Season 1, Episode 22: “Family Ties”
***** out of *****
“You want the leviathan, the leviathan gunship-offspring, the other escaped prisoners, the defector Aeryn Sun, and especially you want the one called Crichton. Well, I want my freedom. Interested?”
So we’re at the first season finale. The crew struggles for a way to escape from Scorpius with both Moya and her baby unharmed. Rygel and Crais try to defect. Crais succeeds and runs off with the baby while Moya starbursts away and Crichton, D’Argo, and Aeryn are stranded.
This is really the best episode so far, but it couldn’t BE the best without so much that’s come before it. Everyone is pressed into a corner here and making extreme choices because they’re out of options. Yet without earlier episodes, we wouldn’t be nearly so engaged in the situation. As it is, I can still remember when it first aired; after the episode ended I immediately told a friend and fellow fan and said, “Watch the finale NOW!”
Despite it being the last episode of the season, the episode has a number of Farscape firsts: It’s the first mention of Aeryn’s mother, as well as her and her father’s choice to have her. It’s the first time Crichton has caused mass destruction. It’s the first mention of Scorpius being a Scarran half-breed.  On the other end of the spectrum, it’s the last time we see John’s dad’s ring.
It’s arguable that Crais gets more development in this episode than he has to date. His seeking asylum aboard Moya is a great ironic twist. Things have come a long way since episode one. After a season-long chase, Crichton and Crais have their confrontation not a showdown, not in a battle, not a gunfight, but in a quiet conversation between bars. It’s a character moment, and it works so well, because both actors, both characters, are fully engaged.
A lot of shows would create tension and interest with a lot of action. This episode does it nearly all with character interaction and circumstance. The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been. Moya’s crew is cornered, their lives are at stake, as is Moya’s and her baby’s. They’re struggling–and failing at every turn–to find any way out that doesn’t require at least one person’s death, and nearly every interaction amid the crew is one that underscores the feeling that they’re all gone to die or never see each other again very, very soon. When the action does come at the end–and even then it isn’t so much an action set-piece, the pot is nearly boiling over…and then someone steals Talyn away and lights the fire on the whole emotional powder keg. It’s one of the most emotional TV cliffhangers that I’ve ever encountered.
I have to admit that when Pilot announced that someone has boarded Talyn, in the split second before they cut to Rygel still there on Moya, I thought it was Rygel who was trying to make off with Talyn. After all, he’d already done it once that episode, right? Okay, maybe I’m slow. But it was the last time I ever gave Crais the benefit of the doubt for the entire run of the show.
Fantastic episode. And too many good quotes to pick just one.
“It may not matter. D’Argo’s unconscious.”
Where the hell did Chiana get all of that food? (To say nothing of the time to make it!) And how come Crais got to go to the feast but Crichton didn’t? Did the DRDs mix up the invites?
We learn that the Aurora Chair would apparently kill Hynerians instantly. Possibly even if they have a booster-seat.
 I love that it starts out with Rygel already aboard a transport pod and rocketing his way toward betraying the others to save his own skin.
 “Scarran” was originally just supposed to be a throw-away alien species, but obviously it became a lot more than that…
 Black delivers Aeryn’s, “Crais, you listen to me now! You stop what you are doing and you leave the ship NOW!” in such a way as to be heart-wrenching even after having seen it multiple times before.
 “Sparky, Spanky, Fluffy, Buckwheat the 16th…”
 So here’re some more!
“I am a Dominar of action!”
“Fear accompanies the possibility of death. Calm shepherds its certainty.”
“You went there to sell us out, Rygel.”
“You bet your shiny blue ass I did. But I didn’t. So make the most of it now.”
“I thought I would live much longer.”
“I never thought I would live this long.”
“You saved my life.”
“Pass it on. When someone else needs it, return the favor.”
“We all have windows of usefulness. If we don’t take advantage of them, our careers may fade. For example: My instincts tell me that your career may well be on the rise.”
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