Deconstructing Moya

A Farscape Re-watch Project

Episode [2.07] – “Home on the Remains”

Today, on Farscape

“Chiana, you’re a thief and a tralk, but you’re not a killer.”
“I’m evolving as an individual.”

The crew is out of food, so they swing by one of Chiana’s old stomping grounds: a mining colony set within the remains of a colossal dead space monster. Ickiness ensues.


Noel

This episode is gross. So gross that I await everyone else’s reviews with a somewhat wicked glee. You’ve got a society set within the decaying remains of an animal. Pustules that pop acid, which we witness, in detail, melting a person’s arm down to goo. John so hungry that he tries to eat his toothbrush worm, but he yaks it up into his hand and shoves those chewed bits into Rygel’s mouth. A pair of “mountain man” mining brothers with features that just scream inbreeding; stuff like doubles noses or a skull cleft that Chiana seductively fondles as though it’s genitalia.

It’s pretty ick. But John Crichton gets to boot a space bear in the nuttsack, so all that grossness is washed away by awesome.

It’s a very strange episode, and I like that we get to explore Chiana’s past a little. This is a backwater society where she nonetheless found friends and a lover, yet still broke his heart and emptied his pockets as she and her brother made their way out of town. We’ve know for a while that she doesn’t trust people and doesn’t give a second thought to using sex if it’s what she needs to do, but it’s interesting that this is all about her cutting ties with her old friends to protect her new ones. And not only does she join the others in rallying to help Zhaan (I’ll get to that in a second), but the relationship building between her and D’Argo takes the next step, and she reveals that she may not be as capable of cold blooded murder as her introductory episode would have us believe.

So, Zhaan. We’ve known for a while now that she’s a plant but, aside from the occasional photogasm, they haven’t really nailed that concept home until here. While the others are merely hungry, the lack of protein consumption is causing her to revert to a more instinctual creature, with buds erupting on her face, her eyes going from blue to yellow to red, and spores clouding the air around her. It plays on everyones’ allergies at first, then gets to the point where the ship needs to be flushed in order to prevent Moya from suffering permanent damage. And all the while, the increasingly hungry Zhaan is starting to fall back on those angry memories of the Peacekeepers who once imprisoned her. Peacekeepers like Aeryn, who was left behind to babysit the ailing Delvian.

It’s a very unique, unexpected, yet totally at home episode. There’s so many great little moments, many of which involve Rygel, who has to go into the mining pits himself when a cheater leaves him in debt by out-cheating his own cheating, or when his little hover chair has to support John as the aforementioned space bear slashes and roars beneath them, and they argue about the weight and even begin biting one another until it goes away. And then there’s D’Argo, balancing his growling heroics with his lovey-dovey crush on Chiana. Or Aeryn, who still looks amazing even as she’s red-eyed and sniffling snot. Or a poor little DRD being lost to the venting process.

And did I mention that John kicks the space bear in the balls? Because he totally does.

Stark Unexplained Episode Count: 9


Weston

First things first: A budong is huge. How such a thing could possibly be carnivorous is completely mindboggling, but it has teeth the size of Moya. I hope we never find out what it eats. My first thought would be space-krill, but this mouth looks more like that of a T-Rex than a blue whale.

There’s a really great establishing shot when the Away Team lands on the colony. A super long zoom from the budong exterior, past Moya, into the beastie’s interior, and into one super-tiny crevasse. And it’s open to space. Yes, ladies and gents, the budong is generating a nitrogen/oxygen gaseous mix faster than it can be vented to vacuum. They are breathing decomposing budong gas.

The entire series takes place on a living ship, but this episode is unquestionably the womb level. Moya has an internal skeleton that’s specifically designed to contain passengers. Every tunnel in this budong was carved through meat and organs. Eeeeeew.

Chiana spends most of the episode in a stitched leather ensemble that, according to the music, is somehow sexier than her usual fur and midriff. The problem: She’s wearing the outfit specifically to get her trelk on, and D’Argo is having absolutely none of it. This is the episode that pretty much solidifies their relationship.

Crichton grills the big fuzzy thing. He grills it. The oysters are crushed, but the rest of it is apparently meaty. And barbecues well. It’s just… would he have eaten it if it had been a little more sentient? What’s the threshold of tastiness? Dog-level intelligence is okay, but Sebacean is not. Unless you’re Rygel. Then everyone’s fair game. Zhaan’s “more please?” face is adorable.


