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"Incubator"
Learn of Scorpius' past, amidst the ongoing attempts to discover the key to wormhole technology...

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

I liked "Incubator". I really did. But there was just something that, like "Thanks for Sharing" and "Losing Time" before it, made it seem like a bit of a transitional episode, building up to something that is clearly going to be more, and will no doubt change Farscape forever. It's kind of like some of those old Babylon 5 episodes which are just turning the plot and seemingly setting up future events, sort of the calm before the storm. But as I say, I did like "Incubator", and to be honest I have been waiting a long time to find out Scorpius' origins, and that's exactly what was presented here.

At the start of the episode, it's clear that Scorpius' time is running out. He's been chasing Crichton, and searching for the key to wormholes, for well over a cycle and has been researching the technology for many more. Scorpius is getting desperate. You can tell this just through one event; he appeals to Crichton. Yes, it's not the real, living John, but nonetheless this definitely an indication of Scorpius' lack of time.

It was very interesting to see Scorpius' background, and his life prior to becoming a Peacekeeper. It's important in that it gives us viewers a chance to see why he is so obsessed with completing his goal, and why he hates Scarrans so much. At first, it may seem like a bit of an attempt at a sympathy vote, but it's really there not just to make us sympathise with him, but more to help us understand him, and why he does what he does. After all, his life story is actually quite sad, and it's not hard for us to see how 12 cycles alone with a Scarran could drive one to have such a thirst for revenge. It also explains why Scorpius is so loyal to the Peacekeepers; mainly because he hates Scarrans so much, and they are quite simply the biggest threat that the Peacekeepers have faced (that they know of). So Scorpius, as he so plainly tells the John clone, just wants revenge. The trouble with revenge though is that it can make one irrational, and Scorpius' obsession cost a defection that, had Linfer actually discovered the secret of successful wormhole travel, could have proven costly.

One person who does continue to stand by Scorpius is Lieutenant Braca. As Scorpius pointed out in "Losing Time", whilst not a "yes man", he does not question orders, and always commits himself to the completion of his orders. A good example of this is when he knocks out the nurse, causing Scorpius to get very overheated, because he knew Scorpius needed to get the information. His loyalties definitely lie with the Peacekeepers and Scorpius, and I actually found it quite interesting to again get a deeper insight into Braca and Scorpius' relationship, as Scorpius once again praised Braca's service.

Scorpius is not the only one obsessed with finding the secret of wormholes though. Indeed, John Crichton is equally obsessed, and his obsession has already led to the death of a close friend (Zhaan in "Wait for the Wheel"), as D'Argo reminded him in this episode. But despite this, John remains obsessed with his goal, and his friends certainly aren't hesitant to remind him of how annoyed they are beginning to get with him. Pilot for one seems quite depressed at John's insistence to continue to search for wormholes, and D'Argo, and the girls too, are also getting frustrated (although as John pointed out, he was Mr. "Let's go find my son"). Jool does make a good point, though, once she and Pilot let Linfer go and John has a problem with it, that it is funny that John always agrees with Pilot when it benefits him. You see, sometimes she can actually be quite wise! Liked the new hairdo, too.

I also found myself wondering exactly how much of the wormhole technology did Scorpius gain? Was it enough to allow the Peacekeepers to successfully harness the technology, or was it just enough to help them continue on their way? It was also admirable how the John clone refused to unlock the secrets; even knowing he was a clone he still had all of the real John's personality traits.

Something else I found interesting was Linfer's defection, and I had a bit of a problem with it. She claims her reason was that Scorpius has become obsessed, and his obsession is making him irrational (which is true in that he has been sending numerous pilots to die). She claims that she wants to use Moya to explore, as her species apparently does. Her interactions with Pilot were of most interest, in that Pilot had an instant trust for her, even to the point that he would defy the others. But I found this aspect a little odd, and quite out of the blue. Having only been privy to this character, and her species, once previously ("Losing Time"), it was just a little hard to accept Pilot's immediate trust, and to see that he and Moya would be prepared to go and explore with her. I realise that Pilot's dream has always been to see the stars, but after everything that has happened, knowing Linfer came from Scorpius' Carrier, I just found myself questioning it. But I also found myself wondering what exactly the point of this part of the plot was. Other than providing a sub-plot, it just seemed pointless. Of course, this could all be proved wrong and the thread could be picked up in future episodes, perhaps Linfer's race will return with an offer or something, but it just didn't really sit well with me. Surely there must be more to this aspect than what we saw. The only purpose it seemed to serve was to let everyone know that Scorpius was still alive (since they considered him dead since "Season of Death"). Hopefully though, something will come of this defection, otherwise I just found it to be out-of place. One aspect I did like was how Jool and Pilot both agreed to let Linfer leave. It was just nice and compassionate, and it seemed the right thing to do.

