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"Losing Time"

Summary

"Thanks for Sharing" left us with the crew split about evenly, some on Talyn and some on Moya. "Green Eyed Monster" took place solely on Talyn, "Losing Time makes up for it by focusing exclusively on the Moya crew. Well, maybe not exclusively…

"Losing Time" actually opens with one of those acid-trippy John-Scorpy hallucinations that so many fans have been clamoring for the last few episodes (there, happy now?). Except this time, it isn't Scorpy in John's head, it's John in Scorpy's. It would seem that the way to pick through the information on the neural chip planted in and recovered from John's brain is for Scorpy to plug it directly into his own. He finds what he's looking for; wormhole technology. And he finds it just about the time the team of scientists he's hired finds a wormhole.

On Moya, John is trying to persuade Jool, Chiana and D'Argo not to abandon what has now been a ten solar day investigation of tantalizing clues of a possible wormhole in the area. The others won't cave though, noting that the search has so far been fruitless and the readings could mean any number of things. A new problem arises though (doesn't it always?). An electromagnetic cluster appears in Moya's path and almost as quickly as it appears, Moya passes through it. All seems fine until a strange light creature appears in command with John – who is now alone. It jumps through him a few times and, dazed, he ends up levitating above the floor with blood dripping from his head.

I hate it when that happens to me.

John wakes up rather out of it and exhausted, telling in dazed terms about the light but Pilot's scans reveal nothing. John snaps to attention real fast when he realizes he's lying next to a pool of blood. Running through the corridors screaming "medic" – presumably searching for Jool since she's the closest thing they've got to one – he runs into Chiana who, like Pilot, hasn't noticed anything wrong. She also can't find any wounds on him and when they return to command, the blood is gone. Chiana insists that John just really needs to get some rest. Instead, he starts skimming over every inch of dust from the floor, looking for evidence that he bled on it. As he looks like he's about to fall asleep from exhaustion, more blood appears on his arm and again with no wound. John frantically works with Pilot to scan for anything unusual, but Pilot still finds nothing. He suggests that perhaps this is some residual damage from the twinning in "Eat Me."

Jool starts noticing things going wrong too. It's too hot, the ceilings are leaking. Then again, she just sounds like her normal complaining self which is probably why Chiana and D'Argo are still reluctant to believe there's anything strange happening on board. John is understandably upset by now, even questioning if the other John is the original and he's the clone (in spite of all the evidence that they're both equal). He asks the rest of them to watch him in case he has another attack and though it takes some convincing, they agree. After a while though, Chiana can't take the boredom and starts to walk away. When she does, she slips in a pool of water overflow from a bucket Jool had placed under a ceiling leak. Jool notes it shouldn't be overflowing yet from such a slow drip. John had a DRD record the whole let's-watch-John session and the recording reveals that at some point, they all shook with unnatural speed and violence and fell unconscious for a time, though none of them remembered or saw anything – and neither did we the viewers, since it happened during a scene we witnessed.

Elsewhere in the Uncharted Territories, Scorpy and crew are ready to send a live subject through the wormhole after several successful tests with an empty prowler. Project leader Drillic seems exceptionally eager to get biological tests underway to the point of near insubordination with Scorpius. When the manned prowler returns unharmed, but with the pilot liquefied, Scorpius decides that Drillic should be the next test subject, just to make sure whatever went wrong gets fixed.

On Moya, D'Argo figures they were out for about an arn. Jool says that she may have lost time earlier when bathing; the water turned cold in an instant. They ask Pilot about his scans. When Pilot fails to answer, they go to his chamber to find him possessed by an alien entity. He's been "tasting" the crew, searching for another runaway entity he refers to as a Disease Energy Rider, saying it's taken over one of the crew but he doesn't know which one yet. Though he's having trouble controlling Pilot's body, he does have basic control of Moya and her systems. The others consider the possibility that the being in Pilot is lying and Pilot's the only one "infected." They also consider that he might be right and fingers start pointing as to who is the possessed one. They each more or less go their separate ways. "Unified plan as always" John says with plenty of sarcasm.

