|Episode no.||Season 4|
|Guest star(s)||Raelee Hill (Sikozu); Melissa Jaffer (Noranti); Paul Goddard (Stark); Tammy MacIntosh (Jool); Lani Tupu (The Ogre); Rowan Woods (Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan); Alyssa-Jane Cook (Gilina); Virginia Hey (Zhaan)|
|Original airdate||July 26, 2002 (US); November 11, 2002 (UK)|
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|"Natural Election"||"I Shrink, Therefore I Am"|
How weird can things get when trapped in a game based on John Crichton's exploits? Very...
On Moya, Sikozu visits Scorpius with John Crichton's chessboard, and asks if he fancies a game. Chiana and John are on a transport pod, and Chiana is holding something. "Look at this, oh, porn!" she says to John, but he's zoned out thinking about Aeryn Sun and the Scorpius situation. Chiana snaps him out of it, and says he has to try this. "The Aeryn in your head can wait!" she enthuses. John says the game looks like some kind of sick root, but Chiana says it's an organic matrix – reality games, simulations. On Moya, Scorpius and Sikozu are playing chess, and Scorpius says, "If you were to open the door, we could play properly." John, meanwhile, goes over to Chiana who is playing the game, but on the outside world is just sitting there shaking, completely vulnerable to anything or any probable attack. John comms Moya to get a fix on their position, but Ka D'Argo answers. "Tell him about Scorpius" Noranti says to D'Argo. "We're having a small problem with Scorpius," D'Argo says, as Chiana puts John in the game, despite him wanting to wait.
In the game, John is in his Peacekeeper outfit, while Chiana tells him to wait for it. "This way!" calls out a familiar voice, "You have to hurry!" It's Gilina, and as John tries to make sense of it all Scorpius appears, aiming his gun at John. Chiana says they're on the Gammak Base. "I'll save you!" a voice screams out, and Stark (wearing his mask on the wrong side of his face) jumps out with a huge gun and fires at Scorpius. Suddenly, the game changes, and they're in some kind of fantasy world, with Chiana in a jester's outfit with a pointy hat and John in a knight's outfit, complete with sword and shield (the 'Quixote' of the title). Chiana says they shouldn't just switch levels like that, but John thinks somebody's messing with them. "I'm sure there's some really good technobabble expla..." John cuts Chiana off, "You know what? Screw the explanation Chiana, we've got a problem with Scorpy on Moya," and adds that they need to get out. "Help! Help!" a voice cries out from atop the 'Rapunzel-like' tower. It's Aeryn, only blonde and in a princess outfit. "Now I know somebody's messing with us," John says, and Chiana tells him to just say he wants out – it's the standard override. He tries but it doesn't work, and suddenly a television set drops on John's head.
Chiana goes to check if John's OK, and luckily his helmet protected him, although a piece of shrapnel from the TV is stuck in it. Stark is there, and he says he's everywhere, "I'm Stark, avatar, guide, the game embodied." Stark says that all players are supposed to begin at the Gammak Base. Chiana says the auto-out didn't work, and Stark replies with an "Oh dear." They explain to Stark that they're on a transport pod outside the game, and want out, but Stark says that the 'auto-out' could be broken. Chiana pins him up against the wall for questions. "Who's the designer of the game?" she asks "Yoti?", "Neural template?". "Yours truly, and an infusion of the dead John Crichton's memories," Stark replies. He explains that they've back-doored into a part of the game that shouldn't even exist. "So you're kind of stuck, I think," he adds. John again reminds Chiana about Scorpius, and she says that brain damage and death is very rare. John appears in a suit on the TV screen introducing them to the game as "My name is John Crichton-Crichton. The most notorious criminal in the known universe. I may look Sebacean but I'm not-not-not. Billions upon billions upon billions of lives hang in the balance-hang in the balance. Your mission, should you choose to accept it-your mission should you choose to accept it, travel to the source of evil-evil. Discover the darkness-discover the darkness. I may look Sebacean. Discover the darkness." At this point Stark shuts of the TV while John mumbles "I'm gonna kill Stark." Stark finds the manual, and discovers two ways out – either to kiss the princess or leave through a green door. Stark gives John three "vouchers", little balls that will answer one question if John squeezes it. Stark tells them that the tower's up, but up is down, and to follow the path through fairy town. He exits, leaving them to play the game. John spots what looks like a trail, leading to a tiny door on the wall.
