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Lava's a Many Splendored Thing

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Farscape episode
“Lava's a Many Splendored Thing”
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 04
Guest star(s) Raelee Hill (Sikozu); Melissa Jaffer (Noranti); John Adam (Raa'Keel); Jack Finsterer (Gleeg); Alan Flower (Frool); Ross Newton (Sloggard); Teo Gebert (Weldon); Mick Roughan (Airek)
Writer(s) Michael Miller
Director Michael Pattinson
Production no. 10404
Original airdate June 28, 2002 (US); October 21, 2002 (UK)
Episode chronology
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"What Was Lost - Resurrection" "Promises"

A short stop on a lava planet turns into a longer stay when Rygel is trapped in the clutches of malevolent pirates.


Ka D'Argo is still towing John Crichton's module, and there's still no sign of Moya. Rygel wants to land on the planet close by because he's starving, but the planet is hot and lifeless. Chiana comments that right now she could eat rock. Sikozu is surprised as Chiana ate only three days ago, asking how inefficient her body is. "How edible is yours?" Chiana bites back. Rygel farts, and moans that he needs food. Noranti spits out something, jilnak, and hands it out first to Rygel then the others, except Sikozu who offers her portion to Rygel. Noranti claims it's restorative. John wonders, "How come everything tastes like chicken?" "What's chicken?" Chiana asks.

Cut to D'Argo's ship, Lo'La, landing on the lava-filled planet. Rygel comes out of the ship on his ThroneSled, only to fly off to throw up. John follows, then D'Argo, and both join Chiana in the mass regurgitation. Noranti offers John something to help the cramp, which he declines. "I am inside out," says D'Argo. "But you're not hungry anymore!" Noranti points out. Rygel has gone down a nearby hole for a shlock. John, D'Argo, and Noranti follow him. At the bottom, Rygel has found some treasure that he clearly wants to swipe. "That stuff belongs to somebody else" John warns, and D'Argo throws it away, adding, "we have enough enemies already." Something seems to happen when what D'Argo threw hits the floor. Noranti finds some medicines, and thinks she recognizes some of the markings on the container. D'Argo wants to leave, but Rygel sets off a booby trap, and a column of amber substance solidifies around his body, and seals the entrance to the hole, with Chiana and Sikozu on the outside. The whole place is booby-trapped, and D'Argo can't shoot the hole open; they're stuck.

Rygel is moaning for the others to get him out, while Noranti continues to ramble about the markings. "D'Argo, we may have to stick granny in a hole" comments John. "I think we should burn her" D'Argo replies. They hear people coming, who kill the traps, as Noranti recognises the markings as Tarkan. John ushers her to go and hide with him and D'Argo while Rygel plays dead. The two men converse, as John and D'Argo discuss taking them out. Noranti says there should be no violence, while the men realise the traps have been set off, and notice Rygel. He farts, so the men realise that while he smells dead, he's not. Rygel apologizes for disturbing their work, but they realize he's a thief too. He tells them there's no one with him, and the men comm someone else, who tells them not to touch it (Rygel) as he's on his way. Noranti tells John and D'Argo that these are Tarkans – good people – and despite John's objections she introduces herself to the men. Rygel claims that he's never seen her before, but she says they're not alone – there's a human, and a Luxan too. She urges John and D'Argo to come on out, as John comments, "burning is too good for her!" John steps out and tries to move along, thanking the men for looking after Noranti and telling her to stop wandering off. He implies to them that she's a bit crazy and asks if they've seen his dog. Rygel tells John to get him out, and John has an idea: "Why don't we all put our guns down?", but two other men arrive and start shooting. Chiana and Sikozu are watching from the sealed hole, trying to make out what is going on down there. The shootout continues, but the men have body shields, so D'Argo, John and Noranti are forced to run. One of the men cuts Rygel from the floor (but leaves his body encased) and carries him off, dropping him down a chute.

Chiana thinks that the lights she saw were pulse blasts, and tells Sikozu they need to help them. Sikozu says that they have to get to them first. "Well, you're a genius. How?" Sikozu mentions the cannon on D'Argo's ship. Only D'Argo can operate it, but Chiana ponders if there might be another way in.

