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A Human Reaction

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Farscape episode
“A Human Reaction”
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 16
Guest star(s) Gigi Edgley (Chiana); Kent McCord ("Jack Crichton"/ "Jack" the Ancient); Phillip Gordon (Wilson); Richard Sydenham (Cobb); Frankie Davidson (Newsstand Guy); Albert Mensah (Dialectic); Andy Cachia (Technician); Selina Muller (Woman On Beach)
Writer(s) Justin Monjo
Director Rowan Woods
Production no. 10116
Original airdate August 20, 1999 (US); April 3, 2000 (UK)
Episode chronology
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"Durka Returns" "Through the Looking Glass"

John Crichton finally returns to Earth, but all is not as it seems...


Zhaan and Chiana are arguing about something that Chiana took from her quarters, whilst John Crichton is leaving a message to his dad, Pilot contacts him and tells him to go to Command immediately. Moya has found a wormhole that just appeared right in front of them. Through the wormhole they see a planet, and it's Earth!

He's preparing to launch, and Aeryn Sun says that she can't go with him because she's not certain that she'll belong there, but Crichton must leave immediately. Zhaan says it could kill him, because it's unstable, but he says he has to do it, because it might be Earth. Crichton tells Ka D'Argo he hopes he'll get to see his son one day, and everyone's a little choked up. Crichton tells Rygel that he's going to leave all his stuff and give it to Aeryn, but Rygel realises it as a joke. Aeryn peeks round the corner, and he says his goodbyes.

He's at the mouth of the wormhole, but he hesitates. D'Argo persuades him to go in, despite his fears. Pilot loses him from sensors, and the crew's faces say it all. Crichton crash lands on the Australian coast, where he sees a woman before the military come for him, and knock him out with a tranquilizer.

Inside a military base, a man called Wilson is questioning him in a cell. They bring in different foreigners, thinking that the translator microbes in Crichton's brain are in fact an alien virus, so he has to translate what they are saying. He says he won't play any more games, so Wilson leaves. He later asks the guard, Cobb, when he'll get out. Cobb says he doesn't know, so Crichton asks to read the paper, to find out what's happened in the seven months he's been gone. He asks Cobb who won the Super Bowl but Cobb doesn't know.

Crichton's dad comes in and says he wants to see his son. John asks him to get him out of here, and his dad asks what happened on his tenth birthday, checking if he's who he says he is. John says his dad was late, again, because they held him at Houston for tests. He woke him up at four in the morning to go fishing. Jack hugs his son, and John asks what's going on, since this is far from normal recovery procedure. Jack says that nothing's been the same since he left, and the wormhole stayed open. John asks his dad to get him out of here, and he says he will.

The two of them walk along the beach, and John says that Wilson would not have just let him go. His dad shows him a van and two women who are watching them. He says that Wilson wants him to find out if it is his son, and everything about the wormhole and what's on the other side. They return to the base, where John tells one of the workmen that he's doing something wrong, when he recognises him as someone he's met before. The base goes on alert, as a transport pod has come through the wormhole and John tells them not to fire, since it has no weapons.

Inside were Aeryn, D'Argo and Rygel. Aeryn says that Earth disappeared when he went through the wormhole. Rygel says that it was her idea to go after him. She says she wanted to get a closer look, but the wormhole sucked her in. Wilson wants to know what they're saying (since the other humans can't understand because they have no translator microbes), and John says they're scared. Rygel asks why they're treating him like this, to which John replies that they're freaking out, but he says he'll take care of them.

John asks his father what's going on, and notices that because all the magazines are seven months old they don't want him to know anything. He says that he trusts the others a lot more than Wilson – they're his friends. A man calls him to the medical bay, where they find Rygel cut open, and dead! John has a go at Wilson, and tells Aeryn and D'Argo that the official word is that Rygel died from an allergic reaction to the tranquilizer. He says that he thinks they killed Rygel, and D'Argo says they cut him open to study him. D'Argo says that when they come for him he'll fight. Aeryn says that even Peacekeepers wouldn't kill a prisoner to study them, and tells John to just go.

