Deconstructing Moya

A Farscape Re-watch Project

Episode [3.08] – “Green Eyed Monster”

Today, on Farscape

“I keep hearing that you’ve changed. I think weather changes, and we just keep making the same mistake. Remember why you’re alive.”

While Talyn recuperates from the Peacekeeper attack, his new crew has to deal with the sudden appearance of a deadly monster that threatens to destroy them all.

Oh, and they get eaten by a Budong, too.


This weekend was spent at the North American Discworld Convention, so I was in no shape to be first this week.

Kevin: “Augh. Today’s been running around and suchlike; go ahead, I’ll put mine in later.”
Noel: “Will do. Do I get to mess with you by repeatedly slipping in ‘to follow up on what Kevin said…’?”
Kevin: “Sure, why not. Go ahead.”
Noel: *submits his write-up as written below*
Kevin: “You bastard.”
Noel: “Sorry, Kev. Couldn’t resist. Go ahead and cut everything before ‘What we have here boils down to…'”
Kevin: “Oh, no no no no no. Challenge accepted.”

O’er fathoms and light-years traversing the Void
Young Talyn and crew were a-drifting
Not pirates, Peacekeepers (though quite self-employed)
For supplies, they must keep ever thrifting

There are Three Men, not Two (though forget this, we do)
And the youngest is not one nor t’other
He depends on his Crais, who’s the nearest his race
Since he cannot relate to his mother

Amidships, it seems, the Commander has dreams
Of sharing his neural control
But apart from the rest, Crichton’s not at his best;
He’s not certain about his new role

And helping this notion, the ship starts new commotion
To give John the bumpiest ride;
While Crais and the other – his new “foster mother”
Talyn’d quite like to see side-by-side

Into all this, it’s said, the Beast raises its head
With its hunger and Eyes burning Green
With our Heroes distracted – defenses retracted –
This is not a good time for this scene

Yea, there is much wrong when you find a Budong
And its jagged-tooth ship-eating grin
But while swifter than lightning, ’tis nowhere as fright’ning
As the Beast that attacks from Within


As Kevin so eloquently laid out in one of the finest posts he’s ever written in the history of this blog (I love that section in verse, Kev), what we have here boils down to the classic Dead Calm formula. Three people in an isolated setting. One woman. Two men who both desire that one woman. Crais just wants to get Aeryn alone, so he can talk her into joining him and Talyn in a ceremony that’s part marriage, part religious conversion, in the hopes of finding both companionship and rescue from physical torment. John thinks he wants Aeryn, but is led to believe her heart is going elsewhere, and keeps shouting for survival in the face of stolen belongings and an escalating series of locked doors. Aeryn wants to be with John, and wants to help Crais help Talyn, but is pulled every which way as those two goals increasingly feel at odds. Revealing that much of this melodrama is playing out because of Talyn’s manipulations is genius. Sure, it’s only accentuating feelings that are already there, but he’s pushing the pieces in a way that brings everything to the surface, and I love how it all leads to a surprisingly soothing ending. The bandaid has been ripped free, and the last of the healing can begin.

Which leads us to vomit. The A-plot has a violent purge of negativity and emotion as everything is brought to the surface so they can make room for the meal of another day. The B-plot has a violent purge of, well, actual vomit as our heroes save the day by giving a budong an eating disorder that will likely haunt it all the way through its brief modelling career. And the C-plot has Rygel puking on Stark as a distraction, then doing so again when Stark SHOVES HIS HAND ALL THE WAY DOWN RYGEL’S THROAT TO PLUCK OUT SOMETHING HE SWALLOWED. I wonder if he had to do it several times so as to feel his way through each of Rygel’s stomachs. Slightly used food for thought.

And, wow, the budong. Impressive when dead, even moreso when alive. I like the idea that they just swim among the ice rings of planets, gulping down anything tasty that comes along, but I’d still like to know how such a creature could have possibly evolved into existence. Where did they start? How did they start? How did they grow to their present state? Are they in some way related to Leviathans?

