Season 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.