Crackers Don’t Matter
Written by Justin Monjo, directed by Ian Watson
Season 2, Episode 4
1st US Transmission Date: 7 April 2000
1st UK Transmission Date: 17 July 2000
1st Australian Transmission: 10 December 2001
Guest Cast: Wayne Pygram (Scorpius), Danny Adcock (T’raltixx)
Synopsis: While visiting a commerce planet Moya’s crew find that Scorpius has seeded it with wanted beacons. They buy 1,000 units of crackers and leave with a technician called T’raltixx who promises to make Moya invisible to scans if they take him to his home planet.
He builds a small demonstration device which successfully turns the WDP invisible. On the way to his planet they have to pass some pulsars and T’raltixx warns them that the light may affect their judgement. The crew turn on each other – D’Argo nearly kills Rygel for stealing crackers before he teams up with Chiana, stinging Zhaan unconscious and trying to leave in the WDP. Aeryn and Rygel team up, steal some crackers and barricade themselves on the bridge. Pilot stops talking to anyone, and Zhaan writhes around in the light having photogasms.
John begins to hallucinate Scorpius, but realises that they are past the pulsars and it must be T’raltixx who is affecting them. He manages to capture all his shipmates and persuade them to work together and help him kill T’raltixx, who is barricaded in the sluice chamber making Moya bathe him in light. Using T’raltixx’s invisibility device John enters the chamber and kills the bad guy.
Buck Rogers Redux: Pilot tells Crichton what he thinks of him: ‘you have no special abilities. You're not particularly smart, can hardly smell, can barely see, and you're not even vaguely physically or spiritually imposing. Is there anything you do well?’ John’s got the worst eyesight of anyone on board and since it’s light that makes the crew nuts, he is the one best able to keep it together.
Howie Lewis beat him up when he was 12, but he got revenge by pouring sugar in his Harley’s petrol tank. He doesn’t like Italian food, has blue eyes and better than 20/20 vision.
After three episodes in which John’s become increasingly erratic he finally goes entirely off the deep end, but only because of T’raltixx. Still, he is VERY nuts, can it only be the light? Also, his initial distrust of T’raltixx, before he has anything to back it up, is just that bit too vehement and reminds us that he’s pretty out there even before the light takes effect.
That Peacekeeper Bitch: Aeryn allies herself with Rygel and barricades herself in command with their share of food cubes. She shoots at John when he comes to talk and calls him a ‘self-important, deficient little man’ which provokes him to call her ‘a frigid, flat-butted Peacekeeper skank.’ It must be love.
Big Blue: ‘She’s a plant – put her in the light, watch her smile.’ Zhaan is least affected. At first she tries to pick a fight with Aeryn, but in the end decides it’s too much hassle and goes to sit in the light and get her jollies.
I Was A Teenage Luxan: D’Argo allies himself with Chiana, tries to kill Rygel by forcing crackers down his throat, stings Zhaan because he thinks she’s in league with Crichton and tries to run away with Chiana. He also takes a gunshot in the leg, from John. He later apologises to Rygel and tells him how ashamed he is, but Rygel can’t forgive him yet. His speechless befuddlement when Crichton reveals he's disabled the WDP is hilarious.
Buckwheat the Sixteenth: As ever, in a crisis Rygel’s thoughts turn to food, but after D’Argo attacks him he hides in a conduit until Aeryn finds him. He attacks Aeryn when he thinks she’s going to betray him and gets knocked out for his pains.
Your Favourite Little Tralk: Chiana’s distrust of Aeryn surfaces first, then she joins forces with D’Argo. John captures her and for a dodgy moment that left this reviewer feeling a little uncomfortable it looks like he’s going to get all rapey, but instead he calls her a slut and knocks her unconscious.
In The Driving Seat: T’raltixx capitalises on Pilot’s distrust of his shipmates, and gets him to admit that he neither likes nor trusts them that much.
Hi, Harvey: When John hallucinates Scorpius it’s assumed that it’s just the affects of the light… but is it?
A Ship, A Living Ship: T'raltixx implies that his race specifically needs Leviathans to provide the kind of light-rich environment they require. Moya’s bio-luminescence is so increased that the ship actually glows.
Alien Encounters: T’raltixx says that there are thousands of his race in dormancy who will be revived by Leviathan light and will swarm around killing everybody. A set up for a returning villain that never got picked up? He is blind but has a strong internal radar that is just as good. He can shoot bolts of light from orifices on his face where eyes should be. He can climb walls like Spider-man (well, like the spider-man from the dodgy seventies TV show, at any rate).
Disney On Acid: “I hate when villains quote Shakespeare!” There are simply too many references to list, as mad John goes into pop-culture stream-of-consciousness mode.
What Does This Do?: Zhaan pre-digests some food to make a paste that will protect John from the radiation in T’raltixx’s light room. So he goes into battle smeared in light green puke. Lovely.
Logic Leaps: It was a bit daft of T’raltixx to tell the crew that the light from the pulsars would affect them, because by doing so he revealed his own techniques and gave them the information they needed to defeat him. Oops.
WHAT did you just say?: John’s vision of Scorpius tells him to shoot D’Argo: ‘Go on John, do it! Then we can go to the beach. I know a place with naked Sebacean girls and margarita shooters!’
Guest Stars: Danny Adcock will return to Farscape as Co-Kura Strappa in four episodes of Season Three.
Backstage: There’s a deleted scene of Scorpius singing ‘99 Bottles of Beer’ on the wall with John. It’s covered extensively in issue 5 of the official Farscape Magazine.
The Verdict: The best episode of the season so far and one of the most purely enjoyable Farscape episodes to date. All the cast have a whale of a time acting silly, but Claudia Black and Ben Browder get the best lines and get to have a big gunfight that’s loads of fun. It’s almost a mirror image of 117, ‘Through The Looking Glass’ – a bottle show with an enemy that the crew have to work together to fight in spite of forces pulling them apart – except this time there’s no happy ending.
Lots of old wounds are reopened and harsh truths voiced, and even though they eventually unite and win the day, the crisis pulls the crew apart rather than bringing them closer together. Wayne Pygram has a blast as Scorpius/Harvey, and seeing him in a Hawaiian shirt rambling about margarita shooters is laugh out loud daft, but it’s still topped by the sight of John in that absurd outfit, daubed in Zhaan’s puke, ready to enter T’raltixx’s light chamber.
This is a sparkling return to form with a script that’s crammed full of brilliant one-liners.
Verdict Redux: Hard to add to my previous assessment. This is great fun, a return to form after three episodes that ranged from acceptable to dull.