The Ninjabot

Retro Review: Farscape, “Crackers Don’t Matter”

Posted on July 10, 2013 at 2:25 pm by Will Wells

For our first look at Farscape, I decided to start with my very favorite episode: Crackers Don’t Matter.  It is my favorite for many reasons – it introduces one of my favorite characters, it is absolutely hilarious, and it is a good character piece.

Aeryn: "We're all going to die."

To begin, we are introduced to T’raltixx, a blind alien who is going to install a cloaking device on Moya so that the crew can avoid Scorpius and the bounty hunters he’s sent after them.  Because of those bounty hunters, Chiana and Aeryn’s trip to stock up on food was cut short – all they managed to buy was a literal ton of dried food squares – the titular crackers.

To get the cloak installed, they have to fly through a section of space filled with pulsar light that T’raltixx warns them may cause a minor case of temporary insanity.  But only to “lesser species” – T’raltixx assures them that he’s sure none of them will be affected.

Not five minutes later, the crew appears to be cracking up (pun intended).  They’re getting paranoid, accusing one another of stealing food or making deals with Scorpius to sell one another out.  In one case, Chiana demands to see a message, and when John tells Aeryn to show Chiana the message, Chiana demands to know why John wants her to watch the message.  John attempts to interject some sanity into the situation, which sorta works, temporarily.  Zhaan, meanwhile, is busy having photogasms (she’s a plant, so intense sunlight brings her to orgasm – no I’m not kidding, that is the actual term for it in the show) so is rather occupied.

D’Argo and Chiana form an alliance against John Crichton.  Meanwhile Rigel and Aeryn hold up in the mess hall defending the crackers.  When John realizes that Pilot is also acting oddly, even though Pilot hasn’t been exposed to the light, he realizes that the culprit is actually T’raltixx and attempts to warn the others.  However, they’ve all descended too far into madness to register the threat and are too busy worrying about the crackers.  John, frustrated with their food obsession, suddenly demands ice cream and promptly descends into gibbering madness.

Insane thought he might be, Crichton still have a plan.  He disables the hanger doors so no one can leave Moya, and attempts to convince Aeryn to lock up all the guns so they won’t hurt one another.  He also quotes The Shining.

Here's Johnny!

Not to be one-upped, Pilot quotes 2001 a few minutes later with “I can’t do that, John.”  All throughout, the camera tilts drunkenly as if the camera man were as frelled-up as the rest of them.  For those not familiar with Farscape swearing, frell = frack.

And here is my favorite part of the episode.  John comes across Chiana looking at the wanted beacon – a holographic recording made by Scorpius announcing the price on Crichton’s head.  Chiana runs off – and the hologram stops reading the message and begins talking to Crichton about the others stealing crackers.

Speaking of Harvey, he gets in on the movie quotes by quoting Khan’s line “revenge is a dish best served cold” from Star Trek 2.  This script must have been incredibly fun to write.

Harvey repeatedly tries talking John into killing his friends, evening offering to bribe him with naked Sebacean girls and margarita shooters.  John compromises by shooting D’Argo into the leg.  Harvey tells John to finish him so they can go to that little Italian joint, but John ties D’Argo up instead.

Crichton faces off against Aeryn shortly thereafter.  This time, Harvey appears wearing a garish Hawaiian shirt.  He’s altered his bribe as well – this time it’s pizza and margarita shooters.

Kill her, John, and we'll have Pizza... and Margarita Shooters!

Harvey even brought the drinks.  Once again, Crichton resists.  He temporarily regains lucidity, but Aeryn won’t listen, so they end up fighting.

Somehow, Crichton wins and ends up with Aeryn, D’Argo, Chiana, and Rigel all tied up in the mess hall.  Good job John!  Although still clearly insane, John wants them to listen to him about T’raltixx.  He loudly reminds them that crackers don’t matter, and begins shooting random piles of crackers to make his point.  The scene is utterly, wonderfully absurd, and Ben Browder is absolutely chewing the scenery.  He is terrifying and hilarious all at the same time.  Browder absolutely owns this episode.

John convinces the others, rallies the troops, and they defeat T’raltixx.  The victory is practically incidental after the utter insanity that led up to it.  Although, there is one more beautiful moment when they dress John to get past T’raltixx’s defensive light (he looks like the worst dressed knight ever).

High ho Silver!

Rating: A-

Breakdown: Crackers Don’t Matter is my very favorite episode of Farscape, but not the best episode.  The script is silly – very silly – but the acting is wonderful.  It manages to have truly moving moments among the madness, often because of the madness.  And it introduces Harvey (making him appear to be part of the general insanity rather than a new character).

Subtle.  Very subtle.

A must see episode, and very close to the best that Farscape has to offer.

    • Such a fun episode! I loved Farscape when it was on TV. I think I’ll go watch some episodes now…

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