Feb 29 2012 3:00pm

Farscape Rewatch: “Exodus From Genesis”

Farscape, Exodus From Genesis“Exodus From Genesis”
Written by Ro Hume, directed by Brian Henson

1st US Transmission Date: 26 March 1999
1st UK Transmission Date: 10 January 2000
1st Australian Transmission: 17 June 2000

Guest Cast: Damian de Montemas (Melkor), Jodie Dry (Kyona)

Synopsis: Moya evades a PK Marauder ship. A cloud of space bugs infests Moya and begins to raise the temperature. Crichton kills one for study. Replicants of the crew begin appearing, setting the temperature controls to maximum and sealing them with gunk that prevents anyone turning them down again. Rygel finds a huge alien nest with a queen churning out replicants and eggs that hatch into insects.

Farscape, Exodus From GenesisAeryn reacts badly to the heat (see Alien Encounters). Zhaan is possessed by the Monarch of the bugs; a race called the Drak. Crichton realises killing the bug was interpreted as an act of war and he talks to the Monarch and explains they want no conflict. The Monarch accepts this and explains that when they have spawned they will leave; it also agrees to lower the temperature to help Aeryn as long as the crew will allow themselves to be confined to one room. The Marauder turns up and five PK commandos board Moya. At first, the Monarch believes that Moya’s crew have broken the truce, but Rygel explains. She releases the crew and, on Crichton’s instructions, turns up the heat. The Commandos succumb to Heat Delirium and are confronted by lots of replicant Crichtons. John tells the PK leader to return with a message that ‘next time Crais sees my face, his crew will be dead and he’ll be staring up from a pool of his own blood.’ He hopes that the multiple versions of Crichton will convince Crais that humans have special powers and he will abandon his pursuit. The Drak finish spawning and fly off into space.

Buck Rogers Redux: ‘I’m getting the hang of a few things.’ John is finding life problematic; even the simple things — like opening a door — give him a hard time. He realises that his chances of survival depend upon his ability to adjust. Zhaan thinks he will do fine in the end. John attended JFK High School, and was beaten up by Eddie Marx in Seventh Grade. When confronted with an alien insect, he jumps up on a table like a housewife in a bad ‘60s sitcom. Wuss.

You Can Be More: Aeryn is still having trouble with her new life as a runaway but her relationship with Pilot seems to be helping her adjust. She had put in for a transfer to a Marauder crew before joining Moya. She had always thought that lesser life forms were for squashing, but Crichton, who she still sees as inferior, is helping her change that view.

Big Blue: ‘The answer is a reverence for all living things.’ Zhaan dissects the Drak and examines its DNA, so she’s quite a biologist. Her solution to all problems is patience and time. She is providing John with emotional support and a sympathetic ear, and she knows that she can lean on him in return.

I Was A Teenage Luxan: The problem: how to distinguish between the real crew and the replicants. D’Argo’s solution: ‘we will cut off the tip of our small finger for identification.’ When it comes to negotiating with the Monarch, D’Argo wants to fight, and without Crichton’s level headedness, he would have consigned the crew to conflict and probably death. He admits that Aeryn and Crichton are now his comrades, and he even acknowledges Rygel’s contribution. He has seen Peacekeepers dies from heat exposure before and found it ‘most enjoyable.’

Buckwheat the Sixteenth: ‘I am Rygel, sixteenth of my lineage, Dominar of the Hynerian Empire. I am at once your equal and your humble petitioner, requesting an audience.’ Rygel’s mother had his elder brothers banished because he was her favourite. Again Rygel saves the day because he’s the only one small enough to go into the bulkhead and find the Drak nest. He handles the final negotiation very well and effortlessly wins the respect of Monarch.

In The Driving Seat: Pilot cradles the dying Aeryn tenderly and tells her ‘it is strange to be so close to a Peacekeeper I do not fear. That is a compliment.’ He agrees that he and Aeryn work well together.

Farscape, Exodus From Genesis

A Ship, A Living Ship: Zhaan: ‘Moya is alive, she’s our protector, but she’s also our servant. She relies on us and we rely on her. It’s a mutual, symbiotic relationship.’ Moya has a terrace that is open to space but is protected by a force shield so the crew can go outside; she also has water showers.

The Ballad Of Aeryn And John:

John: Everybody on board has had their lives derailed from what they thought they were going to be, should be. We’re stuck together. As long as we are, we might as well be…

Aeryn: What?  Family?  Friends?  I want neither.

