Season 1, Episode 4:
Throne for a Loss
Moya's crew plan to meet with a group of Tavleks and make a deal to transport cargo for them. However, when the Tavleks arrive onboard Moya, they use their superior gauntlet weapons to overpower the crew, kidnap Rygel and leave, though not before Crichton manages to knock one out- which automatically detatches the gauntlet. It transpires that during the early negotiations, Rygel had been bragging about being the Dominar of the Hynerian Empire, and now the Tavleks plan on ransoming him. Worse, Rygel took a crystal from Moya's neural links for his "royal sceptre", and now Moya will lose orbit and crash into the neighbouring planet without it.
D'Argo tries on the captured Tavlek's gauntlet, but the stimulant it pumps into his system drives him to super-aggression and he tries to kill the rest of the crew. Crichton and Aeryn manage to knock D'Argo out; shortly afterwards, the two of them go down to planet to find Rygel. Rygel himself is faring very poorly, having been buried up to his waist in mud to keep him from running away; however, he does manage to start bragging about his empire again, this time to his cellmate, Jotheb (next in succession to preside over the Consortium of Trao), another captured royal. This bragging actually manages to save Rygel's life when the Tavlek leader Bekhesh loses patience with him- only for Jotheb, hoping to absorb Rygel's empire, to claim, "If the ransom is not paid by his people, it will be paid by mine."
Meanwhile, Zhaan helps the captured Tavlek (Named Kyr in the script) through his gauntlet withdrawals and tries to convince him to give up the gauntlet altogether. Kyr is resentful for the "sermons," but begins to warm to Zhaan's treatments- and eventually learns not to mistake Zhaan's kindness for weakness.
On the planet, Aeryn has a turn with the gauntlet and suffers similar effects just before D'Argo- who followed them down after recovering- knocks her out. Eventually, they find the camp where Rygel is being held, only to discover that Bekhesh is moving Rygel to a more secure location; worse still, D'Argo gets wounded in their attempt to leave. Aeryn has to stay behind to "pump" D'Argo's wound until the blood runs clear (not doing so will poison him), meaning Crichton has to go on alone after Bekhesh — with the gauntlet. Thankfully, he manages to catch up with Bekhesh and defeat most of his bodyguards, but the gauntlet's juice runs out barely seconds into the fight with Bekhesh himself. Crichton eventually manages to convince the Tavleks that Rygel is worth absolutely nothing- not even to the Consortium of Trao- proving this by allowing Kyr to speak to them via the comms and confirm the crew's poverty.
As the part is returned to Moya and Crichton recovers, Zhaan recieves a message from Kyr. Though he's returned to using the gauntlet, he thanks Zhaan for her kindness.
Tropes present in this episode include:
- Accidental Misnaming: Crichton keeps calling the Tavleks "Tavloids," resulting in numerous corrections from the others.
- Arm Cannon: The Gauntlet.
- Bald of Evil: The Tavleks.
- Benevolent Boss: Bekhesh.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: We first learn about Luxan blood, and its use as an indicator of when a wound is no longer serious.
- Blindfolded Vision: Bekhesh wears a metal faceplate that completely covers his eyes, apparently as a cybernetic replacement for the top of his head; the actor, John Adam, spent most of this episode seeing through the scars and dents in the faceplate.
- Bond One-Liner: Aeryn is getting ready to go down to the planet and find Rygel without the Tavleks knowing, and insists that Crichton go with her. Crichton naturally refuses, suggests that they try negotiating with the "Tavloids"- and then Aeryn knocks him out with a single punch. "Tavleks," she corrects.
- The Chew Toy: Rygel has a very bad day.
- Child Soldiers: Zhaan notes that Kyr is younger than most of the other Tavleks- specifically in his early teenage years.
- Does Not Like Guns: Crichton will find a place in his heart for a special gun as the series progresses, but in this episode he argues with Aeryn about carrying a gun to meet their possible trading partners.
- Early Installment Weirdness: D'Argo talks about hours rather than arns.
- Face of a Thug: Again, the Tavleks; even without the battle scars, they're pretty ugly.
- Gun Nut: Aeryn refuses to meet the shuttle unarmed.
- Humans Are Special: Crichton is able to use the gauntlet without experiencing any aggression problems. On the other hand, he faints from prolonged usage and gets a much smaller dose.
- Intimate Healing: After concocting a potion to relieve Kyr's withdrawal symptoms, she applies it to her lips and kisses him.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Already having meditated in the nude, Zhaan- upon being flashed by Kyr, asks if the Tavleks consider nudity a taboo and completely disrobes for him.
- Ironic Echo: As Zhaan tends to him, Kyr irritably tells her he isn't interested in sermons. At the end of the episode, Kyr returns to using the gauntlet and sadly remarks to Zhaan, "No Sermons."
- I Will Tear Your Arms Off: D'Argo threatens to tear off all of the Pilot's arms.
- Mix-and-Match Weapon: D'Argo reveals that his sword is also a blaster.
- Phlebotinum Overload: Readying to fire a pulse weapon without actually firing it can result in an explosion.
- Prepare to Die: A Tavlek says "and now you die" as he fires up his gauntlet and aims at D'Argo, but Crichton comes to the rescue.
- Psycho Serum: The Gauntlet stimulant; though it increases the strength and stamina of the wearer, it also results in aggression and megalomania, though if Bekhesh's calmer behaviour is any evidence, this is most prevalent in new users. In his next appearance Bekhesh reveals he's built up so much of a resistance to the drug that he has to use a triple dose to get any benefit at all.
- Shameful Strip: Kyr accuses Zhaan of doing this to him after Aeryn borrows his armour. Then, in a stunning display of bravado, he sneeringly asks if she's "afraid you might like what you saw" and flashes her; Zhaan's only response is to raise an eyebrow and remark, "Quite respectable for your age."
- Zhaan then performs a very shameless strip while asking if nudity is a taboo in Kyr's culture. Kyr is left gobsmacked.
- Shoulders of Doom: The Tavlek armour.
- Crichton describes an armed Aeryn as doing an impression of John Wayne, and when she thinks he is talking about one of his relatives, Crichton goes on to reference True Grit, The Searchers, and The Cowboys. He also says that "everyone makes a bad movie" in relation to Wayne playing Genghis Khan in the The Conqueror.
- Crichton further argues against Aeryn greeting their potential business partners with a gun in her hand, by pointing out that Kwai Chang Caine in Kung Fu never carried a gun.
- Crichton compares using the gauntlets to the willpower of the Green Lanterns.
- Starfish Aliens: Jotheb, who seems mainly composed of tentacles and a large pair of red eyes.
- Swiss Army Weapon: D'Argo finally unveils his Qualta Blade's energy-weapon function.
- Also, the Gauntlet functions as a medium-to-close range energy weapon, a melee weapon, and a shield.
- Talking Your Way Out: Crichton manages this with Kyr's help.
- Tap on the Head: Aeryn manages to knock Crichton out with a single punch; apparently, this is called a Pentak Jab, and Crichton was just a little more susceptible than most.
- Tractor Beam: Crichton asks the pilot to get a tractor beam on the Tavlek shuttle, but the pilot does not know what he is talking about, so Crichton clarifies with graviton field, atracto-ray, or superglue. Pilot responds with, "You mean the docking web?"
- Waking Non Sequitur: "We could negotiate with the... you hit me!"
- Younger Than They Look: Apparently the case for Tavleks, if Kyr is any indication.