Through said door they go, and they end up in a car park. They spot a van rumbling, and out steps a big, bald blue guy (a male version of Zhaan), who introduces himself as Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan, 10th level Delvian priest. He tells them he'll hurt them because they're invading his parking space, when Chiana points out that John is hurt. "Well, he's gonna be more hurt if he tries to kiss the princess, the Ogre'll get him." "Ogre?" John asks, as the male Zhaan then stomps on his foot and punches him in the stomach. He rips the piece of TV-shrapnel out of John's helmet, and soon after, in his van, Zhaan prepares the "cure." Chiana throws the first cure away because it's acid, so Zhaan milks the cure from his left looma instead, and Chiana gives it to John. John sits up and screams, then falls back down again. Zhaan starts shouting that the Ogre is here, and drives off, only stopping in another part of the car park to kick Chiana and John out and speed off.
John and Chiana follow another trail, but in the front of them stands a knight – Rygel. "None shall pass!" he proclaims. John talks to him, suggesting he is King Arthur of Camelot and Chiana is his vassal. "Bollocks!" Rygel says, adding that John's a pimped up fleshy who wants to go where none shall pass. "Let's kill him," Chiana suggest, but John says they can just go around him. "None shall pass!" Rygel repeats. When they attempt to go round, Rygel turns around and blows fire out of his behind! Chiana distracts him, and jumps over the flames, sliding along the floor with sword out front, causing him to explode. John asks if she sees a path, but she doesn't.
John has a go at Chiana again because Scorpius is causing problems on Moya so they have to get back. Chiana says they need a green door, so just ask one of the voucher balls. John uses one, and Stark appears as an image in Rygel's flames. He just recites the same riddle he said before then disappears. John calls for him to come back, but Chiana figures it out. "Follow the path," she says, "The path ends here". They go through and arrive in a house made of candy, like a freakish version of Hansel & Gretel. "What're you doing here?" asks D'Argo, dressed in amusing Scandinavian gear. Jool and another Chiana are trapped in a cage-like ball suspended from the ceiling, crying out to be eaten. "The ogre is gonna have my hide if I let you go without some molestation," D'Argo says. He then trots over to the ball and jumps and hangs from it, as John says they don't want to kiss the princess, just to find a green door. As D'Argo watches, John and Chiana go to the green door on the wall, but just as John opens it, D'Argo 'tongues' Chiana down, so only John makes it through.
