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Natural Election

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Farscape episode
“Natural Election”
NatE
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 06
Guest star(s) Raelee Hill (Sikozu); Melissa Jaffer (Noranti)
Writer(s) Sophie C. Hopkins
Director Ian Watson
Production no. 10406
Original airdate July 19, 2002 (US); November 4, 2002 (UK)
Episode chronology
← Previous Next →
"Promises" "John Quixote"

Moya's encounter with a deadly space plant threatens to engulf her, while more secrets about Aeryn's pregnancy surface.

SynopsisEdit

Moya is sitting at a dead stop in the middle of open space because John thinks a wormhole will form soon. Aeryn Sun is pacing up and down command, while Rygel whines to Ka D'Argo, who promised John two arns to wait for the wormhole while he was captain. Rygel is now acting Captain, as the crew are taking it in turns. Chiana comes to command, and asks if John's found any wormholes. "Ba-boom," John announces, "wormhole in diez, nueve, ocho..." but when he gets to one, nothing happens. Sikozu asks if he knows what he did wrong. "You mean other than getting up this morning?" Pilot asks for Rygel's orders, as John goes over to Aeryn. Sikozu follows him, but Aeryn asks if she'll excuse them. "Can I speak to you?" she asks John, "Quite a few things I'd like to say." "There's a lot of things I'd like to hear," John replies. She invites him to her quarters, when a wormhole appears, to everyone's surprise. Sikozu looks particularly impressed at John's prediction. As Rygel is about to give Pilot his orders, something hits Moya, causing explosions and sending everyone to the floor. Rygel looks outside and asks anxiously "What happened to the stars?"

Rygel panics, prompting a slap from Chiana. Pilot says that Moya is convulsing unlike anything he's experienced before. Since they weren't moving something hit Moya, and Pilot says that not a single sensed neuron on Moya's skin is transmitting; he has no readings. "That cannot be right," Sikozu points out. "It is, you disagreeable hi-" Pilot begins but is cut off by John, who asks how that can be right. Something is attacking Moya's sensor; her skin is burning all at once. Since Pilot says under these circumstances, a hull breech would go undetected; Aeryn takes Chiana to do a perimeter hull search. Sikozu calls to ask if Scorpius is alright, and he says he'd appreciate being let out. "Absolutely not!" John says immediately, and comms Noranti, who doesn't answer. She is in the cooking room, muttering words that eventually lead to her screaming "Flora... PLANT!" Rygel asks Sikozu what kind of plant lives in space. John and D'Argo go to check the hill and determine it is some kind of plant, so they take samples. Scorpius asks for some assistance, since a fire has broken out in his cell. Sikozu races to put it out, and Chiana follows to see what she's up to. She reminds Sikozu that Scorpius is a prisoner; the doors stay closed. "Does he look like he's trying to escape?" Sikozu asks. Chiana doesn't really care, and calls her out of the cell. She corners Sikozu against the wall, telling her that they know Scorpius better than her, he probably started the fire himself. Scorpius is listening, and objects, pointing out fires starting all down the hall.

John says that the plant is oozing something that dissolves metal, while Aeryn says that Moya's fluids are rushing in to protect her internal organs, causing ruptures everywhere. D'Argo comments that it's playing havoc with his eyes, while Aeryn says that they have to get it off Moya's skin. D'Argo decides that they'll blast it off with Lo'La.

D'Argo and John fly out with Lo'La, and see Moya completely covered up. When Pilot asks how bad it is, they decide it best to not tell him the details. Aeryn is with Pilot in his den, and asks how they missed it. "We didn't," he says, "We assumed it was debris." It snuck up while they were distracted by the wormhole. Aeryn tells him not to give up, and he adds that if Moya's skin becomes irreparably damaged, she will not recover. "We'll fix it," she assures him.

