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Farscape Rewatch: “Mind The Baby”

“Mind The Baby”
Written by Richard Manning, directed by Andrew Prowse
Season 2, Episode 1

1st US Transmission Date: 17 March 2000
1st UK Transmission Date: 12 June 2000
1st Australian Transmission: 5 December 2001

Guest Cast: Lani Tupu (Capt. Bialar Crais), Wayne Pygram (Scorpius), David Franklin (Braca)

Synopsis: Scorpius allows Aeryn to collect John and D’Argo because he knows Crichton will not be taken alive, but Aeryn evades capture and flies back into the Asteroid field. Crais contacts her from Talyn and directs her to an asteroid with a breathable atmosphere and an abandoned installation on it where they can hide. In return for this help, she agrees to assist Crais in winning Talyn’s trust. When D’Argo and John discover what Aeryn’s done, D’Argo knocks her unconscious and John takes the Prowler, boards Talyn, and removes Crais by force.

Meanwhile Moya has returned to the asteroid field following a distress call from Talyn. John takes Crais to Moya and locks him up then collects the others. Talyn panics and flees the asteroid field and fires on Moya when she pursues. He demands that she provide a captain, so Aeryn and Crais fly to Talyn to take command. Talyn implants Crais with a neural transponder and, together, Talyn and Crais throw Aeryn off the ship. Before Scorpius’s Command Carrier can intercept either ship, both Talyn and Moya StarBurst away.

Farscape, Mind the Baby

Buck Rogers Redux: John’s behaviour when he removes Crais from Talyn is manic and over the top, far more so than normal – has the Aurora chair driven him a little bit nuts? He can now fly a Prowler.

That Peacekeeper Bitch: Aeryn is willing to lie to her friends and give up John and Moya to be with Talyn, who she cares for deeply. She fights Crais for him, but loses and is distraught at her failure.

Big Blue: Zhaan is driven nearly insane by the loss of John, Aeryn and D’Argo. She resumes the Delvian Seek and intends to devote the rest of her life to detached meditation. When John returns, she believes he’s a spirit or hallucination, but she gives him a Delvian ear kiss anyway. It takes Aeryn to shock her out of her retreat – by accusing her of being selfish and abandoning her friends. However, Zhaan does not abandon the Seek, merely slows it down so that she can better help and cherish her friends.

Farscape, Mind the Baby

I Was A Teenage Luxan: D’Argo was in a coma for many days after being left in space too long, and when he wakes up he at first believes he is dead. He is hugely pleased to see Aeryn again, but he knocks her out as soon as she tells him of her deal with Crais, just to save time arguing about it. He even admits to being pleased to see Rygel. He loves playing Scissors/Paper/Rock, even with himself, and he strongly disapproves of the name Talyn. They appear to have changed his makeup, slightly darkening his skin.

Buckwheat the Sixteenth: Rygel suffers from the Intons – a constriction of the airways brought about by strong emotion – when he is reunited with John, Aeryn and D’Argo. When heading back to the asteroid he almost agrees to jump ship with Chiana, but decides against it.

Farscape, Mind the Baby

Your Favourite Little Tralk: Chiana is so glad to see John that she actually flies across the maintenance bay. In interviews at the time, cast and crew referred to this as the first hint that Chiana had supernatural powers.

The Insane Military Commander: Aeryn: ‘his goals and ours may no longer conflict.’ Crais helps Aeryn rescue John and D’Argo to gain her trust and offers to let her share command of Talyn. When he stands next to John and tells Aeryn to make her choice, it seems he’s indicating not just a choice of ships, but a choice of man, harking back to the hints in ‘Family Ties’ that he was romantically interested in her. Initially, he contacts Scorpius from Talyn and strings him along, trying to stall for time. Later, when Crais leaves he tries to convince him that he’s killed John, which could be a dig at Scorpy or an attempt to buy some time for John. He is re-examining everything he was ever taught by the Peacekeepers, and wants to find a new path. Aeryn seems to believe that Crais can change; John isn’t so sure. Crais beats Aeryn in a straight fight and throws her off Talyn, but doesn’t kill her even though he could have. Now that he’s rejected PK teaching and methods, he’s a more interesting character and has embarked with Talyn on a search for enlightenment.

Farscape, Mind the Baby

Nosferatu in Rubber: Scorpius is very patient with Crais, and when Moya and Talyn emerge from the asteroid field, he expects that there is some strategy being implemented – after the destruction of his Gammak base he won’t underestimate them again. He knows Crais is lying about John being dead and resumes the hunt. He has some sort of rod that emerges from his head, revolving and dripping with blood, that has glowing cylinders placed in it (explained later in the season). He has redecorated Crais’s quarters and removed the gruesome trophies of past kills, replacing them with a shield incorporating two crossed maces.

