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Farscape Rewatch: “Out Of Their Minds”

“Out Of Their Minds
Written by Micheal Cassutt, directed by Ian Watson
Season 2, Episode 9

1st US Transmission Date: 7 July 2000
1st UK Transmission Date: 4 September 2000
1st Australian Transmission: 4 August 2001

Guest Cast: Lani Tupu (Capt Bialar Crais), Angie Milliken (Voice of Yoz), Dominique Sweeney (Tak), Thomas Holesgrove (Yoz)

Synopsis: A Halosian ship that has previously skirmished with Talyn fires on Moya while Zhaan is on board trying to find out why they have targeted her. The defence screen saves the ship, but in a freak accident everybody swops bodies – D’Argo inhabits Pilot’s body, Pilot’s in Chiana’s, Chiana’s in D’Argo’s, John’s in Aeryn’s, Aeryn’s in Rygel’s, and Rygel’s in John’s.

Zhaan persuades the Halosian Captain, Tak, to board Moya and check that she is unarmed, on the understanding that if she is, he will leave her alone. He tours the ship but he throws up some acid vomit to destroy the defence screen because he intends to destroy Moya anyway. Back on his own ship he fires on Moya again, but the defence screen is reactivated by the crew. Everyone changes bodies again: Aeryn into John, John into Rygel, Rygel into Aeryn, Pilot into D’Argo, D’Argo into Chiana, Chiana into Pilot.

Farscape, Out of Their Minds

Zhaan talks Tak’s second in command, Yoz, into killing Tak and taking command, but she decides to destroy Moya too. Zhaan kills Yoz and takes control of the Halosian ship. Everyone resumes the positions they had when first hit and Zhaan fires on Moya again. Everyone goes back to their own bodies.

Big Blue: Zhaan can willingly mangle her hand in order to extricate herself from manacles, but she risks permanent damage by doing so.

Farscape, Out of Their Minds

Buckwheat the Sixteenth: ‘You all say I’m paranoid, but it’s true – no one ever frelling listens to me!’ Rygel’s inferiority complex is borne out when John/Rygel is ignored by Zhaan but Aeryn/John is listened to. Each ship in his royal fleet had 100 cannons. He lives only to see his usurping cousin deposed and executed.

In The Driving Seat: Pilot describes how to control Moya to D’Argo. He says to focus on a distant high-pitched sound which you can visualise as a dark red; this represents life-support and all the other ships function hang off it like a rope. D’Argo can hardly handle the multi-tasking required but, keeps it together. Chiana fares less well, and panics. Chiana’s body tries to reject Pilot’s consciousness and goes into seizures which abate when she calms down. D’Argo’s body cannot handle Pilot at all, and passes out. Pilot envies D’Argo’s memories of love and friendship and feels that D’Argo has had richer life experiences, while D’Argo envies Pilot’s memories of seeing the birth of stars, and countless planets.

Farscape, Out of Their Minds

The Insane Military Commander: Crais and Talyn were approached by the Halosian ship and said that they travelled in peace. Only when fired upon did they retaliate, and even then they did not destroy the Halosian ship, though they could have. So it looks like Crais is acting honourably and may be trying to find that new path he talked about after all.

A Ship, A Living Ship: I know it would have been difficult to pull off, but wouldn’t it have been amazing to have Moya jump into someone’s body and vice versa! Missed opportunity. The defence shield that they took from the Zelbinion in ‘PK Tech Girl’ and were attempting to fix in ‘Picture If You Will,’ is finally working again.

Farscape, Out of Their Minds

The Ballad Of Aeryn And John: ‘You were in my shoes, I was in your pants.’ Having reminded themselves of each other’s attributes, they are all over each other at the end, play fighting on the bridge and chasing after each other laughing – it’s like a couple at school. I expected him to pull her pigtails and run away giggling.

The Ballad of D’Argo and Chiana: Their final exchange is a masterpiece of double entendre: ‘I really, really enjoyed being inside your body. Oh, um, what I meant by that is, uh…’ and with that they run off in search of privacy and the inevitable consummation of their blossoming crushes.

