Pilot informs everyone that Moya is being tracked by a weird ball of energy. (Itís always something.) The thingy enters the ship without permission and proceeds to float around, examining everyone in turn. When it reaches Crichton, its interest is suddenly piqued, and it hovers above his head. At Crichton's invitation, Aeryn shoots it, but it grows and envelopes Crichton. The remaining crew members converge on the hangar to investigate. The sphere vibrates and spits Crichton back out, way traumatized, along with a hairy beast of some sort, which quickly gallops away. Crichton can't remember what happened while he was inside the ball, while Zhaan finds some blood left from the beast on the floor. If it bleeds, we can kill it!
Zhann conducts a lab analysis on the blood while D'Argo goes hunting, telling Chiana to stay put. Chiana holes herself up in Crichton's quarters, where she finds herself cornered by the beast man, who inexplicably growls her name. Bad advice, D'Argo be thy name. The creature lopes over to Johns belongings, where he grabs Johns IASA ID tags and clumsily taps at them. Chiana screams and tries to make a run for it, but the creature pins her down and gestures frantically as Crichton's old flight suit. He convinces her that he is Crichton.
The real Crichton is less convinced. Chiana leads the visitor to the hangar to meet everyone, but Crichton quickly gets in the neanderthal's face, causing Caveman Crichton (or "Neandro") to go berserk and necessitating Zhaan to sedate him. Just as they've determined that Neandro shares the same blood as Crichton, the green sphere starts acting up again, and out pops another Crichton, this time a more-evolved "future" version with a super-brain.
The crew locks Future John ("Futuro") in a cell, and the real Crichton quizzes him. Futuro mentions that Crichton is the template - the original - and explains that he is a copy, with all his memories intact. The sphere starts fluctuating, and now it's creating an inter-dimensional portal that is threatening to tear Moya inside-out.
Neandro wakes in a cell, with Chiana by his side. Futuro tags along with Aeryn to have a look; Futuro is bemused by his monosyllabic counterpart, but says that they won't learn anything here. The sphere begins to talk in a distinct voice, but in a frequency that only the Crichtons can hear. Aeryn's pistol blast damaged the vessel, and it needs to collect one of the "samples" before it can return to its dimension. If it doesn't get one, it will absorb all living matter within its radius. Unluckily, Moya falls under that category.
Crichton realizes that the sphere must have chosen him because it's never collected data from a human. Futuro says that the answer is to return the "most expendable" sample (Neandro), but Crichton firmly says no. Rygel concurs with Futuro, natch. Chiana suggests another candidate, the "guy with the big head." Pilot communicates that Moya would never expect an innocent being to die, and will understand if Crichton leaves the ship to its fate. Mind you, Pilot is not
okay with that at all. The defense screen is failing, and stress fractures are appearing throughout Moya.
Futuro tells Cricthon that it's time and offers to "take care of it." Crichton asks how he can be so calm, but he says that he is prepared to do what has to be done, and tells Crichton not to feel bad. D'Argo goes with Crichton, but Chiana has hidden beast John away; she set him free. Chiana chews Crichton out, saying that she saw in Neandro all of the aspects that she loves in Crichton. Taking her words to heart, Crichton finds Neandro holed up in a ceiling panel (exactly where Crichton would go if he needed to hide), then releases him.
With Neandro running loose, Futuro tells Aeryn that they should re-assess the plan, and that it would make sense to get rid of Crichton. Aeryn tells him to suck it, so Futuro clocks her out and steals her gun. Crichton joins him in the maintenance bay, and Futuro says that he knew Crichton would let the beast go, since he views Crichton as being equally low on the evolutionary table. Futuro plans on feeding Crichton to the sphere, saying that with Crichton around, he would always be an outsider. Crichton tosses aside his pistol, unwilling to save his life at another's expense. If Futuro is the future, Crichton is is glad he won't be here to see it. Futuro watches dispassionately as John approaches the sphere; Just as he's about to make contact with it, Neandro leaps out of the shadows and brains Futuro with a metal pipe. Futuro goes down like a sack of wheat germ, and Neandro grunts with satisfaction and hoists Futuro's body over his shoulders. When Crichton intervenes, Neandro says that Moya is not his place, and that he accepts his fate. Crichton says that he understands, and Neandro carries his counterpart into the sphere, which vanishes along with both copies of Crichton.
In the aftermath, D'Argo comforts Crichton, saying that Futuro was only one possible genetic path. Chiana's glad it worked out the way it did, and Crichton says he wishes he could be.
Tropes in this episode:
- Alternate Dimension: The probe is determined to return home, even if it has to pull Moya inside-out like an umbrella to do it.
- Beast Man: Neandro walks on all fours.
- Bottle Episode: This is the first episode of the series not to feature any guest stars.
- Broken Aesop: The general consensus for this episode is that it lacks subtlety, thus making it harder to back Crichton's moral decision. Claudia Black felt that all of the characters other than Futuro were dumbed down in the script, reduced to their most noteworthy traits.
- Cloning Blues
- Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are
- Conscience Makes You Go Back
- Continuity Nod: Aeryn's reference to Future John's lack of "equipment" harks back to her earlier comment in "Out of Their Minds" about having been in John's pants (that, and the implied-sex of "A Human Reaction").
