Summary and analysis by Dallascaper

Coming across the wreckage of an old Peacekeeper carrier, the crew debates the value of exploring the derelict vessel. It turns out the ship is the shattered remains of the Zelbinion, once the most feared warship of the Peacekeeper armada. It was also the first stop for Rygel immediately following his removal from power many cycles ago. Mercilessly tortured and humiliated by the ships tyrannical captain, Durka, Rygel is very upset at seeing the vessel. Aeryn is curious as to the unknown facts surrounding the destruction of the powerful ship. D'Argo thinks there may be weapons or other valuable goods on board, so they board the ship in search of answers and loot.

Tagging along, somewhat reluctantly, is John. While exploring the ship, picked clean by scavengers long ago, our heroic trio come across a surprise. Hiding amongst the wreckage and dead bodies, is a Peacekeeper tech named Gilina Left behind by Crais, Gilina was part of a small group assigned to access the ship's data stores and learn the truth behind its mysterious demise. Unfortunately, the small band of Peacekeepers were attacked by a group of treacherous scavengers known as Sheyangs. Gilina was the only survivor of the attack. Aeryn and D'Argo seem intent on killing the Peacekeeper tech, but John intervenes and saves her life.

Before anyone can get too comfortable, the Sheyangs return to strip the Zelbinion of what little technology it still contains. D'Argo must convince the scavengers that Moya is populated by fearsome Luxan warriors. Fooled by the ruse, the Sheyangs are kept at bay, for a time. Soon they realize there are no Luxan warriors and decide to attack. It is up to John, Aeryn, and Gilina to awaken the Zelbinion's long dead defensive systems before all are killed.

Analysis:

Well, it's just episode 6 and a female alien has finally gone head-over-heals for John. Gilina is but the first to fall. Actually, John and Gilina make a cute couple. Unlike the moody Aeryn, Gilina seems comfortable with John. Recognizing his technical aptitude, and grateful for saving her life, Gilina is the first alien, besides Zhaan, who appreciates John for who he is.

The other part of our little love triangle, is Aeryn. She is well aware of the fireworks between John and Gilina, but is clearly preoccupied by the mysterious fate of the Zelbinion and its crew. It turns out Gilina's dead crew mates were Aeryn's former comrades. Punished for Aeryn's betrayal of Crais, her former Peacekeeper buddies were reduced to guarding techs on a dead ship. Had Aeryn not gone with Moya's crew, her former comrades would not have been at the Zelbinion. Now they are dead and Aeryn clearly feels the loss and a sense of responsibility.

We learn more about Rygel's past, a past that includes torture at the hands of Durka. Zhaan convinces Rygel that he must board the dead ship and confront the corpse of Durka if he is to ever get past the pain of his Zelbinion experience. It seems Durka's hold on Rygel is still strong.

There isn't much for Zhaan and D'Aargo to do in this episode. Stuck on Moya, D'Argo does get a chance to show off some splendid Luxan swearing. Unfortunately, the exact translation of his words are not provided, depriving the viewer of his colorful and potent way with words.

As for the Sheyangs. Are you old enough (or young enough) to remember the early 1970's kids show called New Zoo Review? Remember Freddy the Frog? Apparently he went bad after the show was canceled and now terrifies unsuspecting aliens in the Uncharted Territories. Armed with fire breathing breath, but slowed by sluggish wit, he meets an explosive end at the hands of Aeryn. It's so sad. Thank God Henrietta Hippo isn't around anymore to see her former costar meet such an end.

Featuring mystery, action, and more than just a little romance, PTKG is a strong episode. Would like to add that watching this episode again, almost a year-and-a-half after it premiered in the US, I am amazed by how much John has changed. By the end of season two, John is a man worn by a life on the run and tortured by...well, if you don't know, I'm not going to give it away. How jarring it is to revisit this early episode and see a naive character still so "full of wonder," as his mother might say. How things have changed.

 

 

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Originally aired in the US April 16, 1999

Written by Nan Hagan

Directed By Tony Tilse

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