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"Terra Firma"
Finally back on Earth, John is forced to confront his family, feelings, and his home planet...

Click here to read the Farscape World review for this episode.

CONTINUED FROM KANSAS

Before Jack can answer the question, "Was it a bass, or a trout?", Sikozu steps out and tells John that they are not impostors – DRD scans confirm that they are humans. "It's me, son. It's all right, you're home," Jack says reassuringly. "You're alive. And if that wasn't miracle enough, this ship is actually a living organism?" "Yes, she is," John replies. Jack then points to Sikozu as being another alien life form. John asks how they got up to Moya, and Jack tells him they sent a shuttle to open communications, and everyone at IASA had a coronary when Sikozu answered, in English. "She's too smart," John says of Sikozu, when T.R. Holt introduces himself as Special Advisor to the President. He congratulates John on first contact with extraterrestrial life. John chuckles, and calls out the others. As they step of the ship, John warns him, "just don't make any sudden moves." The American officials look on in amazement.

Sikozu tells John that Moya arrived in orbit 42 days ago, and John tells her that some time dilation may have occurred. John asks where Scorpius is. She tells him he is in a pod at the far end of this wormhole, transmitting a signal so that they can get back. John tells her that she can stop pimping for him any time, prompting her to ask what is wrong with him. "These are your people," she points out, "Or do you think they pose us a threat?" "No, it's the other way around."

John is sitting on a pier back home in America, writing in his diary. He realises he's finally back home, and thinks that seeing his friends and family again is so... normal. We see him meeting DK and wife Laura, DK saying he finally won her over. He figured Earth word freak out, and sure enough, it delivered on time in 30 minutes or less. The crew is being contained at a waterfront mansion with full security teams standing by; it's a cage, but at least a gilded one. "Of course, the suits are more interested in the technology. No surprise there." So they let them look, but they just can't comprehend it, not yet. Some VIPs have accepted translator microbes, but even they won't help some people listen, not that you can blame them. But the alien life's not been going too crazy; his family's been helping out. His sister Olivia is hanging with them, and his cousin Bobby is totally fascinated by the ETs. We see Bobby filming Chiana and Sikozu as they sit in the garden, Chiana wanting to go out and "make friends". Meanwhile, Rygel and Noranti are trying out the "cop porn", and are the happiest.

T.R. Holt is not happy. John is trying to convince them that a trip on a spaceship with 500 of Earth's best would be a good idea. T.R. gives the line that the Farscape project was and is an American initiative and so they should reap the first benefits of it, a line uttered by John's father. John is adamant that it must be shared, or no deal. T.R. tells him that Jack has been made IASA's Project Director for Extraterrestrial Studies, it's dynamite PR, and he tells John not to screw it up for his father. "That's a nice suit. Do you have to buy that or does it come standard issue?" John asks.

This brings him to his Dad. Jack's world is upside down, so he's trying to make it right side up by putting up Christmas decorations, even though it's Florida and the whole block is cordoned off by security. "Family traditions. They're supposed to bring us together, and to make everything normal."

"So you do this every cycle?" Aeryn asks. "Year. Every year," John corrects her. Jack says it's always been their favourite holiday. John recalls that he loved that Christmas where Jack lit the fireplace and the smoke came down because Mr Jingles, their cat, was in the flue. "A cat?" Aeryn asks, looking at its picture. "Yeah, it's a pet," John replies. "Does he talk?"

Jack brings out a decoration that John's mother used to love, that John made when he was five, prompting John to ask if they'll break out the bare-assed baby photos next. Olivia and Jack surmise that's not a bad idea, and even Aeryn is up for seeing them. John pouts, but is quickly distracted by the doorbell. He answers, and it's Caroline with a special delivery from Christmas past. She gives him a lingering kiss, and welcomes him back to terra firma. "Hey, um... Caroline's here," John announces, as Aeryn watches in dismay.

John realises that things have changed; you don't get to close your eyes and pretend they haven't. Everyone's telling him how different he is, and they're right, but they don't have a clue why. And they can't know what he's done, seen, or what's been done to him. They can't know what's out their waiting, and he can't tell them because they wouldn't believe him. Caroline joins him on the pier. It's supposed to be his weekend off, but he's doing homework. He reluctantly submits to another kiss.

