Written by Matt Ford, directed by Ian Watson
Season 3, Episode 6
1st US Transmission Date: 20 April 2001
1st UK Transmission Date: 1 October 2001
Guest Cast: Jool (Tammy MacIntosh), Kaarvok (Shane Briant), Belima (Lisa Griffiths)
Synopsis: After a transport pod accident John, D’Argo, Chiana and Jool are forced to seek refuge on a diseased PK Leviathan that still has its control collar. The ship is full of zombies—the degraded remains of its crew—who are eating the ship, the Pilot, and each other.
The Leviathan, Rovhu, was a prison for the criminally insane and was transporting its sole prisoner, Kaarvok, when it was ambushed by Scarrans and left to drift. Kaarvok is loose and he sucks something out of D’Argo’s brain and injects it into his own in front of a horrified John and Chiana; they burn D’Argo’s body.
Kaarvok next attacks Chiana and doubles her—producing two equal and opposite copies of her, one of which he kills and brain sucks. It transpires that D’Argo was doubled too and Kaarvok chains up the remaining Luxan and tries to make him breed with one of the PK zombies, which are the product of degradation caused by too many doublings. Chiana rescues him.
John, believing both his friends dead, tries to repair the pilot’s connections with the ship, but Kaarvok kills the pilot before John is finished. Instead John sets the ship to StarBurst, knowing it is so damaged it will explode. Kaarvok tries to stop him and in the struggle John is doubled. Everyone escapes, the ship is destroyed, the zombies and Kaarvok are killed. But we are left with two John Crichtons!
Meanwhile, Moya finds Talyn dead in space, severely damaged, with Crais unconscious. They take Talyn in tow and bring Crais aboard for medical treatment.
Buck Rogers Redux: ‘I don't think so, brain-sucker. I can arrange my own death!’ When D’Argo won’t agree to his plan, John just walks away and goes to do it himself. The independence that caused so much trouble in ‘Different Destinations…’ is still there and he hasn’t learnt his lesson; he later blames his stubbornness for D’Argo’s death. He is able to reconnect Rovhu’s pilot to the ship, and knows the control sequence to initiate StarBurst. He’s willing to die if it means he takes Kaarvok with him. When he leaves Chiana with Jool in the Maintenance Bay, Chi warns him that she’ll kill Jool and he murmurs ‘whatever’; when he returns he’s surprised to find Jool still alive—does she annoy him so much he was willing to let Chi kill her, perhaps even hoping she would? The two Johns play Rock/Scissors/Paper and both choose the same thing every time.
I Was A Teenage Luxan: John’s plan—find the pilot, get things sorted out—makes perfect sense, but D’Argo is so freaked out by being on a PK ship that he refuses to endorse it and just wants to grab the stuff they need and run, even though the chances of him making it without the pilot’s help are slim. The surviving D’Argo does not seem hugely bothered by being doubled and even speculates that he may be a copy.
Buckwheat the Sixteenth: Rygel rips out Crais’s neural transponder and tries to persuade Aeryn to leave Talyn in case whatever shot him up returns to finish the job and decides to attack Moya as well. When Aeryn goes to collect John and the others, Rygel says he will give her 300 microts before cutting Talyn loose and StarBursting away.
Everyone’s Favourite Little Tralk: Chiana is horrified by D’Argo’s apparent death and burns his body to stop him being eaten. When she is doubled she leaves her other self to be eaten by Kaarvok, even though the doomed one begs for help. She is so traumatised and guilty at her actions that she refuses to accept that the doubling creates two equal copies and tries to convince herself that she is the original and the dead one was a clone. Chi punches Jool a couple of times until she punches her back, apparently to teach her how to behave violently, but more likely because she just felt like it.
