Jan 30 2013 4:00pm

Farscape Rewatch: “Die Me, Dichotomy"

Farscape, Die Me, DichotomyDie Me, Dichotomy
Written by David Kemper, directed by Rowan Woods
Season 2, Episode 22

1st US Transmission Date: 26 January 2001
1st UK Transmission Date: 19 December 2000
1st Australian Transmission: 30 December 2001

Guest Cast: Wayne Pygram (Scorpius), Lani Tupu (Capt. Bialar Crais) , David Franklin (Lt. Braca), Thomas Holesgrove (Diagnosian Tocot), Hugh Keays-Burne (Grunchlk)

Synopsis: A Diagnosian doctor, Tocot, and his assistant, Grunchlk, agree to help heal Moya and try to remove John’s neural chip. Their surgical facility contains a cavern filled with cryogenic chambers housing accident victims frozen at the moment of death and available for use as donors. At first Tocot believes John’s chip is impossible to remove, but he finds a compatible donor whose brain can be used to repair any damage inflicted during the chip’s removal.

Farscape, Die Me, Dichotomy

The neural clone takes complete control of John. He knocks Aeryn unconscious, signals Scorpius to come and get him, and takes off in the WDP. Aeryn gives pursuit in her Prowler and, under the influence of the clone, John forces her to eject over a frozen lake. She is trapped in her chair and sinks, drowning. Aeryn’s body is frozen in one of the cryo chambers. Tocot removes the chip, which destroys John’s power of speech. Before he can restore John, Scorpius and Braca arrive.

Scorpius kills the Diagnosian, takes the chip, and walks away leaving John lying on the operating table, unable to speak, with a huge hole in his brain, and the only person who can save him lying dead on the floor…

Farscape, Die Me, Dichotomy

Buck Rogers Redux: Zhaan: ‘He is no more. His body now shelters some horrific evil. Crichton's gone!’ John loses the battle with the Neural Clone and sees himself as Scorpius, adopting his speech, mannerisms and behaviour. Real John does not want anyone to die in order for him to be saved, not even any of the Diagnosian’s specimens, but he agrees when he discovers they would die anyway. The neural chip has created black tendrils encircling his brain which Tocot has to remove before taking out the chip. These tendrils appear to have burrowed into and absorbed some of John’s memories—removing them means losing some of his past. He loses his memory of U.S. politics from Nixon to Clinton, tries to keep his memories of his dogs, but we don’t know if he keeps or loses his memories of Aeryn. He takes a lock of hair from Aeryn’s body.

Farscape, Die Me, Dichotomy

That Damn Peacekeeper Bitch: Aeryn is willing to shoot John down to prevent him being claimed by Scorpius. She tells John that he was the one who brought hope to Moya and her crew. The harness on her ejector seat is stuck, so when she lands on the ice she goes down with it... her last word is ‘Crichton.’ Her Prowler crashes and blows up.

Big Blue: Zhaan is horrified that the Diagnosian keeps his specimens alive in a moment before death, not allowing them to die and thus interfering with the natural course of events. She plans to remain on Moya even if the others leave. She turns on Rygel for discussing money when things look so bleak, but apologises for misjudging him when he points out that they’re only taking a few things each, and the rest is going to pay for Tecot’s services.

Farscape, Die Me, Dichotomy

I Was A Teenage Luxan: D’Argo’s temper is very short, especially with Chiana, but that’s just his nervousness about proposing and his confusion about Jothee. When he finds out that Jothee cut of his own tenkas, he is horrified that his son hates his Luxan heritage so much, but Jothee assures him it doesn’t hurt any more, implying he’s got over it. He buries Aeryn with his ancestral Qualta blade. He plans to use his share of the money from the Depository to buy a farm and grow Prowsa fruit. Jothee can sting with his tongue the same as D’Argo. When Aeryn is pursuing John in her Prowler, he tells her not to hesitate to shoot, because in her place he would.

