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A Bug's Life

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Farscape episode
“A Bug's Life”
Abl
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 18
Guest star(s) Paul Leyden (Larraq); Richard White (Thonn); Zoe Coyle (Hassan); Michael Tuahine (Rhed); Gigi Edgley (Chiana)
Writer(s) Stephen Rae(Story by Doug Heyes, Jr.)
Director Tony Tilse
Production no. 10118
Original airdate September 17, 1999 (US); April 17, 2000 (UK)
Episode chronology
← Previous Next →
"Through the Looking Glass" "Nerve"

Peacekeepers take over Moya, and bring along a little friend...

SynopsisEdit

Zhaan is locking Ka D'Argo up in chains, because a Peacekeeper Marauder is headed toward them, although it is not from Crais' command carrier. It's John Crichton's idea to lock them up, and Pilot closes the cells as the Peacekeepers board. Aeryn Sun greets them with a huge gun, and asks for their regiment and assignment. One Peacekeeper asks her to identify herself, which she does. He says he is Captain Larraq and his assignment is none of her business. Their Marauder has a cesium fuel leak. Crichton enters the room, in full Peacekeeper Captain's uniform. He orders Aeryn to ease her weapon, and asks Larraq what he is doing on his ship. Larraq says he's on a Priority Red One mission, and so he is assuming command of Moya...

Crichton says he thinks not, and the DRDs start shooting. He says if Larraq needs his help, he suggests he asks nicely. Crichton and Aeryn show Larraq the prisoners, and Crichton says they're experimenting with Leviathan mastery without the use of a control collar, and they just happened to recapture the prisoners. He says that they're using a neural control on Pilot. Larraq says that every test he's heard of so far resulted in the loss of the Leviathan and its crew. He says that he's got one crate that he needs to get back to Peacekeeper territory without delay. He says that it's urgent, he'll give the coordinates to the base and they'll be there in twenty arns. It's a new Gammak Base, top secret, inside the Uncharted Territories.

The other Peacekeepers are unloading the cargo, when Chiana comes in and says that the captain ordered her to tend to them, so she's brought them food. One of the male Peacekeepers, Thonn, and Chiana flirt with each other, and she gets an imprint of the key he used to open the cargo container.

The Peacekeepers are eating, whilst Larraq and Aeryn talk. He asks if she's ever had any dealings with special ops before, to which she replies she's heard of them. She then goes off on one about them, and he says just think, she's now going to sit and eat with one.

Crichton is talking with Zhaan and D'Argo, and they're getting anxious, still wanting to take the Peacekeepers by surprise. Crichton says that they should learn all they can – ignorance is also dangerous. D'Argo says that he won't be chained up again, and Zhaan says that they should let Rygel know, but when Zhaan goes to tell him he's used his hidden escape route to leave. Thonn comes along, as Crichton is with D'Argo. D'Argo grabs him and Thonn strikes him, before quickly getting out and locking the cell. They leave and Zhaan tells D'Argo that he did well.

Aeryn and Larraq are still talking, and she talks a little about her history. He says that the sooner he gets the cargo away the happier he will be. She recognises his stasis gun, which is for capturing and not killing. She asks if it's wise to take his cargo to a science base, and he says that it's perfect.

Chiana moulds the key, whilst Rygel goes to check out the cargo. Chiana enters, key in hand, as Thonn says he'll check out the cargo bay. Chiana says they're both here for the same thing – to snurch any valuables. He says he's not a snurcher, he procures. She says she'll half it, no less since she has the key. She unlocks the container but neither want to open it. Chiana eventually goes ahead, and inside is some kind of life form. Thonn enters and finds the container open. He goes to check it out, when it appears to grab hold of him. The other Peacekeeper male enters, and Thonn shoots him, locks the door and kills the life form. He hears Chiana, and grabs her and kisses her.

