Deconstructing Moya

A Farscape Re-watch Project

Episode [4.01] – “Crichton Kicks”

Today, on Farscape

“Okay! Once upon a time I was happy here. A little on the lonely side, but that’s okay ’cause at least Winona only had to start cooking fires – you know, fire? Whoosh! Fire. Module’s outta fuel so it’s not goin’ anywhere. So, I’m workin’ like a mofo. And everything is fiiiiinally comin’ together on these crates here, ’til you SMASHED THROUGH, PISSING ME OFF just a little bit. So the only thing that I still had goin’ for me… you just destroyed, lady! YEAH!”

John has managed to survive by finding a dying Leviathan to call home. He’s close to cracking the wormhole code and may have a way home… until a ship crashes into the Leviathan and destroys a good portion of his research. The newcomer is running from an organization that hunts and harvests Leviathan bits, and they’re fast approaching…


Now that we’re in the final season, it’s really interesting to look back on the opening sequences for all of the seasons and how they’ve evolved over time. In the first and second season, John’s voice-over is confused, fragmented, and frightened, reflecting the idea that he has just been thrown into this crazy universe and is desperately trying to get his bearings while he tries to find a way home, begging for someone to hear his cries for help. In the third season, the fear and confusion behind his voice goes away, and his narration is more explanatory than it is pleading. His dilemma is not if he will get back home, but if he should go back home, after having seen what he has, and the potential of what he might bring with him. It’s still fragmented, but that might be speaking more to the conflicts going on in his own head at that point rather than the terror that you can plainly hear in his voice in the previous openings.

The new opening, in comparison, is incredibly clear and calm. While what John is saying hasn’t changed drastically, how he’s saying it has. It’s a straightforward explanation, and the fragmented nature of it is completely gone. He’s spent long enough in the uncharted territories now that he’s now relatively used to it, and there’s no more uncertainty in his voice-over. Also interesting is that he has apparently made his decision between seasons – he has to find a way home, both to warn Earth about what is likely coming (something that he has had at least a hand in bringing along if not outright responsible for the fact that Earth’s existence has been made known), as well as to share what he’s seen with them.

It’s a microcosm of his character development, in neat little minute-long packages.

As to the actual episode itself. When we last left Crichton, he was stranded in his module, which was low on fuel, with none of his friends present to offer aid. The predictable course of events that would shortly follow would be that he would completely run out of resources (not to mention it’s unlikely that he had much food or water with him, if any), and that would be the end of his story.

Well, not exactly, since not only would that have totally thrown a wrench into the inclusion of a fourth season (although as mentioned before, it would be fascinating to see the story continue in his absence if he ever did become a permanent casualty), but there’s also the fact that, fortunately for him, he happened to be in the sacred Leviathan burial grounds, and wouldn’t you know it, an aging Leviathan stops by in order to die there. Crichton manages to make his way onto it, befriends its Pilot, and it becomes his new home for the time being as he pours all of his energy into working out his wormhole problem.

We don’t know exactly how long he’s been cooped up on the dying Leviathan, but it’s been at least enough time for him to grow a respectable beard and work on his Obi-Wan Kenobi cosplay, as well as painting a DRD and teaching it to play the 1812 overture.

He’s also been escaping into his head every so often, repeatedly entering a beach fantasy, where Harvey is back in a Hawaiian shirt and scolding John for getting distracted from his wormhole research before he goes chasing tail himself. John’s still fixated on Aeryn and her pregnancy, and the decision she made to leave without telling him about it. Imaginary!Aeryn makes all of the arguments he’s not wanting to hear, claiming that she wasn’t actually right for him, but that she was just the best option he had out of an extremely limited choice. She also causes him to consider the possibility that the child isn’t even his (arguably it isn’t, technically, the most likely candidate for the father was T’John, which would create the awkward scenario where it is John Crichton’s child, but not his child). Among other things, this episode is about him finally letting go of Aeryn, at least temporarily, while his focus swings back around to other, more pressing things. As Rygel tells him, when the woman he loves repeatedly leaves him, it might be time to take the hint. In the end, his imaginary Aeryn has another man, and he lets her go, deciding to move forward instead of staying stuck in one place and desperately hoping for a result that isn’t realistic anymore. That’s not quite the same thing as giving up on her completely, but his priorities have been forced elsewhere for the moment. Finding a way to survive is at the moment a far more pressing and realistic goal than chasing down a perfect life that is likely impossible, and so he shelves it. Perhaps for good (the end of his fantasy and his conversation with Rygel does have the foundation for some finality on the matter), but I sort of doubt it. For the time being, however, he’s moving on.