John: Somebody’s got to be there when you need it.

Aeryn: No offence, human, but what could I possibly need from you?

John: Oh, I don’t know.  Manners, personality, stock tips....

Aeryn’s weakness forces her to rely on others for the first time and John promises to kill her before she enters a coma. He then takes the huge risk of telling Monarch to turn the heat up to disable the PK commandos, even though it endangers Aeryn’s life. By taking the risk, and making the promise, John wins Aeryn’s respect and even earns a smile from her. He tenderly strokes her cheek when she’s ill, which is a dead giveaway.

Worlds Apart: The Luxan planet is called, imaginatively, Luxan, and it’s a hot world.

Farscape, Exodus From GenesisAlien Encounters: Dentics are an insect species that clean your teeth by eating bacteria and food particles. The Drak are a hive insect species with a queen (Monarch) and drones (the aggregate). They live in space, but require heat to give birth. They can replicate other life forms perfectly, which helps them infiltrate ships, although they cannot speak and must possess a host to speak for them. They’re actually pretty reasonable and friendly once you get to know them, and when they’ve spawned they fly away again, so no harm, no foul. Sebaceans are cold blooded and heat affects them terribly. First they lose short-term memory, then motor functions, and then long-term memory. At that point they slip into a coma they call ‘the living death,’ upon which their fellows will kill them out of mercy, the only situation in which Sebaceans will do that. The more we learn about Hynerians the dafter the fact that they’re aquatic becomes. For example, Rygel is a painter – how exactly does one paint underwater? (Please don’t email me to say ‘with water colours.’)

Disney On Acid: John promises to rent Zhaan a copy of Animal House

Farscape, Exodus From GenesisSeen It All Before: Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers; and the nest is very Aliens. This is the first time Farscape pulls what will become one of its trademark tricks – taking a done-to-death sci-fi standard story and playing it pretty much as expected but then, just when you think you’ve seen it all before, adding an extra twist in the final third that takes it to new places. Star Trek: Voyager would have concluded the story with the truce, but on Farscape they throw in the Marauder and explore the ramifications. The writers always push the idea that bit further, which is what enables the show to be original in a genre where most tales have already been told before.

Logic Leaps: So the Drak replicate people, fair enough, they use the DNA to do that, but surely it’s a leap too far that they replicate people with all their clothes on and, in D’Argo’s case, with a Qualta blade as well. Why do they never replicate Rygel or Pilot?

Bloopers: D’Argo says they could never outrun a PK Command Carrier, but they’ve done it twice before, once by StarBursting and once using Crichton’s slingshot technique.

WHAT did you just say? Yotz, which basically means Hell, appears, as in ‘what the yotz was that?’ Rygle calls the rest of the crew ’bastards,’ another example of the early episodes letting real swear words creep in.

Stats: Moya’s scanners can detect the Marauder, but the Marauder can’t see Moya through the Drak swarm – so the Leviathan has better scanners than PK standard. The Marauder’s maximum speed is Hetch 7, and it carries a crew of five PK commandos whose success is measured by body count.

Guest Stars: Damian de Montemas played Jason in the Aussie twentysomething soap The Secret Life Of Us and then went on to a long run on Home and Away. Jodie Dry went on to be a regular on White Collar Blue.

This is the only Farscape episode written by Ro Hume although he or she contributed the storyline for 113 “Rhapsody in Blue.”

With this episode, executive producer Brian Henson took on directoring duties for the only time until he reclaimed the rights and called the shots on The Peacekeeper Wars. (Aside: BH is the man who directed The Muppet Christmas Carol, which, as far as my family is concerned, makes him a god among men!)

Backstage: The Drak queen was originally called the Sultana, until someone pointed out to the American writers that in Britain and Australia a Sultana is a kind of raisin. This episode was filmed at the same time as the premiere. When Aeryn’s replicant kicks John, Claudia Black actually floored Ben Browder on set. This is the only time you’ll see Peacekeepers with facial tattoos, the idea was dropped after this episode. The voice of Monarch is Virginia Hey’s, treated to make it lower. The US DVD release of this episode includes a commentary track featuring Brian Henson and Virginia Hey.

Farscape, Exodus From Genesis

The Verdict: A key episode for the development of the crew. Zhaan and Crichton bond, as do Aeryn and Pilot, and even D’Argo expresses some regard for each of his crewmates in turn, if grudgingly. It’s the character work that really stands out, although the bugs impress, especially when they stand up and the sense of threat is well established. Not a standout episode, but not a turkey either and, for a show still finding its feet, perfectly acceptable for this stage of the game.

