“I will not permit anyone else to sacrifice their life for mine.” – Aeryn Sun
“What do you mean, anyone else?” – John Crichton
SEASON OF DEATH ***
Production #10301. Airdate 3/16/01. Written by Richard Manning. Directed by Ian Watson.
As John Crichton lies speechless on the operating table near the fallen Diagnosan, Scorpius has claimed the neural chip. Aeryn is dead, and the crew in mourning aboard Moya, while Crais is on Talyn. But the clone is still in Crichton’s head. Scorpius himself is stuck on the planet awaiting his Command Carrier, but he is able to control the body of Grunchlk (Hugh Keays-Byrne) in order to keep tabs on the others. On Moya, Chiana and Jothee (Matt Newton) are getting closer together.
Stark and Zhaan are horrified to find countless bodies in cryostasis, including Aeryn’s. The revived Diagnosan needs to transplant brain tissue from a related species to help John. Zhaan senses the clone in Crichton, who wants to die. But D’Argo prevails and an operation restores John, who is able to overcome the clone inside his mind.
Grunchlk, anticipating trouble with Scorpius, left a Scarran in a cryopod. As John and D’Argo try to stop the revived Scarran, Zhaan decides to try and reach Aeryn. Aeryn comes back to life in time to help kill the Scarran. Scorpius feints a return to the command carrier in a Marauder which Crais destroys, but Scorpius is still on the planet. Zhaan is dying as a result of saving Aeryn’s life.
This episode successfully accomplished the difficult task of resolving all of the cliffhanger’s dilemmas. Said David Kemper, “Episode one was a lot of fun, because I had left this thing so screwed up at the end of year two. We always say when there is a problem, ‘Ricky will fix it.’ He wanted the challenge. Ricky really pulled it together in the first hour of the year.”
There were a couple of revolting visuals during this episode, like Scorpius eating a piece of Crichton’s brain. Under Scorpius’ control, Grunchlk bit off his own finger. Explained Watson, “It was a desire to show that Scorpie had this ability to manipulate people’s minds. It comes from the mind of Ricky Manning, the ability that Scorpius could do this to someone. That was great fun for The Creature Shop because they had to actually build a fake finger. We had some concerns about the amount of blood we could show, but I think it’s a good classic sci-fi moment, a classic FARSCAPE moment. In itself it’s not funny, it’s fairly ghoulish, but the way Scorpius approaches it, there is a certain amount of black humor involved, and that’s the real FARSCAPE genre.”
“Do you know what you did? You betrayed the one person on this ship who would have done anything for you, both of you.” – Crichton to Chiana and Jothee.
SUNS AND LOVERS ***
Production #10302. Airdate 3/23/01. Written by Justin Monjo. Directed by Andrew Prowse.
Jothee and Chiana try to conceal their affair. The others have gone to a space station for drinks and supplies. When the station is hit by an enormous storm, Moya is damaged and entangled, and the station ready to explode. Aeryn tries to rescue trapped children, Zhaan aids the injured, and John tries to stop the next storm from coming, attracted by a magnetized religious zealot named Borlik (Leanna Walsmann). While in a suicidal mood, D’Argo realizes that Chiana and Jothee have betrayed him, and he goes outside to free Moya . In the end, the station is spared, Moya freed, Jothee gone, and D’Argo has a new spacecraft on board.
Said David Kemper, “To me, that episode was really good FARSCAPE because it was part of the overall structure, and yet it stands alone. Justin Monjo had a thousand things he had to do. He had to get D’Argo’s ship to come on board. He had to progress Zhaan’s disease. He had to deal with Crichton and Aeryn’s relationship. Justin framed it in the job of a mall collapsing in space, and we had all these requirements of crawling through tunnels and falling. It gave production nightmares because we had to build all this stuff very fast. They did a great job.”
“I am to die soon. The goddess has chosen my harbinger.” – Zhaan.
SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDS PART ONE: COULD’A, WOULD’A, SHOULD’A ***
Production #10303. Airdate 3/30/01. Written by David Kemper. Directed by Tony Tilse.
The group is heading for a planet where Zhaan can recuperate when Pilot shows John a wormhole. Going to investigate places Moya in the path of an incoming vessel. The two ships crash, fused together inside the wall of the wormhole.
The other ship belongs to Pathfinder Neeyala (Victoria Longley) and her crew, scientists studying wormholes. Neeyala insists that if they can separate the two ships, only one will survive. They want to break the ships apart and let Moya and Pilot die. Moya seems to be failing anyway.
