This was an interesting episode which focused on Chiana's back story and her relationship with Crichton.
I have to give a lot of praise to Gigi Edgley, who did an awesome job here. Chiana spent nearly the entire episode in chains, and was tortured numerous times. It wasn't a fun experience to watch, especially since she is my third favorite character after John and Aeryn. But it was an important one for the character.
We've met the Nebari before with their whole cleansing mantra, they were definitely creepy and their methods were clearly wrong, but they didn't necessarily strike me as 'evil'. Here we find out just how diabolical the Nebari government's schemes really are.
Varla was an interesting villain, but she wasn't all that impactful. She was just towing the party line in a way, following the dictates of her government to the absolute letter. I think the plan to use a contagion of some sort to infect the galaxy as a whole was a bit convoluted and didn't make a lot of sense, but at least it did put the Nebari government firmly into the bad guy category.
It also immediately made Nerri's reasons for abandoning Chiana make a lot more sense, since he joined the resistance against the Nebari government. Moreso, Nerri's position as a leader of the resistance gave Chiana a good reason to stay where she is. John was right, Chiana joining her brother seems like a bad choice given his situation. Sure it's mostly just an excuse to keep Chiana on board Moya, but I think it worked dramatically as well. It would be a distraction for Nerri, and her passage through Nebari space to get to her brother might lead to her capture which would be even worse for Nerri.
I think it was a good writing choice to push Aeryn, D'Argo and Zhaan into the periphery as walking mind controlled minions of Varla. Each has a very distinct hatred of being out of control and captive, and it just makes their utter calmness about things all the more effective. D'Argo especially, with that moment where he started crying about all the violent urges he's had throughout his life.
It shifted the focus to John and Chiana, and how they interact with each other. They have a very affectionate relationship, but it's never struck me as romantic. There has been numerous instances of sexual undertones between them, but for me they are almost like step siblings who acknowledge there is something physical between them that will probably never happen. The trust and banter between John and Chiana has become one of my favorite parts of the show.
The problem is that John is slowly losing it. His stoner surfer act was a lot of fun, but then when he was interacting with Chiana, he was also a bit odd as well. Whatever the neural chip is doing to him, is clearly messing with his hold on reality and his behavior is showing the cracks in his sanity. He's still cognizant enough to come up with a rather ingenious plan to save them using old footage from an attack on Moya by Crais' command carrier. But that doesn't mean things aren't sliding downward for him.
There is a particularly gross moment where Crichton gets a chip placed on his optic nerve. This is a direct homage to A Clockwork Orange, which also inspired much of the plot of this episode as well as the title.
I love how the Nebari males have a complimentary color scheme to the females. Their black hair makes them stand out, but I'm not sure it works as well as the white hair.
The wounds on Varla and Meelak were pretty gnarly, and the blood dripping down Varla's face and neck in the first few minutes of the episode was blue.
The chemical version of cleansing feels like a bit of a cheat since it's temporary, but at least Chiana explained the differences so there wasn't any continuity issues.
All of Rygel's scenes were all a lot of fun, and I loved the moment where John was searching for him and he farted. So Farscape.
Rygel: "Oh great. Just what we need, a lobotomized Luxan!"
Rygel: "Crichton, what the yotz are you..."
Crichton: "Shut up, you miserable excuse for a life! I'm sick of having you sell us out every chance you get."
Rygel: "I don't do it every chance, believe me!"
Chiana: "You... you're really not cleansed?"
Crichton: (sliding his hands down her body) "No. My thoughts are as dirty as ever."
Crichton: "Your brother is alive. He's alive. Take that. It's more than you had yesterday."
Chiana: "I wanna go to him."
Crichton: "I know. But since when do people like us get what we want?"
I liked this one quite a bit. Even though it wasn't necessarily the best episode in the series it was a good one.
3 out of 4 Control collars
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.