Summary and analysis by Dallascaper

When we last saw Farscape, Aeryn had left Crichton, D'Argo was going after Macton, Moya was swallowed by a mysterious wormhole, and Crichton was left adrift in his module. Crichton Kicks takes place "Some Time Later," which by the length of Crichton's hair and beard, is at least two or three months.

Shortly after the events of Dog With Two Bones, an old, sickly Leviathan named Elack who had come to the Leviathan burial space to die in peace rescued Crichton from certain death. Populated only by a dying Pilot and a small assortment of useless DRDs, the ship provided Crichton with a safe place to develop his wormhole theories. Alone, except for an old DRD named 1812, and apparently acquiring a taste for homemade wine, Crichton's mental condition seems somewhat unstable. Bordering between his obsession with wormholes, and insanity brought on by loneliness, Crichton's demeanor brings to mind the 18th century story of Robinson Crusoe. However, Crichton's world of wormholes and musical DRDs, however quirky, is brought to a crashing end with the arrival of a small vessel.

Inadvertently destroying much of Crichton's wormhole data, along with his wine distillery contraption (I know, wine isn't distilled, but...whatever) a female alien named Sikozu arrives with a tale of danger. A band of heavily armed men, known as Grudeks, are on the way. Grudeks kill Leviathans by "harvesting" valuable neural tissue from the gentle ships. Sikozu worked for "The Organization" and therefore helped the Grudeks find the burial space where dying Leviathans would make easy prey. Unfortunately for Sikozu, she was betrayed by the Grudeks and is now hunted by the merciless killers. Crichton, somewhat upset at seeing his research destroyed, and Sikozu, who sees Crichton as a drunk, don't exactly hit it off with each other. But there's no time for arguments, the Grudeks ram their vessel into the side of Elack and attempt to fumigate her passengers.

Escaping the deadly gas and in no mood to run, Crichton confronts the Grudeks in Pilot's chamber. Outgunned and out-manned, Crichton and Silozu must retreat into the depths of the Leviathan. Not wanting to waste any more time with the Human or Sikozu, the Grudeks release a Brindz Hound to finish off Sikozu and "the pathetic bearded one." The Brindz hound, a cross between a very nasty dog and a gargoyle, runs around the ship trying to take a bite or two out of Crichton and his guest, with some success.

Crichton and Sikozu are developing a plan to thwart the Grudeks when Elack is boarded by two more visitors. Chiana and Rygel, arriving on a worn out transport pod, are finally reunited with their human companion. It seems Chiana and Rygel left Moya before it was swallowed by the wormhole in the last episode. Chased by Peacekeepers, jailed and raped, Chiana has had a difficult time away from Moya. Worn by a life on the run, and tortured by more powerful and disturbing visions, Chiana seems short tempered and in no mood to put up with Sikozu.

With the Grudeks on the verge of killing the sickly Elack, and with no way of escaping the Leviathan, Crichton and company must dispose of the pesky hound and dump the raiders. Relying on Rygel's heroics (see: bait), Chiana's visions, Sikozu's intimate knowledge of Grudek ways, and Crichton's repelling skills, our heroic band fight back to retake the Leviathan. The Grudeks would seem to have nothing to worry about.

Analysis:

The fourth season opens with a bang, but does almost nothing to resolve the cliffhangers left over from last season. Apparently, revealing what happened to Moya's crew is a task left to upcoming episodes. It may seem strange for a show not to use its season opener to resolve old plot issues, but it's not unheard of. In fact, Farscape tried this once before.

The first season ended, literally, with our heroes hanging between life and death. The plan was to broadcast the season two premiere titled Re-Union. That episode dealt with the adventures of Zhaan, Chiana, and Rygel on the planet Litigara and did nothing to resolve the cliffhanger from season one. However, TPTB chickened out and shuffled the episode order a few weeks before the new season started. Renaming Re-Union to Dream a Little Dream and broadcasting it as a flashback later in the season, TPTB chose Mind The Baby to premiere the new season. Apparently learning from the season two premiere fiasco, Farscape premiered season three with Season of Death, a logical continuation of the season two story. Unfortunately, Season of Death did its job too well, tying up loose ends so quickly it all seemed too easy. This brings us to Crichton Kicks.

Armed with a two-year contract with the Sci-Fi Channel, TPTB are now bold enough to experiment with the Farscape story by not resolving the cliffhangers at the beginning of the season. It's an interesting approach that may or may not pay off for Farscape viewers. One point is certain, as a stand-alone story, Crichton Kicks is a fun and entertaining episode.

As for the new character, Sikozu, it's hard to say exactly what her roll in Farscape will be. She is smart, like Jool, beautiful, like Jool, and somewhat annoying, like...you guessed it, Jool. I forgot one more detail...she likes to wear leather, like...never mind. Guess we should rename the show Crichton's Angels, or something. Interesting to note that every permanent new character added to Moya's crew since the first episode has been a female alien of some sort. Aside from Wrinkles, they (Chiana, Jool, and now Sikozu) have all been young and beautiful. I read somewhere that Claudia Black (Aeryn Sun) has a nudity clause in her contract. Basically, she can refuse any nude scene the show's producers present to her. I'm starting to wonder if Ben Browder (John Crichton) has a hunk clause. Basically, he has the right to be the only handsome male character on the show. I'm only half-joking about that. Don't get me wrong, I love beautiful women, but I can't help but notice that with all the actors that come and go with the series, there's still only one rooster in the hen house.