John and Rygel, in the Farscape module, take data readings with Neeyala’s equipment. On Moya, where John had brought the cryopods of the species that saved his life, the last one opens and Jool (Tammy MacIntosh), surprisingly, does not die.
But Neelaya’s people are using their “phaztillion generator” to phase shift and go on secret missions around Moya. In Pilot’s den, just as John sees the Three Stooges on Neeyala’s recording device, a serpent attacks him and the device is broken.
See comments after PART II.
“Sensitive D’Argo, exuberant Chiana, wise Rygel, selfless Aeryn, innocent Crichton, my children, my teachers, my loves – there is no guilt, there is no blame, only what is meant to be.”- Zhaan.
SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDS PART TWO: WAIT FOR THE WHEEL ***1/2
Production #10304. Airdate 4/6/01. Written by David Kemper. Directed by Tony Tilse.
While John tries to tell Aeryn about the Three Stooges, Zhaan finds the blood of one of Neeyala’s people where John says he shot the serpent. The group realizes that Neeyala’s crew are damaging Moya’s systems, forcing them to abandon her and save the Pathfinder ship. This steels their resolve to save Moya. To split the ships, they must trigger the generator on the Pathfinder ship when it is at maximum power. But someone has to start the sequence on the other ship, and will die with it. Zhaan, seeing her death so close, chooses to save her friends. It may or may not be important that Neeyala said she put a beacon on Moya so that her people could track Moya down.
This very complicated two-parter ended with a wonderfully executed, emotional farewell for Zhaan. David Kemper explained that the concept of the show changed when it had to include Zhaan’s death. He recalled, “The original show that I was going to do, Neeyala’s people were good. They didn’t do anything wrong. They find themselves in a tough and desperate situation, just like us. Circumstances force us to be against each other. Neeyala could have dispatched us, followed her second-in-command’s advice right away and she didn’t.”
Kemper added, “To me, that kind of was a parallel track thematically, to what was happening to Zhaan, which Scorpius voices in the very last scene to Crichton. ‘Why is it always the innocent ones that pay the price?’ There was an episode with no villains, in a way. You could understand why they do what they do. It was just one of those sad, unfortunate things that you can’t avoid in life. That’s what happened with Zhaan. Zhaan had the pleasure, and the people that know her had the pleasure, to have a great final statement and to say goodbye to the people she loves.”
“You know, if we did change things it is possible we could improve the future.” – Aeryn.
“With our record, you think that’s going to happen?” – Crichton.
DIFFERENT DESTINATIONS ***1/2
Production #10305. Airdate 4/13/01. Written by Steve Worland. Directed by Peter Andrikidis.
With Moya in orbit, Aeryn, John, D’Argo, Stark and Jool go down to look at an ancient monument depicting the saving of a group of nurses by Peacekeepers 500 cycles ago. But while viewing the past through special goggles, an upset Stark opens a tear in time, and the group find themselves living through the conflict between Peacekeepers and the Venek Horde. Even though they try not to change history, everything they do just makes things worse.
This was a powerful, stand-alone episode that furthered Crichton’s feelings of guilt. It is one of David Kemper’s favorites of the season. Said director Andrikidis, “It was a good, strong story, and it’s got quite a punch at the end. They do change time, and it does actually have repercussions. It didn’t have the sweet ending where they solve everything. It was doing a twist on it, because you would expect, in anything else, that they actually do solve the problem.”
The Scorpie clone visits John in this episode wearing cowboy boots and playing the harmonica. Explained Andrikidis, “The harmonica was in the script. The boots came from me. That’s what good about the Crichton stuff where we are in his head – we can virtually do any reference to pop culture.”
“I doubled you. I twinned you. Equal and original.” – Kaarvok (Shane Briant).
EAT ME ***1/2
Production #10306. Airdate 4/20/01. Written by Matt Ford. Directed by Ian Watson.
Jool, John, D’Argo and Chiana are out in a disintegrating transport pod. Moya, who has found a severely damaged Talyn and an unconscious Crais, is not there to rendezvous. Instead, the group is forced to dock on an unfamiliar Leviathan.
Leaving a terrified Jool on the pod’s steps, D’Argo and John go out looking for repair supplies, shortly followed by Chiana. They find a rotting, diseased ship, filled with ravenous semi-human creatures, and a Pilot with only one arm. The criminally insane Kaarvok is in control. Soon he attacks D’Argo and sucks out his brains. Chiana and John think D’Argo is dead, until Chiana finds his double. By the time they get back on the pod, there are two Crichtons.
