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"Promises"

Summary

After having been separated from Moya - some for weeks, some for months - D'Argo, John, Chiana, Rygel, and Noranti are more than glad to see Moya at the rendezvous point. Sikozu of course has never boarded Moya. Before even docking, they ask Pilot through the comms how he's been and what happened months ago when he and Moya were caught in the wormhole (at the end of Dog With Two Bones). Pilot is unusually casual and vague, saying all he really remembers is that they weren't harmed, merely examined, but they don't know by whom. Noranti finds this very strange and unsettling, as Pilot had told her before that he knew everything. She fears something is very wrong. The group doesn't hesitate; one sure way to find out if it's a trap is to walk straight into it. They dock, and John takes point.

He is greeted by one person stepping out of the shadows - Aeryn Sun. She's subdued, looks upset, but is obviously happy to see John. But when she walks to him, she falls weakly into his arms. Heat delirium. Enigmatically, she says "You have to promise that you will not kill him. He saved my life." That "who" is Scorpius, who comes out to join Aeryn. John is livid and as he aims his weapon at Scorpius and calls for D'Argo to come out. Chiana joins the two of them as well, but Aeryn stands defiantly between the group and Scorpius. Scorpius explains that he's put Aeryn in this coolant suit (which does somewhat resemble Scorpy's but without the shoulders and headpiece) to reduce her fever and she needs to continue her regimen. "I gave my word that he would not be harmed" Aeryn tells them. D'Argo asks if she really expects them to honor that and she tells him "Yes, or I leave Moya now." They want to know what Scorpius has done to Aeryn, and moreover, what he wants. "He wants asylum" she says.

"What is it with Peacekeepers? First they hunt us then they want to move in?" John can't believe what's happening. D'Argo and Chiana aren't any more thrilled about what they're seeing. Scorpius insists that Aeryn needs to return to "the chamber" to resume treatment. Reluctantly, John tells Chiana, "Aeryn needs help." As Chiana offers a shoulder to lean on, Aeryn tells John again to promise that he will not harm Scorpius. It takes several moments to get such a promise out of him, but she finally does. Aeryn lets Chiana lead her away.

John asks Scorpy again, what he did to Aeryn. "I saved her" he answers. He tells them she was alone, wounded, adrift in her prowler, and in an advanced state of heat delirium. John has a quick flash of imagining a rather sleazy scene of Scorpius licking an unconscious Aeryn. D'Argo asks how Scorpius found her and he answers simply that he was looking, looking for all of them. To keep after John's wormhole technology? Not at all. He says he couldn't use it now even if he had it. Now, he just wants to protect the knowledge. "I merely want to safeguard it and hope when the inevitable Scarran bloodbath begins, that you made the appropriate choices." D'Argo's less than eager to believe that Scorpius is really here to be John's protector. John just wants to know what it will take to finally kill Scorpius off. "Maybe we should take his head off" D'Argo suggests. "Worked for Durka."

John has a quick flash into his head with Harvey, the Scorpius clone. They appear to be playing the role of plain clothes cops. John angrily takes Harvey's gun away, saying guns are dangerous. Harvey insists that John kill Scorpius, saying Scorpy only wants what's in John's head.

Scorpius is led to a prison cell which Rygel has gleefully prepared; complete with Scorpius' coolant rods poorly stored in something of a pencil cup. Rygel casually drops one on the floor, breaking it. He asks how many of these rods Scorpius needs and casually breaks another. John tells him to stop. Aeryn needs those rods too. John sets 1812 the DRD in Scorpius' cell along with a couple other DRDs and tells them to keep a close eye on Scorpy.

Sikozu, the Leviathan expert who's never been aboard a Leviathan before save for the dying Leviathan Elack in Crichton Kicks, is already trying to repair Moya, giving orders to Pilot. Pilot instead seeks a proper introduction. She introduces herself and starts giving more orders when Chiana comes in and comms Pilot to ignore her. "You've been here less than an arn and you're trying to run it" Chiana tells her. Sikozu says that somebody has to and Chiana is quick to point out that "That someone is not you." She also reminds Sikozu that Scorpius is alive, and not too long ago, Sikozu examined Scorpius in a makeshift grave (What was Lost: Resurrection) and reported him dead. "I thought he was. They buried him" she responds. Chiana is livid. "Did you dig him up? Did you tell him to come here? Are you working with him?"

