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Farscape

1.07 - PK Tech Girl

By Dennis Matheson - aka tanstaafl

[Cast/Credits]  [Overview]  [Quotes]  [Summary]  [References]  [Questions]  [Commentary]

Cast and Credits:

Original US Air Date: April 16, 1999

Regular Cast:
Ben Browder...................John Crichton
Claudia Black.................Aeryn Sun
Virginia Hey..................Zotoh Zhaan
Anthony Simcoe................Ka D'Argo
Jonathan Hardy................Dominar Rygel XVI (Voice)
Lani Tupu.....................Pilot (Voice)

Guest Cast:
Alyssa-Jane Cook..............Gilina Renais
Derek Amer....................Teurac
Peter Astridge................Lomus
Peter Knowles.................Evran
David Wheeler.................Selto Durka

Writer........................Nathan Hagan
Director......................Tony Tilse

Overview:

Moya and her crew encounter a derelict Peacekeeper ship with a lone Peacekeeper technician on board and attempt to recover a key piece of technology from it. While Rygel confronts a demon from his past, John finds himself attracted to the technician and D'Argo attempts to save Moya when another, hostile ship shows up to claim the derelict for itself.

Quotes:

This ship is legendary, even in my culture. It was thought invincible. - Ka D'Argo
Yeah, well, just ask Leonardo diCaprio. Even the big ones go down. - John Crichton

Thank you for stopping her from killing me. - Gilina
Well, I try to save a life a day. Usually it's my own... - John Crichton

It seems Human and Sebacean men are much the same. - Gilina
Yeah? I'm not noticing any difference in their women either. - John Crichton

Summary:

Moya has encountered a derelict Peacekeeper vessel drifting in orbit. John thinks they should leave the area but D'Argo wants to get the data from its navigational computer to help them find their way home and Aeryn wants to search it for weaponry. She also wants to know what ship it is.

Rygel identifies it as the Zelbinion, the most feared ship in the Peacekeeper armada. It disappeared over 100 cycles ago. Zhaan determines that the Zelbinion is damaged but still contains air so Moya docks with it and Aeryn, D'Argo and John go aboard.

John is amazed that Aeryn had spent her entire life on ships similar to the Zelbinion and asks her about it. She tells him that when he talked about home, about forests, rivers and valleys, she was thinking of walls and corridors like this.
"Well, I'm sure it looks better with carpeting." is all John can think of to say.

Even D'Argo is impressed by the ship. He admits that the Zelbinion is legendary even in his own culture. It was thought to be invincible. They continue onward into the ship and John is startled when he finds a skeleton, the first of many they will encounter.

Back on Moya, Rygel is staring at the Zelbinion. Zhaan asks him what is wrong and he tells her that the Zelbinion was the first ship on which he was held and tortured after being removed from his throne.

Aeryn, D'Argo and John reach the command center of the Zelbinion. D'Argo is angered that everything has already been scavenged and there are no navigational records remaining. They are about to leave when John notices some lights on a console and Aeryn discovers that someone has restored power to communications. John looks around and sees someone hiding under a console. She attempts to flee but is blocked by D'Argo and Aeryn. She recognizes Aeryn and the others as the escaped prisoners and Aeryn recognizes her as a technician from Crais' ship.

Aeryn forces her to attention and starts interrogating her. She discovers that her name is Gilina Renais from maintenance and support but not much else. Aeryn is afraid that Gilina will lie to them or reveal their location to Crais but John gets her to back down and tries to talk to her on more friendly terms. Gilina reveals that Crais left her and her team here while he continued his search for Moya. Two days ago a ship attacked them and killed everyone else aboard as well as destroying the Marauder she arrived on.

D'Argo, who has been out searching, returns and announces that the attackers were Sheyang. He has found evidence of their attack. John speculates that they were the ones who destroyed the Zelbinion but D'Argo says they could not have done so. Gilina says all the data spools had been removed from the ship long before she arrived and that she does not know what happened. She says that she considers the Zelbinion a Sebacean cultural treasure and would tell Aeryn what happened if she knew, even if she does consider Aeryn a traitor.

Rygel is still staring at the Zelbinion and Zhaan suggests that he go aboard to face his demons.

Aeryn, D'Argo and John, with Gilina in tow, are moving back through the Zelbinion. Gilina thanks John for defending her against Aeryn and John tries to shrug it off. He is more interested in and impressed by the Zelbinion. He speculates to Aeryn and Gilina what they could accomplish if they used their knowledge for good.
Aeryn is incensed by the suggestion. "We are Peacekeepers. Other cultures hire us to keep order. To keep harmony."
She is interrupted by the arrival of Rygel, who adds "As well as assassinations, torture, kidnapping..."

