Season 1, Episode 5:
Back and Back and Back to the Future
The crew cannot agree on what to do about a ship close to Moya that is molecularly de-stabilising. They receive a distress call from a women aboard, similar in appearance to a Luxan, and they all agree to bring it aboard. They retrieve the crew, and when Crichton is in the escape pod he gets a shock. Then, when D'Argo speaks to him, he repeats himself over and over again...
The ship explodes, apparently due to a system malfunction. The "cargo" hasn't been damaged, and it is apparently scientific apparatus. The scientist is a male named Verell, the female Matala, and they are both Ilanics. They were on their way to rendezvous with a shuttle, and D'Argo quickly agrees to take them wherever, proclaiming "our ship is yours". Matala goes to show him the coordinates, when we see a flash of Crichton and Matala engaging in lewd conduct. Aeryn asks him what's wrong, but he decides to go and rest. Rygel says he expects some form of payment for helping them, but D'Argo says no they are his friends. The Ilanics are genetic cousins of the Luxans, and they have been blood allies for over a thousand cycles. D'Argo says they will be extended every courtesy.
When D'Argo tells Verell that he is an escapee, Verell tells him he owes him his life, so he doesn't care what crime he committed. He tells D'Argo that the Ilanics are at war with a race called the Scorvians. Three cycles ago they unprovokedly attacked an Ilanic outpost, murdering over two million civilians, and it has been war ever since. The Luxans have gone far beyond the requirements of the mutual treaty to help the Ilanics. Meanwhile, Aeryn is examining the pod, when Matala appears and tells her she doesn't want her opening a hatch, since it contains over one cycles worth of data. Aeryn wants to continue, but D'Argo enters and Matala talks him into kicking her out of the pod.
Aeryn is suspicious that only two people would be doing research on a cruiser, when Crichton has another flash of himself and Matala. Aeryn says she does not trust Matala, or the effect she's having on the men, then Crichton has yet another flash.
D'Argo goes to see Verell, and reveals he has feelings for Matala. Verell says he should go for her, since she clearly wants him. Crichton interrupts their conversation and asks if Ilanic women use mind control or something to attract men. D'Argo asks why he wants to know, so Crichton explains the visions, and says they are real. D'Argo is angered and tells him they're fantasies and to remove her from his thoughts.
Suddenly, Crichton is with Aeryn, and she asks where D'Argo is, and if he's still acting like Verell and Matala's personal servant. Then he is back in the room where he was, so he gets up and walks out. In the corridor, Aeryn comes up to him and, exactly as she just did, asks where D'Argo is, and if he's still acting like Verell and Matala's personal servant. He then realises he's having flashes of the future and returns to his quarters. There he has a flash where he and D'Argo find Verell dead, when Matala attacks and kills them both.
He goes to meet D'Argo before they enter the room, and says Matala will kill him. D'Argo believes he wants Matala and will say anything to have her. Verell comes out of the room and says Matala just left with Aeryn, and D'Argo goes in with him for tea. Crichton leaves and sees Aeryn and Matala in the corridor, and Matala mentions they are going to combat train together. They fight, and Aeryn knocks her down a couple of times. Matala knocks Aeryn down with a strange strike, then leaves. Zhaan catches her on the way out and asks for the real reason their ship exploded. Matala asks her about Crichton, but she says he is too complex for her. Zhaan goes to speak with Verell, who says the explosion can't happen on Moya.
Crichton goes to speak with Rygel, but has another flash, and finds Verell unconscious, but when Matala attacks, he is ready and blocks the attack, but returns to reality and falls face-first into Rygel's food, prompting Zhaan to ask what is wrong. Meanwhile Verell tells D'Argo that they were testing a weapon to help the Ilanics win the war. They say all it needs is a containment field to work, and D'Argo agrees to help them and keep it a secret.
Crichton has explained to Zhaan what has been happening to him, and she suggests he try to alter the future. He says if he stays in his room Matala could still kill Verell, and wonders why she would want to. He drops one of her masks that he has been holding, and it shatters. Crichton says that since Zhaan didn't fully believe Verell's story, it's time they know the truth.
He goes to see Verell but finds Matala instead. He picks up a plank to keep her away, and asks what really happened on the cruiser. She spots D'Argo entering the room and drops to the floor asking for help, as if Crichton struck her down. She says he knows the truth and has threatened to tell the others if she refuses to pleasure him. D'Argo draws his blade and stabs Crichton. Then, Matala gets up and kills Verell ands D'Argo with her death strike.
