Farscape 1.22: “Family Ties”

5) Speaking of parenting, this is also the episode in which we learn about Aeryn’s parents for the first time. Aeryn tells John the story about her mother having shown up at her bedside late one night to tell her that she was special and was born out of love rather than simply to fill the ranks–a story which will be at the heart of a major third season arc. Remembering this moment is what inspires her to name Talyn after her father, thus increasing her own bond with the child and making his loss even more devastating for her. She tells this story to John, after hearing him start to leave a message on his voice recorder for his dad–another full-circle moment to “Premiere”–followed by Aeryn asking John if the alien she met was anything like the real Jack Crichton, this being the first direct acknowledgement on the show that the events of “A Human Reaction” had actually happened, and therefore indirectly confirming that John and Aeryn had had sex. I love the subsequent detail of John then offering the tape recorder to Aeryn, to leave her own message for her dad, to which she smiles. There is such love between the two of them in this scene, only enhanced by the knowledge that he is likely about to die due to their plan to attack the Command Carrier, that is beautiful to behold. I also must mention the wonderful little subversion of Aeryn describing the “battle-hardened, scarred” parent who visited her who John instantly assumes is her father, and she corrects, “My mother,” which is just so Peacekeeper, so Aeryn, and so Farscape.

6) I also have to mention the scene that precedes this one, in which Pilot begs Aeryn to flee. Although he worries that Moya, he, and the others will be recaptured, Aeryn is the one he specifically wants to escape, speaking to their bond, which–as I’ve said many times before in this post and will say many times again, I’m sure–is simply beautiful. Aeryn gets so emotional here, and the way she strokes Pilot’s cheek, with his accompanying, subtle facial reactions makes it practically impossible in the moment to not forget that she’s not interacting with a living, breathing creature.

7) This might be the point where I just devolve into swooning over every scene: John’s lovely little moment with Zhaan, telling her that she is family; John and Pilot’s goodbye; the sweet scene between D’Argo and Aeryn in which the two warriors have what might have been their last heart-to-heart and he confides in her that he’d thought he’d live longer and she responds that she’d never thought she’d live this long; Zhaan’s heart-to-heart with Aeryn in which she tells her, “The instant I committed murder, I sacrificed my right to exist. Since then, I view every microt as a generous, yet undeserved gift from the Goddess”; the short scene in which D’Argo starts off by yelling at Chiana for not listening to him, calling her a “pain in the eema,” and then adding, “But one I have come to enjoy,” thus setting up their relationship arc; and Chiana’s absolutely beautiful (there I go again) one with Crichton.

You may not expect that a scene in which an alien girl offers to have sex with our strapping male hero to thank him for what he had done for her could be played as sweet, and yet it is. It isn’t until this moment that you get a full sense of just how much John has done for Chiana, in simply saving her life and helping her escape the Nebari–Gigi Edgley kills me in this scene–and Chiana, being a very sexual being, doesn’t know any other way to express that other than through sex. She wants to show him just how much he means to her. It’s an expression of love, though not romantic love. But he never even considers it, instead telling her that the way she can thank him for what he did is to “Pass it on,” to do good for another, which is so very Crichton. My heart! The kiss they share is also incredible, because on Crichton’s end, it’s chaste, and yet Chiana slips in a little tongue, in a motion that reads as alien and sensual and full of love, all at the same time. Shortly thereafter, she prepares a huge feast for everyone aboard Moya to thank them all for what they’ve done for her, and again–no words. Tears in my eyes. The same extends to the recording John finally leaves for his father while they eat, which sums up his entire journey thus far in one beautiful paragraph:

JOHN: One other thing, Dad. You remember the day I left? You told me that every man has a chance to become his own kind of hero. Well, I don’t think I’m ever coming home, so I won’t get that ticker tape parade, and I doubt that I’m ever gonna have kids, so I won’t get the chance to be a hero to them. But I think I know what you meant. I’ve got a strange life here, Dad. It’s different, but it’s my own. I have people who rely on me. People I care about. People who mystify me. And people who have become allies. Friends. And people who teach me patience. And people who teach me…other things. Well, you said the time would come, and I think it has. I have a job to do and I am unafraid. That’s what you said when they asked you what it was like to walk on the moon. You did good, Dad. You taught me well. This is John Crichton, somewhere in the Universe.

I’d like to point out two things: (1) although in the moment, he thinks his life may nearly be over, John is wrong about not having kids; he’ll actually sort of have one in the next season, in the “Look at the Princess” trilogy, though she won’t be born for many years, and he’ll have a son with Aeryn at the end of the saga; (2) when John first told his dad in “Premiere” that he wasn’t afraid to be going into space, he seemed to be putting on a brave front to impress him, but here, when he says the same thing, you can really believe it. Part of this might come from a dark place. He is so tired of running from Crais and now Scorpius that even if this mission ends in his death, at least he knows he’s made a huge strike against the PKs and will no longer be running for his life. But even more so, its due to how much love and faith he has for and in his friends. He’s doing this to protect them and save them, and they’re all in this together. With that said, I love D’Argo’s priceless line–which returns to the concept of him as a warrior poet–later on, “Fear accompanies the possibility of death. Calm shepherds its certainty,” to which John laughingly, lovingly replies, “I love hanging with you, man.”

Author: Robert Berg

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  1. Farscape 2.01-2.02: “Mind the Baby”; “Vitas Mortis” | DreamPunk - […] continuing our journey with John Crichton last week with the season 1 finale, “Family Ties,” our Farscape re-watch continues this week with the …

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