Part 1 – Embedded video below; click to play.
We need to talk about Chiana
What “it” is is that while Crichton, Aeryn, D’Argo, Zhaan, and Rygel all strive toward particular goals, Chiana is more a little girl lost.
Yes, don’t let the massive sex appeal fool you, Chiana is still a narl, or child. Youth is wasted on the young, but youth is not Chiana’s real problem.
Yes, yes, a brat. A liar, a cheat, a thief, and yes, sorry, a tralk.
Or is that what miss junior tough chick of the universe wants everyone to believe.
Because with Chiana, there is a there there and we get a glimpse of it in her first episode.
Like everyone else, Chiana did not choose to end up on Moya. But she is the only inhabitant of Moya who has chosen exile. We know little about Chiana’s past, only that she has an older brother, Neri, with whom she left their home planet Nebari.
The pure evil of the Nebari Establishment explains why Chiana is on the run. It does not explain why she is, by any standard, an untrustworthy, immoral person. And yet, we can’t deny that Chiana is a sweet and caring person. It is not that she changes while being on Moya from being a cheat and tralk to being a good, loyal companion. She seems to have been both before she came to Moya.
The episode “Home On The Remains” is one of the deepest explorations of Chiana’s past. All three of her past ways are in evidence. Chiana the tralk, Chiana the scoundrel, and Chiana the woman with a big heart.
Back in “Home On The Remains,” Chiana still knows only one way to relate to others or at least to men.
She wants to save Zhaan but like D’Argo, she only knows one way to get things. D’Argo knows only force and Chiana knows only seduction
D’Argo thinks it is just an act, but is it an act?
How much is Chiana run by her own insecurities? She had every reason to not feel safe with her own people after her brother became part of the resistance and she has freedom only because of Moya and family. But Chiana’s behavior was already set before she became a fugitive.
Chiana is the Nebari equivalent of a juvenile delinquent. We don’t hear how old she is, but everyone refers to her as a child.
She is old enough to have sex and get into mounds of trouble, but her philosophy of life is severely immature.
That approach has not always worked well for her as we can piece together from her infrequent mentions of her past. However, she has developed certain talents, as we first saw in “Nerve.”
In “Nerve” we of course meet Scorpius and learn about wormholes knowledge and start the grand story arc. Lost in all that magnitude is that we also come to know that Chiana is both talented and a bomb waiting to go off.
But on Scorpius’s gammack base, Chiana proves she is willing to risk herself to help the others on Moya, including Moya and Talyn.
Chiana shows her big heart and gratitude in “Family Ties” by cooking their favorite meals
and she shows her dedication in “Dream A Little Dream” helping to save Zhaan from unjust execution.
But there remains that “it” – why we need to talk about Chiana: she is a young girl who can’t be completely trusted. Despite her good traits the problem remains about how much Chiana can be trusted to not get the inhabitants of Moya into trouble. She makes impetuous rash decisions that endanger her companions, like in Beware Of Dog and Twice Shy, she can’t keep a secret such as in “Natural Election” when she makes everything worse by betraying Aeryn’s confession.
She bests even Rygel in greed and a desire to steal, though she is not much help to the others when they rob the shadow depository. When D’Argo is reunited with his son Jothee, Chiana, perhaps feeling alienated, perhaps having painful memories of family dredged up, withdraws from D’Argo. When she received the double whammy of news that Jothee wants to “live loudly” while “D’Argo wants to get married and settle down, she panics.
Now, as I mentioned in my video about D’Argo, he bares much of the blame for what happened next. He is condescending and controlling to Chiana. He wants her, but does not want to listen to her. His domineering overprotectivenss drives her away and makes her feel untrusted, unrespected, and inferior, triggering her insecurities. Chiana freaks out and finds a willing accomplice in Jothee to sabotage her relationship with D’Argo. Does that make Chiana a tralk? No, but it shows again how her main way of doing anything is sex.
However she may have came by the idea of sex as the way to relate to others, it is something that she holds onto even after she becomes fully a part of the Moya family. In “Bad Timing“ she advises Crichton.
Yes, sex works for Chiana, it is part of who she is. And unfortunately, that part of her dominates too much of her life and actions. Sexual seduction and power is how Chiana rates other women.
There is almost no one Chiana does not try to seduce. Chiana manipulates men to get what she wants or needs. Except for being briefly tempted by the sexual predator, Talikaa, Chiana is interested only in men, and not just for sexual gratification but in general. Out of the blue, Talikaa asks Chiana:
Talikaa: You like men for sex?
Chi: They’re uh… They’re good for other things. But they’re great for sex.
Chiana obviously likes sex—as she says multiple times, she needs it.
Even as late as “A Perfect Murder,” in season 4, she is still acting the tralk. She is banished for her “many indiscretions.” D’Argo’s response —“No wonder you’re thrown off every planet you land on!”—indicates both that Chiana’s many indiscretions extend beyond what we are shown in the episodes and that her behavior causes them all more harm than good.
Is she really a tralk? A hedonist? A sex addict? Is Chiana struggling between two different selves as Zhaan was, or between two possible futures as D’Argo was? Chiana’s struggle was not resolved in Farscape the original series. The true nature of her internal struggle was not revealed until deep into the Farscape comics. I will discuss that surprising and controversial plot twist in part two so as not to give away a major thread of the books’ grand story arc.
See the continuation in Part 2.