A Snurcher's Guide to Farscape

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Production No. 105

Best Viewed As 1.5

Aired As
1.3 (US & UK)

Original Airdates
02 Apr 1999 (US)
13 Dec 1999 (UK)

1.3 (US)
3.02 (UK)

Back and Back and Back to the Future
Abbreviations: BBTF, B&B
Alternate Titles: (none)

Wassup? · Backstory · Reactions · Annotations · Microbes · Quotes · Cast & Crew

Writer: Babs Greyhosky
Director: Rowan Woods
Lisa Hensley...............Matala
John Clayton...............Verell
Complete Credits


With friends like these...

D'Argo insists that the crew rescue a pair of Ilanic scientists (whose ship has been destroyed under mysterious circumstances), and then has an intense reaction to the female half of the team. Meanwhile, Crichton is acting more unhinged than usual (although that may be due to the fact that something in the Ilanics' shuttle seems to have disconnected him from the space-time continuum). Now John's living -- and reliving -- horrific versions of the future, over... and over... and over...


Farscape World


Terra Firma


Farscape Fantasy
Farscape World


The fugitives are currently functioning by consensus; Pilot waits for a group opinion before adjusting Moya's course.

Ilanics are distantly related to Luxans, and the two species have been considered "blood allies" for over 1000 cycles.

While John isn't truly attracted to Matala, his "premonitions" nonetheless seem to plant the idea that dating outside his species may not be out of the question.

Zhaan appears to be more sensitive to Moya's sounds and rhythyms than her crewmates, sensing a problem even before Pilot reports the phase imbalance.

The Ilanics and the Scorvians have been at war for some time.

The Ilanic weapon is inside their shuttle, but Verell is working on the control unit in the maintenance bay.

D'Argo has not learned to trust his crewmates yet; he is willing, in at least one version of John's temporal dislocations, to kill John without the slightest hesitation. However, he is making some progress: by the end of the episode, John is able to prevent D'Argo from firing on Matala's shuttle by calling on trust.

Aeryn sets up the workout session with Matala as a means of learning more about her.

Scorvians look nothing like Ilanics, meaning that Matala must have had genetic surgery in order to achieve her disguise.

The Ilanic weapon uses a quantum singularity; Verell describes it as a minute particle of a black hole.

D'Argo has not told his crewmates the true nature of the crime for which he was imprisoned. John now knows that D'Argo has lied about his crime, and D'Argo knows that he knows. However, the crime itself remains a mystery.

Matala's annoying voice is apparently the result of her attempt to disguise the fact that she's Scorvian; once she's been exposed, she reverts to her natural tone.

Once Rygel gets going on a food binge, he finds it difficult to stop.



  1. After one of his temporal dislocations, Crichton hears a woman screaming...just as the program goes to a commercial break. When we return, there is no explanation of who was screaming, and why.
  2. Why does John step on the mask in Zhaan's quarters after his final temporal dislocation?
  3. Why does Aeryn recognize Matala's use of the Scorvia Neural Stroke? Has she had direct contact with Scorvians before, or is their fighting style simply well-known to Peacekeepers? And why does Matala leave Aeryn alive once she's seen this move? Does she just not realize that Aeryn has recognized the technique?


  1. Verell is using an equipment case that appears identical to that used by Gilina in episodes 119 (Nerve) and 120 (The Hidden Memory).

Bloopers (none)


Farscape World
Farscape Fantasy
AV Club
Tourist's Guide


Farscape World
Terra Firma


The title is a reference to Robert Zemeckis's popular time travel movie BACK TO THE FUTURE. The episode itself could be seen as inspired by GROUNDHOG DAY or 12:01 P.M..

John: "How about...how about mental abilities? Do they have, like, telepathic powers of seduction? Psychic Spanish Fly. You know, that?"

At various points in history, pulverized Spanish Fly has been considered an aphrodisiac.

While we have seen the Peacekeeper logo prior to this (in the Command Carrier scenes in "Premiere"), this episode gives us our first really good look at it, in the Aeryn/Matala sparring scene. The logo is taken right from the piece of Russian Constructivist art "Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge" by El Lissitzky.

Here's a relevant quote from FARSCAPE: THE ILLUSTRATED COMPANION, by Paul Simpson and David Hughes (London: Titan Books, 2000), pp 27-28:

"There were other artistic influences on the fight scene. Ricky Eyres explains: 'Russian constructivism was a form of art that developed before the revolution. There was a famous painting called "Beat the Whites with the Red Witch" [sic], and there's one blatant piece of it in this episode, which you see when Aeryn's fighting with Matala. It starts with an overhead crane shot, and it's actually that painting, broken down as a carpet. It just seemed to fit, and from a visual point of view it was very strong.'"

The mural to the side of Aeryn and Matala was created by production designer Ricky Eyres in the same style as Lissitzky's work.

