With “Throne for a Loss” one could be forgiven for believing that Farscape the original series centers on Rygel. Similar to the previous two episodes, Rygel’s ability or inability to act takes center stage.

<they should look up to me clip>

This time, though, he gets taken down a peg.

<Rygel grabbed and “has been bagged” clips>

Rygel needs to be rescued, and in the process we learn more about him and how he thinks and feels. As the title indicates, “Throne for a Loss” centers on Rygel, but the episode also gives us key insights into D’Argo and Zhaan.

We have already learned that D’Argo is gruff, easy to anger, and not as good of a warrior as he wants to be. Now, we see angry D’Argo on steroids—literally.

 
<gauntlet clip>

Yes, the gauntlet, which injects the wearer with a drug.

<Kyr on stimulant clip>

It doesn’t make D’Argo a more effective warrior.

<D’Argo knocked out clip?

Or Aeryn for that matter

< clip>

Or even Crichton.

< clip>

But the gauntlet does kind of help them to rescue Rygel, though not without side effects.

< Aeryn I hate this clip>

That scene is a continuation of the tree scene in “I, E.T.”

< Aeryn Crichton should be back by now clip>

Score one for D’Argo.

Anyway, they are on the planet to rescue Rygel, who has been kidnapped by the Tavloids

<Tavleks>

for ransom. We get to see Rygel truly out of his element, his remonstrances fairly useless.

<Rygel lay waste clip>

We get to meet an interesting alien in Jotheb, who we regrettably never see or hear from again. We see Rygel killed by the leader of the Tavleks, but we get to see Rygel get his ultimate humiliation and a cheap revenge.

<multi-throated moron clip>

Of course they rescue Rygel eventually. Well, Crichton does, because the early episodes establish Crichton as the savior of the others.

<Crichton explains to Bekhesh clip>

That rescue leads to one of my favorite scenes.

<don’t tempt me fluffy clip>

Which is notable for the first time Crichton gives Rygel a nickname.

So, okay, planet-side D’Argo and Aeryn can’t recue Rygel but Crichton does.

<piece of cake clip>

The revealing action is back on Moya, where the Tavleks have left behind young Kyr, and Zhaan tries to save him. Kyr doesn’t want to be saved.

< no sermons clip>

But the point of all of this is to reveal more of who Zhaan is and what she can do.

<Kyr took the pain away clip>

Zhaan is a healer priest, confident and strong.

<soft but not weak clip>

We see that Zhaan is soft, kind, a true healer and a helper, but we also get our first glimpse that there is something darker within her.

<Is this the way you repay me clip>

We see more of that dark side in future episodes.

Farscape reminds us that not all good deeds are rewarded because paradoxically, people have free will to deny their own freedom.

In some respects, this is another simple episode, but it sets up much to come.

What We Learn in This Episode

The Tavleks are introduced but we learn little about them. We do not even know if “Tavleks” refers to a group of people or a species. They are bandits who thrive on theft and kidnapping for ransom. They rely on a weapon attacked to their forearms referred to as a “gauntlet” that has three functions. It is a weapon that shoots an energy pulse, it has shielding from other weaponry, and it injects a stimulant drug into the bloodstream of the wearer.

Bekhesh demands corvinium as the ransom for Rygel. It is never explained what it is and it is never mentioned again in the entire Farscape series.


Aeryn mentions using a “pantak jab” on Crichton. The word “pantak” occurs only one other time in the original series, to describe a class of Peacekeeper spaceship.

We also do not know what a “garanta’s brax” is except that Rygel doesn’t give one. Probably the Hynerian equivalent of “a rat’s ass.”

Moya’s synaptic processors are “trillions of silicone neurons suspended in a semi-organic crystalline matrix.”

D’Argo says his head is “pounding like a Maxillian Palater Day parade.” Your guess is as good as mine.

We learn that Rygel is an obnoxious gas bag…well, you probably already figured that out, but we learn that Rygel is aware that he is isolated and friendless in the universe. Not that he takes any steps to remedy this, but we see our first glimpse of the vulnerable Rygel.

Ponderables

The Tavleks are the first spacefaring race met by the inhabitants of Moya other than the Peacekeepers and our heroes do not fare well in the encounter. They do not yet know how to work together and Crichton has to fill in the void by acting the leader.

Once again, D’Argo is quickly disarmed and subdued in the opening scene, continuing the pattern that he is not a very good warrior.

D’Argo threatens to rip off all of Pilot’s arms, a foreshadowing of “DNA Mad Scientist.”

It is rather amazing how often Aeryn and Crichton end up falling onto each other in these early episodes. Claudia Black, on the DVD commentary, takes to calling out “proximity alert” when it so often happens.

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