Summary and analysis by Dallascaper

John Crichton, son of American astronaut Jack Crichton, is testing an experimental space craft--Farscape One--when he is accidentally drawn into a wormhole. The phenomenon deposits John on the other side of the galaxy where it doesn't take him long to get into trouble.

Moments after escaping the wormhole, John is involved in a collision with another spacecraft. The collision results in the destruction of the other craft and the death of its pilot. This is bad for John because the pilot's older brother is a paranoid, psychotic military leader known as Crais. Click here for the Tauvo Crais memorial site.

Crais is the captain of a command carrier ship belonging to a military empire known as Peacekeepers. Peacekeepers are an oppressive, human-like species known for keeping "peace" and "stability" with the use of brutality and military cunning. One of their jobs is the assassination and imprisonment of political dissidents and trouble makers.

It is a ship containing such prisoners that is attempting to escape the Peackeepers when John arrives. Thinking the strange vessel's pilot might posses technology that would aid in their escape, the prisoners bring John on board their ship.

The prison transport is a living Leviathan, a sentient bio-mechanoid ship named Moya. The Leviathan is controlled by another being permanently bonded to it called a Pilot. Peacekeepers keep Leviathan and Pilot under their control with the use of a "control collar."


To facilitate their escape, the prisoners removed the collar and the ship performed a starburst - a faster than light defensive maneuver.

During their escape we are introduced to the three prisoners on board: D'Argo - Luxon warrior; Pa'u Zhaan - Delvian priestess; and Rygel - the deposed Dominor of Hyneria. A Peacekeeper pilot is inadvertently pulled into starburst with Moya and is captured. The different species communicate with the use of "translator microbes," which John is promptly injected with. Unfortunately for John, he is of no use to the escaped prisoners and is quickly subdued by D'Argo and confined.

John and Aeryn Sun, the Peacekeeper pilot, escape Moya and inform Crais of their location. Crais, determined to kill the man who piloted Farscape One, captures Crichton. A stunned Aeryn comes to John's defense, but is branded "contaminated" by associating with the unclassified alien human and is also taken into custody. John, Aeryn, and D'Argo escape PK confinement and rendezvous with Zhaan and Rygel onboard Moya.

Moya is no match for Crais' command carrier and is unable to starburst. When all seems lost, John instructs the crew on a little maneuver he calls the "slingshot." Moya escapes Crais and heads for the uncharted territories where Peacekeepers supposedly have no influence.

Analysis:

Whew! That is a lot to fit into 43 minutes of television. Perhaps that is why Farscape, one of the more entertaining science-fantasy shows to come along in quite some time, got off to a very rocky start with me. This episode has its moments, but just seems too rushed. We are given very little background information on the show's main character - John Crichton or any of the other characters. It is hard to feel for someone when they are a complete stranger.

It took Farscape all of five minutes to set up the story and get John lost in space. Once there, the show gets better, but it really should have been a two-hour television movie. The final escape from the Peacekeepers was horribly done and seemed like an afterthought. Had the episode end there, it is doubtful I would have come back. Fortunately, the last segment, with John's confrontations with D'Argo, Rygel and Aeryn, was quite interesting and hinted of things to come.

 

Rating of 2

 

Episode Guide........I, ET>>

 

Originally aired in the US March 20, 1999

Writer Rockne S. O'Bannon

Director Andrew Prouse

Image Gallery

Music video "Sail Away"

 
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