In part one of CINESCAPE's exclusive Rockne S. O'Bannon interview, the FARSCAPE creator discussed two of the three third season episodes he scripted while acting as the show's executive producer. In this final installment, O'Bannon discusses "Fractures."
In the episode "Fractures" (Episode 18 of 22), an emotional Aeryn (Claudia Black) returns to the Moya only to come face-to-face with the "other," surviving John Crichton (as explained in part one, Crichton was split into two separate but equal characters one of whom had a love affair with Aeryn, only to end up dying in her arms), who knows nothing about what happened. And as audiences will quickly discover, she is not willing to give herself up to love again... at least not now.
"'Fractures' is the reuniting of the crew," says O'Bannon. "It was an opportunity to deal with that. It was also an opportunity to explore what I find the very fascinating notion of Aeryn's situation. She really gave herself over fully to John Crichton, and John Crichton dies. Now she is reunited with the other ship, with Moya, and now here's John Crichton again. He is not a clone. He is full-blooded, 100 percent John Crichton. In that aspect he is the man she gave herself over fully to in an emotional way, but it isn't the same man. It is not the man who went through the same experiences that she did, and that she has all this other baggage with. In terms of the Aeryn arc, that to me was a really quite fascinating thing to explore."
Although much of this was not explicitly stated in dialogue during the episode, one could see the emotions on both Black and Ben Browder's (who plays Crichton) faces. What was unsaid was as important as what was said.
"Giving yourself emotionally anyway is a really unusual, challenging, dangerous thing to her," O'Bannon says. "We humans don't want to open ourselves up to others. It's tough for us, and we are very protective. Because of her upbringing, it's a particularly big deal for her to do that. Then to have that person die in her arms is a terrific jolt. Now, here's the guy back again."
However, the new John Crichton in her life doesn't completely understand this.
"From the John Crichton side, you've got a fellow who has competition for the love of his life, another suitor, but the wonderful dichotomy is that it's him," says O'Bannon. "Crichton is very sympathetic to Aeryn because he knows that she has lost her lover. You turn the prism slightly and you say, 'But you're all bent out of shape and I am walking on eggshells because you were broken up over the death of your lover. Well, the good news is, I'm right here. I am not a dumb man. I understand you had experiences with him and things had blossomed with him that didn't blossom with me, but I am the same guy. So there is only a little ground to recover, and we'll be right back to where we were before.' That's something Aeryn is not prepared to do. All that sort of stuff I just thought was wonderfully emotional and very sci-fi."
As the episode ends, John hears a message from the other John concerning wormhole technology that must be kept from the evil Scorpius at all costs. He also hears an admonishment to take things slow with Aeryn and give her time, spoken by his other self. In true soap opera fashion, Aeryn listens in on the entire exchange.
At the conclusion of "Fractures," Crichton decides, like the other Crichton, he must stop wormhole technology from being used which means stopping Scorpius, who has whatever knowledge he got from the chip that was formerly in Crichton's head. At this time, only Aeryn and Crais are willing to join him as he plans to board Scorpius' command carrier.
Fans are already speculating about why Aeryn is choosing to go with this John. The same question could be asked about Crais, who is always hard to read.
"When Crais was first introduced at the very beginning, everybody categorized him," recalls O'Bannon. "I am categorizing everybody in my head as a viewer. He's the Javert character, our Inspector Gerard who is going to be chasing [Crichton]. In Lani, we knew we had a lot more there than that. It just grew through the first season. We really knocked the pins out from under him. It really gave us an opportunity to create a very complex, interesting, very conflicted guy. He wants to be good, but he is also very single-minded. The self-preservation gene is very strong in him."
Viewers now know that there will be a hiatus of at least four months before they see the last four episodes of season three. O'Bannon says it will have something to do with John's statement at the end of "Fractures" that he is going to Scorpius' command carrier to stop him. O'Bannon promises that it will be very exciting. Besides that, FARSCAPE fans will have to wait and content themselves with watching the series from the beginning of season one on through the hiatus.