Farscape episode
“Vitas Mortis”
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 02
Guest star(s) Melissa Jaffer (Nilaam- old); Anna Lise Philips (Nilaam- young)
Writer(s) Grant McAloon
Director Tony Tilse
Production no. 10203
Original airdate March 24, 2000 (US); June 19, 2000 (UK)
Episode chronology
← Previous Next →
"Mind the Baby" "Taking the Stone"

Ka D'Argo finds an Orican, and decides to help restore her life, but at what cost?


Zhaan, D'Argo and John Crichton enter a strange building, to be greeted by a guard. He quickly retreats, and they soon find themselves in a room, where they are confronted by a female Luxan, Nilaam, who recognises D'Argo as a General. He quickly tries to leave, because she is an Orican. She tells him not to go, and calls him closer. She's dying, and he says that he will attend her, if she deems him worthy. She judges him, but finds him unworthy, and throws him back proclaiming him a fraud.

D'Argo says that he wants to leave, but Zhaan tells him he shouldn't. She tells Crichton that Nilaam didn't mean to harm D'Argo – she's an Orican; a holy woman revered by all Luxans. D'Argo says that she called him a fraud because he's not a real General, even though the markings on him suggest he is. His General was wounded during his last campaign, and to protect him D'Argo took his mark of rank. Crichton and Zhaan say that Nilaam should understand why he did it, and D'Argo agrees and goes to see her, where he persuades her to listen.

On Moya, Chiana is doing D'Argo's washing. Aeryn asks her to do hers, but she refuses, saying that she does D'Argo's because she likes D'Argo. Meanwhile, D'Argo tells Crichton and Zhaan that he will attend Nilaam, and he will assist her in the Ritual of Passing. Crichton is upset because it could kill him, but D'Argo says it's the highest honour Luxans know. Zhaan says she envies him, because during the ritual he will go part way into the next realm, and then come back. Crichton tries to deter him, but he's made up his mind.

While D'Argo and Zhaan return to Moya, Crichton visits Nilaam, in hopes that she may have died. Crichton says that he's worried that his friend may die. She can't promise that no harm will come to D'Argo, only that she will try to keep him safe. She says that she doesn't want to die, and hasn't seen another Luxan for nine cycles.

Rygel visits D'Argo, as he wants to sell Nilaam some things. Chiana enters and asks D'Argo if the ritual might be dangerous, to which D'Argo lies and says not in the least.

D'Argo returns to Nilaam and they begin the ritual, as Crichton waits outside. D'Argo starts screaming, and Crichton tries to go in, and when he makes it he pulls out his gun, but Nilaam zaps it out of his hand. When Crichton tends to D'Argo, they realize that Nilaam has somehow regained her youth.

Chiana is stuck in the amnexus fluids, which froze during the ritual. Pilot informs them that Moya's hydric systems are failing on a number of tiers.

Nilaam says that she was supposed to die, but on sensing D'Argo's power, she did the Ritual of Renewal instead. She then starts caressing D'Argo, and Crichton makes a hasty exit.

Zhaan can't break down the frozen fluid, and Pilot says that areas of Moya's outer skin are deteriorating, but they don't know why. Nilaam and D'Argo finish up, and she says that she can do anything now, including helping D'Argo find his son.

They still can't free Chiana, as Rygel enters, apparently awoken from his sleep to find the weak spots on the outer hull, which has started to breach. Rygel says that hull breaches are almost unheard of on Leviathans, when suddenly Moya shakes and the hull breaches.

Rygel is sucked away, but gets stuck in the hole, plugging the breach. Nilaam and D'Argo come along, and Nilaam can supposedly help. She tries, but Moya shakes again and the deterioration increases; it doesn't work, so she goes off to pray.

D'Argo goes to Nilaam while she meditates, asking if they caused it. She says that she didn't know at the time, but the power she sensed during the ritual was Moya's, not D'Argo's. but she says that Moya will recover. D'Argo says that Moya is dying, and she wants to go get her Tevek Scrolls, and leave because she is a disease to the ship.

As Aeryn and Zhaan discuss Nilaam's involvement, Pilot chimes in and asks to speak to Aeryn Sun in private. Pilot tells her that he is dying, but he doesn't know how they can fix it. Moya is apparently feeling the effects of old age. Aeryn storms off, saying she won't let Nilaam keep what she has stolen.

