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Farscape

1.06 - Thank God It's Friday. Again.

By Dennis Matheson - aka tanstaafl

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

Cast and Credits:

Original US Air Date: April 23, 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:
Angie Milliken................Volmae
Ken Blackburn.................Hybin
Tina Thomsen..................Tanga
Selina Muller.................D'Argo's Girlfriend
Mark Slocum...................Sykaran Male #1
Peter Baroch..................Sykaran Male #3

Writer........................David Wilks
Director......................Rowan Woods

Overview:

D'Argo flies into a rage and leaves Moya. The rest of the crew follow him to a farming planet where he announces that he plans to stay. When Zhaan decides to join him, the rest of the crew must find out what is happening or leave their companions behind forever.

Quotes:

My boy D'Argo, into the Promised Land... - John Crichton
Yes. And he's left his brain behind. - Aeryn Sun

Nobody knows you here. It's only the people who know you who want to kill you. - Aeryn Sun

Oh, she thinks she's a scientist now. False superiority. - Rygel
I am not a scientist. I am, however, what I have always been. And that is superior. - Aeryn Sun

Summary:

D'Argo is screaming for John and saying he will kill him if he finds him. We see John hiding behind a grille.

A few days later, John and the rest of the crew are in Command. D'Argo left the ship in Aeryn's Prowler three days previously but it took the rest of them that long to find where John was hiding.

The others tell John that D'Argo was in a Luxan Hyper Rage and was after him because he was another male and D'Argo saw him as a potential rival. They hope that his rage has subsided by now.

Everyone descends to the planet in a transport pod and finds themselves in a small town. The residents are all wearing similar red clothing and resemble Sebaceans, though Aeryn says they are only a cousin species. It is warm, even at night, but safe enough for Aeryn, though she will have to leave before morning.

They enter a bar and spot D'Argo, who also sees them. D'Argo runs at John, who tries to escape, but D'Argo simply grabs him in a hug and says he is happy to see him. He invites all of them to join him at the bar for a drink.

D'Argo says that he is now a simple laborer and is content. Aeryn ridicules him, telling him he is a warrior, but D'Argo says that he was a prisoner and fugitive for far longer than he was a warrior. At any rate, here he is content. A female native approaches him and the two of them leave together.

The rest of the crew are approached by a pale skinned woman named Volmae. She welcomes them to the planet Sykar and tells them she is the leader here. D'Argo has told her much about them and invites them to stay as long as they like. Aeryn says she doesn't trust her.

They leave. Rygel says he is feeling ill and leaves on his thronesled. Aeryn runs to catch up with D'Argo and he tells her he will show them the planet the next day, since it is a rest day. He then leaves with the woman from the bar.

John is suddenly grabbed by a woman who shoves him against the wall, tells him he must stay no matter what, then leaves.

Aeryn returns and tells John that D'Argo won't leave and suggests leaving without him. John starts to tell her about the woman who grabbed him when there is a sudden explosion. They rush over and find Rygel hovering over a crater. He had stopped to relieve himself when the explosion occurred beneath him. He is in a panic that someone is trying to kill him.

Since daytime will be too warm for Aeryn to stand, she agrees to take Rygel back to the ship. John and Zhaan will stay to attempt to talk to D'Argo. Aeryn tells them she will return for them the next evening.

John and Zhaan are able to locate where D'Argo is staying. He is happy to see them and offers them a mattress on the floor to sleep on. He continues to insist that he is happy here. John and Zhaan try to talk to him but he tells them they will have to wait until the morning. He goes to the back room where the woman from the bar is waiting on him.
"I suppose we will have to wait." observes Zhaan.
"Oh, yeah." nods John in agreement.

Up on Moya, Aeryn and several DRDs rush towards an explosion. The blast turns out to have come from Rygel's quarters and, as she enters, Aeryn orders Rygel to hold still and collects some of his sweat on the end of her pulse rifle. She flings the sweat to the floor where it explodes.

