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"Lava's a Many Splendored Thing"
Same dren, different planet.

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

D'Argo is still towing Crichton's module (see log Resurrection), and there's still no sign of Moya. Rygel wants to land on the planet close by because he's starving, but the planet is hot and lifeless. Chiana comments that right now she could eat rock. Sikozu is surprised as Chiana ate only three days ago, asking how inefficient her body is. "How edible is yours?" Chiana bites back. Rygel farts, and moans that he needs food. Noranti spits out something, Chilnak, and hands it out first to Rygel then the others, except Sikozu who offers her portion to Rygel. Noranti claims it's restorative. John wonders, "How come everything tastes like chicken?" "What's chicken?" Chiana asks.

Cut to D'Argo's ship, Lo'La, landing on the lava-filled planet. Rygel comes out of the ship on his ThroneSled, only to fly off to throw up. John follows, then D'Argo, and both join Chiana in the mass regurgitation. Noranti offers John something to help the cramp, which he declines. "I am inside out," says D'Argo. "But you're not hungry anymore!" Noranti points out. Rygel has gone down a nearby hole for a shlock. John, D'Argo and Noranti follow him. At the bottom, Rygel has found some treasure that he clearly wants to swipe. "That stuff belongs to somebody else" John warns, and D'Argo throws it away, adding, "we have enough enemies already." Something seems to happen when what D'Argo threw hits the floor. Noranti finds some medicines, and thinks she recognises some of the markings on the container. D'Argo wants to leave, but Rygel sets off a booby trap, and a column of amber substance solidifies around his body, and seals the entrance to the hole, with Chiana and Sikozu on the outside. The whole place is booby-trapped, and D'Argo can't shoot the hole open; they're stuck.

Rygel is moaning for the others to get him out, while Noranti continues to ramble about the markings. "D'Argo, we may have to stick granny in a hole" comments John. "I think we should burn her" D'Argo replies. They hear people coming, who kill the traps, as Noranti recognises the markings as Tarkan. John ushers her to go and hide with him and D'Argo while Rygel plays dead. The two men converse, as John and D'Argo discuss taking them out. Noranti says there should be no violence, while the men realise the traps have been set off, and notice Rygel. He farts, so the men realise that while he smells dead, he's not. Rygel apologises for disturbing their work, but they realise he's a thief too. He tells them there's no one with him, and the men comm. someone else, who tells them not to touch it (Rygel) as he's on his way. Noranti tells John and D'Argo that these are Tarkans – good people – and despite John's objections she introduces herself to the men. Rygel claims that he's never seen her before, but she says they're not alone – there's a human, and a Luxan too. She urges John and D'Argo to come on out, as John comments, "burning is too good for her!" John steps out and tries to move along, thanking the men for looking after Noranti and telling her to stop wandering off. He implies to them that she's a bit crazy and asks if they've seen his dog. Rygel tells John to get him out, and John has an idea: "Why don't we all put our guns down?", but two other men arrive and start shooting. Chiana and Sikozu are watching from the sealed hole, trying to make out what is going on down there. The shootout continues, but the men have body shields, so D'Argo, John and Noranti are forced to run. One of the men cuts Rygel from the floor (but leaves his body encased) and carries him off, dropping him down a chute.

Chiana thinks that the lights she saw were pulse blasts, and tells Sikozu they need to help them. Sikozu says that they have to get to them first. "Well, you're a genius. How?" Sikozu mentions the cannon on D'Argo's ship. Only D'Argo can operate it, but Chiana ponders if there might be another way in.

Rygel reaches the bottom of the chute, and witnesses a huge person in body armour come out from a pool of lava. Meanwhile, John, D'Argo and Noranti are running from the men. Noranti tells them these are Tarkan Freedom Fighters - heroes; there's no need to fight them. John points out that they're shooting at them, and D'Argo notes they fired first. Noranti wants to mediate, but John says she'll just get shot. "And that would be bad?" D'Argo asks.

