Oct 10 2012 3:00pm

Farscape Rewatch: “Out Of Their Minds”

Farscape, 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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1. JessRey
This is one of my favorite episodes--mainly because the cast gets time to play and have some fund. I watched up through the Princess trilogy just recently, and have to agree that it was a "slog." I think we're mostly out of that. The second season, while it has episodes I really like, has a lot of them that I don't care to revisit very often (i.e. "Dream a Little Dream").
Elizabeth Heckert
2. silhouettepoms
This is one of the ones that just makes me chuckle and go "I frelling LOVE this show, ha ha".
3. electricland
This was the first Farscape episode I ever saw. I invite you to picture my extreme confusion.
George Brell
4. gbrell
The episode is great. But it does highlight the weakness of the first half of the second season or, more specifically, the three previous episodes ("Picture If You Will," "Home on the Remains," and "The Way We Weren't").

But it also starts an excellent run as there are only two-three duds in the remainder of the season (a hit rate of around 80%) - "Beware of Dog" being the obvious, "The Locket" probably #2, and "My Three Crichtons" (which I like, but isn't excellent).
Andrew Willett
5. AndrewWillett
This one is a favorite -- so many great character moments, most notably Claudia Black playing John Crichton inhabiting Aeryn Sun. I like to hold this episode up as a prime example of one of Farscape's big strengths: its propensity for taking a sci-fi trope we've seen a squillion times, like body-switching, and running with it in smart new directions.
6. politeruin
It still feels like farscape is stuck in its adolescent phase of silly episodes before it got mostly serious but that's why we grew to love it in the first place! I can't imagine a star trek bodyswap episode involving masturbation but we all know you'd have to try it...right? I'll get my coat...
Kristen Templet
7. SF_Fangirl
Loved it. Somehow the epitome of this episode is Zhaan asking "John" why he has a picture of Rygel on his chest. And so very handy that they used string since they end up having to swap pictures once more in the episode.
Jack Flynn
8. JackofMidworld
Got a real kick out of this episode, tho, as a D&D/Pathfinder player, I saw the Halosians as "vrocks" rather than Dark Crystal critters, but, in retrospect, yeah, I can totally see that.
Melissa Shumake
9. cherie_2137
i loved this episode, it's so obvious how enjoyable it was for the actors to portray other characters while in their own bodies =)
Iain Cupples
10. NumberNone
Yeah, this is hilarious and done so well. Farscape at its best. The writing is sharp, but the thing that makes it work is the fact that the cast have enough familiarity with each other (and enough skill) to take it to the next level.
Rob Rater
11. Quasarmodo
Good fun stuff. When Aeryn's checking herself out then vehemently defending her actions, I can't even fathom that that's actually Claudia Black doing that. It's so obviously John.
Christopher Hatton
12. Xopher
One of my favorites ever. Scary AND funny. Particular points:

- I agree with Quasarmodo: Claudia Black's acting in that scene is incredible. Claudia playing (Ben playing John) playing Aeryn is just astonishingly good.

- OTOH I found John's statement about "guys dream of this" very odd. I'm not, nor have I ever been, a straight guy, but my understanding was that while they may dream of having continuous, unfettered access to a nice pair of breasts, they don't actually want them on their own chests. If that's incorrect, I just learned something. Could a heterosexual male confirm or deny?

- Ben Browder doing Rygel is absolute gold.

- I like the Halosians for what may be an unusual reason: they're not at all realistic. It's possible, while watching the episode, to suspend disbelief and go with them as living creatures, but it's like watching the original stage version of Equus: the horses don't really look like horses, but you can see that they're intended to represent horses. (In the production I saw, the dancers who played the horses did very well at imitating the motions of real ones; I assume that the puppeteers who operated the Halosians moved exactly like real Halosians.) In my opinion that's the best answer to people who complain that Farscape isn't "realistic."

- Gigi Edgely playing Pilot is breathtaking. Another case where I forgot that the actual actress really had to do it.
13. ChrisG
I had assumed that they just reused the Skeskis from the Dark Crystal storage locker, with a few tweaks here and there.

Definitely a fun episode. I'm looking forward to the upcoming stretch.
Rob Rater
14. Quasarmodo
@ Xopher

Yeah, I don't think too many straight guys actually want to become a lady.
15. Eugene R.
Xopher (@12), Quasarmodo (@14) - But the "male with female breasts" is a popular fantasy/fetish trope, at least in American pop culture. In the movie L.A. Story, Steve Martin's character says "I could never be a woman, 'cause I'd just stay at home and play with my breasts all day."

Anyway, Aeryn's tagline ("You were in my shoes, I was in your pants") and John's facial expression just sum things up perfectly. Fun episode.
Christopher Hatton
16. Xopher
Quasarmodo, trans people aside, of course.
Jack Flynn
17. JackofMidworld
I think it's less that a guy wants his own breasts, he just wants to have access to them for a little bit. I think part of it is that John (and Steve Martin) both planned on getting back into their own bodies. But that could just be me...
18. WrecklessT

The point, I think, is not that man wants breasts or to have all the equipment of a woman but instead just uninterupted access to said female parts. The ability to just spend a great deal of time exploring every nuance of a beautiful female form without having to indulge the ego of the female in question. It actually seems a little twisted when I put it that way. Kinda like fondling a female who is not conscious that the act is taking place. Weird and yet I am strangely aroused. Hmm I need to go and think this over . In a cold shower

Later days,

You can light a fire and keep a person warm for a day or.....
You can light a person on fire and not have to take care of the lazy bastard anymore
Sanne Jense
19. Cassanne
I think the fantasy is to be in their body for a brief period - as a female I'd be very interested in spending a day or so in a male body, just out of curiosity. Especially switching with a partner would be very fascinating (and useful!). As long as I had control and knew it was temporary. I imagine this is similar to how most men feel.
Tony Meyer
20. Antoniemey
So, I'm coming to this rewatch a couple years late... but just need to point out, it was B'Elanna Torres that said "Get the cheese to sickbay."

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