Rygel and Chiana are the first to be reunited with John, and they bring with them the news of just how severe the consequences of the last season are. The entire crew is back on the wanted list, the amnesty Scorpius offered them now totally void, and Grayza is pulling out all the stops to see them captured. They’re back to square one, only this time their pursuer appears to have far more resources at her disposal than Crais did, and there seems to be nowhere safe for them to go. Even worse, being the diplomat that she is with the goals we know she has, it’s entirely possible that not even home will be safe for some of the crew (with the Luxans on board for the Peacekeeper alliance thing, we can assume D’Argo isn’t safe amongst his own people, at least). Both Rygel and Chiana appear to have been through a lot in their time away, sporting various bruises and injuries, and we finally get wind of the downside to Chiana’s newly obtained psychic powers. Her flashes have been leaving her temporarily blind, and each time it seems to be getting worse and lasting longer.

I actually rather like Sikozu. While she is just as abrasive and antagonistic as Jool was when she was introduced, she has very clear strengths, and while her partnership with the rest of the crew winds up being one of convenience (and later of necessity, when her plans to betray them backfire on her), it’s also a much stronger introduction than any of the new characters in season 3 got. They don’t particularly like each other, there are clear trust issues, but they’re together at least for the time being because they have no other choice if they want to survive. She needs them, and they’re not exactly in a position to turn down help. It’s almost a bit of a throwback to the original uniting of the crew when the show started, with very clear differences they were going to have to work through and problems that would arise, but the situation gave them no choice but to bond together. Compared again with Jool, who aside from just winding up there due to circumstance had no real reason to stick around except that she just stayed long enough that she eventually had to. I wouldn’t mind Sikozu joining the main crew at this rate, if that is what winds up happening and her development continues on the path that’s already begun.


We mentioned before that the previous episode – the Season Three finale – was just as much about setting up Season Four as it was an endcap. We’re provided with the major plothooks of Wormholes, Scarrans and Peacekeepers, Nana Peepers, and Aeryn’s pregnancy. The cliffhanger also sets up a major theme for the season, of separations and reunions.

This episode, of course, totally brings it. It has been brought, and then set aside, then picked up and dusted off to be brought yet again, despite never leaving the room in the first place.

Example the first: Sikozu Shamwow Shoryuken Sinead Shikaka. Tessa really nailed it when she compared her to Jool – they’re both know-it-all redheaded self-righteous busybodies. The differences, however, come into play almost immediately: Sikozu is confident, intriguing, quirky, and has – let’s face it – the most gorgeous, semi-phenomenal nearly-cosmic hair I have ever seen. She’s also played extremely well by a talented actress – her expressions are subtle, yet speak volumes to her uncertainty, her guile, and her intellect.

If the hook this season was purely Sikozu, Season Four would have won me over in a heartbeat. Astonishingly, there’s more: Crichton now claims full mastery over wormholes – at least on paper. Chiana’s visions have turned into a “mastery of the present”, which is decidedly more useful, and adds a necessary drawback in its use. Furthermore, Elack’s Pilot may have found some others, leading to further reunions and altercations, as life has clearly moved on in Crichton’s absence.

It’s time to get the gang back together, so roll the Bullet Points:

  • Crichton’s Law strikes again. Elack and his Pilot are willingly giving up their only chance to rest in the Sacred Burial Nebula, to help Crichton find his friends. In repayment for giving them company in their final moments, and thwarting the Russian Stereotype Aliens from draining Elack’s vital fluids or whatever it was they were doing.
    • (Leviathan Spinal Tap, maybe.)
    • SERIOUSLY, Builders. What the frell is your problem? Maybe the reason that your beautiful race is sold and traded into slavery is because you BUILT THEM TO BE SUBSERVIANT. No, don’t let them have their own dreams, they must THROW THEM AWAY THE MOMENT SOMEONE CLIMBS ABOARD. You made a sentient species, now TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. Moya’s the only one we’ve seen (that isn’t crazy) who is willing to FIGHT FOR HER OWN LIFE.
  • Sikozu’s makeup is gorgeous. There’s the subtle scale pattern not only stretching from her temples to her collarbone, but also down the front of her chest.
  • I… actually don’t have much else to say. This episode is the set-up for the rest of the season, so I’m just sitting back and waiting for the next one.


