Deconstructing Moya

A Farscape Re-watch Project

Episode [4.05] – “Promises”

Today, on Farscape

“Kyptonite? Silver bullet? Buffy? What’s it going to take to keep you in the grave?”

Upon returning to Moya, Crichton and company are immediately greeted by Aeryn. Unfortunately, she’s extremely ill, getting worse, and is being hunted across the Unknown Regions. What’s worse is that she’s not alone…


Oh my god. I just… oh my god. Scorpius is on Moya. And from the looks of things its at least going to be a thing that lasts for a bit, considering the circumstances. Squee!

So, yes. He’s still alive, somehow having survived being shot in the back and buried. We don’t know any of the details about how the frell he managed that, save for the cryptic explanation that he “planned ahead”. What we do know is that it wasn’t Sikozu that helped him out, and that he’s got a spy still loyal to him aboard the Command Carrier (which is probably where he got his help escaping from). Knowing how Grayza’s mind-control boobs work, it’s almost definitely not Braca. I kind of wonder if it might be Stappa, assuming he survived the ordeal from the end of the third season, since he’s proven to be a downright decent guy (I would like to see him show up again, because I really liked the little guy, so I kind of hope it is). The only other character on board the carrier that we’ve met before who we don’t know for certain to be totally loyal to Grayza is Larell, who could be another possibility (she’s played the spy role before now, at least), but it’s also possible (and perhaps more probable) that it’s someone we haven’t met yet.

Parentheses are cool (as I’ve no doubt demonstrated).

It’s extremely interesting that he is now the second Peacekeeper antagonist to swap sides and come to Moya for asylum after losing control of the force in charge of hunting down our heroes. While the details certainly differ, there are a lot of parallels that can be drawn between Crais’ turn and Scorpius’, not the least of which is Aeryn coming around to including them both as allies while John still trusts them about as far as Rygel can throw them.

There is some awesome acting on all sides in this one, but John and Aeryn both absolutely shine in this. Claudia Black is now the third actor on the show to get to play Scorpius, and its absolutely chilling to see her take on those mannerisms. The makeup team does an awesome job giving her that look, and it is creepy as hell to see her done up like that. That scene, where Aeryn is Scorpius-ified in Crichton’s mind trying to convince him to let her die while the real Aeryn lies on the other end of the room wasting away, is downright disturbing. I’m not entirely certain if that was intended to be Harvey manifesting himself that way in order to try to “help” John reach that conclusion, or if it was just Crichton’s imagination and frazzled brain doing that on its own.

On the acting note, there’s fantastic face acting on Ben Browder’s end in John’s scenes with Scorpius. You can see the hatred, the anger, the confusion, the fear… all of those incredibly mixed emotions fighting for dominance on his face as he faces Scorpius down.

Oh, Harvey. We’d seen Harvey give up the ghost once already last season, but the one in this John’s head held out for so long. The relationship between this John and Harvey had been so different that it almost seemed like he wouldn’t ever go, but given the opportunity to ditch him completely, John ultimately caves and takes it (although he seems to struggle considerably with the decision to “pull the trigger”, as it were). Looking back, Harvey probably had a feeling Scorpius had the means to get rid of him completely, and that may have been why he was pushing John so hard to kill him and distrust everything he was saying, to the point that he even makes an attempt to take direct control of John, which doesn’t go very well.

In the end, though, when everything is looking bleak for him, he accepts it. The other Harvey, faced with the same situation, fought desperately to try to take John with him, but this Harvey just calmly and quietly sits down and says his goodbye. It really does show just how much he changed and developed on his own the longer he and John were together. I have to admit, his farewell scene was actually a little sad to watch. I’ll miss him. Then again, we have the real Scorpius around now as an ally, at least temporarily, but Harvey was pretty quickly gaining his own quirky personality and sense of humor that made him an entirely different character.

Chiana puts a voice to what was apparent in everyone’s reactions to returning to Moya. She’s at least as much a home to them all (Sikozu and Noranti excluded, of course) as their actual homes. Pilot’s very happy to see them back, but he and Moya have decided they’d much rather take directions from a single source this time around instead of every crew member bossing them around. Moya is about to get a captain. It’s just up to the crew to actually choose which one of them it will be.

