Recap / Farscape S 01 E 21 Bone To Be Wild

Following the birth of Moya's offspring, and the escape from the Gammak Base, Moya is hiding in an asteroid field, as Crais's carrier, now with Scorpius aboard, hunts them.

Moya receives a distress signal from an asteroid somewhere in the field, showing a young woman from a previously-unseen alien species being attacked by a monster. John and Zhaan have an impulse to help, and Aeryn points out that any inhabitants of the area may have maps that might help them escape from the Peacekeepers. John, D'Argo, and Zhaan leave for the asteroid, but Pilot asks Aeryn to stay.

On the asteroid, which is entirely covered with lush jungle, John, D'Argo and Zhaan find the young woman still fighting the monster and chase it away. The woman introduces herself as M'Lee and claims to be the last survivor of a colonisation party, and the three take her back to the transport pod to find the monster waiting for them. They drive it away again, but D'Argo is injured and stray shots temporarily disable the pod. Zhaan and John leave again to collect medicinal plants. In passing Zhaan reveals what has been hinted at before: Delvians are actually sentient plants. While searching for plants, Zhaan is kidnapped by the monster.

M'Lee offers to take John to the monster's feeding grounds to rescue Zhaan, but when they arrive nobody else is around and M'Lee attacks John herself.

A series of successive revelations then occur as the crew wander between the transport pod and a lab on the asteroid. First, the monster turns out to be a sentient botanist named Br'Nee, the last survivor of a harvesting party from a culture who seeded the asteroid centuries before, all the others having been killed by M'Lee. M'Lee is a "calcivore" that lives on other creatures' bones. Second, M'Lee reveals that Br'Nee's culture dumped a group of her people on the asteroid at the same time as they seeded it with plants, to kill all the asteroid's native animal life. When M'Lee's people ate all the animals, Br'Nee's left them to starve. M'Lee is the only survivor after they were reduced to cannibalism. Thirdly, Br'Nee turns out to be a complete psycho who miniaturises Zhaan so that he can take her back to his planet to be experimented on.

Br'Nee is killed in a struggle with John over the controls of the miniaturisation machine, as Zhaan is restored to full size and consciousness. D'Argo persuades M'Lee to let them leave the asteroid, promising that the energy discharge of their pod's take-off will attract a whole crew of Peacekeepers for her to eat. She staves off her imminent death from starvation by eating Br'Nee's corpse.

Meanwhile on Moya, Pilot sends Aeryn down to the half-Peacekeeper baby starship, as Moya is having difficulty connecting with him due to his hybrid nature and Aeryn is from his paternal culture. This succeeds completely, as Aeryn and the child rapidly bond and Moya invites her to name him.

On the Peacekeeper carrier, Crais finds Scorpius rapidly stripping him of his authority and dignity. Scorpius finally takes over command, causing Crais to attack him and be completely overpowered. Crais is left broken, humiliated and near-catatonic.

As D'Argo promised, the Peacekeepers arrive on the asteroid. In the lab, M'Lee, returning to her distressed-damsel act, throws herself on Scorpius's mercy, apparently convincing him that it's a time that compassion is justified.

Tropes present in this episode include:

  • Artistic Licence Biology: There's no animal life of any kind, even insects. In other words, no pollinators and the atmosphere is rapidly being super-saturated with Oxygen. That ecosystem is going to collapse and then burn to ash very quickly.
  • Call-Back:
  • Crapsack World: As John and Zhaan watch M'Lee eat Br'Nee's corpse:
    Zhaan: There is much cruelty in the universe.
    Crichton: We seem to have a treasure map to it.
  • Decoy Damsel
  • Demoted to Dragon: Crais, by Scorpius.
  • Dirty Old Man: Rygel is implied to covertly grope Chiana while supposedly huddling with her for warmth, leading her to threaten amputation.
  • Distress Call
  • Fantastic Racism: Zhaan is deeply offended by John's outburst about Br'Nee killing all the animals on the asteroid for a bunch of "stinking plants".
  • Flipping the Table: A variation: Scorpius makes Crais's dining table retract into the floor, then kicks the food around.
  • For Science!: Br'Nee's claimed motivation.
  • Game Face: When attacking, M'Lee's facial bones glow red and she grows Spikes of Villainy
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Br'Nee is horizontally cut in half when he falls through the laser beam that is reconstituting Zhaan.
  • He Had a Name: John says exactly this to Br'Nee when he talks about Zhaan as an object, although she isn't actually dead.
  • Horror Hunger
  • I'm a Humanitarian: M'Lee has no qualms about eating sentient beings and is implied to have been the last survivor of a chain of cannibalism when her people ran out of other prey.
  • Late to the Tragedy
  • Nominal Hero: Lampshaded. Rygel claims that he should get away to ensure that someone can spread the crew's message if the rest of them die. Aeryn points out that they don't actually have an ideological message.
  • Perverted Sniffing: One of the first warnings of M'Lee's true nature.
  • Playing with Syringes: Implied to be Br'Nee's plan for Zhaan.
  • Promoted to Opening Titles: Gigi Edgley as Chiana.
  • Punctuation Shaker: M'Lee's and Br'Nee's apostrophised names.
  • Real-Life Relative: Francesca Buller, Ben Browder's wife, plays the first of four morally dubious roles under heavy prosthetics.
  • Reluctant Warrior: Scorpius is furious that Crais dragged him into a physical fight, although purely because it offends his sense of dignity rather than for moral reasons.
  • The Reveal: Successive Reveals about M'Lee's and Br'Nee's morally dubious status; ultimately M'Lee is something of a Tragic Monster (her hunger isn't her fault after-all) whereas Br'Nee is more or less a psycho. Also, Zhaan is a plant.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Rygel and Chiana make it rather obvious that they're considering stealing the baby and fleeing, much to Aeryn's disgust.
  • Shrink Ray
  • Slouch of Villainy: Crais finds Scorpius doing this in the captain's chair.
  • Spotting the Thread: After Br'Nee shrinks Zhaan, he tells John that M'Lee abducted her to eat her. John later remembers (and curses himself for being slow on the uptake) that as a plant Zhaan has no bones.
  • Too Many Mouths: Br'Nee appears to have two mouths side-by-side. Or maybe his lips join together in the middle.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Stark has disappeared from Moya at some point since the previous episode. Dialogue explaining this was apparently written but cut for time.
    • Scorpius takes M'Lee aboard his ship at the end, but we don't hear anything more about her fate except for a throwaway line in the next episode about crew disappearing. (Going by his behaviour later in the show, he wouldn't consider her dietary habits a problem given her deception and assassination skills. And she might even be his romantic type as well.)
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Used by both M'Lee and Br'Nee.