Dec 4 2013 5:00pm

Farscape Rewatch: “Twice Shy”

Farscape, Twice Shy, Crichton, AerynTwice Shy
Written by David Peckinpah, directed by Kate Woods
Season 4, episode 14

1st UK Transmission Date: 13 January 2002
1st US Transmission Date: 24 January 2003

Guest Cast: Raelee Hill (Sikozu), Melissa Jaffer (Noranti), Paula Arundell (Talikaa), Chris Pitman (Nazradu), Walter Grkovic (Outurak)

Synopsis: After negotiating with traders for maps of Tormented Space, Chiana buys what seems to be a slave girl, Talikaa, from the traders in order to free her. Unfortunately Talikaa is a Walaxian Arachnid—a shapeshifting spider who screws with the crew. She finds out what a good idea this was when she gets blown up and turned into a tasty soup.

Farscape, Twice Shy, Talikaa

Alien Encounters: The Walaxian Arachnid can take human or spider forms, changing at will and, apparently, mimicking clothing (even though Chiana gives Talikaa clothes, she remains wearing them before and after her transformations, meaning that she must, at some point, have slipped them off and then mimicked them using her shapeshifting abilities). They first cause their prey’s primary character trait to become exaggerated, then they knock their prey unconscious with a piercing scream and extract that primary character trait. They store it in memory orbs in their nest for later consumption. The consequence of being fed upon, is that the prey loses their primary defining personal characteristic and develops a flesh-eating disease that eventually kills them. If the memory orb is smashed near the victim, they can re-absorb their lost personality trait and the disease is cured. Walaxian Arachnids make very tasty soup.

Buck Rogers Redux: John’s primary trait is his good natured optimism and can-do attitude, his refusal to give in. Acting under Taliskaa’s influence he is chipper and positive to a fault, teasing Aeryn and assuring himself that they’re going to be fine…

Farscape, Twice Shy, Aeryn

You Can Be More: …unfortunately Aeryn’s primary trait is emotional control, so her fury at finding he’s been taking drugs to forget her manifests at first as contempt and then as indifference.

The Ballad Of Aeryn And John: Aeryn’s anger at John is undoubtedly real, but it’s exaggerated by Taliskaa’s influence. When the ‘fluence is removed she’s still furious but more hurt, and even desperate at her inability to do anything that can get John to be with her. She’s done everything he wanted and can’t understand why it’s not worked. But then John drops the big reveal—he’s worried that Scorpy is using the comms to eavesdrop on them; John’s been masking his feeling so Scorpy won’t realise that the key to securing John’s co-operation is threatening Aeryn. Aeryn reckons he’s paranoid, but it’s immediately confirmed. Now that she knows what he’s been doing, she agrees to play along, even as she and John kiss and make up.

Farscape, Twice Shy, Crichton, D'Argo, Rygel

I Was A Teenage Luxan: D’Argo’s primary trait is, of course, anger. When it’s taken away, he suddenly finds a deep calm and a belief in the power of negotiation and trust. Even Chiana kicking him in the mivonks can’t get a rise out of him.

Farscape, Twice Shy, Rygel, D'Argo

Everyone’s Favourite Little Tralk: Chiana is responsible for this week’s mess, but she acts out of the best of intentions. When Taliskaa is offered to them, the rest of the crew are prepared to look the other way, but Chi remembers too well what it’s like to be a prisoner and sex slave. When she can’t persuade her crewmates to stump up the cash she actually threatens to shoot Taliskaa, which is a brilliant move, as the crew won’t let her die. It’s possible Chi may even have made good on her threat, as it would at least have saved Taliskaa any more suffering. Given this, you could make an argument that Chi’s strongest trait is compassion, but no, it’s good old libidinous abandon. Taliskaa takes away Chi’s libido, much to her horror. One wonders exactly how she celebrated getting it back…

Farscape, Twice Shy, Talikaa, Chiana

Buckwheat the Sixteenth: Rygel doctors a bunch of currency to make it look more valuable and then uses these forgeries to cheat the traders. It’s greedy and stupid, but he’s terribly pleased with himself when he pulls it off. He’s lucky D’Argo doesn’t throw him out an airlock. Naturally, therefore, his primary trait is greed, and when that’s taken away… well, he’s still an arrogant little annoyance, but he’s happy to give all their money away.

