Deconstructing Moya

A Farscape Re-watch Project

Episode [3.18] – “Fractures”

Today, on Farscape

“This cable gonna hold?”
“Of course it will. It’s iridium alloy, just like in the budong.”
“Budong? What are you talking about?”
“You r- uh. Just… follow my lead.”

In which the Moya picks up a Leviathan transport pod carrying prisoners recently escaped from Peacekeeper custody, Talyn reunites with Moya, and someone attempts to call the Peacekeepers down on everyone.


This starts out looking like a fairly standard Moya episode. She and Pilot spot a transport pod that they think is from Talyn, but turns out to be an escapee from a Peacekeeper firing range. They’ve developed a new weapon, one that attacks the molecular binding of metals, and wanted to see what would happen to the crew of a vessel targeted by it. The prisoners they were going to use in the test managed to overpower the single tech working the pod, and flew off as fast as they could. They did take at least one hit from that weapon, though, and the pod takes fairly severe damage.

No word on how they evaded the Peacekeepers, though. Possibly the weapon was on a stationary emplacement, a moon or an asteroid.

The pod had five occupants: A Scarran named Naj Gil, a victim of Peacekeeper mutilation – his heat producing gland has been removed, destroying his ability to generate or project the infamous Scarran ability. A Hynerian named Orrhn who refused to bow to Rygel’s cousin, Dominar Bishan. A intersex Nebari named Hubero, abandoned by her own species for being difficult to categorize. A Peacekeeper tech named Markir Tal, who was in the wrong pod at the wrong time. And a nameless Boolite that got splattered all over the interior of the pod when it was hit with the Peacekeeper weapon. Luckily, a Boolite’s individual bits and pieces can survive independently for up to half a cycle.

There’s an obvious parallel between these people and the Moya group. Escaped prisoners on the run, a variety of races, one Peacekeeper prisoner. Maybe, given time, they could have turned out the same way. Alas, one betrays the three for the Peacekeeper, shoots them, and takes off in a pod. Actually, Orrhn’s actions bear some resemblance to Crichton’s back in the premiere. He didn’t shoot anyone, but he did choose the Peacekeeper over the others. Maybe if Orrhn hadn’t shot anyone, maybe if Markir Tal had been declared irreversibly contaminated… or flip that around, what if Crichton had been a little more violent on his first day, if Crais had accepted both him and Aeryn back into the Peacekeepers… strange how a few little changes can alter the way things turn out.

Orrhn and Rygel. The Hynerian with two backs. Just… yeah. Glad the guy got some, but dang did he get played. Rygel occasionally strikes me as the Tony Stark of the Uncharted Territories: Major playboy, fantastic skills when he focuses, but how the heck did he ever wind up in charge of anything?

Hubero and Chiana. I don’t even know how to properly discuss this. Chi’s first contact with a friendly member of her species in a very, very long time. Someone else who was rejected by their authoritarian culture. It’s kinda sweet, watching them bond.

D’Argo and Naj Gil seem to get along fairly well. We don’t see any of their conversations, but D’Argo takes him in like a lost, dangerous puppy. Naj Gil is far less menacing than the Scarrans we’ve seen so far – the loss of his heat gland brings him down to D’Argo’s level, and could have something to do with his unusual skin tone. The bits of him that don’t have giant metal staples in them are just as impenetrable as a regular Scarran.

This could have been an episode by itself, but then Talyn arrives and drops off the three remaining people on board. Rygel gets right back into things like he never left. Crais tries to fit in as best he can, working with Jool on the Boolite and pretending to be a surgeon when Naj Gil is shot. And Aeryn… aw, man. Her last two episodes have forced her to say goodbye to the man she loved, and oh hey there he is again! Alive and healthy and whole! How do you deal with something like that? If you’re Aeryn, by ignoring it. The only time that she looks directly at John is when she gets off the pod. For the rest of the episode, anytime they’re in the same room her eyes are locked straight ahead. The only time she even glances at him is when they’re in D’Argo’s ship, when she briefly forgets that he isn’t her Crichton. Heck, when they have the same idea while Orryn and Markir Tal are escaping, she looks away from him rather than look at his face. It’s so painful to watch.