John is back on the pod, and comms D'Argo who tells him that Scorpius has escaped, and there's a command carrier on the way. D'Argo says there are a lot of bugs in Moya's systems, and they haven't heard from Sikozu since the escape. Aeryn adds that Pilot is losing control of critical systems, and John says they'll be there as soon as possible. He tries to wake up Chiana, but has to go back into the game to do so. He asks "D'Argo" where Chiana is. "Ah, she's too bony, probably tastes like fish. You don't wanna eat her – the bloody bitch bites," he says. Jool screams out "How come nobody ever wants to eat me?" as John uses another voucher. Stark is called, his head appears under a platter cover. Stark tells him that Chiana went through a door. John goes up to it and it's an elevator. Stark tells him to "mind the gap." John gets in and the suited image of him appears on the TV screen. John asks to go "where the grey girl went." "Oh, the penthouse. Mmmm... Do you have an appointment?" says his image. John is annoyed by the TV-John's behaviour. TV-John remarks "Well, it's your funeral. So what brings you here? Business? Pleasure?" continues TV-John. The elevator stops and opens to an approaching Scarran, which John kills. The elevator continues, and TV-John babbles some more. Next stop is a Sheyang breathing fire, which John also slays. He finally arrives at the penthouse, where Scorpius is with the blonde princess Aeryn. "I knew it had to be you!" John says, drawing his sword. But Scorpius is actually Harvey, has a huge nose, and is dressed in a butler's outfit. Harvey presents John to Aeryn, not realizing that she expected visitors. She tells Harvey, in a lisping Southern accent, to let the master know they have a gentleman to visit. "He's not the Ogre?" John asks. "What, Harvey? Oh heavens no, he's just an incorrigible liar. And a butler. So, can I help you find some place to sheathe that sword?" she asks. Aeryn says that her "beast of a boyfriend" is showing the grey girl around the place. She offers him a drink, which he declines. "I only want Chiana," he says. "Oh come on now," she replies, stroking his face, "we both know that's not true." The Ogre bursts in, and it bears a resemblance to Crais! He asks if John's here to kiss the princess, and rants about Aeryn always redecorating. "What is it with women and change?" he asks. Chiana runs in, and she and John leave as Aeryn berates the Ogre for scaring all their visitors away.
Chiana and John leave the game and dock on Moya. D'Argo explains that Pilot's blind on the Hammond side, tiers 7 and 11. Aeryn says that the DRDs are searching there, as it's likely Scorpius is hiding in the blind spots. D'Argo says, "The plan is to hunt him down." Aeryn and John search together. "This is familiar," he says. "What, the passageway?" Aeryn asks. "No, it's good to have you back." D'Argo is searching when suddenly he screams. "Crichton, Aeryn, he's here!" Pilot exclaims, as John and Aeryn run to his den. Scorpius seals the chamber, so they use an access shaft. John says that it feels like a trap, but they go in anyway. As they approach Pilot, the DRDs open fire. "Everything is finally under control," Pilot says. Scorpius steps out, and tells them that Pilot's mind is now slaved to his, using a neural harness. "Whatever happens to the master, happens to the slave," he says. John says that Grayza's Carrier is on the way, as Scorpius asks if John's feeling lucky. Aeryn knocks John to the floor and kicks him in the head.
John wakes in a cell, where Aeryn is standing watch. He thinks that Scorpius attacked her with a neural chip, but Aeryn says that he hasn't considered the possibility that she was protecting Pilot. "That second boot to the head convinced me otherwise", John says. Scorpius appears behind Aeryn, who walks away. "She's special, don't you think?" Scorpius asks. He asks John if they should end this. He says that John resisted the Aurora Chair, his neural clone and all reason. John says that it's time Scorpius headed off and left him alone. "You resist because you have hope", Scorpius says, "Hope that your friends will save you. This time it will be different. One by one I will extinguish all of your hopes and little by little you will begin to see reason". Aeryn comms Scorpius to say that they have Rygel. John goes to stab Scorpius, but can't, as if he harms Scorpius, he might harm Aeryn too (because of the neural harness).
Chiana whispers to John in his cell, from a ventilation shaft. She says that she's got the game, so they go back into it. She says that Scorpius has control of the ship and has everyone and can hear everything, but not in the game. John says that they can't kill Scorpius as what happens to him happens to everyone else, so John decides he will throw Scorpius into the game. Out of the game, John cuts his finger and starts writing wormhole equations with his blood. Aeryn asks what he's doing, and John says "what your master wants". "Look", she says, "the only thing that keeps you alive is the secret you hold. The same is true for me". John points out that Scorpius is hearing all this. "I know". "I should never have let you go", John says.