I like the new status quo they’re establishing here, at least for a while, of alternating ships with each episode. The cast is getting a bit large by this point, so it makes sense to split them up for both narrative and budgetary purposes. I’m curious to see how things ply out on Moya without the presence of Aeryn and Rygel, but I like the dynamics we’re instantly settling into on Talyn, even as we have all new corridors and rooms and DRDs to acclimate ourselves to.

There’s not much left to add to this one. It’s such a deep, captivating story, but a largely simple one. The characters have motivations, watch them clash. Lots of running and steam, people shouting over one another, great distorted Talyn POV in Aeryn’s head. I liked it all. Especially the moment where Aeryn realizes everything Talyn’s been up to, so she rips out a power cable and shoves it into his primary ceiling panel, knocking him out. She may have had some fondness for this ship when he was a boy, but he’s grown into a bit of an uncontrollable monster, and it makes me wonder if, somewhere buried beneath his shell, Talyn has a pair of eyes that are just as green as the budong’s.


It’s worth noting that Ben Browder wrote this one. One of the alternative titles: “Das Budong”. The commentary is well worth listening to. Unless you haven’t seen the next year or so of episodes. There are a very few past-tense reference to things that haven’t happened yet.

I’m going to have to tackle this character by character. It’s such a character-driven episode.

The Budong should be an easy one to start with. Okay. Imagine a Leviathan. Big, big ship. Not as big as a Command Carrier, but still huge. Now picture an olive. Talyn is the olive, and you are the Budong. It’s so big that it’s dorsal fin can be mistaken for a moon. It’s stomach burns at fifty thousand Urists, it is attracted to moving magnetic fields, and Talyn’s Sonic Ascendancy Cannon plinks at it like ping pong balls. If Peacekeepers could build a Control Collar for one, you can be assured that they would do so, and then use it to eat planets. Also, much like other large predators, it is extraordinarily sneaky.

Aeryn is using her leftover Pilot DNA to intuit Talyn’s workings, and I don’t think Crais knows about that little addition. Her familiarity with the inner workings of a Leviathan can’t be up to Crais’ level, with his research into breeding gunships. It could just be the difference in approaches; he’s always looked at Leviathans as mere ships, while Aeryn treats them like people. Whatever the circumstances, Aeryn is better at pilot Talyn than Crais is. He wants that, has wanted it since he took control of Talyn mere days after his birth. Now, finally, she joins the neural network. In doing so, she finds that the relationship between Talyn and Crais isn’t quite like the link between Moya and Pilot.

Moving from there to Crais, he’s had a devil of a time with Talyn. They’ve been arguing for better than a year and a half, Talyn being headstrong and powerful, Crais attempting to command and control him. Now we find that Talyn is actually winning the conflict by inflicting neural feedback on Crais. The child has found that he is the one with the power in the relationship, and any parent will tell you that’s a severely bad thing. Crais cannot control Talyn, cannot prevent him from using his big honking gun, cannot keep him from panicking, probably only serves in an advisory capacity with regard to course and destination. If Talyn gets really pissed, Crais can’t even control himself. Talyn can take physical control of Crais, completely overriding his mind and body. That, more than anything else, indicates that this relationship is going downhill.

Talyn himself… this poor kid. He kinda reminds me of Scorpius in a way. Halfbreed child of a raped mother growing up learning how to exploit and abuse the people around him. Extremely defensive, lashing out at anything he perceives as a threat or potential threat, whether Budongs or Humans or Sebaceans or Plokavians or Halosians. He has a really big hammer, and the entire universe looks like a really big nail.

Man, there’s a thought. Scorpius with Talyn’s neural link. They’d get along like peas in a pod. And now I’m imagining Scorpius as a parent. Huuuauugh.

Crichton… his situation on Talyn can probably be summed up like this: Crais has full quarters. A big room, king size bed, full Peacekeeper electronics suite. Crichton has a literal hole in a wall on the outer hull. He’s a Human on a Peacekeeper ship, and with Stark and Rygel off on the pod he’s very isolated. Talyn reinforces that by generating the false image of Aeryn in bed with Crais, stealing Winona, and stalking him with DRDs. He really is the outsider here, just like when he first arrived on Moya. But, and I love this part, he and Aeryn work through the disruptions and get together at the end. Finally, the UST is resolved.

