Jul 24 2013 3:00pm

Farscape Rewatch: “Into The Lion’s Den II: Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing"

Farscape Into the Lion's Den II Wolf in Sheep's Clothing CrichtonInto The Lion’s Den II: Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing
Written by Rockne S. O’Bannon, directed by Rowan Woods
Season 3, Episode 21

1st UK Transmission Date: 28 January 2002
1st US Transmission Date: 19 April 2002

Guest Cast: Jool (Tammy MacIntosh), Lt. Braca (David Franklin), Henta (Marta Dusseldorp), Lt. Lorel (Lenore Smith), Danny Adcock (Co-Kura Strappa)

Synopsis: John decides that the only course of action left open to them is to destroy the Command Carrier. Crais betrays this plan to Scorpius, who locks up Jool, Chi, Rygel and D’Argo as a guarantee of John’s continued assistance.

However, Crais is playing a double bluff—he realises that the best way to destroy the ship and still allow all the people on board to escape, is to board Talyn and initiate StarBurst while still in the hangar. This will cause the Carrier to implode slowly but irrevocably, giving the crew time to make their escapes. It will also result in the certain deaths of Talyn and Crais.

Farscape Into the Lion's Den II Wolf in Sheep's Clothing Crichton Scorpius

John agrees to provide a diversion. He fetches his WDP from Moya and takes Scorpius with him on a ride through the wormhole. While the crew of the Carrier listen to the broadcast of the journey, Crais and Aeryn overpower the men guarding Talyn. When John and Scorpy return to the Carrier, Crais broadcasts his farewell to the ship and triggers StarBurst.

Aeryn helps rescue her shipmates, who escape to Moya on D’Argo’s ship. Henta tries to kill Aeryn for helping destroy the Carrier, but Henta is burnt to death before she can pull the trigger. Aeryn steals a new Prowler and escapes to Moya.

Farscape Into the Lion's Den II Wolf in Sheep's Clothing Crichton Co-Kura

John uses the Aurora chair to erase all the wormhole knowledge from Co-Kura Strappa’s mind. He meets Scorpius on the disintegrating hangar floor and they tell each other the combinations to remove the Yensch bracelets. Scorpius walks away into the crumbling ship and John flies back to Moya in the WDP. Back on the ship, he transcribes the wormhole equations into a book, as his shipmates make plans to return to their homes.

Farscape Into the Lion's Den II Wolf in Sheep's Clothing Crichton Aeryn

Buck Rogers Redux: ‘One evil at a time, that’s the best I can do.’ John could gamble that Commandant Graza would shut down Scorpy’s research and end the entire wormhole project. He could just leave. But he’s not willing to bet on Graza beating Scorpius in a fair fight, so he decides they have to be entirely certain and thus must destroy the Carrier.

He takes a lot of convincing that Crais is on his side, he really believes Crais has betrayed them and even Aeryn’s vouching for Crais does little to convince him; it’s only when he realises the scale, and the cost of what Crais is proposing that he finally accepts it, and later John seems regretful that he didn’t express his appreciation.

He dares Scorpy into driving through a wormhole with him even though he knows it’s an absurd risk. He even seems willing to let Scorpy leave the Carrier with him in his WDP. He discovers that the way to gain access to the wormhole equations in his head it to zone out and let his subconscious take over his writing, then the equations pour out of him.

Farscape Into the Lion's Den II Wolf in Sheep's Clothing Crichton

You Can Be More: It is Aeryn that Crais goes to when he’s taken action, knowing that she trusts him and will help him convince Crichton of his sincerity. She does just that, and the depth of her regard for Crais is clear when she says goodbye to him just before he blows up Talyn. Even as the Carrier falls apart, before she rescues her friends, she pauses to help some children and Peacekeepers evacuate. She faces down Henta and tells her that she’s satisfied she’s done the right thing—destroying Scorpy’s work will save millions of lives. She now has a new Prowler.

I Was A Teenage Luxan: ‘We all knew the time would come when we’d split up. At the beginning I would never have believed it could take so long.’ D’Argo agrees that he, Rygel, Jool and Chi should all leave the Carrier, but that’s before they learn of John’s new plan to blow things up. He manages to get hold of schematics of the Carrier detailing the changes made since Crais was in charge—how on Earth does he manage to do that?

Farscape Into the Lion's Den II Wolf in Sheep's Clothing D'Argo Chiana Rygel

Buckwheat the Sixteenth: ‘Don’t think I’m going to miss you, any of you. I’m not! Well… maybe a little.’ Surprisingly, it is Rygel who first backs John’s plan, detailing his fear of wormhole weapons and claiming that it’s in his own interest because if he did reclaim his throne, he could never hold it against a PK force that had such weapons.