Rygel asks the armoured person, Raa'Keel, if they can discuss this. Raa'Keel is not happy when told that there are more intruders here. He asks Rygel how they found this place, but a nervous Rygel says no one told them; they found it by accident. When pressed he claims he was just putting back the chain he was going to steal. One of the men comms Raa'Keel to say that he has the intruders cornered, but he needs help. Raa'Keel says that he'll take care of it, while the other person keeps moving the crates. He asks the man on the comm. to describe the location, but the man says it all just looks like rock.

Noranti tells John and D'Argo that she trusts the Tarkans, but John and D'Argo don't. D'Argo tells John that it might be an idea to let Noranti mediate, so John finally agrees, but she yawns and drops to the floor – deep asleep.

Raa'Keel asks the man if there are any writings on the wall. There are some purple markings, which Raa'Keel tells the man to shoot. When he does it causes a huge explosion and rumble. D'Argo says "trouble," and as the lava begins to flow in where they are he remarks "same dren, different planet." "Yep, we’re trapped. Again."

D'Argo wants John to jump, but John says that he can but the old bat can't. "Old bats can fly," says D'Argo, as he throws Noranti to the other side of the lava. D'Argo propels John across, but when he jumps he nearly falls backwards into lava, so he wraps his tongue around Noranti's neck to pull himself up.

Chiana couldn't find another entrance, while Sikozu has been trying to power up the ship's cannon. Chiana repeats that only D'Argo can operate it, but Sikozu says he'd be a fool not to set an override. Chiana gets an idea; they just need D'Argo's DNA.

Raa'Keel tells the leader of the men that his people are worthless. Rygel comms D'Argo to say that he's dying, and begs them to get him out of there. John asks where he is, when Raa'Keel grabs Rygel and asks "who's this?". "Lou Costello" is John's reply. He says that he is Raa'Keel, and Noranti introduces herself and says they're not enemies; it's a misunderstanding, they know they're Tarkan Freedom Fighters. Raa'Keel says that even though they approve of their work, Rygel attempted to rob them. John apologises, and says they'll punish the slug appropriately. Raa'Keel says that they'll release Rygel, but knocks him out and tells John that Rygel doesn't look well – they'd better come get him. Raa'Keel says that they'll send an escort, and neither John nor D'Argo trust him, despite Noranti's objections. John wants to ambush the escort, hit him with a rock and take his belt (the shield). "That is your plan?" D'Argo asks. "Yeah." "To hit him with a rock, when they have these, like, shield things?" Apparently, the shields only work against pulse energy – they saw the man get burned, so John is sure a rock will work. Noranti announces that she wants to help.

Chiana and Sikozu check out all the piles of vomit and find D'Argo's, of which Chiana takes both a bite and a handful. On the ship, Sikozu wants to try to control it, but Chiana objects, as she's the one who put her hands in the vomit. Sikozu observed the starting procedure for the ship when they left Arnessk, so they start it, but Sikozu's never seen D'Argo use the cannon.

Noranti blows powder all through a chamber, where D'Argo and John hide. As the men come in to find them, Noranti turns saying "hey fellas...", and starts to dance. The men don't see Noranti, presumably due to the powder; instead they see a young lady wearing a skimpy outfit with blue hair. The men drool over her as she strips, and John and D'Argo sneak up behind them and whack them with rocks. Noranti continues to dance anyway, finishing with a strip, much to the chagrin of D'Argo and John.

Sikozu has got her own vomit, so has a go at working the ship. She gets it moving, and lines it up with the hole, but when she tries to fire the cannon nothing happens.

John has put on one of the men's body shields, and is told that it works automatically when fired at. D'Argo wants to test it on one of his John's appendages, but then shoots anyway and it works. Noranti asks if they can go now to talk with the Tarkans, but John points out there is no "we" - they have two belts and three people. Leaving Noranti behind, John and D'Argo let the men lead the way.

John arrives at Raa'Keel's chamber with the men, trying to use them as hostages. Raa'Keel shoots them instead, and activates booby traps around D'Argo and John. He adds that they aren't freedom fighters at all; they're robbing them.