Back to the present, mask in hand, Crichton is back speaking to Zhaan. She again tells him to change the future, and he says he did but it made things worse. He accidentally drops the mask again, and explains the premonition. Aeryn enters, revealing Matala is not Ilanic at all, but rather a Scorvian. She must have been surgically altered. Crichton asks if she saw the death strike, and she says yes the Scorvian neural stroke and asks how he knows about it. He says he's seen the future, and he thinks D'Argo knows what the research is. Aeryn says to ask him, but Crichton says no D'Argo thinks too highly of them. Zhaan says to try and separate them. Pilot tells them the phase imbalance on Moya is getting worse, so Aeryn suggests getting D'Argo to help, so they do. She says one Ilanic will stay behind to watch the pod. Crichton stumbles across D'Argo and Matala, and D'Argo asks her why they can't tell the others what they were doing. Matala says they can't trust them, and asks D'Argo to join them as soldiers in the Ilanic war. He says he can't because of the crimes he was imprisoned for, and no one on board knows really what it was.
Crichton asks Verell what he was really doing, since he knows Verell lied, and that Matala is a Scorvian agent. He says that ever since he got zapped in the pod, he has had future flashes. Verell says it's temporal dislocation he must have been exposed to the quantum singularity. They've been storing a small particle of a black hole, which Verell says is the ultimate weapon. Matala attacks Crichton, and he calls for Aeryn, but Matala knocks everyone down and gets in the pod. Aeryn shoots at it as it lifts off, destroying everything including Moya.
Crichton is now back with Zhaan again, mask in hand. Again she tells him to alter the future events. He realises he's back, and stomps on the mask. Aeryn enters saying she found something out, but Crichton says he knows Matala is a Scorvian agent. She's confused so Zhaan explains the premonitions. Aeryn says to confront them, but Crichton says it won't work. Zhaan says separate them, but that won't work either. He recognises D'Argo is the key, and they have to get Matala away and try something new.
Zhaan goes and asks D'Argo to speak with Rygel, since he's presented a bill for the Ilanics. He's mad and goes with her alone, but instead finds Crichton and Aeryn waiting in command. They explain the premonitions, but he thinks they are just trying to distance him from them. Crichton wants to speak to him alone, and tells him that in the future he tells Matala that he can't go with her because of the crime he committed not the one he told everyone but the secret, true crime. He says Matala is the real enemy and he's sorry to hurt him. The Ilanic cruiser has arrives for the rendezvous, but they cannot be sure of who's aboard. D'Argo says Ilanics look nothing like Scorvians if they don't make visual contact they have their answer. Sure enough, the "Ilanics" have a comm. malfunction, and can't make visual contact.
D'Argo and Crichton confront Matala and Verell, asking who she really is. She pulls a knife and stabs Verell. She attacks Crichton and then D'Argo before escaping in the pod. Verell opens the hatch remotely, releasing the black whole and Moya Starbursts just before the pod and cruiser are crushed.
Crichton then goes to have some food. D'Argo comes in, and Crichton tries to talk to him, but he doesn't want to talk about Matala, his personal life or his crime. He apologises for falling for a female during a crisis but it's been too long. Crichton says he can definitely understand that.
Tropes present in this episode include:
- Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble: The Ilanics talk with it. Matala combines it with Creepy Monotone to very unsettling effect.
- Bare Your Midriff: Aeryn spends most of the episode in a cropped gym top. On the DVD commentary, Claudia Black is audibly awed at how good her own abs were.
- Dark Secret: D'Argo reveals to Matala that he has been lying about why he was imprisoned, though doesn't say any more.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Subverted. Crichton's flash-forwards of him and Matala don't come across as consensual in the slightest, and he's visibly disturbed.
- False Flag Operation: The Scorvian's view.
- Femme Fatale: Matala tries to seduce D'Argo, and Crichton has flash-forwards in time of her trying to force herself on him.
- Friend or Idol Decision: It's too early in the season but D'Argo is tempted by the prospect of joining in the war against the Scorvians.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop
- I Know Kung-Faux
- Inferred Holocaust: For the amount of time and effort which went into the weapon, one Scorvian cruiser is a small benefit.
- Secret Keeper: Crichton doesn't know what D'Argo's secret is, but he is covering for the fact that he has one.
- Skepticism Failure: D'Argo is pretty vocal in disbelieving Crichton's time travel claims, until Crichton reveals he knows he's been lying to the crew about why he was imprisoned. D'Argo is stunned speechless.
- The Mole: Matala
- Throw It In!: According to the commentary the Matala/Chrighton flash-forwards were in the script as normal sex scenes. It was the actors who decided to make the "sexual assault" subtext text.
- What an Idiot!: They would have gotten away with it if Matala hadn't shown off her very distinct martial arts move.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The Ilanics and Skorvians are never mentioned again, even though the Luxans (who later allied with the Peacekeepers) have apparently joined the war.