Everyone’s Favourite Little Tralk: Chiana plans to find the Nebari resistance and join up with her brother, Nerri.

Jool In the Crown: Jool is upset at the prospect of leaving Moya and the disintegration of the crew.

In The Driving Seat: Pilot seems upset that Jool is leaving, reflecting the regard he’s come to have for her.

Farscape Into the Lion's Den II Wolf in Sheep's Clothing Crais

The Insane Military Commander: So farewell then, Captain Bialar Crais. He plays a very dangerous game, and it’s only by making outrageous demands of Scorpius that he convinces the leather-clad loon that he’s genuine in his betrayal of John. It is his decision to sacrifice himself, and he does it with nobility, courage and not a little fatalistic humour. It’s a superb send off for a great character. He hits Lorel and gets rid of her before he acts, and it’s left ambiguous whether he does this because he no longer trusts her or because he wants to save her. He accuses Scorpius of stealing his entire life when he stole his command, calls him an abomination and takes great pleasure in knowing that he is destroying him.

Nosferatu in Rubber: ‘I may not be getting off this ship, John. Goodbye, Crichton.’ Scorpius is so convinced that John has doomed them all to Scarran defeat he accuses him of committing a great evil, and who’s to say he’s wrong: ‘Commander John Crichton, generations will know that name. Because of you, the Scarrans will soon destroy us.’ He lets John think he’s decided to go down with the ship, but he took Braca somewhere before hand, so it’s safe to assume he made his escape and is plotting other ways to take the revenge that sustains him. He gives John the bracelet release code first, perhaps so that John might continue to believe he died on the ship—had John kept the bracelet on he would have been fully aware of Scorpy’s survival. When travelling through the wormhole Scorpius is totally fazed, calls the experience ‘indescribable,’ says he’s ‘never felt so connected’ and staggers a bit when he gets out of the WDP.

Farscape Into the Lion's Den II Wolf in Sheep's Clothing Crichton Harvey

Hi, Harvey: Harvey beats John at chess, draughts and Go Fish. He’s noticeably more friendly, quirky and daft in this two-parter, perhaps reflecting John’s increased control now that he has a real purpose.

A Ship, A Living Ship!: Moya is obviously upset at Talyn’s demise, but accepts it; she always knew her child was destined for a violent end and appreciates that it will be a heroic one.

Big Baby: So farewell, Talyn. Blown to smithereens, but at least going out in a blaze of noble glory and self sacrifice, dying to save the galaxy and Moya.

Disney On Acid: Scorpy goes into ‘Captain Queeg mode’; this refers to the book and film The Caine Mutiny in which a naval vessel is terrorised by an insane captain. John quotes Star Wars when he tells Scorpy ‘flying through wormholes ain’t like dusting crops, farm boy.’

Farscape Into the Lion's Den II Wolf in Sheep's Clothing Scorpius

Stats: ‘It’s not just science, it’s never just science, it’s a weapon!’ The Command Carrier is over a metra long and contains 50,000 men, women and children. John tells Scorpy that he thinks there is a reason why his unshielded module lets him survive wormholes when Prowler pilots don’t. He then flies through a demonstrably unstable wormhole full of Rantath Flux, and emerges unscathed. Since he had no Phase Stabiliser on board then the module must have particular properties. Linfer implied that John only survived his initial journey because he was lucky enough to create a stable wormhole—that now seems questionable.

Logic Leaps: Crais convinces Scorpius that Aeryn was the only one of Moya’s crew not conspiring with John to destroy the Command Carrier. Scorpius then lets her roam the ship freely. Is he daft, or what?

Farscape Into the Lion's Den II Wolf in Sheep's Clothing Aeryn Henta

The Verdict: On the down side, the subplot with Henta seems to fizzle out and doesn’t really provide the exploration of an alternative Aeryn it promised, and the rest of the crew are sidelined as the focus shifts entirely to John, Aeryn, Scorpius and Crais. On the other hand Ben Browder again puts in his bid to be considered best actor on TV, and Lani Tupu gets to go out in a blaze of glory, and gives Crais real nobility as he finally reaches the end of his quest for redemption. Spectacular effects, big explosions, a majestic score, and a decisive victory for the good guys won at great cost—this is epic stuff, and pushes the limits of what we normally see on TV, achieving cinematic scope.

Verdict Redux: I love this episode to bits. It’s operatic, over the top, thrilling, moving, and achieves some really amazing production values. Hard to fault it, to be honest.

