Farscape episode
“Through The Looking Glass”
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 17
Guest star(s) Gigi Edgley (Chiana); June Salter (Voice of Inter-dimensional entity)
Writer(s) David Kemper
Director Ian Watson
Production no. 10117
Original airdate September 10, 1999 (US); April 10, 2000 (UK)
Episode chronology
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"A Human Reaction" "A Bug's Life"

A problem during starburst splits Moya into four separate dimensions and the crew must scramble to set it right. And don't forget about the creature coming after them...


During an extremely tense and unpleasant dinner, during which they constantly bicker with each other, Moya's crew discuss the prospect of leaving her because she is pregnant. Aeryn says she will not abandon Moya, but Zhaan agrees with D'Argo – without starburst they're all at risk. Crichton doesn't want to leave either although admits its more due to her being where wormholes are likely to appear, and Rygel says that relationships change all the time and he wants to trade Moya for a faster vessel. As the argument continues, Pilot appears on the comm and says that he and Moya want them to stay since they are most fulfilled when serving others. He says that they should have been included in the discussion, and to prepare for immediate starburst to prove that Moya is capable. During starburst they appear to hit something, and everyone falls from their seats.

Aeryn says that they must have hit something, and the fibers on Zhaan's arm are damaged. They suddenly notice that Rygel is missing, and a white light is surrounding the ship. D'Argo goes to walk to command when he suddenly disappears in front of their eyes into red light, then when Aeryn walks forward, she disappears into blue light! Crichton makes it to command, where Pilot says that most systems are out, and Moya's frightened and in great pain. He reads Rygel on tier eight and Aeryn in maintenance bay three, he's still looking for D'Argo. Chiana wants to leave, but Crichton says not without everyone else. Zhaan goes to comfort Pilot in his den, whilst Crichton tells Chiana to look for Rygel. She says no, but Crichton says Pilot can't get the outer doors open, and so she goes to find Rygel.

Crichton goes to the maintenance bay, but Aeryn is not there. A table begins to shake when suddenly Crichton gets sucked into red light. Suddenly, everything, including Moya, seems red. He gets nauseous and throws up since the light is distorting his vision, to the point he has to put on a blindfold in order to be able to walk. He goes to Pilot's den, where the controls are moving but Pilot is not there. D'Argo is also nauseous in red Moya, and he sees Crichton walk past but he can't get to him. Crichton hears another sound, and climbs on a table, hoisting himself up when suddenly he gets sucked into something and Moya turns from red to blue. Crichton's vision returns, but a piercing noise is deafening him.

He finds Aeryn at her Prowler, but they can't hear each other, so use hand signals to ask if either has seen D'Argo or Rygel. Both say no, and they go to where Crichton hoisted himself into the blue Moya, but this doesn't work, showing that the portals only work one-way. They walk along the corridor, when something rips through the air behind them, revealng a bright light. They continue to Rygel's quarters, but he is not there. Crichton spots his tape recorder on the table, but when he reaches for it he gets sucked away again (without Aeryn noticing). This time, Moya turns yellow, and he can see and hear properly, seemingly no effect this time.

Crichton finds Rygel there, who is just laughing at everything, and calls him "cute". Crichton explains what happened, and he starts to laugh too. Apparently the effect in the yellow version of Moya is hilarious delirium. They go on, continually laughing. Crichton tries to regain his composure and tells Rygel to listen for a noise, but Rygel won't take him seriously so he leaves him. As he walks along the corridor, he hears the noise down a chute. He slides down, laughing and gets sucked in. This time, he appears into the normal Moya.

Chiana and Zhaan tell Pilot that he's giving them false information as to the others' locations, they are not on board. Crichton enters and tells them that there are at least three other Moyas, and asks Pilot if he knows anything similar to what is happening. Pilot says that starburst is the seam between space-time dimensions; Moya rides the stream and is pushed out at a random location. She entered starburst without adequate thrust, so they appear to be stuck in starburst, with whatever is on the other side. Crichton explains about the creature, and tells them to get guns whilst he works with Pilot.

Pilot explains how to reverse thrusters, and says they're still getting sucked in. Crichton says that Moya didn't have to starburst, but Pilot says it is no time for recriminations; they should have been up front, and he says that Moya is very scared. Crichton tells Zhaan and Chiana that he has a plan. Crichton, Zhaan, and Chiana must go through the Moyas and activate maximum thrust in all Moyas. Zhaan is acting like the mother of Chiana ("No roaming, Chiana. We stay together the whole way" "Yes, mom!"), Crichton then changes the plan, ordering Zhaan to stay behind and shoot the creature. Crichton and Chiana go to where Crichton went to the red Moya and they get sucked in.

