“PK Tech Girl” (season 1, episode 7)
• Written by Nan Hagan, directed by Tony Tilse •
In which Crichton makes a new friend, Rygel finds an old friend, and Aeryn fries a turtle.
Yes, “PK Tech Girl” is the lousiest title in all Farscape. It worked great as a temporary “working” title, because when we’re juggling a bunch of different stories, scripts, and eps, it’s quicker and easier to refer to ’em with an obvious shorthand “oh, that one” title.
(Working title of s1e04, for example, was “Gauntlet.” Easier to connect that with “oh, yeah, the one with the aliens with those arm-weapons things” than the final title, “Throne for a Loss.”)
Early on, however, we never bothered to change some of our working titles, as we weren’t putting the episode titles on screen yet (no particular reason; just a creative choice), so it didn’t seem to make much difference what the ep title was… or so we thought. Thing is, even if the ep title isn’t shown on the ep itself, it often shows up in TV listings and so forth… so the title will get out to the public anyhow.
Plus, fans soon let us know that they wanted to be able to refer to eps by their titles (rather than saying “The One Where…” or “The One From Two Weeks Back”). So, somewhere down the line, we started putting the ep titles on the eps themselves… and putting a bit more thought into what those titles should be.
Anyway. We open on an Extreeeeeme Close Shot of an Eye, with the derelict Peacekeeper ship reflected in it, and then pull back to reveal it’s Rygel. DYNAMITE! A great directing debut for the great Tony Tilse, who would expertly helm (that’s showbiz talk) sixteen and a half eps of Farscape. (Yes, and I’ll explain the “half” much later.)
Once again, Farscape opens HOT. Other shows I’ve worked on might’ve taken a scene or three just to find and reveal the ship. (Exactly how did our Moya crew happen to arrive here and stumble upon this ship? I’m sure we could’ve come up with any of a dozen explanations, but… why? Does anybody care? Does it have any relevance to the story we’re here to tell? If not, then let’s omit it and jump right into the story.)
And here we go into the ship. LOOK AT THAT TERRIFIC HUGE SET WE BUILT!
Oh, wait, no, that’s not a set. That’s Sydney’s White Bay Power Station, dead since 1983 but used by a ton of productions (like Matrix Reloaded) since then.
And you can’t go exploring a derelict ship without doing a Sudden Corpse Appearance Scare, aka OMG A SKULL IN MY FACE. (Hey, if it was good enough for Jaws, it’s good enough for us.) But I love that when it happens, Crichton freaks out and Aeryn doesn’t even blink.
Aeryn is wonderfully hard-ass in this ep, and Claudia plays it for all it’s worth. “This is my world, John. Don’t interfere.” YES MA’AM
“Two solar days.” WTF is a “solar day?” We’ve made up a bunch of other Alien Time Units — “arns,” “microts,” and so forth — so I dunno why we’d keep “day,” much less “solar day.” (Which solar system does “solar” refer to? Is a solar day one revolution of some planet in that system or one revolution of the star? Does the Farscape universe also have “lunar days” and “week days” and “sick days” and such? So many questions…)
Sheyang! Cool critters, cool ship. Note that we never see much of the inside of it.
EVRON! I seem to recall that we needed a third Sheyang for story purposes, but… budget. So somebody came up with idea that Sheyang #3 would just poke its head in when summoned, saving the Creature Shop another full body build and costume. Double brilliance points to whoever had the idea of popping it in from above.
Nice explosions! A Tilse trademark.
Farewell, Gilina, we hardly knew ye. (And Alyssa-Jane Cook brought you to life so well, too!) Still, I can’t help feeling that with all the work we did to put her back into the good graces of the Peacekeepers, we’ll be seeing her again, sooner or later…