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"A Bug's Life"
Peacekeepers take over Moya, and bring along a little friend...

Click here to read the Farscape World synopsis for this episode.

Once again Farscape has gone dark on us. None of the light-hearted adventures of earlier in the season, A Bug's Life epitomises the dramatic, tension-filled, action-packed episodes of the latter part of this season, which have some dark overtones. Again the crew of Moya is put into a life or death situation, and it doesn't look like they'll get out of it without some bloodshed. Not only that, but there's an additional threat in the form of Peacekeepers that want control of Moya. Oh dear, what a mess...

With Peacekeepers headed on an intercept course with Moya, their ship leaking fuel, it's obvious their intention is to board. John thinks up a plan, which are so often bad and lead to near-death its amazing that they still go along with them, and that plan is to dress up as a Peacekeeper himself, using clothes that were left on board, and play a game of "pretend to be a Peacekeeper Captain". Aeryn can go along with this too, since she's a former PK anyway, but it requires D'Argo, Zhaan and Rygel to be locked back in their cells for the duration of the visit. Obviously they're reluctant to be locked up, particularly D'Argo who has very strong feelings against it, but they go along with it anyway, since it may be able to lead to a surprise attack. It sounds good, because they also get to fish for information, but the problem is that the PK Captain Larraq wants to take over Moya, because his mission is top secret but also top priority. Oh dear, this is where things go pear-shaped for the crew, because his cargo is an intellant virus, that can take over other beings, and if it's in one host for an arn it can lay spores, which will then affect everyone, and could potentially wipe out a whole corner of the quadrant.

Now our cheeky little Nebari, and devious (very) little Hynerian couldn't just sit by and allow something to be onboard and not know about it. Chiana manages to make a mould of the key, and she goes to open it, finding Rygel already snurching there. Their scene was great, well acted and well written, with Rygel being typically pompous, and I thought it was hilarious the way he gave in so quickly for a 50-50 share when he found out Chiana had the key. Their interplay is extremely amusing to watch. But even this couldn't go without a hitch, and the PK Thorrn decides to check out the cargo bay (he seemed to be everywhere: checking out the cargo bay, finding John at the cells...), and so Chi and Rygel have to hide. But he gets possessed by the virus, and then passes it to Chiana, only no one other than Chiana knows this.

By the time Larraq, John, Aeryn and Hassan all enter the cargo bay, Thorrn's killed the other male PK, the virus is in Chi and Rygel's done a runner. Chiana tells everyone that the virus is in Rygel, since Thorrn can't remember anything because he had the virus. This was a great move; they sure don't call it an intellant virus for nothing. So everyone decides to find Rygel, but D'Argo and Zhaan left their cells deciding that they have nothing to lose. John has to keep up the masquerade and ask for their help, and obviously they agree.

So the hunt for Rygel is on, and there's some great interplay between the pairs, in particular Zhaan and Hassan. When they find Rygel, he's suitably scared and tries to explain the truth, but they don't let him speak. It was great the way it was hinted at that Chiana had the virus, in particular the funny "virus sound" when the camera was on her. Then she transferred it to John, but not before Zhaan had had a really good look at her. Being the intelligent former Pa'u that she is, she guesses that Chiana had the virus and tests her. Conveniently her bed covers contain litmus fibres (why would they?), and she tests Chi who has a high acid level, hence the virus is in her.

The chase is on again, then. This time it's everyone racing to command for John. Prior to this, he had brutally murdered Hassan under the influence of the virus. Suffice it to say that this is one of the more brutal scenes in this season so far, even though we don't explicitly see what happens. Everyone manages to stop John before he escapes, but everyone's touched him. Once again the virus could be anywhere, and Zhaan formulates an antibody. I don't see why it had to be her; surely John could have with his junior science chemistry kit – just bung in loads of stuff that has a high alkaline content. Regardless, she does it and tests everyone, and it's in Larraq. He does a runner, and in yet another graphic scene where he's bartering with John and D'Argo, holding Aeryn hostage, he mentions Larraq's true feelings for her, telling Aeryn that he liked her, a lot, before stabbing her. Now what really gave me a shock was seeing her in a pool of blood as D'Argo tended to her, I really thought the worst. The Powers That Be really know how to pull our strings. Anyhow in a great moment of action John gets Pilot to start the first stage of starburst and ignite the Marauder's fuel leak, blowing up the ship.

