“Farscape” Season Three: Wayne Pygram as Scorpius
By Anna L. Kaplan
Trying to keep up with all the manifestations of Scorpius on FARSCAPE was almost more complicated than watching two Crichtons. Everything began with the real Scorpius, played by Wayne Pygram. Then Scorpius put a neural chip with a clone of his own personality into Crichton’s brain. Season two, Crichton alone could see and hear the clone, who he dubbed “Harvey,” until the cliffhanger when the clone took over Crichton, and Crichton looked like Scorpius to the viewers. Then, the chip was removed but the clone stayed behind, weakened, alive only because of Crichton. John made a deal, more or less, with this Scorpie, that he could co-exist and talk to Crichton when Crichton wanted his advice. Then Crichton got twinned, meaning there were two Scorpie clones.
Wayne Pygram admitted the whole thing gets confusing, saying, “No one indicates in the script what the clone is, or which clone. There are days I’ve gone, ‘Hang on. I’m a bit confused here.’ The clone that appears in John’s subconscious in contemporary costume, he’s certainly very easily defined. I know what he is, and I think the audience knows what he is. The other clone is the guy that appears, physically, through Crichton. When Crichton goes through that morphing stage and he physically appears as Scorpius, that’s the other clone. He’s the malignant and the not-so-good clone, the clone that’s closest to Scorpius obviously. The other clone is an empty shell. I can fill him up with whatever I want to fill him with, from John’s subconscious. It allows me to have a bit of a play and a bit of fun. It gives me a far wider range to work in. I don’t have to wear all the leather of my costume, so physically, they are physically comfortable days too. It is like playing another character.”
The actor believes that the malignant clone wound up in the Crichton on Talyn, and died, whereas the gentler clone stayed inside the John on Moya and survived. Who knows whether or not that is actually correct, but it makes things clearer. Noted Pygram, “I have really developed the quirky clone. I think it’s better just to have the one operating. The clone is almost like a refuge for him, because the clone can’t hurt him. The clone is actually very helpful, because he is a sounding board. He will help Crichton however he can. He doesn’t give explicit answers, he gives a hint, so John just goes back and discovers the truth.”
As season three progressed, the clone often tried to help Crichton out. Explained Pygram, “The clone has a real roll to play in Crichton’s journey through the episodes. The clone becomes like the little guy that sits on the shoulder. He is just there when John needs him. When Crichton needs a break, he goes to the clone, hangs out with the clone for a little bit, because the clone is very gentle. He’s resolved to probably spending the rest of his life in Crichton’s brain, and he’s quite happy to, because otherwise he’s nothing. He’s not a seer, but he’s like a filter. He can filter out all the rubbish for Crichton, so Crichton can be clearer when he goes back to make a big decision, or when he is making a judgement about someone.”
The real Scorpius season three was still desperately trying to crack the secrets of wormholes. The audience learned why, in bits and pieces. The events of the two-part “Infinite Possibilities” showed just how dangerous a weapon can be made with a wormhole, and that the Scarrans want just such a weapon. The John on Talyn died to prevent the Scarrans from keeping that information. Scorpius himself made the case about the evils of the Scarrans, in “Incubator.” In this episode, Scorpius used the neural chip to talk to a copy of Crichton in Scorpius’ mind, hoping that if John knew his real history, he would unlock the key to wormholes. About “Incubator,” Pygram said, “There was a lot of information there. It certainly makes Scorpius a more rounded character. You certainly appreciate his difficulties. The lie that he was told was that his mother was a Scarran raped by a Sebacean, a big lie, very important. It’s great for the audience to see that. It’s great for the audience to see that, as he says, ‘My first memory is pain.’ We don’t want to feel sorry for him. We must go, ‘No wonder he’s so single-minded.’ Because he is proud, too. What I wanted to achieve with the middle, the twenty-year-old Scorpie, was he is very honorable and brave. You get the sense of a young man, a really driven, ambitious, guy who wants to improve his lot. But part of that is finding the truth. He wants the truth, and he also wants revenge. He’s going to make those Scarrans pay. He’s to be feared. No one will look at him because they are so petrified of him, because he is single-minded.”
The Scarrans really are evil. Said Pygram, “We’ve established that the Scarrans would be the greatest threat to our universe. If the Scarrans were to get the wormhole technology, they may well find Earth. They may well destroy it, and everyone else. Who is the threat in this part of the galaxy? Is it Scorpius? No, actually it’s not. The Scarrans are not to be messed with. You cannot do deals with Scarrans. If you did a deal with a Scarran, you’d be a fool, because ultimately they’ll turn on you when you least expect it. They’re animal basically, animal with a little bit of intellect. Scorpius is an intellectual with a little bit of animal.”
Scorpius wanted to obliterate the Scarrans, and needed Crichton’s wormhole knowledge to do that. Crichton wanted neither the Scarrans nor the Peacekeepers to have such weapons. Even though Crichton appeared to join Scorpius in “Into The Lion’s Den,” he was trying to find a way to destroy Scorpius’ research. After the Command Carrier was destroyed, what happened to Scorpius? The audience did not actually see him die. Speculated Pygram, “Don’t think the Peacekeepers are going to go, ‘Where’s Command Carrier number 523, you mongrel? Can you bring this one back for once?’ How many has he destroyed? How many has he left behind out there somewhere? You know what he is like. He just couldn’t give a damn, although this Command Carrier is special because it’s his scientific base. All the work he has been doing on the wormholes has been done on this Command Carrier.”
He added, “The wormhole journey, it’s going to be one of the main, driving storylines for all of FARSCAPE.”
Whether or not Scorpius survived, certainly the clone in Crichton will continue. At the very end of season three, Harvey is John’s only companion.
Copyright 2002 by Anna L. Kaplan. This article originally appeared in the June 2000 issue of Cinefantastique (Volume 34, Number 3-4). Other articles from this issue are in the Archives for June 2002.