Grandma, we love you: Taliskaa does not work her mojo on Noranti because she is ‘old and bitter.’ She is clear-headed and decisive in a crisis; she makes Scorpy safe and outlines the plan that leads to saving the crew.

Farscape, Twice Shy, Sikozu

Bobblehead: Sikozu is also immune, and Taliskaa literally tears her limb from limb, not knowing she can re-attach her limbs. Her attachment to Scorpy remains strong and she restates her willingness to be his ally, but only if he is entirely honest with her.

Nosferatu in leather: With Scorpy, Taliska exaggerates his Scarran side, rendering him almost feral, unable to control his temper and dripping undisguised menace. He tries to play down how much he hated both revealing his Scarran side to the others and being reminded of it himself, but Sikozu doesn’t buy it.

Farscape, Twice Shy, Scorpius, Sikozu

Blooper: So John has been taking the drugs to prevent himself spilling his guts to Aeryn when he could be overheard by Scorpy. But that doesn’t make the slightest iota of sense. More than once he and Aeryn have been off the ship on other worlds, far beyond Scorpy’s ability to overhear them, not least on Earth when he was at the far end of a fracking wormhole. There’s no reason for Crichton to break down and admit things to Aeryn now that didn’t apply then. If all he was waiting for was a moment’s privacy, he’s had countless chances. Also, Pilot says Comms will be down for 30 microts and yet Scorpy immediately asks if something’s wrong with the comms—using the comms! We may be expected to assume Scorpy can override Pilot’s control, but it feels more like a mistake.

Farscape, Twice Shy, Talikaa, Chiana, Crichton, Aeryn, D'Argo, Noranti

Backstage: David Peckinpah was a writer with a long career in episodic television and he would return to contribute an episode to this season’s three-part finale, which would be his final writing credit. Kate Woods did not direct another episode, but was second unit director on PK Wars. She has gone on to be a fixture on US TV, most notably on Bones.

The Verdict: Another episode written and directed by Farscape novices, so another episode relying on the increasingly tired formula of bad guy getting aboard Moya, frelling with the crew and being killed. It’s fun taken on its own merits but it all feels too familiar, the story is old hat, tired, predictable, Farscape by numbers. As always with these episodes, it’s the character stuff that redeems it, but even that isn’t as sparkling as we’ve come to expect. Not bad, not great. After the game-changing brilliance of the preceding three-parter, it’s a bit of a letdown that we’ve so quickly reverted to business as usual.

Farscape, Twice Shy, Carichton, Aeryn


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Colin R
1. Colin R
Overall the episode is fine--as a breather between story arcs, it's not as good as say, Suns and Lovers. A little goofy. An honorable enough outing.

I don't really understand your complaint about the 'bloopers' though. Scorpius doesn't chime in until the comms test is over--meaning he noticed the comms were off and immediately chimed in as soon as they were back up again.

As for why Crichton was doing drugs and why he shut Aeryn out, I think that there is a lot of subtext here. When Aeryn showed up on Moya with Scorpius, John wasn't just worried about an immediate threat--he was becoming aware that he was going to be a target for the rest of his life. That his understanding of wormholes meant Scorpius, and people like Scorpius, were always going to be on his heels. He was already imagining that fear back in Dog With Two Bones; Scorpius showing up and hanging around Moya just drove it home. And those fears only intensified after his encounter with Einstein. Even spacing Scorpius wouldn't solve anything in the long run.

I don't think he really needed to put that all out as words. It's practically the theme of the entire season, right up until the end of the show.
Colin R
2. Crusader75
Not much comment on the crew eating an intelligent being? OK, she tried to eat them first, but still...
Robert Dickinson
3. ChocolateRob
I'd imagine that, on the whole, Scorpius was using more than just the coms for keeping track of John but briefly turning them off cuts off Scorpy's primary surveilance long enough to risk a very quick conversation.
John knows that if he is honest with Aeryn and they try to restart their relationship in secret then they will slip up sooner or later and Scorpy will find out. It's not a case of needing to tell her in secret, it's that he can't risk her knowing, as that will change their relationship enough for Scorpy to see. He tells her the truth here because she is revealing too much and Scorp would be able to figure it out.
Al makes sense to me.
Jack Flynn
4. JackofMidworld
It's been a while since I've seen this ep and didn't recognize it from the synopsis...til we got to the part where John tells Aeryn 'why' - that part I remembered!
Steven Lyle Jordan
5. Steven_Lyle_Jordan
However odd or imperfect the scene was, when Aeryn realized John was right about Scorpius' monitoring, and that meant he really did have feelings for her... that was a great acting moment for Ben and Claudia, they nailed it.
Christopher Hatton
6. Xopher
This is a total stupid throwaway of an episode, except for a) the John/Aeryn scene; b) a little character development of Chiana, and c) some great acting opportunities for the cast, as they play against type after losing their strongest traits. Watching Claudia Black play Aeryn on the verge of a nervous breakdown is wonderful.
Colin R
7. lvsxy808
Colin R is correct about the comms. Microts are the UT equivalent of seconds (although not exactly the same amount of time, as established way back in "The Flax"). So Scorpius only used the comms once Pilot finished his diagnostic, approx 30 secs after John asked him to. There's no blooper there.