Jool In the Crown: ‘I don't think this is right, I shouldn't be here. I'm a civilized being. There's got to be someone here who recognizes that. I just need to find them.’ Jool grabs the control of the Transport Pod for no adequately explained reason, and manages to cause critical systems breakdowns; she would, had they not stumbled across Rovhu, been the cause of all their deaths. It’s a miracle that a few punches from Chiana is the worst treatment she receives. She is left to guard the Transport Pod, but is so scared that she tries to shoot herself in the head with a pulse rifle; Chiana’s disappointed that she can’t even get that right. Jool’s world has no violence or war. Her parents were very supportive of her when she was young.
In The Driving Seat: Rovhu’s pilot’s arms are cut off and eaten every time they regenerate.
The Insane Military Commander: Crais may not recover from his wounds. Removing his neural transponder causes Talyn to shut down.
A Ship, A Living Ship!: Since Leviathans are living beings, parts of them are edible. They can survive for a long time while being eaten from the inside out. They ooze puss when they are diseased.
Big Baby: Rygel: ‘Listen, you bartantic bitch, Talyn's supposedly the meanest, deadliest, all-time yave-of-the-yuvo fighter ship. But somebody, something, beat the yotz out of him.’ Talyn has been seriously damaged and is unable to communicate with Moya, but he will recover.
Alien Encounters: Although the Scarrans and the Peacekeepers are not openly at war, Scarrans will ambush PK convoys. Kaarvok can patch himself directly into Rovhu’s controls using his own Biomechanoid parts.
Disney On Acid: John calls himself and D’Argo ‘Abbot and Costello in the House of Horrors’ again referring to the 30’s comedy double act he likes so much. He refers to Kaarvok as a ‘sick, Hammer Horror son of a bitch,’ which is nice since the actor, Shane Briant, starred in a number of Hammer Horror films.
Get Frelled: Kaarvok wants fresh food, so he ties D’Argo up and chains Belima to him hoping that they will breed. When Chi finds them, D’Argo is receiving all kinds of attentions and he claims to not be enjoying it at all. So why didn’t he tongue her unconscious then? Pervert.
Seen It All Before: As John points out, this is all very Night Of The Living Dead, even down to the fact that Kaarvok sucks something out of his victims brains and injects it into his own.
Stats: John and D’Argo go in search of Narium Coil and three-k wire with which to repair the Transport Pod. D’Argo’s Qualta Blade and Winona are not doubled—Chiana finds them in a locker near chained D’Argo.
Logic Leaps: It’s a little hard to believe that Jool simply grabbing the controls could so catastrophically damage a Transport Pod. The doubling process also duplicates clothing.
Guest Stars: Shane Briant has appeared in many TV series and films, most notably Lady Chatterley’s Lover, The Naked Civil Servant and Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell. Sean Masterson, normally a voiceless puppeteer, gets to voice Rovhu’s Pilot.
The Verdict: Pure horror movie, with a great score from Guy Gross, excellent camera work and lighting, scary zombies, brain sucking, gruesome deaths and lots and lots of puss. Definitely the scariest Farscape so far and chock full of atmosphere. And then the ending, which is a stroke of genius and will dominate the rest of the season, takes a similar premise to ‘My Three Crichtons’ and actually runs with it, which is nothing any other show has ever had the mivonks to do. Should be interesting…
Verdict-Redux: Kaarvok takes exception when hearing the word clone, and insists that his process is more complex. But what evidence do we really have for that? The reproduction of clothing implies that this is far more complex than a simple DNA-based genetic replicant, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that whatever tech he uses doesn’t just copy the entire contents of the bubble he pops around the original, kind of like a photocopier.
In fact, the ‘doubling’ process leads, after some generations, to degradation—which strongly implies that there is copying going on, unless the act of being copied degrades the original, which seems unlikely. I’d argue, therefore, that the evidence we have lends itself more strongly to the idea that there is a copy and an original rather than two equal entities.
In which case, we simply never know if ‘our’ Chi and D’Argo die on board Rovhu, or which Crichton came first.
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.