|Episode no.||Season 4|
|Guest star(s)||Raelee Hill (Sikozu); Melissa Jaffer (Noranti); Paula Arundell (Talikaa); Chris Pitman (Nazradu); Walter Grkovic (Outurak)|
|Original airdate||January 24, 2003 (US); January 13, 2003 (UK)|
|← Previous||Next →|
|"Terra Firma"||"Mental as Anything"|
Chiana convinces the others to allow an imprisoned woman to stay on Moya. They quickly discover, however, that she's far more trouble than she's worth. But with their best qualities gone, can they do anything about it?
Scorpius asks Pilot why the traders are still on board; apparently they are being tough in negotiations, but Moya dare not travel through Tormented Space without reliable star charts. Noranti and Rygel negotiate, as the rest of the crew look on. John looks at Aeryn Sun, who's staring at him intently giving him the 'stink-eye'. "What?" he asks. "Nothing's bothering me." "Something I said?" he asks, "Must have been something I said." Noranti barters the price from 10,000 to 7,000, and gets Rygel to pay them. As Rygel is leaving, Scorpius comments that he looks unusually smug, and asks if his deal with the traders was successful. "You have no idea," Rygel answers. He's obviously been up to no good!
The traders then bring out a girl to make one more trade. They say they enjoyed her, as they grope her suggestively, so Chiana pulls out her gun, saying if they touch her again they'll die. Everyone reacts by drawing their own weapons, and Ka D'Argo tells Chiana it's not their problem. The trader offers her for 800, and Chiana is adamant they can't leave her, asking D'Argo if he's already forgotten their own prisoner origins. Rygel reminds Chiana that it was her who brought the Vorc on Moya, but Chiana ignores him. She asks her name. "Talikaa," the girl answers shyly. Chiana walks closer and puts her shooter to the girl's head, saying either they take her or she'll take her head off. D'Argo and John force Rygel to pay, swearing under their breathes, and the traders leave. Talikaa tries to run off, but Scorpius stops her. (When she approaches each crew member in turn, her point of view is seen as if observed through a greenish-yellow lens, which gives the sinister impression that there might be more to her than meets the eye.) D'Argo tells Chiana to take Talikaa to her room; she's now Chiana's responsibility.
"So you're angry with me?" John asks Aeryn. She says she doesn't want to talk and gives him a strong backhanded punch in the face.
Aeryn tells John there's nothing to say; he complains that she hit him. "You lied to me," she tells him. "Okay, so I did not tell you about the poppers. You did not tell me about the baby. Does that mean I get to hit you now?" he asks. "I would not advise that," she warns him sternly. He says she doesn't scare him, but when she gives him a look, he steps back and says "...well, maybe a little." He says he was taking Granny's drug to forget her, "But you got to admit, it's kind of romantic. I'm just crazy about you." She adds "So it's my fault?", but he says no. She tells him he should've been stronger. He falls down to his knees and tells her to give him a break; he's a human, just a guy, and weak. She walks away and he grabs her, saying they're going to be fine. "No, we're not," she insists angrily, and leaves. He tries to call her back, but then surmises to himself that they'll be fine.
Chiana is with Talikaa in her quarters, saying the clothes she's given her make her look sexy. Talikaa asks what "sexy" is, and Chiana tells her that a girl as pretty as her shouldn't have to ask that. She gets close to Talikaa, suggestively, saying it makes you feel good to know men want you. "You like men for sex?" Talikaa asks. Chiana says men are good for other things too, but great for sex. "Just men?" Talikaa asks flirtatiously. As they're about to kiss, Aeryn interrupts, and looks rather unimpressed with Chiana's actions.
In the corridor, Aeryn asks if the only reason she brought Talikaa aboard was to make Talikaa her toy. Chiana says they were just talking girl stuff. She says she got feisty. Pushing Aeryn up against the wall, she says she's not like Aeryn; she needs it, and it's not a crime. Aeryn says this is excessive even for Chiana, prompting Chiana to say if Aeryn doesn't want any she can always try Crichton next. "Do what you want," Aeryn says, and leaves.