John decides to Join D'Argo in confronting the alien in Pilot with weapons drawn. They demand to talk to Pilot, who seems to appear for a brief moment long enough to say the alien isn't lying. The alien then expands on his mission, explaining that the disease rider is a child and will damage the mind of the person it's in if it stays too long, giving only desire and despair. He also says that the rider won't tend to know personal details of the person it's in. D'Argo and John go off to find Jool and Chiana, rattling off personal details along the way. Chiana doesn't answer right away when asked her brother's name, angry with D'Argo and John for suspecting her. She eventually does answer correctly though. That leaves Jool. The closest thing any of them know to personal details is a rough outline of how she wound up frozen in the stasis chamber (see "Season of Death" and "Self-Inflected Wounds part I"). She says she had discovered a gem mine. When the guards caught her, they sold her to Grunchlik (again, see "Season of Death") and her cousins got sick while waiting for her in the village. The others note that isn't the story she told before. She says she was lying before. Nonetheless, Jool suddenly gets the most-likely-to-have-a-diseased-alien-in-me award. Though in a different part of the ship, the alien in Pilot "tastes" Jool, causing her to shake violently and with apparently a great deal of pain. He did not find the Rider.

John has a plan. Doesn't he always? He recruits a DRD to help him communicate with Moya in hopes that she might have an idea how to get the alien out of Pilot. She does. Through the DRD, whom John later names "Pike," John and Chiana are led below Moya's neural cluster. Pilot once told John that there was a chamber there where he has no sense receptors. Upon entering it, John realizes they must be in the Starburst Chamber where the energy for Starburst first coalesces. A panel opens for them and Chiana excitedly starts pushing buttons. An energy surge builds up in the center of the chamber and they immediately shut it down. But, when Chiana walks through the chamber, the Rider is revealed. John doesn't do too good a job of hiding the fact that he sees the Rider – in a form of the energy-light being he first encountered in Command. The Rider talks to him in distorted voice and movement that's way alien even for Chiana. She tells John that Tallip, the alien in Pilot, is the real enemy. He is about pain and will kill the crew whereas she is about pleasure and will not harm anyone, only wants a ride to another cluster where she can be free. She touches John and, a la "Cocoon," instant sex (or at least, that's the implication). John, more than a little spent, tells her to wait in the Starburst Chamber where Pilot can't find her and he goes to consult with the others.

Checking in with Scorpy, he's come to the conclusion that the problem is biological. Sebaceans apparently can't survive re-entry into the wormhole while Humans – John – apparently can. He also lets Lt. Braca in on a little High Command secret: The Scarrans are planning a massive assault against the Peacekeepers but are holding back because they fear the Peacekeepers' well publicized hidden wormhole technology. Technology which is in fact non-existent. Hence the rush to actually develop some.

On Moya, out of the Rider's earshot, John has a little talk with Pike to confirm that Moya does indeed believe Tallip and not the Rider. Either way, Moya wants Tallip out of Pilot ASAP. John updates Jool and D'Argo. Jool is recovering nicely, but wants the Rider gone at all costs. John and D'Argo confront Tallip, telling him they've hidden the Rider and they'll give the Rider up once he takes them back to the cluster. Tallip answers by tasting D'Argo.

Jool, with pulse pistol in hand, finds Chiana/the Rider in the Starburst Chamber and says she's taking her to Pilot. Along the way, John runs into them. While John and Jool are confronting each other, the Rider takes the opportunity to get the drop on both of them. Her advantage doesn't last long though. Tallip finishes with D'Argo and finds out the Rider is in Chiana – presumably by hearing them talking about it now that they’re no longer in the Starburst Chamber. In the same violent way, he takes the Rider from Chiana and kills it, leaving Chiana alive but not in the greatest of shape. While Jool tends to Chiana with unusual concern and compassion, John goes back to Pilot's chamber to urge Tallip to go back to the cluster he came from. New problem though; Tallip has grown to like Pilot's body and control of Moya. He decides he'd rather stay.