At the Crichton home, John is sitting on a couch with popcorn, watching a television report about the panic the aliens have created. His Dad joins him, saying Holt says it's bad on the political front. Every nation is demanding equal information from the aliens. John thinks this is inevitable, but Jack doesn't see why they should be given access. He thinks John is being na´ve, and the safest thing to do would be keep it in America. "Space travel was your dream to unite mankind. When did that change?" John asks.

"September 11th," Jack replies, "This isn't the same world you left four years ago, son. People don't dream like they used to. It's about survival now." "Whose survival?" "Olivia's survival. And Susan and Frank and Bobby's. Imagine them blown up by a suicide bomb or coughing up blood from a poison gas attack. This country is under siege. You just don't understand the global situation." John asks if that's because he's been out of town, or Daddy's always right. Jack says that's not fair. Jack says John doesn't want to argue with anyone; just insist that he's right. He accuses John of being the most stubborn in the family, but then decides they should split the title. John tells him that he's going into space tomorrow, and invites him along unless he's too stubborn.

On Moya, Grayza's hunter, Skreeth, lurks in the darkness. Meanwhile, John, Bobby, Jack, D'Argo and Aeryn return. John introduces Bobby to 1812, as his and Jack's tour guide, and they go to see Pilot. D'Argo asks John if he can check wormhole stability from Command, or if he needs to go back outside. "No, Command will be fine," he says, having had enough EVA to last a lifetime. Aeryn tells D'Argo that the Prowler's systems all check out normal, and says she appreciates his keeping the scientists from damaging it. After a brief silence, D'Argo leaves the pair alone, saying he'll meet John on Command.

John tells Aeryn that if she has a problem with the IASA boys poking around her Prowler, she should just leave it behind, as they have enough to look at. "Would it be better if I stayed here as well?" she asks. "Why would you want to do that?" John replies. "I'm clearly not fitting in." "I'm clearly not fitting in." "You're fitting in as well as any of us are. Whatever, it's... up to you." "It's up to me?" she asks. "Yeah. Yeah, it's up to you." She says that she doesn't mind his scientists poking around her Prowler, and she can even field strip a cannon. "No, don't do that. Thank you, but don't do that – they've seen enough," John tells her. He asks her if she wants a hand with what she's doing, but refuses.

On the Command Carrier, Braca asks Grayza what the device she has in her hand is. She says it doesn't matter, as he wouldn't remember, and slaps it on his forehead. She calls Skreeth for its report, and it answers through Braca. Skreeth tells her they're orbiting Crichton's home planet, and got there through a wormhole. She tells Skreeth not to kill Crichton yet, but to learn all it can about the planet, its defences and its location first. Skreeth wants to interrogate John, but Grayza tells him that he's proved resistant thus far to many different forms of interrogation, and orders him to remain hidden for now. She disconnects Braca, who remembers nothing when he comes around. "We took a short break... for recreation," Grayza tells him, grasping his face. "I see," he says, surprised. She quickly changes to duty, and orders him to ready the ship to destroy a planet.

On Moya, John tells D'Argo that Moya is almost ready to leave, and D'Argo says that Pilot and Moya are looking forward to giving humans their first trip to the stars. He realises they're not going, and asks why John even asked. "To give them something, otherwise they'd try and take it," he replies. John holds some of the laka drug, and when D'Argo looks, John tells him not to look at him that way. He says D'Argo knows how paranoid his planet is. "Yeah, they don't like aliens," D'Argo says. "They don't like anybody," John says. "Glad to see you're taking a positive approach." John says they're giving them a few hints, then getting the hell out of there and hoping Earth will get its act together before the real space monsters show up.

