Season 2, Episode 13
Look at the Princess, part 3: The Maltese Crichton
After the wedding party has wrapped up, the remaining members of Moya's crew survey the petrified figures of the newlyweds and discuss the future: as Scorpius has been apparently banished from the planet, Chiana and D'Argo are free to leave as soon as Moya arrives; Rygel, however, has decided to remain behind to act as an advisor. Meanwhile, Crichton and Katralla have eighty years of government to observe, but are allowed to converse with visitors via psychic headsets; Crichton's shipmates use this to ensure that Crichton is alive and sane, and to say goodbye. That evening, Prince Clavor returns to the senate chamber where the statues are kept, throwing a royal temper tantrum and attempting to topple Crichton's statue with his bare hands. Cargn, as always the smarter of the two, simply draws a laser and decapitates the statue with one swing
. However, this apparently isn't enough: as long as Crichton's head remains in its petrified state, it can be reattached to his body without any harm done to him; so, Clavor and Cargn take the head to a foundry and dump it in a vat of acid.
However, after a scene where Empress Novia rages at this desecration of the future rulers, we find that the head is still intact three hours later: after all, the subtance of Crichton's new body was designed to withstand over eighty years of airborne corrosives, making his head more than resilient enough to survive the acids until someone can rescue it. Unfortunately, that somebody is Scorpius; apparently, he's been tracking down Crichton via a DNA sample taken during his time in the Aurora Chair, and though he can't retrieve the rest of Crichton's body, he can extract the wormhole knowledge easily enough from the severed head. However, just as he's about to make off with the head, an unseen attacker zaps him with a stun-gun. It turns out to be Jenavian, once again there to save Crichton's life: she reattaches his head to his body, undoes the petrification and hurries him away.
Meanwhile, Aeryn is enjoying her mountain-climbing expedition as little as possible: quite apart from the fact that Dregon refuses to stop hitting on her, it turns out that his rank of moutaineering expert was gained at the training facility and not outdoors. Even worse, he reveals this fact by having a vertigo attack while halfway up a cliff; Aeryn takes this in her stride up until her idiotic partner grabs her leg instead of her hand
and accidentally sends the two of them plummeting to the ground. They manage to survive, though Aeryn's leg is broken and Dregon is incapable of walking at all, and they begin to make their very slow and painful way back to civilisation on foot.
Even further away, Moya
and Pilot are dead, and Zhaan is left trying to operate Crichton's module. However, she's not trying to leave with it; instead, when Kahaynu approaches her, she puts its engine in reverse. As the engine begins to vacuum Kahaynu to death, Zhaan demands that he restore Moya's
life, but he refuses, and is apparently killed. However, not too long afterwards, he reappears no worse for wear, and casually restores the life of both Moya
and Pilot: apparently, the decomissioning was just a test for Zhaan. As the only one aboard at the time, she was technically the commander of her vessel, and if Zhaan wished, she could use Moya
as a factory for entire fleets of warships, but now the Builders have determined that she's more responsible than that, enough to defend the Leviathan from those who would exploit her.
Back down on the Royal Planet, Crichton has been taken to a hidden camp somewhere beyond the palace. There, Jenavian questions him at length; she's done the math, and now realises that he's not a Peacekeeper operative as she thought- meaning that he knows too much about her, and must be Killed to Uphold the Masquerade
. However, Crichton manages to talk her down, and they enjoy a romantic night in the wilderness together- long enough for Jenavian to lend him her concealed stun-gun, knowing that he'll almost certainly need it when he returns to the palace.
Unfortunately, back at the palace, things are worsening by the minute: the Empress is threatening to have all off-worlders executed if Crichton isn't found, as she can't determine who was responsible for decapitating or reconstituting him- and isn't willing to ask Katralla
. Unable to find Crichton even with the DNA tracker, Scorpius once again seeks out D'Argo's help, and is halfway through the introductory bargaining when he's cut off by the arrival of Cargn; suspecting that Crichton has been spirited away by his shipmates, the Scarran emissary tortures D'Argo for his whereabouts- but all he learns is that Chiana might know. To Cargn's mounting frustration, Chiana turns out to be just as clueless as everyone else, and on top of that, his political position is on the verge of total collapse: though Prince Clavor is now guaranteed to replace his sister now that the royal couple has been divided, the Empress won't let him do so until he renounces all ties to his Scarran backers and allows Cargn to be executed. In other words, the Puppet King
will ascend to the throne, but the Sebacean Colonies remain free of the Scarran Imperium. With his mission in tatters and nothing to show for it but one captive Nebari, Cargn takes the time to fry Clavor to death before hurrying back to the foundry with Chiana in tow.