There’s a couple things about this episode that feel like the creators are looping back a bit to take a second stab at some of their… let’s say, less successful storylines. The first, “Jeremiah Crichton”, where John is abandoned in his module, which runs out of fuel as he grows a beard become an eccentric loner. There it didn’t work because John pretty much gave up on everything while surrounded by a pretty Hawaiian tribe. Here it works because he’s stuck on an elderly Leviathan that’s near death, and he has the drive of wormholes and his deep anxiety over Aeryn to focus on. Secondly, we have the introduction of a highly intelligent and fiery tempered red-head who instantly clashes with the crew but still has to work with them. It didn’t work so well with Jool because all she did was whine and focus on herself, adding nothing to make up for what she took. It works much better with Sikozu because we instantly see her skillsets as she takes part in events and is a driving force for the narrative. So, yeah, a bit of a retread of ideas, but in a way that makes up for past wrongs.

And bravo to them for tying both those elements to a great story of Klingon pirates who scoop out the brains of Leviathans because they can apparently be used as drugs to increase brain function. It’s a great icky setup that leads to a strong conflict where the pirates don’t want the ship, just the haul, but it’s a haul that will make the ship completely worthless to those inside, leading to a desires for John and the others to survive. It’s exciting, it’s colorful, all of the character get to play their own little part. It’s yet another perfect Farscape episode.

Sikozu is going to be an interesting addition to the crew. Unlike Chiana back in the day, when Shikozu tries to sell the others out, we don’t get the sense that it’s from fear or bluster. She really doesn’t give a dren. She’s dedicated her entire existence to the thorough study of Leviathans just so she can help hunt them and strip them of their brains. There is no ethical quandary in this, no hesitation that she’s condemning lifeforms to a brutal demise just so she can harvest them for drugs. She’s not a good person. Which means she should fit in splendidly. I also love the idea that she can’t use translator microbes and gets to show off her mental prowess by quickly learning and sorting every language around her. On the other hand, how does her gravity thing work? A person can’t really shift their own gravity if the gravity holding them to the floor is an external force created by the larger object. Maybe you could argue she’s repelling the gravity to a degree, but then why is that limited to her climbing walls? If she could do that, she could fly.

Rygel doesn’t get to do a whole lot, but his presence is perfectly in character, with the hilarious bits of him “trying” to catch Crichton and being sent to recover a severed limb so as to create a motif. I like how Chiana is back to a bit of her manic recklessness, her frustration at her situation and severe distrust of Shikozu leading her to mistakenly gun a guy down who was all set to help them. I’m also finally sold on her psychic powers. I like that they’re becoming more severe and starting to affect her overall perception of events, with the crippling side effects of blindness and headaches. I love the way her power is used in the climax, which is a ridiculous piece of brilliance that only half works, like all other Crichton plans.

And, wow, Crichton. He’s once again gone off the deep end a bit with so many memorable moments. Watching as all of his notes, all of his research, go up in flames with little more than a sigh and another sip of his drink. Luring the bloodhound into a trap by pretending to be a helpless little lamb and offering up his shapely, leather-clad flank. Being told someone is trying to understand his language and never once departing from his usual gibberish of non-contextualized human pop culture. Saving the day and being rewarded with a dip in the guano pits. And most of it set to his own programmed rendition of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture.

It’s a great episode and, like the others, I’m eager to see where we go from here. On issue that’s started to nag at me, though, is Harvey. He isn’t bound to existence and seems increasingly interested in merely relaxing in John’s mind, so why is he still bound in the cooling suit? He has no body to regulate the temperature of and wears a Hawaiian shirt as he chases after bikini girls on a beach. Why hasn’t he shed himself of a bondage that was once necessary, but no longer so?


