Wed
Feb 13 2013 3:00pm

Farscape Rewatch: “Season of Death"

Farscape, Season of DeathSeason Of Death
Written by Richard Manning, directed by Ian Watson
Season 3, Episode 1

1st US Transmission Date: 16 March 2001
1st UK Transmission Date: 27 August 2001

Guest Cast: Jothee (Matt Newton), Lt. Braca  (David Franklin), Diagnosan Tocot/Plonek (Thomas Holesgrove), Officer Kobrin, (Aaron Catalan)

Synopsis: Tocot survives, with help from Rygel and Zhaan. Zhaan performs Unity with John and discovers that the neural clone is still present and that John wants to die. She tries to kill him but Stark stops her and D’Argo banishes both of them from the operating room.

Meanwhile Scorpius and Braca, who had paid Grunchlk to alert them if Crichton arrived and flew in undetected while John and Aeryn were dogfighting, are trapped in the medical complex due to the Command Carrier being delayed in battle. With no diversion available to cover their escape, Grunchlk hides them in a safe room. Scorpius takes control of Grunchlk’s body and mind and uses him to convince the others that Scorpius has left.

Farscape, Season of Death

Tocot restores John’s speech using an Interion donor. One of the cryo-storage pods activates, waking a Scarran who kills Tocot. The Scarrans discovered that this was where Scorpius had his cooling system fitted and a spy was sent to await his return. Grunchlk froze the Scarran intending to turn him over to Scorpy. However, when Scorpius arrived, Grunchlk set the pod to auto activate in three arns just in case Scorpius refused to honour his deal. Scorpius, again controlling Grunchlk, tells the Scarran that Scorpius is not here, but Crichton, Scorpius’s prey is. The Scarran freezes Grunchlk and goes to get John. John and D’Argo run outside into the snow and the Scarran pursues them.

Zhaan and Stark have found Aeryn’s cryo-pod and discover that although they had been told she was dead her body is being kept alive so that Grunchlk can use her as a donor. Zhaan uses some of Stark’s energy and performs Unity with Aeryn’s buried soul, transferring spiritual energy which revives her. Aeryn uses the Qualta blade she was buried with to help John and D’Argo kill the Scarran.

Farscape, Season of Death

Scorpius sends his Marauder pilot up to the newly arrived Command Carrier, knowing Talyn will shoot it down. He talks to Crais on the intercom during the pursuit so that when the Marauder is destroyed everyone believes Scorpius was on board and is now dead. Moya and Talyn leave, and Scorpius takes the neural chip and heads for a new Gammak Base so he can begin developing wormhole technology.

And back on Moya while all this is going on, Chiana and Jothee get to know each other more intimately.

Farscape, Season of Death

Buck Rogers Redux: ‘Can I get a ‘Hell yeah’?’ John’s initially beaten and wants to die rather than live with Harvey and without Aeryn. He doesn’t want any donors to be used to restore him, but D’Argo insists. John in turn demands that the two remaining Interions be taken up to Moya in their cryo-storage pods in the hope that one day they can be revived.

You Can be More: ‘I shouldn't be here.’ During Unity Aeryn realises that her revival will kill Zhaan and she refuses to allow it. However, she can’t stop it, and is revived anyway.

Farscape, Season of Death

Big Blue: Zhaan is willing to kill John to end his pain. She knows Stark would prevent her from saving Aeryn so she knocks him out and uses energy from his mask to help her. She gives Aeryn so much spiritual energy that it has ensured Zhaan’s eventual death. She did it because she loves Aeryn, but more importantly because John does.

I Was A Teenage Luxan: ‘Do NOT make me tongue you!’ D’Argo takes control, threatens to tongue John in order to force him to accept the donor tissue, and takes a Scarran on in single combat—losing badly. He recharged his Qualta Blade before burying it with Aeryn.

Farscape, Season of Death

Buckwheat the Sixteenth: Rygel performs CPR on Tocot, but is glad when he’s told Grunchlk is dead because he paid for a ship that Grunchlk never delivered.

The Man In the Iron Mask: Stark can hear the anguished souls of the frozen donors crying out to be released to death. He even goes so far as to kill one in order to free it. He cannot sense anything from Aeryn, however, which indicates how deeply buried her spirit is when she’s frozen.

The Insane Military Commander: Crais hangs around intending to give Aeryn a burial in space. He shoots down the Marauder, believes he has killed Scorpius, and is glad to have avenged Aeryn’s death.

