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A Human Reaction: Series 1, Episode 16


The commentary to A Human Reaction is brilliant. Ben and Claudia dissect the episode which is directed by Rowan Woods and given a distinctive indie movie feel. Ben was very sick with an infection from surfing and kept lying down between takes. That gives him the pale, gaunt look we see throughout the episode.

It's difficult to watch this episode today because we know so much more about how exactly the Ancients were and why they gave John the hints about wormholes they did. In this Season 1 episode (another turning point in the show with its dark and paranoid feel and visit to an Earth through a wormhole) we think the Ancients were looking for a place to settle down and recoup their civilization and were using John to test for "A Human Reaction." Which never made any sense to me. How the heck did they locate John Crichton in the galaxy and why Earth specifically? It is considered an absolute speck of lint in the scheme of the greater galaxy. There is no reason do go to the lengths they did unless they sensed in John that ability to "smell" wormholes and navigate them which he natively seemed to have.

Ben says he always played John as having a mystical relationship with wormholes. It's why I never thought he lost the complete ability when Einstein took the technology from him in PK Wars. He just naturally can sense a wormhole turning and find his way through space and time by "concentrating sagaciously."

It is truly cruel that the Ancients used the image of Jack, John's idolized father as a vessel given that it had already been seven months since John left home. The trick question that Jack asked John about going to Sawyer's Mill at daybreak on his birthday after flying home from Houston became a clue for John about the reality of things. The original "Was it a bass or a trout?" from A Human Reaction was Jack supposedly testing John to see if he was Human. The answer of it was a trout, dad was a difficult line for Ben to say. In the commentary, he states that it's a weird sentence that is difficult to parse properly: IT's a trout, dad. It's A trout, Dad. It's a TROUT, dad.

Kent McCord was wonderful as both Dad and "Hymie the Robot," as Ben calls the Ancient who reveals himself when John gets angry and tears Jack's chest off revealing the alien underneath.

This is the episode where John and Aeryn first make love and although this is done off camera in the American version, it is quite clear in the European scene the next morning where John is still in bed and queries Aeryn about the night and she's all business again. One of the questions about the baby is when it was conceived. It's very possible that the baby was made that night on the false Earth.

The other mystery is the fact that Jack responded to Aeryn's Sebecean directly when she thanked him. That was a strong clue that what was going on wasn't real.

Ben also points out how violent John had already become from his time in the UTs. He not only gun-swipes the soldier but kicks him afterward for killing Rygel. There was no reason to do that.

So many things reverberate down through the show from this episode. The entire wormhole plot line starts here. The Bass or Trout test starts here. Rowan Woods' amazing cinematography begins here. Maybe the baby was made here. Rygel Dies here. The look in the men's room and then the woman's room to test reality began here. (By the way, if you look closely at the men in the men's room they are: Rowan Woods, Anthony Simcoe and Justin Mojo.)

This lovely episode also was where Aeryn discovered Rain and there is a call back to A Human Reaction in her episode, The Choice, in that the phantom John wears the same blue sweatshirt from AHR and is wet with rain. That's her deepest loving memory of John.<

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