Farscape: S02E01: Mind the Baby
Note: Although the production number of this episode is 2.02, it was aired first in season 2 of FarScape. The episode that it replaced was “Re:Union,” now renamed to “Dream a Little Dream.” There are several rather confusing references in “Mind the Baby” to events that transpired in the recent past, such as Zhaan’s trial, John being dead, and so on; as well as some rather wacky behavior on the part of Zhaan. Presumably all will be explained in “Dream a Little Dream,” which is being aired as episode 8 in Season 2. Ok, on to the review!
Moya is in the midst of a battle with a Shi’ian vessel, and it is about to fire on them! Chiana seems to be the one in charge, calling on Zhaan to do something to avert the crisis. Moya is unable – and unwilling — to starburst away from the other vessel. Unfortunately for everyone, the usually insightful Zhaan seems to be in the middle of some sort of derangement; she repeatedly calls upon D’Argo to save them, despite both Chiana and Rygel telling her that D’Argo, Crichton and Aeryn are all gone, and it is up to them to save themselves. The Shi’ian vessel fires upon Moya, and Rygel, Chiana and Zhaan are all tossed about like so much space debris.
Elsewhere, John Crichton is sitting against a post and speaking aloud, apparently in an effort to wake D’Argo, who went unconscious at the end of “Family Ties.” D’Argo has been unconscious, but alive, for many days, and John is beginning to lose hope that D’Argo will awaken, when D’Argo wakes up in a very disoriented state. He seems to believe he is in some sort of afterlife, he literally grabs John by the throat and yells, “Am I dead? AM I DEAD??!!” John is naturally very taken aback by this, but reassures D’Argo of his place among the living, and they discuss their whereabouts.
D’Argo and Crichton were left floating in space at the end of “Family Ties,” with D’Argo unconscious, and Crichton soon to be joining him. At that time (a quick reprise here), Aeryn had been unable to get to them to rescue them, and Moya has starburst away from them and Talyn to avoid capture by Scorpius. However, Aeryn finally reached them and managed to retrieve them and take them to some sort of abandoned factory/mining camp on an asteroid. Unfortunately, while the asteroid has lots of air, it doesn’t have much food or water, and Aeryn has to go out in the prowler daily to scavenge for stuff to eat.
In another sector of space, Aeryn contacts Talyn (who had been boat napped by Crais), and is cordially answered by Crais, who demands to know, “What delayed you?!” Apparently Aeryn has been in contact with Crais the whole time, and is sneaking around to him to get her supplies. Aeryn and Crais have come to some sort of arrangement, despite the fact that it means that Aeryn is deceiving John to do so. Interestingly, Crais tells Aeryn that she ought to come clean with John and tell him what is going on, but Aeryn prefers to continue sneaking around. She tells Crais she’ll tell Crichton only when it is too late for him to interfere.
Aeryn eventually makes it back to Moya with water and food, and D’Argo very gallantly tells Aeryn that, “I have eyes as well, and they are very pleased to see you alive.” Aeryn is utterly unimpressed with this gallantry, and actually seems even rather bitchier than usual. John asks her what is the matter and she tells them that she was only able to find a little water. D’Argo and John both suggest they leave the asteroid and have Moya come get them, but Aeryn resists, setting off alarm bells with both Crichton and D’Argo. A very heated exchange ensues, which Aeryn finally shouting that “If it wasn’t for me, you’d both be dead!! Alright??! So stop fighting me!!” And she storms off, leaving Crichton and D’Argo with their suspicions very much aroused.
After somehow escaping the Shi’ian vessel (totally unexplained, how very annoying), Moya decides to return to the asteroid field where she last saw Talyn. Her motherly instincts have taken over her common sense, and she wants to begin searching for him. Pilot believes that they can set a course to enter the asteroid field undetected, so that Scorpius’ command carrier doesn’t find them. This course of action naturally distresses Chiana and Rygel, the more so since Moya’s only defense is the rickety shield that was liberated from the wreck of the Zelbinion (“PK Tech Girl”), which fills the crew with even less confidence. Still, neither Moya nor Pilot can be dissuaded; they both feel that in addition to finding Talyn, they might find the missing crewmembers. “If they could have gotten out by now, they would have,” Chiana responds dismissively.