John says they have one last chance, and should they wait. "What, so Noranti can tell us how to make a great salad?" D'Argo asks, "No. See plant, kill plant." Chiana walks along and spots Aeryn in a corridor, standing around watching a leak. Chiana points it out, and Aeryn tells her what it is and that it can linger in your bloodstream. "Never stopped you before," Chiana says as she seals it. "Yeah, well this time I'm pregnant." Chiana is surprised, and asks if she was before or after she left Moya. "Before." "Does Crichton know?" Chiana asks. Aeryn shakes her head. "Somebody else?" Chiana asks in surprise. "Possibly," Aeryn replies, adding that she only found out on the command carrier and hasn't had a chance to DNA test yet. "Your life is so much more interesting than mine," Chiana says. "Can I trust you?" Aeryn asks. "Yeah." "I don't want you to tell John," she says. "No way, never, never. That's, that's your speech."

D'Argo is preparing to fire, so Moya won't feel a thing. John asks Sikozu if they've found anything, but she says nothing unexpected. The plant secretes an acid which dissolves metal which it then ingests. She mentions that the gravitational pull of the wormhole likely drove the plant to Moya. D'Argo initiates the firing sequence, as Noranti spills something and starts rambling, muttering "eat." D'Argo tells John something he's never put into words before, "Well, you know how I love shooting things!" John is not too sure, but decides not to spoil his fun. Just as they fire, Noranti shouts "Don't shoot the plant!" Sikozu comms them to hold their fire and not shoot the plant, but it's too late. John and D'Argo return to Moya, and Sikozu tells them that the plant eats much faster when attacked. As a defense mechanism, it's eaten its way through Moya's hull already. John sees some roots and pulls them, causing large chunks of the ship to come apart with them, and revealing the infestation is spreading fast in the ships innards. Aeryn gives herself and D'Argo gas masks, while Chiana climbs down from a duct and says there's no way she's going back up there again, seemingly having been affected in some way. She says there's plant as far as she can see, and then gets hyper that the plant's acid has gotten on her, rubbing fiercely at her clothes; so Aeryn takes her away to try help her. D'Argo blames himself for the situation, but John points out that they all agreed to the plan so they all screwed up.

The lights go down and Rygel pesters Pilot to find the problem. Chiana and D'Argo meet up in the corridor, where D'Argo says that he thinks the plant is spawning. "It's not the only one" Chiana says. "You're pregnant?!" D'Argo asks. "No, not me, Aeryn," she replies. D'Argo is surprised, but Chiana isn't finished. When D'Argo asks if John knows, she says yes, but he doesn't know that it might not be his. D'Argo mentions the John on Talyn, having the same DNA, but Chiana adds it might not be John Crichton's. "Well then, whose?" D'Argo asks. "Good question." D'Argo asks who told her, and she says Rygel. She asks him to swear that he won't say anything, but he just walks away.

Noranti tells Sikozu that this Leviathan is in much pain; it's dying. "Leviathans are good, good things shouldn't have to die." Sikozu says that's why they have to work on this plant. Noranti doesn't know what to do, and Sikozu suggests a poison. Noranti says that she knows a lot of poisons... A frustrated Sikozu tries to get her to concentrate on a solution.

In his cell, Scorpius notices something about the plant. Meanwhile, Chiana goes to Aeryn and says there's no plant in Moya's neural tissue. Aeryn tells Chiana that they have other nodes to check, but as Chiana goes to leave, Aeryn asks her to forget that they had the pregnancy conversation. Chiana worriedly says sure, but that Aeryn had to tell someone. "Yeah, umm, now I'm really regretting that I did," Aeryn says, "I may not even tell him." Chiana is surprised, but Aeryn says she can't tell him she doesn't know. Chiana agrees to forget, saying it's OK.

John goes to Scorpius' cell to see what he wanted. Scorpius shows John that he can somehow repel the plant. Aeryn tells John that she has good news – there's no plant in the neural cluster. John says that it must not like the toubray tissue, when suddenly explosions erupt around Aeryn. She climbs up, and finds Pilot apparently unconscious, severely drooling from the mouth. Then suddenly he starts convulsing...

