Suns And Lovers
Written by Justin Monjo, directed by Andrew Prowse
Season 3, Episode 2
1st US Transmission Date: 23 March 2001
1st UK Transmission Date: 3 September 2001
Guest Cast: Jothee (Matt Newton), Borlik (Leanna Walsmann), Moordil (Thomas Holesgrove), Alien Girl (Jessica Fallico), Cryoman (David Lucas)
Synopsis: Moya docks at a trading station near the twin suns of Qell. The station is severely damaged by a storm, and Moya is trapped by cables. The station is in an area considered holy by a fanatical religious cult, and it is discovered that the storm was attracted to the station by a flux broadcast coming from inside the body of the security officer, Borlik. She magnetises herself to a cooling pipe and taunts everyone that they will be cleansed by the wrath of her God, Gezma, when the next storm arrives.
On Moya the storm has cracked open one of the cryo-tubes and released an Interion, who almost immediately dies. John uses the cryo-tube to attract Borlik off the pipe, seals her inside and takes her to Moya, intending to draw the storm away. Borlik manages to escape and magnetises herself to the wall of the storage bay. Happily, the wall is detachable—John flushes her out into space and the storm destroys her.
Chiana and Jothee are having sex on Moya when the storm hits. D’Argo discovers their betrayal. He confronts them and then, drunk and heartbroken, he goes outside the ship to try and release Moya from the cables. He attempts suicide by shorting two power cables, but he survives. Jothee leaves the ship.
Aeryn treks through miles of waste pipes on the station and manages to rescue children that were trapped in the station’s nursery.
Buck Rogers Redux: When we find John he’s drowning his sorrows in aviation fuel and moaning to the bartender about the neural clone. He’s getting quite a reputation in the U.T.s, although his shipmates are relegated to bit part players in the legends. Borlik has heard about the Gammak Base destruction and the Shadow Depository raid; she has also heard that he destroyed an entire Nebari battalion and that he likes to do a bit of raping, pillaging and eyeball popping in his spare time.
You Can be More: Aeryn has traded in a pulse pistol for some Tarnek Deployers, which she uses to blast open the Nursery door.
Big Blue: Zhaan is deteriorating faster than she and Stark predicted and has sores all over her head. The crew are searching for a planet that has the right soil and climate to help her recover.
I Was A Teenage Luxan: D’Argo finds a ship drifting amongst the station wreckage; he gets Moya to bring it aboard but cannot enter because its defence screen remains active.
Buckwheat the Sixteenth: Rygel is a total pervert—he’s rigged a portable viewer so he can stroke his eyebrows and watch Chi and Jothee having sex. Nontheless the deluded little slug thinks that he still has the moral authority to call Chi a slut and tell her to keep her legs together. When Borlik is stuck to the coolant pipe he wants to kill her, and tries ramming her to death with his Thronesled.
The Man In the Iron Mask: Stark screams at Zhaan when she is reluctant to show him her sores, and he’s horrified by her decay. He tips servants hugely out of sympathy. He has charts that he hopes will enable them to find a planet where Zhaan can heal.
In The Driving Seat: Pilot gives out a huge, gleeful laugh when Borlik is ejected into space; who knew he was capable of such schadenfreude.
A Ship, A Living Ship!: Moya’s elastic skin prevents her being too seriously damaged by her collision with the station, but three tiers are ruptured. The cables that hold her appear to have been deliberately attached, which implies that she was taking on power and perhaps nutrients from the station, much like a car takes on fuel. She can produce an ‘Inertial Field’ which allows people to walk on her skin outside the ship; it can’t stop them drifting off if forcefully dislodged, however.
The Ballad Of Aeryn And John: ‘I don't need your emotions, but we can have sex if you want.’ The tension is getting to Aeryn and she proposes an emotion-free lowering of fluid levels; she goes so far as to start undressing in a cooling pipe while on a rescue mission, so eager is she to jump John’s bones. John interprets her offer as pity and tells her: ‘I got two hands, I can alternate, I can release all the tension I want.’ For once it’s Aeryn asking John what he’s afraid of rather than the other way around, but we never get an answer. Later, John seems about to take her up on the offer but she pre-empts him by agreeing that they should do nothing about it, even though it will lead to a backlog of body fluids.
The Ballad of Chiana And D’Argo: Chiana was freaked out by learning of D’Argo’s marriage plans and knew he wouldn’t take no for an answer, so she decided she had to do something he would never forgive—have sex with his son. She makes a pretence of trying to keep it secret, but it’s hopeless and she effectively gives the game away by being obvious and nervous. D’Argo had bought her Luxan Union Tattoos, ‘a Luxan symbol of courage, honour and loyalty’ which are burnt into the skin of a couple; he instead brands Jothee with one and destroys the other. D’Argo will never listen to anything either of them have to say again and is utterly betrayed. Even when Chiana, distraught that she may have driven him to suicide, tries to comfort him, he tells her and Jothee to get lost. He overhears them talking afterwards; Jothee realises he’s been used by Chiana and decides to leave, but tells her to tell his father that one day he will return to make amends to both of them.
Alien Encounters: The Interion who is released from the cryo-tube was part of an expedition to find the ‘Dimordis Tomb in the Berger Nebula.’ He and his colleague Stanis (whose brain was used to heal Crichton in ‘Season of Death’) fell sick and were found by someone called Jool, who is presumably the sole remaining frozen Interion in the Cargo bay. Given that Tocot froze his specimens just before death when they could not be saved, it’s no surprise that the Interion vomits and dies very quickly. John still thinks they may be related to Humans, as Grunchlk implied.
Disney On Acid: When trying to find the signal device that attracts the storms John says it’s ‘Scooby-Doo time’; but does that make him Shaggy or Fred?
Get Frelled: Jothee and Chi with an appreciative Hynerian audience. John and Aeryn almost, and at least negotiations have been opened…
Stats: There were three stations in the area but the first was destroyed by an asteroid, and the second by fire. The DRD that John fixed way back in ‘Premiere’ returns and has been nicknamed ‘one-eye’ by the crew.
WHAT did you just say? Manin: fiancée or partner.
Backstage: UK viewers missed Rygel’s voyeuristic activities, and most of the scene where John and Aeryn discuss sex, when this episode was shown on BBC2.
The Verdict: This is a good tale, with lots of tension, escalating threat and it seems about a hundred things happen at once. It might have been expected that the Chiana/Jothee/D’Argo triangle would play out over a few episodes, but that would have been traditional and safe; instead it is dealt with quickly and efficiently in an action-packed episode so as to avoid the show getting mired in soap opera (although D’Argo overhearing Jothee and Chiana is a bit soapy). Crichton telling Borlik that the wall is detachable is laugh out loud funny, one of my favourite Crichton moments. But on the whole the tone of the episode is bleak, as Zhaan continues to decline and D’Argo’s left so broken-hearted that he tries to end it all.
Verdict redux: Picked up on some antipathy to this episode in the comments a while back. Don’t know why. I like it. It doesn’t propel the arc plot much, but the character plot leaps forward. Although it’s primarily a stand-alone story, when compared to what we had at the same time in Season Two it’s streets ahead of ‘Taking The Stone’ or ‘Vitas Mortis.’
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.