Recap / Farscape S 03 E 13 Scratch N Sniff

The scene changes back to Moya, where John is attempting to explain to Pilot why he and the rest of the crew have returned after only two days from Lomo, the pleasure planet where Pilot and Moya sent them in the hope of a few days of peace and quiet away from their endless bickering.

According to John, he, D'Argo, Chiana and Jool were partying in a club when two passing girls slipped the guys a Mickey. John and D'Argo woke up scantily-clad, devoid of money, and missing Chiana and Jool. With the help of a somewhat untrustworthy local informant, Raxil, John and D'Argo discovered that the girls had fallen into the clutches of a local gangster, Fe'Tor. Fe'Tor's racket was to kidnap unsuspecting women and extract Freslin, an aphrodisiac drug, from their bodies, a process which can be fatal if taken too far. He intended to drain Jool to death and auction Chiana off as a sex slave.

John and D'Argo infiltrated the auction and, after the usual failure of a plan to survive contact with the enemy, rescued Chiana and Jool. Chiana killed Fe'Tor by pouring an overdose of Freslin down his throat. Raxil proved to have orchestrated the whole thing to regain control of the Freslin racket, which she first began but Fe'Tor took from her.

Pilot disbelieves the whole thing and announces that he has found a new destination for John and D'Argo, a nearby industrial planet that will be much less comfortable than Lomo.