The light doesn't affect Chiana, and D'Argo walks in now wearing a mask asking what is going on. Chiana says she's heard of it before – her people's weapons scientists once poked a hole through to another dimension, but once widened they lost control, and the whole solar system, four planets, dissolved into dust. Crichton tells D'Argo that they have to get the engines going all at once, when the creature bursts through. They shoot it, and it retreats. They reach Pilot's den and D'Argo thinks that since Chiana is not affected by the red Moya, she should stay. Chiana refuses and D'Argo stays. Next, after some arguing, Crichton sends Chiana to the blue Moya and follows.

Once they've arrived on the blue Moya, Chiana starts screaming as the noise affects her far worse than the others leaving her in agony. Crichton picks her up, carrying her away, and sends her through to yellow Moya. The creature bursts through, and Crichton just stares at its scratch marks. Aeryn appears and shoots at it, then gives Crichton a headset so the can speak. She asks why he didn't shoot the creature, but he doesn't know. He tells Aeryn the plan, and she says to go, she already knows what to do. Crichton says that Pilot was very specific, but she recites what to do for full reverse, after all she has some of Pilot's DNA. Crichton promises not to doubt her again but then notices more scratch marks, and then goes to Rygel's quarters and to the yellow Moya.

The Moyas continue to be sucked in, already taking tiers. Crichton goes to Pilot's den, where Chiana and Rygel are joking together. He performs the sequence for full reverse, and tells her if anything goes wrong to restore the green knob(after Chiana jokingly said she would ignore the green slob, Crichton made a promise to take her off the ship in a transport if they make it through this). Crichton then again slides down laughing and gets sucked back into the normal Moya.

Pilot reports full reverse power, but says they're still being drawn in. He and Zhaan go to command, where Crichton again notices the scratch marks. Pilot says that Moya has an idea which might help... she could purposely lose the baby, since that would increase the power and both she and Pilot blames themselves for the situation due to attempting Starburst prematurely. Both say no, that is not an option and whatever happens they will go together and keep the baby. The creature bursts through, with the rip being much larger than before. Pilot tells them to shoot it, because Moya is so scared. Crichton tells Zhaan to hold her fire, noticing that the scratch marks are all grouped in prime numbers, so it must be trying to communicate. He goes and enters the hole, where everything is white and there are at least 4 Crichtons. They spot the creature, who says that they have breached his realm, and its function is to repair the breaches. It says that it will destroy them, and if they reverse it will tear the rupture beyond repair. It says to go forward, it will attempt to conduct them to the space that they began. Crichton comes out of the hole, and Pilot and Zhaan say he barely got his head in the hole, so there was no time to speak. Crichton says they must starburst forward. Pilot strongly objects at first, thinking the idea to be suicide, but eventually agrees and explains that they have to reverse the last four controls. Crichton says to give him 500 microts.

He runs into the red Moya and explains to D'Argo what to do – go forward in 300 microts. When D'Argo explains he doesn't have a timekeeping device, Crichton explains to him the '1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi' method (although D'Argo, amusingly, mispronounces it as '1 Mippippippi'). Then he returns to the blue Moya, where the moving is getting harder as more and more tiers are getting sucked in. Crichton puts on his headset and tells Aeryn to go forward maximum thrust in 150 microts (this time, he doesn't explain the sequence trusting that Aeryn is already aware of it). He has to take the long route to quarters, because the ship is sucked. He then, with many difficulties, goes to the yellow Moya and puts it in maximum thrust at the right time. The four Moyas converge, and she exits starburst with everyone on top of Pilot's controls. The relief of having survived combined with being in such ridiculous positions causes everyone to descend into laughter as Pilot calmly states that he fails to see the source of their amusement.

Soon, the crew are once again eating around the dinner table, except they are now enjoying each other's company, telling stories and joking. D'Argo asks if it is him or is this the best food they've ever had. Aeryn says she could live on anything here for a cycle. The jokes continue until Pilot interrupts and asks how they can be so jovial after such a near miss. Aeryn assures him that they weren't unaffected by what happened, in fact it affected them all deeply and asks how he and Moya are handling it. He says well enough to alleviate their concerns about starburst problems. Pilot reports a change in the baby, and everyone is initially concerned however this is good news... although she can't be certain exactly when, Moya feels the day she gives birth is near. The crew decide this is a cause for celebration, and they toast to a healthy and happy baby.

