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Mental as Anything

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Farscape episode
“Mental as Anything”
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 15
Guest star(s) Blair Venn (Macton Tal); John Brumpton (Katoya); Rachel Gordon (Lo'Laan)
Writer(s) Mark Saraceni
Director Geoff Bennett
Production no. 10415
Original airdate January 31, 2003 (US); January 20, 2003 (UK)
Episode chronology
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"Twice Shy" "Bringing Home the Beacon"

When Scorpius brings the boys of Moya to receive special training from an individual named Katoya, Ka D'Argo comes face to face with his wife's murderer, Macton Tal. But Macton claims he didn't kill Lo'Laan Tal (his sister), it was D'Argo himself who did during one of his uncontrollable hyper-rages. Though reluctant to believe him, and insistent he did not, D'Argo still can't help but wonder...


John and Aeryn Sun are sitting in Pilot's den. Pilot tells them that they've reached the optimum departure point and Rygel, Scorpius, and D'Argo are waiting for John on Lo'La, while Chiana, Sikozu, and Noranti are already in a transport pod. John opens his Christmas gift from Aeryn – a remote control. "Does something come with this?" John asks with a knowing smile. She tells him yes, something big that's pretty much taking over his room. John tells Pilot they'd actually stay behind rather, and sit and watch and eat popcorn like normal people. Pilot tells him that D'Argo is waiting. John tells Aeryn he has to go look after Scorpius; Aeryn says she should go with him. John tells her she knows that's not possible and she needs to look after the girls. She says that's not funny and he tells her it'd be better than mental arts training. "I don't know, you could do with the mental discipline," she tells him. "Not from someone Scorpy recommends. You got the better job." Sarcastically, she says rummaging around a dead Leviathan settlement looking for a Moya part is thrilling? She'd much rather swap places with him. Pilot tells Aeryn that now Chiana is asking where she is, and so they say "Merry Christmas," kiss and part ways.

D'Argo, Rygel, John, and Scorpius are at the training camp. The trainer, Katoya, tells them their objective is mental discipline, a skill few ever achieve. He tells them of the task chairs, which provide access to a "mindscape", where they will compete with an opponent to the point of great pain. If they endure the pain, they'll succeed. Retreat, and they'll suffer the consequences. He gives them 80 microts to leave if they have self-doubt, after which the Juxtowi crystals on their heads will activate and on any attempt to leave it will bore through their brain. John says he needs to know about the creature that attacked his family and killed his friends and Scorpius assures him that if it's from Tormented Space Katoya will know about it. Scorpius says his price is completion of the course.

D'Argo smells something that gives him flashbacks. Rygel comments it's "the stench of that frelling Charrid", also in training. "Oh, I know that odor," D'Argo assures. That person pulls off a mask he's wearing, and it's indeed someone D'Argo knows - Macton, the man who killed his wife. D'Argo attacks him. "You killed my wife. You set me up and then you sent me to prison," he shouts. Macton says he didn't want the truth then and won't now, and tells the others to let D'Argo hit him like he beat Lo'Laan. As they jostle for the advantage, Katoya separates them, saying, "That ends this."

As they sit in a room outside the main chamber, John asks D'Argo if he's okay. Rygel says that Macton's a liar and he can't believe a Peacekeeper has found them. He suggests they leave before any more arrive. Scorpius tells him that they will not be permitted to leave prematurely. They agreed to say; they must obey the rules. John says they won't stick around and wait for a Marauder, regardless of the rules. Scorpius tells him that this sector of Tormented Space is forbidden to Peacekeepers without express orders from Peacekeeper High Command, so it's likely Macton is here unofficially. D'Argo says that Macton destroyed his family, his wife, and his son and deserves to die.

D'Argo has a flashback to a time when, at his home, he overheard Macton telling Lo'Laan that D'Argo is a Luxan, and he can't help but hurt her. She retorts that they are in love and D'Argo would never hurt her, nor would she hurt D'Argo. Macton promptly storms out.

"Now we're both here," D'Argo says, "One of us must die. I wouldn't run even if I could." John says he's got D'Argo's back on this, but Katoya won't let them disrupt his class, so they should wait until after training. They are called back to the arena.