Tropes present in this episode include

  • Anachronic Order: The episode has constant split-second flashes forward and back to earlier and later events.
  • Argument of Contradictions: The ending of the episode fades out on one between John and D'Argo.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Raxil orchestrated the whole thing and will continue Fe'Tor's racket now he's dead.
  • Banned from Argo: The Moya crew end up being banned from Lomo as a result of these events.
  • Batman Gambit: Raxil turns out to have arranged the whole thing to get her racket back.
  • Berserk Button: As on other occasions, Chiana gets really scarily violent with guys who try to turn her into a sex object.
  • Brick Joke: Crichton and D'Argo arguing over the number of steps to Fe'Tor's chamber. When D'Argo has to walk there in the dark, he ends up walking into the door and concedes Crichton was right.
  • The Cast Showoff: Jool's gymnastics and Chiana's fire-poi routine in the club were Tammy MacIntosh's and Gigi Edgley's real party pieces.
  • Continuity Nod: D'Argo's comedy freaky-dancing under the influence is copied from "Won't Get Fooled Again" (even though the D'Argo in that episode was a virtual reality character who was just using his image).
  • Coolest Club Ever
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: D'Argo's continued feelings for Chiana and dislike of seeing her with other men repeatedly cause problems.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Chiana once again shows what happens when you seriously piss her off. She kills Fe'Tor by pouring freslin all over him and force-feeding some of it to him, fatally overloading his senses. Her only regret is that the scumbag is going to die happy.
  • Damsel in Distress: Jool and Chiana, mostly.
  • Darker and Edgier: This episode looks a bit like a riposte to the Risa episodes in Star Trek, with a rather darker depiction of what a planet largely devoted to sex tourism might turn into.
  • Delivery Guy Infiltration: D'Argo doesn't quite get the idea.
    Mook: Deliveries are round the back.
    D'Argo: Oh, oh, round the back?
    Mook: Yeah.
    D'Argo: OK, thanks. (punches mook in the face)
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Crichton and D'Argo may or may not have slept together when they were drunk and blacked out. Crichton makes a point not to find out, and D'Argo needles him about it repeatedly.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind
  • Dutch Angle
  • Everybody Must Get Stoned: Pretty much all the regular characters are drunk, high, stoned or hungover for most of the episode, and the visual style reflects this, with heavy use of Repeat Cut, Smash Cut, Dutch Angle, Shaky Cam, and others.
  • Evil Wears Black
    Fe'Tor. Bad guy. Dressed in black.
  • Eye Scream: Milder than usual, but still yucky. John and D'Argo have to read Kabaah's memories by sticking his tentacles in their eyes.
  • Eye Spy: Kabaah, a member of the Han-jee species, has this ability and uses it to act as a Knowledge Broker. And pornographer.
  • Faceless Mooks
  • Foreshadowing:
    • On second viewing, it's clear that various characters treat Raxil much more cautiously than they would if she were the unimportant petty crook that she imitates for John and D'Argo.
    • Raxil is shown paying the two girls who later rob John and D'Argo.
  • Fridge Logic: In-Universe. A scene shows us "the milking room," where Jool is in the process of being drained. All of a sudden the screen freezes.
    Pilot: If they drained that much fluid from her, Crichton, she would be dead.
    Crichton: Shut up and let me tell my story!
  • Genius Bonus: With a touch of Fridge Horror. Since this episode is meant to be directly narrated by John, it's possible that the disorienting stylistic touches aren't meant to be drug-induced but to suggest that, after everything he's experienced, he is in a perpetual state of hypervigilance.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: A drunk Jool and Chiana acting flirtatious with one another definitely has this effect on guys in the club, and later Kabaah, probably as they planned. D'Argo of course, not so much.
  • Handshake Substitute: Due to the link provided by Kabaah, Harvey gets to talk to D'Argo.
    "Ka D'Argo, give me five!"
  • Hangover Sensitivity: Funniest when John and D'Argo are violently interrogating Raxil and she threatens to scream.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Crichton and D'Argo are Mistaken for Gay, and the next day John wakes up naked with D'Argo on top of him.
    Crichton: There were girls, right?
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Used by both John and D'Argo on both Raxil and Kabaah.
  • Lie to the Beholder: Raxil gives D'Argo (without warning him) an unusual type of Freslin that makes him emit pheromones that cause people to see him as an entirely different species.
  • Love Potion: The usual form of Freslin is an aphrodisiac.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Raxil
  • Meaningful Name: Fe'Tor has a Perverted Sniffing habit and likes talking about people's smell. "Fetor" is a medical/archaic term for a (usually unpleasant) odour.
  • Mistaken for Gay: The two girls in the club initially ask if John and D'Argo are "together".
  • More Dakka
    Raxil: Two guns? You brought just two guns? I mean — I thought you were the Great Crichton & D'Argo! [clip of D'Argo and John high-fiving each other on Moya] I mean you blew up a shadow depository! I mean, I thought you'd bring pelshfer charges! [clip of detonation in space that looks like a small sun] And a plasma bomb! [clip of the explosion that obliterated Scorpius' Gammak Base] And a really big gunship! [FLASH on nothing less than a Peacekeeper Command Carrier complete with its cloud of small fighter craft.] BUT NO! YOU BRING NOTHING! YOU BRING 2 LITTLE WEAPONS THAT WOULDN'T KILL A NEGNIK! [clip of a negnik]
  • Musicalis Interruptus: The scene of D'Argo dancing is interrupted by—
    Pilot: Stop stop STOP! This makes no sense; YOU make no sense!
  • Night-Vision Goggles: John uses a single infra-red eyepiece after shooting out the lights at Fe'Tor's club.
  • Padding: Another reason for the numerous flashback and flashforwards was the episode came in short.
  • Pensieve Flashback: Kabaah's powers put John, D'Argo and Raxil into one.
  • Pleasure Planet
  • Precognition: Chiana foresees Fe'Tor attacking John and removes his night vision monocle in precaution. One of the first signs of her developing talents.
  • Real-Life Relative: Francesca Buller, Ben Browder's wife, makes her third appearance in the show as Raxil.
  • Repeat Cut
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: John, when he discovers that he's in a shop window wearing women's underwear.
  • Sex Slave
  • Shout-Out:
    • John calls Raxil and Kabaah "Ren and Stimpy".
    • John talks about Raxil dosing D'Argo with "Love Potion No. 9".
  • Shrouded in Myth: Raxil has picked John and D'Argo because of their fearsome reputation and is somewhat disappointed.
  • Sissy Villain: Fe'Tor
    John: Does this guy just scream "Vegas" or what?
  • Slipping a Mickey
  • Smash Cut
  • Stripperiffic: Many of the walk-ons in various scenes, both male and female. This is supposed to be a pleasure planet, after all.
  • Unreliable Narrator: John may, possibly, have made up part or all of this in an effort to convince Pilot that he and the others didn't just get drunk and start a riot. Pilot breaks in to call bullshit a few times, and in the end doesn't believe a word of it.
  • Variations on a Theme Song: The normal closing theme is replaced with the lounge-jazz music from the club.
  • Very Special Episode: According to various sources, this episode was originally intended to be a very gritty and serious examination of sex trafficking and forced prostitution. At some stage during the production, the producers decided that it was turning out to be heavy-handed, depressing, and boring, and decided to turn it into a gonzo farce instead.
  • What Could Have Been: Originally, the episode ended with Crichton and D'Argo bonding over their shared hatred of Raxil - specifically, smashing the MacGuffin and telling her to scram or be scrammed.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Oh hell yes.
    D'Argo: Crichton...Crichton! Wake up! WAKE UP!
    Crichton: Unnnggghhh...what happened?
    D'Argo: What didn't happen?
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: John puts on a ludicrously fake "Texan" accent when infiltrating the slave auction as a buyer.
  • Whole Episode Flashback
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: You want us to put your tentacle on our eye?