Rygel suddenly sees Gilina and spits in her face. Both John and Gilina are shocked and John is angry, but Rygel tells him "I've barely got used to sharing my accommodation with one of these abominations. Dispel the thought of two."

Rygel leaves and continues through the Zelbinion. Suddenly, he sees a vision of Durka, the Peacekeeper who tortured him when he was first aboard. The vision frightens him and he drops his flashlight.

Aeryn, D'Argo, John and Gilina continue onward until they come across another body. Gilina recognizes it as someone from her unit, as does Aeryn. Aeryn wonders why her unit is guarding a technician and Gilina tells her that Aeryn's unit was demoted after her "defection" and that they can only be reinstated upon her death.

Zhaan reports from Moya that the Sheyang ship has returned. Both Aeryn and D'Argo immediately accuse Gilina of being in league with the Sheyang and suggest that she survived by allying with them. Gilina denies this and says instead that she just hid until they had filled their holds. She does admit that she knew they would be returning for the Zelbinion's defense shield. Aeryn insists that she lead them to it.

D'Argo returns to Moya and discovers that the Sheyang are powering up their weapons. He says that the Sheyang will attack if they sense weakness but will flee if they feel their opponent is superior. Unfortunately, Moya is completely unarmed and unable to defend herself.

Gilina is showing Aeryn and John the Defense Screen generator. Aeryn asks if she can make it operational and Gilina is trying to explain why it would be difficult to do so when John surprises both of them by understanding what she is trying to say and agreeing with her. She says it would take 8 arns to make operational.

The Sheyang have realized that they are facing an unarmed and defenseless Leviathan. Their captain, Teurac, orders his ship to attack.

D'Argo sees the Sheyangs preparing to attack and gets angry and frustrated at his inability to defend himself. He begins ranting in Luxan and Zhaan suddenly asks Pilot to transmit an image of D'Argo's rant to the Sheyang.

Teurac sees D'Argo and realizes that he is about to attack a Luxan. He calls off the attack.

Aeryn continues to interrogate Gilina. She asks if there are any weapons aboard the Zelbinion. Gilina tells her there is nothing left except the Defense Screen. It will protect them against a Sheyang attack, but it will take 8 arns to fix and they cannot bluff the Sheyang that long. John says they only need 4 arns and volunteers to help Gilina.

Zhaan wants D'Argo to continue to bluff the Sheyang but D'Argo considers it dishonorable to lie to an opponent in battle. Zhaan insists that he isn't lying, he is just misleading them.
D'Argo looks at her wryly. "For a priest, you certainly have a flexible morality."

John and Gilina are working on the Defense Screen and Gilina is suddenly a lot less certain that she can make it work. John asks why she told them she could and she replies that she didn't want to be killed for not trying.

John tells her that they aren't killers, and she accuses him of killing Crais' brother. John angrily tells her it was an accident when they are interrupted by Aeryn bringing some repair parts. Gilina tells her where to find some more parts she needs and she and John resume work on the Defense Screen.

D'Argo is talking to the Sheyang and telling them he will turn the Zelbinion over to them once his soldiers have left. Teurac does not believe him and adds that another of his crew, Lomus, wants to proceed with the attack. D'Argo continues bluffing and we see that he is being prompted by Zhaan. The Sheyang sign off and D'Argo expresses displeasure with the situation.

Over on the Zelbinion, John and Gilina are still working. They are getting along much better now and John is telling her about the bomb disarming scene from the movie Lethal Weapon II. He laughs but she doesn't seem to think of it as funny.

A fuse suddenly blows in a panel and showers Gilina with sparks, one of them getting in her eye. John rushes to help her and tries to look at her eye when she flinches and hits him in his eye. They both laugh then stop and look at each other.
"You know what happens in these movies?" says John "The guy and the girl always end up surviving... and liking each other."
Gilina smiles. "We have such fiction also."
John returns the smile. "It's a small universe."

On Moya, several DRDs have located Rygel hiding in an access duct. Rygel is still having visions of being tortured by Durka. Zhaan arrives and Rygel tells her that he feels that he was meant to die on the Zelbinion and that he has returned to do so. Zhaan tells him he must confront his demons and that he needs to go back to the Zelbinion to do so and be free.

Over on the Sheyang ship, Teurac and Lomus are in an argument over if they should attack Moya. Teurac suspects a trap and won't attack so Lomus knocks him out and assumes control of the ship. He orders the crew to prepare to attack.

On the Zelbinion, Aeryn, John and Gilina rush to connect the Defense Screen before the Sheyang attack. They make the last connection just as the Sheyang fire and the shot is deflected as the screen forms around the Zelbinion and Moya.

Teurac awakens on the Sheyang ship and berates Lomus. Apparently among the Sheyang taking over from the captain is accepted, but taking over and failing is not.

