Farscape episode
“Durka Returns”
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 15
Guest star(s) Gigi Edgley (Chiana); Tiriel Mora (Salis); David Wheeler (Selto Durka)
Writer(s) Grant McAloon
Director Tony Tilse
Production no. 10115
Original airdate August 13, 1999 (US); March 27, 2000 (UK)
Episode chronology
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"Jeremiah Crichton" "A Human Reaction"

Shockingly (or not), Durka does indeed return, and brings some uninvited guests...


Moya's pregnancy has weakened her ability to starburst, so it's a bit of a turbulent ride. When they exit, a ship is headed towards them and they collide, because Moya's sensors are dimmed also. Pilot brings the ship aboard, and the crew go to greet them. A man steps out, and Zhaan runs in saying that they detected a massive energy weapon on board, The man says it's powered right down, evidence of their peaceful intentions. There are two others on the ship, also unarmed. Rygel hovers in and when he hears the man's voice he looks horrified, and says he saw his corpse, and spits on him! He says it's him: his former torturer, Durka! Aeryn Sun says that it can't be, since Durka died over one hundred cycles ago. The man says no, Rygel's right, he is Durka...

Rygel goes to attack again, but John Crichton restrains him. Aeryn asks why he's not dead of old age, when another passenger steps out and says they saved him. He is Salis, of the Nebari. He says Durka poses no danger – he's now incapable of harm. Salis says they're due to rendezvous soon in this quadrant, and in the meantime they'll need food and quarters. Durka asks if the ship has any containment cells, because they're transporting a very dangerous criminal. It's a female Nebari, named Chiana. They put her in a cell, but refuse to say what crime she committed. Ka D'Argo shows Durka and Salis to their quarters, and mentions the DRDs are repairing their ship. Chiana begs for Crichton's help, saying he wouldn't consider what she did a crime, and asks for amnesty, when Salis suddenly pushes a control that makes the collar she's wearing cause her pain.

Salis says to Zhaan that they eliminated the evil parts of Durka's mind with a process that they use called mental cleansing, but it's so intricate that they have to place the subject in cryostasis. He says that Durka appreciates what was done to him, and they would have saved everyone on the Zelbinion but the crew refused to surrender. D'Argo asks Salis how many warships it took to defeat a Peacekeeper command carrier, and Salis says the Nebari have no warships; one of their standard host vessels engaged it, like the one coming for them now.

Aeryn sees Rygel and tells him to leave the visitors alone. Aeryn says she was taught a lot about Durka, and Rygel says he knows everything he needs to: he faked his own death to save himself and left his crew for dead. Aeryn tells him to ensure that Durka stays alive. She goes to see Durka, who tells her that he achieved nothing as a Peacekeeper. He says the Nebari showed him a better way. He survived the attack by faking his own death and left in an escape pod.

Crichton brings Chiana some food cubes to eat. He says that they're worried about her, and asks why. She says she doesn't respect authority. She stole food when she was hungry, stowed away and defended herself when necessary. She says she never killed anyone. Among her people you conform, don't do what she did, hence the collar. She will undergo mental cleansing. "They think they're doing you a favor when they do that," and says that she'd "...rather be dead than that." She starts banging into the door, so Crichton goes and restrains her, and she begs him not to let them take her.

Crichton talks to Durka about the cleansing, when a bomb rolls in and explodes. D'Argo and Aeryn go to investigate, as Rygel hovers in and Durka grabs him by the throat, and then falls back down. Crichton grabs Rygel, and asks what just happened. Rygel says the evil was there, he saw it in Durka's face just now. Durka says he'll confine himself, but D'Argo says no, they'll confine Rygel and he locks him in his quarters.

Salis thought that Chiana may have had something to do with the explosion, but she didn't. She tries to seduce him, but he sets off her collar again. D'Argo finds explosives in Rygel's quarters, and tells Crichton he's lucky that Rygel made the bomb incorrectly. Salis meanwhile tells Zhaan that he wants Rygel turned over to him when the ship arrives because he has flaws in his character. She says that even Rygel doesn't deserve that, and Salis says she could do with it herself.