Talikaa visits John in his quarters. He offers her some chocolate, fresh from Earth; she declines. John says they're friends. "For sex?" she asks. John laughs nervously and says that's just for special friends. "Like you and Aeryn?" she adds. John is befuddled, but then realizes Chiana must have told her something. She says she can also see it for herself, "You are hers, and she is yours. Or am I wrong?" "No, you're right. You're absolutely right," John responds with a wide grin.
D'Argo and Rygel are on Command, checking the maps. They seem accurate, and D'Argo says that it looks like Noranti did some good for a change. Rygel asks, "Don't I get any credit?" "What for?" He tells D'Argo that he made a tiny unnoticeable modification to the currency, meaning it was basically forged and is only actually a twelfth of its shown value. D'Argo grabs him in a rage, saying the traders control this part of space. John walks in and separates them, asking the problem. D'Argo explains, and John tells Rygel that these are not the guys they need to piss off. D'Argo says that when the traders come, he'll give them Rygel to do with what they will. John says they'll phone these guys and try make it right, and both D'Argo and Rygel leave in anger.
D'Argo spots Talikaa in the corridor, and tells her he told her to stay in Chiana's quarters, but Talikaa says she doesn't have to listen to him, as no one else does – they listen to Crichton, but not him. D'Argo tells her to go back and then storms off.
Sikozu is changing Scorpius' cooling rods, (and it looks as though she's been making some improvements to the mechanism too) and tells him that Noranti thinks everyone's acting strange; they're all different, more emotional than usual. Except Aeryn, who is colder than usual. She wills herself against emotions, like any good soldier," Scorpio replies.
Chiana is on top of John on one of the controls, saying she asked Aeryn and she said she didn't care about him anyway. John says she does; they're happy and Aeryn loves him. Scorpius interrupts them and Chiana asks if he wants to watch. John says there's nothing to see and kicks Chiana out. She gets angry, asking if Aeryn "cut 'em off," and storms out. Scorpius asks how John is feeling, and tells him the crew are behaving oddly. John says they're fine, but Scorpius says they're not; their behavior has changed since that girl came aboard. John says they'll go talk to her; she's in Chiana's quarters. Scorpius says that actually she isn't – she's disappeared and they can't find her.
Aeryn and John are searching a tier and spot her. When they approach she flees into the tier three maintenance bay. John and Aeryn follow her in, but are knocked unconscious when she screams an ear piercing screech, and then, in a arachnid-like form, she jumps down and bites then sucks on their faces with an extended appendage.
They both awake and Aeryn says she heard a scream, but then the lights went out. She spots some wounds/marks on his face, and she has them on hers too. They're puzzled, but suspect that the loud scream knocked them out.
D'Argo, Chiana, and Rygel are searching for Talikaa, when John comms them. He says Talikaa is more dangerous than she looks, and has a screech that knocked them flat. Talikaa is in fact stalking them unseen from behind. Sikozu wanders around the corner, as face-sucking Talikaa looks up. She runs, and Talikaa pursues in spider form. Sikozu reaches one of the maintenance bays, but is caught by Talikaa from above. She screams and Scorpius hears, moving to her aid.
Sikozu is on the floor, reaching for her arm. Scorpius enters and kneels down, telling Sikozu, "I will kill your attacker. I promise!" Noranti tells him to save her first; get her limbs.
On Command, Aeryn tells John she doesn't understand why Talikaa would do this when they tried to help her. John needs a minute to recover, since he's not feeling too good after the attack. Aeryn, in a flurry, asks him not to be useless. D'Argo, Chiana, and Rygel enter; none of them feel too good. "No, we can't be weak. We have to pull ourselves together and we have to fight back," Aeryn says, even more anxiously. Feeling defeated, John replies, "With what? She kicked our asses. Just give it up." Aeryn says they can't, and runs off Command.