On Scorpius’ command carrier (formerly Crais’ command carrier), Scorpius is undergoing some sort of disgusting procedure. He has a tube in his head (the thing with red lights on each side of his head), and we get to see it come out in all of its revolting and goopy glory, and some sort of rod replaced inside. I mention it only because it because this is an unusually disgusting scene for FarScape. There’s no explanation of what the tube and rod does, but the procedure causes no little amount of pain.
After his tube spins back into his head, Scorpius has a brief discussion with his new Lieutenant. There has been no sign of Moya, no sign of Aeryn and her prowler, and no sign of Crais. Scorpius concedes that it is time for a change of tactics.
On Talyn, Crais and Talyn have communication issues as Aeryn pulls up in her Prowler. Crais tells Talyn that Moya has abandoned him, and that Crais is his only friend. He is trying to get Talyn to succumb to his will; Talyn is acting edgy and confused and is ignoring Crais’ orders. He keeps powering up his engines, and obviously wants to leave the protection of the asteroid field. As Aeryn strolls in, Crais demands, “Talk to him!” which she does. As it turns out, Scorpius has been broadcasting random noise signals that confuse and distress Talyn. In a masterful example of manipulation, Crais explains this to Talyn, and asks him, “Do not play into the hands of your enemy. Remain right where you are. You’re brave enough to do that… aren’t you?” The little gunship stands down.
Aeryn and Crais have a discussion about their arrangement. They seem very cozy together, and in fact Crais nearly puts his arm around her shoulders. Aeryn tells Crais that D’Argo has awakened, and that they have to do something about John and D’Argo. She tells Crais that she is unwilling to abandon them, but Crais points out that they (Aeryn (?), Talyn and Crais) can’t leave yet because Talyn is too immature, and in addition refuses to follow orders, despite having been bred to do so. He also refuses to let Aeryn speak alone to Talyn: “I am willing to share command of Talyn, but I will not relinquish it.”
In the meantime, D’Argo and Crichton are amusing themselves on the asteroid by playing Rock, Paper Scissors, when Aeryn strides in with some supplies. D’Argo and Crichton offer to give her a hand with the remainder of the supplies, but she very snappily tells them she doesn’t need their help. Guilty conscience, much?! Unfortunately for Aeryn, John isn’t backing down from her nasty temper, and grabs her by the arm. “You know what, I think you do!” John informs her. “I am certain that you do,” continues D’Argo, coming up behind Aeryn.
Needless to say, Aeryn doesn’t respond well to their commentary, but John asks her how many times they have saved each other’s lives. Aeryn tells him she has lost count. “And how many times have we been close?” continues John without a pause. Looking extremely uncomfortable, and with a sidelong glance at D’Argo, Aeryn meekly tells John, “Just the once.” (In “A Human Reaction.”) John realizes how she has interpreted his question, and quickly rephrases it. “Oh, ummm… FRIEND CLOSE!” says Aeryn in a loud voice, still horribly distressed. But she admits that they have all become friends. At this point, John tells her that they should be able to trust one another, and that he thinks she is holding something back. Aeryn looks stricken by his comments, especially when she realizes that she may have forfeited John’s faith in her by her secrecy and actions. He asks her to look him in the eye and tell him she is wrong, but she can’t lie to him.
“You aren’t going to like what I have to say,” she says finally, in perhaps the greatest understatement of the second season. She finally tells D’Argo and John she had to make a deal with Crais in order to save them. Moya had gone, Aeryn was unable to retrieve them, and they were both about to suffocate. At that point, Crais signaled her, and gave her the coordinates to the asteroid they currently inhabited. Her part of the bargain was to help calm Talyn down for Crais, and to teach him to start obeying Crais’ orders; the little gunship had stopped obeying Crais when Moya starburst away. Needless to say, John and D’Argo go ballistic at this point, rightly pointing out that she is training Talyn to obey the person who kidnapped him, as well as putting Talyn’s considerable weaponry at Crais’ disposal. Maintaining that she didn’t have a choice in the matter, that she couldn’t let them die or let Scorpius capture or kill Talyn, she tells John and D’Argo that her choice is all they have. At that, D’Argo shoots out a huge tongue (probably 6 feet long!) and whacks Aeryn in the neck with it! She crumples, unconscious, and John tells D’Argo he will go rescue Talyn from Crais.