The opening scene has Crichton trying to decide between the green shirt that he’s been wearing since Aeryn left with JohnT and a black shirt identical to the one that JohnT has been wearing on Talyn. He chooses the black on D’Argo’s advice. When he gets JohnT‘s things back, he finds the other Winona. He takes it out, compares it to the one that he’s been carrying since he was twinned, and holsters it. His Winona is tossed aside. Both of these actions seem to indicate that he believes the other Crichton was better in some way. He rode off into the sunset with the girl, and that thought has been eating at him for weeks. At the end, when watching the recording that JohnT left for him, he seems to acknowledge that there’s no significant difference between them, throwing one last rock-paper-scissors to show that they’re still the same person despite their diverging experiences. Aeryn sees it, and may acknowledge it intellectually, but that does nothing for her pain.

D’Argo takes his now-functional ship out to pursue Orryn and Markir Tal when they take Rygel. The ship has wings! It’s fast, maneuverable, and just keeps getting better.

I kinda love Hubero’s outfit. Couldn’t really say why, though. Loose coat, loose pants, combat boots. Reminds me of something, but I couldn’t say what.


Since the “twinning” of Crichton, we’ve talked at length about how neither was really the “real” one, and neither was the copy. While that’s all well and good, the separation of the two basically made the reality of the situation a little different to the crews.

The last few episodes have tossed the idea around, and this one blatantly lays it out for us – T’John was the “real” Crichton as far as Aeryn was concerned. It isn’t just that the two have developed differences since parting (though they certainly have). Aeryn thinks of M’John as the “copy”. To her, he’s just an imitation of the man she fell in love with. They’re close enough to being identical that she can catch herself forgetting that they aren’t the same person, but, at least at the moment, he is not a suitable replacement for the John she lost.

Think about it for a second. She was almost willing to entertain what she knew was a complete trap set for her in the hopes that T’John might actually be revived through it. She toyed with the idea of tying herself to Crais, of all people, because if she closed her eyes tight enough she could pretend he was someone else. Not once in that ordeal did she consider the other John to be an option to fall back on. Crais would make a suitable (if extremely unhealthy and disastrous) substitute for the grieving Aeryn, but M’John isn’t good enough.

Maybe it’s because the two are nearly identical. Aeryn can’t bring herself to replace the John she lost, at least not yet. With Crais, there’s no chance of her actually making an attachment. She could pretend for just long enough to satisfy a craving, but it would be impossible for her to actually forget that he wasn’t John, and of her loss. With M’John… we already see her making that slip. It would be very easy to simply let him fill the void T’John left in her life, but in doing that, she’d be letting a “copy” of the real thing replace him. I’m sure the temptation has to be there (which is at least partially why she can’t bring herself to look at him), but the guilt she’d feel over the whole thing is likely overwhelming. All she has left of T’John is the memory of him as the “real” Crichton. If she lets the “copy” replace him, she’s effectively killed him off completely.

The others seem to accept M’John back into their lives pretty smoothly (even Crais, which is a little odd, all things considered), but it’s not that simple for Aeryn.

Poor John, on the other hand, has to deal with both the concept that his twin is dead, which he obviously can’t quite work out how exactly to feel about. Adding to that the fact that the whole thing makes him feel like the copy rather than the original, which prior to now he’s always held onto. In every other way, he’s never doubted that he’s the “real” Crichton, but when it comes to Aeryn, he is the copy.

But in the end, he picks up and continues forward. Having been told exactly what the wormhole technology is actually capable of, he decides to pick up where his twin left off. He’s not armed with the experiences and the knowledge that T’John had, but he’s determined to make use of what was learned from his twin’s sacrifice.

It would appear that the crew will be splitting up again, as Moya and Pilot are completely against John’s plan to put a stop to Scorpius’ research, and only Crais and Aeryn appear to be completely on board with the idea. Unless their determination wins over the others, the split-crew nature of the show might not be over with just yet.

On a final note, the shared dilemma of the Boolite between Crais and Jool actually made for an entertaining scenario, one that both made Crais feel much more like a natural part of the group, as well as bringing me that much closer to fully accepting Jool as part of the gang also. I don’t find her nearly as irritating as I did in the first few episodes after her introduction.