Salis death scene Durka Returns Season One

Salis' deceased body lies on the ground

Chiana manages to escape from the cell, and goes to Rygel's quarters. She says that he wants to be free kill to Durka, and she wants to get off Moya. He says he can create a diversion. She unties him and he announces over his comm. that Chiana has escaped. Crichton and Aeryn find Rygel in his quarters covered up, and he says she's headed for the transport hangar. Everyone searches for her, when Durka goes to Aeryn and tells her that Chiana is capable of anything. Meanwhile, Crichton finds Salis dead, lying on the ground with a pool of his blue blood beside him.

Aeryn and Rygel go to command, and Pilot says Chiana is very good at staying hidden. Durka walks in, and asks if Salis is dead. Aeryn approaches him, when he attacks her and Rygel! Crichton tries to contact D'Argo, but Durka's taken control of the comm. system. He's tied up Rygel, and says that Rygel undid the mental cleansing. Aeryn wakes up, and he says that he genuinely did feel guilty about his past, but now he can't think why. Aeryn says that he murdered Salis, and he says that it's the simple things that you miss. He tells the crew that he is in complete control of Moya, and if they don't leave her they will die. Aeryn again says he murdered Salis, but he again strikes her.

Crichton is running along the corridor, but doors keep closing in front of him. Zhaan is in Pilot's den, and he says that Durka anticipates all his counter measures. D'Argo meets up with Crichton, and he goes up a shaft to get to command. Durka traps him there, and attempts to starburst, but it fails. He says that he'll kill the hostages if they don't reactivate it.

Crichton finds Chiana in the cargo bay. Durka says that he will leave the comm. channel open, to show that he means business. He heats up a tool and goes to burn her, when Rygel says he's pathetic. Durka says that he was going to save Rygel for bargaining, but he'll burn off Rygel's face. Rygel says he doesn't care because Durka's a failure, and tells him that Moya is pregnant, so he can say hello to the Nebari.

Chiana goes to attack Crichton, but he manages to floor her. She apologises, and says she's not used to trusting anyone. He suggests that she starts trusting him. She wonders how Durka broke the cleansing, and says maybe she'd be better on his side. Crichton convinces her that she's with them, or on her own, so she asks what his plan is. He says she won't like it, because he doesn't, but it involves bait.

Chiana jumps out in front of Durka, who's walking down a corridor, and tries to convince him to side with her. She asks where he got his directions to the baby, because they reconfigured the ships data to send him in the wrong direction. She leads him to a room, but he's suspicious and pushes her in first. He shoots at her and grazes her arm, and Crichton jumps out and locks him out of the room. He goes to tend to her, but she says to go get him.

Durka shoots at Crichton, but he makes it to the Nebari ship, planning to use its cannon as a weapon to kill the baby. He powers it up, but Crichton throws a bomb, which explodes stopping the cannon. Pilot regains control of the doors, and opens the outer bay doors. But Crichton's about to get sucked out too, so Pilot shuts the inner doors, and he just manages to stay in. Durka says he'll hunt Crichton down and kill him. Crichton says he should get in line, and leaves him to the Nebari.

Rygel asks Aeryn if Moya's still mad at him, and she says she's still in pain from protecting her child. Aeryn says that he handled himself well. Rygel says he beat Durka at his own game, and Aeryn reminds him he just compared himself to a Peacekeeper.

There is now the question of what to do with Chiana. As Zhaan tries to heal her wound, Crichton asks her how she is. Zhaan says him "she's a brat", and leaves. Chiana asks if she gets to stay, and thanks him for what he did. Crichton confirms that Moya is preparing to starburst to get away from the Nebari but warns her that they have rules, but she says when she sees them follow them then so will she. Crichton warns her that he owes her, the others won't be so easy to get on her side and she's free to leave if she doesn't want to live by their rules. He asks her where she was when Salis died, to which she just grins.

Memorable quotesEdit

Chiana: "I apologize for calling you a toad."
Rygel: "Huh, I make allowances for stress on this ship."

Salis: (To John) "You crippled our ship. Endangered our lives. Disrupted our plans. Are you now the arbiter of our justice system, as well?"

Salis: (To Chiana) "When I was your age, I was focused on what I could do to fit in. Not stand apart."