Verdict redux: I’m a little less well disposed to this episode now. The extraneous four minutes of character material — filmed to bump up the episode length for Europe and designed to be cuttable for the shorter US edit — screws up the pacing of an already quite slowly paced episode. They’re nice scenes in themselves, though. On balance, I don’t think the episode has aged as well as some others — the slow frame rate they use for some dramatic moments and puppet shots, and the increasingly irritating (to me at least) burbling music, date it badly, as do the new-romantic PK face tats. Not actively bad, just a bit meh.

This time around I’m watching the show with my wife, who is by no stretch of the imagination a sci-fi fan. Her only comment on this episode, which I think bored her to bits, was ’Is Crichton ever going to get rid of that awful uniform?’ I showed her a photo of his subsequent leather-clad look and her interest was suddenly rekindled... can’t imagine why.

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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1. graftonio
I recieved the Blu-Rays for Christmas and started watching them when the rewatch began and the music bugs the hell out of me now. My girlfriend is constantly complaining about how loud it is and all I can say is that if you want to hear the dialogue which is buried beneath it you just have to deal I guess. Maybe it wasn't as bad when it was on television or maybe I was high.
2. otherguy49
To Scott and others involved - a big thanks! I look forward to this .

graftonio , I have starting using the subtitles so I don't miss any dialogue. Regretably, there is little to be done about the way a show is mixed
Christopher Everett
3. MidwestMedic
"(Please don’t email me to say ‘with water colours.’)" Really?! Why take away all our fun?

"I showed her a photo of his subsequent leather-clad look and her interest was suddenly rekindled... can’t imagine why." My wife didn't really start to watch the show with me until sometime in the second season...when we get to that part of the rewatch, I wonder if it will be near a certain wardrobe change...hmmmm.
4. Kappi
I don't remember that observation deck area being used a whole lot in the series. Anyone remember it ever being used again after this?
George Brell
5. gbrell

I believe it's used again in the Peacekeeper Wars.

Edited to remove potential spoilers. What is your preferred method to deal with spoilers? I think ignoring them is going to make discussing the over-arching plots of the third and fourth seasons rather difficult.
Scott K. Andrews
6. ScottKAndrews
GBrell - don't mean to be annoying, but could you delete that please - that's a HUGE spoiler for people who are watching for the first time, and there are a few of 'em :-)
7. politeruin
That's a good point about farscape taking well worn stories and doing something new with them, i think it's one of the things that really sustained one's interest apart from all the alien weirdness. These early episodes are interesting though when you watch them now and notice things getting dropped like the swear words, i'd completely forgotten that and it just didn't work at all.
treebee72 _
8. treebee72

@Kappi - Don't think they used the actual set, but Zhaan will use the observation deck later this season to get some quality alone time...
9. damnaussies
Maybe it's just being in New Zealand, but every time someone speaks in a really obvious Australian accent, it jars so much it makes my teeth grind. The PK commandos were terrible for this.

There was a guy in the pilot who said something to "Officer Sun" (pronounced like our star), and it's amazing how much that sucks after you've watched a few seasons :)
10. politeruin
I always thought the accents were rather refreshing after years of the generic north american accent for alien cultures, mostly thinking of trek here. It added to scape's uniqueness. What was really annoying was spotting some actor who used to be in an aussie daytime soap.
Kristen Templet
11. SF_Fangirl
Inspired by this rewatch I have begun to borrow the DVDs from my library. This was the first I watched (still waiting on the first DVD) and I was kind of bored by this and the next "Throne for a Loss." Kinda simplistic plotting; although, they're still obviously establishing a lot including characters. I know things get a lot more complicated, darker, and exciting, and this was kind of blah in comparison to what I recall

I agree about the odd pacing. The Peacekeepers showing up 2/3rds of the way in was a huge surprise, but it seemed like they were there simply to drag out the episode and not a lot happened with them.

Actually I have some vague memory of not sticking with Farscape through the first season and getting back into when it got more interesting; although, I am fairly certain I have seen all of the episodes.
Scott K. Andrews
12. ScottKAndrews
Morning all. It's lovely that so many of you are saying thank you for these blogs - I didn't expect that - it's just fun for me :-)

@Gbrell - thanks :-) The spoilers thing is tricky - on the whole I'm pretty laissez faire about it, as most people have seen the show. I only asked this time coz, well, it was spoiling the final scene of the final ep, which is kind of the ultimate spoiler, you know. On the whole, I don't intend to police it - life's too short. Plus, you're right, it'd spoil a lot of the fun.