Stark and Rygel are Stark and Rygel. Whoever let them go off in a pod by themselves should be gibbs’d.

This is first episode with the new space suits. The last one we saw was in “Season of Death”, the bulky flimsy suits that looked like (to quote Browder) “garbage bags”. It’s completely true. And the new ones are gorgeous. Fantastic enough that Aeryn and Crichton wear them through most of the episode.

Talyn’s DRDs are awesome. Peacekeeper colors, and much bulkier than Moya’s. They look like they’re designed for combat. Moya’s DRDs seem to have modular bits – if they need a tool, they run back to the depot and swap it in. Talyn’s look like they’ve got everything all the time. Makes it harder to get into the small spaces, but he’s probably got larger spaces to accommodate them.


I was fascinated by this episode for so many reasons. There are, of course, a ton of character driven things going on, which the boys covered pretty well, but in addition to that, I think this is the first in-depth look we’ve gotten to take at Talyn. Up until now, we’d only ever seen the one room inside of him. The vast majority of our experiences with him has been from the outside.

Now that we finally get to see more of him (and despite being smaller than Moya and still in the development stage of various rooms, he’s still a pretty roomy ship), we’re able to get a very strong sense of how different he is from Moya. The color scheme inside of him is radically different, which we’ve known for a while, but it at least for me it took a full episode inside of him to really grasp just how different a mood it sets. He’s got DRDs, but unlike the friendly cute little yellow robots (that admittedly can turn menacing and creepy when Moya deems it necessary) that we’re used to seeing, his are angry looking, red, and appear to come with weapons built in and readied at all times. The shapes and looks of his doors, rooms, and controls all look familiar enough… but at the same time, they seem slightly “off”. Again, these are all things we knew before this, but this episode really drives it home that we really aren’t on Moya anymore.

It’s been mentioned before that Moya has a definite subtlety to her presence, that while we “know” that she’s a living, thinking being, at times we only really know that because Pilot communicates for her. Subtlety is the farthest thing from the truth on Talyn, though, with him taking direct control of situations constantly, threatening anyone who tries to stop him with his weaponry, and manipulating those aboard him in any way possible. He’s also far more “verbal” than Moya ever has been, making constant communicative noises while talking with Crais as opposed to the silent communication between Moya and Pilot.

The revelation that Crais both can be physically controlled by Talyn and that any resistance he puts up is apparently slowly killing him is… frankly, terrifying. We’ve heard from Crais before that he’s made an attempt to curb Talyn’s more violent tendencies, to try to keep him under control, and now we know that he can’t really do any more than plead with him. Talyn is totally in control of the situation, and whatever he wants to do, he’s more than likely able to at least try to muscle his way through anyone standing in his way.

And we’re only on the first episode of this side of the crew. It makes me wonder just how long things can keep going without totally falling apart, between Rygel and Stark… being themselves, Crais nearly impotent, and Talyn having his own agenda. I have a feeling it’s going to fall on Aeryn and John to try to keep things held together almost constantly, and John doesn’t always have the stability to keep things going on his own.

Speaking of the Stark-Rygel circus, sticking these two in a transport pod, in close quarters and alone, has to be one of the worst ideas anyone ever had. And it’s glorious. Stark is almost the perfect counter to Rygel, reacting to his shenanigans with increasing amounts of mania. To which Rygel gets even more snarky and hostile, which creates a downward spiral. They both lose in the situation, so I almost have to wonder if they wind up straightening each other out a little just to keep from having to deal with the consequences.

No, probably not.

Also, this is the second time poor Stark has wound up getting a mouthful of someone else’s vomit. Ew.

On a final note, I caught myself forgetting that we have another, totally separate Crichton over on Moya. One who will not have gone through any of these ordeals on Talyn, who won’t have been tricked and sent through an emotional wringer over fabricated images of Crais and Aeryn, and the near-death experience that the Budong brought with it. Granted, I’m sure he’s going to have his own set of problems to work out, but the point is that it’s likely to be a very different experience.

And as mentioned before, our different experiences shape us into different people. We may not be looking at two identical Crichtons when the two meet back up again.

Episode [3.07] – Thanks for Sharing || Episode [3.09]: Losing Time

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