Dog With Two Bones
Written by David Kemper, directed by Andrew Prowse
Season 3, episode 22
1st UK Transmission Date: 31 January 2002
1st US Transmission Date: 26 April 2002
Guest Cast: Jool (Tammy MacIntosh), Jack Crichton (Kent McCord), Old Woman (Melissa Jaffer)
‘…we’re done! Talyn rests where he belongs, Scorpius has no ship, we’re all unhurt, healthy, and no-one’s trying to kill us! It means finally we can go where we want. We can go home!’
Synopsis: Moya has collected Talyn’s remains and wishes to dump them in the Leviathans’ sacred resting place. A female Leviathan whose three children have all been captured by PK hunters has been driven mad by her loss, killed her Pilot, and is determined to prevent Moya laying Talyn—a half PK ship—to rest there. She has killed three Leviathans already and rams Moya, severely damaging her. Eventually Moya asks her crew to kill the insane Leviathan, and they use the D’Argomobile to do so. Talyn is laid to rest.
As Moya’s crew prepare to go their separate ways, John daydreams about returning to Earth and marrying Aeryn. A mysterious old woman who they rescued from the Command Carrier uses herbs to show John the truth of his fantasies, and he confronts the reality—Aeryn would be unhappy and Peacekeepers would follow and kill everyone. He realises he must abandon his dream of returning home.
As Aeryn prepares to leave Moya he declares his love for her and asks her to either stay with him or let him come with her. She resists but eventually agrees to trust to fate, and they toss a coin. He calls it wrong, she leaves. As he floats in his WDP outside Moya, gathering his thoughts, Harvey manifests and unlocks a memory in John’s subconscious—while he was seeing visions of Peacekeepers killing all his friends on Earth, the old woman told him that Aeryn is pregnant. However, before he can return to Moya and chase after Aeryn, a wormhole appears and Moya (along with Jool and the old woman) is sucked through it. The wormhole vanishes and John is left alone, floating in his WDP, out of fuel and miles from help….
Buck Rogers Redux: ‘When I was a kid I dreamed of outer space and then I got here and I dream of Earth. Lately none of my dreams work.’ John has a cousin Susan. He dreams of taking Aeryn and his friends home with him and fantasises about marrying Aeryn and settling down. Only when he’s really truthful with himself does he acknowledge that his friends wouldn’t fit in, Aeryn would be miserable, and the Peacekeepers would follow. He no longer considers returning to Earth an option. ‘I am so tired of running…’
You Can Be More: While on the Command Carrier Aeryn heard about an ex-PK unit that specialises in protecting people and preventing terrorism by assassinating people. She resolves to leave Moya and join this unit. Jool points out to her that this would be a step backwards in her personal evolution, but Aeryn doesn’t want to hear it.
I Was A Teenage Luxan: ‘Revenge is a feast best served immediately.’ D’Argo loads up his ship with supplies and heads off to take revenge on Macton, who is posted a long way away. He has mastered his ship’s weapon systems. Before he leaves he tells John ‘anything positive I do with the rest of my life will be because of you’.
Buckwheat the Sixteenth: Rygel also heads home, presumably in a Transport Pod.
Everyone’s Favourite Little Tralk: Chi is overcome with grief at Talyn’s burial. She would love John to come with her as she hunts for Nerri and the Nebari resistance, but the fact that he looks like a PK would probably hinder her search. She tells him she loves him and leaves, also presumably in a Transport Pod.
Jool In the Crown: Jool is still on Moya when she is sucked down the wormhole, but Moya was intending to help her find her home world. She hugs Chiana as Talyn is laid to rest, and gives sage advice to Aeryn too—never has she been so personable and nice.
In The Driving Seat: Pilot is unable to persuade Moya to back down in the face of the rogue Leviathans attacks, and at one point Moya takes control herself.
Hi, Harvey: ‘Having chosen our partnership above all else, your well-being is now irrevocably mine.’ Harvey pops up to unlock John’s subconscious memory of the old woman’s revelation and then vanishes again having given John his gift.
A Ship, A Living Ship!: Moya explicitly asks her crew to kill another Leviathan so that Talyn can be laid to rest. This ruthlessness is surprising, but is much admired, at least by Rygel. Chiana once asked Zhaan how she managed to get on with Moya so well, and Zhaan replied that the secret was just to be completely honest at all times. Moya is by no means the largest Leviathan out there—the rogue is much bigger.
Big Baby: Rygel: ‘Talyn was special, a joy his mother and a credit to his species, both of them. With fondness we lay Talyn, offspring of Moya, to rest in his sacred ground.’ There’s very little of Talyn left when he’s dumped in the sacred space, but we can be pretty sure that he didn’t survive the StarBurst on the Command Carrier—no surprise returns from the dead for he and Crais, they’re definitively toast.
