Admit it, you’ve been waiting for this one, haven’t you? But the Scarrans don’t appear until the 33rd episode of the original series, so they are #11 in our series of the Species of Farscape. And if you like the Farscape Continues videos, please support them by clicking on the link below.
The Scarrans are an interesting species. First you have to get past the name. Scarrans. Scary. Get it? Oooooo. Yeah, that’s dorky. Beyond that, the Scarrans are a species with some interesting depth and nuance. What does the original series tell us about the Scarrans?
Our first Scarran, is Cargn, an ambassador and agent provocateur. In the “Look at the Princess” trilogy, we get our first glimpse at the cold war between the Peacekeepers and the Scarrans that soon comes to be the center point of the series.
< Aeryn and Rygel clip >
As I mentioned in my video on Crichton, it is in the “Look at the Princess” trilogy that the grand story arc shifts to the looming threat of war and Crichton’s priorities change. Cargn is our introduction to how nasty, brutish, and unscrupulous Scarrans can be. He also shows us our first glimpse of the Scarran mind probe, that can be used for interrogation and as a weapon.
The next Scarran we see is an operative who captures Crichton in “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” In his first full appearance, Harvey explains a little about Scarrans to Crichton.
< Harvey clip >
Despite their reptilian appearance, Scarrans are hot-blooded creatures. Similar to reptiles, Scarrans have thick hides difficult to penetrate.
Scarrans are difficult to kill, as we see with Erathran Plonek in “Season of Death.” Scarrans come with natural body armor, though cold is a weakness for them like heat is a weakness for Sebaceans, explaining Scorpius’s dilemma.
Scorpius is half-Scarran, a half-breed created by a Scarran forced breeding program. We learn from Scorpius’s memories in “Incubator” that the Scarrans are capable of great cruelty. There’s no reason to believe that Tauza is an exception. Her treatment of Scorpius is consistent with the behaviors of the other Scarrans we meet. They have no respect for the lives of other species.
The cold war between Scarrans and Peacekeepers I will discuss in a future video. For now, let’s look at what seem to be the three different types of Scarrans that we see in the original series. The first, are the scouts and agents we meet in seasons 2 and 3, recognizable by their protruding mouth which is the perfect size to fit a soon-to-explode pulse pistol.
The second type of Scarran we meet in Season 3’s “Fractures.” His name is Naj Gil, but he doesn’t look much like the previous Scarrans we saw, almost a different species. The inhabitants of Moya are obviously familiar with this type of Scarran, and even Crichton, who’s not shy about sharing his surprise and incredulity, recognizes the different-looking Naj Gil as a Scarran.
We learn from Naj Gil something about the mind probe.
<heat gland removed clip>
It’s interesting that from a Scarran’s point-of-view, the heat gland is protection. Naj Gil is a sympathetic character, at least to D’Argo, who recognizes a fellow warrior as he had earlier recognized Aeryn. Scarrans are people too, and some Scarrans are simple soldiers, pawns of their regime similar to the Peacekeepers.
It is only late in the original series that we see parts of that Scarran regime. In Season 4’s “I Shrink, Therefore I Am” we meet the third type of Scarran.
<ruling order clip>
The Scarran Ruling Order is more than a social distinction, they are anatomically different from other Scarrans.
A few episodes later we meet the ruler of the Ruling Order. the Scarran Emperor, Staleek. Exquisitely badass, Staleek is half Caligula, half Incredible Hulk. I’ve mentioned in other videos how every government in Farscape is autocratic. Peacekeepers, Hynerians, Delvians, Nebari, and now Scarrans. Stallek clearly rules with an iron fist as the warlord of a military machine. This seems to be the norm in this part of the galaxy, but the Scarrans are distinctive in having sub-species.
We have the Ruling Order, that includes Skaleek, Akhna, Jenek, and Tauza. We have the long-necked Scarrans who seem to be the imperial guards. Then we have the Tyrannosaurus-like Scarrans. They are the first type we meet, but they aren’t seen on Katratzi, and they aren’t seen in The Peacekeeper Wars. We see some long-necked Scarrans in The Peacekeeper Wars, but Staleek’s imperial guard is now composed of members of the Ruling Order.
I suspect that that there isn’t actually three different sub-species of Scarrans, but that the creators of Farscape decided at some point in Season 3 to change the look of the Scarrans. That would explain why the characters in “Fractures” simply accepted without comment Naj Gil’s different appearance and we never see the Tyrannosaurus-like Scarrans again. In Season 4, the show decided to add the Ruling Order sub-species. So toward the end of Season 4 and in The Peacekeeper Wars, the show has two costume types, the long-necked and Ruling Order types of Scarrans; the Cargn type now forgotten. If Farscape ever returns and continues, hopefully the Scarrans won’t look completely different like a certain other franchise does to its warlord species.
We can’t talk about Scarrans without talking about the flowers.
<Harvey explains the flowers clip>
Granted, that’s Harvey’s assessment, but it’s an interesting idea. The flowers sparked an evolutionary change in the Scarrans but they still depend on them to maintain their intelligence. This plot element isn’t mentioned in The Peacekeeper Wars, but does set up the lack of flowers as the Scarrans’ Achilles’ heel in any future Farscape stories.
Oh yeah, and Chiana helps us learn another thing about Scarrans.
Yes, Scarrans have a sense of humor. Even Scarrans.
Will we see Scarrans again? They may not be the main villains in any future revival, but they’d be a welcome inclusion.