Season 2, Episode 4:
Crackers Don't Matter
T'raltixx convinces them that to build the device large enough for Moya, they need to head back to his home planet. The bulk of the journey will be spent in the light of five pulsars, which he says might affect them in strange ways, but implores them not to worry about it. "It's rare that it would disturb beings of your sentient stature." Reverse psychology, much? They wait a couple seconds after entering the light, and of course Zhaan starts in on her photogasms (accompanied by some great eye-rolling on Crichton and D'Argo's part), but nothing seems to happen. They go about their business for awhile, Crichton showing T'raltixx around the ship, but we start to notice crabby behavior on the part of the crew. Aside from this, nothing seems to be really out of the ordinary, that is, until D'Argo catches Rygel swiping food and starts violently shoving crackers into his mouth. It all starts to spiral from there. Crichton seems to be the only one who is aware that something is off, but at the same time is very condescending to Pilot, calling him "Shellhead," Pilot having just moments earlier admitted to T'raltixx that he didn't particularly like any of the others.
The situation begins to deteriorate rapidly as everyone becomes increasingly paranoid: Aeryn has taken to wandering the ship with a gun; Rygel is hiding in the walls; Chiana and D'Argo are convinced that Aeryn is working for Scorpius as some sort of double agent; Pilot is channeling HAL... and Zhaan, well, she's just having a grand ole time. While everyone else is forging alliances and playing Survivor in Space, Crichton can't understand why the pulsars have affected Pilot as well; no light can breach the den. But before Crichton can make any headway on this case, he's sucked back into the madness. Soon he's singing about ice cream. But even in his crazy state, he's still trying to get people to put down their weapons; then Chiana knees him in the nuts, and Crichton starts hallucinating that the wanted beacon is talking to him. Then the hologram of Scorpius materializes into flesh. Oh dear. Meanwhile, T'raltixx keeps screaming that he needs MOAR LIGHT. Pilot, unable to resist the idea of life without the crew, obeys.
In the hangar bay, Crichton confronts D'Argo at the point of a gun, and even though his intent is to get D'Argo to put down his weapon and stop acting crazy. Crichton looks pretty crazy himself, especially when he starts talking to an invisible Scorpius, who has suggested that they kill everyone so they can go to the beach. Fresh from shooting D'Argo in the leg (D'Argo slips away, thanks to Scorpy), Crichton corners Chiana in the hallway and pretty much molests her at gunpoint. Aeryn knocks Rygel out just in time for Crichton appear, and they say some nasty things to one another. Of course this is when Scorpy shows up, this time wearing a luau shirt and inviting Crichton out for pizza. Crichton responds by blowing his head off, which somehow snaps him back to sanity. He tries to talk down Aeryn as well, but it isn't happening, so he knocks her unconscious and ties her up.
Later, Crichton's got everyone tied to the table in the kitchen so he can knock some sense into them about this whole T'raltixx business. T'raltixx screams for MOAR LIGHT, and when Pilot complies, Moya starts to glow on both the inside and the outside. Seeing the corridor walls emitting light, the others come around to Crichton's plan, and start making preparations. Since John is the least affected, he'll be the one to kill T'raltixx. The others aren't happy about this until Chiana points out that the reason Crichton is the least affected is because he's "deficient": He's got the worst eyesight out of all of them. So, they dress him up in protective gear, including a paste made from Zhaan's bile, so that he can kill T'raltixx and not go blind or burn up in the process. Pretty soon he's sneaking into T'raltixx’s chamber all invisible with D'Argo’s Qualta blade, chopping wires and deflecting T'raltixx's laser beams with his makeshift shield. Pretty soon the little bugger starts skittering up the walls in a futile attempt to escape, only for Crichton to shoot him down: T’raltixx is all wah, wah there are THOUSANDS JUST LIKE ME! Stab. No more light.
Later, Pilot apologizes to D'Argo and Rygel for his behavior. D'Argo tells Rygel that he is ashamed of what he did to him and asks for forgiveness, but Rygel says he can't forgive him, not yet... and he's not the only one: everyone is ashamed of the way T'raltixx brought out the worst in them. Crichton glumly sings "Humpty Dumpty" to himself and then asks Zhaan, "How do we take it all back?" "I don’t know," she says.
Don't worry, John, you'll put it back together again.