The Ballad Of Aeryn And John: As Aeryn is packing her Prowler, he tells her that he’s coming with her and provokes a fierce confrontation:
AERYN: I’m afraid it’s not that easy for me, you see you died, I watched that happen, and yet you’re still alive. I have to go…. Guarantee you won’t die in my arms again.
JOHN: Guarantee me you won’t die in mine!
AERYN: I can, by leaving!
His anger at being called Crichton spills out and he tells her to call him John, and tells her that this time she has to say goodbye because if she goes, it’s the last time they’ll ever see each other. There’s shouting, shoving, tears…. He kisses her and she says it tastes of yesterday, and he all but gives up because he can’t compete with a perfect dead version of himself.
AERYN: You once said it was as if the fates meant for us to be together.
JOHN: Yeah, I believe that.
AERYN: Then if that’s true we will be together again.
JOHN: Running away is not fate, Aeryn. Running away is running away.
He says that if fate is so important they should toss a coin. Aeryn protests that it is too late for her to go back to who she was.
AERYN: Do you love Aeryn Sun.
JOHN: Beyond hope.
AERYN: Then don’t make me say goodbye and don’t make me stay.
But then she thinks again, and so they toss a coin…
AERYN: We’re in the hands of fate now; we have to trust in that. Fly safe. Goodbye, John Crichton.
Alien Encounters: The old woman is some kind of shaman, and has a third eye in the middle of her forehead, a standard symbol of second sight. She was a PK prisoner aboard the Command Carrier and stays aboard to repay the crew for freeing her. She’s unnamed at this point, but we will come to know her as Noranti. She’s still on Moya when the ship is wormholed, so we can expect her to crop up again next season.
Get Frelled: John’s dreams of Chiana on Earth involve her sleeping her way through all his friends and, yeuch, his dad! Dream D’Argo also gets lucky, with two babes, at John’s imaginary wedding.
Stats: A Leviathan can kill its Pilot by starving it of nutrients. Although D’Argo’s ship only responds to his DNA, other people can pilot it wearing gloves if D’Argo has previously smeared all the controls with some sort of bodily secretion. The ship has devastatingly powerful weaponry which takes everyone by surprise—it entirely disintegrates the rogue Leviathan without breaking a sweat.
Seen It All Before: The massacre at John and Aeryn’s imaginary wedding, with all the crew being shot down in slo-mo by faceless helmeted Peacekeepers, strongly recalls the final episode of Blakes Seven.
WHAT did you just say? Rygel refers to his ‘tiny, shiny, heiny.’ He’s definitely been around John too long!
Guest Stars: Melissa Jaffer has appeared in Farscape before, as old Nilaam in 202, ‘Vitas Mortis.’
Backstage: A scene set on Earth in which Pilot makes a living in a carnival as ‘Lobster Boy From Space’—Don’t let your children get too close!!! He’s Weeeeird!! Count his arms!—was cut from the finished episode. As were a number of other scenes—one establishing the dying leviathan, Elack, John takes refuge on in ‘Crichton Kicks,’ another an Interion colony that Jool can head for.
The Verdict: Following the example set by Buffy season four and capping the intense final battle with a more contemplative, surreal season closer, this is the episode the whole season has built to. It addresses all the issues raised in the opening voice over and resolves some of them—most importantly John gives up all hope of ever returning home. The fantasy scenes of the crew on Earth, Aeryn and John’s wedding and all that ensues are superbly evocative, believable and, when they all die, heartbreaking. It’s beautifully directed and the sequences where John’s imagined earthbound conversations interweave with his real world conversations with his shipmates are superbly handled. The old woman is unsettling and her motives are unclear—why not just tell John outright that Aeryn was with child? The cliffhanger is astonishing mainly because it comes entirely out of the blue—there was no build up to the appearance of the wormhole at all, and no explanation given whatsoever. It’s a totally random event that happens in a split second and then is gone, leaving John and no doubt the audience to exclaim, incredulously ‘you have got to be kidding!’ The combination of the situational cliffhanger with the emotional revelation of Aeryn’s pregnancy, makes this a doubly potent season finale.
Finally, just consider the title of 301 – Season of Death. This year we have seen Aeryn dead (301), Zhaan die, (304), Chiana (306), D’Argo (306), Rygel (310), John dies twice (315 and 316), Crais (321) and Talyn (321). The only regular characters who have not died in some way this year are Moya, Pilot, Scorpy, Stark and Jool—truly this was the Season of Death.
Verdict redux: Brilliant. The centrepiece scene of John and Aeryn’s confrontation is electric. There’s a real sense that things are coming to an end, the crew is breaking apart, following their own agendas, leaving Moya. It’s hard to see how the next season could pick this up effectively; at the very least there will need to be a series of ‘getting the band back together’ episodes. Unsure about Noranti at this point, it’s an oddly low-key intro for a recurring character, but it kind of works.
Scott K. Andrews has written episode guides, magazine articles, film and book reviews, comics, audio plays for Big Finish, far too many blogs, some poems you will never read, and three novels for Abaddon. He is, patently, absurd.