In the final showdown, D'Argo teams up with Scorpius to take down Cargn; however, Scorpius is apparently overwhelmed by the heat, and Cargn is too strong for D'Argo to defeat alone. Instead, Crichton arrives just in time to save the day, shooting the Scarran ambassador a few hundred times with the stun-gun and kicking him into the acid vat. However, when he tries to do the same to Scorpius, he finds that he simply can't bring himself to do so; he can only shove the hybrid against the side of the vat and warn him to leave them alone- or he won't be so lucky the next time. As soon as Crichton's hurried out the room, Scorpius calmly rises without showing any sign of his previous frailty, dips one finger into the acid, and strolls leisurely away.
The Epilogue reveals that it's time for Crichton to be remade into a statue; though reluctant to experience the painful transformation again, the Empress once again uses a single piece of information to get Crichton to agree to her demands: Katralla is pregnant with his child, having been artificially inseminated before the petrification- just to make sure that the future of the dynasty wasn't left to chance. Firmly believing that a child deserves two parents, Crichton almost immediately agrees to be made into a statue; unfortunately, it turns out that stepping into the machine again might kill Crichton this time. So, the Empress, Councillor Tyno and Crichton devise a plan: Tyno, being Katralla's lover, will take Crichton's place. As nobody outside the royal family know who Crichton really is or was, this will be kept secret from the rest of the Empire.
The episode ends aboard Moya,
with Crichton and Aeryn trying out two of the compatability-test vials- resulting in a very happy smile from Aeryn.
Tropes present in this episode include:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Dregon kicks his credentials in this field into overdrive by almost getting Aeryn killed... then, once they've found help, asking her if they can go on another date sometime.
- Acid Pool
- And I Must Scream: Though the petrified royal couple can lessen their experience of this trope via the psychic headsets, Crichton experiences the full version after being decapitated- to the point that as soon as Jenavian gives him a headset, he screams in delayed panic.
- Asshole Victim: Clavor.
- Baddie Flattery: Cargn offers his own version of this to both D'Argo and Scorpius, though it's limited by the fact that he goes out of his way to call Scorpius a "biological mistake."
- Boy Of The Week/ Girl Of The Week: Dregon and Jenavian respectively for Aeryn and John. Seems a bit unfair that he gets laid and she gets to drag Dregon back to civilisation on a broken leg.
- Bullying a Dragon: As the situation worsens, Clavor's treatment of Cargn descends to the borderline abusive; his final and most idiotic mistake is to tell Cargn- to his face- that their alliance is officially over. And of course, he pays for it with his life.
- Dumb Ass Has A Point: Dregon's speech to Aeryn about emotional pain is easily the deepest thing he says in all three episodes
- Evil Gloating: Clavor decides to do a bit of this to Crichton's severed head before he shoves it into the acid.
I know you can hear me, Crichton, and I know you're scared. Our laws state that a couple must rule together. That's why the crown must soon pass to me, because you can't rule with one little head!
- Frickin' Laser Beams: Cargn reveals that he has one of these concealed in his clothing.
- Gambit Pileup
- Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted when Clavor tries to punch Crichton's statue.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Cargn killing Clavor, obviously.
- Literally Shattered Lives: The statues of previous royal couple have occasionally been shattered in accidents, but as they can be easily put back together, this hasn't been much of a problem. Clavor recalls that his great-grandfather was broken in half when an earthquake collapsed the senate building, but was easily reassembled and survived with only "a severe limp."
- Meaningful Name: The name of the man pursuing Aeryn is Dregon Karsenova.
- New Child Left Behind: Crichton is forced to do this, though he at least ensures that Katralla has a husband and that his unborn child has a father.
- Secret Test of Character: Zhaan's experiences in the past two episodes.
- Torture Always Works: Subverted. Cargn's attempt at getting information out of D'Argo only results in a useless lead.
- Violence Really Is the Answer: in most space opera shows, Zhaan would win the Secret Test of Character by offering to do a Heroic Sacrifice in exchange for Moya's life. In this, however, she proves her worthiness by trying to kill the superbeing who's being an asshole to her.
- Weaksauce Weakness: We find out that Scorpius both craves the heat and can't tolerate it due to his Scarran and Sebacean heritages, respectively.