This was an episode either loved or hated by fans. Watson, “Of all the episodes I’ve done, I don’t know of any having such a strong reaction as ‘Eat Me’ did. I think Matt Ford tried to write something that would challenge an audience perception of what we want the characters to be, to put them in this really dark and really horrible place. I loved the main character, Kaarvok, spiking the head and sucking their brains. That I just think is an horrendous image, and I don’t know how that played for the fans.”
He added, “I tried to do it in a horror genre. Those are inherently disgusting images. If I could shoot and direct it in such a way that it is wrapped in a horror genre, then people would watch it through understanding it for what it is, a genre piece.”
“Aeryn, your life was not an accident… You were conceived in love, our love… It makes you special.” – Xhalax Sun (Linda Cropper)
THANKS FOR SHARING ***
Production #10307. Airdate 6/15/01. Written by Clayvon C. Harris. Directed by Ian Barry.
Moya is transfusing Talyn while hiding in the bonosphere of the planet Kanvia. The two Johns are arguing over who is real, while Rygel, Chiana and D’Argo are on the planet trying to buy Chromextin for Talyn. Jool is tending to Crais, who awakens to find himself with an alien he doesn’t know, and Aeryn, who he thought was dead. He tells Aeryn that a Peacekeeper Retrieval Squad, led by her mother, attacked Talyn, and is still in pursuit. He also shows her a recording from her personnel file, showing her mother visiting her when she was a child in barracks. It seems the Peacekeepers know about Aeryn’s relationship with the ship Talyn.
It takes persuasion and trickery by both Johns to finally obtain any Chromextin. Although they think the royal family has been hindering them, in fact Xhalax Sun and her shape-shifting assistant are behind a lot of the problems. One John, Aeryn, Crais, Stark and Rygel manage to starburst away on Talyn. The others stay aboard Moya. The Retrieval Squad is still chasing Talyn.
The middle part of season three is now set up, with two Crichtons and two ships going on different journeys.
This episode featured stunning sets, exotic costumes, and interesting creatures. Production designer Tim Ferrier recalled, “Early on in the process I suggested that on the planet Kanvia it is always raining. That set the feeling for everything – wet, slimy, shiny surfaces. We wanted it to be dark, threatening and bizarre. This was fantastically echoed by Terry Ryan’s costumes. We continued the water feel in the bar and in the street scenes. We took our inspiration from contemporary Japanese interiors – big, bold, geometric shapes and clean surfaces.”
Ferrier added, “We had just completed a series of episodes that were degraded and decayed in their feel – ‘Eat Me,’ and ‘Different Destinations.’ This was an opportunity to contrast that look with something crisp, hard and shiny.”
“I had this life. I liked it. It had rules. I followed the rules and that made everything right. And then you come along and frell everything up.” – Aeryn to John.
GREEN-EYED MONSTER ***1/2
Production #10308. Airdate 6/15/01. Written by Ben Browder. Directed by Tony Tilse.
While Rygel and Stark are off in a transport pod, Aeryn, Crais and Crichton are alone on Talyn. Talyn gets swallowed by a gigantic and deadly Budong. The three are forced to cooperate to try and get out of the monster alive. Talyn himself has feelings, and it seems that they may not all make it out of the Budong.
This episode was written by lead actor Ben Browder. It featured a wonderful storyline for the three actors on Talyn, ending with a romantic resolution for Aeryn and John. It also told the audience much about Crais and even Talyn. Rygel and Stark, paired here for the first time, provided hilarious comic relief.
See “The Making of GEM.”
“Anything strange happen to you guys?” – John.
“I live on this ship. Something strange always happens.” – D’Argo.
LOSING TIME **1/2
Production #10309. Airdate 6/29/01. Written by Justin Monjo. Directed by Catherine Millar.
Everyone aboard Moya is fighting. After passing through an electromagnetic cluster, John sees a light come into the ship, and then falls unconscious. When he wakes up bleeding, he has to convince the others something is wrong. A DRD records them, proving that they are all losing time. An alien being who has taken possession of Pilot tells them that an evil energy rider is inside of one of them. They must find out who has the rider and how to get rid of both aliens without being killed themselves. Meanwhile, Scorpius is advancing his wormhole research.
This ship-bound story gave Gigi Edgley an acting challenge as the one concealing the rider. She recalled, “I was playing on the innocence and the character that was lost, the spirit that was lost and was searching for the answers in people’s souls. Every evil person has a good side to them. In their own minds they don’t think they are evil. Instead of going with the evil and scary choice, I thought, it’s just this little girl that’s been lost and is trying to find answers through other people’s eyes. Then when it all turns around on her, that’s when the nasty side comes out. We get to jump into the dark pool and play with it a bit.”
“Aeryn is not going to be the one to kill her mother. You want her dead, fine, you do it.”
