Recap / Farscape S 02 E 02 Vitas Mortis
Desolate planet, CGI castle: John, D’Argo, and Zhaan approach, apparently in search of a Luxan rumoured to be living here. Inside- after a non-conversation with a weird-eyed mute receptionist- they find an old, bedridden Luxan woman, who identifies D’Argo as a general, much to Crichton’s puzzlement, and bids him come closer. He realizes she is an "Orican", and she is dying; he offers to "attend" her, whatever that means. The Orican- whose name is Nilaam- is skeptical of D'Argo being worthy of attending, and after ramming her hand into his chest, calls him a fraud and then flings him out the door with her magical powers.

Back from the credits, an argument immediately springs up between Zhaan, Crichton and D'Argo; Zhaan thinks that D'Argo should stay and try to make a case for himself, Crichton thinks that they should leave and avoid any further temper tantrums from Nilaam, and D'Argo thinks that he deserved Nilaam's criticism. After explaining that Nilaam is a holy woman honoured and revered in Luxan society, D'Argo goes on to tell Crichton and Zhaan that he is a fraud: the tattoos on his tentacle-beard mark him as a general, even though he isn't ranked as such; he took on the markings to save the real general, who was mortally wounded and facing torture that would certainly have killed him. A pep talk from both Zhaan and Crichton (accidentally in his case) convinces him to talk to the Orican again, and it turns out that she was testing him to see if he had the balls to back up the strength she sensed in him.

Up on Moya, Chiana is washing clothes in Moya's amnexus fluid when Aeryn enters and throws some more clothes at her; Chiana immediately refuses- she might be washing D'Argo's clothes as well as hers, but then, she likes D'Argo.

Back down on the planet, D'Argo agrees to help Nilaam in her last rites, which involve him transferring some of his energy to sanctify her passing- which might kill him; Crichton is understandably concerned, and goes so far as to make Nilaam promise to ensure D'Argo's safety during the ritual. Later, D'Argo and Nilaam cut themselves on D’Argo’s qualta blade, starting the Ritual of Passing... but halfway through a chant that has the qualta blade hovering in the air, Nilaam changes plans. Alarmed by the screams he's hearing, Crichton intervenes, breaking down the door and drawing a gun on Nilaam- which goes about as well as expected. However, it turns out the ritual is complete, and Nilaam is young again; apparently, she was impressed by D'Argo's strength and decided to perform the Ritual of Renewal, drawing some of his life force to rejuvenate herself. For good measure, she appears to be extremely horny. In between orgasms, Nilaam promises D'Argo that she will solve all of his problems, such as finding his lost son and helping his friends get home.

Unfortunately, up on Moya, problems are breaking out: it's started with her amnexus fluid solidifying- while Chiana's still up to her knees in it- and degraded into a cascade of system failures, including several in Moya's outer hull. Pretty soon there's a full-on inner hull breach in the amnexus chamber, which is accidentally solved when Rygel gets pulled out of his Thronesled by the escaping atmosphere and plugs the hole with his ass, Winnie the Pooh style.

In the midst of all the chaos, D'Argo decides to bring Nilaam up to Moya to see if she can help. She tries to heal Moya's outer hull, ignoring some seriously evil looks from Chiana, but it only quickens the deterioration. It turns out that during the impromptu ritual, she ended up drawing strength from Moya instead of D'Argo- and is still doing so at a rate that's actually killing the Leviathan. Meanwhile, Aeryn is expressing doubts about Nilaam’s desire to truly heal Moya when Pilot calls her to his den: he, too, is dying, thanks to his connection with Moya. Upon learning that D'Argo and Nilaam are leaving the ship, Aeryn’s immediate reaction is to kill Nilaam, which ends almost as well as Crichton's attempt did- with her and Crichton being encased in pillars of ice.

Down on the planet, it becomes clear that there's no way for Nilaam to heal Moya short of returning the life she stole, which kicks off an argument in which D'Argo refuses to allow Nilaam to kill Moya simply because she doesn’t want to be old again. After further disputes between her and Crichton D'Argo and Nilaam once again attempt the Ritual of Passing: Nilaam dies, old again, and Moya and Pilot are restored.