Rygel reaches the bottom of the chute, and witnesses a huge person in body armour come out from a pool of lava. Meanwhile, John, D'Argo and Noranti are running from the men. Noranti tells them these are Tarkan Freedom Fighters - heroes; there's no need to fight them. John points out that they're shooting at them, and D'Argo notes they fired first. Noranti wants to mediate, but John says she'll just get shot. "And that would be bad?" D'Argo asks.

Rygel asks the armored person, Raa'Keel, if they can discuss this. Raa'Keel is not happy when told that there are more intruders here. He asks Rygel how they found this place, but a nervous Rygel says no one told them; they found it by accident. When pressed he claims he was just putting back the chain he was going to steal. One of the men comms Raa'Keel to say that he has the intruders cornered, but he needs help. Raa'Keel says that he'll take care of it, while the other person keeps moving the crates. He asks the man on the comm. to describe the location, but the man says it all just looks like rock.

Noranti tells John and D'Argo that she trusts the Tarkans, but John and D'Argo don't. D'Argo tells John that it might be an idea to let Noranti mediate, so John finally agrees, but she yawns and drops to the floor – deep asleep.

Raa'Keel asks the man if there are any writings on the wall. There are some purple markings, which Raa'Keel tells the man to shoot. When he does it causes a huge explosion and rumble. D'Argo says "trouble," and as the lava begins to flow in where they are he remarks "same dren, different planet." "Yep, we're trapped. Again."

D'Argo wants John to jump, but John says that he can but the old bat can't. "Old bats can fly," says D'Argo, as he throws Noranti to the other side of the lava. D'Argo propels John across, but when he jumps he nearly falls backwards into lava, so he wraps his tongue around Noranti's neck to pull himself up.

Chiana couldn't find another entrance, while Sikozu has been trying to power up the ship's cannon. Chiana repeats that only D'Argo can operate it, but Sikozu says he'd be a fool not to set an override. Chiana gets an idea; they just need D'Argo's DNA.

Raa'Keel tells the leader of the men that his people are worthless. Rygel comms D'Argo to say that he's dying, and begs them to get him out of there. John asks where he is, when Raa'Keel grabs Rygel and asks "who's this?". "Lou Costello" is John's reply. He says that he is Raa'Keel, and Noranti introduces herself and says they're not enemies; it's a misunderstanding, they know they're Tarkan Freedom Fighters. Raa'Keel says that even though they approve of their work, Rygel attempted to rob them. John apologizes, and says they'll punish the slug appropriately. Raa'Keel says that they'll release Rygel, but knocks him out and tells John that Rygel doesn't look well – they'd better come get him. Raa'Keel says that they'll send an escort, and neither John nor D'Argo trust him, despite Noranti's objections. John wants to ambush the escort, hit him with a rock and take his belt (the shield). "That is your plan?" D'Argo asks. "Yeah." "To hit him with a rock, when they have these, like, shield things?" Apparently, the shields only work against pulse energy – they saw the man get burned, so John is sure a rock will work. Noranti announces that she wants to help.

Chiana and Sikozu check out all the piles of vomit and find D'Argo's, of which Chiana takes both a bite and a handful. On the ship, Sikozu wants to try to control it, but Chiana objects, as she's the one who put her hands in the vomit. Sikozu observed the starting procedure for the ship when they left Arnessk, so they start it, but Sikozu's never seen D'Argo use the cannon.

Noranti blows powder all through a chamber, where D'Argo and John hide. As the men come in to find them, Noranti turns saying "hey fellas...", and starts to dance. The men don't see Noranti, presumably due to the powder; instead they see a young lady wearing a skimpy outfit with blue hair. The men drool over her as she strips, and John and D'Argo sneak up behind them and whack them with rocks. Noranti continues to dance anyway, finishing with a strip, much to the chagrin of D'Argo and John.

Sikozu has got her own vomit, so has a go at working the ship. She gets it moving, and lines it up with the hole, but when she tries to fire the cannon nothing happens.

John has put on one of the men's body shields, and is told that it works automatically when fired at. D'Argo wants to test it on one of his John's appendages, but then shoots anyway and it works. Noranti asks if they can go now to talk with the Tarkans, but John points out there is no "we" - they have two belts and three people. Leaving Noranti behind, John and D'Argo let the men lead the way.