Chiana asks what's with Aeryn, while D'Argo says they have to find Talikaa to talk to her. Pilot tells him they can't find her, but additionally the trader vessel has changed course and is headed for Moya. John comments that since Rygel screwed the traders, they're likely coming back to screw them. Rygel tells them to give the traders whatever they want, all their currency even, as it's brought them nothing but misery any way. With that odd statement from Rygel Chiana notices something weird; Aeryn is falling apart, Rygel's not greedy at all, John is giving up, and D'Argo isn't even angry. D'Argo says he has no reason to be angry, so Chiana hits him, twice. With no reaction, she kicks his privates, but he's still not angry. "It's... it's like she's taken our strongest trait away," she surmises. John says she's taken nothing from Chiana, so Chiana gets D'Argo to fondle her breasts and kisses him. "No!... no, tingle. No... no nothing. That tralk has taken away my sex drive!"
Noranti tells Scorpius to apply pressure and Sikozu's limbs should re-attach. Meanwhile, Pilot informs the crew that the trade ship is now just drifting, and D'Argo takes that as a sign that they powered down to show they mean no harm. D'Argo tells Pilot to bring the ship aboard and Chiana asks if he's found Talikaa yet. Pilot says that every time they do, she disappears again.
In the cargo bay, Aeryn storms in and gets physical with Chiana, blaming her. John and D'Argo break it up, as the hangar doors open. All the traders seem dead, with large pustules and other gruesome deformations to their faces. Talikaa looks on from a distance, while the crew go aboard the trade ship to search. Chiana and Rygel find more bodies and talk doom and gloom, while Aeryn gets anxious and tells them not to say that – they'll be fine. D'Argo finds a trader partly alive, and asks him what happened.
Chiana spots a message playing; it's a Diagnosan, saying the symptoms are caused by a Wolaxian arachnid. This creature's touch infects its victims, and stimulates exaggerated neural functions. It then transforms, harvests the host for energy, stores it in membrane orbs and hides those orbs in an external nest for later consumption. Finding the nest and opening the orbs in close proximity to the victim will allow re-assimilation of the energy and complete recovery.
Noranti wakes Sikozu, who starts screaming about her attack. She panics about her arm and leg, but Noranti tells her to focus on healing; her limbs may still be saved. Scorpius is holding her still, as Noranti asks why the creature attacked her; apparently Sikozu is immune to its touch. Scorpius starts choking and Noranti pushes her off. He's infected but not harvested. She tells Sikozu that the Scarran in him is taking him over, and she must stop him to keep him from harming them. Sikozu is adamant that he won't hurt them, saying she knows him. Noranti assures her, "You know only his Sebacean side." Scorpius tells them to kill Talikaa now, as Noranti confronts him, asks forgiveness, then blows some herbs/powder in his face. He reacts with a punch that knocks her to the floor, then falls over unconscious himself, flat on his face.
Pilot tells the crew that the DRDs are unable to locate Talikaa's nest. Aeryn suggests that they split up into groups to try and locate her themselves. D'Argo suggests persuading Talikaa to return the energy orbs. Rygel suggests persuasion with a pulse rifle. Aeryn goes to help John, but he says he's just dizzy. He strokes her hair, asking, "You know what the worst part of this is? You and me. We never could get it together. And now we never will." "Don't you ever talk like that," she says, helping him up. Meanwhile, Talikaa enters the cargo bay, and seemingly boards the ship.
Pilot tells D'Argo that the vessel has left Moya, so D'Argo calls everyone to Lo'La. John says he can't go and tells Aeryn to just leave him. She goes to grab him. "No. Forget about me and go." She reluctantly runs off.
