Deconstructing Moya

A Farscape Re-watch Project

Episode [2.09] – “Out of Their Minds”

Today, on Farscape

“I… sick… I… I… Huaaargh”
“Go on, go on, let it all out.”
“Oh no, that’s alright, we do that sort of thing all the time here on Moya. I just peed in the maintenance bay.”

Moya stumbles upon a crippled warship, but it decides to take retaliation against her. With the salvaged Peacekeeper Defense Screen only partially working, the remaining energy from the blast has some…unforseen consequences on the crew.


Wow. Just… wow.

I’m not even sure what to say about this one.

This is a body swap episode, which is certainly not a new idea, but I honestly think this is one of the most well done examples of it that I’ve seen. The acting on everyone’s part is superb (which almost goes without saying at this point), although Ben Browder as Rygel and Claudia Black as Crichton deserve special mention for being particularly brilliant even among all the others.

Bullet list, rescue me from fuzzy-minded writer’s block!

  • I’m really glad they didn’t keep the dual-voice thing beyond the minute or so after each swap. It was helpful to recognize who was who at first, but it would have been really annoying if it had kept going like that.
  • On that note, the idea of everyone wearing pictures of who they really were hanging around their neck was brilliant. Not only did it leave little chance of getting confused as to who was supposed to be who, but it also made the hilariously bizarre scene where the crew talks to Zhaan at the end even more crazy.
  • The episode has more than it’s share of squicky moments. Ew ew withered hand, ew ew ew sentient vomit what.
  • Seriously. Sentient acidic vomit. What.
  • The bird people are simultaneously gross, scary, and kind of adorable. Although they kind of look like one good punch would take their jaw clean off, since they seem to have a few very small stringy muscles holding them together.
  • Hello D’Argo/John slashfuel. Of course, it’s not really either of them in the scene, but by all appearances Rygel was seriously contemplating taking off in John’s body with Chiana in a D’Argo suit.
  • As funny as the above scene was, it also suggests Chiana may not be as serious in her feelings toward D’Argo as he is toward her.
  • It’s a very brief thing, but probably even more impressive than Ben Browder playing Rygel is Ben Browder playing Aeryn trying to play Crichton while talking to Zhaan. That thumbs up looks so awkward and forced.


I could continue Tessa’s post and list off the amazing moments and fantastic acting by everyone, but she covered all the important parts. The whole episode is amazing like that, and I’d simply end up just throwing my hands up in the air and say “Just watch the whole thing, it’s great”.

Of course, the out-of-body experiences everyone…experiences…is just the forefront of this episode. Behind it lies the real plot development. It’s almost overlooked as a throwaway plot point, but it’s there: Crais and Talyn are not going about and blasting people for the hell of it, and are actually taking the diplomatic route.

It’s a bit of unexpected news about the former Peacekeeper duo, and it opens up a lot of speculation. I don’t remember if it’s directly stated later on – as I said, my viewing of this show in its later seasons was sporadic at best – but it could be any number of things. Is Crais getting Leviathan compassion through the neural link? Is Talyn getting Peacekeeper discipline and control? Are they both calmer, more civilized people and their former psychoses were just hiding this fact? It could be pretty much anything.

It’s heartening for Zhaan to give them the benefit of the doubt, to posit that there is hope yet for Crais and Talyn, and that they can definitely take care of themselves without being a two-man wave of terror for the galaxy.

Also hidden in plain sight is further relationship building and bonding between the crew. There’s the obvious Canon Pairing that happens between D’Argo and Chiana, and between Crichton and Aeryn, but observe how Pilot deals with the body swap incidents. It’s one thing for him to say that he’s physically and mentally bonded to Moya, but when that link is severed and his body lost to him, you see his confusion and panic. And it’s a brilliant touch that he would be physically unable to deal with legs. Too often in Body Swap scenarios, writers stick to just personality quirks, leaving the rest in the realm of comfortable handwavium and not really addressing the physiological aspects. Not Farscape; Pilot is too different from his Sebaceanoid companions, and their bodies refuse to adapt to him, and even start rejecting his presence. He’s just too alien.

And notice the immense respect that D’Argo instantly gains for Pilot. Again, it’s one thing to know that Pilot interacts with Moya mentally and biologically, but it’s a lot more complicated to be forced to deal with it yourself. Before, everyone would just give Pilot commands and expect him to just do it. Now there are three people on board Moya who can sympathize with exactly what the process is; Aeryn, D’Argo, and Chiana.

I’m all for Pilot getting more respect. It’s about time.


  • Alright, I’ll mention the acting after all. Not only does every character have distinct physical mannerisms – Rygel’s steepling of his fingers and imperious stance, Chiana’s avian head and body movements, Crichton’s relaxed slouch – but their accents are all completely different. Everyone did fantastic with their roles (with the possible exception of Ben Browder’s Aeryn voice), but Gigi Edgely, Lani Tupu, and Claudia Black just shone. Especially Gigi; she handled both Pilot’s halting speech and D’Argo’s gruff-but-bland tones with considerable aplomb. And watching Claudia Black be Crichton was outstanding; her Midwestern American accent was spot on, and paired with her new slouching and slightly manic demeanor, it was poetry in motion.
  • I don’t think there’s a guy alive that wouldn’t wince when Rygel got…caught in the zipper.
  • Seriously, the fact that Pilot couldn’t handle legs was a stroke of genius, and an amazing touch on an otherwise outstanding performance.
  • DRDs are all sorts of electronics and appliances all rolled into one. Now they’re Polaroids.
  • I wouldn’t have given this appelation to Moya, but she’s kind of adorable. I really like the idea of her eagerly wanting to know everything that Pilot experienced away from his body.


