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"A Clockwork Nebari"
The Nebari return for Chiana, and make some shocking revelations along the way...

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

"A Clockwork Nebari" is a Chiana fan's wet dream. The whole episode is rife with her history, and some interesting snippets about her people, which will no doubt play a vital role somewhere down the line in the show's future. It's a great episode, and contains plenty of foreshadowing for the future, which helps expand Farscape's Universe even further, as there's now another major race threatening domination, and they could strike at any time.

We'll back up a bit though. Obviously, Gigi Edgley is great in this episode, as Chiana gets some top material for Gigi to dig her teeth into. The opening was a particularly interesting scene on two accounts. Not only did it establish the course of this episode, but it also threw a subtle hint in as to what may be coming in the future. What am I talking about? Well, the whole reason that some of the crew were on the planet was to get information on the slave auctions, which as Stark informed D'Argo in "The Ugly Truth", is where D'Argo's son Jothee is about to be sold. Unsurprisingly, she used her "talents" to get the information for D'Argo. But things wouldn't go without a hitch, and so we're left with the return of the Nebari, something which I for one have been longing to see since their first appearance in season one's "Durka Returns".

So, with the Nebari back, and once again out for Chiana, if only to get to her brother and in turn the person that gave him the antibody for the contagion, things just go all wrong. Everyone gets mind cleansed (or at least they try to cleanse everyone), and the evil plans of the Nebari are revealed. You see, as briefly mentioned, they planted a contagion in hundreds of their people, who they then allowed to leave Nebari Prime. These people were generally non-conformists like Chiana and her brother, and when they left they unknowingly infected a huge number of other races with the contagion, which will lie dormant until a pre-specified day, at which time the contagion comes alive, and the Nebari expect this to cause enough chaos on infected worlds so that they will just be able to take over with minimal resistance. Now that is a plan! The great thing about it in Farscape terms is, it could happen any time. It could be in the next episode, it could be in two seasons time, but rest assured it will happen (or what would be the point in introducing it?). Another interesting thing to note is that Chiana has known about the virus since long before she came aboard Moya, but chose to keep it a secret because she feared the others may not have let her stay onboard.

Despite Varla having attempted to cleanse everyone (or at least control in Pilot's case), not all were a success. Apparently because of his high metabolism (because of his three stomachs), the effect of the cleansing on Rygel wore off quickly. Not only that, but John also broke free of the cleansing, but for a much different reason. Once again, he sees images of Scorpius, and it's these visions that apparently seemed to drain away the drug, so he remained free of the cleansing. Now this is interesting, since throughout the season John has continuously been seeing visions of Scorpius, and they seem to be getting more and more frequent, and seem to be having a greater effect on him. But the fact was, ultimately he was unaffected by it, and so he and Pilot attempted a plan to get Varla to allow Moya to starburst. The problem with this plan though, was that they needed Rygel's help. Although he wasn't cleansed, as soon as he got the opportunity he once again was prepared to sell out John to save his own ass, as he tried to tell Meelak that John needed re-cleansing. I like that Rygel is always ready to sell the crew out, but when it comes down to it he often does the right thing, and indeed here he does in fact help out (although it takes a little persuasion).

The twist of Meelak actually being in cahoots with Nerri was quite a surprise too, and I certainly liked it. I was very impressed with the flashback scene earlier in the episode with Chiana and Nerri, where Gigi really got across that Chiana didn't want to leave Nerri, and that there is a great bond between them. The scene where Chiana was watching his message was really quite sad, and played really well by Gigi, who again showed a nice range of emotions. Hopefully one day Chiana will get to see him again, as no doubt that'll mean even more superb, yet subtle, acting from the youngster. The ending was also a heartbreaker, as you could again see that Chiana wanted nothing more than to see Nerri again, but deep down new she couldn't. I found John's line about people like them never getting what they want sad as well, not least because it's true and it seems such a shame that they really never do get what they want, and when they do there's always a price.

I really enjoyed the mix-up this week in terms of characters saving the day, too. Yes, John was in there, but I don't think we've ever seen the combination of Chiana, Rygel, Pilot and John being the one's to effectively save D'Argo, Aeryn and Zhaan in addition to themselves. The puppets were both well played, with of course Rygel getting extra bonus points for the line "I'm nobody's puppet!", which quite literally had me rolling over in a fit of laughter. I also found Pilot asking John if he thought their plan worked, and then saying, "I think it worked!" really funny too, but maybe that was just me. But it made a nice change to see these four taking the central stage, even if it did mean D'Argo and Aeryn got shunted to the background a little; they usually get plenty of material anyway.

One thing that did bother me a little though was Zhaan. I mean, where was she? We saw her for about ten seconds when everyone was locked up near the start, saying she was cleansed, then again in the cell when Rygel was taunting them all in the penultimate scene. So, not only did she get two measly appearances, she got a grand total of no more than five lines of dialogue. I mean, what's up with that? Surely, even if she was to have a reduced role, or just be in the background like Aeryn and D'Argo, she could have had a little more. Couldn't it have just as easily been her healing Varla instead of Aeryn? That was really my biggest complaint against this episode.

In general though, "A Clockwork Nebari" is a top episode of Farscape. Well written and nicely directed, it serves many purposes at once: it provides Chiana with even more history and background, brings back the Nebari and introduces them as a major threat to the galaxy, advances the D'Argo "search for his son" story and brings us even more Scorpius visions. There are clearly plenty of ways the story could go now, although from the comments at the end it appears D'Argo's search is where we're going, but there's clearly much more up the writers' sleeves, and I can't wait to see all these things come to fruition.

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

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Did You Know?
The title of this episode is an obvious reference to the Anthony Burgess novel/film "A Clockwork Orange".

John sees images of Scorpius in his mind, which counteract the effects of the mind cleansing.

Nebari mental cleansing takes 100 cycles, however for alien races they can use a drug-induced temporary cleanse which is just as effective. However, it does not work on Pilots and Rygel can counteract the drug thanks to his great metabolism.

Chiana and her brother Nerri always planned to leave Nebari Prime, however they were given exit permits by their government. They later found out that this was because The Establishment wanted to spread the contagion they had infected them with.

The Nebari have spread a contagion that, at a specific time pre-ordained by The Establishment, will come out of dormancy and cause chaos within infected worlds. The idea is that this chaos will mean when the Nebari emissaries arrive, presumably to take over, they'll be met with minimal resistance.

Chiana's brother, presumed dead since Taking the Stone, is in fact alive and leading some sort of Nebari resistance movement.

Related Episodes
Durka Returns
Taking the Stone

Favourite Quote
John: "You, me and Pilot. We're the only ones who aren't Nebari puppets."
Rygel: "I'm nobody's puppet!"

We have 144 images from A Clockwork Nebari online.
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Episode Credits
Season 2, Episode 18 - "A Clockwork Nebari"
Writer: Lily Taylor
Director: Rowan Woods
Production number: 10217
First UK Transmission: 20th Nov 2000
First US Transmission: 15th Sep 2000
Guest Stars:
Malcolm Kennard (Meelak); Skye Wansey (Varla); Simon Bossell (Nerri); Wayne Pygram (Scorpius); Lani Tupu (Bialar Crais)
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