Whoo boy, this will be fun to watch.


Each season can be viewed as a cohesive storyline, and often can be summed up with a catchy tagline. Season One, for example, could be referred to as Through the Rabbit Hole – as “down” would imply three-dimensional movement in five-dimensional space, and ain’t nobody can explain a proper tesseract like Miss Which.


This season has a couple different titles we could use. “The Love Song of Crichton and Sun” is certainly up there (even though I keep asking Noel if I can use “You’re Scarran The Common Folk Again”). It’s certainly one of the most painful stories in the series, but it gives some of the most satisfaction to us shippers out there.

Aeryn left. She left, because she fell in love with Crichton and he was taken away from her, and by the way here’s a fresh new one who still loves you but he’s not the one that died and she can’t frelling deal with that, what kind of sane person can actually deal with that, but guess what, her love affair left her with a little toy surprise. It’s a lot to deal with, and it’s no wonder that she pushed herself into mercenary work as a distraction. It’s something that she made the choice to do a while ago, and that way she can still feel like a Peacekeeper while doing some actual good in the galaxy.

Then she gets sick. And Crichton’s back, chasing after her like he always did, and not caring about anything that she might have done because Aeryn is back and she might die. Tessa covered Ben Browder’s face acting wonderfully; you can see how tormented he is by everything with Scorpius just as much as you can see how torn he is about Aeryn.

Damn. I’m actually having trouble quantifying my thoughts on this, and it’s partially because of how solid and powerful this season is shaping up to be. I keep mentioning that this season is pretty much new to me, and it’s hitting me pretty hard in all the right ways. My heart is being pulled by Crichton and Aeryn’s plight, Scorpius’s subtle menace and his burgeoning friendship with the completely awesome Sikozu, and not even Nana Peepers’s antics can distract me from all the awesome.

It just goes to show how completely wonderful this show continues to be, if I can be affected so much and not be able to wax eloquently about it like I pretend I can try to do. These are rich, deep, multi-faceted, intriguing, and altogether real characters, and I care about them. I hurt when they hurt. I smile when they’re happy. They are a part of my life because they were able to work their way into my heart.

But I absolutely love her when she smiles.

Let’s go to the notes before I lose all capacity for coherent thought.

  • Scorpius is an intelligent, opportunistic, ruthless individual. Sikozu is an intelligent, opportunistic, ruthless indiv – HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.
  • I love love love that 1812 gets to play with the other DRDs. I think my fiancée is starting to affect me, but these little adorable touches completely delight me.
  • Did you miss Pilot? Because I frelling missed Pilot.
  • I’m actually thinking about the mechanics of a biological agent that triggers and pushes Heat Delirium, and it makes absolute sense to me. Hear me out: Sebaceans don’t regulate internal temperature well, due to a lack of mechanics to handle body heat. They have a nerve cluster that does the job of kidneys, a liver, and an appendix, for crying out loud. They’re not built with redundant failsafes like humans are, and a single issue can throw them out of balance. Taking the Krogan/Quarian scale of biological advantages into account, it’s amazing that Scorpius is the only Peacekeeper we’ve seen to make use of an environment suit. A disease that specifically attacks heat regulation? It doesn’t even need to be all that virulent to be effective.
  • Seriously. You just sneeze at a Sebacean and they’ll keel over. No wonder they like guns so much, it keeps everything at arm’s length.
  • (Suddenly, “irreversibly contaminated” doesn’t sound all that unreasonable.)
  • Poor Harvey is dead. Poor Harvey the Brain Chip is dead. He was looking oh so peaceful and serene.


