Written by Rockne S. O’Bannon, directed by Tony Tilse
Season 3, Episode 18
1st US Transmission Date: 24 August 2001
1st UK Transmission Date: 14 January 2002
Guest Cast: Jool (Tammy MacIntosh), Hubero (Kate Beehan), Markir Tal (Matt Doran), Naj Gil (Thomas Holesgrove), Orrhn (Voiced by Alexandra Fowler)
Synopsis: Moya picks up a transport pod, believing it is from Talyn, but it contains a captured PK Tech and three escaped prisoners: a Scarran (Naj Gil), an androgynous Nebari (Hubero), a female Hynerian (Orrhn) and the disassembled remains of a Boolite.
After half a cycle Moya and Talyn are reunited and Crais, Aeryn, and Rygel come aboard. The tech is locked up; Naj Gil stays with D’Argo, Orrhn with Rygel, and Hubero with Chiana. Crais and Jool attempt to put the Boolite back together again. When a PK distress signal is sent from Moya the hunt for a traitor begins, but each escapee has stayed with his or her escort at all times. Naj Gil is found shot, another signal is sent and the PK Tech is mysteriously released.
It transpires that Orrhn has made a deal with the Tech to betray Moya’s crew; she’s been having sex with Rygel and when he falls asleep afterwards she roams the ship sending signals. There is a shootout in which Hubero and the Boolite are killed, and the Tech and Orrhn escape in a Transport Pod with Rygel as hostage. Using the D’Argomobile Aeryn and John board the Pod and kill the Tech. Rygel casts Orrhn adrift in space, and the Pod self-destructs.
Green T John receives a message from Black T John and decides that he is going to the Command Carrier to stop Scorpius developing wormhole technology. He doesn’t ask for support, just tells his shipmates what he plans to do and lets them decide for themselves whether to help or not. Aeryn and Crais stand by his side, Jool opts out, Moya, Pilot, and Talyn register their disapproval, and Chiana just tells them they’re all going to die.
Green T: “We choose our own path, this one is mine. I’m going to the Command Carrier.” When planning for his reunion with Aeryn the remaining John changes out of his green t-shirt and into a black one, which is guaranteed to make it that much harder for Aeryn when she sees him. He’s pleased to see Rygel, even seems OK with Crais being around, and is a bouncy happy puppy at the prospect of seeing Aeryn again. When she greets him with an emotionless “hello John” and walks off, and Crais tells him his double is dead, he works it all out in an instant; you can see on his face the realisation of the gulf that now lies between him and Aeryn. He tries to talk to her about it but she blanks him. He knows his plan to stop Scorpius offers only certain death, but it looks like he intends to go out in a blaze of glory. He gets a bag of Black T’s stuff and carefully balances his new pistol against Winona, and finds that Winona’s still his favourite.
Black T: “Okay, I’m gonna piss you off now, man. Be smart, don’t push her, she takes time… good luck, John.” Talyn’s John recorded a message for Green T and stored it in Stark’s mask. It tells Green T about the events on Dam-Ba-Da, Furlow, the Scarrans, and tells him that he can unlock the wormhole knowledge in his mind. He also insists that Scorpius must be stopped at any cost. He tells John not to push Aeryn, that she needs time. He plays one last game of Rock/Scissors/Paper, and both Johns choose scissors.
You Can Be More: Aeryn won’t talk to John about it, she won’t talk to D’Argo about it. She’s emotionless, functional, and remote. The only time she’s caught off guard is when she and John come up with the same plan at the same time and she tells him the harpoon will hold in the Transport Pod “just like the Budong.” But Green T wasn’t there for “Green Eyed Monster,” and just for a moment she’s completely thrown. She (rather conveniently) overhears the message from Black T and sees the two Johns choose scissors, reinforcing that they are still the same person. She is the first to stand by John when he reveals his plan to stop Scorpy.
I Was A Teenage Luxan: D’Argo the fashion guru: “far be it from me to say, but I’ve always thought the colour of that green shirt doesn’t suit the shape of your body.” He reaches out to John and it seems that their friendship is back on track at last. He tries to talk to Aeryn but gets nowhere. Surprisingly, he stands up for Naj Gil which gives the impression that he and the Scarran have been doing a bit of big, scary warrior-type male bonding. He can now fly his ship with precision and skill.