John is on his way to see on Aeryn, with D'Argo behind him telling him it isn't his fault. John blames himself - should have forced Aeryn to stay on Moya, even though we can be pretty sure he wouldn't stoop to that kind of force and abuse. He has a flash of Scorpius torturing Aeryn for information as to Crichton's whereabouts and continues to blame himself.

He steps into the makeshift coolant chamber to find Aeryn still in the coolant suit, only now with a headpiece not very different from Scorpius'. He even imagines the coolant rod container spinning out of her head like it does with Scorpy, though we can see here that the rod is on the outside of the piece. Aeryn apologizes, saying this isn't how she pictured coming back. "Just fate" John answers. He asks her how this heat delirium happened, but she says that while she really wants to tell him, she can't and they need to leave it at that. As he gets closer to her, Aeryn is clearly, physically happy to see him as well, but the moment is broken when John tries a new subject. What is this room and how did she find it? It's something to do with regulating Moya's temperature and Scorpius found it. "What else does Scorpius know that I don't know? Did he give you this flu?" No. Aeryn says she had the symptoms before Scorpius found her. John imagines that Scorpius could have engineered the whole thing, but Aeryn insists he didn't, that she needs John to believe that. "You make it very difficult" he tells her.

Pilot announces frantically that a ship is fast approaching. They can't starburst as the ship has too much mass and is too close. As Rygel asks how that's possible, he can see the ship outside the port window, truly dwarfing Moya. A male voice breaks over the comms, introducing himself as Ullom, Chief Protector of the Prime Hokothian. He's addressing all aboard Moya, but especially the assassin, Aeryn Sun. He announces that he knows she has heat delirium because he gave it to her via an engineered virus to which only he has the cure. The trade? Aeryn gets the antidote when he gets the names of her employers and fellow assassins. John looks to Aeryn for a reaction, which is one of total calm. She's certainly not calling the guy a liar. John insists she give him something to go on. He still suspects Scorpy is behind all of it, but Aeryn continues to assure him he doesn't. "Scorpius took advantage of a situation he could not have created." She also reiterates that she gave her word, she can not discuss the situation with John. John breaks it down to a simple question; "This guy says he has the only cure, do you believe him?" Aeryn nods her head yes. "So what am I supposed to say to this guy?" "If you love me," she replies, "you'll say nothing."

D'Argo, John and Rygel discuss a plan. D'Argo and John suggest Rygel talk Ullom into letting them aboard his ship under a flag of truce - so they can hit him over the head with it. Rygel suggests he get half an arn alone with Aeryn and a knife and he'll get the names Ullom wants. "Alright," Rygel concedes. "Your way first."

Grayza's command carrier: A Peacekeeper named Ponara is filling in Captain Braca on their status. The missile they've developed will emit a pulse charge that kills Moya without harming the lifeforms aboard her. A pilot in on the conference though finds fault with her plan; she wants a prowler to carry the missile and he believes only a marauder is large enough to carry it safely. Ponara argues that a marauder would be detected too soon. A prowler is the only ship that can get close enough for a guidance lock before being detected and a skilled pilot should be able to handle it. Braca seems to like Ponara's idea better, but calls for another round of simulations. Grayza calls him over, asking what kind of leadership that was. Braca says it's an unproven prototype that requires more study. "I don't want studies. I want Crichton."

D'Argo and Crichton take a transport pod to Ullom's ship. Upon greeting them, he notes their pod and their persons are without weapons, just as agreed upon. He also takes note that Crichton isn't Sebacean. When D'Argo tries to tongue him, they find he's only a hologram. Ullom is surprised to learn (and seems a little disbelieving) that D'Argo and John not only weren't working with Aeryn, but have no idea what she did. He tells them that she and two others invaded his home world, broke into the governing chambers, and assassinated their most beloved prime Hokothian. They managed to infect the assassins with the contagion that induces heat delirium. That's all the proof he needs to know that it's her. All Ullom wants is the names of Aeryn's employers.

