Farscape: Through the Looking Glass / A Bug’s Life [DVD Review]

Farscape: Through the Looking Glass / A Bug’s Life
DVD / ADV Films / November 2003

The ninth DVD in the Farscape series begins with a great standalone episode and finishes with an episode that opens the door on storylines that will resonate well into the third season of SF series.

In “Through the Looking Glass,” the passengers aboard Moya are hotly debating their next move – some want to leave the biomechanoid ship for fear that her pregnant condition may make her easier to capture by the Peacekeepers.

Crichton would like to stay, if only because the Uncharted Territories are where the worm holes are, while Aeryn is the only one who wishes to remain aboard Moya out of loyalty to the ship and her Pilot. The argument is cut short when Pilot interjects to say that Moya feels confident enough that she can starburst to put some distance between her and the Peacekeepers. Needless to say, starburst does not go as planned. In the aftermath, the crew discovers Rygel has disappeared. Setting off to look for him, Aeryn and D’Argo also disappear in a flash of light before the other’s very eyes. Crichton soon stumbles through inter-dimensional doors leading to four different Moyas. It turns out Moya is stuck in starburst — she didn’t have enough power to complete the journey. To top it off, there’s an alien entity roaming the corridors of all four Moyas, leaving large scratches in the hull. Crichton’s science background is put to the test here as he races to merge Moya back together and free her from starburst before time runs out.

“Through the Looking Glass” is at its heart a puzzle and thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end. As often is the case, it’s Crichton who clues in first and has to rally the crew to come up the solution.

There’s also some hilarious interplay between the characters, as well as some bonding in the peril – both proving why this series is a few steps beyond the average TV SF: the characters are the heart of the story.

“A Bug’s Life” for the most part is also a standalone story, but it sets events in motions that have immediate effect through the end of the first season and well into Farscape’s third year. When special commandos are forced by a fuel leak to come aboard the ship, they are deceived into believing that Moya is still under Peacekeeper control. They reveal to Aeryn and Crichton (acting as a Peacekeeper company) that they are on a mission to a secret base to deliver an unmarked crate. Curious about the crate’s contents, Rygel and Chiana are the first to discover an unseen enemy: a lethal virus living within a host body. Virtually undetectable, the virus plays a deadly jumping game as it changes host from Thonn to Chiana to Crichton.

No longer able to continue the ruse, Crichton et al must work with the commandos to recapture the virus. However, their efforts will have deadly consequences for at least one of Moya’s crew.

“A Bug’s Life” is the weaker episode on this disc, but is redeemed by an action-packed ending that has ramifications for years to come.

As for the extras, they’re pretty slim, although the video profile of Lani Tupu offers fascinating insight into the characters of Crais and Pilot. It’s just too bad that these profiles don’t have footage of the actors interacting off screen and between scenes.

“Through The Looking Glass” — 10/10
“A Bug’s Life” — 7/10
DVD Extras — 6/10

Gary Hilson is a writer, editor and digital media specialist for hire. He lives in Toronto.

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