Die 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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.