Jack says that John was naïve to think he could protect them, and John says that he's going to make Wilson understand. Jack asks if he's willing to die for those creatures, and John say he gave his word. He goes to the medical room, where he finds a man on the ground. Aeryn appears and asks if she killed the man, and John says no. He says he's on her side, and she must trust him. She says they took D'Argo, but she was ready when they came for her.

John and Aeryn find Cobb, and they ask him where D'Argo was taken. Cobb says he was flown to another base, and John takes his gun, and knocks him out, for Rygel. They leave, and Aeryn is fascinated by the rain, and says she likes it. They're at a place where Jack and John spent some time last year, but Aeryn doesn't trust that his dad told him where it was. They go in and drink some beer, which Aeryn says tastes like Fellip nectar. John apologizes for getting her here, and stuck on Moya. He looks out the window, and Aeryn says he was right; Earth is actually very beautiful. She says they'll have to kill her to capture her. He says he knows, and rests his head on her shoulder. Then they kiss...

We cut to the next morning, where Aeryn tells John to get out of bed. Aeryn's found an uninhabited place to hide. She puts on a dress and the door knocks. It's Jack, and Aeryn holds her gun to him. She wants John to search him, but he refuses. Jack says that he talked to everyone he knows, but no one will help them. D'Argo is on the way to a military warehouse, and the official word is that they never existed. He tells them that they have to get out of town; he'll cover for them. He says goodbye, and Aeryn says something apparently heartfelt that he understands that he understands the emotion of if not the content, as he says "thank you, Aeryn Sun".

Aeryn and John walk down the street when John sees the girl who was on the beach. He asks the man at the newsstand why all the magazines are seven months old, but recognises him from being on the beach the other day, and says he used to ride his bike past the man's house in the fifth grade. He knows everyone around him, and pulls a gun on Aeryn. Every place that he's been so far he has been to in his past. He goes into a pool hall that is just the way he remembers it, and he knows all the people there too. He's been in the men's room before, but never the ladies' so he kicks open the door to reveal an energy barrier.

He goes to talk to his dad at the military base, who says he did well. Everything here is a physical creation from his memory. He's not his father, but the others are real. They were investigating the wormhole so they were used too. D'Argo and Rygel are locked up, and Rygel says he was treated like royalty. "Jack" the Ancient says that they needed a human reaction. He apologizes, but says that John had to believe everything. "Jack"'s race only have enough power to transport their race one last time, so they had to know how they'd be received if they went to Earth. John goes through a door, where there is a hive of aliens. "Jack" says that they only want to co-habit while they replenish their hive. The Ancients (their race) have stories of a world that will welcome them. They had to know if humans would welcome them or fight them. He apologises for taking John's dad's form, and John asks to see what he really looks like. Surrounded by light he transforms into his creature form, and says the highest form of life on the planet is often the most destructive, and humans would kill them. He says that they will continue searching for a home, and John says so will he. The Ancient returns Jack's good luck charm, and says that maybe they'll meet again one day.

Memorable quotesEdit

John: They have worlds out there, people out there you wouldn't believe! But they do not have chocolate.
John: Aeryn, um, about last night....
Aeryn: Yes, it's fine, John, it's just not top priority right now.