It’s a well established fact that many men have a particular fondness for boobies. We look at them, dream about them, try to strike whatever bargain is needed that will allow us to come into physical contact with them. What’s not so established is the absolute, though often denied, fact that, dammit, we’re fascinated by what it would be like to actually own a pair. This is a fact the writers of the show show openly put on display as Crichton, now housed in the body of Aeryn, takes advantage of some alone time by unzipping her vest and jiggling away for all he’s worth. Being a fat man myself, I have boobies of my own that I can play with, yet it never quite matches the level of zeal on display here. Probably because I know, at the end of the day, that I’ll never be Claudia Black.


For those of you who stuck with me to the second paragraph, congratulations and many thanks. As I’m sure you’ve all gathered by now, this is the Freaky Friday episode that every other tv show in existence has been contractually obligated to attempt at least once since the release of a certain Jodie Foster cinematic opus. Bodies are swapped, minds are blown, but while every single version I’ve seen up till now has avoided the issue of gender-swapping gentile confusion, this is Farscape, where the people get freaky no matter whose suit they’re wearing. The best example? Aside from the happy fun bag good times mentioned above? Rygel in John’s body, uncertain of how to handle a fly so he can take a piss, so John, who’s in Aeryn’s body, has to help guide the Hynerian through it, right in front of everyone else. Oh dear sweet merciful Crom, what glorious discomfort we see on Aeryn/John’s face.

I’m sorry. I’m being silly. But it’s late and this episode was frelling hilarious. As the others have said, there’s a lot of really clever things going on. The realization of what it’s like to be in the Pilot’s seat. The truth behind Crais and Talyn’s attack. Chiana getting scared and trying to bail on the others. There is some fantastic stuff in there. Something else I’d like to point out is how John and Aeryn have gotten pretty close again. When the body switch initially happens, their first reaction is to identify one another and team up. Then, when everything is solved, they start rolling on the floor in a fit of laughing horseplay, before he talks about walking a mile in her shoes, and she talks about being in his pants. Can we officially say they’re a couple now, or are we waiting for her to wear his letterman jacket?

Anyway, great episode. Definitely one I’d hold up as a fantastic example of the zaniness Farscape does best. And before I forget…

Skeksis! In! Space-ace-ace-ace-ace!!!

Stark Unexplained Episode Count: 11


It’s been said, but I have to say it again: this episode has some seriously fantastic characterization. That each character was portrayed by another actor is amazing and awesome. That they nailed vocal tics, mannerisms, little gestures, and… odd habits. Looking at you, Rygel.

Running down the list: Anthony Simcoe as Chiana was flawless. Headbobs, vocal inflections, jumping from a purring whisper to yelling in half a second. The only thing he didn’t do was leap up on the furniture and squat suggestively. Claudia Black has some fantastic accent control in her voice and completely nailed Crichton’s exasperation. Her actions as Rygel are so authentic as to be genuinely disconcerting. Gigi Edgeley uses an impeccable accent as Pilot, complete with timing necessary to pull off his voice. Seriously want to know how she got the D’Argo growl. Lani Tupu, voicing not three but four characters, starts to get a bit of Crais into his Pilot voice when he’s portraying D’Argo, but only if you close your eyes and listen hard. His Chiana is hilarious. And… ah… have to look up his name, the puppets never get enough credit… Jonathan Hardy hits Crichton on the head from the first “bzzzzz”. Volume, inflection, awesome.

Yeah. Fantastic episode.

I may never look at red Jell-o the same way again. Augh.

Talyn and Crais… a difficult situation to analyze. Two warships approach each other, one overtly hostile and one apparently benign. One opens fire, and the other retaliates with overwhelming force. Were Crais’ intentions genuinely peaceful? Did he have some motive in approaching an armed vessel?

A few episodes ago, we saw the first long shot of Pilot’s Den. Now we get a long vertical pan. Those walkways to the doors hang over at least ten levels of similar walkways. The acrophobes may wish he’d turn the lights back down, that’s a loooong drop.

“I really liked being inside your body.” Not sure there’s anything I can say about that. Other than to agree with Noel, yes, they’re acting like official couples. Hooray!

Crichton’s hair: surprisingly flat. What does it take to trigger this season’s weirdness meter? Or is it a barometer for something else?

Total side note, this episode is on the disc that has the blooper reel. Watch it there, or catch it on YouTube. If only to catch D’Argo declaring his undying love for… someone. Any blooper with Anthony Simcoe is worth watching. Note, there is a spoiler for an upcoming episode at 5:30.

Episode [2.08]: Dream a Little Dream||Episode [2.10]: My Three Crichtons

5 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. Tessa

     /  February 11, 2011

    Trinkets, yes… pretty trinkets! *squawk* Power… great power… *squawk* Power in trinkets! *squawk*

  2. Another thing this episode shines….how well actors comprehended their distinctive characters , their personalities and manners and how they percived each other….Right after body swap when Browder tries to stand up on his legs he falls…Rygel never had long legs….then he requests his body back then selfishly tries to convince himself it is a dream ( when I woke up I would be surrounded by my royal cocubines ) Anthony Simcoe acts momentarily lost when Aeryn/Crichton calls him…Then he corners Crichton/Rygel trying to leave Moya and others….Crichton starts expolring female body assets of Aeryn….All these little things shows us how much actors as well as writers and producers contributed in this particular episode….

  3. Weston

     /  February 11, 2011

    Ikiss… will not… diiiiie! *dies*

    • Weston

       /  February 11, 2011

      Oh, okay. So if you’re on the page long enough that the CAPTCHA file reloads, the comment you were going to leave as a reply becomes a brand new thread.

      This is good to know.


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