Farscape, Season of Death

Nosferatu in Rubber: Scorpius eats the remaining brain tissue off John’s neural chip, and just when you think that’s the grossest thing you’ve ever seen he goes and makes Grunchlk bite his own finger off. His Command Carrier has again been in battle; it won but we don’t know who it was fighting. He has a new Gammak Base ready and waiting.

Hi, Harvey: ‘Death is the only sensible course, John.’ The chip is gone but Harvey remains. He tries to drive John to suicide in order to free himself but John, at Stark’s urging, beats him into submission. The neural clone remains, but it can no longer control him. John can now recall the role played by Harvey in ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again.’ Harvey is now just ‘an impotent wraith.’

Farscape, Season of Death

The Ballad Of Aeryn And John: When John first sees the revived Aeryn he’s greatly distressed, thinking it a cruel trick of the mind, but when he realises she’s real, he holds onto her for dear life. On Moya he tells her he loves her, really this time, and she repeats that she loves him too. A proper kiss at last, and then Aeryn drops a bombshell: ‘we will not act on it… my Peacekeeper training was right about one thing: soldiers and emotional attachments? I will not be the cause of any more deaths, because my judgement was faulty.’

The Ballad of Chiana And D’Argo: So Chiana is having sex with D’Argo’s son Jothee, even though she just found out D’Argo wants to marry her. What are they thinking? Nonetheless it’s true that Chi has more in common with Jothee—they seem the same age, they’re both survivors who like to live in the fast lane.

Farscape, Season of Death

Alien Encounters: Luxans hate the cold and prolonged exposure takes away their sense of smell. Scarran skin is tough enough to break a knife, however it can be penetrated by repeated Qualta Blade blasts. Cold inhibits their ability to project heat energy. The Scarrans are after Scorpius, and also want to find Crichton to discover why Scorpius is so interested in him.

Get Frelled: Jothee and Chiana have sex in the kitchen, which has to be the most ill-advised coupling in TV history. Jothee says D’Argo will kill them if he finds out.

Logic Leaps: In ‘Die Me, Dichotomoy’ it was stated that Tocot would die if anyone even sneezed near him, so when Scorpius breathed full in his face he should have died instantly. But with him dead, John couldn’t be restored, so he miraculously survives due to Rygel breathing into him—which should have finished the job! There’s no explanation given. Naughty.

Farscape, Season of Death

The Verdict: A new opening sequence heralding a change of direction, Lani Tupu as Crais and Wayne Pygram as Scorpius in the title sequence, and a new theme tune, mark a new year and the episode title—Season of Death—is a herald of what we can expect from it. As with all two parters the conclusion is a slight disappointment after the cliffhanger and it does cop out—Aeryn was only nearly dead, implying she was dragged out of the water reasonably quickly (and how was that done, exactly?); Tocot wasn’t dead at all and isn’t fatally hyper-sensitive to alien breath either.

Aeryn’s resurrection could have been corny and annoying, no matter how much we all wanted her back, but that’s avoided somewhat by ensuring that Zhaan will likely die as a result. Some lovely direction in the possession scene between Grunchlk and Scorpius, a nice twist in leaving Harvey alive, and the promise of domestic strife on Moya, all combine to offset the unavoidable second part slump, and this is a confident, stylish opener.

Farscape, Season of Death

Verdict redux: Grunchlk biting off his finger marks the moment my wife turned green and asked to be excused from future Farscape eps—but I have no mercy! This is still great, although it’s hard to forgive the blatant retcon of Tocot’s susceptibility and death simply because the writers realised they’d written themselves into a corner and couldn’t work out another solution.


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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11 comments
phuzz
1. phuzz
Jothee and Chiana have sex in the kitchen, which has to be the mostill-advised coupling in TV history. Jothee says D’Argo will kill them if he finds out.
I think the rest of the crew would have problems with them frelling in the kitchen if they find out as well ;)
phuzz
2. ChrisG
I loved part 1 -- one of my favorite cliffhangers period -- and overall this was solid, but the two cop-outs you mentioned were serious problems. I had hoped they would give us something to work with on Tocot -- even have him say he had lying about being fatally compromised because he is a germaphobe. Something. Aeryn's death really had contributed to the sense of hopelessness at the end of part 1, but in our hearts we knew it wouldn't last. At least they partially redeemed the resurrection cop-out by making it a trade; I'm curious if that trick has been done before.