Rygel has returned to the Zelbinion. He has another vision from the time he was there. Durka has him in a cage and threatens him. Durka also rips some sort of medallion from Rygel's chest.

Pilot reports that the Defense Screen is incomplete; it has gaps in it. Gilina says that this is how the screen operates. It takes two screen units each generating a screen to guarantee full coverage. They only had time to get one screen connected before the Sheyang attack.

John realizes that the second screen could be removed and installed on Moya. Gilina says that she cannot give Peacekeeper technology to the enemy, then pauses and says that she will do it for John.

Teurac is still arguing with Lomus. Lomus says he will lead an attack and capture the Zelbinion.

John and Gilina are disconnecting the second defense screen and discussing cosmic theory. Gilina is intrigued by it and John got his doctorate in it. She asks him to help her by bracing a component while she pulls a second component from it. He does, but when the part she is pulling suddenly comes free and both of them fall back together.

John continues to hold her for a few seconds and she turns to face him.
"It seems Human and Sebacean men are much the same." she tells him.
John smiles in agreement. "Yeah? I'm not noticing differences in their women either."

Gilina leans forward and kisses John. He pulls her closer and returns the kiss, which is starting to get deeper when they are interrupted by the sudden arrival of Aeryn. She stares at them in shock for a second then, with a yell, she lifts a heavy container over her head and stalks from the room. "Sorry for interrupting." is all she says.

John runs after her. She is angry but says that what was happening was none of her business. John disagrees, she is his shipmate after all. He tries to explain, asking her if she had ever met anyone she just "clicked" with right away.

She is flustered for a moment but finally admits that she originally found John "interesting". John is surprised but she angrily assures him that it was "only for a moment". John comments that it is good for them to be on even terms but she picks up the container again and starts to walk off.
Feeling the need to say something, he calls after her. "Sometimes it's a good idea to clear the air."
Aeryn acknowledges this in an angry voice. "Very... clear... air..."

Rygel has continued searching the ship and finally finds the body of Durka, sitting behind his desk and with a gun in his hand. Rygel calls him a coward for killing himself, then finds the medallion that Durka took from him lying in a box. He retrieves the medallion and tells the body "You lose!" before spitting on it and leaving.

Lomus leads a wave of attack fighters from the Sheyang ship towards the Zelbinion. Most of them are stopped by the Defense Screen but Lomus' fighter gets through. D'Argo calls Aeryn and tells her that one Sheyang got though and she runs to intercept him.

Gilina has handed John two panels and told him to hold them apart. When she starts to disconnect the screen they will be attracted to each other and if they touch an explosion would destroy the room and everyone and everything in it. She breaks the connection and John struggles with the panels.

Aeryn intercepts Lomus but he spits a fireball at her. She dodges out of the way but he gets past her, spitting fireballs to block her path and forcing her to take the long way around. She cannot keep up with him and calls John and Gilina to warn them.

John cannot leave because of the two panels and so tells Gilina to leave. She refuses, wanting to stay with him. The Sheyang appears at the door to the room and starts spitting fire to burn through it, much to John's surprise since no one had told him that the Sheyang were capable of such a thing.

Lomus enters the room and threatens John and Gilina. John tries to tell him about the panels but Lomus won't listen and prepares to kill them. Aeryn suddenly drops in from the ceiling on a cable and shoots Lomus, causing him to explode. Without looking at John or Gilina, she simply strides off with the comment "Sorry about the mess."

Later, everyone is on Moya. D'Argo and Zhaan don't trust Gilina and don't want to leave her there. John tries to assure them that she will not reveal their presence to Crais but they are unconvinced until Aeryn suddenly comes to her defense. She reminds Gilina what happened to her and what will happen if Crais decides that she is "irreversibly contaminated".
"I hope you can only ever imagine how horrible it is to never return to the life that you love." she tells her. "You are smarter than that, Gilina."

The Sheyang ship detects a distress call from the Zelbinion to Crais' Command Carrier and learns that the carrier is on its way. They decide to leave. Teurac calls D'Argo and compliments him on being a clever opponent, then tells him that he always tries to kill his clever opponents. The Sheyang leave.

Aeryn and Gilina are walking to the connection to the Zelbinion. Aeryn warns her that Crais will ask her what happened and Gilina assures her again that she will lie.
"I wish I had been so smart." says Aeryn.
The two clasp hands then Aeryn walks off, leaving Gilina alone with John.

The two talk briefly. John cannot go with Gilina because Crais would kill him and Gilina cannot stay with John because being a fugitive is no way to live. They realize that they will never see each other again.
"Life sucks." says John.
Gilina tries to laugh. "It brought us together."
"OK" John says with forced humor. "It sucks a little less."
They share a final kiss then Gilina steps back aboard the Zelbinion. Moya separates and they leave.

