John arrives on the Terrace, a lovely place we don't see enough, where Aeryn is crouched, watching the lovely Drak swarm into space. He stays back. "Remember me? Didn't we meet at a party a few years back?" She almost smiles. "Some of what happened, I can't recall, but almost everything else has come back." He asks how the shakes are going, and she holds up a hand. She's steady. "I'll be fine," she says, and stands. Vulnerability leaves these huge scars across her. That's such a fucked up concept to think about. John comes near, so she heads for the door, but turns. "You know. I always thought that lesser life forms were useless, just something to be squashed." Check out how this is her terrifying form of flirting, because she is crazy. John starts in on how humbling it is when you realize the Drak are just people like us, but interrupts himself with a smile. "You're not talking about the Draks, are you?" She grins sweetly. "Fine. Well, on behalf of lesser life forms everywhere, I accept the compliment." Which is a pretty cool elision: if the bugs are for stomping, then other races are for stomping, for the PKs, but realizing that symbiosis is just the nature of cohabitation in the universe, then this is a PK crossing that divide. Bugs are to people as people are to Peacekeepers. Yikes! But realizing that symbiosis goes both ways, she can make the even more fucked up connection: that without the lower races and lesser life forms, the Peacekeepers would be meaningless. There would be no peace to keep, just insane military commanders and their ponytails and magic boobs and Scorpius, tail-chasing and grab-assing across the galaxies. Without the lesser life forms, the Peacekeepers wouldn't exist. There's nothing particularly fresh about that master/slave deconstruction, it's everywhere from the Bible to Godot, but it's encouraging to see a PK come to the conclusion on her own.
Aeryn takes a long pause with hard eyes, asking permission of both of them to go on with this: "Could you have kept your promise?" She's near to tears. So is he. They don't speak. Her death is a wall between them and the only thing they can hold, which is each other. John finally breaks the circuit, turns back to the screen, and she joins him; they watch the Drak in silence. It's harder to look at that stuff directly, when the heart that loves whispers "Live, live, live," to the thing it loves, every second of the day; to say, "Do you love me enough, does your friendship mean enough, does our 'family' mean enough, that you could take me out?" Rygel 1, Aeryn 1, John 0. Of all the icky things in this episode, John's the only one that gets to ignore the question. Even though we all know the truth: his love will always be greater than his strength. It has a name. You know its name, and you know the hateful face it wears. The minty taste of killing what you love most. (It's a regularly recurring motif, "Aeryn in specifically physical, mortal danger," and I think it has less to do with fairy tales and boy stuff than it does with this: the only thing that trumps survival, in the Hobbes world they all live in -- which, not for nothing, but he wrote about mostly in Leviathan -- is love. You'd save Aeryn before yourself in a second, which means that's the question they have to keep asking; it's the worst thing imaginable, and it's got your DNA.) As much as he's the only family he has left, she's already the star he steers by, because she's the closest thing to home: It's symbiosis. So he ignores it all, like a good boyfriend, and stands side-by-side with her, and not face-to-face. The answer means something to her, but nothing to him. It's not a question that makes sense to a John Crichton: you know his favorite character was Data -- and Aeryn's as close as he'll get to consummating. "You know, all things considered? There are worse ways to end a day," he says without looking at her. So she turns to look at him instead.