John arrives at Raa'Keel's chamber with the men, trying to use them as hostages. Raa'Keel shoots them instead, and activates booby traps around D'Argo and John. He adds that they aren't freedom fighters at all; they're robbing them.

John points out that they don't care, and D'Argo adds that they've performed quite a few burglaries themselves. Raa'Keel asks who else is with them, but D'Argo refuses to say, prompting Raa'Keel to throw lava over them when they don't cooperate.

Chiana and Sikozu argue, and when Chiana tells her to try anything the cannon fires, opening the hole. Below, they feel the rumble, and D'Argo realizes it's Lo'La's cannon, so it must be the girls. John tells Raa'Keel that it's their squad, and D'Argo explains, "we die, you die." Raa'Keel goes to throw lava on them, but the leader of the men stops him, saying if it's true they'll need hostages. Raa'Keel asks why now, when he's been planning this for so long. John has no sympathy, "life sucks, doesn't it?" "Well, quite often in fact," D'Argo adds. Raa'Keel leaves to search for the ship. Meanwhile, Chiana leaves to check down the hole, and suggests that Sikozu turn the ship invisible.

Raa'Keel and one of the men argue, with Chiana nearly running into them. D'Argo and John try to convince the person guarding them to betray Raa'Keel, but he doesn't listen. Rygel forces himself off an edge to drop to the floor, and in the distraction John shoots the person, but Rygel gets knocked into the trap and becomes completely encased again. Just as Raa'Keel and the man get to the surface, Sikozu turns the ship invisible.

The weapon they use to melt the amber substance runs out, so D'Argo leaves to get a new canister from the level above. The man suddenly gets up and goes to hit John with Rygel, but John fights back and he and Rygel fall into the lava pool.

John wants to try activating the shield so he can go into the pool to rescue Rygel, but Harvey tries to talk him out of it. John shoots his finger to activate the shield to give it a try, and the shield protects him from the lava while it's activated.

Raa'Keel and the man find nothing wrong with their transport, so decide it must have been a bluff, and Raa'Keel returns to dispose of the hostages. Chiana is still roaming, when Noranti grabs her and says they have to hide; these are not real Tarkans but "highly evil men." She tells Chiana they have to get a message to real Tarkans.

D'Argo and the man get into a fight when they meet in a corridor. John finds Rygel in the lava, but Raa'Keel pops up behind him, and in the mean time D'Argo decapitates the man and his head rolls down the shoot, landing in front of John. Raa'Keel knocks John's pulse pistol away, and John's shield switches to reserve mode. Chiana walks in, and John yells to shoot him. John's shield is reactivated, and he manages to overpower Raa'Keel and make him encased. With Raa'Keel out the way, John finds Rygel, and yells, "Can I get a hell yeah?" as he holds Rygel up in triumph.

John frees Rygel from the amber substance, when Tarkans approach. As the crew prepare to fight, Noranti tells them these are real Tarkans, and she told them everything. "And they believed you?" John asks. A Tarkan explains that Raa'Keel was once one of them, but now he's a traitor and a thief, and tells them they're free to go, as long as they take Rygel with them.

John thanks a Tarkan for the shield belt, as the Tarkan thanks Noranti for the jilnak, prompting John and D'Argo to drag her away. Rygel says that he'll never eat again, as D'Argo, John and Noranti arrive on the ship. D'Argo asks what the mess and the smell are. "This is all you. Well, from you, " Sikozu replies. When they lift off, the ship informs them that it's received a transmission; it's from Pilot, transmitting Moya's location and saying they look forward to the crew's return. "By the yotz, Moya's all right!" Rygel exclaims. "She's waiting for us!"