John and D'Argo hope that the plant is repelled by Scorpius' coolant rods (as opposed to his noxious personality, he jokes). Sikozu explains to D'Argo that there's no metal in neural clusters but there is in the regulators – when they jammed they exploded. Aeryn ties Scorpius down to the controls in Pilot's den, although he's annoyed at the restraints, since he wants to help in any way he can. Aeryn believes him, but the others don't. Scorpius manages to repel the plant, and elsewhere John also manages to use a rod to do so. Sikozu says she'll see how far she can dilute the remaining rods down. D'Argo tells John he knows Aeryn is pregnant – Chiana told him, and Rygel told her. John is hurt that others have been told but not him yet. D'Argo tells him, "Aeryn isn't sure if the child is John Crichton's." "The thought had crossed my mind," John replies, and then asks what D'Argo thinks. "I think either way you're going to get hurt, so, err, look after yourself."

Noranti tastes some poisons, to find out what is working specifically. "You defy the whole theory of natural selection," Sikozu tells her. Noranti laughs, and Sikozu tells her that this crew is trying to save them, and this ship, and if their plan fails... They need to find out what component of the coolant is working.

D'Argo goes to command to see why Rygel isn't helping. D'Argo tells him that he's often insufferable, but it's not his fault. "I was captain," Rygel says, but D'Argo retorts that they can't avoid something they can't detect. He adds that Rygel should hate himself for other reasons, "like sulking while others are out there risking their lives." So, to pull himself together and do something to help the situation, not hinder it.

John asks Pilot if they'll be OK in the fan room, and although phased he gives the OK. John asks Aeryn if she wants to talk. "I appreciate you waiting for this appropriate time and place," she says sarcastically. "Yeah, I got pretty good at waiting," he retorts. They position the buckets of thinned coolant rod substance under two fans. Rygel says that even the DRDs have given up – the fungus is everywhere. John and Aeryn wait for the liquid to evaporate into the air stream. "You know we don't have a contingency plan," Aeryn points out. "This'll work. Unless that plant can mutate in 5 minutes what could go wrong?" John asks. Suddenly, as the plant creeps into the fan's turbine, it breaks it apart and it smashes to the ground, knocking over the buckets at the same time. John tells the others the liquid is lost down the drain; and then notices Aeryn on the floor next to him, bleeding.

"Does it hurt? Where?" John asks. "Where it's bleeding," she says, slapping his hand away. Rygel asks when John's wormhole will open again, as they've drifted directly over its coordinates. Aeryn asks if D'Argo's ship could move Moya, but Scorpius says it's hardly worth the effort - this Leviathan is gone. D'Argo says it's worth the risk, and Sikozu says Noranti has isolated the compound. Noranti explains what it is, and Sikozu points out they have it – it's within Moya's filter system. John instructs DRD "1812" to get the other DRDs to help, and asks Chiana if she's sure she wants to be here. She agrees, as her body reflects radiation. Aeryn says she'll stay and activated the DRDs simultaneously. "What about the radiation," John asks. "I can handle it," she replies. "What about the baby?" Aeryn rolls her eyes and spits "I'm going to kill her!" (meaning Chiana - for her big mouth.) D'Argo asks for volunteers to take her place, and Rygel goes forth. D'Argo, along with Sikozu, Aeryn and Noranti leave Moya. John and Chiana go to stop a fan spinning, by blocking it with a pole. Scorpius instructs Pilot on what to do. "If this goes bad," Rygel says to Scorpy, "Please die first, so my last moment can be joyous." John starts flushing the mist through the ship, as Scorpius says the radiation makes him stronger. Rygel, swallowing down hard, starts regretting his jibe.

