Episode Guide > Season Three > Relativity

US OAD: July 6, 2001

Written by: Rockne S. O'Bannon

Directed by: Peter Andrikidis

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Summary:

Talyn has landed on a forest planet - which bares a striking resemblance to Yoda's home, Dagobah - to take advantage of the healing properties of the local vegetation. With Talyn sleeping and all of his systems shut down, there isn't much for the crew to do but wait. Well, not every member of Talyn's crew is bored. John and Aeryn manage to occupy themselves with a little extracurricular activity - they finally make passionate love. Unfortunately, the love-fest is interrupted when Crais detects that the Peacekeeper retrieval squad - commanded by Aeryn's mother - has landed on the planet. The dense vegetation in which Talyn is hiding protects him, but discovery by Peacekeepers is only a matter of time.

Since Talyn is still unconscious and unable to escape, it is decided that part of the crew will enter the forest and act as a diversion. Crais, John and Aeryn leave the ship and direct the retrieval squad's attention toward themselves. The retrieval squad consists of Xhalax Sun and three Colartas trackers. Colartas is the same species as the shape-shifter from TFS. One of the Colartas is injured even before arriving on the planet, so Xhalax kills it, leaving just two trackers. The two groups encounter each other and a shoot-out ensues. Interestingly, the foggy atmosphere renders the pulse weapons useless after just a few minutes of firing. In the confusion of the fight, both groups split up into pairs and lose track of each other.

Xhalax, who is injured in the leg, gets into some hand-to-hand combat with Aeryn. Aeryn subdues her mother, ties the woman to a tree, and tends to her injury. When Xhalax regains consciousness, Aeryn confronts Xhalax with their shared heritage. At first, Xhalax claims not to know Aeryn, but her ignorance is quickly replaced by revulsion at seeing her traitorous daughter. Xhalax never mentions Crichton, but seems to think Aeryn has aligned herself with Crais, who is also considered a traitor. When Aeryn tells her mother that the Leviathan gunship is named Talyn after her father, Xhalax laughs in disgust. Xhalax considers naming the ship a sign of sentimental weakness. Realizing her mother needs proper medical attention and a serious attitude adjustment, Aeryn leads Xhalax to the Leviathan gunship.

While Aeryn is having a not-so-happy reunion, John is dealing with Crais, who is badly injured. Crichton is far more concerned about Aeryn, but must help the captain anyway. John and Crais are being tracked by the Colartas and it's only a matter of time before they are discovered. John discovers that foul-smelling slime will cover their body odors enough for the trackers to lose their scent. John covers Crais and himself with the putrid slime and the trackers lose their trail. While Crais lies on the ground sleeping, John is visited by Harvey. The Scorpius clone reveals that Crais hasn't been entirely truthful about his intentions regarding Talyn and the crew. From the moment Crais stepped on Moya in FT, he was a hunted man. Realizing that Moya's crew would do nothing to help him, he stole Talyn as an insurance policy. Knowing that the crew would do anything to help the Leviathan child, Crais' fabricated the whole Talyn must have a Peacekeeper captain story to ensure their protection. Crichton doesn't take the news well.

His worst fears about Crais confirmed, Crichton turns on Crais by tying him down and dowsing him with water, making it possible for the trackers to locate the captain. The trackers locate Crais and intend to return him to Peacekeeper high command. However, just as they prepare to beat the captain into submission, they are ambushed by Crichton. With the trackers seemingly out of the way, Crichton prepares to leave Crais in the woods to fend for himself. However, Crais reminds Crichton that they have no way of knowing if Aeryn is still alive. If Aeryn is dead and Crais is still tied to the ground, how will Crichton pilot Talyn? Crichton needs Crais and grudgingly frees the captain.

On Talyn, the situation becomes critical when Xhalax frees herself and attacks the crew. High on some type of stimulant, the Peacekeeper operative easily knocks out Aeryn and Stark. Rygel tries to attack the woman, but she brutally stabs the Hynerian. With the crew out of the way, Xhalax turns her attention toward Talyn. Realizing the gunship is resisting her, Xhalax slowly starts destroying his mental abilities with the intention of manually flying the lobotomized Leviathan to Peacekeeper space.

Analysis:

It has taken 54 episodes, but US scapers finally get to see John and Aeryn in bed. In fact, not even the about last night scene in AHR, which was edited from the US broadcast, revealed much compared to this episode. Clearly, Farscape writers were a little puzzled as how to bring John and Aeryn together, while avoiding the pitfalls often associated with two main characters sleeping together. Often there is a big buildup to the event, followed by a strong letdown that the show never recovers from. Farscape avoids this issue by eliminating the buildup altogether. Relativity opens with Rygel complaining that John's passionate grunting sounds keep him from sleeping. With little fanfare we see the two love birds enjoying each other's company in bed. It's actually a very tame scene, not even as risqué as the bed scene featuring John and Alex in RIB. But it should be enough to keep J/A shippers happy for quite some time. Fortunately, the love session isn't the focus of this episode and events move quickly out of bed and back into crisis.

Aeryn's mother has landed on the planet with the intent of seizing Talyn. Unfortunately for Aeryn, Xhalax Sun has little interest in getting to know her daughter. Despite Aeryn's best efforts to reach her mother on an emotional level, which include showing Xhalax the video chip recording of their last meeting many cycles ago, Xhalax is unmoved. The bitterness in Xhalax's words may be hard to accept, but she is clearly the product of lifelong Peacekeeper indoctrination. It would be unrealistic to expect the woman to turn into a sympathetic character simply at the sight of her daughter. Farscape doesn't do happy endings very well, so it should come as no surprise that Relativity is an episode that stays true to what the show does best. Aeryn's torment at knowing her mother's fate at the hands of Crais is very sad to watch, but is testimony to Claudia Black's strong acting ability and Rockne S. O'Bannon's skills as a writer.

It is interesting to watch John and Crais interact with each other when nobody is looking. If it weren't for Aeryn, these two men wouldn't lift a finger to help the other. Yet, being tracked by deadly Colartas forces the two antagonist to cooperate if they are to survive. Crais is injured and needs John's help to make it out of the forest alive, but John would rather leave him behind. Unfortunately for John, with the fate of Aeryn still unknown, Crais is the only known person who can pilot Talyn. So, like it or not, they are stuck with each other.

After watching this episode, I have a few questions. Xhalax comes down to the planet with only a prowler and three trackers. Where is the rest of the Peacekeeper retrieval squad? Presumably they are still in orbit, which would seem to be bad news for Talyn. This issue is never addressed in the episode. Is Xhalax really dead? She is shot by Crais off-camera, leaving open the possibility that she wasn't shot by Crais at all. Crais's credibility is very much in question, so who knows what he may or may not have done. Even if Xhalax was shot, the healing properties of the local vegetation could revive her. Presumably, Xhalax could recover and return to the Peacekeepers in her prowler, which the crew conveniently left behind. On Farscape, characters may die, but nobody is ever truly dead.

Overall, Relativity is a solid outing for the Farscape crew. Tons of action, believable character interaction, and shippyness make this a fun episode to watch.

 

 

 

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