Larraq, Aeryn and the female Peacekeeper, Hassan, enter. They find the dead Peacekeeper on the floor, and he dead life form. Larraq says it's escaped, and then they find Thonn. Crichton enters, and Larraq tells them they're on fugitive recovery; it's an intellant virus. They isolated that life form when it was being used as a host. It can only affect one person at a time, unless it lays its spores, which it does if it's in the same host for about an arn. Larraq asks Thonn what happened; he says he doesn't know. Larraq notices Chiana, who says that Rygel opened the crate, then the Peacekeeper came in and started firing. Thonn says it could've happened. Rygel is in an access shaft and so could be anywhere. Aeryn privately tells Crichton that their chance for surprise is gone and the plan is a disaster.

They're all searching for Rygel, when D'Argo and Zhaan attack the Peacekeepers. Crichton tells Larraq that they need the prisoners, and goes and convinces them to join them in finding the Hynerian. D'Argo lowers his weapon. Larraq explains the search plan: they search in pairs, and no one goes alone from now on. The host body will show signs of high acidity, but only after the virus has left them. They should have no contact with the Hynerian.

Pilot has not located Rygel, so he must still be in the access shafts. Hassan tells Zhaan that the host remembers nothing once the virus leaves. Crichton and Chiana enter a shaft, and Chiana continues to move in an eerie manner. Aeryn asks Larraq why they didn't kill the virus. He says his orders were to capture it alive, to study it for use in battle. She says it's a costly price to lose much of his crew.

Aeryn and Larraq find Rygel hiding. Everyone convenes there, and Rygel says that he can explain, when Larraq hits him with the stasis gun. Zhaan and Crichton both get good looks at Chiana, who is looking a tad nervous. She backs into Crichton, seemingly doing something to him...

Zhaan says that she must formulate something to get out without killing Rygel, but Crichton wants to lock them back up. They don't want to, but he says he'll get an antibody from Hassan, and they should use the time to learn more about the base. Thonn comes along again, so Crichton punches Zhaan back into her cell.

Larraq and Hassan tell Aeryn that Rygel will die before they get the virus out of him. He tells Aeryn that numerically speaking the virus is beating him. He asks Aeryn to join him, as he's seen her in action, and likes the idea of having her close. He says maybe they can discuss it at the Gammak Base. Meanwhile, Crichton goes to Hassan, and batters her to death with a pole to her head! He then smashes the stasis gun, before leaving.

Zhaan and D'Argo have called Chiana, and Zhaan asks how she is feeling, if she is feeling dizzy. Chiana says yes, but how does she know. She gets Chiana to lick her bedcover, which contains litmus fibers. It turns red signifying acid: she had the virus! She says she doesn’t remember, and D'Argo says she wouldn't – the host suffers memory loss.

Aeryn goes to command, where Crichton has increased speed. He says he's doing exactly what he would really do in his situation, and has words with Larraq. Thonn enters and says Hassan is dead, and the stasis gun destroyed. Crichton grabs a gun when Chiana, Zhaan and D'Argo run in, Zhaan saying the virus is still loose and she thinks it's in Crichton. He punches Aeryn, then Larraq, but they all manage to restrain him. Zhaan looks at her hands and says "oh no!" Crichton gets up and asks what is going on – the virus has jumped! Everyone aims guns at each other.

Zhaan explains what happened, and Larraq asks what's with all this "John" dren. D'Argo says that the topic is off for now. The virus can't re-enter Crichton, so it's in one of them. D'Argo says Zhaan said she could make an antibody, and she says she will try. They all go and she creates it, when Crichton notices Hassan's body. Chiana sees him look, and tells him it wasn't his fault – it was the virus. Zhaan tests herself, saying an acid life form would react to such a high level of alkaline even if it doesn't kill it, so it's not in her. Crichton tests Aeryn - she's clean. He tests Thonn, who says it's in Larraq, and everyone starts screaming. D'Argo and Larraq both say it's in the other. Crichton tests D'Argo when Larraq runs – it's in him! Pilot blocks off the tier, and Larraq grabs Aeryn and shoots Thonn. Larraq says that they will let him use the Marauder to escape, and he'll leave them be. D'Argo says if it spawns it could contaminate thousands. Larraq asks if that's a problem, and stabs Aeryn! Crichton goes after him, as D'Argo calls for Zhaan. Larraq gets to the Marauder, but Crichton lets him go. He asks Pilot for the first stage of starburst, which ignites the fuel leak, blowing up the ship.