A couple of great scenes came at the end of the episode, firstly with D'Argo, Zhaan and Rygel. He tells Rygel he deserves everything he gets, which in a way is true, since once again he caused a catastrophe through his selfishness, even if Chiana did play a big part, too. Then he tells Zhaan that he will never be locked up again, and will take great pleasure in destroying the chains. You've got to feel bad for the Luxan, who is clearly distraught by the thought of ever being locked up again, and I was very moved when he said he prayed it would never happen again.

The other scene was the one between Aeryn and John. By this point, their relationship has transcended a lot of chitchat, and they tend to make their feelings known without words. It was beautiful the way that John said he just wanted to be with her if she was going to die (although he didn't get to finish his sentence), and Aeryn again proves just how far she's come from the Peacekeeper hard nut she was in the beginning, when she thanks John it's what their faces say as opposed to the words that have true meaning. Aeryn also shows her developing humour when he says, "Don't mention it", and she replies, "why would I?" She really does get some good one-liners.

I loved the interplay between Aeryn and Larraq throughout the episode, too. It was absolutely fantastic, and Claudia Black once again pulls out a great performance in portraying her great loss of her home. There's clearly a big hole there, it's something that continues to eat away at her. Once again, it was what she didn't say – her expression – which said it all when Larraq offered her a chance to be a part of his team. She seemed to be yearning for the chance to say yes, but she knew she couldn't. The line that the virus said in Larraq also showed his feeling's for her, when he says "this Larraq guy... he really liked you, a lot."

In all this was a very good setup for the four-part season finale. It had a darker overtone, signifying what tone later episodes would take. It brought back the PKs, who will play an important part, and introduced the idea of the Gammak Base in the Uncharted Territories, which I get a feeling we might be seeing soon (OK, I know we will). Great acting, and some great ideas coupled into a very good story, which although is similar to plenty of others was different enough to distinguish itself, and superb direction from our trusted man Tony Tilse. It also had more deaths than any episode yet, and two very brutal scenes. The ending was very deceptive in that it lures you in to a false sense of security. Just remember those haunting words: John tells Aeryn, "You got lucky, he missed your heart". She replies, "Closer than you think..." Uh-oh, here comes trouble...

I love to hear your views, whether you agree or disagree, so feel free to e-mail me your feedback. Review by Dani Moure.

Reader Reviews
Average Reader Score
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Did You Know?
Crichton's line "You might think your magic pill worked, and then Rygel's up walking around the ship, coughing up the spores, cats and dogs living together..." is one of many of his ad libs in season one. It's actually a line from the Ghostbusters movie!

D'Argo, Zhaan and Rygel are locked up for the first time since they escaped the Peacekeepers in Premiere. D'Argo feels strongly about this and vows never to be locked up again, and destroys his chains.

Zhaan's bedcover contains litmus fibres. Even for someone interested in science, that is a little odd.

Larraq missed Aeryn's heart when he stabbed her, but she tells John that it was closer than he thinks. What could she mean? (Hint: see Nerve.)

Related Episodes
The Hidden Memory

Favourite Quote
Rygel: "Oh! How dare you sneak up on me like that! I should make you wear a bell round your neck!"
Chiana: "Keep your fantasies to yourself, frog boy."
Rygel: "Fantasies about you? Uggh!"

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Episode Credits
Season 1, Episode 18 - "A Bug's Life"
Story: Doug Heyes, Jr.
Teleplay: Stephen Rae
Director: Tony Tilse
Production number: 10118
First UK Transmission: 17th Apr 2000
First US Transmission: 17th Sep 1999
Guest Stars:
Paul Leyden (Cpt. Larraq); Richard White (Thorrn); Zoe Coyle (Hassan); Michael Tuahine (Rhed)
Gigi Edgley (Chiana)
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