Farscape, Die Me, Dichotomy

Buckwheat the Sixteenth: Rygel gives Grunchlk a number of jewels to procure him a ship of his own so he can leave. The ship is on its way, so will he go? He buries Aeryn with his seal of office, which he reclaimed in ‘PK Tech Girl.’

The Man In the Iron Mask: Stark seems to have calmed down from the manic excesses of the previous three episodes. He tries to negotiate with Grunchlk, but fails miserably. He tells Zhaan: ‘if you are in agreement, Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan, it would be an honour and a pleasure to share the future with you.’

In The Driving Seat: The anaesthetic that Tocot gives Moya leaves Pilot high as a kite.

Farscape, Die Me, Dichotomy

The Insane Military Commander: Crais is now one of the gang. He comes down to visit Crichton in the surgery as a gesture of support, and prevents Talyn shooting the WDP down when Neural Clone John is flying it. Aeryn appears to trust him completely. He tells Aeryn: ‘unlike your institutional upbringing, my parents were compassionate, moral, emotional. I value those traits. They're beginning to emerge in you.’ Crais values compassion, emotion and morality? He really has changed!

Nosferatu in Rubber: ‘You've cost me much, and I do not suffer disappointment well. I condemn you, John Crichton, to live, so that your thirst for unfulfilled revenge will consume you. Goodbye.’ Scorpius now has the neural chip containing the wormhole information—his interest in Crichton is at an end. He hums the Star Spangled Banner when walking to the surgery. Tocot installed his coolant rod system.

Farscape, Die Me, Dichotomy

A Ship, A Living Ship: The Diagnosian helps heal Moya with an aesthetic and a gel. She will not be able to StarBurst for a while.

Big Baby: Crais: ‘This ship, this emotional ship, needs guidance. Talyn has chosen you, and I agree with his choice. There is much that you can learn that will surprise you.’ It is Talyn and Crais who locate the Diagnosian to help Moya. They want Aeryn to join them, but agree it must be her choice and they cannot coerce or blackmail her into it. Crais has a chip containing information he believes would have made Aeryn very happy. When talking to her, Crais almost touches Aeryn’s arm—his body language hints that he continues to find her attractive. He is distraught at her death.

Farscape, Die Me, Dichotomy

The Ballad Of Aeryn And John: Neural Clone John tells Aeryn he loves her and she responds that she loves him too and moves to kiss him, finally breaking down the barriers that have kept her distant all this time. Unfortunately, because it’s the neural clone she’s talking to, she gets knocked out and the real John doesn’t remember what happened. When she’s plummeting towards the lake, she tells John she meant what she said. When she’s in her coffin the real John finally tells her he loves her, but it’s way too late.

The Ballad of Chiana And D’Argo: D’Argo has been using the DRDs to rehearse a proposal of marriage to Chiana. When a spaced out Pilot shows her the recording and gives the secret away, she looks less than thrilled at the prospect. Chiana shares Jothee’s desire to live loud and fast, unlike D’Argo’s longing for the quiet life—she and Jothee nearly kiss but are interrupted.

Farscape, Die Me, Dichotomy

Alien Encounters: The Diagnosian detects infection using its sense of smell. Its olfactory system is so sensitive that the merest whiff of untreated air in both its mouth and nose at the same time, would kill it instantly. Scorpius removes Tocot’s protective mask and breathes on him. There are millions of bodies in the Diagnosians cold storage facility, including 5,000 different species. One species, the Interons, of which he has three specimens, are sufficiently similar to humans to be compatible (this implies that there are either no Sebaceans in their storage room, or that they are less genetically similar than we have so far been led to believe). Interons may even be a branch of the same genetic stock, which implies that Earth is in the area.

Farscape, Die Me, Dichotomy

The Verdict: Wow. Aeryn dead, John speechless, everyone planning to leave Moya, Scorpius triumphant… top that. An object lesson in how a cliffhanger should be constructed.