I’ve been looking forward to comparing the openers since Season Two, but Tessa nailed all the high points. Crichton says basically the same thing he did last season, but now it’s a single voice, no clones or echoes, determined and unwavering. Both of the major ship-killing events from last season are in. Wayne Pygram is in the credits now, finally, though we get no indication in the episode whether he survived last season.

The “Previously On” sequence set up a neat parallel between Scorpius and Crichton. Two episodes ago, Crichton took everything that Scorpy had, crumpled it into a ball, and threw it into a sun. Last episode, everything Crichton loved either flew off or was sucked down a wormhole. They’ve both fallen about as far as is possible, with Scorpius last seen moping around an imploding Carrier and Crichton out of gas in the middle of nowhere.

Except that there are other ships out in the black. Remember that, last episode, Moya talked to another Leviathan to find out about the history of the rogue. Elack was that other, and while he wasn’t willing to leave the Sacred Space so close to death, he could certainly rescue one stranded short-range vessel. He can’t refuel the module or synthesize a substitute, but Crichton will live as long as his life support holds out. So he burns time working on his wormhole research. He doesn’t have the high tech facilities that Strappa used, but he has an entire Leviathan’s interior for his white board.

Then someone crashes through a couple bulkheads and obliterates half of his work. A quasi-naďve alien on the run from the brain-butchers that she led to the biggest payday possible and in so doing accidentally outlived her usefulness. Sikozu Shanu, a linguist and temp worker who’s smart enough to find the Leviathan Sacred Space in six months of study, but doesn’t know that Leviathans grow in unique ways. A manipulator and negotiator, not on Rygel’s or Chiana’s level, but she’s good enough to survive in a hostile universe. She’s also prepared, having at least one outfit stashed in that pod. Seriously, she’s on Elak for five minutes before she’s in a stiff leather outfit. Then she lets her hair down, and… and

Sorry, lost my train of thought. Kevin’s right, she’s got some really fantastic makeup. Like Trill freckles, only with little red scales. According to the commentaries she originally auditioned for the role of Commandant Grayza, and was sufficiently awesome that they wrote this role in for her.

Rygel and Chiana return shortly into the episode, both the worse for wear. They both have bruises on their faces, and Chi’s become wild and defensive. Grayza’s back, offering rewards an order of magnitude higher than any previous for the dead or alive capture of any of Crichton’s comrades. These two ran into trouble and came straight back. Rygel’s speech about nobody trying to kill them is now invalid, and the only way they’ll survive is by regrouping. Of course, that means getting the band back together.

Raelee Hill has a ton of wire work in this episode with Sikozu’s gravity center ability. Running up walls, chilling on ceilings. There’s even in-universe wires when they start flying around in Pilot’s Den. Realistically, Crichton shouldn’t have survived a fifty meter fall into a pool of guano, but after Rygel’s “I’ve got you! I’ve got you!” I can totally suspend my disbelief.

  • Is anyone surprised that Crichton speaks Klingon?
  • 1812! Best DRD ever.
  • Did you catch the equation Crichton wrote on the door? A+C=B, and then he divided it by zero.
  • Crichton’s face-bear. It looks a lot better than the last one.
  • The Grudek ship is still lurking in the Sacred Space, waiting for dying Leviathans to arrive so they can harvest their brains.
  • “This is big!” “Obviously, you need to get out more.” Crichton cracks a “That’s what she said” years early.
  • Poor ancient Pilot. She looks so decrepit.
  • One of the Grudeks: “There! He was falling! I swear an oath!” I love these guys.
  • This is the second episode that closes with something other than the Farscape theme.

The episode ends with Elack departing for the Interion archaeological site that Jool said she was going to in one of the last episode’s deleted scenes. There’s one for this episode with Braca talking about it, a neat couple minutes revealing… well. If you don’t watch it, you’ll find out soon enough.

This is as good a place as any to mention it: Next week’s episode needs a trigger warning.

Episode [3.22] – Dog With Two Bones || Episode [4.02] – What Was Lost Part I: Sacrifice

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  1. This was one of my favorite episodes of Farscape. *sigh* I miss that show.


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