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Farscape Rewatch: “Self Inflicted Wounds I: Could’a, Should’a, Would’a”

Self Inflicted Wounds I: Could’a, Should’a, Would’a
Written by David Kemper, directed by Tony Tilse
Season 3, Episode 3

1st US Transmission Date: 30 March 2001
1st UK Transmission Date: 10 September 2001

Guest Cast: Jool (Tammy MacIntosh), Neeyala (Victoria Longley), Kreetago (Nicholas Hope), Cresto (Dwayne Fernandez), Shreena (Kerith Atkinson), Lastren (Brian Carbee)

Synopsis: Moya collides with a vessel as it emerges from a wormhole. The two ships are fused together and are trapped, looping through a series of wormholes. Pilot passes out, and Moya begins to die. In order to escape, the two ships must be separated, which means one will be flung through the wormhole wall and destroyed.

Farscape, Self Inflicted Wounds I: Could'a, Should'a, Would'a

Pathfinder Neeyala, of the alien vessel, asks John to take a trip in the WDP and collect data to help them escape safely; he uses a device she gives him to gather images from the worlds he passes on his circuit of the wormhole cluster. Rygel, who he’s taken along for the ride, tries to force the ship to freedom, but John punches Sparky, breaking his nose, and heads back to Moya with the image data. Neeyala sends one of her subordinates on a secret suicide mission into Moya…

Rygel accidentally opens the final cryo-tube and a female Interion, Joolushko Tunai Fenta Hovalis, emerges. Rygel, in revenge for John punching him, tells her that her cousin was used to restore John’s brain. She tries to kill John so she is tied up and gagged.

A huge serpent creature that lives in wormholes boards Moya and the final decision is taken, after much soul searching, to abandon Moya and go in the alien craft. John is alone in Pilot’s Den and notices that one of the images he collected on his wormhole trip is of the Three Stooges. He is attacked by the serpent…

Farscape, Self Inflicted Wounds I: Could'a, Should'a, Would'a

Buck Rogers Redux: Moya is only an arn away from a planet that could save Zhaan when they pass the wormhole. John diverts the ship to take readings, putting his own interests first, and causing all sorts of trouble. Aeryn thinks he is blinded by wormholes and that where they are concerned his judgement is not sound. John believes that Scorpius is still alive, so he wants to get wormhole knowledge first because it could be used as a weapon (we don’t found out how, though). He is the first to decide to abandon Moya and escape with the aliens, a decision roundly condemned by all his crewmates, although they all eventually come to the same conclusion. He wants the Interion who died in ‘Suns and Lovers’ to be buried, and still clings to the hope that they are related to humans; the first thing he asks Jool when she awakens is if she knows of Earth or Humans—she doesn’t.

You Can be More: Aeryn doesn’t trust the aliens at all, acts as the voice of reason, and tries to reign in John’s enthusiasm for wormhole knowledge with little success.

Farscape, Self Inflicted Wounds I: Could'a, Should'a, Would'a

Big Blue: Zhaan’s head is turning red as she nears death. She believes the serpent is a harbinger of her death and asks Stark to remain on Moya and take her place ministering to the ship and crew. She believes that she has failed in her job—keeping Moya and her crew safe. She ministers to Stark, Rygel and Chiana at different points, reinforcing her role as the counsellor of the crew.

I Was A Teenage Luxan: The ship D’Argo brought on board in ‘Suns and Lovers’ is accidentally shot by Jool, which reveals a hole in the defence screen which he uses as a key to shut it down.

Farscape, Self Inflicted Wounds I: Could'a, Should'a, Would'a

Buckwheat the Sixteenth: Rygel reverts to his sneaky, self-serving nastiest when he tries to hijack John’s WDP and run out on his shipmates. He then considers killing John until Zhaan talks him out of it. He claims to appreciate her counsel, but later he calls her nuts for wanting to try and save Moya. Telling Jool about her cousin is an act of sheer spite, and he’s free with the disparaging remarks about Chi’s behaviour too.

Pip: Chiana takes an instant dislike to Jool (but then so does everyone), and calls her ‘hairdo’ because of her big orange barnet. She feels guilty about wanting to leave Moya because she loves the Pilot and the ship; unlike Rygel who has reverted to type, she has grown to think of Moya as home and it seems unlikely that she’d try to run away again, as she did so often during Season Two, unless given no choice.

