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Recap: Farscape S 02 E 03 Taking The Stone
An implant in Chiana's body, a "life disc" that can connect two people across vast distances, reveals to her that her brother Nerri has died. When Crichton dismisses her attempts to talk to him about it, she flees Moya
for a nearby planet, a cemetary world where the bodies of royalty from throughout the region are interred. When Crichton and Aeryn follow her, they discover that she has taken up with the Clan, the living inhabitants of the planet, the forgotten descendants of the tomb-building slaves, who were abandoned there when there was no remaining space for tombs.
Crichton is shocked by the nihilistic culture of the crusty-punk-esque Clan, which centres around two forms of Russian Roulette
. One features a type of fungus which grows in clumps of four indistinguishable mushrooms, three of which are harmlessly hallucinogenic, but the fourth of which is lethal. The second involves a ritual known as "taking the stone", where members of the Clan leap into a deep pit, at the bottom of which is a Peacekeeper device originally built for parachute training known as a "sonic net", which catches a leaper if they sing a specific pitch as they fall. If they fail to hit the pitch by accident, or deliberately, they go splat. The Clan members deliberately kill themselves this way when they reach twenty-two cycles, at which point they develop a disfiguring and degenerative condition. Those who fail to kill themselves are driven out of the clan when the symptoms appear, and known as "the Lost People".
The grief-stricken Chiana is drawn into the clan's pleasure-driven lifestyle and fascinated by the "taking the stone" ritual. Despite Aeryn's warnings that Chiana needs to deal with her issues in her own way, Crichton fruitlessly tries to persuade her to return to Moya
, at one point drugging her and trying to take her by force, until Aeryn intervenes. Zhaan analyses tissue samples Crichton took from a Lost woman, discovering that the disease is due to radiation in the deep catacombs that the Clan prefer. Crichton interrupts a "taking the stone" ceremony, explaining this to the Clan and patronisingly trying to persuade them to abandon their culture for something "healthier". He is shocked to discover that they already know, and don't care. Finally, he accepts Chiana's need to live as she wants, and supports her as she "takes the stone". Despite considering suicide to the last, she finally activates the net when she jumps. Her initial grief purged, she buries the disc on the planet and returns to Moya
In a comedy subplot, Rygel steals gold and jewels from tombs on the planet, but returns them after being plagued by poltergeist-like phenomena.
Tropes present in this episode include:
- Abuse Mistake: Of the "consensual situation mistaken for abuse" variety. When Crichton first finds Chiana, she's hung upside down from the ceiling of a tomb and apparently suffering some kind of sonic torture. When he holds the Clan at gunpoint and releases her, it turns out to be an extreme sport that she was rather enjoying.
- Ancient Tomb
- The Apunkalypse: the Clan's culture and dress-sense owe a great deal to this stereotype, although they're much more peaceful than is usual.
- Artifact of Death: Rygel's faux-African mask.
- Big "Shut Up!": Zhaan stands chanting over the bed of Rygel, who has the effrontery to use the Hynerian death face as his personal sleeping mask. Rygel snaps at Zhaan to shut up several times, but she just chants louder - for his "own benefit".
- Bizarre Alien Biology: when Clan women become pregnant, their abdomens become transparent to reveal the fetus inside.
- Blunt "Yes"
D'Argo: You robbed the dead!
Rygel: And believe me, that wasn't as easy as it sounds.
- Boy Of The Week: Chiana has a brief sexual liaison with Molnon, the closest thing the Clan has to a "leader"
- Call Back: Chiana reminds Crichton that they had a deal: she could ditch Moya whenever she wanted. In fact, this is the bargain she struck with Crichton in her introductory episode, "Durka Returns".
- Cat Scare: When Rygel first uncovers the mask, he turns it over and gasp at what he finds underneath. Yep, it's a Hynerian corpse. After that fails to dissuade him, a black worm slithers out of one of the eye sockets. Instead of running away screaming like any sane person, Rygel exclaims, "Bonus!", and grabs the worm, then eats it.
- Due to the Dead
- Et Tu, Brute?: Chiana was expecting Crichton, of all people, to understand what she's doing. "Everybody's so lame on Moya". Ultimately, it's Crichton who sedates her during their embrace.
You frelling kad
- Everybody Must Get Stoned
- Expository Hairstyle Change: After throwing her lot in with the Clan, Chiana colors her hair with red clay and braids in their style.
- Fantastic Drug
- Grave Marking Scene: Having come to terms with her grief, Chiana lays her "brother" at rest by burying his life disk amongst the royal graves.