Tropes present in this episode include:
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: Aeryn calls Rygel "a coward and a zannet," and adds that, nonetheless, she can trust him because he's too much of a coward to betray her. Rygel gets as far as "I trust you, too, Aeryn," before Aeryn says that she has a plan, and needs him to watch her back. She cocks her pulse rifle, then aims it at Rygel's head and asks if he wants to volunteer. Eep!
- Ask a Stupid Question...: Chiana is sitting in the mess hall, stuffing her face with crackers. D'argo strolls in and asks what she's doing.Chiana: I'm having sex with three Hynerian donkeys. What does it look like?
- Bad Powers, Bad People: The heroes' increasing paranoia seems to be linked not with the pulsar lights, but T'raltixx as Moya's light energizes him.
- Bond One-Liner: "I TOLD them...it was a bad idea...bringing you onboard!!" [skewers space elf]
- Bottle Episode: The episode is set entirely on Moya and T'raltixx is the only character aside from the regulars. The episode was written in a hurry after "Picture If You Will" ran into production difficulties.
- Bottomless Magazines: Averted when John and Aeryn start firing their pulse pistols at each other. After a few seconds they both run dry and are left pulling the triggers uselessly. Aeryn asks John if he has any spare cartridges but he doesn't. With their weapons empty the two settle for charging at each other screaming as the scene ends.
- Broken Record: A crackling hologram of Scorpius stating, "Name: John Crichton." Presumably broken during the escape from the commerce planet.
- Crichton wants to know why they're not testing the cloaking device on Aeryn's prowler rather than on his module. Aeryn smirkingly reminds Crichton that the module has "Moyan modifications," so they can monitor what happens.
- Zhaan is immediately sidelined by the light because she's having photogasms again.
- Card-Carrying Villain: T'raltixx turns into this as he starts cranking up the lights.
- Continuity Nod: Crichton orders Rygel to turn the invisibility cloak on for only ten second. "No more. No 'mippippippi,' I do not want to blow up." This is a reference to D'Argo mispronouncing "one Mississippi" during a countdown in an earlier episode ("Through the Looking Glass").
- Cut the Juice: Armed with D'Argo's blade, Crichton runs into T'raltixx's room and starts hacking wires to cut off the light. T'raltixx responds in kind by spraying eye beams, severing the power cord linking Crichton with his invisibility device. "Crap."
- Cutting Back to Reality: Since Crichton's form of the ship-wide insanity manifests as an imaginary Scorpius following him around and urging him to kill his friends, so naturally, this results in several scenes in which Crichton angrily points a gun at Scorpius, only for the camera to cut to the perspective of D'Argo or Aeryn, both of whom can clearly see that Crichton is talking to someone who isn't there.
- Disability Superpower / Super-Senses: T'raltixx, who might never be able to read a data pad, but can avoid most DRDS- and sense Crichton when he enters his lair when invisible. Crighton's good-for-a-human vision as well; compared to rest of the crew his vision is terrible, but it means he's less vulnerable to T'raltixx.
- Duck Season, Rabbit Season: In the maintenance bay, Chiana is demanding that Aeryn show her the message on the beacon, claiming that there's a hidden message on the beacon that Aeryn won't let her see. Aeryn says that there's no hidden message. Crichton wearily tells Aeryn to play the message: "If there's nothing secret on the beacon, then show her the message, and she can get the hell out of here." Chiana recoils in surprise, then starts getting in Crichton's face. "What's on there you want me to see?!" In the background, Aeryn turns away and Facepalms.
- Easily Forgiven: Used and subverted at the end.
- Embarrassing but Empowering Outfit: Crichton's Rummage Sale Reject protective gear does the job while looking completely ridiculous.
- Enemy Mine: Until T'raltixx is killed, any cooperation between the crew is this, for all intents and purposes.
- "Eureka!" Moment: Crichton confirms that the pulsar light doesn't reach into Pilot's hidey-hole, yet he's still acting crazy. Pilot persists in claiming it isn't affecting him. Crichton yells, "I've been in the light, Zhaan's been in the light, but..." then snaps his fingers to indicate an epiphany.
- Evil Is Hammy: Tr'altixx isn't too bad at first but as the light builds up he proceeds to get hammier and hammier.
- Evil Laugh: During a tense standoff between Crichton and Aeryn, Scorpius pops up again with the promise of pizza and margarita shooters if Crichton kills her. Disgusted by this idea ("Nobody drinks margaritas with pizza.") John shoots him in the head, causing it to burst into dozens of tiny, laughing Scorpy heads that bounce all over the command.