Back on the planet, John is uncomfortably sleeping with Zhaan on the small mattress when Aeryn calls on his comm and says they have a "situation" on Moya. John replies that they also have a "situation" on the planet and hers can't be any more interesting than his.
"Remember Rygel's 'assassination attempt'?" she tells him. "He caused it himself. His body fluids have turned explosive."
John pauses to consider this. "I stand corrected." he tells her.

John tells Aeryn to run tests on Rygel to find out what has happened. She is uncertain but he tells her to get Pilot's help. He will attempt to find out what he can from the planet.

The next morning arrives and speakers activate telling everyone to be productive and work hard. D'Argo and his girlfriend exit the back room and announce they are going to the fields. John says he thought this was a rest day but D'Argo tells him that, no, the rest day is tomorrow and there will be a celebration tonight. They leave.

John and Zhaan follow D'Argo to the fields where all of the Sykarians are working harvesting a large, turnip-like plant. Speakers located everywhere continue to give out encouraging and motivational messages. A rail line runs through the field and the workers are loading the plants into the train.

Zhaan goes to talk to D'Argo but John sees the woman who grabbed him the night before enter the train and goes to talk to her. When he enters, he is grabbed by several men who drop a large, grub-like worm onto him. As John watches in horror, the worm burrows into his stomach. The leader of the men tells him that eating will cause the pain of the worm to go away but that if he tells anyone about the worm he will be killed. The train starts to move and they leave as John collapses on the floor in pain.

Outside, Zhaan is speaking with D'Argo who is digging up one of the plants. She asks him if this is really the way he wants to spend his life and he says it is. She starts helping him dig up the plant and suddenly comments how satisfying it is. The two of them start working together to dig up the plants.

Back on Moya, Aeryn has placed Rygel into cryostasis. She touches his frozen mustache causing part of it to break off, leading Pilot to "...strongly suggest you don't touch any of his other protuberances."

Pilot tells Aeryn to start setting Rygel up for testing. She doesn't want to but Pilot says the scanners are not connected to Moya so he can't control them. He needs her help.

John is on the mattress in D'Argo's quarters in obvious pain when D'Argo and Zhaan enter. He starts to explain what has happened to him when he realizes that Zhaan is now as determined to stay on the planet as D'Argo is. Both of them are now happy and content. He decides to not tell them about the worm. D'Argo produces clothing similar to what the others are wearing. He says there will be a celebration that evening, since tomorrow is a rest day.

John enters the bar and is looking around when the woman he has encountered before comes up and puts a knife against his back. She leads him to the bar where the man who put the worm in him is standing.

The man introduces himself as Hybin and the woman as his daughter Tanga. He tells John that everyone on the planet acts the way they do because of the food they eat; the Tannot Root they are growing in the fields. The worm in John is keeping the Tannot Root from affecting him. They are naturally immune, as are a few others. They need John's help, but before they can tell him what they need they suddenly leave. Before they do, they tell him again that if anyone finds out about the worm he will be killed.

The reason for their leaving is soon revealed as Volmae arrives. She is very happy to see John, especially since he is wearing workers clothing. John pretends to be happy and content like the others and makes a point of eating some of the food she offers him.

She asks where Aeryn and Rygel were and John tells her they are on the ship but will be returning soon. She also asks about their ship and wants to know if it is a cargo vessel. John tells her it is and she leaves, telling him to enjoy himself since tomorrow is a rest day.

On Moya, Aeryn is running tests on Rygel but is getting very frustrated at how little progress she is making. Pilot tries to encourage her but she tells him that it is easier for him than her. He disagrees with her, telling her that he really is not very good at science and only understands a fraction of what is in Moya's data banks. He also says that none of the others on the ship know this.

Aeryn asks why he told her and he says that he thinks he can trust her. Her resolve strengthened, Aeryn resumes the tests on Rygel.

The next morning, on the planet, John is walking towards the fields with the other Sykarians. The speakers are repeating their messages of motivation.

Aeryn and Pilot are reviewing the results they have gotten and decide that they have the answer. Aeryn tries to compliment Pilot on his work but he insists that the credit is hers. Aeryn sits stunned for a moment when she realizes that she solved the problem.