Memorable quotesEdit

Crichton: I thought you were Junior Miss Tough-Chick of the Universe.
Chiana: Yeah, when I can kiss or kick or cry my way out of it. This is way way way way different.
Rygel: (As they prepare to starburst out of the rift) Shall I disrobe so it's memorable?
Zhaan: My dear, I've kicked more arse than you've sat on.
Rygel: (sings) Oh, there is no expanse of the mind the Will cannot traverse;

Or physically, the distance laid across the Universe; There's blessings many in the stars, save one lamented curse; That Sixteenth Rygel, glory me, must travel in reverse!

John: I gotta get outta here before I end up like you!
Rygel: What? Handsome with a great sexual prowess?
John: Ugh! Aww, salmonella, what is that?
Rygel: That's kroll-dar, a delicacy--even for pagans.
John: Yeah? Well how long was it under your butt getting delicate?
Pilot: I fail to see the source of your amusement.

Background informationEdit

  • David Kemper originally pitched this concept as an idea for an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Rockne S. O'Bannon explained the pitch as "the Enterprise comes across a ship that seems to be derelict. Their people go on board and the ship is empty, but the walls have this kind of slime on them, which they discover is actually a creature like a hermit crab, which takes over the ship and lives within it. When it gets larger, it has to find a bigger home, so now it heads for the Enterprise." Because of the changes in concept and the lengthy time involved in conceptualizing the episode, it was moved to the later part of the season. (Farscape: The Illustrated Companion; "Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • Paul Butterworth remembers the fact that "it was the hardest episode for everyone to grasp." Kemper did not want the creature to be seen by the audience, and Butterworth noted, "conceptually, it was one of those things that was bounced around for a long time before we came up with what we had, which was the claw tearing through. But you didn't really get to see the claw either – the tears just opened up into white space." (Farscape: The Illustrated Companion)
  • The music and sound departments worked together according to Chris Neal. He noted "musically, we kind of stayed out of the yellow dimension – the 'happy' dimension – and left it to the sound people, and concentrated on the music for the red and the blue dimensions. With the red one, we used a lot of bottom end to give it a lot of threat, and then in the blue level, it was a dreamier kind of approach." (Farscape: The Illustrated Companion, "Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • David Kemper said "this episode represents a coming of age for the series and gave us the confidence that allowed us to take bigger creative risks as time went on." (Farscape Minisodes)
  • The title refers to Lewis Carroll's novel Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • One working title for this episode was "The Fifth Reality". ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • O'Bannon admired Kemper's imagination saying "This was yet another wild idea of his. David came up with the idea of having doorways into the different dimensions not at ground level – you climb up into the rafters to get from one to another – because the two dimensions aren't exactly lined up in parallel. That's just the way his mind works – each of the different dimensions would have a different sensory issue going on." ("Farscape Chronicles" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • This episode could be defined as a "bottle show", but O'Bannon didn't agree saying "we had a tremendous amount of effects and running around. I can't think of an episode of Farscape that fits the classical definition of a bottle show. We wanted to do one, but it never quite came about as such!" ("Farscape Chronicles" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • This episode seems to establish that Nebari have more sensitive hearing and less sensitive vision. It is later established that Nebari have stronger vision and likely stronger hearing than humans ("Crackers Don't Matter").

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Alice in Wonderland; arn; bio-mechanoid; Buckwheat; buttermilk; buttermilk biscuit; Calanese Cleric; center chamber; chicken; cholian curd salad; Command; comms; cycle; Delvian; Delvian locomotion fiber; Dominar; DRD; Earth; flour; frell; Grandmother Crichton; gris; grotless; Guido; hezmana; honey; ion backwash; Ka Jothee; krawldar; Luna; maintenance bay; microt; Miss Universe; Mississippi; Molecular diaspora; Moya; Napoleon; outer bay doors; Pa'u; Pip; Presley, Elvis; prowler; Salmonella; salt; shellack; shortening; smoked pronga sinew; space rodent; Sparky; starburst; Star Search; Through the Looking Glass; transport pod; Trawlian Priest; Uncharted Territories; wormhole; X-ray vision

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