Jack catches up with Aeryn, looking for John. She offers him a lift in her Prowler, and John joins them and tells his Dad to join her. Aeryn takes Jack to Saturn, and he savours the moment. John is brought up, and Aeryn comments that he must be happy to be back on Earth. "I don't know. He's having a tough time readjusting," Jack tells her. He hasn't talked much about what he's been through. "Not even about his shipmates?" Aeryn asks. Jack says that he's talked about their societies and customs, and Aeryn says John thinks that her species and humans may be linked. Jack says he wouldn't be surprised, and would think she was human if he didn't know better. "Well I'm not," Aeryn replies. "Do you wish you were?" he replies. "Why do you ask?" she says. Jack says she has feelings for John, and Aeryn asks if that shocks him. He says no; it might if he thought of her as an alien life form, but he doesn't. He says that John hasn't said anything, but he believes John has feelings for her. "He did," Aeryn replies, "Now..." Jack says that now, he's home, and that is one of the things he'll have to figure out, just to give him time.

In the mansion, Sikozu is having a spat on the phone, not wanting to have an x-ray. Rygel tells her to eat something; she'll feel better. She says she wants to go back to Moya, and Chiana gives her a present to give to Pilot. Noranti starts singing a Christmas song, very badly, with Chiana joining in. Sikozu grabs the book from her and throws it aside in frustration.

Jack tells John how amazing his trip was, and it was the best Christmas present he got except for the tie-rack John gave him when he was in junior high school. This leads John to Holt, who is still fighting him on the explorer selection plan and the tech issues. "I could use a little support," he tells Jack. Jack says he's always supported John as much as he could, but right now he's not looking at the bigger picture. "You don't see the big picture," John says, "You can't conceive of it." He says that Earth has to work together on this, but Jack says he's asking the impossible. "Impossible. 'Impossible is not in our vocabulary.' Who said that? You. You did," John says, "Four days before you set foot on the moon. You taught me to believe that. That belief kept me alive. Please tell me you still believe it." Looking a little distressed, Jack replies, "I'm not sure what I believe anymore."

DK and Laura talk to John about "all this crap" he's tacked on to his module, saying it's theoretically impossible and can't work. John says that theory is wrong, but he can't tell them how it works because he didn't design it, only installed it; that's for them to figure out. Laura tells him they need something, but John reaffirms his position that he can't tell them what he doesn't know. DK asks why the brought the ships then, and Laura asks what he's on the track of, having asked for a metallurgic analysis of the ships. "It's just a riddle," John says, "Why do Prowler pilots turn to goo?" He then leaves to get some coffee.

As DK and Laura leave with a security escort, DK tells her that something's going on. Laura is sure he's holding out on them, while DK speculates that he just wants all the glory for himself. As they're about to get in the car, they are attacked by Skreeth, who kills the escort and "interrogates" Laura and DK. It tells Grayza that it can guarantee that not all of Crichton's species have his ability to withstand interrogation, and also that John has yet to share the wormhole knowledge with anyone. Skreeth says the knowledge can die with Crichton. "Not until I have that knowledge," Grayza insists. Skreeth is confident that John can be captured, but doubts he can bring Crichton to her. Grayza says she can't get to Skreeth either, since the journey to Earth is obviously impractical without wormhole travel. "Then our best alternative is to seize him, learn what we can from him, then execute him," Skreeth tells Grayza. She is forced to agree, and when she says she needs nothing more from the captors, DK and Laura are summarily executed.

John is at home, looking through a photo album, when Olivia comes home from her shopping trip with aliens. She asks him what's wrong, as he looks subdued, but he says "nothing." "Do you want to go live in the past?" she asks. "No thank you, I've been there." "Well, where do you want to live?" she asks. "I don't know. You tell me. Where do I belong?" He says he looks at these pictures and recognises the faces, some of the places, but it's not his life. He points to his Mum and says he misses her. He points to Olivia and says he misses her. He then points to his Dad and says the same, but he's changed. "What, he's changed so much that you can't talk to him?" Olivia asks. She says he says the same thing about John, that he's changed so much. John says he has changed, and he can't tell him why. "Why not?" John says it's because he works for Extraterrestrial Studies and what he hears, the government hears. She asks if John means that Dad can't keep a confidence. "I mean, there was a mistake," John replies, "It was an accident. And it shouldn't have happened. And there were things that the government cannot hear." She asks if it's bad, which John denies, and does a quick take off of E.T.