Tessa

*locks herself in her room at the first sight of dentics and refuses to come out*


Kevin

This…is not my favorite episode of the series. I’ve been sitting here for hours – days, even – trying to figure out why it rubs me the wrong way; I mean, it’s got awesome Chiana backstory, great Rygel moments, and a fun monster mash with the space-gorilla. We even have final confirmation on the budding relationship between D’Argo and Chiana, although it’s been building up to this since the end of last season. All of these should have added up to an awesome episode, and yet it didn’t, and I couldn’t figure out why.

Then it hit me. It’s dull. Despite the amazing set design, despite great character interactions, nothing really happens. D’Argo and Chiana have been building up for episodes, and it feels almost anti-climactic when Chiana’s old friend questions him. “No, or not yet?” Rygel continues to be Rygel, and while his antics are wonderful distractions from major plot, they fall flat when they’re brought to the forefront. Aeryn and Zhaan engage once more in the already-tired “PEACEKEEPER BITCH” “NO U” dance that keeps being brought back in lieu of actual character development. Hell, even Crichton’s zany fish-out-of-water ideas don’t have the same effect they usually do. I mean, fried dentic? Grilled space-gorilla? Better hop off that crazy train, John, before you get us all in trouble.

It’s a shame, and I really wanted to like this one. We have some amazing aspects of Delvian biology that could have really shined as an A-plot, but it gets shoved to the side to deal with relationship drama and Chiana’s past coming to haunt her in really boring ways.

Things to note this episode:

  • Loved the accents of the Budong Miners. The halting speech patterns and emphasis on various places were a real treat, if a bit hard to understand at times.
  • HOLY CRAP MAN-EATING ZHAAN. This seriously would have been an awesome A-plot, you guys. Usually we have to worry about Hyper-Rage D’Argo, but that’s nothing compared to Hungry Hungry Delvian. Almost reminded me of M’Lee and her tragic slaughterfests.
  • Virginia Hey can act rings around almost everybody, but Claudia Black can take her roles and focus them like a laser, goddamn. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many facets of her acting ever. Compassion, fear, worry, and regret all rolled into one as she simultaneously tries to help Zhaan and keep her at arm’s length, and then gives the order to space her to save Moya. All while fighting massive allergies.
  • We love you, Rygel. Never change. “What, is he edible?”

Episode [2.06]: Picture If You Will||Episode [2.08]: Dream A Little Dream

7 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. Hell…One Caroline style Kiva….best barbecue in this part of town. Where is Tessa’s review ?

    Reply
    • It’s there, sort of. She had trouble sitting through this one, for the same reason I couldn’t show her Exodus to Genesis.

      Reply
  2. This episode brought up a few favorite themes of mine in Farscape. On Moya they need supplies of all kinds…There is no magic replicator. In this case without food they starve. That simple. They need to barter , bargain , purchase , hunt for supplies.

    Reply
  3. I have problems with this episode, too. I don’t think it is dull so much as Chiana really bothers me in this ep. She uses people unmercifully including the lady who was like a surrogate mother, B’sog (who deserved it), D’Argo, and even herself. Yes, it was for a good cause, but it just was nasty.

    I think that John coined one of the classic Farscape quotes in this ep: “Why is everything so hard? Nothing is easy.” I loved his battle with the keeva — leaping over the thing and then gutting it with the spikey door. I think also that the ep felt disjointed as none of the Moyans were acting in concert. There was the John and Rygel show, the Aeryn and Zhaan show, and the Chiana and D’Argo show and they didn’t seem to mix much. It was strange. And, my problem with the keeva was the guy in the Bear suit was not believable so I never felt John was in that much danger.

    The pussy acid things were yucky and the cut up bodies that showed up were so gross that I don’t blame Tessa one bit for squicking. I don’t watch this episode much because of the yuck aspects.

    Zaahn was awesome and I loved the fact that Aeryn exacerbated the problem by shining lights on her. Nothing went right for anybody.

    By the way, the accent is Aborigine according to the Companion book on Season 2. The wild wild west feeling was fun and poor Rygel getting cheated was retribution. We learn what a budong eats in the Third Season, don’t we?

    Reply
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