John points out that they don't care, and D'Argo adds that they've performed quite a few burglaries themselves. Raa'Keel asks who else is with them, but D'Argo refuses to say, prompting Raa'Keel to throw lava over them when they don't cooperate.

Chiana and Sikozu argue, and when Chiana tells her to try anything the cannon fires, opening the hole. Below, they feel the rumble, and D'Argo realises it's Lo'La's cannon, so it must be the girls. John tells Raa'Keel that it's their squad, and D'Argo explains, "we die, you die." Raa'Keel goes to throw lava on them, but the leader of the men stops him, saying if it's true they'll need hostages. Raa'Keel asks why now, when he's been planning this for so long. John has no sympathy, "life sucks, doesn't it?" "Well, quite often in fact," D'Argo adds. Raa'Keel leaves to search for the ship. Meanwhile, Chiana leaves to check down the hole, and suggests that Sikozu turn the ship invisible.

Raa'Keel and one of the men argue, with Chiana nearly running into them. D'Argo and John try to convince the person guarding them to betray Raa'Keel, but he doesn't listen. Rygel forces himself off an edge to drop to the floor, and in the distraction John shoots the person, but Rygel gets knocked into the trap and becomes completely encased again. Just as Raa'Keel and the man get to the surface, Sikozu turns the ship invisible.

The weapon they use to melt the amber substance runs out, so D'Argo leaves to get a new canister from the level above. The man suddenly gets up and goes to hit John with Rygel, but John fights back and he and Rygel fall into the lava pool.

John wants to try activating the shield so he can go into the pool to rescue Rygel, but Harvey tries to talk him out of it. John shoots his finger to activate the shield to give it a try, and the shield protects him from the lava while it's activated.

Raa'Keel and the man find nothing wrong with their transport, so decide it must have been a bluff, and Raa'Keel returns to dispose of the hostages. Chiana is still roaming, when Noranti grabs her and says they have to hide; these are not real Tarkans but "highly evil men." She tells Chiana they have to get a message to real Tarkans.

D'Argo and the man get into a fight when they meet in a corridor. John finds Rygel in the lava, but Raa'Keel pops up behind him, and in the mean time D'Argo decapitates the man and his head roles down the shoot, landing in front of John. Raa'Keel knocks John's pulse pistol away, and John's shield switches to reserve mode. Chiana walks in, and John yells to shoot him. John's shield is reactivated, and he manages to overpower Raa'Keel and make him encased. With Raa'Keel out the way, John finds Rygel, and yells, "Can I get a hell yeah?" as he holds Rygel up in triumph.

John frees Rygel from the amber substance, when Tarkans approach. As the crew prepare to fight, Noranti tells them these are real Tarkans, and she told them everything. "And they believed you?" John asks. A Tarkan explains that Raa'Keel was once one of them, but now he's a traitor and a thief, and tells them they're free to go, as long as they take Rygel with them.

John thanks a Tarkan for the shield belt, as the Tarkan thanks Noranti for the Chilnak, prompting John and D'Argo to drag her away. Rygel says that he'll never eat again, as D'Argo, John and Noranti arrive on the ship. D'Argo asks what the mess and the smell are. "This is all you. Well, from you, " Sikozu replies. When they lift off, the ship informs them that it's received a transmission; it's from Pilot, transmitting Moya's location and saying they look forward to the crew's return. "By the yotz, Moya's alright!" Rygel exclaims. "She's waiting for us!"

Synopsis by Dani Moure

Alternate Perspective: To see a different perspective on this episode, read Mary Wood's summary.

We have 181 images from Lava's a Many Splendored Thing online.
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Episode Credits
Season 4, Episode 4 - "Lava's a Many Splendored Thing"
Writer: Michael Miller
Director: Michael Pattinson
Production number: 10404
First UK Transmission: 21st Oct 2002
First US Transmission: 28th Jun 2002
Guest Stars:
Raelee Hill (Sikozu); Melissa Jaffer (Noranti); John Adam (Raa'Keel); Jack Flinsterer (Gleeg); Alan Flower (Frool); Ross Newton (Sloggard); Teo Gebert (Weldon); Mick Roughan (Airek)
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