Zhaan is seeing to Rygel, and D'Argo says anything that happens to him he brought upon himself. Zhaan says she's sure he learned his lesson. D'Argo's removed the chains from his cell, and says he'll never be locked up again. She says it must have been difficult for him, and he prays there will never be a next time.

Crichton is with Aeryn, and says the virus and Larraq are dead. He says she's lucky that he missed her heart. She says it was closer than he thinks. She asks about the Gammak Base, and he says they're getting as away from it, but still don't know why it's here. She asks him why he's here, and he replies that he wanted to be there if... and she says thanks. He says don't mention it, and she asks why she ever would.

Memorable quotesEdit

Larraq: Awful big ship for one little girl.
Aeryn: I can handle big.
Rygel: Oh! How dare you sneak up on me like that! I should make you wear a bell round your neck!
Chiana: Keep your fantasies to yourself, frog boy.
Rygel: Fantasies about you? Uggh!

Background informationEdit

  • Ricky Eyres' original idea for using the cells as storage spaces came back into play for this episode. He commented after the filming that "we should have done a shot showing there were thirty of them on either side of the corridor, and also on other levels. The thing about those shots is that you can reuse them every now and again, and each time you drop them in, it just reinforces the scale of Moya." (Farscape: The Illustrated Companion)
  • "Cats and dogs living together" is an ad lib by Ben Browder, referencing Bill Murray's classic line from Ghostbusters. Rockne S. O'Bannon was impressed with Browder's abilities, commenting "It's a line from Ghostbusters, and he delivers it exactly the way Bill Murray did. The minute I heard this ad libbing, I went, 'that's fantastic!'" (Farscape: The Illustrated Companion, "Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • O'Bannon liked the contrast between this episode and the prior, "Through the Looking Glass", with this being militaristic, and the prior having a "very science fiction-y feel." He continued, "I particularly liked the Chiana/Rygel scenes. There was also some nice Aeryn stuff. It gave us some background on her, and we met a young man she could identify with." ("Farscape Chronicles" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • Crichton portrayed a Peacekeeper in this issue, and Browder came up with the idea to play it with an accent. O'Bannon noted that "he wisely decided to add that in, which was great. By this stage, our audience would buy that Crichton had spent all this time with the Peacekeepers and with Aeryn, so he could carry it off." ("Farscape Chronicles" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • The original story was written by Doug Heyes, Jr. who joined the production as a consulting producer for the remainder of the season. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • Garner MacLennan Design wanted to do a 3D animated Marauder for "Exodus From Genesis" but were unable to due to time constraints. They managed to do so in this episode. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • Ben Browder noted that this is the first episode in which John Crichton deliberately takes a life. Although his killing of Hassan technically doesn't count as he was under control of the virus, the same cannot be said when he orchestrates the death of Larraq in order to stop the virus. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • Hints were dropped in the episode that foretold the virus' reappearance, but it never returned in the show. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.3)
  • In the original broadcast schedule of Season 1 on Sci-Fi, this episode was followed by a nearly four-month mid-season hiatus before the season's concluding story arc began.

Links and referencesEdit

StarringEdit

Guest starsEdit

and

PuppeteersEdit

with

Voice artistsEdit

ReferencesEdit

arn; black ghost; cargo bay; center chamber; cesium fuel; command carrier; comms; control collar; cycle; Delvian; Delvian High Council; DRD; dren; frell; Gammak Base; Ghostbusters; hamman; Hot Lips; Hynerian; intellant virus; jinka pole; kinkoid; Leviathan; Leviathan access shaft; litmus fiber; marauder; MASH; Mensa; microt; Moya; nerfer; neural control; Peacekeeper; Peacekeeper High Command; Peacekeeper Special Operations; pervo; Pip; pulse rifle; Science Military; scrub runner; shivvies; single infection stage; snurch; Sparky; starburst; stasis gun; ThroneSled; tinked; ugarian table spud; Uncharted Territories; Ustar Regiment; Zhaan's mother

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