Salis: "We have no war ships. One of our standard host vessels engaged the Zelbinion. Much like the one coming for us."

Background informationEdit

  • Terry Ryan noted that Durka was supposed to be a villain from 200 years previous so they "made him slightly Napoleonic. At the beginning, when he's under the influence of the Nebari, he's sort of dressed like them, but later on he shows his true colors, so to speak." (Farscape: The Illustrated Companion)
  • Gigi Edgley counted this episode as her favorite of the first season. "Totally, hands down. I think it's my favorite probably because I was the most frightened, and the most challenged, and the most excited. [...] Plus I was wearing the contact lenses which give me total tunnel vision – very alienating!" (Farscape: The Illustrated Companion, "Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • The idea for this episode came while filming "PK Tech Girl" when the producers realized how effective a rematch between Rygel and his interrogator could be. (Farscape: The Illustrated Companion, "Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • Ben Browder was accidentally set on fire during the explosion in the bay. An explosion was set off behind him. He fell into frame, and as he stated "we were on a twenty second delay and it was a wide angle. I was totally obscured by the flame and of course, I was smoking from my backside!" (Farscape: The Illustrated Companion)
  • Salis' appearance was based on the first season's director of photography, Craig Burden, who had an Elvis-style haircut. Crichton even made a reference to Elvis. Lesley Vanderwalt, the make-up supervisor, commented that they "ended up with a black and white version of Craig." (Farscape: The Illustrated Companion, "Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • Rockne S. O'Bannon remembered that "the ardent fans were up in arms that we had brought someone else into the dynamic. I totally understand that." He also mentioned that they wanted to bring in a new young female character, but "were prepared for her not to stay, particularly if Gigi hadn't worked out." The reasons for bringing her in included trying to improve the ratings even more, and O'Bannon stated "The Sci-Fi Channel was trying to find an audience and create a market and of course an attractive girl is easy to market." ("Farscape Chronicles" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • Whether Chiana killed Salis was intentionally left ambiguous and O'Bannon noted "whether she did it or not was irrelevant, it was merely the ambiguity that was the point in terms of her character, to make her potentially dangerous and someone we weren't sure of. It was something we were doing with all the characters, including Zhaan who seemed the most benign of all. [...] Every character in the show had a dark side. They are not necessarily evil, but they certainly have their dark sides and their secrets." ("Farscape Chronicles" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • Paul Butterworth said that a lot of effort had gone into the design and creation of the Nebari ship. "I designed a whole new ship just for that episode. The engine took elements of the Starburst engine and placed it inside. I really like this whole idea of like a sort of a spinning gimbal engine." ("Farscape Chronicles" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • The character of Chiana was originally going to be killed off in this episode. The scene where she is shot by Durka was later changed, giving the character a minor wound and beginning her and actress Gigi Edgley's stay on the show. David Kemper did not tell Edgley that she was to have died in this episode until the end of season wrap party. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • Gigi Edgley has stated that she wishes that she could redub her early episodes to maintain a continuity of accent rather than switching between Australian and British. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • Edgley was sent home early on her first day, despite being in full make-up because the set for her scenes blew up. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • This was Grant McAloon's first credit script for Farscape. He acted as script editor on the show from "DNA Mad Scientist" until the end of the first season. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)

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airplane; arn; atmosphere duct; birthing chamber; Cenobian rebellion; Command; command carrier; comms; cryostasis; cycle; docking web; draz; DRD; escape pod; Final battle of the Zelbinion; food cube; frell; froth mouth; Glendian pleasure vessel; greebol; Happy Meal; inner bay doors; laundry detergent; Lecter, Hannibal; Human; Hynerian; Jelifan fire paste; Leviathan; Leviathan access shaft; Luxan; maintenance bay; McDonalds; mind cleanse; Mintaka III; Moya; Nebari; Nebari host ship; Nebari Prime; Nebari ship; outer bay doors; Peacekeepers; phase cannon; Presley, Elvis; pulse rifle; quadrant; Qualta Blade; restraint collar; seatbelt; Sebacean; sevva crystal; starburst; transport pod; trelkez; Watruka plant; Zelbinion

External linkEdit