We’re So Screwed III – La Bomba
Written by Mark Saraceni, directed by Rowan Woods
Season 4, episode 21
1st UK Transmission Date: 3 March2003
1st US Transmission Date: 14 March 2003
Guest Cast: Raelee Hill (Sikozu), Melissa Jaffer (Noranti), Rebecca Riggs (Grayza), David Franklin (Braca), Duncan Young (Emperor Staleek), Francesca Buller (War Minister Ahkna), Jason Clarke (Jenek), Jonathan Pasvolsky (Pennoch), David Downer (Vakali), Dean O’Gorman (Zukash), Jason Chong (Rahzaro), John Schwarz (Tugar), Sam Bettison (Grek)
Synopsis: Scorpius reveals his true colours—he stopped his rescue partly to prevent Lo’La being shot down, and partly because he wants to stay on Katrazi and defeat the Scarrans. After much to do, our heroes manage to do just that, by blowing up the core of the planet with John’s bomb.
Alien Encounters: Chrystherium Utilia is the biggest secret in the Scarran Empire. Unless they eat it, they revert to unthinking beasts, so they can only expand their empire from the few places suitable for its growth. The mother plant fertilises the others.
Although Staleek is the Emperor, he answers to a ‘hierarchy’ which can depose and replace him at will. So he’s kind of an elected Emperor, if that makes any sense.
Buck Rogers Redux: He plays his bluff as long as he can, but when they’re finally cornered, John makes a massive executive decision on everyone else’s behalf, and nukes the planet. It is a suicide move, the odds that he would survive were tiny, and he knew it. He and Aeryn face death together with a kind of resigned calm. But later, back on Moya, the swagger and bravado that he evinced on Katrazi are all gone, leaving him tired and weary of killing, sick to the teeth of it all.
You Can Be More: Aeryn nips off to the medical area of the Command Carrier to take care of a personal problem—want to bet she’s getting the baby both re-activated and checked out?
The Ballad Of Aeryn And John: Their resigned declaration of love before the bomb goes off is both touching and hilarious.
The Ballad Of D’Argo And Chiana: Following their miraculous escape from Katrazi, D’Argo and Chiana hop into bed together, following up on their moment of reconnection at the border post.
The Man in the Iron Mask: Stark used to live on Katrazi, where he assisted the ruling class with their death rituals. When we first met him, Scorpius was torturing Stark to find the location of Katrazi, but John rescued him before he broke. The Stark who tortured Scorpius was a bioloid, which means his stykera torture was not real—all part of Staleek’s plan to deceive Ahkna and keep Scorpius’s spying a secret. The real Stark is imprisoned in the bioloid replication chamber. Rygel and Noranti rescue him, and at episode’s end he is once more aboard Moya.
Grandma, we love you: Noranti is a dab hand with a throwing knife, dispatching bioloid Stark with callous ease. She takes an instant liking to Stark, which he seems to reciprocate.
Bobblehead: Sikozu, and the other resistance bioloids, are genetically engineered to kill Scarrans by emitting intense radiation that destroys their heat-producing gland. The Scarrans have no idea such bioloids exist. It leaves her exhausted, so it’s a one-time weapon. It’s the first time she’s done it, and she does not know how long it will take her to fully recover. She’s not so exhausted that she hasn’t got the energy to finally make a move on Scorpius, who’s equally keen.
Nosferatu in leather: Scorpius has known about the Chrystherium Utilia for some time, and even where it was being grown. Everything he has done, including working as a double agent, has been to either a) get wormhole weapons or b) get into the chamber and destroy the flowers. Either action would set the Scarrans back. He seems strangely surprised and almost disappointed to learn that John would have left him to die in Scarran hands if he hadn’t thought Scorpius had wormhole knowledge. He finally gets to the flower chamber and is thwarted by a simple forcefield, which really cheeses him off. He says he would trade his life to destroy the mother plant, and then releases John from his wormhole debt when John offers to destroy it for him with the bomb.
Hello, Harvey: Harvey did lie, Scorpius has no knowledge of wormholes. Scorpius set Harvey to re-appear if John betrayed him.
Captain lickspittle: Finally, Braca grows a spine—and gets a christian name, Miklo—and relieves Grayza of her command. The crew obey his orders, showing Grayza where the power really lies.
Servalan Redux: Grayza actually accuses John of being self-righteous. She has used all the skills at her disposal, including her Mind Controlling Boob Sweat, to pursue peace at any cost. It’s hard to square her passionate desire for peace with her equally passionate desire for power, but it seems both drives are equally responsible for her actions. And oh, finally, John gets in a rape dig at her, and boy does that jibe land. Long overdue, but satisfying.
When she finds out John is being hunted by Steleek, she arms the Command Carrier and prepares to go out in a blaze of suicidal glory.
WHAT Did You Just Say? The funniest line of the episode—‘It’s the hat’—was an ad lib by Claudia Black.
Stats: Lo’La is an Eradicator class ship. The Scarrans easily neutralise Lo’La’s defences, and download her charts and logs. This will give them a map to the wormhole that leads to Earth.
Scarrans create bases on planetoids using Rabricators—an elevator that can drill through solid rock.
The Verdict: Great fun but very familiar, as was last week’s, and a bit of a mess plotwise.
Not once but twice, John and Co. back themselves into corners from which there is absolutely no hope of escape, and both times they are saved by sudden deus ex machinas—Sikozu’s oh so handy, never previously mentioned radiation trick, and John’s previously unfixable but now suddenly fixable bomb which, by the way, predates and outdoes nuking the fridge in the ridiculousness stakes.
The revelation about the Scarrans’ dependence on flowers is bonkers in the best way. Scorpius’ true goal is finally, unambiguously revealed, which could conceivably have robbed the character of a lot of his appeal, had the show gone on. The fun, as with last week, is in the interplay between the characters—John and Aeryn, Scorpy, Harvey, Grayza… each scene is fabulous in its own right.
It feels like a lots of plot strands have been wrapped up, and John certainly feels totally drained by everything he’s gone through. Time for a nice happy ending wrap-up episode and then we’re done, surely. Feels like a clean slate—surely nothing else can go wrong for them…