Background informationEdit

  • The scene when Aeryn first experienced rain was supposed to be a beautiful sunset, but the weather did not agree, forcing the scene to be changed at the last minute. Rowan Woods remembered "The scene was actually written in anticipation of sunshine and babes on an Australian beach, and all that angle when coming to Earth. In other words, Crichton was immediately impressed and feeling great about the beach and the sunshine. Unfortunately, that sunshine only lasted for the first day, which was his arrival. For the rest of that shoot, it was raining. So, Ben, in consultation with Justin Monjo and I, had to very quickly shift all the sunshine references to cloudy, raining references. And there's some beautiful, lyrical changes we had to make on the floor which Justin was very happy with. One example of that is Ben's line, as he's staring forlornly out of the bedroom window. 'Earth... minus the sunshine.' Another example is Aeryn Sun's line when she was walking through the rain, where she opens her mouth and sucks in some rain. 'Is this what they call it? I like it' was also on the spur of the moment." (Farscape: The Illustrated Companion, "Farscape Chronicles" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • Dave Elsey built and designed the Ancients. He said "They were huge. The great big pod things were each about nine feet long. The set was just a big concrete bunker, so the three creatures were the set, really. The heads were silicone, and full of lights." He also revealed that the eyes of the creatures were inspired by "plasma ball" lights found in many homes and offices. The insect alien was a rod puppet with its controls removed digitally in post-production. (Farscape: The Illustrated Companion, "Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • Chris Neal (half of Subvision) explained that the episode was big musically, "at the beginning, we went very conventional, but as we followed Crichton's growing realization that something was terribly wrong, the music had to become progressively weirder, until we get to the exposure of who father really is. The music really goes hell for leather at that point." (Farscape: The Illustrated Companion)
  • While on set for this episode, Kent McCord shot his scenes for "Nerve". ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • Rowan Woods maintains that he was asked to handle the Earth episodes in the first two seasons due to the fact that he was unfamiliar with science fiction cliches and would thus approach the material with a fresh eye. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • Claudia Black actually spoke backward for Aeryn's Sebacean speech. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3, DVD commentary)
  • Rockne S. O'Bannon joked online that Aeryn's final line to "Jack" was "Can you get me Marty Milner's autograph?" in reference to Kent McCord's partner in Adam-12. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • The helicopters were CG by Garner MacLennan Design to match the Black Hawks Woods wanted to use in the episode. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • O'Bannon commented that the Ancients were never expected to be as important as they were in the end to the series. "We had no idea at all that it would return like that. It was a vein that was found to be richer and worth mining later on as more stories needed to be developed, and the network loosened up in terms of letting us do more serialized stories. But at the time, it was just an episode." ("Farscape Chronicles" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • The three men in the bathroom are played by Anthony Simcoe (out of makeup), episode director Rowan Woods and production designer Ricky Eyres. Claudia Black was unaware of the cameos until Ben Browder informed her. (DVD commentary)
  • Chiana appears only briefly in the opening scene due to the fact that the writers hadn't yet figured out what to do with her yet. (DVD commentary)
  • The scene showing the morning after with Crichton in bed was not included in the U.S. version, leaving the result of the night before more ambiguous. However, a later piece of dialogue in "Mind the Baby" confirms that John and Aeryn had intimate relations.
  • When John enters the bar and notes that he, once again, recognizes everybody, a blonde woman bearing a strong resemblance to Alex O'Connor can be seen cowering behind a pool player.
  • "Maybe we'll meet again someday John"; One John DOES meet Jack again, along with Furlow, the other, does not.

Links and referencesEdit


Guest starsEdit


Guest castEdit



Voice artistsEdit


Abbott and Costello; Annapolis; Ancient; Ancients' energy barrier; Australia; bass; Bassim oil; beer; chocolate; Cobb, Ty; Cokonis, Greg; Command; commerce planet; comms; Earth; F-16; Farscape-1; Fellip; Fellip nectar; frell; hetch drive; Houston; Human; Hynerian; IASA; Ka Jothee; Luna; magazine; marjool; Moya; New York Yankees; Peacekeepers; prabakto; puzzle ring; Ruth, Babe; Sawyer's Mill; Simpson Desert; Sparky; Super Bowl; Tarsis; The Pentagon; tranquilizer; translator microbe; transport pod; trout; Utah; Voyager; Who's on First?; wormhole; yotz;

External linkEdit

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