Katoya asks John to join him for a demonstration; John says he's here to watch. Katoya tells him everyone must participate. John says that after everything he's had in his head, he won't offer another chunk for Katoya's games. "It is not a game," Katoya insists. John tells Katoya to fail him, but he won't get in. Katoya looks to Scorpius, who agrees. John tells Scorpius it proves nothing to him if he wins.

Scorpius steps in and they are in a huge blackened room with a grid of tiny lights like a starry midnight sky, on a platform. The task-chairs are within a metal frame icosahedron looking device. There is a glowing orange icosahedron (hologram/energy-ball? - in shape of a mini replica of the device they are in) hovering around, that they are pushing towards each other with their minds. Katoya tells Scorpius to overcome the pain. They push it back and forth with their minds and Katoya tells him not to withhold his efforts, nor is anger a substitute for clarity. The task may be completed with a minimum of harm. Katoya pushes it against Scorpius, asking if they should end this, Scorpius pushes it back almost hitting it's target. "I was just starting to enjoy the pain," he replies, as Katoya retaliates, gives a final push, and it smashes against Scorpius.

When Scorpius gets off, John sarcastically comments on how constructive it was. Scorpius tells him it's not meant to be painless. "It never will be painless, John," he assures him.

John goes to the bathroom, where Macton is waiting. John asks why he's here, and Macton says he's responding to D'Argo's death threats; D'Argo told him he was coming for him. Macton says he won't allow D'Argo to kill him to conceal what he did to his wife, my sister – he killed Lo'Laan. John says that it was Macton who killed her, but he tells John that D'Argo killed her in a fit of hyper-rage. John says D'Argo says he didn't do it and that's good enough for him. "You do know that Luxan hyper-rage causes blackouts?" Macton asks, adding that any honest Luxan would tell him that. And again insists that D'Argo was the one who killed his wife, just doesn't remember, or has blocked out, doing it.

John returns to the chamber, where Rygel wants to go up against the Charrid. Katoya tells him this is not a game. "It's a war of wills," Rygel says, "Where else will I get chance at a fair fight, where I have the advantage?" Katoya allows Rygel to proceed. D'Argo asks what lies Macton told John. He admits to sending the death threats. John says he doesn't want to talk about it anymore, as it will piss D'Argo off. D'Argo says he's pissed off already, so John tells him about the mention of Luxan's hyper-rage causing blackouts...

D'Argo flashes back to a moment when he went in to hyper-rage in front of Lo'Laan because he didn't want Macton in his house.

Back in the arena, D'Argo says that blackouts during hyper-rage do happen, but he learned to control them successfully. Young Luxans are genetically violent and the impulses take cycles to master, which is why Luxans aren't allowed to marry young. He says Lo'Laan knew he would never hurt her and he made a solemn vow that if he ever did he would leave immediately, no questions.

Rygel is groaning and frothing from expending so much energy against the Charrid. John tells Katoya, "Excuse me Master Jedi, Sparky there looks like he's loosing a few brain cells", and so maybe it's time to let him out. "It was his choice," is Katoya's reply. John and D'Argo approach to take him out anyway and are both thrown back by an invisible force by Katoya. Rygel ultimately prevails and overcomes the Charrid and wins. He smiles triumphant... then promptly collapses.

D'Argo and John take Rygel to the outer room and D'Argo says he's like ice. John, angry, tells Katoya that they're leaving, and this wouldn't have happened if he'd allowed them to take Rygel out before. Katoya just ignores him, then exclaims, "Your training isn't over," and as John turns his back on him, strikes him down the stairs. "It's just begun," he adds.

The trainees enter, along with Scorpius and D'Argo. Scorpius says that John is fine; he's just been moved to remedial training. D'Argo was thinking about Macton and Scorpius says that perhaps he should remain focused and heed their example. Katoya calls him up and Scorpius reiterates the need to stay focused.

D'Argo flashes back to asking Lo'Laan if he hurt her. She says they'll get through it. "If I did ever hurt you, you'd tell me, wouldn't you?" he asks. She says he's never hurt her, and promises she'd tell him if he did.