Back on Moya, Zhaan is still in bliss mode, chanting her little blue heart out. Chiana tries to break through Zhaan’s religious reverie, and finally Zhaan tells her she has thirty microns to make her point. Chiana quickly tells Zhaan that Moya wants to go back into the asteroid field to look for her baby, but there are lots of Peacekeepers already in the field looking for them, and waiting to capture the Moyans, so she wants Zhaan to speak to Pilot so he can speak to Moya to try and dissuade them from the trip. “Did you get all that?!” Chiana asks, out of breath. But Zhaan declines to get involved in the shipboard problems, and returns to her Delvian Seek, shutting Chiana out of her consciousness.
Crais has his own problems. He is still in contact with Scorpius, despite his claims of having fled the Peacekeepers. He apparently has made some sort of deal to give Crichton over to Scorpius: if he delivers Crichton over to the Peacekeepers, Scorpius will let Crais keep Talyn. After he signs off with Scorpius, Crais has a brief discussion with Talyn about Peacekeepers and their ways, telling him that both of them are nothing more than bargaining chips to the PKs, and that they have only each other to rely upon.
At this point, Crichton bursts into Talyn, gun at the ready. (This is a good example of how John has been affected by his experiences with the Aurora chair; he seems easily unhinged since that episode.) Crais is obviously surprised, but recovers quickly. “Where is Officer Sun?” he demands. “Have you harmed her?” “You’re asking ME if I’ve harmed Aeryn?! Do Sebaceans have a word for chutzpah?” John returns incredulously. Crais tells John that he is unarmed, but that he thinks killing him would be bad for Talyn, and that Talyn would react badly to Crais’ death by killing John. John and Crais exchange some more words, with Crais exhibiting a rather surprising degree of patience with John’s ‘tude, but eventually he tells Talyn that there is an intruder aboard. Talyn responds by brining out the big guns (literally). John grabs Crais and points his gun at his head. Crais calms Talyn down, and John drags him off Talyn and into Aeryn’s prowler.
Moya hears Talyn calling out in pain (presumably from losing his captain), and responds by quickly heading into the asteroid field. Unfortunately for the Moyans, Scorpius’ crew also hears Talyn’s distress call, and they realize that Moya will come running to rescue Talyn – much to their great delight. The only concern that Scorpius has is that Moya will come into the open in the asteroid field, and that the Peacekeepers won’t be able to take tactical advantage of the situation.
Meanwhile, The Moyans detect a Peacekeeper Prowler in their vicinity. At first this causes Chiana and Rygel some alarm, but when the Prowler makes no hostile moves and makes docking maneuvers with Moya, their dismay changes to puzzlement. Chiana tells Pilot to let the Prowler dock, and runs to the docking bay — with a gun to wait for whoever comes out of the Prowler. She sees Crichton, with Crais in tow, but at first she doesn’t believe her own eyes, then gives a huge leap of welcome! She and John share a huge hug.
Chiana has apparently been acting as Moya’s captain while D’Argo, Aeryn and John have been given up for lost. It is interesting to see how her character has been forced to leave her usual self-centered and self-interested actions behind so that everyone onboard Moya can survive, not just her. It is refreshing to see her act with unwonted responsibility and… nobility. Most of the Moyans don’t give her much credit for her good side, it is nice to see that her actions speak a lot louder than her words when the chips are down.
John goes to speak to Zhaan, only to find her deep in her Seek. She appears to be even further divorced from reality; she thinks John is dead and that she is speaking to his spirit. She seems to be genuinely grief-stricken (in a serene sort of way), and apologizes to him for shouting at him (this refers events which happened in the show that was supposed to be the first episode in Season 2, now Episode 8). John is naturally puzzled by all this, but tells her he forgives her. She tells him that his spirit is with her, and that will always be real to her. She puts her head close to his, and John apparently touches Zhaan’s spirit in the Seek, which knocks him to his knees. Perhaps they still share a psychic link from “Rhapsody in Blue,” but this is my own conjecture.
We don’t often get to see how much Zhaan cares about the other crew-members, and particularly John, at least not to this degree; Zhaan (and the other Moyans) have had a tendency to take John and his abilities somewhat for granted. This was a very moving scene.