Aeryn calls John and tells him what she has found. Something in Rygel’s body chemistry caused the food he ate on the planet to be metabolized into an explosive. She is filtering the explosive out of his system and will dispose of it.

She asks about D'Argo and John tells her he still wants to stay. Aeryn wants to leave without him but John says things are more complicated than that. She starts to question him further but he sees Tanga approaching and cuts her off.

John enters the train car and grabs Tanga. He insists that she tell him what is going on.

Tanga tells him that the Tannot Root is killing their planet. The root was brought here by a group she only calls "the Others". The Others planted the root and put Volmae in charge of them. She is not immune to the root but has a worm in her like John. Those who are not immune are enslaved by the root and are slowly dying. They want John to use his ship to get help and weapons for them so they can fight.

Someone arrives and tells Tanga that her father is dying. She and John rush to the field and find Hybin collapsed. She tells him to go on working or they will discover he is immune and kill him but he says he no longer cares to live. Fortunately, the speakers announce the end of the work day before anyone notices them.

Later, in the bar, Volmae approaches John and asks him to come with her. She leads him to a large warehouse which is stacked with crates of Tannot Root. She asks if his ship can carry what is there but John says that they could not carry all of it. Volmae picks up one of the roots and speculates on what "they" need it for. But, she says that if it is of value to "them" then it should also be valuable to others. She asks John to bring the others down from the ship so they can start loading.

As they turn to leave, John recognizes the Peacekeeper logos on the walls.

Aeryn and Rygel are on their way back to the planet. John has asked them to come down but they are still not sure what is going on.

John is waiting for Aeryn. She wants to know what is going on but John will not tell her. She wants to simply grab D'Argo and Zhaan and leave but John says it is more complicated than that. She is angry with him but finally John convinces her to do things his way.

Back in the bar, John is sitting around when Volmae returns. She wants John to bring the others down from the ship and is surprised when she learns they are already around. She gets angry and gets even more angry when John contacts Aeryn and she kills the music in the bar and the speakers outside. John then leads Volmae and the others out into the street.

Volmae is angry, as are D'Argo and Zhaan. D'Argo approaches John in a threatening manner but John yells for Rygel, who is standing on a building behind them. Rygel grunts then urinates in front of the crowd, causing a line of explosions. The crowd backs off.

John then tells the crowd that the explosions were caused by the Tannot Root. Aeryn tells them that the Peacekeepers, who planted the Tannot Root in the first place, process it to produce Chakan Oil, which is what the Peacekeepers use to power their weapons.

John tells them that the Peacekeepers will use up their planet then kill them when they are done. Volmae does not believe him at first but D'Argo says that what John is telling them is true. Aeryn offers to show them how to make Chakan Oil themselves so they can defend themselves.

Volmae is still not sure but Hybin and Tanga approach and tell her that their people used to make weapons and so can do so again. They offer to help her start to rebuild their planet tomorrow but she tells them no, not tomorrow, because that will be a real rest day.

Back on Moya Aeryn has managed to remove the worm from John's stomach. Rygel says she is acting superior now and thinks she is a scientist. Aeryn admits that it did feel good to solve a problem with her mind for once. John tells her "Doesn't have to be just once, Aeryn." and goes to leave when she stops him. She suggests he wait for D'Argo to come talk to him first.

D'Argo and Zhaan are talking about their experience. D'Argo says he was happy. He also says he would have approached Zhaan at the next celebration and she says she would have accepted. They continue to talk.
"When I was a boy," D'Argo tells her "I dreamed of two very different lives."
Zhaan is surprised. "Only two? I wanted hundreds."
D'Argo nods. "Two were enough. I would be a magnificent warrior. Merciless in battle... fearless... The kind they write shintok sonnets about."
"That is a healthy dream." she tells him.
"I also wanted a simple life..." he continues. "Family... children... a frotash garden that I planted with my own hands... I thought I'd found that." He sighs and looks downcast.
Zhaan is sympathetic. "Those kinds of dreams cannot be found, brave Luxan." she tells him. "You have to build them and, I promise you, your hands are still strong and there is plenty of time."

