Season 1, Episode 1:
Commander John Crichton, IASA astronaut and son of the legendary Jack Crichton, is conducting experiments on using the Earth's gravitational pull to slingshot Farscape One, a spacefaring module of his own design, to incredibly high speeds and thereby pave the way for genuine interstellar travel. During the experiment, a wormhole opens that sucks up Crichton's module and spits him out in a completely different part of the galaxy, right in the middle of a space battle between Peacekeeper Prowlers and an escaping Leviathan transport. Crichton isn't fast enough to avoid a collision with a Prowler, killing its pilot, before being dragged onboard the Leviathan by its docking web.
The Leviathan, named Moya, is being used by a group of extremely alien convicts to escape Peacekeeper custody: D'Argo, a Luxan warrior; Zhaan, a Delvian Pa'u (priestess) with some psychic abilities; Rygel, a two-foot-tall Hynerian and the deposed Dominar of an interstellar empire; and Moya's Pilot, one of a race who have a physical bond with their Leviathan. As Moya uses her Starburst drive to escape the Peacekeepers, Crichton is injected with Translator Microbes that allow him to understand the others' languages before being knocked out and locked in one of Moya's prison cells. When he wakes, Crichton discovers that he's been locked up with Officer Aeryn Sun, a Sebacean and Peacekeeper pilot who was also dragged aboard during the escape.
While D'Argo, Zhaan and Rygel take one of Moya's transport pods down to a commerce planet to buy supplies, Crichton and Aeryn escape their cell and then escape Moya in Aeryn's Prowler, also to head down to the commerce planet. Once there, Aeryn sends a message to her former commanding officer, Captain Bialar Crais, who subsequently redirects his Command Carrier and makes his way to the commerce planet at best speed. When Crais arrives, his Peacekeeper soldiers manage to capture D'Argo and Crichton and he orders the latter's death: it transpires that the Peacekeeper pilot who was killed in the collision with Crichton's module was Crais' brother, and now Crais wants revenge. Aeryn defends Crichton, claiming that he's neither brave or skilled enough to have killed Crais' brother on purpose, and Crais has declared "irreversibly contaminated", making her as hated — and wanted — as the rest of the criminals who escaped on Moya.
Crichton and D'Argo manage to escape custody and at Crichton's insistence, they bring Aeryn along to save her from execution at the hands of the Peacekeepers. They return to Moya and try to escape into the Uncharted Territories, a region of space outside of Peacekeeper control, but the Command Carrier is too fast and too powerful for them to simply outrun it without being shot down. Crichton convinces Pilot and the others to utilise the theory from his Farscape One experiment and they slingshot Moya around the planet in order to escape the range of the Command Carrier's weapons. Though D'Argo is mistrustful, Aeryn is angry about being forced out of the Peacekeepers and Crichton is still adjusting to life in this strange part of the universe, those aboard Moya form an uneasy crew as they head into the Uncharted Territories, knowing that Crais and his Command Carrier will be pursuing them...
Tropes present in this episode include:
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Rygel demonstrates that he can fart helium when nervous or angry.
- Cutlery Escape Aid: D'argo catches Aeryn trying to hide a fork up her sleeve. But he neglects to search Crichton, so when the two of them get thrown in a cell together, she has something to pick the lock with.
- Expressive Ears: Rygel
- Fantastic Racism: Simply sharing a cell with Crichton for a few hours is enough to contaminate Aeryn Sun beyond Peacekeeper standards.
- Fictional Counterpart: Crichton was originally going to be a NASA astronaut, but NASA wanted script approval in order to allow the use of their name and insignia in the show, so it was changed to the International Aeronautics and Space Administration.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: Zhaan
- Helium Speech: Following Rygel's helium flatulence, Rygel and everyone in proximity to him (Crichton, D'Argo, Zhaan, and presumeably Aeryn) succumbs to this.
- Human Aliens: Sebaceans
- It's Personal: Crais targets Crichton because his brother's Prowler crashed into Crichton's Farscape One module, sending it careening out of control into a nearby asteroid.
- Living Ship: Moya
- Muppet:Pilot and Rygel
- Shout-Out: After extended interaction with the crew, Crichton remarks, "Boy, was Spielberg wrong."
- Spaceship Slingshot Stunt: Attempted by Farscape One, which pulls him into a wormhole. Executed successfully by Moya to outrun Crais' Peacekeeper Command Carrier.
- Stern Chase
- Translator Microbes
- Whole Plot Reference:
Dorothy GaleJohn Crichton is a little girlboy from KansasEarth whose farmhousemodule is carried away to Ozthe Uncharted Territories by a random tornadowormhole. The tornadowormhole drops the housemodule on the Wicked Witch of the EastCaptain Crais' little brother, killing herhim. All our stalwart little heroinehero can think of, meanwhile, is getting home.
- You All Meet in a Cell: IN SPACE!