D'Argo is in a room with barriers of blue energy beams and has to try to find his way out. Katoya tells him to release his mind and find the path. D'Argo keeps getting hurt by the barriers and eventually gets so angry that Katoya stops the task, telling him to exert even a microt of self-control over his personal impulses is the point of the exercise.

In another room, D'Argo says he's leaving. Katoya tells him that will not help him find the answers he's looking for. D'Argo gets angry again, telling Katoya he's sick of the mind games and that if he remains here he will kill Macton. He stops his anger slowly and Katoya tells him that proves he can control it.

John is locked up in a small barred cell that has a coaled furnace that takes up a quarter of the cage's floor space. He calls for D'Argo, but gets no answer. Meanwhile, Rygel tells D'Argo that Macton must be lying, why?, because he's a Peacekeeper. Macton is just trying to get to him. D'Argo says that he and Lo'Laan were happy together and Macton can't change that. He says he should have killed Macton. "Isn't that what you set out to do when we all left Moya?" Rygel asks. D'Argo says part of him knew that wouldn't bring Lo'Laan back, but the other part wanted to let him know he knew exactly where Macton was. Rygel urges him to pay attention to the part that wants to kill Macton, so he can finally get it over and be done with it. D'Argo says he's not so sure that he wants to take revenge any more.

Katoya goes to see John, who tells him to let him out. Katoya drops a key into the room through the bars, which lands on the furnace. Katoya tells him he wasn't quick enough and that he can leave when he catches a key to let himself out...

Macton and D'Argo meet just outside the chamber. D'Argo tells Macton to stay away from him and his friends and to stop spreading his lies. He says Macton always hated him and would have hated any non-Sebacean that married his sister. Macton replies that he may have come to accept the marriage in time had D'Argo not started beating her. D'Argo says he's violent when he chooses to be, and now he chooses not to kill Macton. But that could change. Macton said that if he came to kill D'Argo he'd never see him coming. He tells D'Argo he came to give him the truth the blackouts and Lo'Laan stopped him from seeing. D'Argo says he's lying and when Macton taunts him further, he pushes him onto the desk. For a moment, he sees Lo'Laan lying on the table in Macton's place and is taken aback, and Macton tells him this is his uncontrollable rage and asks if he thought he could really ever protect Lo'Laan from that. And that if he looks deep within he'll know the truth - or in fact, he's certain he's always known!.

Another key is dropped down to John, which he doesn't catch in time. Scorpius turns up and says that Katoya told him John was experiencing setbacks. Scorpius tells him neither Earth nor John himself is safe; the Scarrans know of him and are coming for him. He cannot run away and Scorpius says he cannot protect John from them. John shouts for him to get him out of the hole, but Scorpius says he's undergoing specific Scarran training. John tells him that he'd figured that out already. "It's not the heat, it's the humidity," John spits mockingly. Scorpius tells him the heat mechanism the Scarran employs is just the beginning, and if they disable his mind's defenses, there is no secret that they will be unable to extract. John tells him that he'll take his chances on his own. Scorpius stresses that when they find John, the Scarrans will extract the wormhole knowledge and then kill him. "After all we've meant to each other, you'd kill me first," John pronounces. "You... have such a limited mental capacity, John, but apparently an abundant will to prevail." Scorpius says that his advice is to use that will right here right now, as Katoya is the only one that can give him the tools he needs to survive the Scarrans.

Scorpius is talking with Katoya. He says that he knows John will survive, just like he would. Katoya says that for Scorpius to have survived this long, his training must have been helpful. Scorpius tells him they've saved his life, on countless occasions. He requests three favors. "Do I owe so many?" Katoya asks. "I did spare you from Peacekeeper captivity, and my Aurora Chair." Katoya says he would have survived the Aurora Chair, but tells Scorpius to proceed. Scorpius' first request is to intensify John's training; without the training, he will ultimately die anyway. Second, Macton has become a dangerous distraction. Katoya says he's done nothing wrong. "I believe despite his protests, he will kill D'Argo," Scorpius says. Katoya retorts, "Or D'Argo will kill him." He says he will have neither here. Thirdly, Scorpius asks for information on a species he has no knowledge of. This species recently attacked John. "May I describe it for you?" Scorpius asks...