References:

Aeryn and Pilot first discuss how well they work together in Exodus from Genesis. Pilot also mentions trusting Aeryn in that episode and that is where we first learn of Aeryn's sensitivity to heat.

Unanswered Questions:

What causes Luxan Hyper Rage?

This Tannot Root is amazing stuff. It's food, a power source and a brainwashing chemical, all in one. Is it naturally occurring or a genetically engineered plant produced by the Peacekeepers? And, the worm. Is it from the same source?

Was the cause of the Sykarians brainwashing the Tannot Root or the loudspeakers? The implication was the root but everyone came around to John's side pretty quickly after the speakers cut off.

Exactly what was the Tannot Root doing to kill the planet? Hybin and Tanga mention this several times. Did they mean literally in an environmental sense or figuratively in the sense that growing it was destroying their society?

Do the Sykarians really have a chance against the Peacekeepers when they return?

Why do the Peacekeepers have a planet producing Tannot Root all the way out here in the Uncharted Territories? Aren't the Uncharted Territories supposed to be beyond their sphere of influence?

Was Volmae a Sykarian? She looked quite different from the rest of them.

Commentary:

Thank God It's Friday. Again. is a distinctly middle of the road episode. There were some good bits here but somehow they never quite add up the way they should.

There is a genuine mystery here at first as to what has happened to D'Argo and why the Sykarians are behaving the way they are. The identical clothing and the 1984ish loudspeakers are a nice touch as is the rest day tomorrow which never arrives. Unfortunately, the answer when it arrives seems a bit contrived and rushed.

The whole Tannot Root plot is a bit odd. It's a universal foodstuff. (Apparently it is all the Sykarians eat, since it is all they grow.) It's a brainwashing drug. It can be processed to produce a power source. It's a floor wax! It's a dessert topping! OK, maybe not those last two but there are a few too many plot gimmicks hanging on this one thing.

Also, if this stuff is so important to the Peacekeepers, why don't they have any guards here. Are they that confident that the Sykarians are under control? If so, they were wrong; Hybin, Tanga and their colleagues are immune and they got that worm from somewhere.

Plus, it was pretty easy to get the Sykarians to change sides at the end. A brief demonstration by Rygel and a short speech by John and they're ready to do battle with the Peacekeepers when they show up again. It just seemed as if things were a bit rushed at the end. The episode could have used a bit more explanation of these things.

For that matter, how did John get Aeryn over to his side? She still thinks of herself as a Peacekeeper and has had problems with her feelings towards them before. She seemed pretty quick to cut off their supply of Chakan Oil and to show the Sykarians how to use it against the Peacekeepers. I wonder what John said to her. Of course, we don't see that.

All right, let's talk about Rygel's demonstration. Exploding urine. Ha ha. Apparently the writers saw this as a chance for humor but it was a bit of low humor. Farscape tends to have a bit higher standards than that so it was a little annoying to see it. Maybe you can say that they needed to do it that way to show how dangerous the Tannot Root was but I don't think so. On the other hand, they do tend to use Rygel as a source of body function humor so it may be in character.

And, speaking of annoying things, what was with Volmae's speech pattern. She talks... so... slow...ly... with... lots... of... pau...ses. It took her two minutes of screen time to get two lines of dialog in. Maybe they did this so she would be more "alien" but given that I think the episode needed more exposition in a few places I don't think it was a good choice to slow things down as much as they did.

There were some truly nice parts in the episode too. The scenes with Aeryn playing scientist were good, especially when she realizes that she has solved the problem on her own. We also get some nice interaction between her and Pilot. The scenes with John and Zhaan sharing a very small mattress were funny and the tag scene with D'Argo and Zhaan was quite good. As I said earlier, the basic idea was good as well. But, things just never quite came together. Overall, I rate it a so-so episode. Not bad, but nothing really outstanding either.

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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