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Farscape | Chiana, Conformity, and the Evil of the Nebari

Although only appearing a handful of times outside Chiana, the shadow of the oppressive and authoritarian Nebari hangs over Farscape.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Farscape episodes ‘Durka Returns’ (S1, Ep15), and ‘A Clockwork Nebari’ (S2, Ep18). Proceed with caution.

As fugitives in a predominantly unknown section of the galaxy, the central cast of Farscape does not cower in the face of danger, whatever form it might take. In any given episode the crew of Moya will face down threats of a near-infinite variety, including but not limited to the following: insane military commanders, galactic war, what appears to be a wax skeleton shoved into a fetish suit, monstrous puppets that would make Pinocchio terrified of being a real boy, themselves, and leather chafing. Given all that they have to face off with on-screen, one might not expect that the greatest danger to the characters and galaxy of Farscape exists primarily on the sidelines of the show.

The Nebari are a race who, with the exception of Chiana (Gigi Edgely), appears in only a handful of the series’ 88-episode run. Their limited screen time is irrelevant to their threat level, however, as their ultimate plan would lead to nearly every race and being in the galaxy conforming to their culture, acquiescing to them, or being destroyed. This style of conquest is known as forced assimilation and, horrifically, has precedent in the real world.

Chiana (Gigi Edgely) wears a glowing collar as she pleads earnestly.
The captive Chiana (Gigi Edgely) pleads with John Crichton (Ben Browder) in the Farscape episode ‘Durka Returns’ (S1, Ep15). | The Jim Henson Company, 1999.

Within the universe of Farscape, the Nebari and their endgame are not particularly addressed considering that it does not overwhelm the more immediate threats to the protagonists—vague, looming galactic horror is not a priority when trying to escape a militant madman with a popsicle in his head. Still, the consequences of forced assimilation throughout human history are enough to alert audiences as to how horrifying the goals of the Nebari are. When the goals of their race are combined with the mere glimpses of their technology and methods, it becomes apparent that the Nebari are far and away the single greatest danger to the collective galactic lives in Farscape.

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