They leave on Lo'La and eventually reach the trade ship. They go to board, leaving Rygel on Lo'La to scan. Chiana, finally feeling guilty, tells everyone this is all her fault and apologizes. There is no movement, nothing but corpses. D'Argo finds that the guidance system is active; the ship is set to fly itself. He comms John to warn him, that it was all a trap to lure them off Moya, and that they're now all very weak and unable to make it back in time anyway. He tells John he needs to find the orbs, that he's their last chance...
Noranti pulls John up. "Are you ready to die. Are you ready to watch Aeryn die?" she asks. He tells her they don't know where the orbs are. She gets an idea; since Talikaa is the only one that does know where they are, they can get her to show them where they are. Scorpius is infected but not harvested. Noranti made him unconscious, so maybe Talikaa can't sense how ripe and ready he is. John asks about Sikozu, and Noranti says she's sure Sikozu is strong enough to help. John comms D'Argo to tell him, "We may not be dead... yet."
Sikozu wakes up Scorpius, but he grabs her by the throat. She tells him he doesn't want to hurt her. "Sikozu..." he grumbles, "Arachnid. Kill it?" She says yes and he picks her up and carries her, saying, "Help."
John grabs a huge gun, while Talikaa catches Noranti attempting to bait her. She says she doesn't want her as she is too old and bitter for her needs. What she does want from her is to know where Scorpius is, so Noranti leads her...
Scorpius is vomiting saliva and convulsing in his quarters, when Talikaa catches him off-guard, sends him to the floor and harvests him. She takes his orb back to her nest, adds it to the other glowing green orbs that hang by silk threads from some overhead pipes; while Sikozu discreetly manages to follow and observe unnoticed. She's in the tier seven cargo bay, she comms John. Sikozu climbs up top and sneaks toward the nest, while John equipped with the huge six-barrelled firearm, enters through the normal way. "I know you can see me," he says, "The bad guys always see me. My plans suck. People die. It's always a mess." She spots him, and tells him she has no remorse; he's food, she needs to eat. She asks if the others are coming to attack now, but he replies it's only him. He says he's tired of all this, and falls to the floor. He tells her to bring it on and kill him now. Fast or slow, it's her choice. "I like it slow," she replies. "I was afraid you'd say that" John replies, as Sikozu calls to John to not let her, before she does any harm. John holds Talikaa off with a couple of shots which hardly make a dent, hurries Sikozu with the collecting of the 'nads' (orbs), then ends up shoving the shooter in her mouth and firing. She explodes...! As John, dripping in green spider goo, picks himself up from the blast, he recites in his usual glib way, "Along came a spider, Exploded beside her..." / (in reference to Little Miss Muffet, of course.)
Noranti is cooking for Rygel and D'Argo. Rygel thanks her for the best roasted spider soup he's ever eaten. D'Argo says it's the only spider soup he's had, but it's really quite good. She asks if they're feeling their old selves, but Rygel is trying to take some of his food, so they know things are back to normal.
Sikozu asks Scorpius which is worse: having them see his Scarran half, or remembering it himself. "I know what I am, Sikozu. This incident was simply a fortuitous, though troubling, reminder." She responds, "If you want my help, the price is inclusion and honesty." Scorpius grins mischievously.
Aeryn sits in a corridor, alone, looking at a piece of Lakah. John approaches. "Do you have any idea what you've done?" she asks. "You won the coin toss." "But we lost... didn't we?" "Aeryn... it's over," he replies. She asks if his mind is now so full of this dren that he can't even see straight. "Move on, Aeryn." She tells him she did everything she could to keep them together, she did exactly what he told her to do, and the whole time he's been cheating. "Yeah, I'm a coward. Move on, it's over!" She says that she'll tell him what he will do now, and that is stop sniffing this dren. "Shut up!" he replies. "Don't you tell me to shut up," she says, pointing in his face. He tells Pilot that his comms are buggy, and asks him to test the system. Pilot says that will mean the comms will be offline for about 30 microts. He says that will be fine, then turns to Aeryn.
