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Farscape - Season 2 - Episode 18

Farscape - 2x18 - A Clockwork Nebari - Originally Aired: 2000-9-15

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 4.55

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Aeryn and Rygel bring onto Moya two Nebari survivors of a Peacekeeper attack, Varla and Melak. Despite their weakened state, the ruthless Nebari manage to mind-cleanse the crew, and in the end only Crichton is unaffected, his mind protected by the Scorpius Clone. Crichton presses Chiana as to the motivations of Varla and Melak. It turns out that Nerri, the brother Chiana thought lost, is very much alive, and is now the leader of the Nebari Resistance Movement. The Nebari Establishment knows this, and intends to capture him using Chiana as bait. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Essential exposition about Chiana's brother and thus Chiana. Also, this is the episode where John names his gun Winona.

- The human eye can't be stretched in the manner shown in this episode. The only way for that scene to be plausible is if the Nebari have some artificial means to make the eye more robust so that it can survive this procedure.

- Pilot's species is immune to Nebari mental cleansing.
- The title of this episode is a reference to A Clockwork Orange which also deals with brainwashing.
- Remarkably, this is the first episode in which Pilot uses a curse word when he cursed his "frelling collar."

Remarkable Scenes
- Crichton naming his gun "Winona."
- Aeryn and Rygel showing up mind cleansed along with a Nebari escort.
- Winona misfiring again when John tried to shoot the Nebari who boarded Moya.
- Chiana revealing that she was allowed to leave Nebari territory because they had infected her with a contagion her government wanted to spread across the galaxy to infect aliens.
- Mind-frelled D'Argo.
- Varla: "It is either mind-cleansing or death." John: "Hey isn't that against your Nebari Prime Directive?" Varla: "We are in difficult times."
- John undergoing the horribly disgusting eyeball removal mind cleansing technique.
- The Nebari revealing that Chiana's brother is still alive.
- Harvey helping John resist the mind cleansing.
- Chiana to John: "You're really not cleansed?" John, feeling up Chiana while she's restrained: "No. My thoughts are as dirty as ever."
- John discovering that because Rygel eats so much and has such a (relatively) good metabolism that the mind cleansing didn't work on him.
- Rygel: "I'm nobody's puppet!" Oh the irony, given that the character is an animatronic puppet.
- Chiana seeing a recording of her brother, letting her know that he's alive.
- John: "Shut up you miserable excuse for a life! I'm sick of you selling us out every chance you get!" Rygel: "I don't do it every chance!"
- Rygel getting Aeryn and D'Argo electrocuted.
- Pilot simulating a Peacekeeper attack.
- Melak turning on Varla.

My Review
This is an episode with very little plot advancement but lots of fun along the way. We learn more about why the nefarious Nebari government is so evil and we find out Chiana's brother is still alive, but aside from giving us some background exposition concerning Chiana, absolutely nothing of consequence happens. What's interesting about this episode is the little details.

Scenes like Harvey helping John resist the mind control, John naming his gun Winona, mind-frelled D'Argo, John chiding Rygel for always trying to sell them out, and so many others turn this otherwise average plot into a quite enjoyable story packed with an assortment of fun scenes. Though it's little more than that. The plot is somewhat deficient at times.

Melak's character is particularly foggy. The plot said Melak was "sent" to deliver Nerri's message to Chiana. But sending him under the guise of working for the Nebari government sort of defeats the purpose of delivering her a message from the resistance if he's duty bound to capture her in the process to maintain his cover. Given that logical contradiction I'm left wondering why Melak didn't just betray Varla right from the start. Oh wait, I know why. Because then we wouldn't have an episode. ;)

In any case, the episode manages to be well above average anyway. It's jam packed with fun scenes and while I'm starting to get irritated that the issue of D'Argo's son continues to be on the backburner, they manage to get away with it pretty well by implying that it's taking Moya some time to travel to the location where Jothee is being held. All in all A Clockwork Nebari is a strong story.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Lennier on 2010-06-06 at 12:55am:
    "She's gonna getcha, getcha, getcha, getcha!"

    This episode has a couple fall-down funny moments; that was one of them.

    The Nebari were great antagonists; I understand that they'll never appear again? A shame.

  • From Margaret J on 2019-06-28 at 6:33pm:
    Nothing original here but I loved it anyways. All around good story telling. Appropriately paced action, good tension and great guest stars. Nice character development for Chianna
    Only thing that I did not care for was John acting all stereotypically stupid "stoned" rather than becoming the contented,nonaggressive and agreeable person that the mind cleanse appeared to make the others. I did like that "Harvey" was John's anchor.
    Sad to read in the comment above that this is the last we see of Chianna's peiople, I rather like them.

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