I think Scorpius is one of the all time great villains, and one of the things I like about it is that he has a purpose and point that make sense. I like how this episode starts the development of that larger story.
phuzz
3. DSchwartz
I have to say that the Tocot revision was noticible but in no way took away from the episode. As for Aeryn's ressurection it was not cheap for the stated reasons and I felt they coudn't let this happen but in the style of the show there would be a cost to be paid for her coming back to life. And oh what a cost.
phuzz
4. Froonium Ricky
For a peek at the whiteboard that I used to plot my way out of all the corners that DK had blithely painted me into, have a look at http://froonium.com/?p=368
phuzz
5. Froonium Ricky
Oh, and while I'm here, the most excellent cause "Con or Bust" is currently auctioning off a TON of cool SF stuff--including a coupla little Farscape items such as... well... the shooting script for "Season of Death"... and an actual piece of Moya. http://con-or-bust.org/tag/farscape/
Elizabeth Heckert
6. silhouettepoms
I really liked what little we saw of Jothee and I wished he had stayed on longer... am I alone on this? I only saw Farscape once or twice before my marathon last fall, and I think he must have been in one of the episodes I had watched or maybe I just remember him from the ads, but I thought he had a MUCH bigger role in the series, so was very surprised when he took off and didn't return (well except in PKWars). D'Argo's search for him was so important for his character and then he just takes off and they never "really" reconcile. Disappointed on that.

Tocot was just playing possum! I just wrote it off as exaggeration on his part, or maybe Scorpie has impeccable oral hygiene.
Christopher Hatton
7. Xopher
Disinclined as I usually am to explain away blatant inconsistencies and retcons, Grunchlk was a known liar, cheat, thief, and 9 other kinds of sneaky bastard. And he's the source of the idea that the slightest bit of contaminated air kills a Diagnosian. It's entirely within his character to exaggerate the fragility of a Diagnosian to raise prices ("see what risks he takes for you?"), or even just to make the likes of Scorpius think Tocot is easier to kill than he really is. And it works out; instead of putting a blaster bolt through Tocot's head, Scorpy just breathes on him.

And I think the way they did Aeryn's resurrection was fair. No one is ever permanently dead on a show like this, and really, if you're going to drown, drowning in icewater does provide the best chance for revivability. And again, whose word do we have for her being dead? She's dead "effectively," according to Grunchlk! So if she went right from the icewater to cryosuspension, I find that plausible (within the context of a show like this).

My favorite moment in this episode is when Stark says that Grunchlk is dead -- effectively.
phuzz
8. Colin R
I don't really get copouts out of anything that happens here. Aeryn's death is still paid for in full, and Tocot's vulnerabilities just aren't important enough to worry about. This is the best season opener yet, but Crichton Kicks will be better.
Scott K. Andrews
9. ScottKAndrews
@FrooniumRicky Fantastic - thanks for sharing that :-)

I always half envy and half pity a writer who has to pick up a cliffhanger that's been constructed to be as unbreakable as possible. But if you construct part one knowing how you'll get out of it, it's normally pretty easy to spot how the resolution will work, thus undermining the cliffhanger effect. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

I think it was on Doctor Who: The Dalek Masterplan that the two writers took alternate episodes and for fun deliberately tried to create the hardest and most absurd cliffhangers possible for each other every week. Went on for twelve weeks of madness.

PS: My wife says you are a sick, sick man ;-)
phuzz
10. Froonium Ricky Manning
Tell your wife, "Thank you! I've worked very hard to become so."

And hey. The Grunschlk finger-biting wasn't my idea, it was -- hm, no, actually, it was my idea, now that I think about it. Scorpy eating the bit of brain matter on the neurochip -- now that was Monjo's idea. Okay, I grabbed it immediately and gleefully wrote it in, but still!

Such was Farscape... a synthesis of weird ideas from weirder people. Sick collaboration at its finest.
phuzz
11. DavidB
‘we will not act on it… my Peacekeeper training was right about one
thing: soldiers and emotional attachments?
At this point I stopped watching Farscape because I realised that they were going to bounce J/A around like the proverbial super ball. on/ off/ yes / no/ maybe,, and they were probably going to wait about 4 seasons till they actually put them together.. turns out it was earlier but there ya go.
3 years later after ny back went out and I was in bed for 4 months I retwatched farscape and rewrote the entire series from this point onwards..(just from boredom)
Never liking the character I left Aeryn dead and John took up with the disrupter from the Royal planet who actually, instead of messing him about, taught him something of peacekeeper ways from a non grunt POV. Bought Aeryn back in S4, strand of hair cloning accident,
Scorpius did try to get onto Moya and Aeryn did try to emotionally manipulate John to accept him on board but John shot him in the head and spaced his body..Did he die?? No.. But in the end Scorpius did die an overdue and very nasty death.
Rant over.. ~D

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