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Farscape Rewatch: “Home on the Remains”

Home on the Remains
Written by Gabrielle Stanton and Harry Werksman Jr, directed by Rowan Woods
Season 2, Episode 7

1st US Transmission Date: 16 June 2000
1st UK Transmission Date: 7 August 2000
1st Australian Transmission: 13 December 2001

Guest Cast: John Brumpton (B’Sogg), Justine Saunders (Altana), Rob Carlton (Vija), Hunter Perske (Temmon), Gavin Robins (Keedva)

Synopsis: Moya is out of food, and Zhaan is so hungry that she is beginning to bud, so Chiana leads them to the corpse of a Budong (see Alien Encounters) and the mining colony that burrows in the corpse for valuable crystals. She is intending to renew her acquaintance with Temmon, a miner she lived with and stole from when she was last here, but he has been attacked by a Keedva and sprayed with acid from a Budong pustule, so she kills him to stop his suffering.

Temmon’s brother, B’Sogg, declares the mine closed until the Keedva is killed. B’Sogg, who Chiana once rejected in favour of Temmon, agrees to feed Moya’s crew with fungi and lichen, but will not help Chiana. The lichen will not help Zhaan, who is now too far gone to survive without meat. B’Sogg has meat, but it is hidden in the mine and he won’t give it to John without being paid in crystals.

Farscape, Home on the Remains

Chiana’s old friend, Altana, has found a rich seam but cannot mine it because B’Sogg has closed the mine – she and Chi suspect B’Sogg of killing Temmon as an excuse to close the mine so he can jump Altana’s claim. Altana and D’Argo go to mine crystals to buy food, but the Keedva kills Altana. John follows B’Sogg to his meat locker but B’Sogg is controlling the Keedva, and sets it on John. John kills the Keedva. Chiana kills B’Sogg.

On Moya, Zhaan’s budding releases so much pollen and so many spores that it threatens to blind Moya permanently. Zhaan becomes psychotic and leaves her quarters. Aeryn locks herself in command and Pilot vents Moya’s atmosphere into space to expel the spores and save Moya. Luckily Zhaan is also in control, hiding. Aeryn knocks her out and then John and the others return, cook the Keedva, and chow down, saving Zhaan.

That Peacekeeper Bitch: ‘Oh, that’s just great. I get to stay onboard with the blooming blue bush, and you get to play with your favourite little tralk’ — Aeryn’s opinion of Chiana is obviously not high. She tries to help Zhaan by mixing a salve, but it burns her; she bathes her in light because she thinks it’ll help, but of course it accelerates the process. And again that streak of ruthlessness – when Moya’s on the verge of permanent damage she gives the order to vent the atmosphere, even though she knows Zhaan will almost certainly die as a result. She does ask for forgiveness, but she’s not exactly crying about her decision. And when Zhaan does reveal herself to be alive and more than a little angry, Aeryn headbutts her unconscious as soon as her guard’s down.

Farscape, Home on the Remains

Big Blue: ‘It wasn’t pleasant reverting back to such a primitive, vicious state.’ All Zhaan’s repressed savagery surfaces as she buds, and she begins to distrust Aeryn. She later apologises for almost killing her and Aeryn accepts that she wasn’t responsible.

When threatened by famine, Delvians begin to bud. This process attracts animals, but the buds are poisonous. The animals are killed, the Delvians eat the animals, and the protein stops the budding process and saves their lives. Delvians can also levitate, as Zhaan does in Control – this may be something they can only do during budding, however.

Farscape, Home on the Remains

I Was A Teenage Luxan: D’Argo’s allergies reappear (last seen in ‘Bone To Be Wild’). He tries to protect Chiana but she resents it, telling him she doesn’t need another brother. For a guy who’s so decisive in battle, he certainly takes his time plucking up the courage to tell Chi how he feels.

Buckwheat the Sixteenth: John’s new name for Rygel is Slug-Monkey. Rygel refuses to eat the lichen and gambles at a game called Deemo, even though he has no money. His opponent, Vija, throws him into the mine to get some crystals to pay his gambling debt. When John’s running from the Keedva he hangs onto Rygel’s Thronesled and it’s powerful enough to keep them both just out of reach for a little while. Rygel wants John off, though, so he bites his fingers. John retaliates by biting Rygel’s ear and then headbutting him.