New plan. Moya and crew are going to redirect a short starburst blast into Pilot's den. Just enough to kill Tallip but hopefully not enough to kill Pilot. Jool and D'Argo work in the neural cluster while Chiana and DRD Pike are ready to set things off in the Starburst Chamber (where escape before the blast is essential). John's job; talk to Tallip, make him think he's basically won. While he has Tallip distracted, D'Argo and Jool put phase one into action, causing a malfunction that makes Tallip think Pilot is dying. Helped with some hints from John, Tallip decides he should try to go into Moya. As he does, John hits Pilot's console and yells through the comm for Chiana and Pike to do their thing. It's close though, as Chiana is still recovering and keeps slipping in and out of consciousness. Pike keeps bumping into her and eventually manages to wake her up. She and Pike initiate the blast and Tallip is killed. Chiana gets out of the chamber before the blast, but poor little Pike does not.

Everyone recovers in their own little way. Pilot can't bring himself to rest as he has hundreds of little repairs to perform on Moya. Jool and Chiana look positively hung over. Chiana obviously looks and feels the worst. There's an implication though that something's changed, as she senses D'Argo in the room a moment before he enters. Has this experience given her some kind of ESP? Scorpy meanwhile is having problems of his own as he goes back into the chip to look for more wormhole information. Instead, the John in the chip seems to gain a will of it's own and takes a turn at torturing Scorpy, much the way the Scorpy clone once tortured John.


Review

Question: Was Justin Monjo on drugs when he wrote this script?

Sorry to be so harsh, but I just have to ask. Monjo has written some of the better character pieces on Farscape; “The Flax,” “A Human Reaction,” “Crackers don’t Matter.” Yes, “Crackers” is a character piece in my opinion. Though it was a stand-alone, everyone-goes-insane comedy piece, it stayed extremely true to character and the characters dealt with the ramifications of what had happened afterwards. Not so in Losing time. The premise was wonderful. Still, it left me wondering, “But…?” Especially in the case of Chiana. With all that had happened to her, I expected some kind of quasi-closure, or at least a reaction other than moping around all hung over. Did she remember all that had happened while the Rider was in her? Did she feel it when the Rider had sex with John? Did she try to fight it? She was pretty freaked out about being twinned in “Eat Me.” I expect some reaction, something here.

It was as if the episode couldn’t quite decide where to take the characters. Especially Jool and Chiana/the Rider. The excessive concern and compassion that Jool showed for Chiana after the Rider was killed was out of character at this point. A little concern and compassion would have worked beautifully. Up until now, Jool has pretty much been bitch of the century who couldn’t give much of a dren what happens to the “inferior species” aboard Moya. Even in this episode, Jool is quick to pull a pulse pistol on the Rider and turn her in to Tallip with little concern for what might happen to Chiana. To go from that to such extreme concern for her was just too big a leap for this character. On the part of Chiana/the Energy Rider, there was a major, major continuity error that also says to us that they were undecided just what to do with that character. After coolly telling Tallip to take Jool, while Jool is being “tasted” Chiana is calmly standing next to D’Argo, watching. In the next cut, D’Argo is knocked to the floor and Chiana is hovering over him, lots of frantic concern, yelling to Tallip “What are you doing?!?” Next cut, she and D’Argo are standing together again, calm and with no indication of concern on Chiana’s part. It’s pretty clear that at some point, Catherine Millar said, “Let’s try concern over calm [or vice-versa]” and the different takes got spliced together. Besides being such a huge, unforgivable blooper, it illustrates the lack of character direction for “Losing Time.”

Next comes the effects. Absolutely loved the Disease Energy Rider and Tallip. Whomever designed those aliens did a beautiful job. I also liked the levitating effects that made it really look like some unseen force had a hold on John and Chiana. The hyper-shaking effect of the crew on the other hand made me feel like I was watching Black Scorpion. This is Farscape. Tell me you guys couldn’t come up with a better, less cheesy, slightly more believable effect than that!