A Ship, A Living Ship: Moya runs back into danger to help Talyn, regardless of her own personal safety or that of her crew. When Talyn runs in panic she pursues him, which panics him even more, yet Moya refuses to stop, believing she can talk her offspring down. The defence shield that was fitted in ‘PK Tech Girl’ is still in place, but it is severely damaged when Talyn fires upon Moya. In the opening sequence, we see Moya fired upon and hit by a Sheyang vessel, but we never see her escape – presumably she StarBursted away. Talyn can be panicked and confused by random broadband transmissions beamed at him. He chooses Crais as Captain and implants a Neural Transponder in his neck, which allows him to share Talyn’s mind and systems in much the way Pilot shares Moya’s. He has guns that can be deployed in the control room. He is now mature enough to StarBurst on his own.

Farscape, Mind the Baby

The Ballad Of Aeryn And John: John asks Aeryn how many times they’ve been close and she whispers ‘just that once’ embarrassed that D’Argo might hear. She must be referring to the night they spent together in ‘A Human Reaction.’ John’s embarrassed too and only meant in terms of being friendly. When she leaves for Talyn they again refuse to say goodbye, but they lock hands and their look says everything. When she’s back on Moya at the end, she and John sit in Pilot’s den and discuss Talyn – they’re cuddled up together, John’s playing with her hair and they’re relaxed in a way they’ve never been before.

Worlds Apart: This asteroid field is full of surprises, first a lush plant world and now a mining colony with a breathable atmosphere.

Farscape, Mind the Baby

Alien Encounters: From references made by Chiana and Zhaan, they have had an adventure off screen. There was some sort of trial on a planet called Litigara when Moya refused to abandon her remaining crew. This adventure will be seen in ‘Dream A Little Dream’; also see Backstage below.

Disney On Acid: John after Talyn fires on Moya: ‘Let’s get that boy some guidance before he turns into a full-blown Menendez Brother.’ The Menendez brothers were two boys who killed their own parents in the U.S. and were the subject of a very high profile trial.

Logic Leaps: Scorpius’ strategy seems flawed – he let Aeryn collect John and D’Argo because he was afraid John would not be taken alive, but how could John have killed himself stuck in a spacesuit, short of removing the helmet? And why is he more likely to be taken alive during a forced boarding of Moya by lots of troops, when he will presumably be armed and likely to shoot himself rather than be taken? It seems that his strategy was devised as an excuse to get out of the cliffhanger and it doesn’t hold up.

Farscape, Mind the Baby

Bloopers: In the originally broadcast version, a hand can be seen holding the cable with Talyn’s neural transponder on it. It has been painted out for repeats, Video and DVD releases.

Backstage: The first episode filmed, which was intended to be the season premiere, was ‘Re:Union.’ At the last minute, the second episode, ‘Mind The Baby,’ was brought forward to start the season. ‘Re:Union’ was recut and eventually emerged as 208, ‘Dream A Little Dream.’ As a special treat, the original cut of ‘Re:Union’ was shown by the SciFi channel in the U.S. and there is an examination of the differences between it and 208 in the episode guide for ‘Dream A Little Dream.’ As originally planned, the season would have begun with Chiana, Zhaan and Rygel alone, searching for their shipmates, and Crichton and the others would only have appeared in dream sequences. The references made to Litigara (see Alien Encounters) relate to this adventure.

Farscape, Mind the Baby

The Verdict: This is all as expected. All the cliffhangers are resolved, some more satisfactorily than others, and by the end the series has embarked on a new direction – again they are fugitives, and again Crichton is being pursued by ‘an insane military commander’ but this time it’s Scorpius, and he’s not after revenge, but the wormhole knowledge in Crichton’s head. Talyn is out there too, which adds a nice unpredictable element to the proceedings. There’s bags of emotion on display as the crew are all overjoyed to reunite and heartbroken when they may have to part again. Talyn emerges as a character in his own right, and Scorpius looms large, too. However it’s hard not to conclude that beginning the season with ‘Re:Union,’ postponing the resolution of the cliffhanger, and toying with our expectations, would have been a more courageous, satisfying and daring thing to do. As it is, this feels like a lot of boxes are being ticked but not many risks taken – but then again, that’s always the problem with the concluding part of multi-episode stories and this is by no means a bad episode.

Farscape, Mind the Baby

Verdict Re-dux: The improvement in pacing now that they don’t shoot extraneous material is immediately apparent. My wife was certain we’d missed an episode, so abruptly was Crichton and D’Argo’s off screen rescue dealt with off screen – lord knows what she’ll make of  ‘Crichton Kicks.’ Overall it feels like an episode that’s putting pieces on a board to facilitate future games rather than a satisfying piece of drama in its own right.

Scott K. Andrews new book, School’s Out Forever is out very soon.


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