 

 

Captain Hornblower Rates the Farscape Episodes

The Captain gives "Crichton Kicks" a rating of:

1 Moya

Captain's Rating Scale:
5 Moyas-one of the best episodes
4 Moyas-an excellent episode
3 Moyas-a good episode
2 Moyas-a fair episode
1 Moya-a not so fair episode

Review:

"Crichton Kicks" is, on its own, a so so action/adventure episode. If this had been episode 4 or 6 or 14 of the season, it might have gotten a slightly better rating. But this was not just an ordinary episode. This was a season premiere.

Now, before I criticize the episode's quality as a season premiere, I want to acknowledge one thing. A lot is expected of a season premiere of any TV series. This is especially the case for a season premiere that follows up on a cliffhanger. I have tried to take this into account when formulating my assessment of this episode. But even after doing this, I found this episode wanting as a season premiere.

Season premieres usually follow two functions: 1) They resolve, in full or in large percentage, the conflicts left to the viewer with the finale of the previous season (especially when a before mentioned cliffhanger is involved), and 2) It sets the tone and starts the next season into motion, thus moving the series' story forward. For this case, let us compare Farscape to a car with an automatic transmission (okay, a race car given the intensity of this show). When you end a season, you put the show into "park" and you leave it idling until the beginning of the next season. The season premiere should shift the series into drive, and allow the show to continue forward. In the case of the Season 3 premiere, it shifted it not just into drive, but into high gear. But in the case of this season premiere, "Crichton Kicks" merely shifts the series into neutral. The engine is running, and is even reved up a little, but there is not forward motion.

This is not nearly the case of a season getting off to a slow start. Rather, season 4 has not even gotten out of the gate yet. This season premiere does not really move the series forward at all because very little of the plot points left open by the cliffhanger have been resolved. And really, the new season's story has not really been given a good start either. Now, this is not to say that a season premiere has to resolve ALL of the plot points left by a cliffhanger. But it needs to satisfy a large percentage of them. This season premiere failed to do so. This, along with the failure to really give the new season's story a good start, makes this episode a failure as a season premiere. The show's story has not moved forward, and we the viewers are left stuck in neutral. Forward motion is good, neutral is boring. Boring is not good, especially for a show like Farscape, which prides itself on keeping viewer interest by its fast pace storytelling.

Plus, the fact that they set the episode "some time later" leaves me with a deep sense of forbidding about the first part of this season. I am worried that the first five to ten episodes of this season will be just focused on filling in the gaps of finding everyone again, getting them together, and finding out what has happened to them in the space between the season 3 finale and season 4 premiere. In my view, this could make for some boring episodes to come, just filling in the backstory and leaving the show in neutral. All looking back, and very little forward momentum with the story.

Now, putting aside the season premiere angle of evaluating this episode, let's take a look at it on its own merits. Overall all, I found this episode to be extremely confusing. I got certain elements of it, such as why the bad guys were there and why Sikozu was there. But what was not clear at all was how Crichton and company were going about stopping the bad guys. We saw Crichton, Sikozu, and Chiana flying up and down on some ropes, there was some shooting, Chiana used some of her new abilities so slow down time, and Crichton show up some wires, causing an explosion. After this all occurred (to the sound of the 1812 Overture playing in the background), I was left asking "okay, what did they just do?"

That was really a question that bugged me through the whole episode. "What are they doing now?" I don't know about other viewers, but I was confused for much of the time about what Crichton and company were doing. This made for a very hard to follow and confusing episode that was clearly made as a shoot em up type of ep. Making a pure action/adventure episode is not a bad thing at all on Farscape. This show has done some marvelous ones in the past (Exodus From Genesis, Throne For a Loss, Beware of Dog) are just a few that come to mind. But even an action/adventure shoot em up needs a clear story and clear plot. You have to at least make the point of the action clear. This episode did not have that.

In fact, for an action/adventure episode, I even found the action to be not only confusing, but even boring at times. This is not a good thing at all for an "action" episode for the action to be BORING.

Now, for this new character, Sikozu. This episode was clearly also designed to introduce the viewers to this character, so an examination of her bears some attention (now, get your minds out of the gutter if that was what you were thinking I meant by "examination"). So far, Sikozu just appears to me to be a Chiana/Jool cross. She has a sort of sqeaky voice and jumps around a lot like Chiana does, and she is a first class smart ass that screams quite a bit like Jool does. She even has red hair like Jool. (Note: I do not mean that Chiana and Jool are only made up of the traits I describe. I only mean these are the traits that the producers seemed to take from these two characters to create Sikozu). In other words, besides a new element of tissue regeneration, there is nothing new here for this characters. That being said, I think it is way too early to make a fair assessment of this character. It took several episodes for both the before mentioned Chiana and Jool to evolved into more complex characters. The same could very well hold true for Sikozu, and would fit the motus operandi of the producers when introducing new characters. Therefore, I will reserve my judgment of this character's quality for now. But so far, based on what we know to date, I am not very impressed with Sikozu.

As a whole, this episode was disappointing on two counts. As a season premiere, it failed to effectively introduce the new season. As a stand alone episode, the story was very confusing and lacking in plot development. Therefore, I'd say this episode, while not poor, was less than fair. Not a good start for Farscape's 4th Season. I better be impressed by these next few episodes, or at least more pleased with them than I was with this one. My confidence in Farscape is not shaken by this one disappointing episode, but it is nudged a bit.

Captain Hornblower
Keeper of Jenavia's Jewel Gun
Worshiper of Aeryn's Remarkable Vessel
Caretaker of Porthos, the Enterprise Dog

 

 

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Originally aired in the US June 7, 2002

Written by David Kemper

Directed by Andrew Prowse

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Music Video "1812"

 
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