No. No! I totally forgot they got rid of M’John’s Harvey! Dammit! Just when the two of them had finally gotten used to one another and Harvey abandoned all interest in conquering John’s mind as he kicked back and became a comical sidekick who occasionally chimes in with genuinely helpful words of wisdom while otherwise soaking in the hottub of John’s memories, the experiences of a man who, before landing on Moya, got to have a life of love, success, and experience that a halfbreed locked in a suit and fighting day-by-day to protect his existence never had the opportunity to know. Harvey no longer has to worry about the aspirations or conflicts of Scorpius, never again has to fear for his own survival given the stubborn resourcefulness of his host. All the responsibilities are off his shoulder so he became a glimpse of the side Scorpius will never admit is buried deep within. He’s curious. He’s fascinated. He can experience the memory of a woman’s caress, the love of a dear father, a society where people aren’t gunning each other down for insubordination, and 20some years of memories of tv shows, movies, and nights with the pals.

While confined, Harvey got to have a life. A life he never expected. A life he probably had no interest in at first. And when the chips ultimately come down, instead of fighting with John and ruining what they had, he’d rather just die in a technique and suit from the pop culture ball pit he’d been playing in these last few years. I genuinely am surprised John went through with it and took Harvey out. I understand the hell Harvey put him through at first and the fact that the being is an intruder into the private recesses of John’s brain, but there has been a change over the last few years, a shift in their relationship that has resulted in Harvey giving his assistance to John on more than a few occasions. And having a Scorpius in the brain is never a bad thing to have when trying to deal with a Scorpius in real life.

Granted, it could have been a ruse all along, with Harvey merely softening his image to lull John into a false sense of comfort that would give the human second thoughts before pulling the trigger on the real Scorpius should they ever meet again. If that’s the case, well played and good riddance.

I love Braca in command. At first, he’s extremely capable, working with his underlings and gaining their trust as he maps out an effective course of action that keeps everyone motivated and pleased. Unfortunately, while it’s a good way to lead, it’s not the Peacekeeper way, and Grayza takes him to task. Then he’s all reprimands and butting heads as he himself ends up having to fly his prototype missile out to he can show everyone who’s really boss… only to completely frell up and pass the blame down the chain of command until some poor technician ends up in the Aurora chair. I don’t think this is going to work out.

And speaking of Peacekeepers, Scorpius has an as-yet unrevealed spy on board the Command Carrier who feeds him real time information through unknown means. And speaking of Scorpius, he’s using his magical charisma to woo Sikozu over to his side, recognizing her talent, her ruthlesness, and her ostracization from the others, and using it to his advantage. While everyone else on board Moya – including Crais, during his time – fell into a family, a team, Scorpius will always be the Commander, using his strategy and manipulation to constantly rise a few steps above everyone else. It’s not just about survival for him, it’s about the ultimate goal, and he still hasn’t let go of his obsession with John’s wormholes and the notion of using them against the Scarrans. I doubt he’ll ever be able to fully trust someone the way Harvey (maybe) did.

Some thoughts:

  • I love that Aeryn’s finally back, love her in the Scorpius suit, love her as Scorpius in the fantasy, love that her pregnancy is even furthering her discomfort with M’John, but I really hate the way they’ve prettied her up. Aeryn Sun shouldn’t have designer hair, eye-liner, lip gloss, and whatever that golden eyeshadow is that they put on her. I’m not saying Claudia Black looks unattractive in makeup, it just so doesn’t fit the character.
  • Love the design of Ullom and the idea that his massive “I CAN HAZ FRELL YOU UP NASTILY” spaceship is really just a hologram he uses to threaten people. I also like the assassination plot with Aeryn, though they ultimately over justified it in the end by making her target an evil dictator instead of playing up the more believable route that she truly did just become a hired gun. If she had that must justification, then her reluctance to tell John makes no sense.
  • Rygel. Sweet Rygel. Taunting Scorpius by “dropping” one cooling rod after another. Saving Aeryn from her suicide attempt with a quick hoverchair to the back of her head.
  • How exactly does one plan ahead for being shot point blank in the back? Knowing Scorpius, he’s probably moved some organs around.
  • The last episode was filler, but I suddenly see why it was a smart idea. We needed an ep to prominently feature Noranti because she sure as hell doesn’t get much screen time here.
  • Awwwww, Pilot misses Jool.


Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to pay our final respects and to say farewell to our dear friend, Harvey. A shmuck. Conspiratorial, manipulative, he played Crichton against Scorpius, his real self, just to save his own incorporeal hide. An annoying voice in Crichton’s head when he wasn’t flat out taking over. The frellnik who killed Aeryn. An imperfect copy who went native, donned Hawaiian shirts, and loved margarita shooters with pizza.

He will be missed.

Luckily, we now have Scorpius around to take his place. He won’t be making the same wisecracks or references to bikini girls, but this is the actual Scorpius being magnificent and slightly evil. It’s interesting how he’s changed over the series. His goals haven’t changed, his methods still dirty and occasionally brutal, but his resources have diminished to the point that he’s now moving to protect Crichton rather than to capture him. He’s relying on Crichton’s desire to do the right thing when the Scarrans throw down the gauntlet. Until that happens, his objective is to keep Crichton alive and intact.

Amongst other things.

We’ve seen what the prison cells on Moya look like. Scorpy’s “quarters” are definitely not that. It’s more like a cramped torture chamber. Smaller door, bars all around instead of walls, remote location. Thematically, it fits him to a T.

Musically, I love this episode. The high, angelic music when Moya first comes into view. The same music when Aeryn appears in the maintenance bay. The dark turn when she collapses into Crichton’s arms. The dramatic rise when Scorpius enters stage left. The perfect transition into the opening credits when Aeryn declares that he wants asylum.

Aeryn. Man. She got into some kind of trouble while she ran off to join a group of assassins, but she won’t talk about it. Even after a vengeful alien shows up claiming that she killed a guy, she won’t talk. She even plays the “if you love me, you won’t ask” card. She goes so far as to attempt suicide rather than tell anyone what happened.

In light of her pregnancy, that has some extra implications. Aeryn is willing to sacrifice both herself and her child to prevent this story from getting out. Crichton steps lightly around that, emphasizing the value of Aeryn’s life and giving her every chance to tell him about it, until the very end of the episode. Then he throws it in her face and walks off. The look on her face when she realizes that he’s known throughout her illness and attempted suicide is painful.

Crichton hallucinates Aeryn repeatedly. Scorpius discovering her Prowler, licking her face while she’s unconscious, interrogating her before inserting a neural chip. Aeryn with a coolant system in her skull, with a full-on Scorpius persona. He’s being driven to distraction by thoughts of her, something he can ill afford when he needs to be on top of his game.

Noranti only has two scenes, but she’s completely herself in both of them. The latter, notably, Aeryn thumps her in the face before she can use one of her notorious powders.

Scorpius appears to have a Codec. He doesn’t drop to one knee and hold a finger to his ear, but it does let him receive messages from his spy on the Command Carrier silently.

The energy shield from the previous episode comes back to save Aeryn when she provokes Ullom. That thing should be integrated into all potential future plans. Especially the ones that don’t specifically involve shooting, because they inevitably result in unanticipated shooting.

Sikozu figures out in less than two arns that Pilot isn’t Moya’s first… pilot. She’s too smart.


Harvey’s final words: “Without hesitation.”

Episode [4.04] – Lava’s a Many Splendored Thing || Episode [4.06] – Natural Election

One ResponseLeave one →

  1. CharmedPeacekeeper

     /  December 2, 2011

    Anyone remember “The Way We Weren’t” from Season Two, when Chiana made the comment about “Second-String Pilots?” I love that Chiana has developed from that comment to telling Sikozu that the person to run Moya “is not you.”

    Totally with Noel on Aeryn’s “transformation.” I get that it’s supposed to reflect her leaving her Peacekeeper ways behind and letting love be her driving force, but she’s always been the structured one, the military logic to balance Crichton’s heart. Crichton fell for her as-is. She doesn’t need to change for him. It’s great that she’s grown, that she’s come so far, but really… Don’t remove all traces of personality from my favorite badass in the entire universe. She can develop without abandoning who she is.

    Sorry. -climbs off of soapbox-

    Well done, as usual, guys. Thanks for a great review!


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