Aeryn goes after D'Argo and Nilaam, and shoots at her. D'Argo gets in the way, but Nilaam's separates the shot and sends it round them. She surrounds Aeryn and Crichton by ice, and gets D'Argo to leave with her.

Nilaam's incantations are not working, so she wants to get as far away as possible. D'Argo will not leave Moya, as she's more than just "a ship". Nilaam says that she can't lose it, and she doesn't know what to do. Crichton comes to speak with D'Argo, and says they're out of time. He says that he doesn't know what Nilaam intended, but it is murder. D'Argo says that he knows what has to be done, and gets upset.

D'Argo goes to Nilaam, and she says that she treasured the gifts he gave her. She says she's not afraid anymore, and asks for D'Argo's strength on last time. They carry out the Ritual of Passing, and Nilaam dies in D'Argo's arms.

On Moya, Chiana is free, as is Rygel. Pilot thanks Aeryn for her concern. When she asks how long he will live, he says that most Leviathans survive for 300 cycles, but his species live for over 1000. When bonded to Leviathans they live no longer than their host. When Moya dies, so will he, and he wouldn't have it any other way. Crichton visits D'Argo, who says he wants some time alone, but not yet.

Memorable quotesEdit

Rygel: Am I intact?
Aeryn: You seem to be all there, but I can't say I looked too closely.
Pilot: Decompression has ceased. What happened?
Crichton: We got lucky Sparky's got a big ass.
Pilot: Pardon?
Crichton: Butt, hole - I'll explain later, Pilot
Aeryn: Useless! I wonder if I've got any grenades left.
Chiana: She's kidding, right? Tell me she was kidding.
Crichton: Well, with Aeryn, you never know.

Background informationEdit

  • Anthony Simcoe had to be propped up on pillows for the sex scene so that the costume seam would not show. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v2.1)
  • Gigi Edgley had a wisdom tooth removed shortly before filming the scenes where Chiana was stuck in fluid. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v2.1)
  • Dave Elsey decided that female Luxans wouldn't have beards because they just "don't work." ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v2.1)
  • Grant McAloon worked on this script before the series was officially renewed. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v2.1)
  • Rockne S. O'Bannon remembered that the episode "didn't fly in the face of anything that was originally planned for Luxans, but everything for that episode was created at the moment." ("Farscape Chronicles" - Starburst Edition DVD v2.1)
  • Both Edgley and Simcoe remember looking for anything in the scripts that would explain the attraction between their characters, and Edgley said, "we were trying to find some sort of chemical reaction so the audience would buy that there's an attraction there. It was good to work on the scene where he's down on the planet and something's gone wrong, and she picks up on it." ("Farscape Chronicles" - Starburst Edition DVD v2.1)
  • Tony Tilse had some trouble adjusting to the new Homebush Bay studios saying, "we were in a new set, it was really weird. We were expecting to be at Fox. You'd walk out of a set expecting to be going through a door that would take you to your office, and you'd be in the car park or the river! [...] Through all those first few episodes of that season, we all felt as if we were finding our feet again." ("Farscape Chronicles" - Starburst Edition DVD v2.1)
  • Crichton's reference to ripping out D'Argo's liver and supping it with Chianti is a reference to Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v2.1)
  • The episode title, "Vitas Mortis", is Latin that can translate in a number of ways, but vita means "life", and mortis means death.
  • This episode marks the only screen appearance of the female Luxan.
  • The exterior establishing shot of the structure in which the Orican lives is a digital composite of Barcelona's Sagrada Familia temple (forming here the towers and center) and another building (forming the base).

Links and referencesEdit


Guest starsEdit


Voice artistsEdit


amnexus; arn; barcode; Chianti; commerce planet; cycle; Delvian; DRD; hydric system; frell; General; hamman; honor roll; Human; Irish coffee; Ka Jothee; Lecter, Hannibal; Leviathan; Luxan; magazine; microt; Moya; Orican; otec lamp; Qualta Blade; rank tattoo; Ritual of Passing; Ritual of Renewal; Sluggo; sluice chamber; Sparky; Sterikk, Fin; "take a number"; Tevek Scroll; The Silence of the Lambs; transport hangar; transport pod; Uncharted Territories

External linkEdit