Then there’s the issue that, with the exception of Jool, this crew should know Moya like the backs of their hands by now. Monjo asks me to believe that in over two cycles, John has never tried to talk to a DRD and figured out how much it understands and how best to communicate with it. Monjo also expects me to believe that John has not only never been in Moya’s Starburst Chamber, he was unaware of its existence. I don’t buy either one. Besides being a practical-minded member of the crew, John is a scientist. You can not convince me that he hasn’t explored every square millimeter of Moya by now and he’s never tried to converse with a DRD. These elements also took away from my ability to take this episode too seriously with a decent base of believability.

So, does “Losing Time” have any redeeming qualities? Scorpius for one. And that’s saying a lot coming from me because – and I know I’m going to get flamed for this – I’ve never been much of a Scorpius fan. Like Smoking Man and the Alien Conspiracy on X-Files, I’ve always felt that the Scorpius-Wormhole issue is a giant black hole on Farscape that doesn’t seem to lead anywhere and just sucks time from more interesting arcs and self-contained storylines. Maybe it’s because I was so disappointed with what was going on with the Moya crew here that I suddenly liked the Scorpy storyline so much more. Though Scorpy tends to be a stereotype villain, he does it well. I totally knew the instant Drillic copped an attitude with Scorpius that he would be the next test subject, but Wayne and company still made it fun to watch.

D’Argo was also represented quite nicely here. He’s getting funnier and funnier every episode but without losing the original warrior qualities that make him just so… so … D’Argo in the first place! D’Argo’s journey in season 3 seems to be to gain true comfort with his situation and surroundings on Moya. Maybe that was the plan all along, as a result of his soured relationship with Chiana and having found and lost his son. D’Argo really seems to be more go-with-the-flow these days. I thought this was especially summed up in the line, “I live on this ship. Something strange always happens.”

The greatest redeeming factor for this episode that brings my review up at least a full point is Gigi Edgley. My understanding from her website and various interviews and articles is that Gigi specializes in voice and movement work. It shows, big time. Many have compared her alien voice and movement for the Rider to the movie “Nell.” While that may have been an inspiration, Gigi makes the performance her own here. It’s not every day that a slight, bubbly character can turn evil so very smoothly and give me goose bumps with a single line; “You … know!” In lieu of all the non-believable effects and storyline glitches, Gigi gave me a chillingly believable performance to latch onto.

And, although her character was one of the lost souls in this episode, Tammy Macintosh, by virtue of a fantastic delivery, gets my vote for best line of the episode.




Agree? Disagree? Comments? Questions? Email me! Written by Mary Wood.

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Fun Factoids
Best line:
John: “Hey Doc. How come I bled and you guys didn't?"
Jool [exasperated, exhausted, deadpan delivery]: "That's obvious. You bled because you're an irritating and inferior species. Good night."

Figured out yet how DRD Pike got his name? It’s a reference to Captain Pike in the original Star Trek.

“I know that voice from somewhere. I just know it!” Yes, you do. Co-Kura Strappa, part of the science team working for Scorpy, was played by Danny Adcock, the same actor who played T’raltixx in “Crackers don’t Matter.”


Click here to read Dani Moure's review for this episode.

Click here to read Dani Moure's synopsis for this episode.

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Episode Credits
Season 3, Episode 9 - "Losing Time"
Writer: Justin Monjo
Director: Catherine Millar
Production number: 10309
First UK Transmission: 29th Oct 2001
First US Transmission: 29th Jun 2001
Guest Stars:
Tammy MacIntosh (Jool); David Franklin (Lt. Braca); Ian Bliss (PK Scientist Drillic); Johanna Kerrigan (Linfer); Danny Adcock (Co-Kura Strappa); Tux Akindoyeni (PK Pilot Rinon)
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