Buckwheat the Sixteenth: Rygel tells John that he’s in love with Orrhn even though he’s only just met her and they’ve done little else but shag. He plays the gracious Dominar and tells her it’s all right for her to be focus of attention if he says it is. When he realises she’s betrayed him he calls her a bitch and ruthlessly cuts her loose to die in space.
Everyone’s Favourite Little Tralk: Chi has two more precognitive flashes, of the shootings of Naj Gil and Hubero; unfortunately she doesn’t see who shot them. She has heard of Nebari Androgynes but had never met one before. She tries to hide Hubero to prevent him/her being thrown off the ship along with the other escapees.
Jool In the Crown: Jool knows almost nothing about Scarran biology, is useless in a gunfight, and has taste in clothes that horrifies Chiana. She does know something about Boolite physiology though and can correctly distinguish between their mouths and their arseholes, even when they are in lots of tiny bits. She gets some Boolite in her eye during the gunfight and is now wearing an eye patch.
The Insane Military Commander: Crais is sympathetic to the remaining John and helps Jool try and reassemble the Boolite. He’s not exactly a sharpshooter, but he holds his own in the gunfight, even if he does resort to throwing bits of Boolite at the Tech. He screams when the Boolite’s brain, eye and mouth land on his lap and starts screaming—which is funny for about a second and then just seems really out of character.
Alien Encounters: Hynerians obviously can survive in space (“Vitas Mortis’’), as Rygel is fine for quite some time without his mask. Hynerians are “body breeders” after all (he claimed they aren’t in “DNA Mad Scientist”). Hynerian soldiers are considered lowly and unfit to fraternise with Royalty. Hyneria is broken up into provinces. Some Nebari are born Androgynous—neither fully male nor female. Most are taken away at birth but some survive in non-conformist colonies. When the Peacekeepers tried to return Hubero, the Nebari authorities didn’t want him/her back. Boolites have high metal content and their body parts can survive as long as half a cycle independent of their bodies. The Boolite on the Transport Pod is in lots of tiny pieces but can be reassembled, and as soon as most of his brain is hooked up to what’s left of his mouth he can speak, too. When a Scarran is captured the Peacekeepers immediately remove the gland that allows them to project heat; it is located beneath their left breast.
Disney On Acid: John calls Orrhn “Barbarella” even though she looks nothing like Jane Fonda. The Boolite is “a little too Naked Lunch,” which was a book by William S. Burroughs that was filmed by David Cronenberg.
Get Frelled: All Hynerians fall asleep after “pleasure” but Orrhn was faking, so while he slept she got up to mischief. Poor old Rygel isn’t quite the dynamite lover he thinks he is. Hynerian pillow talk: “growl like a Luxan.”
Stats: The Peacekeepers are testing a weapon that dissolves the bonds of metallic molecules and they put their prisoners in a Transport Pod to assess the effect of the weapon upon them. Black T claims the wormhole weapons could “fry a whole solar system.”
Logic Leaps: The prisoners overpowered the Tech who was making pre-flight checks and escaped in a Transport Pod, presumably from a PK Leviathan. How did it not manage to catch up with them once it knew they were on the run, and they had been hit by the weapon? You can hear Orrhn scream in a vacuum.
Guest Stars: Alexandra Fowler was Zoe on Neighbours and Angela Hamilton on Sons And Daughters. Matt Doran was Damian in Home and Away, Mouse in The Matrix and will appear in Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones. Kate Beahan is a regular on Love Is a Four-Letter Word.
Backstage: Crais’s scream was improvised by Tammy and Lani, and they assumed it would be cut. Tammy got some paint in her eye and couldn’t wear her contact lens at the end, hence the eyepatch.
The Verdict: The whodunit is pretty standard stuff, the real interest here comes from the reunion between the two crews and the way the escapees mirror Moya’s crew so closely. Lots of nice scenes but nothing spectacularly special, then again after the lunacy of “Revenging Angel” and the grimness of “The Choice” a straightforward ship-bound runaround was probably a necessary breather before the inevitable high tension of the concluding four episodes.
Verdict Redux: This is half a great episode. All the stuff about the re-combining of the two crews, and the emotional fallout from John’s death, is excellent. I especially like that Aeryn and Crais—Talyn’s crew—stand by John first when he outlines his suicidal plan. But the other half of the episode—where yet another bunch of strangers are allowed on board and it all goes wrong again—is both way too familiar and under-explored. There’s a lot of dramatic potential in having Moya rescue another group of escaped prisoners, but pretty much none of it is mined here.
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.