Shockingly (or not), Durka does indeed return, and brings some uninvited guests...
Click here to read the Farscape World synopsis for this episode.
After the last episode's tragedy (Jeremiah Crichton), we really needed an episode that puts the "umph" back into the show, and this was such a story. Durka Returns is a fantastic episode, with a great story, which sees the series go back to its darker roots, and features the introduction of the latest addition to Moya's crew: a sassy young lady by the name of Chiana. The episode was more of an entire crew story than some of late, too, which is always endearing.
As the title suggests, this episode saw the return of Rygel's former torturer, the man named Durka, who was last mentioned in PK Tech Girl, when the crew raided the Zelbinion. He's a fantastic character, and the way David Wheeler manages to make him subtle but sadistic, even when he's still cleansed is just excellent. Anyhow, Rygel immediately freaks out when he sees Durka, as is to be expected considering he thought he saw his dead body before, and attempts to kill him. He makes a bomb, but does so wrongly, so D'Argo locks him up in his quarters. Durka's supposedly mentally cleansed, so he's incapable of harm. However the bomb incident somehow undoes the cleansing, and Rygel's the only one that can see it.
The way Durka tricked Aeryn and Rygel on command was suitably villainous, as were some of the lines he was coming out with while he was planning his torture. He was all ready and willing to kill Aeryn, when Rygel steps up to the plate. It was a great move, and once again shows that Rygel can be a great asset to the crew, particularly to talk his way out of a situation. He manages to turn the tables on Durka and tell him how pathetic he really is, what with faking his own death and threatening them, when in fact the reason that Moya can't starburst is really because she is pregnant. This belittling of Durka actually works a treat, and makes him leave to kill the baby. Okay, so it puts her baby in danger, but it also buys the crew time to sort things out, and gets Durka away from command.
Now as mentioned earlier, this episode also introduced us to a wonderful character that's just full of potential – the rebellious Nebari Chiana. Her people are somewhat suppressive, in that anyone that doesn't conform to normality, and fit in with society is mentally cleansed; all their bad thought wiped from their mind whilst being held in cryogenic stasis. So in our eyes, she isn't the criminal the Nebari claim her to be, she's much like what Zhaan said she was in Premiere, she's just something of an anarchist. She defends herself, steals food to eat but she's never murdered, probably never committed a crime too heinous. But she just doesn't want to conform, and the Nebari do not like that. She's devious, and manages to escape her lock up, but eventually John manages to find her and appeal to the good side that she clearly has. Earlier she had begged for her life – she desperately doesn't want to be cleansed, she sees it as something extremely horrific.
So using Chiana as bait, she pretends to want to join Durka, but takes him to a room where John lies in wait. Unfortunately, Durka is suitably devious and pushes her in the room, and doesn't enter himself. Instead, he shoots at her, grazing her arm, which angers her quite a lot. At least enough to tell John to "get the bastard!" Well, this chick means business. So off goes John, but Durka's already in the transport hangar, and gets in the Nebari ship ready to use its cannon to kill Moya's baby. However, pilot regains control of the doors just in time (don't you just love it when that happens?) and flushes Durka and the ship out. John nearly gets sucked out to, but manages to avoid it.
It was a rather intelligent move on John's part to come up with the bait trick, and it paid off, as did Chiana, who looks like she can help the crew kick some ass when they need help. She means business, and yet there's a definite vulnerability to her too. She's a character who I will definitely enjoy watching be explored. Her background, all about the Nebari, who are definitely the most intriguing "other" race yet introduced on the show. She's no saint, and she wastes no time in manipulating situations to her advantage, and that includes using her sexuality to try and talk the men around. She will definitely be a great addition to Moya.
There were lots of other little interesting scenes that really added to this episode, too. Zhaan's downright protest at what the Nebari do with mental cleansing, she really was angry with Salis and didn't half go at him when he suggested Rygel, and even she, could do with it. She certainly thinks no one deserves it. She's really started to get more aggressive since she gave up being a Pa'u (in Rhapsody in Blue) and she can actually seem quite cold and disturbing at times. She really has changed over the course of the season.
Also, Aeryn's dismay at what the Peacekeeper "legend" Durka really is – nothing more than a coward was rather interesting. Every episode she seems to find out something that can make her question the infallible Peacekeepers. John's interplay with Chiana was great to watch, they have a good on-screen chemistry. Even D'Argo found time to go on a bit of a rage with Rygel.
So, this episode Farscape bounces back with the sort of episode we've come to expect. A good, solid story, with quality direction and sharp writing, that also introduces a new character, and a big new race, who I really hope are explored more soon. The return of Durka really worked as well, and he could be back soon to wreak more havoc on the crew of Moya. The implications of this episode potentially run quite deep in the context of the Farscape universe, and in particular the dynamics on board Moya, because Chiana's certainly gonna shake things up. There seems to be a bit of sexual tension between her and John for a start. So a great episode, and I suggest you just watch it.
I love to hear your views, whether you agree or disagree, so feel free to e-mail me your feedback. Review by Dani Moure.
Did You Know?
The bullet that grazes Chiana was originally supposed to kill her. However, when David Kemper saw how great she was he realised her potential, so the script was changed accordingly.
The bomb that Rygel sets off really did burn Ben Browder. Because of the way the shot happened, he was totally obscured by the flame and was smoking from his behind, but he says it was worth it because at least he could give the real John Crichton look of fear.
Despite looking grey/blue under the lights, Nebari are in fact completely black and white.
PK Tech Girl
A Clockwork Nebari
Liars, Guns and Money, Part 2: With Friends Like These...
John: (about Chiana) "How's the patient?"
Zhaan: "She is a brat!"
John: "Think we should kick her off the boat?"
Zhaan: "Ask me tomorrow."
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