Farscape, Out of Their Minds

Alien Encounters: Halosians are huge taloned bird creatures (very similar to the Skeksis from the Henson film The Dark Crystal) that have no interest in other races other than as targets. They accumulate kills in order to ’evolve,’ but we never find out if that is merely a term to describe a rise in rank or an actual physical evolution. If a ship’s captain fails in a task, he or she can be killed by a challenger who will then evolve in their place. They can vomit intelligent acid gel, which can be used to cripple ships systems. The dangling, erogenous tentacles on D’Argo’s chin are called tenkas.

Disney On Acid: John/Aeryn smacks Rygel/John to stop him complaining and then moans ‘it’s the three-freakin-Stooges, I’m hitting myself!’

Farscape, Out of Their Minds

What Does This Do?: ‘Yotz, creeping vomit!’ Rygel/John has to pee but doesn’t know how to hold it in so John/Aeryn has to give him directions on unzipping, pointing it like a gun, and letting go. Rygel’s enormously impressed by how good it feels, but forgets to completely replace the member before zipping back up – every male in the audience crosses their legs and grimaces.

John/Aeryn takes a quiet moment to unzip his vest and gives his newly acquired boobs a good old jiggle, but when he sticks his hands down his/her pants he goes cross-eyed. When Chiana/D’Argo and Aeryn/Rygel see what he/she is doing, John’s unashamed: ‘oh, come on, man… they’re here! They’re right here! They’ve been here for a couple of arns, and I just had to… I’m a guy, a guy. Guys dream about this sort of thing!’

Farscape, Out of Their Minds

Chiana/D’Argo wants to flee the ship and tries to get Rygel/John to come with her. She tries her standard trick of using sex to persuade her prey, which leads to the bizarre sight of D’Argo body grabbing John’s mivonks and doing all sorts of things off camera which lead Rygel/John to exclaim: ‘normally you have to rub my eyebrows to make me feel like this.’ She promises she’ll do anything he wants to the body once they’re off Moya, but he refuses.

Aeryn later admits to John that when she was in his body, she was also in his pants. Rygel enjoys picking John’s nose (and shoes) and sniffing Aeryn’s armpits. Pilot can’t make Chiana’s legs move. When D’Argo gets his body back his tenkas are sore, and he wonders what Chiana was doing to make them that way.

Farscape, Out of Their Minds

Only in Farscape: Intelligent evil vomit as a plot device. When Tak throws up Rygel/John just dismisses it: ‘that’s all right, we do that sort of thing all the time here on Moya. I just peed in the maintenance bay.’ I was going to highlight the line ‘We have to stop the vomit!’ as uniquely Farscape, but then I remembered Janeway’s deathless ‘Get this cheese to sickbay!’

WHAT did you just say?: John, on being targeted by the Halosian ship: ‘Have we sent the ’don’t shoot us were pathetic transmission’ yet?’

Stats: Moya is well stocked with food for the first time in ages. DRDs can take photographs and print them out.

Guest Stars: Angie Milliken played Volmae in ‘Thank God It’s Friday Again.’

Farscape, Out of Their Minds

Backstage: This episode got an ‘S’ rating in the U.S., denoting sexual situations. Obviously the episode was as fun to make as it is to watch: ‘I was pissing myself all through the rehearsals,’ Ben Browder said. This episode was written by a freelancer and then remodelled by Justin Monjo, who had deeper knowledge of the characters. While imitating Chiana’s irregular breathing patterns Anthony Simcoe succumbed to the heat on set and had an attack that led to him being rushed to hospital.

The Verdict: An utterly ludicrous plot device – weapons + defence shield = body swopping – is used to great comic effect in the funniest episode yet, and the cast have the time of their lives imitating each other and playing out of character. Anthony Simcoe’s impression of Chiana is hilarious, but Claudia Black and Ben Browder’s takes on Rygel are also deeply silly. Crammed full of one-line gems, huge scary puppets and evil mobile vomit, this is a joy from start to finish.

Farscape, Out of Their Minds

Verdict Redux: I must confess that this season was starting to feel like a bit of a slog. Of the first eight episodes only two were really good – ‘Crackers Don’t Matter’ and ‘The Way We Weren’t.’ With this one we get three good episodes in nine; a hit rate of 2:1 just isn’t good enough, but when Farscape is as good as this, it makes up for the duds.

Scott K. Andrews has written episode guides, magazine articles, film and book reviews, comics, audio plays for Big Finish, far too many blogs, some poems you will never read, and three novels for Abaddon. He is, patently, absurd.


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