John to Crais.
Production #10310. Airdate 7/6/01. Written by Rockne S. O’Bannon. Directed by Peter Andrikidis.
Talyn is resting on a heavy gravity planet. John and Aeryn’s bliss is interrupted when Talyn detects the arrival of the Retrieval Squad. Crais, Aeryn, and John go out into the jungle to draw the Peacekeepers away, leaving Rygel and Stark with Talyn. Xhalax is accompanied by trackers called Colartas, and they soon pick up the scent. Separated from Aeryn, John and an injured Crais try to get back to Talyn. Aeryn must face her mother.
Said Andrikidis, “I played that out, that, in effect, you’ve got to kill your mother. That was the big thing for Aeryn’s character, although the ‘dead’ character comes back. There is a twist on the ending. Also Crichton and Aeryn are working so well together, too. Their relationship is really good.”
This was the first of three scripts creator O’Bannon wrote for season three. O’Bannon always enjoys writing about Aeryn, a character he created. This episode pushed Aeryn further along her remarkable journey.
It wasn’t an easy episode to make. Said O’Bannon, “I thought they did a great job with it. Rygel and Stark, who are starting to become the Laurel and Hardy or the Abbott and Costello of the show, really worked well together. The planet environment was a very difficult set to shoot. By conception, it was supposed to be an environment where you could totally get lost, which was necessary to keep the Colartas away from us. How do you keep them from catching our people easily? Peter Andrikidis did a terrific job of selling that, of making that work. The Colartas themselves were wonderfully great Henson creations. But they are also really hard to work with. The first draft had nothing about the fact that the planet had a heavy gravity. We hadn’t designed the Colartas yet. When they did design them, they became bigger, heavier, less agile beings. Ricky Manning suggested, ‘Why don’t we give the planet heavy gravity, and give it a reason why they are slow, why they are not able to spring through the jungle and catch our people really fast.’ That helped a lot.”
“My earliest memory is pain.” – Scorpius.
Production #10311. Airdate 7/13/01. Written by Richard Manning. Directed by Ian Watson.
Scorpius has ships flying through wormholes, with fatal results for each pilot. He believes there is still a locked area in the neural chip with the necessary information from Crichton’s mind. He inserts the neural chip into his own brain, and contacts a duplicate of Crichton’s psyche that exists there. He tells John his own history, hoping that he will unlock the remaining code. Scorpius was raised by Scarrans and told a lie – that his mother was Scarran. He was tortured from his first moment – and finally escaped to find Peacekeepers and the truth of his parentage. This reveals his total hatred of the Scarrans and his fear that they will kill all other sentient species. He wants to use wormhole technology as a weapon to defeat them.
This was a difficult episode to watch, but necessary to understand future events. Said Watson, “I love working with Wayne Pygram. I love working with Scorpius. It was dealing with his backstory, which was interesting. We played with how we were going to tell the backstory by projecting images up on smoke. I stylistically chose to keep the camera as still as much as possible, and try to make it feel like they are fragments of photographs out of his life.”
He added, “It matters to the audience that they know Scorpius’ backstory. It matters to the audience in upcoming episodes that Scorpius hates the Scarrans, and it’s his hatred of the Scarrans that motivates him to do most things he does. It plays more in later episodes.”
“I suggest you prepare yourselves for peace, because I have failed you, and we are all going to die.” – Stark.
Production # 10312. Airdate 7/14/01. Written by Matt Ford. Directed by Ian Barry.
Talyn is lured into the corona of a siren star. As the group try and keep him away from the sun, damage from the initial encounter causes Talyn to leak drexim. Like adrenaline, the drexim mist stimulates everyone on board. John and Aeryn can’t pull themselves apart, Rygel gorges himself, Crais turns crazed Peacekeeper, and Stark sees a woman, Sierjna (Susan Lyons) trapped between worlds. It seems the evil Mu-Quillus (Mark Mitchell) has contracted to kill Leviathans by pulling them into this sun. Can anyone stop him?
This episode was filled with humor and sex, as the drexim uninhibited the gang. Laughed Browder, “‘Meltdown’ – the script never made it home. The rushes never made it home. I don’t think I ever mentioned that episode at home. That one was a struggle to shoot. You can quote me on that. I thought Claud was really great in that one. Her work was impeccable.”
“John – Moya and I desire time away from your constant bickering, and this adventure, however embellished, does not alleviate that need. Get out of here!”
SCRATCH ‘N SNIFF ***1/2
Production #10313. Airdate 7/20/01. Written by Lily Taylor. Directed by Tony Tilse.