In the cooling chamber, Chiana notes that the rod on Aeryn's headpiece isn't blue anymore and Scorpius says it means she needs a new one. Noranti is there as well and they're wondering if Crichton and D'Argo are making any progress, or if they've been killed already. When Chiana leaves to get a replacement rod, Noranti prepares to give Aeryn some powder to help her sleep better. Aeryn instead hits Noranti, knocking her out. Aeryn removes the headpiece and walks onto the command deck, kicking Sikozu out (who is clearly tired of being pushed around, but leaves anyway). She makes a visual com to Ullom, with John and D'Argo watching and simultaneously comming the others aboard Moya that Aeryn shouldn't be up and about and would someone please go to command and get her. Ignoring them, Aeryn tells Ullom she knows what he's trying to do and she won't play. "I'm breaking this stalemate." She puts a pulse pistol to her head. "Goodbye John."

Having responded to John and D'Argo, Rygel comes in behind Aeryn and before she can pull the trigger, he hits her from behind, knocking her out quite easily in her weakened state. Ullom is more convinced these negotiations are a waste of time and he should just send his soldiers over to Moya. In light of what just happened, D'Argo tells Ullom that Aeryn will obviously not be taken alive. "And I need her more than you do," John continues. "So back off and we'll get your names."

On Moya, Sikozu decides to pay Scorpius a visit. She starts by commanding the DRDs in Pilot's own language to go into stasis mode. Scorpius is impressed and they speak to each other in Pilot for a moment. She asks him why, on Arnessk, he saved her life. "Your death would serve no purpose, but your life might. So far, it hasn't though. She couldn't even prevent his burial and is curious how he survived. "Foresight and preparation" he answers. She asks why he's here. "To safeguard John Crichton." He glances as if to be sure no one else is listening, "Among other things." Sikozu says that this is a damaged Leviathan with a defective pilot and a crew of idiots. Scorpius reminds her that they are more resourceful than she realizes.

Aeryn is back in the cooling chamber, only now she's restrained to the bed. John goes to visit her. She says that death is nothing to fear - she should know. She reminds him that she asked him to promise once (Exodus from Genesis) that before the living death from heat delirium takes hold he must be prepared to kill her out of mercy. "Not a chance" he says. As they talk, Harvey joins John inside his head, only now it's Aeryn as Harvey, here in this room. Aeryn-Harvey asks John why he won't just let Aeryn die. John says he'll get the antidote. "That's my Johnny, still in denial. She's not yours ... You'll never be lonely, you'll never be rid of me, whether I'm in your head or in a grave on Arnessk..."

"You have no right to do this" Aeryn says. "It's my life."

"And what of other people who depend on you."

"Ullom only wants me. He doesn't care about anyone else, he just wants me."

"Not as much as I do."

"I made a promise, doesn't that mean anything to you?"

"Doesn't life mean anything to you? When did you become an assassin?"

"When I found a cause that required it."

John still wants more answers than that. He wants to know that her cause was just, that the people she worked for and her cause are worth her death. "It is" she tells him.

On the command carrier, Grayza's recon teams have located a Leviathan that might be Moya. Learning quickly what kind of leadership she expects of him, Braca tells Ponara to load the prowler, he'll fly it himself. The other man still disagrees, especially with the idea of Braca flying the prowler. "You think this mission will fail, you're obviously the wrong man for the job" Braca tells him. Grayza looks on with approval.

Walking the corridors of Moya, John continues to be plagued by Harvey, now back in the cops-in-a-basement setting, insisting that John stay away from Scorpius. "He only wants to pick your brain." John is reacting physically to Harvey, clearly tired and frustrated with him, and tells Harvey to leave him alone. He goes to Scorpius anyway, to find the DRDs disabled and Sikozu in the cell working with Scorpius, handling one of the large needles Scorpy had originally used to inject the neural clone in John's head. Holding a gun on them both, he figures that's how Scorpius survived; Sikozu was with him all along. "Untrue" Scorpy assures him. "She's just begun to help." While John asks if he's planning to inject yet another neural clone in his brain, Scorpius says it's just the opposite. He's offering to get rid of the clone that's there. John pauses and tries to bluff, "What clone?" Scorpius clearly knows about Harvey though. He points out that Moya is in danger and if John is to be at his best, he needs to clear his mind. "Consider this; I saved Aeryn's life while the clone killed her (Die Me Dichotomy)." John has another flash of himself with cop-Harvey. While John holds a gun on him, Harvey says this isn't necessary, but John is clearly starting to think it is. "This is a private place Harv. You don't belong here." In real life, a pained John hands Sikozu his pulse pistol. In his head, without fighting too hard, Harvey protests that he's real; real to John, real to himself, and that he'll miss this place and all its memories. In real life, John falls on the table. Scorpius grabs him roughly and jams the needle into the base of his skull. In his mind, John shoots Harvey in the back of the head.