"Shut up and listen to me. Scorpius is here, looking for the key to what is inside my head. The neural chips, Aurora Chair, threatening Earth – none of it works because he does not understand me." She tells him to stop using Scorpius as an excuse, but he continues. "You're the key. My Achilles. You! ... If he figures that out, the world and all that's in it is nothing. He will use you and the baby and I will not be able to stop him." She asks if he thinks Scorpius has been using the comms. "Look what it's done to you," she continues, "You're completely paranoid."
But just as she finishes, Scorpius suddenly comms in, "Pilot, are we having a problem with the comms?" Pilot tells him he was just checking them, and they appear to be functioning normally now. Aeryn looks shocked, realises John is probably correct after all. "So it's over," she says, playing along, in a raised voice to ensure it makes the comms. "It's over," John replies. "There's nothing more between us then," she continues, grinning. "Nothing," he says, grinning himself. They smile, embrace, and kiss covertly.
- John: Okay, so I did not tell you about the poppers. You did not tell me about the baby. Does that mean I get to hit you now?
- Aeryn: I would not advise that.
- John: Oh. You do not scare me, Missy.
- (Aeryn gives him a cold, cold look.)
- John: Okay... you scare me a little.
- John: I was taking that crap from Noranti to forget you. Which you gotta admit is kind of romantic. I’m just crazy about you.
- Aeryn: So it’s my fault?
- John: What? No!
- Talikaa: You like sexy?
- Chiana: Yeah. It’s my favorite color.
- John (to Pilot): You can do it, man. You're smart enough, you're good enough, and doggone it people like you.
- Pilot: Are you alright, Crichton?
- Chiana (After nailing D'Argo where the sun don't shine): Still not angry?
- D'Argo: No, I'm not. I should be... but I'm not.
- John: I know you can see me. Bad guys always see me. My plans suck. People die. It's always a mess.
- John: Along came a spider. Exploded beside her.
- This episode was shot before "Terra Firma" to allow time to prepare the sets for that episode. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.2)
- The tag scene between Aeryn and Crichton was expanded on set in order to allow Aeryn to vent her feelings. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.2)
- In order to prepare for the episode, first time Farscape director Kate Woods watched over 30 episodes of the series. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.2)
- Guy Gross, the composer, scored the scenes with Talikaa with an unusual combination of sounds including the dulcimer. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.2)
- The spider was entirely created by the CG department at Animal Logic, and as such a large silver ball was used on set for the actors to interact with. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.2)
- Dave Elsey designed an early version of the Talikaa spider that was half-woman, half-spider, like a Ray Harryhausen creature. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.2)
- The spider's disease was originally going to be far more graphic with makeup inspired by The Incredible Melting Man. The final scenes showing the victims of disease were filmed over four separate days, even though only short portions were used in the final edit. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.2)
- The episode references both "Crackers Don't Matter" and "Beware of Dog" through dialogue.
- This episode is the second in which the crew actually eat the monster afterwards. The first monster meal was in "Home on the Remains".
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
- Paula Arundell as Talikaa
- Chris Pitman as Nazradu
- Walter Grkovic as Outurak
- Duncan Young as Diagnosian
Achilles; Achilles heel; arn; atmospheric scrubber room; Aurora Chair; Austin Powers; chocolate; Command; comms; cooling rod; crindar; Diagnosan; docking web; dominar; drad; DRD; dren; Earth; Eine kleine Nachtmusik; fekik; frell; Grasshopper; greebol; hezmana; human; klempt; Kung Fu; lakah; Little Miss Muffet; Lo'La; maintenance bay; membrane orb; microt; mojo; Moya; Mozart; neural cluster; neuro biotracer chip; pulse rifle; roasted spider soup; Saturday Night Live; Scarran; Sebacean; slinky; Smalley, Stuart; Sparky; star chart; T'raltixx; Tormented Space; tralk; Vorc; Wolaxian arachnid;
- Farscape World Synopsis by Dani Moure