Recap / Farscape S 02 E 16 The Locket
has entered a peculiar "stellar mist" to hide from the Peacekeepers. Stark has recently arrived with a message for D'Argo, and Aeryn is on reconnaissance in a transport pod.
When Aeryn's pod returns a day after her departure, however, it is battered and filled with overgrown plants, descended from a medicinal herb Zhaan gave her to take with her. And Aeryn herself is aged by decades and begging to leave Moya
again to rescue her grand-daughter. She claims that she has been away for 165 cycles, but a planet visible on the other side of the cloud appears too inhospitable for her to survive for more than a day or two.
Aeryn drugs Chiana, who was left to look after her, and flees back to the planet. John follows her down in another pod, and meets her twenty-something grand-daughter. She begs him to fly back to Moya
and leave her, but when he does a portal of some kind closes just before he enters the cloud, blocking him from Moya
Back on Moya
, Stark talks to Zhaan about legends of "centre halos", places in space where dimensions meet and time freezes. They enter unity and try to sense any temporal abnormality. They succeed only too well, as they and everyone else aboard Moya
are frozen in time, but conscious, for several unpleasant seconds. They also realise that Moya
itself is experiencing a slower rate of time than the rest of the universe, so everybody they and the rest of the gang know could be dead already.
On the other side of the cloud-portal, John and Aeryn have spent another fifty-five cycles trapped in a tiny pocket universe. There is one habitable planet there, occupied by a small community of descendants of people who previously passed through the portal. The two of them have apparently become somewhat intimate, although Aeryn is teasing John about a locket that contains a picture of the "love of her life". She claims that it's her dead husband from her earlier time on the planet, but John suspects that it's him.
When the time comes for the portal to reopen, John and Aeryn say farewell to her grand-daughter and attempt to fly back to Moya
. Aeryn tells her grand-daughter that Peacekeepers are born in space and must die in it. And that's fulfilled, as although they make it back to Moya
, where only another day has passed, Aeryn dies of old age on the way.
John theorises that exactly retracing Moya's
path back through the cloud may allow them to escape. However, the mist is now so thick that normal drive power will not move the ship, and only a dangerous "reverse Starburst" manoeuvre will give them any hope. Everyone agrees that they'd rather risk death than spend the rest of their lives on the dull agricultural colony.
John mourns over Aeryn's body and opens the locket to reveal his own face. The Starburst preparation process causes everyone aboard Moya
to be frozen in time. Zhaan and Stark are able to combine their powers and use the channel created by John's previous Unity with her
to allow him to move enough to manually activate the drive.
Time is rewound to a point just before Moya
entered the mist. Zhaan and Stark, who alone retain their memories, race to Command and persuade the rest to avoid the mist, claiming to have had a vision of grave danger within it. Zhaan realises that their actions may have caused Aeryn's descendants on the colony to be erased from history, but Stark reassures her that they may have split the time line rather than erasing that history.
Stark finally explains what he has to tell D'Argo: he has found D'Argo's son Jothee, but he is being sold into slavery. D'Argo flies into a rage but the others reassure him that they will do all they can to rescue his son.
John and Aeryn are tinkering in the workshop together: they both have a strange feeling something emotional happened between them but can't explain it. John has found Aeryn's locket in her transport pod, looking inexplicably aged: there is nothing inside it but dust.
Tropes present in this episode include:
- Anachronic Order: The discussion on Command about whether to fly into the cloud, seen when time gets rewound, has already been alluded to but not shown in the episode.
- And I Must Scream: The characters' fates if they'd stayed aboard Moya inside the cloud, eventually becoming frozen in time but still conscious.
- The Bus Came Back: Stark
- Cliffhanger: Stark's revelation about Jothee, although it's followed by a quiet emotional scene between John and Aeryn.
- Did They or Didn't They?: It's not explicitly stated whether John and Aeryn fully had a romantic relationship on the other side of the cloud, although it's very strongly implied. Technically a May–December Romance given that Aeryn gets aged up first.
- Dirty Old Man: Crichton has shades of this in a Deleted Scene, playfully telling Aeryn's granddaughter that she's beautiful.
- Foreshadowing: D'Argo and Chiana have a quiet but serious disagreement when he finds her searching Aeryn's pod for stealables and is morally shocked. His conclusion is "We're not going to make it".
- G-Rated Sex: Stark's facial expressions during his and Zhaan's mergers to use their powers strongly suggest this, although Zhaan seems to find it more painful.
- Grow Old with Me: Although it's their only saving grace for the stultifying boredom of living on the colony.
- Grumpy Old Man: Crichton. To further the stereotype, his Southern accent gets much stronger.
- Memento MacGuffin: The title locket
- My God, What Have I Done?: Zhaan's invoked Fridge Horror moment about whether they may have erased Aeryn's descendants from history.
- No-Sell: In this timeline the neural chip never did anything to Crichton but annoy him.
- Reset Button: One of the very few occasions Farscape used this. They obviously weren't comfortable, as the ending makes clear that John and Aeryn remember subconsciously, and this is made even clearer for Aeryn in the later "The Choice".
- Revision: A line about Stark borrowing a transport pod after everyone escaped the Gammak Base is a transparent retrospective explanation of his unexplained disappearance between "The Hidden Memory" and "Bone to be Wild".
- Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: For Zhaan and Stark.
- Shout-Out: When Zhaan tells John that he has to save the day, his response is "I'm too old for this shit".
- The Story That Never Was: The episode ends with the entire event being erased from history, with only Zhaan and Stark remembering.
- Vanishing Village
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Since it turns out that Aeryn has spent time living on a planet and raising a family, rather than undergoing Rapid Aging, there's no explanation of why her pod was filled with overgrown plants when she first returned. Even if she'd given up and used it as a greenhouse, she'd surely have cleaned it out before she flew back?
- Not to mention that it's not clear if the Reset Button Retgone'd Aeryn's family out of existence.
- Year Inside, Hour Outside: Or Decades Inside Day Outside
- You, Get Me Coffee: Chiana reacts as if she's being treated like this when D'Argo tells her to look after Aeryn, although it's a transparent attempt to regain the moral high ground after being caught trying to steal stuff.