John gets Scorpius to his cell and tells him that he should recognize most of the floor – it's the wormhole equations, but what the equation lacks is the single unified symbol, which is under his left foot. John wants Scorpius to come and take it. Scorpius enters, and John says that if anyone else enters the room he'll spill enough blood to erase the equations. "You know, if you kill me..." Scorpius begins. "Oh, I don't think that's gonna happen, not after all you've survived", John says. "Then again, I could get lucky", he adds, as he goes to stab Scorpius. Scorpius blocks and has John by the throat, when John throws him into the game, trapping him. Gilina comes and hides behind John, saying that Scorpius isn't supposed to come from that direction. John pulls out his gun, which is actually a banana. Scorpius says that this world means nothing to him, he sees through its very existence. Meanwhile John is having trouble breathing from the choke outside the game. Scorpius wonders if he dies, will John's mind carry the wormhole knowledge into the game. Aeryn pulls him out of it. "He was killing you, I couldn't let that happen", she says. They leave while Scorpius is still trapped in the game. John asks what about the others, but Aeryn says that they don't matter; she came back for him. "I just want to be with you" she says. She kisses him, and he notices something is wrong – he still holds the game vouchers. "Does this mean it's over?" Aeryn asks. John calls Chiana, and tells her they're still in the game. A door appears, and John says that Stark must've changed the doors. Stark comes, and says, "This is all about you, John Crichton. You're far too sick to be allowed to run free in the Universe". Speaking through Scorpius, Stark continues that when John dies in the outside world, he will live on, here - trapped in the game.
Back in the fantasy world, John wonders how he and Chiana might get out of the game. He uses the last voucher, and the evil Stark appears on TV. Crichton demands to know the endgame so Stark replies "One hero's sword to set her free-free-free, one kiss upon her lips, so sweet. Thus ends your quest, thus ends the game-game and thus your soul is saved". John says that they have to kiss the princess, and angrily destroys the TV screen saying if Stark wants to play, they'll give him what he wants. They go to male Zhaan, where Stark speaks through him. John asks how he did it. "You did, you and that tragic brother". John says this game has crap he couldn't know, and Stark says it's crap John gave him along the way, "you talk so much". John then realizes that is the reason why there's no Noranti or Sikozu in the game. John asks why plants love the light, as Chiana turns on the van's headlights, distracting him so John can kill him.
Back they go to Rygel, who John runs laughing over in a van. They go back to Jool and D'Argo, and John asks what they're doing here. "It's my turn!" Jool screams. The other Chiana is on the table, tied up and gagged, mumbling for attention. John asks his Chiana if this room seems too easy. She asks what he means. "I mean, first time here, how did you make it through?" He then questions her about Aeryn's secret. She has no answer, so realising she's the fake one John knocks her out, along with Jool. He goes and unties the other, real Chiana, who then whacks D'Argo with a giant lollipop. Chiana then says that John left her there for arns; she could've died. They go into the elevator, where the annoying TV-John starts babbling about asking for an autograph. Annoyed to death, John destroys the TV screen. They arrive at the penthouse. "I'm here for the princess" John announces. "I can see that, so romantic!" Aeryn exclaims. John begins fighting the Ogre while Chiana takes on Harvey in a swordfight, as Aeryn comments on the action. Chiana stabs Harvey, as Aeryn says, "Honey, the butler's dead!" John asks Chiana for help against the Ogre and his axe, when Stark comes in. Chiana fights him, knocking him down and as the Ogre's about to get John, Chiana throws her sword at him, and John finishes him off. John goes over to Aeryn. "Are you really John Crichton?" she asks, "We are going to be so happy together". John kisses her, but nothing happens, as Stark looks on. Stark suggests that maybe he has to do more than just kiss her, maybe show her a really good time, or maybe Chiana has to kiss her too. "I love to watch" he says. "She is not the princess", Chiana suddenly notices. "Well, I'm not the princess you seek, but we can still have a really good time!" Aeryn says. Stark says bitterly that "This is my world, meat. You're just walking through it for a very long time. When your body is dead, your mind will live here with us to strut and fret forever, you poor player". John suddenly realizes what he needs to do and jumps out of the tower window, allowing himself to reset the level. Crichton throws away the helmet and his shield and goes inside. Stark, in the apparently never-broken TV asks "What are you doing John-do-doing John?" Crichton angrily responds that it's Stark's world, and therefore the Princess is his Princess. Stark realizes that John knows who the real princess is. John goes to male Zhaan and kicks Stark aside. "One hero's sword to set her free", John slices male Zhaan, and out of the light comes the real, true Zhaan. "Don't touch her, she's mine!" Stark screams. "Be silent Stark", Zhaan says. Zhaan asks if it's really John Crichton. He says yes, "And you're...?" "Zhaan, for all that matters" she says, "This Stark wishes to keep you here; he blames you. Believes I died for the love of you". "A lot of people have died because of me" says John. "What is it that you wish of me John Crichton? A kiss? Have you wasted my death, and the deaths of so many others?" "I don't know" John replies. "Then I suggest you find out, before anyone else dies for the love of you". She kisses him, Stark saying "No!" and the game finally ends.