As Weston mentioned, what’s fascinating about the escaped prisoners is the parallels you see to the Moya bunch. These people are almost mirrors of the escaped leviathan we saw at the beginning of this series. In the first episode, Crichton came across The Big Guy, The Opportunistic Hynerian, The Peacekeeper Prisoner, and The Strangely Sexual Blue Chick. This episode, we came across… The Big Guy, The Opportunistic Hynerian, The Peacekeeper Prisoner, and The Strangely (a)Sexual Grey Chick. It’s almost an exercise of What Ifs:

  • What if D’Argo was an emasculated shell of his old self?
  • What if Aeryn followed through on her escape attempts?
  • What if Zhaan, seperated from her society, simply withdrew into herself?
  • What if Rygel was an opportunistic, gleefully sadistic jerk who only looked out for number one and was willing to do anything he could to – oh right.

Granted, these aren’t exactly on a one-to-one ratio, but we certainly see a contrast between These Jerks and Our Jerks.

Especially with Rygel. Sure, the obvious joke is there – oh look, a backstabbing Hynerian, lawls – but Orrhn definitely presents a quantifiable example of just how much Rygel has grown since Season One. Because sure, he’s a huge jerkface jerkatron who would prefer not to fight alongside you but instead raid your quarters for the personal items that you certainly would no longer need in short order. Sure, he’d much rather deal with mercenaries and brigands than make small talk with his shipmates. But when the chips were down, he does what’s right. He’ll man Hynerian the anti-personnel cannon, negotiate a devastating defection to buy some time for escape, and sneak aboard a speeding safe-deposit box. He’s learned to trust the people he’s with, whether he originally wanted to or not, and he’s a loyal person to trust with your life, though you’d be barmy to trust him with a dollar.

Orrhn, however, was playing him from the beginning. Was playing everyone, with her make-up, her froofy clothes, and her plump Hynerian curves. She’s greedy, mischevious, and truly is in it for numero uno. Her shaky alliance with the Peacekeeper tech was tenuous at best, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if she had planned on selling him out to get herself a small fortune. Maybe to the Scarrans, they’re always looking for Peacekeepers to play with.

It certainly puts our own doorstop in an entirely new light. Well, maybe a factory-discounted light. Alright, alright, refurbished and still kind of wonky.

I don’t have much else coherent to say, so notes!

  • Working the table with Jool has certainly made Bialar Crais seem like he fits in a lot more now in comparison. It’s not even so surprising when he goes to stand by Crichton at the end, to show his support.
  • …damnit. I like Crais now.
  • Speaking of the line-in-the-sand, it’s especially interesting to note that the Sebaceans (and the lookalike) are the ones standing apart from the rest of the crew. Everyone else opposes Crichton’s plan, but it’s Aeryn and Crais that decide to go with him.
  • Leading up to the finale time! I’m excited.


I’m with the others in loving how this is almost a flipped-on-its-head pilot of sorts for a new group of escaped prisoners forced to work together as they wander the cosmos. Had they not come across the good ship Moya, I could totally see this gang bickering, exploring, and dealing with the universe as best they can week after week. A lot of credit has to go to series creator Rockne S. O’Bannon for this episode’s script as, not only can we already get a loose sense of dynamics within this group, but they pefectly fall into pairings amongst the main pack. Rygel and Chiana bond with the members of their own species… though the bumping of the uglies doesn’t come from the one you’d expect. D’Argo bonds with the neutered Scarran, the other group’s muscle. And then you’ve got the slowly piecing together of an alien that survived a splattering, which makes for a surprising team craft project for Jool and Crais.

You’ll have to forgive me as it’s 3:30am and I’m struggling to pull from my clouding mind anything else I can add. The others have already covered this episode beautifully. The betrayals, the bonds, the Hynerian sex. I love the punch to the gut that comes when John sees Aeryn’s cool gaze instead of a welcoming smile, followed by him instantly putting the pieces together when he learns of T’John’s demise. I love that we finally get to see D’Argo’s pet ship dive into some action. I love how the captured Peacekeeper tech goes from a spastic rookie kid to a chilling sociopath. I love the re-holstering of Winona. I love John drawing a line in the sand at the end, and Aeryn and Crais taking his side.