John goes to Command and sees Aeryn standing there, staring out into space. She doesn't want to talk but he coaxes what is bothering her out of her.
"I hate being ambushed." she says.
"You got him in the end." he reminds her. "That's all that counts."
"I wasn't talking about the Sheyang." she says in a low voice.

Aeryn is feeling loss from being separated from the Peacekeepers and the only life she has ever known. She is angered because to her showing pain is a sign of weakness and John cannot understand how she can not be in pain after all that has happened to her.
"Don't pretend to understand me, John." she tells him angrily.

John looks out at space. "If I somehow, someday, get a chance to return to my world... walk around my old neighborhood, see my old house... my dad's truck, best friend's bike on the lawn... and then I get a chance to go inside, walk through the living room upstairs to my room... and then I think, what if everyone were dead? What if all my friends and family are lying there, dead. Now, what would it be like to go home then?"

Aeryn stares for a moment. "I stand corrected." She walks off, leaving John sitting alone, staring into space.

References:

Unanswered Questions:

What did happen to the Zelbinion?

If the Zelbinion is such a cultural treasure to the Sebaceans, why did Crais leave it with only a single Marauder and a handful of guards to defend it? Is he that obsessed with getting Crichton?

When D'Argo became frustrated and started yelling in Luxan, why didn't the translator microbes translate what he was saying? Do they break down in the face of strong emotion or was he just ranting incoherently at that point?

Commentary:

This is an all around excellent episode. There is so much going on here that it is hard to know where to start.

First, there are three separate plot threads going on here. There is the John/Gilina/Aeryn relationship, the Sheyang threat and Rygel's confronting his personal demons. Oh yeah, there's a Defense Screen in there somewhere too.

We find out more about Aeryn in this episode. She misses her life as a Peacekeeper. Indeed, it is the only life she has ever known. Gilina reminds her of that old life and she pushes Gilina to not make the same "mistake" she did.

It was her defending John which caused her to be thrown out of the Peacekeepers. Apparently, she defended him because she found him "interesting".

It is obvious that Aeryn has more feelings for John than she has been letting on. Her reaction on seeing John and Gilina together makes that obvious, as was the "interesting" comment. Also, when she is talking about being "ambushed", she mentions that she was not talking about the Sheyang. Obviously, this was also referring to John and Gilina.

It should not be surprising that Aeryn is attracted to John. As was stated in this episode, there don't seem to be many differences between Humans and Sebaceans. It is easy for her to see John as being like her, especially considering the rest of the crew on Moya. Everyone else on board was a former prisoner of the Peacekeepers and so have a compelling reason not to be too friendly towards her. There is also the point that she is now an outcast from Sebacean culture. John may be the only person she has to relate to right now.

John shows that he can also relate to how Aeryn feels. He too is having to face the possibility that he may never see home again. It appears, as Aeryn felt some attraction to him, that he also feels some attraction to her. His comment about them being on "even footing" implies that.

When Aeryn mentions being ambushed he mentions that "she got him in the end" and she responds that she wasn't talking about the Sheyang. Somehow, I'm not sure John was either.

John and Gilina hook up pretty rapidly in this episode but that is actually not too surprising either. John has felt like an outsider all along, someone out of place, and suddenly he meets someone he can relate to. He is able to contribute on an equal basis with her in repairing the Defense Screen and even finds that she shares an interest in the same scientific fields he does. He is a scientist with two warriors, a priest and a politician as companions. She is a technician and engineer, someone he can more closely relate too.

As for Gilina, John defended her multiple times and supported her efforts. She obviously cannot relate to the others on Moya. John is the only one she can turn to and, in a crisis, we all need someone to turn to. Their goodbye was especially poignant but, realistically, the only way it could have ended.

We find out more about Rygel's past in this episode too. He was apparently a prisoner for over 100 cycles which explains his hatred of the Peacekeepers. It was good to see him develop a bit more.

Zhaan doesn't have too much to do in this episode. She helps D'Argo bluff the Sheyang and encourages Rygel and that's about it.

D'Argo also has a limited role. He spends some time on the Zelbinion but mostly gets to be a threat to the Sheyang. It is interesting that the reputation of a Luxan warrior is such that the Sheyang will abandon their attack on an obviously unarmed target simply because they know a Luxan is there.

This episode works on many levels. There is the overall mystery of what happened to the Zelbinion (which is never resolved, I should note), the action of the confrontation with the Sheyang, the romance between John and Gilina (and Aeryn) and the character development for Aeryn and Rygel. Quite a full episode and one of the best of the first season. If you are trying to get new viewers interested in Farscape, or if you are one yourself, I cannot recommend this episode highly enough.

Dennis Matheson - tanstaafl@earthlink.net
Farscape and all related characters and elements are © & ™ The Jim Henson Co. Ltd. All rights reserved.

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