Season 1, Episode 19: “Nerve”
**** out of *****
“This is MY side! That’s YOUR side! This is my side, you stay on your side! My side, your side! My side, your side! My side! YOUR SIDE! …You were just in my chair, too, weren’t you?”
Okay, this is it. They’ve officially launched the dren along a trajectory that will take it directly into the fan. Aeryn’s wound in A Bug’s Life has damaged her paraphoral nerve. To save her life, Crichton infiltrates the Peacekeeper gammak base posing as Larraq, is reunited with Jilina, and finds himself in the comfy chair of a jolly leather aficionado named Scorpius.
Things are now officially Farscape as we know it. Well, okay, so it was Farscape before now, too, but it just “grew the beard,” so to speak. It’s our first episode with Scorpius, our first episode knowing about the wormhole knowledge in John’s mind, our first exposure to Stark, and we even get a little bit of Brakka trailing behind Crais. (Hey, how come Brakka never got to wear the bicycle seat-hat when he got promoted?)
The episode has a bit of an epic feel to it, though I’m not sure if that’s just due to my foreknowledge of how things develop from this point and how key all of this is to the rest of the series. On the other hand, it does give us a large new locale with the gammak base, and brings Crais back into the picture. Or maybe it’s due to it being only part one of a two-parter (or, arguably, part one of a four- or five-parter). In fact, it’s Farscape’s very first two-parter, and the point when the show arguably becomes much more serialized.
John’s getting a lot of practice imitating Peacekeepers, and he does quite well–for a while, anyway. His attempt to intimidate his way past having to do the genetic scan puts me in the mind of a D&D player trying desperately to pull a bluff and failing. Darned good thing Jilina was there. He’s already changed from who he was when she first met him.
Chiana gets a lot of screen time here, what with going with John to the base and playing Larraq’s…companion. As we’ve not seen nearly as much of her as we have the others, it’s a good opportunity to show us more of her character. She’s great playing the magician’s assistant role, as it were, keeping eyes on her while John pulls some nerve tissue out of a hat. She’s also perfectly willing to lie to Jilina about John’s feelings for Aeryn so as to keep her working on their side. I do have to say, though: Chiana’s tralk routine is a bit…irritating…in larrrrge dosessss…
And, of course: Scorpius. Quite possibly one of the best villains in the history of television. Sinister, cold (er, figuratively speaking), menacing, and mysterious. He shows up Crais within moments of his arrival. Even if we don’t really know yet just who Scorpius IS, it’s clear who’s in charge there. Even the tone of his voice is perfect. Dignified, patient. He’s like a cat having a conversation with a mouse. It just accentuates his ruthlessness. Wayne Pygram is absolutely perfect here.
You know, given the whole “memory chair” thing, most shows would’ve likely taken this opportunity to do a clip show. The fact that they didn’t use it for that makes the episode that much better, really.
Also, Stark be crazy!
“Crichton will tell us.”
Hey, how come Moya never seems to get any bigger due to her pregnancy?
In hindsight, I can tell that they’re still working on Scorpy’s make-up. It looks less natural than it does in future episodes.
 Ironically, the worst episode of Farscape is when Crichton actually grew a beard.
 Think Crichton would’ve played D&D at some point in his life? He’s got the imagination for it. Sure, he’s the buff sort, but so is Vin Diesel, and he plays…
 So calm, so matter-of-fact: “That man is an impostor. Seize him.”
 My apologies to people named Wayne, but it’s always struck me as amusingly incongruous that the sci-fi nightmare that is Scorpius is played by a “Wayne.” Hee hee. Wayne!