Recap / Farscape S 02 E 17 The Ugly Truth

Moya has rendezvoused with Talyn again, and John, Aeryn, D'Argo, Zhaan and Stark have gone aboard to meet Crais, as Chiana and Rygel watch from Moya. Pilot recognises an approaching vessel as one belonging to the Plokavians, a culture of arms-dealers with a sinister reputation. Suddenly a blast from Talyn destroys the Plokavian ship. Talyn starbursts away, but a second Plokavian vessel arrives. It captures the Moya transport pod, with John and the crew aboard.

John, D'Argo, Zhaan and Stark find themselves on a sort of giant hubcap suspended over a sheer drop, aboard the Plokavian ship. Aeryn is being interrogated by the Plokavians. She explains that Crais hoped to trade Talyn's main gun to the Plokavians in exchange for a defensive dampening net, hoping that this would reduce Talyn's aggression, or at least the threat it posed. He asked Aeryn to help him persuade Talyn to accept this. The others, especially John and D'Argo, suspected Crais of actually planning to get worse weapons from the Plokavians. While they were arguing, the weapons console malfunctioned and spontaneously fired a shot, destroying the Plokavian ship. Crais threw everyone else off Talyn and fled.

Aeryn is returned to the others and explain that the Plokavians are threatening to execute everyone unless they get a convincing explanation of who is responsible for the destruction of their vessel. Zhaan is hauled away before Aeryn can explain her story.

Meanwhile Moya leaves the area to look for Talyn, despite Chiana's protests.

Zhaan more or less repeats Aeryn's story that the weapons discharge was because of a malfunction. She is returned to the platform and the Plokavians demand Stark.

Stark tells a completely different story from everyone else, in which all the others completely reject Crais's plan and Crais destroys the Plokavian vessel For the Evulz. He claims that all the others are lying to protect Talyn.

When Stark returns to the hub, the Plokavians declare the complete incompatibility of everyone's stories, accuse them of lying, and again threaten to destroy everyone. D'Argo attacks Stark in a rage, knocking his mask off and causing him to collapse, his face spitting out energy discharges. Zhaan retrieves and replaces it, and D'Argo goes to speak to the Plokavians.

D'Argo tells the Plokavians that Stark panicked when they arrived, declaring them to be monsters who once enslaved his people, and opened fire on their ship despite everyone else trying to restrain him.

Back on the hubcap, Stark insists that he didn't fire the cannon. D'Argo is returned and John removed.

On Moya, Chiana persuades Pilot and Moya to return to Talyn's old location for the others.

The Plokavians confront John with D'Argo's accusation of Stark. He tries to explain to them that everyone has their own perceptions of events and inconsistencies are natural. The Plokavians declare that only one true version of the universe can exist and in their culture everyone agrees on it. Discrepancies can only be a sign of deliberate lying, and unless the crew can come up with a true version of the events everyone will be executed as killers and perjurers. John agrees to tell them a story but still insists that it is only his own perspective.

John admits that Stark tried to fire on the Plokavian ship, but claims that he got to the console first and deactivated it before Stark could do so. He still insists the shot was a malfunction.

On the hubcap, Stark laments that he will probably be executed. When Aeryn tells him that the Plokavians threatened to execute everyone by "dispersion", Stark reveals that he might possibly survive that thanks to his partially non-corporeal nature, although he isn't very hopeful.

John is returned and the Plokavians yet again threaten to execute everyone. Stark confesses that he destroyed the ship. Everyone else protests and is paralyzed by the Plokavians. Stark gives Zhaan his mask and thanks everyone for their friendship and acceptance, before being vapourised. His vapour appears to disperse in one specific direction, as if under its own steam.

John, Aeryn, D'Argo and Zhaan return to Moya on the transport pod. D'Argo says that he misjudged Stark, but still insists Stark destroyed the Plokavian ship. Aeryn and John reveal what they have realised as the truth of events. When John deactivated the weapons console to stop Stark from firing, it gave Talyn autonomous control over his weapons. Moya had sensed that the first Plokavian ship was carrying "novatron" gas, a chemical weapon that inflicts a hideous and painful death on Leviathans. She told Talyn this and Talyn spontaneously decided to attack the ship to defend his mother.

Chiana finds D'Argo musing over a picture of his son in his quarters. D'Argo is feeling guilty that he tried to get Stark killed after Stark brought him the news of his son's whereabouts. He recognises that his inability to truly trust anyone is a bad thing. Meanwhile, John is suspicious that Aeryn still has feelings for Crais, given her attempts to protect him. Zhaan, alone, mourns Stark.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Bad "Bad Acting": John and Aeryn pretending to be overjoyed to be reunited so that they can exchange information.
  • Body Horror: The Plokavians are covered in pustules that exude matter which fizzes and boils when it falls into the water that drenches the floors of their ship.
  • Disintegrator Ray
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: John calls the two Plokavian interrogators on trying to do this to him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Stark.
  • Interrogation Flashback: Most of the episode consists of four separate interrogations of the various characters about the events leading to the destruction of the first Plokavian ship.
  • It's All My Fault: According to Pilot, Moya feels responsible for Talyn's actions because she's his mother.
  • Lady Mondegreen: Invoked example: John constantly mispronounces "Plokavian" as "Plokavoid". When we see the events on Talyn from his perspective, everyone else does too.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Talyn, as usual.
  • Meaningful Echo: Except for Stark's completely mendacious rendition of events, everybody's version contains Crais saying at some point "Talyn would become more destructive without my guidance", and someone else responding "You mean your control". Who says the second line and with what emotional implication differs each time.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After Stark's apparent death, D'Argo openly regrets how badly he treated someone who was trying to help him find his son.
  • Only Sane Man: The one commonality of every version is that each crew member thinks of themselves as this.
  • Pseudo Crisis: When D'Argo knocks Stark's mask off, and again when the Plokavians threaten to execute everyone during John's interrogation.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: Stark
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Which is lampshaded by Crichton when the Plokavians complain about the conflicting statements.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Plokavians and their rigid views on epistemology.
  • Secret Keeper: Crichton and Aeryn both knew Talyn chose to destroy the ship all on his own and kept quiet to protect him, though Crichton wonders if Aeryn also wanted to protect Crais, as well.
  • Sky Cell: The "holding cell" on the Plokavian ship is simply a metal plate over a huge drop, , with no railings, which people are teleported onto and off.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: To which Stark, John and Talyn all contribute.
  • Unreliable Expositor: Everyone, and not just in the ways that they're deliberately trying to protect or implicate others.
    • Seen from Aeryn's point of view, D'Argo is ultraviolent, Zhaan passive and indecisive, and Crais quite dignified.
    • From Zhaan's point of view, everyone is calm, verbose, and very open about their feelings. John is a bit thick, and she's much more active.
    • From Stark's point of view, everyone is a consummate professional, John is the leader, and Crais is a vindictive jerk who can't be trusted.
    • From D'Argo's point of view, he's the leader of the team and John's his sidekick.
    • From John's point of view, he's very much in command.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Crichton disabled the console so Stark couldn't open fire. Doing that disabled the manual override and led to Talyn destroying the ship.