Aeryn brings some presents to the mansion, ensuring Crichton isn't there, since they're gifts for him. D'Argo says no, but his cousin is outside interviewing Caroline Wallace. Chiana comes in with presents, saying they're for John, but D'Argo says it won't get him back. Chiana says she will sooner or later, since some males can actually forgive, and "accidentally" knocks a present into D'Argo.

Bobby is filming Caroline, and asks how long she's known John. "I met him six years ago." Bobby then asks how long she's been his girlfriend, but when she spots Aeryn walking over, she tells Bobby to cut. Aeryn tells her not to stop; she's interested in the answer. Caroline asks if she'll tell her why she wants to know. "That's fair," Aeryn replies, "John and I were in a relationship." Caroline asks what kind. "It was complicated," she says. Caroline says she and John had a much simpler one – just casual times. But that was before. "And now?" Aeryn asks. She says that he doesn't even want that much. "But he's been spending time with you," Aeryn comments. Caroline says she thinks he's been testing himself, working out what he really wants, and it isn't her. "I'm sorry," Aeryn says. "No you're not," Caroline replies. She asks if Aeryn still wants him. "Yes, but it doesn't matter. He doesn't want me either." Caroline thinks he does. When she asked about Aeryn, he said there was nothing going on. Aeryn says that's a bad thing, but Caroline says she has a lot to understand about humans. Sometimes when we repeat something so much it's because we're trying to convince ourselves of the truth. And that is that John still loves Aeryn, very much.

The other side of the wormhole, Sikozu has joined Scorpius in another transport. Her head is bruised, because the journey was turbulent. Following his guidance signal was a great help. She realises that he is trying to turn the pod into a bomb. He tells her that the wormhole is traversable, therefore they can't have Grayza finding it. Sikozu asks if he thinks her Carrier will return, and he says his spy aboard has been unable to discern her current strategies. But should she return he will detonate the pod inside the mouth of the wormhole, which should destabilise it. "But how would you survive it?" Sikozu asks. He replies, "I wouldn't survive it." She says he would have a better chance of destabilisation with two pods, and he grabs her, asking if she would like to observe the sequence.

Down on Earth, D'Argo tells John that Sikozu went back through the wormhole, but said she's not going to return to Earth. John says that's good, but no comms. Meanwhile, Holt is trying to persuade Jack to make John bend, because he's getting an earful. The joint chiefs want to classify the technology as a national security risk and impound it, but Jack says John won't allow that; he'd take it away instead. Holt says all he's asking for is a compromise. Chiana is drinking champagne, and tells John this isn't a very fun party.

Jack calls everyone to attention, and gives a speech. "I once told my son that he'd get the chance to become his own kind of hero. Well, he got it. And he made the most of it. I also taught him to stick to his guns when he thought he was right, so I can't fault him when he does. I've heard it said that he should accept our judgement over his because he owes us. I've even said it myself. We're wrong. Look at the friends he discovered, the miracles he brought and then ask yourself what he owes us as compared to what we owe him. Now, John insists that we share these wonders with the rest of the world. But some people are afraid of what'll happen if we do. John's afraid of what'll happen if we don't, and I'll go with that. So as IASA's Project Director for Extraterrestrial Studies, I hereby invite all nations to participate in the ongoing Farscape mission." The room applauds.

After, John asks what made him change his mind, and Jack tells him because he believes in John. John tells him that means a lot, and there're a lot of things they should talk about. Jack says it's Christmas Eve, so John says it'll keep. They get into a car, but Skreeth holds on to the back and camouflages.

Aeryn arrives at Johns house, and tells Olivia that she knows she's preparing a private dinner so she won't stay long. She asks if John's here yet, and Olivia says no. Aeryn returns the clothes Olivia lent her, because she's more comfortable in her regular attire. She also brought back the books she borrowed, and tells Olivia she really appreciates it – everything. Olivia asks if she's leaving, and Aeryn says possibly. Olivia confirms that Aeryn will at least be here in the morning with the rest of them to open presents. "I may not," Aeryn replies. She says nothing bad happened, she's just needed on Moya for a while. The conversation is interrupted by the oven's timer, and Olivia goes to see to it.