Verdict redux: Yeah, this is still great. Does pretty much everything right—but by making things so bleak it rather leaves the writers no way out other than something incredibly clever or a cop-out retro-fit.

Farscape, Die Me, Dichotomy

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.

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Colin R
1. Colin R
Season 2 is really uneven, but this is one of the best episodes of the series. Action, romance, dilemmas, betrayal, heartbreak, despair--what else could you want? Well, Crais is still totally inconsistent, but whatever.

I've been waiting for you to get through Season 2, because this is really where everything goes out of control, careening from disaster to disaster. And I think this is maybe the first (but hardly last) episode where Crichton has to make a dubiously moral choice, in killing the Interon to save himself. He sort of has an out, since the doc tells him that they can't survive, but the doctor isn't very trustworthy is he? And the decision has consequences--everything has consequences now.
Colin R
2. ChrisG
What a fantastic episode! For me, this cements Scorpius as a classic villain and stands high on my list of the best cliffhangers ever. The sense of things falling apart, of real danger and loss, of a sea change in the story -- all are palpable. Thanks for the review!
Iain Cupples
3. NumberNone
Wonderful episode. Tension done right. I love John-as-Scorpy, totally insane: hilarious in a horrific way. The revelation of the neural-clone takeover at just that point was a stroke of genius: a hell of an emotional twist. The dogfight was done well, the sub-plots are sound, really hard to find fault with this one at all. :)
Jack Flynn
4. JackofMidworld
A heartrending episode and I love every minute of it.

Colin - I never could decide if the Diagnosian was immoral and untrustworthy or if it was Grunchlk that was the guiding hand. I got the feeling that the Diagnosian was essentially a savant, brilliant at the surgery but totally wrapped around Grunchlk's gross, sticky finger and working for his handler's gain, not his own; if not Fagan and Oliver, at least Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. Sure, the high-pitched, almost child-like voice of the doc probably helped lead me down that path, but even rewatching it, I got the same impression.
Colin R
5. Eric Saveau
The best cliffhangers are not just ones where everything suddenly goes wrong and makes everyone say "Oh, crap!", but where what happens is the result of everything that's happened before and who the characters are and how they've grown over time. And where those same conditions apply to how the cliffhanger is resolved. This season of Farscape. Season Three of Babylon 5. Seasons One and Two of Battlestar Galactica. To some degree, Half-Life 2 and a few seasons of Stargate SG-1. Very few shows, especially sci-fi, have been as intensely character-driven as Farscape; I can't think of any Star Trek season-ender that hit me as hard or deeply as any of these examples.
Elizabeth Heckert
6. silhouettepoms
KILLED ME.. and I went into it knowing they'd save Aeryn somehow, since I had seen PKWars on TV years before. Still killed me.
Colin R
7. Colin R
Well it's certainly implied that the Diagnosian was on the same page as Scorpius. Or thought that he was. One thing that's actually a little inconsistent about Scorpius this episode is the way that he casually dispatches the doc. Scorpius so rarely acts without reason, so it's not really clear what he had to gain from doing that; I guess maybe he wanted to make sure no one was around to fix Crichton?

Scorpius is pleasingly villainous in the first two seasons, but I think it's season 3 that really establishes him as one of the greatest Science Fiction villains. Because he's not villainous at all, strictly speaking--amoral, vengeful, and ruthless yes, but he is not malicious. He's just driven to beat the Scarrans at any cost. He's at his creepiest when he's trying to act like Crichton's friend rather than his enemy.

The commentary tracks where they talk about
Hugh Keays-Burne's (Grunchlk) terrifying audition for D'Argo are pretty funny by the way.
Colin R
8. politeruin
Pretty good but "into the lion's den (part 2)" managed to top it, which after seeing this i didn't think would be possible.
Elizabeth Heckert
9. silhouettepoms
Scorpius always made me uneasy when he acted like he was trying to be helpful. I always figured something was afoot. (Incidentally I usually felt that way about Craise, I always thought he was going to inevitably betray them at some key moment...)
gary blaney
10. scifitattooguy
the first of a number of emotionally devastating Farscape episodes. And I've always loved Ben Browder's Scorpius. Sinister.
George Brell
11. gbrell
I'll join the chorus for this episode. It's Farscape at its best.