John is still in his cage, with the coals sizzling around him getting hotter by the minute. D'Argo comes and tries to help release him, but he can't do it. So instead he gives John a drink and tells him this is doing his head in. He's been thinking of killing Macton for half his life, but is now questioning if Lo'Laan lied to him. John says that Macton is filling him with possibilities. What Lo'Laan did, she did for D'Argo, and that means something. D'Argo says that means it's possible he killed the woman who loved him more than life.

D'Argo talks again with Katoya, saying he has a great deal of respect for his work. He says that mental strength just isn't his strength, and asks if Katoya can help him find an answer. "What would you like to know?" Katoya asks. "What kind of monster I really am."

They enter the task chair, where D'Argo sees an image of Lo'Laan with a knife through her chest. D'Argo says he doesn't want to see that, but Katoya tells him to stay focused. Lo'Laan says that she knows it upsets him, but he's getting worked up over nothing. D'Argo says that his anger is to be controlled, not used against someone you love. Katoya asks if he used it against her. D'Argo eventually lashes out and sees himself hitting her.

He kneels next to her. "Did I hurt you?" he asks. She says no, he'd never hurt her. He says she promised to tell him if he did and asks if she knows how much he loved her. She says yes - suddenly Katoya implodes into swirling shards of glass and disappears/exits, ripped from the task; and in the chair where he sat, Macton has replaced him. "Sorry to interrupt... Master," Macton utters sarcastically.

John is getting more and more agitated in his cell, which now has heating elements on further sides of the cage, making the heat unbearable. Meanwhile, Macton hits D'Argo, and the environment morphs into the house he shared with his wife, returned to "the scene of the crime." D'Argo goes to hit Macton, but he morphs into the visage of Lo'Laan again. Macton starts hitting D'Argo and switching his image with Lo'Laan's to try and convince D'Argo he couldn't control himself and it was all his doing, putting these images in his head. With 'her' visage, (but in Macton's voice), showing D'Argo huge bruises, (presumably inflicted by him), on her legs, arms and neck. Is this what you never meant to do Macton/Lo'Laan asks, taunting him ?...

They switch to D'Argo's cell on Moya, where Macton says he belongs. D'Argo is chained up, and Macton starts punching him, saying that this is what he did to Lo'Laan so it's no less than he deserves; what D'Argo's rage felt like.

Another key is thrown down and this time, John exasperated and in utter frustration just pulls off the grill cover, dips his hand into the coals, and retrieves the key; enduring great pain and severely burning his hands.

D'Argo tells Macton he didn't kill Lo'Laan and Macton says no, but D'Argo drove her to her own death. He shows Lo'Laan stabbing herself, saying he beat her beyond her capacity to endure and longer. Macton says, on finding her dying, he doctored the scene to provide the evidence and put D'Argo in prison forever. D'Argo begins to go in to hyper-rage, (exactly what Macton planned), and then leaves him to rot in his rage for eternity. D'Argo shouts in an incontrollable HYPER-rage...

As Macton leaves, D'Argo makes himself focus and manages to control and exit the rage. Macton turns around and D'Argo causes his chains to just fall away. "You're lying. Every word you've said is a lie." Macton insists no, he beat her and drove her to suicide. D'Argo hits Macton to the ground and says he knows what Lo'Laan went through for their love, and he wishes he could have loved her half as well. "Oh, you loved her to death," Macton croaks, "You do not have this power!" D'Argo says Lo'Laan taught him that he does have power over his rage; then even though Macton now expects D'Argo to strike him a killing blow, D'Argo says he has no intention of killing him. He stresses he loved his wife, but Macton wouldn't know that because he didn't even know Lo'Laan, but D'Argo did. He says she could have left him for his failings and maybe she should have, but he knows that she would never have left her son without a mother, therefore she would never have taken her own life. That's why he's certain all he says are lies.