Pilot and Moya throw D’Argo and John off the ship. Along with Jool and Chiana, they wind up on the pleasure planet of LoMo. They have lots of money, and there are plenty of girls and boys, drinks and drugs – especially freslin, to keep them busy. However, things go quite wrong when D’Argo and John are drugged, and Jool and Chiana disappear. According to the alien Raxil (Francesca Buller), the evil Fe’Tor (Tamblyn Lord) may want to milk them for freslin. It is up to John and D’Argo to save them, and then convince Pilot of what happened.
Francesca Buller, Ben Browder’s wife, plays Raxil (see sidebar). This fantastically crazed episode was filmed on location at Maroubra Beach. It is another one of David Kemper’s favorites. Initially a straightforward story, it was redone by Tony Tilse. Said Tilse, “It was a story that was more linear in its process. When we started shooting it, we realized that we weren’t quite sure if it could play out in its linear form. It was David’s idea to say, ‘Let’s make it about Crichton telling the story.’ That’s when I said, ‘This is because Crichton is in this hung-over state. It needs to have the feeling of things just coming into his head, not necessarily in the order they were going to be in, but just random moments.’ That’s where we got the idea of the flash-cuts, the flashes with cuts in between. I’ve always wanted to play with that. In retrospect, you realize that the flash-cuts do have a progression and have a meaning through it all. Once we tried it, and we said, ‘This is going to work,’ with the editor we went through and found what we needed to shoot, and what we didn’t need to shoot. It was a real challenge, because it was a different narrative. When you are always experimenting there are scenes that don’t work, but there is other stuff that works really well. It gave everyone a freedom to try different stuff. I think it works because it’s quite surreal. The great scenes between Crichton and Pilot, I think, really ground it back solidly. Then at the end you’ve D’Argo and Crichton arguing again, and so you are not quite sure what is real and what is not.”
This episode was also a challenge for Guy Gross, doing the score. He recalled, “It was really out of my musical comfort zone, so much so, I had to employ the services of a local engineer/programmer, Damian Canduso, to source the drum loops and even play electric guitar. It was one of those episodes that really consumed me. It took 3 weeks to score. I can score an average episode in around a week. As things turned out, everyone loved the music.”
“You didn’t think I’d plan on going home alone, did you? I wouldn’t want to do that…” – Crichton.
“I wouldn’t want you to.” – Aeryn.
INFINITE POSSIBILITIES PART ONE: DAEDALUS DEMANDS ***
Production #10314. Airdate 7/27/01. Written by Carleton Eastlake. Directed by Peter Andrikidis.
Crichton feels that Jack (Kent McCord), the Ancient who took the form of his father, and who also put wormhole technology into his subconscious, is trying to communicate with him. It seems someone is piloting what looks like John’s Farscape module successfully inside wormholes. Jack shares his concerns that wormhole technology, in most hands, will be used to make ultimate weapons. The search for the duplicate module leads Jack and the crew on Talyn back to Furlow (Magda Szubanski), the mechanic from first season’s “Till The Blood Runs Clear.” She has made a deal with the horrific Charrids, who are in league with the Scarrans, and on their way in a dreadnought. Everyone, even Rygel, agrees they must be stopped. This means fighting Charrids, a treacherous Furlow, and even the clone in Scorpius’ head, who Jack wants to remove.
This very busy episode establishes the major threat to the galaxy. See comments after Part Two.
“Don’t be the hero, John. Always be the one to walk away while the hero dies.” – Furlow.
INFINITE POSSIBILITIES PART TWO: ICARUS ABIDES ***1/2
Production #10315. Airdate 8/3/01. Written by Carleton Eastlake. Directed by Ian Watson.
With the Scorpie clone finally out of his head, Crichton finds that Jack has unlocked the information about how to construct a wormhole. They work to build a device to stop the Scarran dreadnought, which has already downloaded the data from Furlow’s computer. Their work is interrupted by Charrid attacks, and eventually a double-cross by Furlow, who kills Jack. John is forced to finish the device alone. He now knows how to make a wormhole to get back to Earth. John retrieves the device from a fleeing Furlow, but it is leaking fatal radiation. In the Farscape module, John uses it to open a wormhole, which touches a sun to the Scarran dreadnought, and destroys it. John pays the ultimate price.
Said writer Carleton Eastlake, “What is Crichton’s moral responsibility if he discovers how to create a weapon this big? The real engine of the show, for me, was everyone’s reactions to this destructiveness. Even ferocious Peacekeeper captains and a ruthless king like Rygel were horrified that this knowledge even existed. In constructing drama, you always want the stakes to be as high as possible. I proposed an episode where Crichton had to chose between going home with Aeryn or dying. Going home with Aeryn would mean endangering Earth, endangering this sector of space they were in, the endangerment being understanding how to use a wormhole as the ultimate destructive weapon. It had to be an episode where Crichton died, because no one should live with that knowledge.”