- Eyeless Face: T'raltixx.
- Eye Beams: T'raltixx, who actually appears to temporarily develop tiny glowing eyes just so he can use said Eye Beams.
- Flaw Exploitation: T'raltixx immediately zeroes in on Pilot's resentment of having to lug around these convicts instead of exploring the galaxy like he was born to do.
- Force Feeding: So violent, it actually broke the Rygel puppet head!
- Foreshadowing: Though at first it seems as though Scorpius is just a hallucination, it in fact marks the first appearance of Harvey, the neural chip implanted in Crichton's head by Scorpius and a crucial part of the story as the season continues.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Scorpius' hologram coming to 'life' and pestering Crichton throughout the ship.
- Future Food Is Artificial: The title crackers.
- Goggles Do Something Unusual: But only when they're coated in Zhaan's puke.
- Groin Kick: Chiana delivers one to Crichton. ..which later he pays back in spades.
- Gunpoint Banter / Volleying Insults
- Half-Truth: The Aeryn/Rygel alliance hits a slight snag. Tired of Aeryn's attitude, Rygel says that he could pop back into the ducts if he wanted. Aeryn asks, "Run away, as always?" Rygel huffs, "I never run away. I strategically maneuver!"
- Hate Plague: Induced, of course, by T'raltixx.
- Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: When Scorpius reappears the second time, he's now wearing a very loud shirt over his S&M-wear. Even in space, you can hear this shirt, although close examination shows that it's not actually Hawaiian- it's Mambo!
- He Was Right There All Along: After Crichton narrowly diffuses a messy conflict between himself, D'Argo, Aeryn, and Chiana, the camera pans up and we see T'raltixx is clinging to the ceiling, watching them.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs: When Crichton complains about the goggles he's made to wear, D'Argo tells him, "Stop whining. You sound like a Zelmat."
- Honest John's Dealership: Crichton accuses T'raltixx of running one of these. Of course, the reality is far, far worse...
- How Many Fingers?: Crichton tries this trick on T'raltixx in order to test his super-senses. "Two fingers.", T'raltixx dryly remarks.
- Humanity Is Superior: Played with, and yet it's still the Trope Namer.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: When Crichton calls Aeryn a "frigid, flat-butted Peacekeeper skank," Aeryn twists to check out her own rear end, looking confused and hurt.
- I Warned You: Crichton starts to climb up onto Pilot's console and fiddle with it when the alien proves less than agreeable. Pilot starts flappin' his claws and grumbling, "Don't touch my console!" They start swatting and yelling at each other until something on the console zaps Crichton, sending him crashing to the floor with a flummoxed face. Pilot sighs, "I warned you."
- At the start of the episode, Crichton is upfront about not wanting T'raltixx aboard Moya, but tolerates it because the others do. Naturally, when the dren hits the fan, Crichton points out he was right."I told them it was a mistake bringing you on board!"
- At the start of the episode, Crichton is upfront about not wanting T'raltixx aboard Moya, but tolerates it because the others do. Naturally, when the dren hits the fan, Crichton points out he was right.
- Innocuously Important Episode: Crichton interacting with a hallucination of Scorpius. Originally, it was supposed to be a result of T'raltixx like everything else, but the writers loved the idea and saw it as a way to keep Scorpius a constant threat. This led to the neural-chip and resident clone Harvey - revelations that would come at about the halfway mark of the season.
- Invisibility Cloak: T'raltixx's device, although the crew are warned that it might explode if used for any longer than a few seconds.
- Just a Flesh Wound: D'Argo's leg-shot.
- Lampshade Hanging:
- As Scorpius is reciting the "Best Served Cold" line, Crichton finally turns around and tells him to shut up. "I hate it when villains quote Shakespeare."
- Crichton is the only one who can save them because humans have much less sensitive eyes than other races. So that's why everyplace they go is uncomfortably dark. And why there's no visible labels on anything.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Aeryn offers Crichton a shield she fashioned out of the hull of her Prowler, apparently strong enough to withstand T'raltixx's laser blasts.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning: Moments before being skewered by Cricthon, T'raltixx rails on about his brethren will swarm the galaxy. Sadly, we have seen nothing of T'raltixx's Leviathan-hijacking comrades since this episode. Of course, the crew would probably not be stupid enough to ever let another of T'raltixx's species on board again.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Rygel blatantly disregarding Crichton's instructions to leave the invisibility device on for only 10 seconds. Had T'raltixx not blasted the wire, Crichton might very well have blown himself up.