Tropes present in this episode include:

  • The Archmage: Nilaam.
  • Badass Longcoat: The first appearance of Crichton's.
  • Black Comedy: Normally, having your body stuck in a hull breach, leaving half of you exposed to the vacuum of space, would be universally considered a huge crisis. In Rygel's case, it is a source of comedy for half the crew.
  • Blatant Lies: D'Argo is upfront with everyone about the dangers of the ritual... except for Chiana (and also Rygel, but only because he was in the room at the time).
    Chiana: You heard what he said.
    Rygel: Yes, I heard him. But somehow, I don't believe him.
  • Blood Magic: The Ritual of Passing begins with a bit of this.
  • Blown Across the Room: The result of D'Argo being found "unworthy."
  • Book Ends
  • Butt-Monkey: Rygel ends up spending much of the episode stuck in a hull breach, with his back end exposed to vacuum. Everyone else either makes fun of him for his predicament or berates him when his constant struggling keeps allowing more air to escape.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Rygel sniffs that hull breaches are almost unheard of on Leviathans, right before Moya shakes and the hull breaches.
  • Continuous Decompression: Rygel is sucked into space when Moya's hull cracks, but gets stuck in the hole, plugging the breach. In essence, Rygel's "big ass" is the finger in the dyke.
  • Creepy Cathedral
  • Death Equals Redemption: Nilaam figures out the only way to save Moya is to go through with the Ritual of Passing.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow
  • Functional Magic: the powers of an Orican, which are apparently based on Rule Magic.
  • Fountain of Youth: The Ritual of Renewal, though it does rely on another's Life Energy to fuel the process.
  • Harmless Freezing: Nilaam traps the pesky Crichton and Aeryn in crystal cocoons, though she confessed it "won't hold them for long." The pair seem no worse for wear once the ice (or whatever it is) shatters, through Crichton complains of a headache. Brain freeze?
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: The Ritual Of Passing gives off vibes of this, being a sort of magical ritualized form of Seppuku.
  • Immortality Immorality
  • Ironic Echo: When Aeryn asks her to wash her laundry in addition to D'Argo's, Chiana refuses on the grounds that a) she likes D'Argo, and b) she's not her servant. Later, Chiana ends up stuck in the amnexus fluids, and Aeryn refuses to help her on the grounds that she's not her servant.
    • Chiana comments that Rygel has finally made himself useful.
    • Chiana snarkily asks if Aeryn is allergic to amnexus fluid when Aeryn is insisting Chiana do her laundry. When Chiana becomes stuck in the solidified amnexus fluids and starts freaking out, Aeryn snarkily asks her the same question.
  • It's All About Me: Nilaam attempts to argue that, as an Orican, her life is worth more than a Leviathan's.
  • Just a Machine: Nilaam's ultimate justification for keeping the Life Energy she stole from Moya, which doesn't sit well with D'Argo at all.
  • No Immortal Inertia
  • Not So Different: When Crichton speaks with Nilaam alone.
    Nilaam: And now I'm... too frail to make the journey home. Have you any idea what it's like to be separated from your own kind?
    Crichton: Yeah, matter of fact, I do.
    Nilaam: Then you can't begrudge me this one last wish.
  • Pajama-Clad Hero: As Crichton and co. are inspecting Moya's hull, Rygel sleepily joins them in a Hugh Hefner dressing gown over pajamas.
  • Poisonous Person: Nilaam gradually becomes this when she actually boards the ship she's been leeching the energy from, and demonstrates this by putting her hand to one of the bulkheads, causing it to sizzle and decay.
    "I am a disease to this ship."
  • Poor Communication Kills: If D'Argo had told the crew why he and Nilaam were leaving the ship, or if Aeryn had asked instead of simply walking into the room and opening fire, things would have gone slightly smoother. As it was, the only result was John and Aeryn spending fifteen minutes in crystal cocoons.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: This little conversation, as Rygel's attempts to move only worsen the hull breach:
    Rygel: I'm being crushed, I can't breathe.
    Chiana: Then... don't... BREATHE!
  • Secret Test of Character: Nilaam condemns D'Argo as a fraud for wrongly wearing the tattoos of a general. The truth is not so simple and when he confronts her over this, she chuckles.
    "I knew you had strength. I needed to know... if you had fire!"
  • Slow "NO!" / Taking the Bullet: D'Argo's attempted response to Aeryn attacking Nilaam. Of course, Nilaam simply splits the "bullet" in two before it can hit him.