D'Argo now 'turns the table' on Macton and wants to see Macton's memories, and why he killed Lo'Laan. D'Argo grabs his head and has a vision of Macton telling Lo'Laan of what he plans to do to D'Argo, turning him in so he'd be dishonourably discharged and put away. She pleads that he's done nothing wrong, and as Macton walks away she says she won't let him. She grabs a knife and goes to strike him, but he turns and on his reflex, grabs her and stabs her in self-defense. Macton tells D'Argo it was his fault, she attacked him and his Peacekeeper training took control, by the time he was aware of what he had done, it was already too late. D'Argo says that's not the whole truth, since she was clearly beaten. Macton says he had to make D'Argo pay and make it look like he did it in a fit of hyper-rage, so he beat her after she'd perished. D'Argo walks away disgusted, leaving a guilt-ridden Macton to relive what he did.

Back on Lo'La, D'Argo, Rygel, Scorpius, and John are leaving the camp. John is nursing his hands, and asks if D'Argo's all right. D'Argo says he's fine. "If you were fine you'd have killed Macton instead of leaving him there." D'Argo says that he's trapped in a coma with his own nightmares, killing him would've been merciful – he's not that enlightened. Scorpius asks John if he was able to obtain the key, but John whistles and doesn't answer. Scorpius tells him that the creature that attacked him was a Skreeth, a species that can communicate over long distances telepathically, quite possibly passing on the information regarding Earth. John asks who he'd pass it on to. "Grayza, almost certainly." John comments that the Peacekeepers now know where Earth is. "May know," Scorpius corrects him. John asks if Grayza will go there and Scorpius says it's possible, but she doesn't want Earth, she wants John first and foremost. John again asks if D'Argo is OK, and he says he will be, but he's got things on his mind. Things he's done, things he can't take back.

Memorable quotesEdit

D'Argo (About Macton): He's trapped in a coma with his own nightmares. Killing him would have been merciful. I'm not that enlightened.
After observing that he has landed in "detention", John whistles a song from the 1957 film Bridge on the River Kwai, "The Colonel Bogey March." Bridge is a classic World War II POW movie starring Alec Guinness, William Holden, and Jack Warden.
This is also a reference to The Breakfast Club, as the song was whistled by the cast during their detention.

Background informationEdit

  • Gigi Edgley (Chiana) does not appear in this episode.
  • Despite not appearing, Melissa Jaffer (Noranti) and Raelee Hill (Sikozu) are credited among the guest cast for this episode.
    • This is the only episode of Season 4 in which Sikozu does not appear.
  • Dave Elsey wanted to have Katoya wear special contact lenses, but John Brumpton was suffering an eye infection and the Unit Nurse prevented them from using the lenses. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.3)
  • The title comes from the band whose lead singer designed the Mambo shirts regularly worn by Ricky Manning. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.3)
  • The set of lights and CG area of the set caused issues for some of the actors, making them feel sick when they turned their heads, as the lights seemed to move. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.3)
  • The opening scene with John and Aeryn was added late to explain why only the guys were featured in the episode as well as to introduce the television set. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.3)
  • Some of the writers were in favor of revealing D'Argo as Lo'Laan's murderer, but David Kemper felt that it did not fit the character. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.3)
  • The light ball in the arena was added by the visual effects department after the editing of the episode. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.3)
  • There was insufficient time to change D'Argo's makeup to its season one look, though he should have looked this way in the flashbacks. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.3)

Links and referencesEdit


Guest starsEdit


Voice artistsEdit


Aurora Chair; baseball; blitz; Bridge on the River Kwai; cat; Charrid; Christmas; Colonel Bogey March; coolant suit; cycle; Dr. Seuss; dren; Earth; frax; frell; Grayza, Mele-On; hyper-rage; icosahedron; Jedi; Juxtowi crystal; Ka Jothee; Krabappel, Edna; Leviathan; Lo'La; Luxan; marauder; microt; Moya; Peacekeeper; Peacekeeper First Command; Peacekeeper High Command; Pilot; popcorn; pulse grenade; Qualta Blade; Riddler; Scarran; Sebacean; Skreeth; Sparky; Star Wars; task chair; television; The Cat in the Hat; The Simpsons; Tormented Space; transport pod; wormhole; yotz

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