John seems fuzzy for a minute, but as he comes around, he realizes that Harvey is truly gone. Now, he wants to know what Scorpius can do to help the immediate situation. Scorpius tells them that in less than 3 arns, a prowler will arrive with a missile that will destroy Moya. Without bothering to ask how he knows this, John asks how Scorpius thinks it can be stopped. He reports that once it's locked on, it can't be stopped. It can even track Moya through starburst. Even so, they still need the cure for Aeryn. Based on her readings of Ullom's ship, Sikozu believes the bulk of it is a projections. The ship itself is tiny, a crew of 3 or 4 at most. John finds this believable and these also sound like much better odds to him. When Scorpius offers to help though, John is quick to say no. But, he does want Sikozu and her brain along for the ride. As they leave, Scorpius says he's learned they have exactly 1.8 arns before the prowler carrying the missile is in range. "And how did you learn that?" John asks. "I have a spy aboard the command carrier." John mutters that Sikozu wonders why he has trouble trusting people. The look on Sikozu's face says that she's highly impressed with Scorpius.

D'Argo says John's had worse plans, but John notes, "not by much." John comms Ullom that Aeryn is ready to talk, but only because the heat delirium is worse. They're coming straight over to the ship. John, D'Argo, and Sikozu board Ullom's ship carrying Aeryn on a stretcher. Aeryn is convulsing and looks like she could die any moment. It takes some prying on John's part, saying she can't talk in this state, and Ullom's men reluctantly give Aeryn a dose of the antidote. John says it's not enough and they need to give her another dose but they refuse, saying she should recover enough to talk. John makes his move.

He and D'Argo attack Ullom and his two men, taking out the two easily enough but finding that Ullom himself is still a hologram. The chamber is quickly sealed off and Ullom threatens to cut off their oxygen. John challenges Ullom to come out, but Aeryn presents the more convincing case. Getting up, she tells Ullom to stop hiding behind contagions and holograms and face her if he's not a coward. He appears behind her, saying he's faced her once. She shot him and left him for dead and killed so many other people that day. Aeryn doesn't deny her actions, but says that his leader killed more of his own people in a day than she ever could in a lifetime, and if asked to, she'd do it all over again - for free. "I wasn't hired," she starts to say, but Ullom has already heard enough. A holographic wall fades away behind Aeryn, revealing the live and in-person Ullom behind it, who promptly shoots her in the back. Best part of the plan; Aeryn is wearing the Tarkan body shield (Lava's a Many Splendored Thing). When Ullom shoots and reveals his position, John shoots back, not killing him, but definitely disabling him.

In his possession, Sikozu finds an orb that acts as a direct neural interface to control the ship. She's reluctant to use it herself, but John says there's no alternative. As she's learning the controls however, Pilot reports that if Scorpius' numbers are correct, they're already too late. There won't be time for them to get back before Moya would have to starburst away. John comms Scorpius to ask what exactly the missile locks onto. It locks onto a Leviathan's individual bio-signature. Any way to shut it down? Only, Pilot says, with a full bio-electric shutdown. Moya might survive it for 800 microts at most. Good enough, John says. He tells Sikozu, the supposed Leviathan expert, to simulate a Leviathan bio-signature with Ullom's chameleon ship. She gives it a shot and succeeds. Meantime, Ullom utters his dying words, telling John that he just finished what Aeryn Sun started.