Meanwhile, Chiana, who's a little tipsy, is flirting with one of the officials. D'Argo drags her to the parking area, and says "Don't you know all humans are bigots? They fight even amongst their own species." Chiana suggests that may be why they barely left their own planet. D'Argo smells something bad, and spots the dead bodies of Laura and DK.

John and Jack arrive back home, and Aeryn apologises to John for being here, she just had to return something to Olivia. "Do you want me to go back to Moya?" she asks. "We've already talked about this," he replies, "It's entirely up to you." "Fine, I'll go with what you prefer," she replies, "Look... I'm not trying to pressure you, John. I'm actually trying to take the pressure off. Would you be happier if I wasn't here on Earth? You don't have to justify it or explain it. Just give me an honest yes or no." As she gets teary-eyed, Jack asks her if she'll join them for dinner. Aeryn says she couldn't impose, but Jack tells her there's always room for one more. She says it's a traditional family thing, but Jack says they'll start a new tradition; it's up to her but they'd love to have her. John asks for some eggnog, to try and get some more time alone.

As John goes towards Aeryn, almost as if they're about to kiss, Skreeth bursts through the door and attacks Olivia and Jack. The escort shoots, but his gun has no effect. Aeryn pulls out her pulse pistol and sustains fire, but Skreeth camouflages again. Skreeth comes up behind and bits on Aeryn's pistol. John makes the save, and as the combat continues Aeryn tells John to go upstairs and get Winona. Braca relays to Grayza that Skreeth has grabbed John's leg. Skreeth vanishes again once John has Winona. Skreeth reappears and knocks John off balance, and they both fall over the banister. Aeryn comes round in the other room, and tells John to get clear, shooting the chandelier so it falls on Skreeth's face. John and Aeryn check on Jack and Olivia, who are both OK. Olivia asks what the hell that was, and Aeryn says she has no idea. D'Argo lands in his ship in front of the house, and just when Skreeth reappears, D'Argo fires.

On the Carrier, Braca screams, and falls to the floor. Aeryn gets up. "Well, merry frelling Christmas," she says. "Amen," John replies. Grayza tells Braca that was the best ever, and he says he's pleased he could server her. He asks if that will be all, and leaves her alone.

The crew, minus John, return to Moya. Rygel wants all the food to go to his quarters, and Chiana asks if the presents should go to John's. Aeryn says it's not the right time, while D'Argo helps, saying they'll leave as soon as John is back aboard. Aeryn, holding some laka, catches up with Noranti and asks what it is. Noranti says she doesn't know, but Aeryn says she thinks she made it. She is insistent. "It is to help him move on," Noranti says, "Surmount his feelings and forget." "Who?" Aeryn asks, while Noranti looks at her then turns away.

John is holding a ring. Olivia tells him she was going to give it to him for Christmas. It was their mother's, and she left it to her. Olivia says she wants him to have it, and Mum would've loved that. She tells him not to go, but he says he has to. They hug, and he kisses her, telling her to take care. Jack comes over, and tells him, "Stay." He says they'll guard the wormhole; nothing will get through. John says, "I have a job to do." Jack replies, "I don't want to lose you, son. I can't shake this felling that you're not coming back." "Oh, I'll be back. That's a promise. You take care of my home," John replies. Jack says, "That's a promise." They hug, and John kisses him. As all of them are upset, John turns, puts his sunglasses on, and walks away.


Synopsis by Dani Moure

Alternate Perspective: To see a different perspective on this episode, read Mary Wood's summary.

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Episode Credits
Season 4, Episode 13 - "Terra Firma" (Part 3 of 3)
Writer: Richard Manning
Director: Peter Andrikidis
Production number: 10413
First UK Transmission: 6th Jan 2003
First US Transmission: 17th Jan 2003
Guest Stars:
Raelee Hill (Sikozu); Melissa Jaffer (Noranti); Kent McCord (Jack Crichton); Rebecca Riggs (Commandant Mele-On Grayza); David Franklin (Captain Braca); Murray Bartlett (DK); Geoff Morrell (T.R. Holt); Sarah Enright (Olivia Crichton); Katherine Thomas (Laura Kopecki); Erica Heynatz (Caroline Wallace); Amy Salas (Skreeth); Nicholas Hammond; Joshua Anderson (Bobby) [No onscreen credit])
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