@1.Colin R.:

I'd be interested to know if you think Season 3 is also uneven. S2 has a boatload of what I consider really good episodes: Mind the Baby (Part 2), Crackers Don't Matter, The Way We Weren't, Out of Their Minds, A Kiss Is But a Kiss, I Do, I Think, The Maltese Crichton, The Ugly Truth, A Not-So-Simple Plan, With Friends Like These, Plan B, Die Me, Dichotomy. Part of that is due to having two pretty good trilogies. (And I'm not counting Won't Get Fooled Again or A Clockwork Nebari). Though it's clunkers do tend to come in groups (Vitas Mortis and Taking the Stone; Picture If You Will, Home on the Remains, and Dream a Little Dream; Beware of Dog and The Locket).

But S3 starts off with a run of pretty weak episodes (after the initial cliffhanger resolution). Putting aside the Self Inflicted Wounds duology (which I don't enjoy overmuch), Suns and Lovers, Different Destinations, and Eat Me (plot twist also set aside) are not very good. Different Destinations and am slightly excited for the re-watch to get to it; it is really dark]

Even after that, Thanks for Sharing is just okay, Losing Time was weak, Meltdown and Scratch 'n Sniff are both bad, and I-Yensch, You Yensch is abysmal (not as bad as Coup by Clam, which is probably the worst episode, but...). I also dislike The Choice.

So that leaves me with good episodes of: 1 - Season of Death (Part 2), 8 - Green Eyed Monster, 10 - Relativity, 11 - Incubator, 14/15 - Infinite Possibilities, 16 - Revenging Angel, 18 - Fractures, 20/21 - Into the Lion's Den, 22 - Dog With Two Bones.

But I think part of what makes me like S3 so much are the two excellent duologies. Then again, I feel like S4 has some excellent sequences (the Earth trilogy, We're So Screwed) and stand-alones ("A Constellation of Doubt," "I Shrink Therefore I Am"), but I don't remember it nearly as fondly (perhaps the number of clunker stand-alones hurts it too much).

I will say that S4 introduces the best character on the show, however. I can't wait for 1812 to join the re-read. (I also really hope someone thought I was referring to Sikozu.)

TL;DR: I don't think S3 gets any less inconsistent than S2.
Colin R
12. Colin R
My reaction on my second viewing, a couple years after my first viewing, was different. The first time around I was thrown off by Season 3, and I thought it was more uneven. But, after a second viewing I think I was wrong. The problem with season two is that the worst episodes are heavily front-loaded; Out of the first ten episodes, only two stand out as really good. "Taking the Stone" is very boring; "Dream a Little Dream" and "My Three Crichtons" are Farscape at its weakest; nothing in Season 3 is as bad as those episodes.

Season Three was frustrating the first time around because everything was so amped up that I wanted it to go faster. But the second time around, I appreciated them a lot more. Self-Inflicted Wounds is kind of weak, but honestly, the weakest episode in Season 3 for me is Revenging Angel.
Colin R
13. Colin R
And I know that Coup by Clam is considered terrible by a lot of people, but I honestly thought it was kind of hilarious. Both times I watched it!
Elizabeth Heckert
14. silhouettepoms
I just think of season 3 as being better because I watched it for the first time on Netflix and just kept playing episode after episode wanting to know how the whole John/Aeryn/John triangle was going to be resolved. I remember the awful moment when I realized "wait - we can't just have 2 Crichtons forever. And obviously they're going to kill the one Aeryn loves... DAMMIT!" and then I was wincing thru every episode wondering "when".

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