- Corrupt Hick: For some reason, Futuro speaks in a heavier southern drawl than his template. Ben Browder was actually trying to do an impression of Bill Clinton.
- Dialogue Reversal: This episode starts with Crichton and Aeryn quibbling over some borrowed parts from Crichton's module. Aeryn coldly remarks that her prowler takes precedence, as it's more likely to get them out of trouble if they come under attack. Crichton gets in her face and barks, "I know someone who will soon BE under attack if they don't—"
- Dirty Coward: For all his prattling about being the most useful one to be left alive for the others, it's clear that he's really just trying to save his own skin.
- Dumb Is Good
- Enemy Without: Crichton's experiences with Futuro leave him disturbed, to say the least. Chiana snuggles next to John and reminds him that Neandro represented his inner self, too.
- Et Tu, Brute?: With everyone turning on him for his reluctance to sacrifice Neandro to the sphere, what finally sets Crichton off is D'Argo's bland rejection of his position.
- Evil Costume Switch: The symbolism of Futuro and Neandro's outfits, both worn previously by Crichton in past episides. Futuro dons a Peacekeeper uniform, which associates him automatically with the cold, racist ideology of that group. By contrast, Neandro puts on Crichton's old IASA flight suit, representative of Crichton's past self that he left far behind.
- Evil Detecting Caveman: Neandro immediately snarls when he spots Futuro.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences
- Foreshadowing First clue: When Rygel taunts D'Argo about his inability to sniff out where the creature went, D'Argo replies he can only smell Crichton.
- He's Dead, Jim: Crichton examines the inert form of Futuro by checking his pulse.
Crichton: [clearly surprised by Neandro's actions] Yeah.
- Heroic Sacrifice: About his final decision, Neandro grunts, "Want to. Not my place. Don't belong," and that Moya is "[John's] time. [John's] place. My fate, I accept."
- Hollywood Evolution: A species can't evolve without an environment to evolve in. In fairness, the episode does acknowledge that Futuro is just one possible outcome of human DNA.
- Hulk Speak: Poor Neandro can barely speak through his mouthful of crooked teeth.
- Insistent Terminology: Disgusted with Futuro's pragmatism, Crichton breaks their standoff by tossing his gun aside, no doubt stunning all in attendance with his inspiring human compassion.
Crichton: Bet you didn't guess that move.
Futuro: [bored] You're very predictable.
Crichton: I prefer to think of it as reliable!
- Instant Sedation: In the midst of Crhcton and Neandro's melee, Zhann quickly prepares a hypodermic and jabs Neandro from behind. Neandro looks stupidly up at John, shocked for a second, before dropping like a brontosaurus.
- My Brain Is Big: Futuro has a bald, wrinkly head to show off his advanced brain lobes. Sadly, it provides little protection from blunt objects.
- Naked on Arrival: Neandro and Futuro.
- Possibly at Chiana's urging, Neandro yanks on the pants part of the orange flight suit. The top won't fit over his heavily muscled torso and arms though.
Crichton: Where did you find him, and what the hell is he doing in my flight suit?!
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Trigger-happy Aeryn damaged the sphere with her pistol blast, causing it to enter emergency retrieval mode and endanger the ship. It doesn't help that she fired as Crichton was telling to "aim high, you don't want to hit it."
- Noble Savage: Though the dead Futuro's body would be sufficient, Neandro chooses to enter the sphere as well, proving to be the most 'evolved' of them all.
- Not Big Enough for the Two of Us: Futuro feels he is the superior of the three, and that with the original Crichton around he would always be an outsider.
- Over The Shoulder: The scenes between Crichton and his clones are shot in this manner.
- Pyrrhic Victory
- Race Against the Clock: The sphere demands that one of the three Crichtons be placed into it, or Moya will face destruction.
- Sadistic Choice
- Shaky P.O.V. Cam: Neandro-cam.
- Shout-Out: Futuro proclaiming "Fascinating, we have an answer" - very Spocky
- Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Never has there been an Alien Ball Of Light up to any good and this one is no exception. It is in fact, a biological collection vessel from another dimension.
- Take a Third Option
- Tap on the Head: Futuro, realizing his "let's kill Crichton instead" plan is a difficult sell, delivers a left hook to Aeryn's jaw instead. She goes out like a light.
- This Is Gonna Suck
- Trust Password: Crichton grills Futuro by asking him what he — well, they — did when IASA approved funding for the Farscape project. Not only does Futuro remember getting stone-drunk with DK, his friend back on Earth, but he even recalls an important detail which Crichton forgot.
- With All Due Respect: Pilot's polite way of telling Crichton he's nuts.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: True to his appearance, Futuro's intellect is vastly superior to that of his "original template". This higher intellect, however, left him a looser sense of morality. Though Futuro claims that he is needed on Moya, as he's their best hope of returning home, Crichton notes that his shipmates probably wouldn't last long with him onboard - especially given how eager Futuro was to sell them up the river.
- You Remind Me of X
- You're Insane!
- Zombie Advocate