Farscape, Self Inflicted Wounds I: Could'a, Should'a, Would'a

The Man In the Iron Mask: Stark tells Zhaan: ‘Whenever I assist the dying, I cannot help but absorb a tiny spillet of their existence. Over the cycles, the endless parade of death, I’ve accumulated a vast reservoir of evil.’ He cannot bear to lose Zhaan, he tells her he loves her and is reluctant to bear her burden of being Moya’s spiritual centre. At one point he is downright menacing and scary: he leans in to Aeryn, glares at her and tells her that she’s very pretty. For a moment it looks like he’s going to do something truly psychopathic, and although Aeryn diverts him, he shows a disturbing glimpse of the evil he warned Zhaan about.

Jool In The Crown: Jool has been in the cryo-tube for 22 cycles and is an aristocratic woman of the intellectual elite who considers everyone on Moya inferior and below her station. The two Interions who died in the preceding two episodes were her cousins. She does not die when released from stasis, although since she was reportedly frozen a second before death, and we’ve already seen her cousin die when awoken, this is a mystery; her cousin did state that only he and his companion were ill and that Jool found them, so perhaps she was never infected, but if not how did she end up in the cryo-tube? Her scream can melt metal; her hair can change from orange to red; she has translator microbes and recognises Sebaceans.

Farscape, Self Inflicted Wounds I: Could'a, Should'a, Would'a

In The Driving Seat: Pilot vomits thick green gunk, and lots of it, before passing out.

Hi, Harvey: John can call Harvey up and talk to him inside his head whenever he wants. He discusses strategy and options, and when Harvey’s uncooperative he threatens him with the dumpster. Harvey resents the intrusion, and longs for the dumpster.

Farscape, Self Inflicted Wounds I: Could'a, Should'a, Would'a

A Ship, A Living Ship!: The crash trashes tier six and plunges tier three into darkness. Moya’s systems begin to burn out, her amnexus system backs up and Pilot is unconscious. She is on the verge of death, which, given she’s been skewered by another ship and is floating about a wormhole like a Leviathan kebab, isn’t surprising.

The Ballad Of Aeryn And John: D’Argo asks Aeryn if she can ever trust John again, but why has she reason to distrust him? What’s he done wrong? Well, except for killing her, I suppose.

Farscape, Self Inflicted Wounds I: Could'a, Should'a, Would'a

The Ballad of Chiana And D’Argo: Chi wants D’Argo to forgive her but he’s having none of it. He does say that although he can’t let her into his heart again, he will not abandon her when she’s hurting, so perhaps there’s a chance they can stay on the same ship without killing each other. Chiana admits that she acted badly, but pleads that when she’s cornered she doesn’t think clearly.

Alien Encounters: The fish head aliens (we don’t get a race name and they look like fish, so sue me) have flaps on their heads which can shoot poisonous spines. Their ship is a huge repository of knowledge and if it does not return home safely the families of those on board will die, though it’s unclear whether from reprisals or some catastrophe only the ship can avert. Most of the crew are killed by the crash. Like the PKs, they have strict rules about exposure to aliens—this is borne out by the fact that they do not have translator microbes.

Farscape, Self Inflicted Wounds I: Could'a, Should'a, Would'a

Disney On Acid: John call Kreetage ‘Col. Klink’, a reference to Hogan’s Heroes; he calls Rygel ‘F. Lee’, referring to the famous lawyer F. Lee Bailey.

Seen It All Before: Two ships fused together in the Doctor Who adventure ‘Nightmare of Eden.’

WHAT did you just say?: Jool hasn’t got the hang of Farscape swearing yet: she says ‘crap’ not ‘dren,’ and calls Chiana a ‘whore,’ not a ‘tralk.’

Farscape, Self Inflicted Wounds I: Could'a, Should'a, Would'a

Guest Stars: Victoria Longley was a regular on Wildside; Nicholas Hope played Akkor in Season Two’s ‘Liars, Guns and Money’ trilogy. Tammy MacIntosh, who used to share a flat with Anthony Simcoe, was also a regular on Wildside, as well as The Flying Doctors and Police Rescue.

The Verdict: This episode is just drowning in technobabble; I’ve seen it three four times and I’m still not sure I have a handle on what’s actually going on with the wormhole walls and clusters, and phaztillon generators, and non-thermal dimensional forces, and phasic restin ions, and… argh my head hurts! The effects are superb, especially the terrified face in the window of the alien ship as it collides with Moya; Victoria Longley is marvellously arch and very English as Neeyala; Jool makes a stunning entrance, instantly winds everyone up and tries to kill our hero; and there’s a sense of doom about Zhaan that’s really worrying. Confusing as all hell, but lots of fun.

Farscape, Self Inflicted Wounds I: Could'a, Should'a, Would'a

Verdict redux: Still confused about the whole cluster of wormholes thing, and how they bunch together and the walls between them and argh my head still hurts! Love Jool, though, although my wife has taken an instant dislike.


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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