Deconstructing Moya

A Farscape Re-watch Project

Episode [2.14] – “Beware of Dog”

Today, on Farscape

“The human doesn’t want to talk.”

When a stop for supplies brings a parasite on board Moya, D’Argo and Chiana pick up a creature to hunt it. But when the crew starts getting attacked, the hunter may become the hunted…


Now that the whole deal with the Sebacean colony has been dealt with, Moya and friends are back to status quo. Sniping at each other, getting into trouble with supply runs, and generally causing mayhem amongst themselves. This episode first seems like a Breather Episode, complete with humorous musical cues as Aeryn steps in Vorc droppings and unwillingly takes place in animal/leg relations.

But remember, this is Farscape, and not even the Breather Episodes let you off the hook that easily. We’re already down the rabbit hole and on the other side of the looking-glass. We’ve crossed that point of no return, and even the wackiest funny episodes are filled with heavy-hitting plot development and emotional scarring. Case in point: next week.

Take the tale of the Vorc, because almost every single character is pretty much true to form and showing no difference from their comfortable typecasting, with the possible exception of D’Argo snarkily mocking Chiana behind her back. Which, I must point out, was glorious.

The Vorc is a creature that Some Merchant sold D’Argo and Chiana, on the basis that it would rid the ship of evil parasites. This is played out to humorous conclusions, and the audience is led to believe that the crew was swindled – first, in that the Vorc was useless and there was no parasite, and after that to believe that the Vorc was the parasite.

Instead, it turns out that Some Merchant was completely altruistic, and the Vorc was everything it was promised to be. Unfortunately, Moya’s denizens are so jaded by this point that Crichton and Aeryn fatally wound a loveable creature that was only trying to do its duty.

It’s an especially hard kick in the gut, and is extremely indicative of how the series is going to play out from now on. Not even in the wackiness are you safe; Farscape is going to make you earn your happy endings.

I have a lot to say about Crichton and the resurgence of his Mental Scorpius, but I’m only the first of four people on this blog, so I’ll bite the bullet and give the others a chance to go over it. All I’m saying though, is that I can’t wait until next week.


I’m not really sure there’s anything to add about the mental Scorpius. What we get here is merely a tiny taste of what comes down the road, and the only observation that comes to mind is that I like how, instead of discovering this for the first time alongside John, we the audience see a familiarity he’s already forging with the mental image. John’s been seeing Scorpius for a while now, to the point where his reaction is frustration instead of shock. And everyone pay attention to John’s line “I’m not gonna lose my mind. It’s all I’ve got left.” By the time we reach the end of this season, those words will be all the more haunting.

So, on to the A-plot. I like it. It is a nice breather episode where we’re back to the crew dealing with stuff like infected food and dealers with translator microbe issues. There’s deeper stuff with the characters as both our central romances face some more strains, but it mostly features our cast running through the dark and surprisingly creviced corridors of Moya in search of Mac from frelling Mac & Me. I love it when Mac vomits himself inside out and looks like an H.R. Giger fetus with mantis claws, but the main docile form is a really disappointing rod puppet consindering this is Jim Henson studios. It’s sculpted well, but it’s stiff, clunky, and looks like what it is: rubber waggling around on the ends of poles.

That said, I do like how they handle Mac’s story. As Kevin pointed out, he does exactly what they brought him on the ship to do, but in such an odd way that everyone freaks out, fears the worst, and starts hunting him instead of the dreaded parasytes he’s trying to track. It gets a little wakka wakka at times, what with the pee pee and the icky icky poo doo, and man is the music trying way too hard to be funny, but it is a solid little Farscape thriller. And I love that they had such a brilliantly stupid idea as giving translator microbes to the “dog” so it can understand them better. I’m sure many a pet owner has longed for a similar ability.

Other than the Mac puppet, I liked the look of the episode, with the gradually revealed creatures flitting in and out of shadows, an ailing D’Argo all done up in mummy wrappings, and the ultimate skittering reveal of the parasyte. It’s an episode that has a few flaws, but every “cute” moment that comes off as awkward is made up by the glorious exasperation of Aeryn as she’s constantly the one left to take care of her housemates’ pet while they’re busy with other things.

Stark Unexplained Episode Count: 16


That whole conversation at the end where John lays out what we’ve been seeing, the whispering in his head, the flashes of Scorpius: It’s kinda terrifying. Scorpy is villainous enough out in the universe, having echoes of him on the inside is far worse. Holding a conversation? Playing chess against him? Winning the game but losing the war? Infinite terror.

John has started carrying a holstered pulse pistol on Moya. A quick review of My Three Crichtons reveals that he wasn’t before the events on the Breakaway planet. Between the enforced weapons ban and the assassination attempts, he’s got to be feeling a little insecure about what happened there. Maybe more telling, when the Vorc first introduces itself to him in the ventilation grate he opens fire immediately. No questions, waiting only long enough to verify that it isn’t Rygel, and he obliterates that food stash.

I’ve been noting Crichton’s hair throughout the season, and it’s stayed surprisingly calm for the last five episodes or so. Maybe I was wrong about it. Could just be an odd makeup issue. Hrrrm.

Aeryn completely carries her scenes with the Vorc. Between the… you know what? Everything. I do agree that it’s sculpted well, but every other part of the Vorc is imbued with the distilled essence of Transformers 2. Leg-humping gags are rarely funny, and I can only think of one time that a peeing gag was successfully used. Okay, two, but that was less gag and more MacGyvering.

I’m not even sure how the Vorc transformation works. There’s one scene where it actually jumps through a ventilation grate in mid-change. Does it turn into a liquid while it’s inverting itself?

The music and sound effects in this episode are just awful. The former reminds me very much of the Zoq-Fot-Pik music from The Ur-Quan Masters, and the latter… why did D’Argo go *boink* after he was poisoned?

Zhaan’s scan after Rygel was attacked by the Vorc revealed internal injuries and poisoning, but he was the parasite(s). Apparently had been since the first foray into the cargo hold. How did the bugs fool the scanner? And Zhaan’s sciency goodness?

And finally, because I cannot come up with full paragraphs for these:

  • Rygel has the best trust password ever.
  • Mummy-D’Argo is truly awesome.


I’m honestly not sure what else there is to say about this one. Picking up the loose scraps…

  • I find it interesting that the mental Scorpius actually seems to be more monster-ish than the real one without looking any different. Particularly in comparison with the last few episodes. The mental Scorpius does away with any real intricacies of his personality and for the most part just gives menacing looks and brief threatening sentences.
  • Good god, the reveal about “Rygel” being the parasite is going to give me nightmares for a week.
  • The back and forth bait-and-switch twists in this remind me of another episode. Possibly a little less effective, considering the Vorc is so ridiculous.

Episode [2.13]: The Maltese Crichton || Episode [2.15]: Won’t Get Fooled Again

Leave a Reply