This episode saw the heart-breaking end of the relationship between John and Aeryn. Said Watson, “Claudia is just absolutely wonderful in the episode, and so is Ben. The death scenes is probably one of the best death scenes I’ve shot. He risks his life to save everybody else, and dies accordingly. He finally discovers that he has to stop the wormhole technology from getting into the hands of the Scarrans.”
Crichton has a moment with Stark which created much speculation. Later, in “Fractures,” the audience finds out what it means, but not even the actors knew when they filmed it. Said Black, “We will have these moments where David Kemper will know what he wants to do, but he hasn’t written it yet. So while we were shooting, David said to Ben, ‘Do me a favor. In the scene just before you die, grab Stark’s hand and nod, and we’ll tell you what it means later.’ So we have this incredibly meaningful moment when he’s on his death bed.”
“Aggression feeds on opportunity. Remove yourself as a target, and the pursuer will eventually tire.” – Pilot.
“You’re very wise.” – John.
“I don’t get out much, so I read.” – Pilot.
REVENGING ANGEL ****
Production #10316. Airdate 8/10/01. Written by David Kemper. Directed by Andrew Prowse.
While John and D’Argo are aboard D’Argo’s ship, it suddenly activates what appears to be a self-destruct sequence. D’Argo, who doesn’t know how to control the ship, blames John, and shoves him. John hits his head, and falls unconscious. As Jool, Chiana, Pilot and D’Argo try and find a way to stop the ship from blowing them all up, John has a number of near-death, bizarre hallucinations. Inside his mind, D’Argo is still trying to kill him. The Scorpie clone wants him to stay alive by taking revenge on D’Argo. John’s mental defense is an escape into a Looney Tune cartoon world, with himself as Road Runner and D’Argo as Wile E. Coyote. In typical Looney Tune fashion, John outwits D’Argo every time. John’s thoughts slip between conversations with Scorpie, running from a “real” D’Argo through Moya, and cartoons in which he wins. But in the end he realizes his love for Aeryn will keep him alive. He wakes up in time to discover that D’Argo has found a way to control what is actually an ancient Luxan ship.
This was perhaps the best episode of season three, certainly the most risky. See “The Making of ‘Revenging Angel.’”
“Maybe I could have become something different. If you’d lived, I could have truly changed. But you are gone, and I am what I was bred to be.” – Aeryn
THE CHOICE ***1/2
Production #10317. Airdate 8/17/01. Written by Justin Monjo. Directed by Rowan Woods.
Aeryn has gone to a planet where Stark says people may be able to contact the dead. It is filled with criminals, seers, and frauds. Aeryn, who wants to reach John, instead finds someone who says he can contact her own father. What she doesn’t know is that her mother, Xhalax, is alive and watching her, waiting to take revenge. Crais, Stark and even Rygel come down to try and help Aeryn, but she rejects their help. While drinking in a squalid hotel room, she discovers that she has many choices to make, including whether or not to live in the past with her memories of John, or not, to kill or be killed, to live or to die.
This haunting emotional episode showcased the growing abilities of Claudia Black as an actress. She said that “The Choice” was the “ultimate experience.” She recalled, “It was great to have Aeryn looking broken down but quite female. There was that nice mythological element to it, the ambiguity of the ending, and whether Aeryn does seek the help of the Seer. The surreal sequences with Crichton where she is conjuring him from her consciousness – through that the information from ‘The Locket’ is revealed. My interpretation was that Aeryn has been quite actively trying to seek him out, but the power is within her to find him. When she turns and says, ‘You have to go now,’ it’s this great dichotomy, this great split between wanting to be emotionally responsible and say, ‘No more fantasy. You need to leave so I can move on.’ But there is also on the other side of it the complete denial and incapacity to cope, without reverting back to her Peacekeeper way. I love the balance, like the two scenes in tandem, of her being responsible psychologically and emotionally, but also being in denial at the same time.”
“We chose our own path. This one is mine. I’m going to the Command Carrier. I am going to stop Scorpius.”- Crichton.
Production #10318. Airdate 8/24/01. Written by Rockne S. O’Bannon. Directed by Tony Tilse.
Everyone on Moya, especially John, is anxiously awaiting a rendezvous with Talyn. But the approaching transport pod is not from Talyn. It turns out to be carrying escaping prisoners – a Nebari, a Scarran, a female Hynerian, a Boolite, and the PK tech they overpowered.
