|"A Human Reaction"|
John finally returns to Earth, but all is not as it seems...
Click here to read the Farscape World synopsis for this episode.
In A Human Reaction, writer Justin Monjo puts John in one of his most precarious situations yet: back on Earth. Just how will he react to returning home? It's easily one of Farscape's best journeys yet, with a stellar performance by the entire cast, particularly Ben Browder who has slipped into the role of John Crichton seemingly with such ease. This episode also marks the beginning of a change in the entire series, as we finally get a glimpse into John's head, and what he thinks of everyone and everything.
It all opened as a wonderful little affair, with Chiana and Zhaan continuing their bickering from the end of the previous episode (Durka Returns). Moya stops dead, and Pilot summons him to command. You see something has just appeared right in front of Moya, and it's a wormhole – the very same thing that brought John to this part of the galaxy in the first place. Obviously he has to go through, and we see one of the most touching scenes yet to take place, as the crew (minus newcomer Chiana) say goodbye to the man who they can probably safely call a friend. It's tears abound, and the most beautiful moment would have to be the looks that Aeryn and John exchange, with little need for the standard goodbye. John leaves, but it also says a lot about how far they've come that John is finally faced with the chance to go home and he hesitates so much. He's clearly fearful, after all he is about to go back to his world, which in all probability has changed considerably since he left, plus the fact that he was presumed lost, just how will he be received? But D'Argo steps up to the plate and quells his fears, saying he must take the opportunity or he'll regret it for the rest of his life. So off John goes, leaving Moya forever. I will also say that the look on every one of their faces just says it all, revealing the loss that they feel thinking they will never see John again.
So John crash lands on the Australian coast (how convenient...), and his reaction is just perfect. "Hello sky" he exclaims, looking up at the sky for the first time in months. He just seems completely overwhelmed that he's finally home, and the shot of the waves, and the sunlight really set the scene brilliantly. But it's not all good, as he's taken to a military base and examined. Then, because they think the translator microbes are a virus, they bring in numerous different foreigners to force him to translate what they say. Eventually he decides enough is enough, when his dad walks in. You can just see how happy John is to see his father, but his dad has to be precautious, and questions him. He passes, and they hug, which is just another beautiful moment.
Then some more visitors arrive, in the form of Aeryn Rygel and D'Argo. Apparently Earth disappeared when John entered the wormhole, so Aeryn wanted to investigate, but it pulled them through. They also get locked up, and Wilson wants to know everything. But it all goes a bit pear-shaped, and the episode is turned on its head, when Rygel is taken away. John finds him, but he's unfortunately been dissected and is now dead. So John goes and has a go at Wilson, who says he won't stop. John just can't believe this, and when he tells D'Argo and Aeryn he admits that they must have killed Rygel to study him, and he can't quite believe it, how the entire military is freaking out. Then after he's had words with his dad, he goes and finds Aeryn has escaped, and D'Argo is gone. He makes an important decision at that moment, that he will not leave Aeryn and will do everything he can to help her. As he says to his father, they're his friends, and that's and important point to make in the series, they have come very far, and now really are friends.
Aeryn and John go on the run, and might I say that the way Claudia Black played Aeryn's reaction to rain was just phenomenal. Having never experienced it, this one thing that we take for granted with such regularity just amazes this one person. It was fantastic. Anyway, they went off to the hideaway, although Aeryn stays true to her Peacekeeper roots and doesn't trust John's father. Still, they stay there and what happens? Well with John depressed and Aeryn uncertain, they sleep together! Yes, they kiss, and then go to bed. But did they do it? Well, I'm not sure, and no definite answer is given but I'm sure this scene made millions of fans happy, and hints at further developments between them. The next morning, John's dad returns and says no one will help him at all, so they have to get out of here. After a sweet goodbye John leaves, and Aeryn even says something that seems like a thank you to his father too.
One of the great other things about this episode was the constant hints that everything was not as it seems. All the magazines were seven months old, lots of people John had seen before were there, he'd been to every place, and the subtlety when his father says "thank you Aeryn Sun" when he shouldn't have even be able to understand what she said at all. So outside they went, and again Ben Browder is outstanding as he comes to the realisation that all is not as it seems, because all the hints come to a close and he goes back to his "father" who explains the truth: everything was manufactured from John's memories to test how humans would react if these aliens, the Ancients, were to go to earth to co-habit the planet. Although this could have been a bit of a cop out, I think it worked extremely well in the context of the story, and also drops in something that we don't actually see which is used as a driving force virtually for the rest of season one and most of season two.
I will always remember A Human Reaction for marking the beginning of a huge change of direction in the series, because you just know that John will never be the same again. It gets darker, weirder, and quite frankly, even better from here on in. This is the first episode where we really see how the characters think. It's just a roller coaster ride of emotion, which is unsurprising when you consider Justin Monjo wrote the episode, and it's astonishingly directed by Rowan Woods. It's edgy, harsh and real. This truly is one of Farscape's best so far, and comes oh so close to a five, but just, and I do mean just doesn't make it. It's easily one of the season's best, and a big, big favourite.
I love to hear your views, whether you agree or disagree, so feel free to e-mail me your feedback. Review by Dani Moure.
Did You Know?
It's convenient that Crichton just happened to crash land on the Australian coast, when the show just happens to be shot there!
This episode is one of the cast and crew's favourites, because of how it advances the characters and series as a whole.
The Ancient was actually a puppet, and was moved by puppeteers standing against a green screen, and then they were digitally removed in postproduction.
Originally the weather was supposed to be sunny, but when they filmed Aeryn and John it was in the rain and Claudia Black came out with Aeryn's line about it, and director Rowan Woods just embraced it.
The Hidden Memory
Won't Get Fooled Again
John: (Looking out a window) "Look at that."
John: "That's it. Earth. Minus the sunshine."
Aeryn: "You know, you were right. It's actually very beautiful."
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