Farscape, Home on the Remains

Your Favourite Little Tralk: ‘I do what I have to do to survive… I can only let go when I feel safe.’ Chiana spent some time in the Budong mining colony with her brother Nerri, and she was originally intending to use his death (‘Taking The Stone’) as a means of getting Temmon’s sympathy. She kills Temmon without a moment’s hesitation because she knows how gruesome the acid death is, but when it comes to killing B’Sogg, she can’t shoot him in cold blood and he knows it. However, her decision to shoot an acid pustule, drench him in the stuff and then walk away as he dissolved was way, way worse and settles once and for all the question of whether Chiana is a killer. She had good friends in the camp too – the fact that Altana is willing to share her crystals with Chiana speaks volumes for Chiana’s loyalty. Altana says she’s ‘a wild one, but she’s got a heart of gold.’

The Ballad Of Chiana And D’Argo: D’Argo’s jealous when he sees how Chiana uses her sexuality to get what she wants, but he’s put off because of the way she treated Temmon – loved him, stole from him, left. He quizzes Altana about Chiana to help him decide upon his next move, and back on Moya he tells her that she is safe and he kisses her, which elicits a stunned ‘woah.’

Farscape, Home on the Remains

In The Driving Seat: Pilot’s connection to Moya is still ‘less than optimal’ (‘The Way We Weren’t’)

A Ship, A Living Ship: Moya is hugely allergic to Zhaan’s micro-pollen and spores. It takes an arn to re-pressurize the ship once it’s been opened to space.

Alien Encounters: Budongs are huge animals that live in space. Although their flesh is poisonous, they are a source of valuable Nogelti crystals, and prospectors set up mining colonies deep inside their gargantuan carcasses. Carnivorous creatures called Keedvas also live inside Budong corpses and feed on the miners. Budongs develop acid-filled pustules as they decompose, and miners must be careful to avoid them, for once the acid touches you it means slow, painful and certain death.

Farscape, Home on the Remains

Disney On Acid: When fighting the Keedva, John keeps up a flippant monologue until he decides ‘no more Captain Kirk chitchat.’ When Rygel goes gambling he calls him Maverick, after the TV show starring James Garner.

Get Frelled: Chiana is willing to trade sex for food, if that’s what’s required to help her shipmates.

Logic Leaps: How does the Budong support both gravity and an atmosphere? Why not freeze Zhaan like Rygel was frozen in ‘Thank God It’s Friday, Again’? Or put her in a space suit and zip it up?

WHAT did you just say? Things you won’t have heard Vija call Rygel during the BBC broadcast: ‘you little green ass, stinking, horny little bastard, I’m gonna kill you!’

Stats: You can’t eat Dentics, even fried. Keedvas, however, are finger lickin’ good.

Farscape, Home on the Remains

Guest Stars: John Brumpton played Magoo in the controversial film Romper Stomper, has gone on to appear in numerous TV shows and the recent film The Hunter; he’ll return to Farscape in ‘Mental as Anything’ playing Katoya. Justine Saunders, a recipient of the Order of Australia Medal for her work with the Aboriginal National Theatre, was probably best known as Pamela Madigan in Prisoner: Cell Block H. This was one of her final roles before her death in 2007.

The Verdict: Again the show looks a million dollars, and the Keedva is that rarest of things – a TV monster that actually looks good when it steps out of the shadows. John’s fight with it is good old-fashioned Captain Kirk action, as he admits, and the bite-fight between him and Sparky is hilarious and not a little brutal. In fact this is not an episode to watch while eating your lunch, featuring as it does acid wounds, dissolving flesh, bursting pustules, skewered monsters, the graphic deaths of Altana and Temmon, and a lot of headbutting – no wonder it was the only episode of Farscape to get an 18 rating in the U.K.. Zhaan’s budding process is fun and threatening, as is watching Aeryn try to help and getting it all wrong. The Budong is a good idea too, and will appear again. But somehow the episode is less than the sum of its parts and drags at times, takes a little too long to get to the point, and B’Sogg is an all-too-obvious and strangely stilted bad guy.

Farscape, Home on the Remains

Verdict Redux: My wife and I normally watch Farscape while we eat our evening meal. This time, however, she didn’t even make it to the credits before she excused herself. This may be my most changed opinion yet. I was bored witless by the episode this time around and didn’t even feel the parts it was not the sum of were terribly interesting. It felt plodding, dull, predictable and the grossness of the body horror just felt like a desperate attempt to spice up an average script with something to make it stand out from the crowd. The concept is a great one, but nothing terribly interesting is done with it. And I thought John Brumpton really misjudged his performance. Yuk.

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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