As this is sorted out, the transport pod from Talyn arrives. John is there to greet Rygel, Crais, and a very distant Aeryn. While John learns the fate of the other Crichton, the others watch their guests. But someone is sending a signal about their location to the Peacekeepers. One of the escaped prisoners is a traitor.
Stark, who has gone to search for Zhaan has left his mask for John. At the end, John watches the hologram projected by Stark’s mask, explaining what happened. One John must finish the other’s work.
On one level, this episode is a mystery, as the crew try and find the traitor. On a deeper level, it is the reuniting of the crews, and the return of Aeryn to Moya’s John. This reunion is heartbreaking. Aeryn wants nothing to do with this John, and he does not understand why. Said Tony Tilse, “Crichton is so happy, and so joyful, and then she comes down the stairs. I just love that scene, because she just says, ‘Hello John,’ and walks past. Crichton’s just kind of dazed. I shot a lot of that scene in slow motion, just because I thought that I really wanted to wallow in that expression. I really wanted to hang on the faces and see the change from joy to confusion, and to the realization that Crichton is dead.”
Tilse continued, “There wasn’t much written. There is not much dialogue between them. All the scenes between them, they are not talking to each other. Crichton attempts to talk to her, but she doesn’t respond. It’s quite heartbreaking for those moments. There’s one scene, when they are talking about the plan and what to do, and Crichton looked up, and there was the back of Aeryn’s head. She didn’t turn around, and Crichton was just staring at it. We found that in the shooting process of it as opposed to it being in the script. The relationship now is in a very different state because of the way things have fallen, and so there’s a lot of stuff now that has to be sorted out between those two characters.”
The Boolite provided some comic relief. Said O’Bannon, “My proudest creation is a creature named the Boolite. When they find him, he’s been shot, and he’s all over one room of the transport. But one of the interesting properties of Boolite physiology is that the individual pieces actually can remain alive. The Boolite has some information that our people need, so Crais and Jool take it upon themselves to scrape up as many pieces of the Boolite as they can. The two of them are trying to take the Boolite and piece him back together. The Creature Shop did a great job with the Boolite. It’s just exactly what I had in mind. It’s fun to give Lani a chance to play some schtick, and Jool is right in there with him as his very reluctant assistant.”
“It was perfect. We were so perfect, and you are just like him. I mean, you are him.” – Aeryn to Crichton.
I – YENSCH, YOU – YENSCH ***
Production #10319. Airdate 4/5/02. Written by Matt Ford. Directed by Peter Andrikidis.
Rygel and D’Argo meet Scorpius and Braca (David Franklin) at a diner to discuss possible cooperation. Their discussions are interrupted when two bumbling burglars (Ben Mendelsohn and Anthony Hayes) come in to hold up the diner, forcing the unlikely allies to work together.
This humorous episode also set up the end of the season. Said David Kemper, “We are going to the Command Carrier. We have an episode that sets things up. You get the players; you get the lay of the land. The idea was to do the movie HEAT, where DeNiro and Pacino are cop and robber, and they have this big scene in the diner. Let’s put a couple of people in the diner to meet Scorpius. We knew it would be Rygel, because he is the negotiator. I am talking to Matt Ford, and he says, ‘You know what would be interesting? If we are going to do HEAT where they meet in the diner, what if the scene then turns into DOG DAY AFTERNOON?’ Matt jumped on it. Peter Andrikidis cast these guys, both of whom had been in the show before, as the dog guys. They gave these stunning alien performances. We were sad that we had to kill one of them.”
“I grant you, John, and your companions, full diplomatic rights, immunities, and courtesies whilst aboard this vessel. At last, the rift between us is finally breached.” – Scorpius.
INTO THE LION’S DEN PART ONE: LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER ***1/2
Production #10320. Airdate 4/12/02. Written by Richard Manning. Directed by Ian Watson.
The entire group goes on board Scorpius’ Command Carrier. Crais and Aeryn must face their Peacekeeper past. Crichton works with Co-Kura Strappa (Danny Adcock) to try and solve the wormhole information puzzle. Crais brings a damaged Talyn aboard, and receives help from Lieutenant Loral (Marta Dusseldorp). Crichton stalls. When Commandant Milon Grazer (Rebecca Riggs) arrives, she leans on Scorpius, has Moya captured, and tries to get John and the others killed. For the moment, Scorpius has the upper hand, but if John doesn’t help him he promises to destroy Earth, which he has located.
See comments after “Part Two.”