Farscape Into the Lion's Den II Wolf in Sheep's Clothing Crichton Scorpius

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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George Brell
1. gbrell
Love this episode. I think it's the best season-ender in the series and part of that is, IMO, because they kept it to 2 parts rather than 3. (Both Liars, Guns and Money and We're So Screwed feel overly long/unconnected)

The Talyn/Crais relationship really sells this episode for me, which is crazy considering how little Talyn (conscious) actually appears in this episode. I'd love to know how far in advance they plotted this out.
Colin R
2. Colin R
I still really have no idea what Crais' motivations are for anything that he does. But I will give the writers credit; rather than try to hammer his past inscrutable actions into a post-hoc rationalization, they've been using his slipperiness all season to great effect. Usually with a turncoat there's not much doubt about when they're bluffing, but even this late in the game it seems plausible that Crais might really betray the crew. Still, why did he sacrifice himself in the end? I can speculate, but I'll never really be sure.

Scorpius on the other hand is magnificent because his motives are so sharply defined, he has no need to bluff--he really IS ruthless enough to destroy Earth, if he thinks that would get him what he wanted. And yet he looks so... disappointed when Crichton betrays him. Almost hurt. Did Scorpius find in Crichton someone who might almost be his equal? It's hard not to interpret his interactions with Crichton from here on as being tinged with grudging respect.
Christopher Hatton
3. Xopher
I agree. This is a great episode.

(Btw, it's "Grayza," according to the subtitles on the DVDs and IMDB.)
Rob Rater
4. Quasarmodo
Great episode. I was getting a little tired of Talyn with his emotional outbursts and nearly killing the crew/Moya, so this sacrifice worked on multiple levels for me.
Iain Cupples
5. NumberNone
"Ambiguous". That's the word for Crais all right. Even to the end.

But there's no doubting his courage, even if his motivations are unclear. Or, in the end, his love for Talyn. It's a great send-off for both of them. Poor, doomed Talyn.

I had no problem with the Aeryn/Henta plotline being shoved to the back in this episode: I think it was only ever really mean to reiterate for the viewer that Aeryn has put her PK life in the past and no longer even regrets it. Henta herself might have been interesting to develop for a bit, if this had been a three-parter, but there clearly wasn't space.

@2: definitely agree about Scorpy's respect for John from here: he knows he has a formidable foe. He even seems to like it.
Rob Rater
6. Quasarmodo
Just watched the commentary for this ep this morning. Rockne was saying he hadn't even seen any pages from Part I when he was writing Part II. And the guy doing the commentary with him (Kemper?) was writing the season ending follow-up at the same time.
Jack Flynn
7. JackofMidworld
I love character growth and character arcs and, boy-howdy, Crais pretty much did a full Darth Vader, didn't he? Just reading about this episode gets to me. Excellent television!
Colin R
8. lvsxy808
How did D'Argo get the ship schematics? Another deleted scene, I'm afraid. There's a scene where Jool stands watch while D'Argo breaks into the computers. Which is of course completely backwards since Jool is the scientist and D'Argo is the bodyguard.

Other than that, yes, this is the absolute pinnacle of an astonishing show. Such a climax to three years of story, it makes one wonder what the hell they could have planned for the season finale. Magnificent storytelling.
Colin R
9. JDLeaf
The annual "Blow Up Something Big" episode! And one of my favorites of the series.
Colin R
10. Ryan Viergutz
I think this was my favorite episode of the entire show. Overwhelmingly, wildly epic.

"Talyn... Starburst", has got to be one of the best moments evar.
Colin R
11. Fahrbot
Really one of the finest episodes of science fiction I've seen.

This show really is one of the best that was ever made - it's part of that untouchable big league with Star Trek, Babylon 5, Firefly, Star Wars, etc.
George Brell
12. gbrell

Such a climax to three years of story, it makes one wonder what the hell they could have planned for the season finale. Magnificent storytelling.

Assuming you mean "series finale," Peacekeeper Wars seemed to condense a large number of the apparently planned plot points into a single miniseries as it resolves:
-The Eidolon plotline
-The Scarran-Sebacean War
-Aeryn's pregnancy
And also wraps up minor/lingering plotlines:
-Chiana's recurring psychic visions/blindness
-D'Argo's reunion with Jothee/Jothee's redemption
-Sikozu's relationship to the Scarran empire/Scorpius

Some of these might have been stronger had they been given more time to develop (the Eidolons feel rushed in the miniseries since they were barely introduced in S4) and some are glossed over so quickly that they might as well be ignored (Chiana's eye replacement, Sikozu's betrayal). But I appreciate that the miniseries does wrap up the true long-term stories of the series (John and Aeryn and Wormholes) in a way that felt whole.

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