Crichton rescues Aeryn and D’Argo on their asteroid. They are bored and running out of food, and D’Argo is trying to figure out the intricacies of Rock, Paper, Scissors. D’Argo tells Aeryn she can eat him if he dies first, but she seems unexcited by the prospect. She also doesn’t seem to be holding a grudge against either John or D’Argo. As they’re leaving the asteroid, Pilot calls and tells John that Talyn has left the asteroid field.
Of course, Scorpius and company are very happy at this news, and even happier at the news that Moya is pursuing her baby. Scorpius gives the order to follow the pair of Leviathans, while keeping out of sensor range. Scorpy doesn’t want Moya or Talyn to be able to hide from him again. Scorpius doesn’t believe that Moya will starburst away, because Talyn is unable to starburst himself, due to his immaturity. Scorpius tells his lieutenant to cripple both ships and to make sure they take Crichton alive; he doesn’t want any other prisoners. This doesn’t bode well for the Moyans.
The Moyans are having further difficulties. Talyn is fleeing Moya, and refuses to respond to either Moya or Aeryn’s attempts to communicate. He is very distraught and frightened, and Moya’s continued pursuit is upsetting him further. In addition, Moya refuses to allow herself to be distracted by her crew from her chase of her offspring; she is determined that she will protect him at all costs.
As with the other Moyans, Aeryn tries to discuss the current situation with Zhaan, and finds her making harmonious sounds with a crystal. Zhaan tells Aeryn that she, Zhaan, loves her, which more or less repulses Aeryn (are Peacekeepers homophobic?). Zhaan clarifies her remark – she loves all living things. This doesn’t sit particularly well with Aeryn either; she tells Zhaan she thinks she is being very selfish, and that her “love” is too rarified for her tastes. To Aeryn, love means being willing to fight and die for your friends. She leaves Zhaan, who is now incapable of creating harmony with her crystals. Aeryn and her abrasiveness is the only one of the Moyans who has broken through Zhaan’s religious absorption.
Crais has been confined to his old cell, and guarded by D’Argo. They have a conversation in which Crais informs D’Argo that he is in the process of examining his life in light of what he has learned about the Peacekeepers. As a child, Crais was conscripted by the Peacekeepers, and forced to leave his home and family (he had been a farmer’s son). He tells D’Argo that he still finds the prospect of a Sebacean woman and a Luxan marrying (D’Argo and his wife) repellant, but that is subject to scrutiny also. D’Argo tells Crais a cell is a fine place for self-reflection, but Crais replies that although he agrees with D’Argo’s assessment, Talyn needs him.
Back on Scorpius’ Command Carrier, Scorpius realizes that the two Leviathans don’t have much of a plan. They are both decellerating, and seemingly lacking in purpose. Either way, Scorpius commands that the two ships be overtaken – and engaged.
At this point, the Moyans finally catch sight of the command carrier (it had been carefulto stay out of sensor range up to this point). As Moya is unarmed, they are a bit at a loss, until Talyn powers up his main cannons. This cheers them a bit, until they realize the baby is pointing them at Moya! In fact, he shoots Moya! It was a warning shot – Talyn demands that the Moyans send him a captain. In fact, not just any captain, but Crais, and he refuses to discuss the matter further. Moya refuses to engage in evasive maneuvers, as she doesn’t believe Talyn will actually fire on her. (I thought Leviathans were supposed to be intelligent – he already HAS fired on her, sheesh!) The Moyans put up the defense screen they liberated from the Zelbinian, but it proves to be no match for Talyn’s guns. Aeryn tells John she will escort Crais to Talyn, and stay with them.
John is less than enthralled at the prospect of having the woman he loves traipse off with his worst enemy, as one might imagine. Crais is smirkily happy at the prospect of being released, and tells Aeryn to make her choice – him or Crichton. She chooses Crais, but John tells him that if he hurts either Talyn or Aeryn, he will hunt him down. Crais agrees that this turn of events would complete the symmetry of their situations nicely, but although he is still smirking, he is no longer as arrogantly assured as he once was.