The one other thing that stood out was how evil, for want of a better word, the Scarrans actually are. More so than the Peacekeepers (who are more ruthless and hard than evil), they are cold, calculating and just want to wipe out every race but their own. This episode did little to convince me otherwise, in fact it only compounded this. Their treatment of Scorpius was deplorable, as indeed was everything that surrounded his birth. They clearly attacked a civilian ship and conducted tests on, or killed, the crew. This episode went even further than the few previous ones in which Scarrans have appeared, in proving that they are a major force to be reckoned with, have a plan to take over the universe, and are plainly the biggest threat that the Peacekeepers know of (since they don't know of the Nebari, at least to our knowledge).

To sum "Incubator" up, as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, this episode seemed like it was building to something more, the calm and plot explanations before the inevitable storm. In this aspect it did well, but it definitely was lacking that something that makes Farscape so good. Perhaps it was the choppy nature of the events, since I did not like the transitions between the flashbacks and events happening on Moya. It felt extremely choppy in this regard, as I found myself constantly just wanting to get back to the flashbacks. I liked the way these were done, and I liked the way the flashbacks were interspersed with comments from Scorpius and the John clone, but I didn't like the jumping back and forth between this and other events. It almost seemed as if they seemed to have this idea for a flashback story on Scorpius' origins, found they didn't have enough to fill out the whole episode, and padded it with the other things we see. Like I say, I found the episode very interesting, and I've been longing to see Scorpius' origins, but I found aspects of this story, and hence the episode as a whole, a little lacking.




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

Second Opinion
To see Mary Wood's review of "Incubator", click here.

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Did You Know?
Scorpius' bodysuit has evolved over time. Originally it was a different material, and he had to carry a backpack that contained a cooling system, which was attached to the device in his head.

In addition, Scorpius' suit does, quite literally, hold him together. Without it his skin sags from his body.

The crew now finally know that Scorpius is indeed alive and kicking, having been presumed dead since Season of Death.

As speculated in Losing Time, the neural chip taken from John's brain did indeed contain part of John's personality, a result of neural spill over.

Scorpius was one of 91 experimental attempts to breed Sebaceans with Scarrans. The females always died, along with the offspring. Scorpius was the only one saved, so the Scarrans could learn if Sebaceans had anything to offer them.

The Scarrans in this episode had a different look to how we have previously seen them.


Related Episodes
A Human Reaction
Nerve
Look at the Princess, Part 1: A Kiss is But a Kiss
Look at the Princess, Part 2: I Do, I Think
Look at the Princess, Part 1: A Kiss is But a Kiss
Won't Get Fooled Again
Die Me, Dichotomy
Season of Death
Self Inflicted Wounds, Part 1: Could'a, Would'a, Should'a
Self Inflicted Wounds, Part 2: Wait for the Wheel
Losing Time

Favourite Quote
John: (about the Talyn and the threat of the Retrieval Squad) "You're the one who decided we should stay away and let them deal with it."
D'Argo: "Which suits you perfectly so you can indulge yourself."
John: "Fine, I'm indulging myself. Maybe I'm entitled once in a while."
D'Argo: "Yep, once in a while."
John: "You wanna push this? Mr. 'Let's Go Find My Son'?"


We have 164 images from Incubator online.
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Episode Credits
Season 3, Episode 11 - "Incubator"
Writer: Richard Manning
Director: Ian Watson
Production number: 10311
First UK Transmission: 12th Nov 2001
First US Transmission: 13th Jul 2001
Guest Stars:
Tammy MacIntosh (Jool); David Franklin (Lt. Braca); Evan Sheaves (Child Scorpius); Johanna Kerrigan (Linfer); Danny Adcock (Co-Kura Strappa); Amy Salas (Tauza); Stephanie Jacobson (Nurse Froy); Paul Shedlowich (Plint); Thomas Holesgrove (Wolesh); Sam Healy (Rylani Jeema); Nicholas Bishop (Ghebb Dellos); William Zappa (Cpt. Molayne)
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