Translator Microbe Report

Contala Tea beverage offered to Verell by D'Argo
Guidance navigational station in Moya's Command
Ilanics a species genetically connected to Luxans, and blood allies for over 1000 cycles
Mivonks literally, testicles; also used across genders in the slang sense of guts or courage
Neural Stroke Scorvian hand-to-hand fighting technique
Noodleheads Crichton's mildly derogatory nickname for Ilanics, presumably in reference to the tentacles on their heads
Phase Couplers component of the Illanics' ship which malfunctioned
Scorpions Crichton's mishearing of "Scorvians"
Scorvian a species at war with the Ilanics
Shilquen a Luxan musical instrument


"Rest, and revitalize."
- Matala

"You must excuse the Hynerian. His manners match his size."
- D'Argo

"I'm just gonna get some air."
"We have air in here. What is the matter with him?"
"He is Crichton."
- John Crichton, Aeryn Sun, Zhaan

"If I'm not hallucinating, then...I'm seeing the future. [Matala walks by, seductively] Oh, boy. That's the future."
- John Crichton

"Would you listen to me? Look, open your ears, or your tentacles, or whatever orifice it is you listen with. I think the woman is dangerous."
- John Crichton

"I thank you for the exercise."
- Matala

"I'm curious about Crichton."
"Far too complex, I'm afraid, for you to know in the short time that you'll be here. I suggest you shouldn't try."
- Zhaan, Matala

"[choking] I'm on a ship of lunatics."
"John, what is it?"
"This is going to take a lot of explaining."
"[still choking] But do it in private!"
- Rygel, Zhaan, John Crichton

"The concept is a fascinating one."
"Yeah, well, it could just still be a concept. You know, I could just be going plain old bonkers here. But I guess it's about time for that to happen."
- Zhaan, John Crichton

"You need to calm down. Rest, and revitalize. I have a technique that just might --"
"Back off, nature girl. And keep your hands to yourself."
- Matala, John Crichton

"He says he is experiencing the future."
"The future? He can barely function in the present."
- Zhaan, Aeryn Sun

"Where is that Hynerian bandit?"
- D'Argo

"You try to stop them with this thing, you're going to kill us all. You have to trust me."
- John Crichton

"Sorry. I shoulda seen it coming."
- John Crichton

"Which bit of me looks good, exactly?"
"The bit that's not jumping back and forth in time. Food cube? Fooood cube? Oooooo, food cube! [Rygel flees, looking sick] Cool."
- Rygel, John Crichton

"Hey, how you doin'?"
"I will recover."
"[laughs] Yeah, when?"
"Do you mock me?"
"D'Argo, I mock all of us."
- John Crichton, D'Argo

"Crichton, I am normally unaffected by females during a crisis...it is just...it has been so long..."
"Now that, I understand. Man, do I understand."
- D'Argo, John Crichton

Comments from Cast & Crew

Ben Browder, May 11, 1999

  • Moderator: <Safari> to <Moderator> What's been your favorite ep to do (out of the ones that have aired so far)?

    BenBrowder: Episode 5 Back and Back and Back to the Future I loved working with Rowan Woods the Director. The episode was a classic "kirk's brain" episode

Claudia Black ("ChickwithGun") & Anthony Simcoe ("Ploppy"), July 28, 1999

  • Moderator: I'll repeat that last question: <Sparrowhwk>: which episode did both of you enjoy making or was just your personal favorite?

    ChickwithGun: Favourite Episode: 13 Got to kiss Ben Browder Whoooohoooo!!!!! Oooooooh Baby
    ChickwithGun: Seriously, fav. ep so far was Back and Back to the Future, PK Tech Girl, and DNA

    Ploppy: My favourite episodes are 5, 9, 16 and 21. I had the most time in ten because D'Argo went through and incredible journey
    Ploppy: Most "fun" time in 10 that should have been

Ben Browder, July 29, 1999

  • baby789_99: I was just curious as to what your favorite episode is and why?

    Browder: My favorite episodes come in batches...of the first third of the season Back and Back and Back to the Future. Of the middle third...DNA Mad Scientist. Of the latter third... A Human Reaction and Nerve.

Virginia Hey, August 19, 1999

  • Moderator: <Ricks8> to <Moderator>: What are your favorite episodes?

    VirginiaHey: That Old Black Magic, DNA Mad Scientist, Rhapsody In Blue...
    VirginiaHey: Back and Back and Back to the Future.
    VirginiaHey: They've Got A Secret.
    VirginiaHey: ...it's so hard to chose because I'm in love with every single episode.
    VirginiaHey: Through the Looking Glass is brilliant, watch out for that one coming up.

David Kemper (& Ben Browder), September 23, 1999

  • Moderator: <Ricks8> to <Moderator> Dave, lol, this is turning in to tell me spoilers for next season...but i got one. Will we ever see what Scorvians really look like, and wil the Ilanic and Scorvian war play a part in the show later?

    DavidKemper: At the moment, Ilanics and Scorvians are still arguing about the shape of the peace talks table. If and when we get back to them, they will probably still be at war.

Farscape Season Two Wrap, June 15, 2000

  • Moderator: <Badnasser> to <Moderator>: To all of our honored guests: What was your favorite episode? and What is your least favorite episode?

    Virginia-Hey: Of course we don't have any least favourite episodes, we love every single one of them dearly.
    Virginia-Hey: Back and Back and Back to the Future is one of my favourites.