Recap / Farscape S 03 E 11 Incubator

Season 3, Episode 11:


Scorpius' wormhole experiments have hit a dead-end: test-pilots keep liquefying when they fly through wormholes, and some of the equations in the neural chip cannot be deciphered. In a last-ditch attempt to unlock this knowledge, Scorpius puts the chip inside his own head and discovers that a neural clone of Crichton exists within it, blocking the Peacekeepers from taking the wormhole equations.

In order to convince this neural clone of Crichton to release the information, Scorpius reveals his backstory: his mother was kidnapped by Scarrans and raped as part of an experiment to study Scarran/Sebacean hybrids. Scorpius spent his entire childhood being tortured, learning how to withstand pain, how to be patient and cunning, how to exploit weakness. The Scarrans tried to indoctrinate Scorpius into hating Sebaceans, but it backfired, and when Scorpius eventually escaped, he joined up with the Peacekeepers. However, he has no loyalty towards the Peacekeeper cause — they're only a means to his end — and neither does he have any desire to conquer the galaxy using wormhole technology. Scorpius' only motivation is to destroy the Scarrans as revenge for what they did to him, and wormhole weapons, like the Peacekeepers, are simply a means to accomplish that.

Linfer, one of the scientists working on the Peacekeeper wormhole project, volunteers to fly one of the test runs using her new phase shielding that should protect her from liquefaction during travel. However, once on the other side of the wormhole, she immediately seeks out Moya and attempts to defect from the Peacekeepers. She makes Crichton a deal: the secret of wormhole travel in exchange for Moya. D'Argo, Chiana and Jool are against such a deal, but Pilot and Moya (who trust Linfer's species) are willing, and Crichton is swayed by the offer of wormhole tech. Unfortunately, liquefaction starts to set in for Linfer, only delayed by the phase shielding, and she chooses to commit suicide by self-destructing her Prowler.

Having told his past to Crichton's neural clone, Scorpius asks it to release the wormhole information. Though somewhat affected by the memories, Crichton still refuses, citing the Ancient's mantra that if he can't develop wormholes on his own, he's not smart enough to use them wisely. Angry, Scorpius starts to overheat and needs his cooling rod replaced — the heat fries the neural chip, destroying both the clone and the wormhole information, but Scorpius still manages to recover a few of the equations, enough to get the Peacekeepers' research back on track.

Tropes present in this episode include:

  • Abusive Parents: While not his birth parent, Tauza was in charge of "training" Scorpius and her methods of bringing him up are horrifying and brutal.
  • Asshole Victim: Be honest - did you REALLY feel sorry for Tauza?
  • Break the Cutie: Scorpius' first twelve years of his life consisted of torture at the hands of the Scarrans.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • It's bad enough that Peacekeeper pilots attempting to pilot wormholes are turned into the consistency of gravy. But then all indications are Linfer will be slowly experiencing the same effects had she not blown herself up instead.
    • Tauza not only had her eyes stabbed out, but will be forced to endure a slow death by hypothermia.
  • Driven to Suicide: Linfer blows her ship up for a quick death rather than melt.
  • Eye Scream: Scorpius snaps one of his cooling rods, which on the old style suit are about the length of one's back to be put on a backpack-style cooling system rather than the current model he had, in half and rams them into Tauza's eyes.
  • Forced to Watch: Tauza forces Scorpius to watch a recording of his own conception.
  • I'm Melting!: Continuing the thread from "Losing Time," Peacekeeper pilots keep melting due to wormhole travel. Linfer develops a new phase-shielding program, but unfortunately, it only delays the process on her.
  • Kick the Dog: After Scorpius learns the true circumstances of his birth:
    Scorpius: You killed her!
    Tauza: Your birth was difficult. You killed her.
    • Tauza forcing Scorpius to watch a recording of his own mother's rape also certainly qualifies.
  • Last of His Kind: Scorpius. The Scarrans' hybrid experiments led to 90 other pregnancies, but only he survived.
  • Living Lie Detector: Scorpius' unique biology allows him to see others' heat signatures. He quickly realizes that a change in color means the person is lying. This ability had been hinted at previously in a few episodes.
  • Manly Tears: Scorpius cries after being Forced to Watch what was done to his mother.
  • Meaningful Echo: "If you're not smart enough to discover it for yourself, you're not smart enough to use it wisely."
  • Medical Rape and Impregnate: What was done to Scorpius' mother. We're told the experience drove her insane, and that the Scarrans attempted this 90 other times before Scorpius.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Tauza's instructions to a young Scorpius on cunning and how to overcome pain are what allowed Scorpius to escape from her in the first place.
    • Later, Tauza finally reveals the truth about Scorpius' birth to him. His response is to stab out her eyes, leave her to slowly die from hypothermia, and the revelation only cements his belief that the Scarrans need to be wiped out.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Deeming the hybrid experiment a failure, Tauza states the Sebaceans have no value and will simply be wiped out. Scorpius is absolutely certain that the Scarrans will not stop until Luxans, Delvians and other races are wiped out, as well.
  • Origins Episode: This episode fully fleshes out Scorpius' backstory and motivations.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Crichton's wormhole obsession and D'Argo's own anger issues collide, leading to the two to have a falling out. This plays out over the next two Moya episodes, as the two constantly bicker over trivial details.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Captain Molayne both gives Scorpius a fair shake and later rewards his obvious loyalty by getting him exempted from the Peacekeepers' purity regulations.
  • Subordinate Excuse: After earlier subtext, this is confirmed when Braca gets seriously emotional at the thought of Scorpius's life being in danger, far more than could be justified by simple careerism or esprit de corps.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Braca is certain he screwed up by not allowing the nurse to replace Scorpius' cooling rod. Scorpius assures him, however, it was the right decision.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Angry with Crichton, D'Argo throws what happened to Zhaan in his face.
  • Whole Episode Flashback
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: After finally learning the truth about his birth, Scorpius pretends to be weakened, gasping that he needs water. It works, and this distraction allows him to retrieve his discarded coolant rod, snap it in half, and use it to blind Tauza.