John comms D'Argo, who asks where John is. John asks what's up with Scorpius. "We had a small problem with his door, but that's already sorted" D'Argo replies. Chiana is happy that the two of them aren't dead.
On Moya, John goes to the cooking room to see Noranti. "Interesting day?" she asks. "They're all interesting" he says, "this was more like confusing". "And a warrior needs clarity" she replies. "I'm not a warrior" John insists. "You carry a weapon" she says. John explains that it's Scorpius' war, not his. "Thousands dead, billions in the balance, but that's not the war I'm speaking of" she says; "Aeryn – the war of the heart". "Always Aeryn. I don't think too clearly where Aeryn is concerned" John replies. "Pain clouds judgement" she says, and offers something that, for a time, will help him forget the pain; forget about Aeryn. John takes a piece of it. "Please don't thank me" Noranti insists, "it's been 150 cycles since I felt for someone the way you do for her". John takes a closer look at her substance.
John walks down a corridor, where Aeryn sits. "I hear I was a princess," she says chirpily. John just carries on, pausing only briefly before continuing on his way. Aeryn looks puzzled.
- Rygel: None shall pass!
- John: Check this out! Brave Sir Knight! I am King Arthur of Camelot! This is my loyal vassal - Patsy!
- Rygel: Bollocks! You're a pimped-out arrogant fleshie who wants to use my road - where none - shall pass!
- John: Bastard wants us to play? Let's give him what he wants!
- John Headroom: That's a nice sword you've got. Ever slay any dragons with it? You should give it a name! How about - Cameron? Or Uma-Uma-Uma?
- John Headroom: (Elevator music plays constantly) Yes I know. This elevator sucks. My job suck-suck-sucks. Day after day the same-the same thing. Up. Down. Up. Down-down. Just once - just once it'd be nice to go - sideways... Just-just - sideways. Frog Princes! (Door opens, a Sheyang blows fire, John slays it.) N-n-not that I plan on doing this forever-ever. I have plans you know - (softly) Big (loudly) PLANS! I-I-I'm studying to be an astronaut. And... Penthouse! Have a good day.
- Jool: What am I, chopped liver? How come nobody ever wants to eat me?
- John Headroom: What is it with women and change? You-you-you really are John C-C-C-Crichton - can I get an autograph?
- Zhaan: What is it that you wish of me John Crichton? A kiss? Have you wasted my death - and the deaths of so many others?
- John: I don't know.
- Zhaan: Then I suggest you find out - before anyone else dies for the love of you.
- Noranti: A warrior needs clarity.
- John: I'm not a warrior.
- Noranti: You carry a weapon.
- John: Second Amendment.
- This episode was the second written by series star Ben Browder.