D'Argo pushes Moya clear, as John counts down successfully to the resurgence of the wormhole. 1812 confirms the mist is spread, but as Rygel goes to ignite it, Pilot awakes shouting "Wormhole!" and holds Rygel back away from the controls. Sikozu says too much mist will cause an explosion. Rygel can't get to the controls, so Scorpius hacks off Pilot's arm to get him free. Rygel manages to hit the control, and the mist is ignited, and the plant is burnt up, finally destroyed. Chiana loses her grip on the pole and falls, and is dragged toward a vertical fan. John manages to grab her just in time but he's quickly loosing grip, so he screams at Rygel to shut off the fans. Rygel panics, unsure what to do, but manages to shut it down just ahead of time. Chiana stands up and her trousers are scuffed, so John laughs at her. An elated Rygel is self-congratulating his own efforts, saying he had done it. A scoffing Scorpius sits in the background thoroughly unimpressed, for it it wasn't for his help...

Pilot announces the results of the voting for captaincy. Moya abstained, and Scorpius was not allowed to vote so therefore there were eight people participating altogether. There was one vote for Rygel (who clearly voted for himself), one vote for Aeryn, amazingly there was one vote for Scorpius (courtesy of Sikozu), one vote for the Divine Eternal (from Noranti) and four votes for their new captain... D'Argo!

While John is in the fan room with the DRDs Aeryn approaches him to talk about the pregnancy. Aeryn asserts that she didn't want to tell him until she was sure and that she no longer sees a distinction between either Crichton. John in return shows a distaste over her not being aware of who the father was. She explains that military campaigns can last many cycles. Those born on a command carrier can retain an embryonic fetus for up to seven cycles. This could perhaps be from four cycles before she even met John, and only a surgeon can release the stasis so the baby can grow; when she left, she didn't even make it that far.

John, still angered, says that he figures relationships are built on trust and that while he would easily put his life in her hands, he's more wary of doing the same with his heart. A saddened Aeryn asks what she can then now do, as she's prepared to do whatever necessary, whatever he needs, to put this right again. To regain his trust. John pulls away, stands up, and says "Come back when you get your story straight!", then leaves a now crushed Aeryn, with tears in her eyes, alone.

Memorable quotesEdit

D'Argo: See plant kill plant
John: that has got to be on the Luxan coat of arms
D'Argo: John, I'm going to tell you something I've never actually put into words before. I love shooting things.
(D'Argo shoots the plant)
D'Argo: And you know what? I'm very good at it.
Rygel (to Scorpius): If this goes bad, please die first, so my last moment can be joyous.
John: Does it hurt?
Aeryn: Uh huh.
John: Where?
Aeryn: Where it's bleeding!

Background informationEdit

  • The fan/scrubber room was created for this episode by Tim Ferrier. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1)
  • Jim Henson's Creature Shop proposed creating a master plant similar to "Audrey Two" from Little Shop of Horrors. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1)
  • This episode is the first time Crichton accurately predicts a wormhole's appearance. Ben Browder and the writers tried to make it more of a mystical experience rather than a scientific calculation. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v4.1)
  • For some reason John has decided to add a little Spanish to his vocabulary, in this case doing the count down in Spanish. Later, in "I Shrink, Therefore I Am" he continues to use Spanish on occasion.
  • For the first time, Moya assumes a command structure as D'Argo officially becomes her captain.

Links and referencesEdit

StarringEdit

Guest starsEdit

PuppeteersEdit

Voice artistsEdit

ReferencesEdit

arn; atmospheric scrubber room; Audrey; budong; Command; command carrier; comms; coolant rod; cycle; DRD; DRD "1812"; fahrbot; flax; Fluffy; frell; frellnik; Glinda; hamman; Hindrati petal tea; Leviathan; Little Shop of Horrors; Lo'La; Luxan; microt; Moya; narl; neural cluster; nixar; onion; PBS; Pip; pumpkin; Purple Haze; ripnitz; Scalon vapor; sense neuron; sentra chord; shilquen; solanterum; solanterum fobex; Sparky; SPF; Sputnik; Talyn; The Wizard of Oz; toubray fiber; wormhole; yotz

External linkEdit

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