Memorable quotesEdit

John: D - we may have to stick Granny in a home.
D'Argo: I think we should burn her.
John: You burn your old folks?
D'Argo: No, it just sounded like a good idea.
D'Argo: Okay - do you think we can take 'em out?
John: I don't know - what if they got friends downstairs?
D'Argo: I'll take these two - you can take the friends.
John: What if there's a hundred of 'em?
D'Argo: Of these guys? We should be so lucky.
Noranti: And they'll keep shooting at us until we die unless we talk to them! So let me mediate!
D'Argo: You know, maybe we should let her try.
John: Nah, she's gonna get shot.
D'Argo: And that would be bad?
D'Argo: Same dren, different planet.
D'Argo: What's your idea?
John: All right, here's the thing: I think that we ambush the escort, we hit 'em with a rock and take his belt.
D'Argo: That is your plan?
John: Yeah.
D'Argo: To hit him with a ROCK when they have these - like - shield things?
John: The shields work against pulse energy - they don't work against other things. We saw the guy get burned.
D'Argo: Yeah but not by a rock!
Chiana (Staring at a giant pile of vomit): This is D'Argo's.
Sikozu: No living creature could produce that!
Chiana: You haven't met many Luxans, have ya?
Noranti: I am the woman, you are the man! (Full monty)
John: Oh my god!
D'Argo: Yaaaaaagghhhhhh!
D'Argo: It's no good, they're shielded.
John: They have body armor? Well that's a hell of an invention, why don't we have that?
D'Argo: I think we should try it out. Do you have any small appendages you don't need?
John: Small appendages?
Noranti: Try his buttock, that's big.
John: Hey lady that's sexual harassment! Not the butt! The butt is off limits! How about a heel or something... And why don't we shoot you (D'Argo)? You have a small appendage.
D'Argo: (kicks Noranti) Oi!
John: This is unbelievable! Can't cook, won't bathe, and now she's narcoleptic! She's triple threat Grandma! Get up!

Background informationEdit

  • Claudia Black (Aeryn) does not appear in this episode.
  • Lani Tupu makes his first appearance as Pilot since the end of Season 3.
  • The belly dancer's design was inspired by the iconic "gray" aliens. Dave Elsey felt that it was time that they made an appearance. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1)
  • Though we don't see it, Jim Henson's Creature Shop added huge tufts of armpit hair on Noranti. That's what Crichton and D'Argo are reacting to. Glimpses can be caught of Noranti's wide shots. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1)
  • Both Melissa Jaffer and Christina Ramon performed to a tune Guy Gross had composed and recorded prior to filming. He replaced the music in the final cut with a piece that better complimented the editing of the episode. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1)
  • John Adam, who played Raa'Keel, had previously played Bekhesh. Like with that character, he was nearly blind in the costume. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1)
  • Production designer Tim Ferrier and his team built all of the sets for this episode, complete with flowing lava. He described this as one of the toughest episodes for him and his department. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1)
  • For the sequence in which Rygel was encased in amber, the Jim Henson Creature Shop created an amber liquid which would look realistic on film but was easier to use than actual amber. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1)
  • This episode reveals Sikozu's ability to go long periods of time without food. It also reveals that Chiana is apparently able to somehow identify D'Argo's vomit by taste.
  • Sikozu breaks a Farscape tradition by uttering "damn" and "dammit" as curses, rather than uttering one of the substitute words usually given to alien characters (i.e. frell, yotz, etc.). This isn't necessarily a continuity breach as it calls back to "Crichton Kicks" in which Sikozu learns English from Crichton; in all likelihood the character is actually speaking to herself in English in this scene (if someone were to hear her without the translator microbes).

Links and referencesEdit


Guest starsEdit

Guest castEdit


Voice artistsEdit

Uncredited co-starsEdit


Abbott and Costello; antler; armarack; Arnessk; Buckwheat; calamari; Cavari; chicken; comms; Costello, Lou; crispy grolack; deer; dog; dren; eema; Eldor II; Farscape-1; frell; Guido; Harvey; hezmana; Human; jilnak; klempt; Larry; Life Cereal; Lo'La; Lone Ranger; Luxan; Moe; Moya; Mikey; Mooka chain; newt; Nobel Peace Prize; Pompeii; pulse pistol; pulse weapon; Pyle, Gomer; redshirt; schlock; shield belt; solar day; Sork wing; Sparky; Star Trek; Stone Cold Steve Austin; Tarkan; Tarkan Freedom Fighters; The Andy Griffith Show; The Wizard of Oz; Three Stooges; ThroneSled; Tin Man; tinked; utu; whoopee cushion; Winona; yotz

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