Kevin, I don’t just like Crais, I love the son of a gun. He and Crichton could barely tolerate one another at the beginning of the season, but John greets Crais with a smile, and Crais is extremely delicate in the way he breaks bad news to John. And look at the marvelous scenes of him and Jool piecing together the Boolite, as our once tyrannical commander mistakes a rectum for a mouth, fells a foe with a hurled organ, then shares a comical scream with Jool as a blinking eye splats in her lap. He’s come a long way since we first met him, but it says a lot that he still feels entirely in character. He’s changed, but through growth rather than retcon and redirection. He’s become a new man, but still retains the burden of who he once was.

I’ll say it again: I love Crais.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I desperately need to find a pillow that hopefully comes with a bed to sleep on because blankets are comfy and I zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz



Episode [3.17] – The Choice || Episode [3.19] – I-Yensch, You-Yensch

6 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. Tessa

     /  September 23, 2011

    Noel, I’m right there with you about loving Crais to death (as I mentioned in our Season Two recap, he was in my top 3 characters then, and he’s only gotten more development since then), but I’m still a little confused as to where exactly the much warmer feelings between him and Crichton are coming from.

    On his side, I can certainly see it, considering all he went through with the Crichton on Talyn, but the Still Alive one has no reason to feel any differently about him now than he did when they split up. They haven’t had any real experiences together that would have changed John’s mind over him at all. It sort of feels like they’re leaning on the development between the two that happened on Talyn, but M’John wasn’t there for any of that. He just suddenly seems to like Crais a lot more for no real reason. It’s the one bit of the rejoining of the two groups that I think they fumbled a bit. It’s a very minor gripe, since otherwise they pulled it off wonderfully, but it sticks out a bit to me.

    • Weston

       /  September 24, 2011

      I think that Crichton’s willing to put aside his enmity towards Crais just long enough to see Aeryn again. He isn’t thrilled to see him, but his sheer joy at “Aeryn Aeryn omg Aeryn!” carries over a bit.

    • That’s a good point. M’John didn’t exactly part on good terms with Crais, so his smile and a nod does seem a bit out of character. As Weston said, though, it could just be that he’s so jazzed to see Aeryn that not even the sight of Crais is enough to cool his buzz.

  2. Weston

     /  September 24, 2011

    I actually forgot two things: The first – that Peacekeeper tech? He played Mouse in The Matrix. Between him and Stark, that’s two Matrix veterans on Farscape. Three if you count Hubero, who played the coat check girl in Matrix: Revolutions.

    Second – remember JohnT’s last words? “Scorpius is gone.” And what does his hologram say to JohnM? “Don’t let Scorpius crack this.” Maybe he was talking about Harvey. That seems likely, but at first glance it’s a bit of fridge logic.

  3. Rita Lewis

     /  September 24, 2011

    To me, the entire episode is a john/Aeryn heartbreak. Ben’s acting — the confusion, not wanting to show the crying, and his joy/bewilderment/feelings of sadness finally over Talyn!John’s death are so poignant. I want to hate Aeryn for her coldness but I can understand it and Claudia Black sells this to the Nth degree. I sort of ignore the rest of the episode — so thanks for bringing up the wonderful parallels that echo John and Aeryn and John’s situation. And, oh the last message of Talyn!John through Stark’s helmet. “She takes time.” I just want to hug John who already has inferiority problems and paranoid problems, and then along comes his clone to teach him to be himself again. All the while, Aeryn is watching secretly. This leads to her decision to basically commit suicide (her thoughts) finishing what Talyn!John started.

    I don’t think that Moya!John’s nod to Crais was out of character because as someone says it was a “Yeah, yeah, Crais… where’s Aeryn?” moment. He wasn’t smiling at Crais, he was acknowledging him but waiting for Aeryn.

    The setup for the ending episodes is so terrific. Crais joins Aeryn to acknowledge the bravery of their John and because they know what the wormhole tech can do. John doesn’t really know what the tech will do, but instinctively, because he really is John Crichton, knows he needs to finish the job — Scorpius is his problem. Such a painful episode.

  4. Mickey

     /  September 27, 2011

    John and Aeryn were so heartbreaking.
    There’s a subtle moment when they board D Argo’s ship. John sits next to her and you see Aeryn move away.
    I just love this show for little moments like that.


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