Braca comes into range and finds two Leviathans on his scans. Back on the command carrier, they're reading the same thing. A moment later though they confirm that one of the Leviathans is dead and must be a decoy. Braca fires the missile. On Moya, Scorpius reports that the missile is now permanently locked onto the counterfeit signature. Chiana tells Pilot to revive Moya. It takes a few tense moments, but Moya comes to. As she does, the transport pod docks and the missile hits Ullom's ship. No sooner does Braca report success, than the readings change and the "dead" Leviathan, Moya, goes into starburst. Livid, Braca tells Ponara she's relieved of duty and to report to a detention block. Grayza steps in and says she'll handle it. She instead tells Ponara to report to the aurora chair. Ponara protests in fear at the thought of the memory-sucking torture device, but Grayza tells her calmly to just go and have a seat.

All is said and done and the crew has time to regroup. Sitting outside Scorpy's cell, John congratulates him on making it through the day without being shoved out an airlock - so far. He has two questions for Scorpius. 1) Did he do anything at all to Aeryn? Answer; Scorpius says he has not harmed her in any way. John looks like he might finally accept that. 2) Does Scorpius really know where Earth is? Yes, but no one else. Scorpy purged all records. So John now has a choice; he can use the information to get home, or safeguard it by killing Scorpius.

Chiana meets with Pilot, saying it's so good to see him again and he in turn says it's good to see the rest of the crew, with the possible exception of Sikozu, who makes him miss Jool more than ever. Chiana tells him not to let anyone talk down like that to him. Pilot notes that's just the problem; too many masters at once. He asks Chiana for a favor. He asks if the crew can pick a single spokesperson for he and Moya to follow. She says she'll see what she can do.

Aeryn joins John on the command deck. She says she'd like to stay. She needs to recover, she wants to help keep an eye on Scorpius, though John assures her he gave his word that Scorpius wouldn't be harmed. "I want to be here" she tells him with calm sincerity. He asks if there are any other oaths of silence he should no about. None, she says. "So you could tell me ... if you were pregnant?" Aeryn is silent. She fails to meet his eyes and her face is hard to read. After only a moment, John walks away.


Review

So, I think it's safe to say now that Season 4 is truly underway. The gang's all back together. And my favorite element of all; mysteries abound!

Not that I've minded the way they've done past seasons at all, where all or most of the previous season's cliffhangers are addressed in the very next episode. That works just fine for me too. But I'm absolutely loving the teasers and mysteries and questions-within-questions that Season 4 has brought us so far. The Powers That Be have told us time and again this is a novel. As such, there's no rule that says the mystery presented in chapter 3 needs to be addressed no later than chapter 4. Chapter 18 is ok by me. As much as the mystery is killing me, it is also the stuff of good drama.

Where to begin? I have no solid hook like "How many vomit references can I fit into an otherwise serious review" like I did last episode. So I'll just hurl out points at random here.

Costuming. Terry Ryan, you're the best! That Emmy nomination (for "Into the Lion's Den: Lambs to the Slaughter") was well deserved, although it remains to be seen if this one will get a nod at next year's Emmys. I'm sure it had to be a struggle just how to work the Scorpy-suit on Aeryn. I did have some trouble taking her seriously in dramatic scenes with that headpiece on, but I really don't see any other way it could have been done and really drive home the needed point. John really, really needed to have Scorpius' presence - both on Moya now and general presence in Aeryn's life - rubbed in like salt in a wound. And as long as I'm on the subject, the costuming for all the characters is just fantastic this season. While I never much cared for Jool's somewhat cheesy B-movie look, I grew to understand it. But I really like Sikozu's look. Interesting choice; putting a redhead in red clothes, but it works. Part of Farscape's psychological color has always been the physical, technicolor look of the show in general. This is about as different looking a group of aliens as we're going to get on TV today, and the costuming has a whole lot to do with that. Hats off, Mr. Ryan!

Next up; CGI and the Creature Shop. I recently loaned the first 4 episodes of Farscape on DVD to a co-worker who, from my incessant rambling about the show, became curious. His first comment was how impressed he was with the effects on the show. Indeed, for a relatively small show with a relatively small market share, the effects are top-notch. I believe a lot of this is that Farscape doesn't dry to bite off more than it can chew. If you really pay attention, the smoke and mirrors are at a minimum, but it feels like you're getting more than you are. They've always done such a fantastic job with Rygel and his throne-sled. We barely ever see it in its entirety. You know that 98% of the time, the reason the bottom of the throne is just out of camera range is because there are a half dozen guys under there pushing him along. And yet, it never feels like we're being tricked like that (whereas so often in other shows, that "trick" is really obvious and distracting). Similarly, the CGI shot of the transport pod heading towards Ullom's ship is so breathtaking, it's easy to forget that it's not real. Just one question; Where's the Emmy nomination for Visual Effects? To that end, Dani and I discussed the need to create a new category just in honor of Farscape: Best Animatronics.