- The designs of the castle and grounds are loosely based on the style of the PlayStation video game Spyro the Dragon. Tmi Ferrier used these designs as he felt it was a game John Crichton would have played. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1)
- In a line cut during the editing stage, the Ogre complained "Only this morning, she made me throw out a perfectly good television set." ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1)
- The parking garage scenes were filmed at the same Olympic Stadium location as the meeting between Crichton and Gary Regal in "Won't Get Fooled Again". This meeting was originally set in an enchanted forest, but due to budgetary constraints, had to be moved to the parking garage location. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1)
- The male Zhaan (aka "Big Zhaan") was based on the original concepts for Zotoh Zhaan, in which "Zenn" would have been a big, blue man. The role was played by Rowan Woods who shot his scenes while directing "I Shrink, Therefore I Am". Woods shaved his head for the scene. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1, DVD commentary)
- Virginia Hey returned to shoot her scenes and shot her documentary footage for "Unrealized Reality" at the same time. She wore a bald cap for the appearances rather than shave her head. Her name was not listed in the opening guest credits to preserve the surprise, but despite this, Sci-Fi promoted her return in advance of the episode's airing. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1, "Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.2, DVD commentary)
- Dave Elsey wanted to give Lani Tupu three-foot long horns for his costume, like something out of Time Bandits, but with the sword fight, the horns had to be smaller. In the end, the horns were taken from the goat seen in "What Was Lost - Sacrifice". ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1)
- Stark's sonnet includes all of the clues Crichton and Chiana would need. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1)
- Tammy MacIntosh was partway through filming episodes of All Saints when she returned for this episode and after shooting her scenes, stated that she wasn't going to think too much about having baked beans for intestines. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1)
- Browder added the sideways elevator and Arthur Dent references as a tribute to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and its star Mark Wing-Davey, who was the head of Browder's drama school. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1)
- Alyssa-Jane Cook reprises her role of Gilina Renaez in this episode. Lani Tupu, Paul Goddard, and Tammy MacIntosh reprise their respective roles of Crais, Stark, and Jool in various forms, though unlike the others, Tupu is covered in heavy make-up.
- The John image in the elevator, nicknamed "John Headroom" is a tribute to the 80s show and character Max Headroom.
- Stark's voice briefly comes out of Scorpius partially because originally Paul Goddard was at the try-outs for Scorpius before Wayne Pygram was.(citation needed • edit)
- According to Claudia Black during the Farscape panel at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con, she kept her "princess" accent a secret until filming, which caused Browder to corpse (break into laughter) on camera when he first heard it.
Links and references
- Ben Browder as John Crichton
- Claudia Black as Aeryn Sun
- Anthony Simcoe as Ka D'Argo
- Gigi Edgley as Chiana
- Wayne Pygram as Scorpius
- Raelee Hill as Sikozu
- Melissa Jaffer as Noranti
- Lani Tupu as the Ogre
- Tammy MacIntosh as Jool
- Paul Goddard as Stark
- Rowan Woods as Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan
- Alyssa-Jane Cook as Gilina
Special guest star
- Tony Naumovski as Alien
2nd Amendment; Apocalypse Now; arn; astronaut; Aunt Em; Aurora Chair; banana; Beauty and the Beast; Big Kahuna; Brothers Grimm; budong; Camelot; chess; chocolate; chocolate coin; command carrier; comms; Constitution; cycle; de Gama, Vasco; Delvian; Diaz, Cameron; distillate of lakah; drad; DRD; elevator; Erp; fannik; fekkik; fish; frell; Gammak Base; Grayza, Mele-On; hamman; Hansel and Gretel; Harvey; Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; Human; keedva; King Arthur; lakah; Little Red Riding Hood; loomas; Maldis; Max Headroom; Mission: Impossible; Monty Python; Monty Python and the Holy Grail; Moya; nixar; Pa'u; Patsy; Peacekeeper; piezor; Pilot's den; Pip; Princess; Qualta Blade; Scarran; Sebacean; Sheyang; technobabble; television; The Frog Prince; The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs; The Wizard of Oz; Thurman, Uma; transport pod; welnitz; wormhole; Yoti
- Farscape World Synopsis by Dani Moure