Other items of note:

Talikaa does not harvest Sikozu, and that is another of the many little clues to Sikozu's secret.

Crichton put this plan into action at the end of "John Quixote." That was the episode where John figured out that Scorpius would use Aeryn against him, because that's exactly what happened in Stark's computer game... that was based on John's thoughts. It was also the episode that contained the image of John with an aerial stuck in his head, broadcasting his thoughts.

See also the scene in this ep in which Crichton tries to convince Chiana that his relationship with Aeryn is just fine. Who is standing in the doorway for no reason? Scorpius. Ah, but Scorpius always has a reason for anything he does.
Colin R
8. DavidB
This was the ep where I changed everthing and fan ficed it on a site lol. Sites gone down so I lost my original story.
I kinda figured that the whole J/A thing was going to be bounced around some more, break em up, tear em apart just for kicks. And they did.
I have to disagree with Colin spacing scorpy would have solved 99% of Johns immediate problems. I always thought John was a bit of a pussy, forcing his earthly morality on the rest of the crew.
Scorpy was a huge part of Johns problems, had killed his friends, pursued him all over the damn place. tortured him several times, and now he's back and not only that the love of his life bought Scorpy on board Moya and vouched for him!
And now confirmed Scorpy has the comms wired. And yet John is happy to let him stay on board Moya. Certainly he didn't do anything about it.
It was also very clear that Scorpy already knew Johns weakness and was simply content to wait and let the crew get used to him being there before acting.
So how I wrote it was simple, he took Dargo and granny out on a long recon in Dargo's ship, once away, he discussed the fact the comms were being intercepted by Scorpy, Dargo in his typical fashion was not impressed.
John asked granny if she could mix up a special batch of potion that completely immobilised Scorpy, no more of his neural tricks thank you very much.
Granny, not liking Scorpy very much anyway was estactic to help. And they didn't tell the rest of the crew particulary not Aeryn.
Long story short they found a moon with high levels of radiation that wouldn't hurt Scorpy, John tool Aeryn out for a long range recon so they weren't on board.
While they were out Granny and Dargo dosed Scorpy and transported him to the moon, left him there. Johns promise was kept he didn't harm Scorpy but he sure as hell got rid of him.
Sikozu, given the choice stay or go? Decided to stay. Radiation too high for her tolerance.
So when John and Areyn got back Dargo ordered immediate starburst so they couldn't return for Scorpy.
John and Aeryn huge fight. But I actually wanted them to fight it out and let them get some J/A intimate time.
I could go on but thats enough.
Bring Scorpy on board was always some writers idea of a wet dream and pretty much killed the series. IMO.
John Quixote was very revealing of Johns internal fears.
Colin R
9. Colin R
Crichton's unwillingness to just murder Scorpius is partly idealism, yes--that's a defining Crichton trait, that he's an idealist rather than a pragmatist. That's been there all along. Crichton's struggle between the idealistic naive that he started as and the killer that he has become is one of the best things about the show.

And yes, Scorpius is using Crichton's ambivalence and his idealism. But I think it's a strength of the show that they know exactly how Scorpius would use Crichton. He never actively betrays Crichton's trust once onboard--he is as helpful as can be. Crichton is idealistic, not stupid. But helpful and friendly Scorpius is at least as dangerous as Scorpius as an enemy, as the rest of the season will show us. At the end of the day though it's not Scorpius but the Scarrans who pose the biggest threat to Crichton's home and his friends.
Rob Rater
10. Quasarmodo
I thought the spider thingie was rendered quite well. I can't remember a non-humanoid creature done as well up to this point in the show.

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