- Only Sane Man: Crichton... or so he thinks.
- Out-Gambitted: After she and D'Argo are caught taking out the module, Chiana says they're leaving Moya. Crichton disagrees, and holds up a circuit board: "Afraid it needs this to fly." He adds that he's disabled the hangar doors so that nobody can leave.
- Pistol Whip: Crichton clocking Chiana with his pulse pistol after feeling her up. That's cold.
- Poisonous Person: T'raltixx is the actual source of everyone's insanity.
- Pseudo-Crisis: During the final duel with Aeryn, Crichton leaps out from his own corner and rushes toward her with a roar. They run toward each other shouting as we fade out. ...aaand we fade up onto the sight of Crichton dragging Aeryn's limp body down a corridor.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: T'raltixx loves his light. "I...AM...MAAAGNIFIICEEEEEEEEENT!"
- Punctuation Shaker: And we know for a fact that T'raltixx is this because Crichton actually went out of his way to write it- even though he didn't know how it was actually spelled in English. Yep, Crichton has a lively imagination.
- Puny Earthlings: Chiana explaining that he isn't as affected by T'raltixx "because he's deficient." Crichton doesn't care for that theory, but Chiana points out that he's got the worst vision of any of them. Crichton sniffs, "I got great eyes! They're better than 20/20, and they're blue!" Chiana asks if he can read what's written on a basin across the room. Crichton turns and looks, and we see a smooth copper basin without any markings. Crichton says there's nothing written on it. Rygel chuckles and reads, "Warning..." D'Argo chimes in, "Don't flush corrosives —" and Aeryn puts a hand over one of her eyes and finishes, "— down the waste tunnel." Crichton huffs that they're playing a joke on him, and as they all parade out of the room, Crichton hisses, "I'm not deficient. I'm superior! Humans — are — superior."
- Rhetorical Question Blunder:Crichton: Hell no, I don't trust him. Do I look stupid to you?[Pilot blinks wearily]Crichton:—Don't answer that.
- Shout-Out: Crichton poking his head out from behind the door and exclaiming "HEEEEERE'S JOHNNY!" Director Ian Watson describes this episode as The Shining retold.
- "I'm sorry, John. I'm afraid I cannot do that."
- Crichton comes upon D'Argo and China fussing with his module. Crichton guesses that they're preparing to jump ship, and refers to them as Gilligan and Mary Ann. "Where are you guys takin' the Minnow?"
- During Crichton's lecture on T'raltixx, he walks over to a revolving door, spins it closed, and gets his Rich Fields on by calling, "A brand-new car!"
- On seeing that Aeryn and Rygel have barricaded themselves in a room Crichton asks if they've joined the French Revolution.
- Stab the Salad: Or rather, shoot the crackers.
- Stab the Sky: Zhaan applies her stomach goo to Crichton's face. D'Argo supplies him with a pair of goggles, and hands him the Qualta blade as well. Aeryn offers Crichton a shield she made out of a bit of her Prowler. Chiana throws a solar-reflective padded jacket material over Crichton's shoulders. She finishes by slapping some sort of WWI aerial helmet onto his head. It, too, has been coated with goo. Crichton grouses that he looks ridiculous. Rygel zooms over and says, "Don't worry, this is T'raltixx's disappearing device, so it won't matter how ridiculous you look." Chiana hangs the giant hood ornament around Crichton's abdomen. Everyone else steps back to admire their work, and Crichton hums "The Ride of the Valkyries" and suddenly strikes a heroic pose, thrusting his sword up into the air.Aeryn: We are gonna die.
- Tap on the Head: Crichton uses this on several of his crewmates to sedate them when things start getting really out of hand.
- Throw It In: While donning his dopey costume, Ben Browder added Crichton humming "The Ride of the Valkyries" while looping the episode's dialogue.
- Title Drop: Quoted by Crichton, who illustrates his point by shooting stacks of food squares, spraying his hapless crewmates with crumbs.
- Tuneless Song of Madness: The first indication that Crichton's beginning to go as loopy as everyone else is his use of "I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream."
- Wall Crawl: T'raltixx, again.
- "Wanted!" Poster: Scorpius has saturated the galaxy with these.
- Water Wake-up: Following their aforementioned duel, Crichton revives Aeryn by raining down a cup of water on her ornery face.
- Weakened by the Light: Played straight in the case of the crew, and subverted in T'raltixx's case.