I kept waiting for Aeryn to break in and tell John she didn’t need him to defend her, but she didn’t. In fact, this scene reminded me a bit of two dogs fighting over a particularly good bone. It was very clear to everyone that John feels, if not proprietary, then very protective of Aeryn. I had kind of mixed feelings about this scene, it was hard for me to believe a fiercely independent woman would remain silent in the face of this sort of macho posturing, but not so hard to believe a Southern boy (which John is), would engage in it, or that Crais would deliberately try to stir things up. Hmmmm.
As Crais and Aeryn prepare to leave Moya, John tells Aeryn, “Last time we stood here, we didn’t say goodbye.” “And it wasn’t goodbye, as it turned out,” she replies mistily, entwining her fingers with his. She and Crais enter her Prowler and leave. (OK, the shamelessly romantic part of me got quite a workout in this scene.)
Crais and Aeryn attempt to begin to set things right on board the gunship. Aeryn tells Talyn to maneuver close to Moya so he would be drawn into her starburst, but Talyn responds by sending a little spidery-looking metal hand through the floor plates. Crais tells Aeryn that it is the highest honor that Talyn can bestow on his Captain: the Hand of Friendship. Crais asks Talyn who the hand is for, and when Talyn indicates that he chooses Crais, he pulls his ponytail out of the way and bares the back of his neck. Talyn plunges the Hand into the top of Crais’ spine (very painful looking!), thereby creating a neurotransponder. Crais and Talyn are inextricably linked in a direct interface, able to read and respond to each other at the speed of thought.
At this point, Talyn and Crais decide they no longer need Aeryn’s services, and try to convince her to leave. She refuses, and attacks (probably not the brightest things she could have done, but she was upset). Talyn begins shooting at her while Crais physically attacks her, until she is forced back into her Prowler. Crais and Talyn are actually rather forbearing under the circumstances. once Aeryn has been incapacitated, they tell her she has fifty microns to get to her Prowler before they open the passage into space. She leaves with as much alacrity as possible, considering she can’t rise to her feet. one supposes she crawled.
After Aeryn leaves, Crais contacts Scorpius and tells him he is submitting his final progress report. He tells Scorpius that he has secured control of Talyn, that he is resigning his Peacekeeper commission, and that he killed Crichton with his own hands, thus avenging his brother. “Here ends my report, ‘Captain’,” he taunts. This insolence naturally pisses Scorpy off, and he commands his lieutenant to fire on both Leviathans.
As the Command Carrier fires on him, Talyn starbursts away! This takes Scorpius and the Moyans both by surprise. “He obviously learns a lot faster than we thought,” comments D’Argo. This prompts Moya to starburst as well – with Talyn gone from the area she has no reason to stick around and be shot at.
Scorpy is unhappy. He lieutenant looks terrified, as, with a pleasant smile, Scorpius reminds him that his tactical expert had claimed that Talyn wouldn’t be able to starburst for an arn. “Send him to me, so that I might… educate him,” commands Scorpius. He further tells lieutenant to start searching for Moya along her probable starburst vectors. He knows that Crais lied about killing Crichton, reasoning that Crais wouldn’t have mentioned it if Crichton were actually dead. Regardless of whatever else may you have to say about Scorpius, he does have a good grasp of psychology.
D’Argo finally makes a visit to Zhaan, and finds her looking rather glum. She tells D’Argo that Aeryn was right, that she was being selfish in pursuing her own spiritual goals instead of helping her friends in the here and now. D’Argo tells Zhaan the next level of existence will always be there, and Zhaan agrees that they should all cherish their current existence while they still have it.
John and Aeryn make their own peace with each other. Aeryn sits in John’s embrace, while he plays with her hair. Aeryn feels as if she has failed, that even though she did everything she could, nothing worked out the way she had hoped. Pilot tells both Aeryn and John that Talyn told Moya he had chosen Crais of his own free will and that he would contact Moya from time to time to let her know he was alright. John and Aeryn are skeptical, but Aeryn at least takes a little comfort from the fact that Crais might be on the level (and thus not harm Talyn). She points out that Crais could have killed her, and killed all of them, but he hadn’t. She also tells John she has changed, but John seems unsure that Crais is likewise capable of changing for the better.
Notes: This was a really jam-packed episode, and very suspenseful – a great start to the new season.
I rate this episode 4.5/5.
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This episode review is © 1999 – 2019 Andrea Reed
and not for reproduction without the authors express permission
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