“I understand the power of the technology that Scorpius is attempting to harness. I understand the horror that would wash over this galaxy if anyone wields this weapon. And last of all, I now know that I am the only individual capable of destroying it.” – Crais.
INTO THE LION’S DEN PART TWO: WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING ****
Production #10321. Airdate 4/19/02. Written by Rockne S. O’Bannon. Directed by Rowan Woods.
Time is running out. The whole Command Carrier is the wormhole laboratory, and must be destroyed. Crichton does not know what to do, but Crais does. He and Talyn sacrifice themselves by going to Starburst inside the Command Carrier, which causes it to slowly break up. Many escape, some die. Everyone except Crais returns to Moya.
The two-parter played like a movie, and could easily have ended year three. Kemper said, “I wanted to explore what it would be like for Crais. This is Crais’ ship. He’s been on the ship for maybe thirty, forty years. Aeryn was raised, if not on this Command Carrier then an identical one. They are going back into their home and they are not welcome. There is that storyline. How much fun to put some more pressure on Scorpius from afar, so all of a sudden you have Commandant Grazor. Scorpius has got some political problems at home. Crichton has to pay that debt to the other Crichton and figure out how to stop the wormhole. That’s basically thematic ending of the year, to keep this weapon out of other people’s hands.”
The O’Bannon script for the second part created a terrific excitement as it was filmed. Said O’Bannon, “It was a great opportunity to explore Aeryn and Crais back in their old environment. You really get to see the day-to-day Peacekeeper lifestyle. Then to throw Crais and Aeryn into that mix was wonderful stuff to explore. Rowan Woods, who directed the episode, is really the master of mayhem. So to hand over the destruction of the Command Carrier to him was just a terrific.”
The Command Carrier came apart slowly. A lake from an environmental recreation inside flooded other sections. Enthused Kemper, “Rowan Woods and Tim Ferrier and the special effects guys, they just went out of their minds. They had a tank bigger than a swimming pool back there. We just couldn’t believe how much water there was. You weren’t getting that shot again.”
“There is no home. There is no wormhole. There is only you… Aeryn, anywhere in the universe. You pick the planet.” – Crichton
DOG WITH TWO BONES ****
Production #10322. Airdate 4/26/02. Written by David Kemper. Directed by Andrew Prowse.
Before the group splits up and each heads away on their own journey, Moya wants to bury Talyn’s remains at a Leviathan burial ground. A deranged Leviathan tries to stop her.
Meanwhile, Crichton is having visions of Earth, with Aeryn and all his alien friends there. His visions are mixed up with what is really happening around him. D’Argo discovers that a mysterious old woman (Melissa Jaffer) is using “herbs” to give Crichton these insights. Crichton sees he and Aeryn at their wedding reception, when everyone, including Aeryn, is killed by Peacekeepers with Scorpius. He cannot have Earth and his friends. The old woman tells him to pick, and he goes to stop Aeryn from leaving. They fight, and she leaves without him. Alone in his Farscape module, he gets a surprise from the Scorpie clone. The old woman told him Aeryn is “with child.” Before he can get back to Moya, the ship is swallowed by a wormhole, leaving Crichton stranded.
See article about David Kemper, as well as the main article for more about this breathtaking, spectacular finish to season three. It did not come easily to David Kemper. He explained, “I was going to do a two parter, that ended the year and started the next year. I had a thematic storyline for it, the adventure, the outside influence. I had my whole year built around an ending, and I went home to L.A. and tried to execute it, and I couldn’t make it work. The B story was this wedding. I went to my good friend Carleton Eastlake, who did ‘Infinite Possibilities.’ I said, ‘You’ve got to help me.’ I met with Rock everyday. Ultimately I realized that the adventure story I was telling was just too big. I couldn’t get it into two hours – I needed three. So I put them away. The B story which was only about 17 pages long, [turned] into the whole cliffhanger. With like a week to go, I called Lil [Taylor] from L.A., and I said, ‘Everything they have been building, all the sets, all the creatures, all the costumes, all the special effects, save them for next year.’ I told them what the story was over the phone, and everybody liked it. I said, ‘I am going to write this in like five days,’ which I did, the first draft.”
Kemper said there were 16 more minutes of film shot, edited out for time, that will eventually show up on the DVD. He laughed, “When the DVD comes out, everyone will be completely amazed by the bachelor party that Rygel threw for Crichton. I am not even going to hint at the one that will ultimately be the cult piece of film that everybody will treasure when the DVD comes out.”
Copyright 2002 by Anna L. Kaplan. An edited version of this article originally appeared in the June 2002 issue of Cinefantastique (Volume 34, Number 3-4). Other articles from this issue can be found in the Archives June 2002.