something clip>

< At the next appropriate moment, you’re welcome to leave clip>


Might take awhile for this to work out among them, as it did with our original five heroes.

We learn that Rygel is a poet, kind of.

<Rygel sings clip>

Ponderables

Yes, so many ponderables.

Through the Looking Glass continues with the problems caused by Moya’s pregnancy. In this episode, our heroes take an extreme position on her pregnancy.

< Despite Moya’s best efforts clip>

I don’t want to get into a contentious political issue, but the “save the fetus no matter what” attitude is extreme, and yes, it is a fetus, not a baby. This fixation on fetuses and children becomes an ongoing theme in the original series. It is almost as if Farscape is making a political statement. I’m not ayign they are, but it’s just a little odd at times.

Pilot mentions that Moya has “power cells.” We have, so far, no information on how Moya travels through space; she just…does. Pilot’s instructions for reverse starburst include funneling the “ion backwash.” The ion backwash chamber was mentioned in “Exodus From Genesis” (1.03). Now we learn it has something to do with Moya’s propulsion. We still know nothing more about what fuel Moya uses and how she propels herself through space. She’s a living ship but what does she eat? How does she move?

Aeryn’s reaction to Crichton praising her for modifying the headsets so that they can communicate is interesting. He is alluding to her earlier reluctance to be a “scientist.” She replies. “Well, it’s military tech. It’s battle tested.” So, she justifies it to herself by saying she was working with military gear not some pansy something else.  It is a sign that Aeryn is reluctant to see herself as anything other than a soldier.

Crichton’s reference to the TV show Star Search (1983-1993) is now quite dated. It was arguably dated in 1999 when this episode aired. That is the weakness of pop culture references—they often do not survive more than a few years in the memory.

The final scene is the first time we see D’Argo actually relaxed and happy.

Crichton is in a position to figure out what is going on by virtue of the fact that he–unlike Rygel, Aeryn, and D’Argo–is not transported out of normal Moya. It follows the Farscape template of learning about the plot problems and solutions through Crichton’s point of view.

 

The significance of this episode is profound. But wait, the wild and intense ride is only just beginning.

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