@politeruin Rygel definitely calls D'Argo and John 'bastards' in this episode (when they're banging on the bulkhead to scare away the bugs and make him jump) and there are still a fair few normal swears scattered liberally throughout episode 6.

@damnauussies I kind of like the variety of accents, as @politeruin says, it helps make it feel distinct from Trek et al. But my wife's a Kiwi, so I suppose I'm used to it :-)

@SF_fangirl I think the quality rises pretty quickly by episode 6, and then again in the later third of this season. But for my money the big improvement comes in season two, when they drop the extra four 'disposable' minutes rrecorded just for European broadcasts, and the pacing tightens up considerably as a result.

My rewatch is about four episodes ahead and it's remarkable how quickly the show starts to find its voice. To clarify from last week - I like the music a lot, it's just its constant use in ep 2 that annoys me. Just teething troubles, though - the music, while still there, gets much less obtrusive.
Joe Vondracek
13. joev
Why do they never replicate Rygel or Pilot?
Well, they don't have any DNA cuz they're puppets!
14. Kiwi_Tee
@damnaussies #9

And Tem Morrison saying "I'm just a simple man, trying to make my way in the universe" in the broadest Kiwi accent ever heard on screen, in SW:TPM, doesn't jar your cookies?
15. damnaussies
Kiwi_Tee: Oh yes, indeed it does :) Also, the way they figured they'd replicate it in the Clone Wars cartoon by using an Australian accent instead... I'm told Americans can't tell the difference, so maybe they figured it was a dead ringer.

I'm also pretty disgusted with dubbing Tem over the original Empire.
16. Kiwi_Tee
@ damnaussies

I don't know how he can sleep at night.
17. Joe Ray
RE: Crichton's wardrobe: One of the fun aspects of re-watching the first season is taking note of Crichton's slow transition from the ugly IASA uniform to Peacekeeper duds. I remember that at some point he starts wearing, on occasion, black t-shirts with the IASA uniform's white pants. Impersonating, and thus dressing like, a Peacekeeper officer mid-season seems to seal the deal, as I recall. After that I don't think we see him in any part of his original uniform again (presumably he found a closet of Peacekeeper clothes somewhere on Moya, which is probably where he got those black t-shirts).

Last time I watched Season 1 I also tried to note when he first started carrying a pulse pistol. That's an interesting transition for him, as a character. It's still unclear to me exactly when that happens, however.
Michael Poteet
18. MikePoteet
I really like that little bit when Zhaan talks about reverence for life while dissecting the bug. In fact, she's singing a prayer for it, isn't she? A nice moment that shows faith and science need not always conflict.
Scott K. Andrews
19. ScottKAndrews
@Joe Ray The evolution from white-tee to black-tee and beyond is one of the things I start to pick up on in the guide for Back and back and back to the future :-)

@MikePoteet Wow, good spot, never clocked the prayer-song!
20. eclipse22
i have an aversion to bugs esp so this episode was ok , i did like aeryn and john getting to know each other a bit more , also love zhan convo with john about symbiotic relationship between 2 species personally i don't know if i could stomach a worm cleaning my teeth :)!

one thing i do like about farscape is the overall theme to an episode always had substance, first impressions can lead to wrong deductions on both side of a conflict and a little communication goes a long way to clearing up the air;def was a nice contrast between d'argo instinct to attack and john wanting to have all the facts first&attempt mediation !
Sanne Jense
21. Cassanne
This is the one episode that upset me with it's lack of logic re: the sebacean heat weakness.

It's fine that they can't stand heat, but why the frell:
1- didn't they put Aeryn in a space suit?? It's later established that they do have them, form fitted even. And why the frell don't the invading troopers wear suits?? They like to die pointlessly?
(I must admit, lack of spacesuits/helmets/boots in obviously hostile or risky environments annoys me constantly in sf...)
2 - there is a shower! Wtf again, why didn't they keep her wet from the start then??
3 - there is also a fridge on board, you could make ice or at the least cold packs...
4 - why doesn't the PK uniform have inbuilt cooling methods if this is their biggest fear? (cold packs are not exactly too advanced technologically)
5 - there are apparantly other sebaceans who are heat-resilient (those on the farming planet for one). Why don't they use gene therapy, or selective breeding programmes, to get shock troopers without that annoying weakness. (If they're gonna refuse to wear spacesuits...)

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