The lighting and cinematography also really grabbed my attention here. I always go on and on about the acting, but that acting sits in such a beautiful framework, between the costuming, the CGI, the lighting and camerawork, that I suppose it's easy for the actors to be so superior at what they do. I'd probably be better at my job too if I had the best environment and best of support in which to perform it! The scene with Aeryn coming on the command deck followed by her attempted suicide was exceptionally well shot. Claudia Black has such presence to begin with, but the elegant camerawork really brought that out. Same thing with the opening scene, with Aeryn stepping out of the shadows, falling into John's arms, the tension between the crew, Aeryn, and Scorpius in those first few moments. All of it was beautifully brought out by a superior behind-the-camera crew!

And speaking of that fantastic acting, I have to get to that here at some point I suppose. With just about any other actress, you would have needed a good deal of dialogue in that scene where Aeryn first meets John. With Claudia Black, all you need is what Dani refers to as "The most amazing face in the business." Volumes of information, and many, many more mysteries just in that opening and tag alone without the dialogue, all of which is courtesy of that "amazing face." I've said it before; I really can't believe that all of that can be acted. To some extent, it has to be felt. And of course, every scene in between was magnificently done as well. Simple as the delivery was, the attempted suicide scene was frighteningly believable. On a personal note, a little too believable for me and my hang-up over suicide scenes. Even though we know full well that Aeryn isn't leaving the show, it still took some time to recover from the shock induced by the suddenness and cold believability of that scene. I know Ms. Black had to have as much fun playing the part of Harvey as we did watching it. And, she continues to play that hodgepodge of emotions that have been raging just beneath Aeryn's calculated, calm exterior ever since The Choice.

For that matter, Ben Browder's face is pretty amazing too. I don't know if it's a new look or I'm just now noticing, but in the last few episodes, he's had this fantastic look of combined emotional and physical pain with a good dose of anger mixed in. The change that strikes me is a shift from John the reactionary to John the aggressor. He never liked the out-of-control feeling he's had in this unfamiliar universe, but now, instead of flustering him or annoying him, it's really, really just pissing him off. Like Claudia Black and Gigi Edgley, Ben Browder is getting a chance now to really play the live-volcano-under-the-surface-waiting-to-blow.

Raelee Hill. David Kemper said it was a "look" that hooked him, and I can see now why. She too speaks volumes with her face and body language. Hell, at this point, Farscape can almost do away with dialogue altogether. Hmm, is there a way to do that for an episode without seeming like they're ripping off Buffy's "Hush?" Talk about an actor's wet dream; 44 minutes of television, at least 30 of which is done with zero dialogue but just body language and looks alone! But I digress. The look that Sikozu gives to Scorpius as John is ready to put his final plan into action will go down in the Farscape history books. Talk about a thousand questions being raised about a character with just a single look! Ms. Hill, welcome to the Farscape universe.

All the actors do an outstanding job here as always, and all to bring to life the number one star of this show; storyline, storyline, storyline. How can this show answer so few questions, raise so many more, and yet leave me feeling so fulfilled? It's like I said at the start of this review; good mystery is the stuff of good drama. We're being fed tiny doses - just enough to tantalize, but only just enough. The tag was perfect, with John asking Aeryn if she could tell him if she were pregnant and the silence, with only that amazing face to keep us guessing what was going through her mind.