- Grave Robbing
- The Hedonist: Just about every single member of the clan is this, indulging in drugs, booze, and sadomasochistic sports.
- "Hey, You!" Haymaker: After an argument with Molnon at the end of the story, Crichton calls him to stop and says, "Please, just wait —" Exasperated, Molon turns around, whereupon Crichton sucker-punches him to the ground. Shaking his fist in pain, he quips, "Why does it always end in tears?" and walks away.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs: When Aeryn realizes Chiana just boosted her Prowler, she yells, "That little tralk!" We can safety assume this is a disparaging term, like "trollop" or "bitch". Later on the Royal Cemetery Planet, Chiana taunts Crichton about his affection for her, saying that she is his tralk "only in your dreams!"
- Hollywood Healing: at the beginning, Chiana inflicts quite a large cut on her belly to remove the life disc implant and check that it's defunct. The cut vanishes practically in the next shot, with no sign of her doing anything to treat it.
- Hypocritical Humor
- Instant Sedation: Rooting through Aeryn's Peacekeeper kit, Crichton picks up a syringe and pockets it. Minutes later, he uses it to inject Chiana with sedative when she once again states her intent to make a jump of her own; it takes a good twenty seconds for her to lose consciousness.
- Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted when Crichton slugs Molnon.
- Jerkass: Crichton ends up overdoing it in his attempts to save Chiana's life and comes off as this- leaving Aeryn to play the voice of reason.
- Kirk Summation: One which completely fails- not exactly surprising since Crichton attempt to carry it out while holding Molnon at gunpoint.
- Knife Outline: After several incidents of poltergeist activity around his stolen goods, Rygel ends up huddled in a corner, trying to reassure himself that Zhaan and D'Argo are just trying to scare him into getting rid of his haul... and then a small box of bejewelled needles begin to shift towards him. Rygel's aready halfway through his promises to get the stuff back down to the planet when the needles fling themselves at him, leaving a neat outline around his head.
- Leap of Faith
- Manly Tears
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: technically two forms of "magic", but it's unclear whether the paranormal events surrounding the stolen grave goods are the result of angry spirits of the dead, or Zhaan using her psychic powers to teach Rygel a lesson about grave-robbing.
- Mushroom Samba: A literal one, when Crichton accepts Molnon's challenge to take the one-in-four-mushrooms test.
- Not Now, Kiddo: Crichton's initial dismissal of a clearly-distraught Chiana, which initiates the plot.
- Not the Fall That Kills You: averted. When the "sonic net" catches people, they are shown to slow gradually and bounce back up a short way.
- One Drink Will Kill the Baby: Crichton reacts this way when he finds the heavily-pregnant Vyna drinking something out of a bottle.
- Only Fatal to Adults
- Parental Substitute: Lampshaded during one of Crichton's finger-wagging attempts to get Chiana back on the ship. Getting nowhere, he glances over at mom — I mean, Aeryn and grouses, "Feel free to jump in at any time!" Aeryn takes the softer approach, saying that it's Chiana's life to do as she pleases.
- Percussive Therapy: As Chiana is mourning over he lost brother, a curious DRD zips up next to her, trilling inquiringly. Enraged by her grief, Chiana brings a fist down on the poor DRD, smashing it to reveal wires and green goo. Aww...
- Power Tattoo
- Pseudo Crisis
- Red Shirt: The final jumper, Das, tries adding his voice to the hum, but it's shaky and uncertain. Gulping with fear, he takes the plunge... and smashes to the ground. Nasty.
- Russian Roulette: Three Mornas get you high. The other gets you dead.
- Screaming Birth: the Clan member Vyna has a philosophical discussion with Crichton in the course of one.
- Smarter Than You Look: Crichton hoists the drugged-up Chiana over his shoulders just as Aeryn walks in and asks what the hell he think he's doing. Incredulous, Crichton points out that Aeryn is the "pinup girl for frontal assault!" and he can't believe she's not dragging Chiana back herself. Aeryn calmly explains that Chiana will just find another way to kill herself, and keeping her against her will is not the solution. Crichton, now deflated, rests Chiana down on a bed and asks when Aeryn got so "insightful."
Aeryn: I understand loss.
Crichton: So do I.
- The Stoner: Most of the clan all act a little bit woozy due to their constant exposure to drugs, alcohol, and radiation.
- Suicide Is Painless
- Teenage Wasteland
- Title Drop: Invoked by Molna. Constantly.
- Whole Plot Reference: Deliberate similarities to the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Miri".