The real story here though was Aeryn and Scorpius. My one major complaint is that now, I truly feel the he's-dead-oh-wait-no-he-isn't card has been overplayed. I see a lot of complaints about this, but a lot of the we-thought-he-was-dead labels are attached to scenes they shouldn't be. In this case though, we pretty much saw a body. We saw the pulse blast go through Scorpius, we heard him say "Don't let them bury me," and we saw him get buried anyway. And that grave wasn't shallow. But this one point can almost be forgiven in this fantastic twist on the Scorpius arc. People have been wondering for sometime if Scorpius would wind up seeking asylum on Moya and now it's happening. And to boot, it's Aeryn who brings him on board. I have to admit, I've never cared much for the Scorpius character in the past, but in the last several episodes, he's really started to intrigue me. I've never thought he was just evil for evil's sake. He always has a method to his madness, a purpose, an ulterior motive. He doesn't torture people for pleasure, he tortures them because he needs something, and if he doesn't need something, no torture. Hence, his line to Sikozu; "Your death would serve no purpose, but your life might." Scorpy does what's to his advantage, even if that means helping his supposed enemies. Those greater purposes mean far more to him than any grudge does, and that makes him an increasingly interesting character to me.

But to have Aeryn bring him aboard! Recall that she's dealt with the devil before when she struck a deal with Crais to save John and D'Argo in Mind the Baby. Every now and then, we get a reminder that Aeryn started out as one of the bad guys, hasn't lost all of those qualities, and to some extent, can still be a bit of an unknown. She knows Peacekeepers. She knows the enemy. So, as hard as it is to accept she's done the right thing when she brings the enemy to Moya, it says a lot that she does. Aeryn has this fantastic integrity about her that she continues to explore. This also shows through her mysterious "Summer vacation from Moya" activities. Aeryn's never had a cause before. All she ever wanted as a Peacekeeper was to be a grunt pilot, happy to be the hired help without really caring what the cause was. Now, she finds a purpose and is so committed to that purpose she can't tell John a thing about it and is willing to put a pulse blast through her head to protect it? This speaks volumes about the character of Aeryn and obviously, raises all new mysteries about her. We also see her attitude towards John is much more stable now. I certainly saw a lot of romantic attraction towards John in her that we haven't seen since her relationship with Talyn-John in Season 3. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the season where Aeryn pursues John and John is the one put off (in this case at least, by her unwillingness to open up to him about her past and her supposed pregnancy). Only time will tell on that one!

In the opener; Chiana going to help Aeryn and Aeryn letting her, even stroking her face in a glad-to-see-you greeting. If this was your first episode of Farscape, you won't think anything of it. If you've gotten to know these characters over the seasons, you'll know just how powerful that gesture was. Aeryn is not at all an open person, does not generally feel comfortable with being physically helped by others, and has never had that great a relationship with Chiana. This is really the first big clue in this episode that Aeryn has gone through some real emotional change.

And finally, one more character bite: Rygel offering to torture the information out of Aeryn. Was he being serious? It's one of those moments where you think, "He can't be!" Then, in the next moment, you think, "Actually, I wouldn't put it past him." We know he's capable of it between the now famous Durka's head-on-a-stick and his torturing the Charrid literally to death in Infinite Possibilities. Yet more questions raised here as well!

With the exception of the dead/not dead card now being overplayed, everything about "Promises" satisfied. Satisfied enough for me to not be too terribly bugged by that one major complaint and even a minor plot hole. This, like I said, really feels like the kickoff to Season 4. And what a kickoff it is!




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

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Fun Factoids
Best Lines:

Chiana: "Maybe it's a trap."
John: "There's one sure way to find out."
D'Argo: "Walk straight into it."

John: "You're coming with me. We may need a nerd."

Sikozu: "Why did you save my life?"
Scorpius: "Your death would serve no purpose, but your life might."


Big ol' plothole: Initially, Moya can't starburst away because of the ship's mass pulling her. It later turns out, there is no mass, just a tiny ship with a big holographic projection. Ullom shouldn't be able to create actual mass with a visual projection.


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Episode Credits
Season 4, Episode 4 - "Promises"
Writer: Richard Manning
Director: Geoff Bennett
Production number: 10405
First UK Transmission: 28th Oct 2002
First US Transmission: 12th Jul 2002
Guest Stars:
Raelee Hill (Sikozu); Melissa Jaffer (Noranti); Rebecca Riggs (Commandant Mele-On Grayza); David Franklin (Captain Braca); Richard Carter (Ullom); Anja Coleby (Ponara); Damian Hunter (Rinlo)
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