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Mother Knows
Season 2, Episode 9

Episode Details

Plot Summary | Ongoing Story and Character Developments
Unanswered Questions | Memorable Lines | Glitches
Trivia, Inside Jokes and References | NotePAD

Plot Summary

The Christa enters an area of space filled with abandoned vehicles broadcasting distress signals over 100 years old. The ship begins loosing power. But Harlan and Suzee are not concerned; they are surrounded by a glowing red light, and they begin to act like little children.

Rosie comes to the ComPost, and also feels no concern about the power loss. She too has been affected by the red light. A reassuring voice that identifies herself as Ma, the ruler of this sector, tells the crew that everything is fine, and they are safe. She offers to sing them a lullaby. In the morning, back in the bunkroom, Bova and Radu are also touched by Ma's red light, and while Bova is taken in by it, Radu seems only confused. Ma offers to take care of them, but Radu doesn't even to know what to ask for from a mother, since he never had one. Still, he finds he likes being taken care of.

Thelma warns Davenport, but Davenport doesn't seem to take the threat very seriously.

Meanwhile, Bova is sleeping the day away while Harlan and Suzee are playing video games in the ComPost. When Davenport arrives in the command post, she too is taken in by Ma.

Ma is beginning to threaten Thelma. Radu overhears some of it, but doesn't believe that Ma is a danger. Ma is beginning to gain influence over him as well, flattering him and bathing him in her glowing red light.

Thelma tries to fight Ma on her own, because she is convinced that Ma is a threat to the Christa. Thelma is beginning to run down; Ma is apparently draining her power as well. Ma downloads some virtual pets into Thelma to distract her.

Thelma warns the crew that the power is dangerously low, but they are unwilling to do anything.

Radu notices Thelma tending her virtual pets, and asks about it. Thelma tries to talk Radu into helping her, noting that because of Radu's background, he is less vulnerable to Ma's influence. But Radu doesn't see anything wrong with what the crew is doing.

That night, Radu overhears Ma threatening Thelma. He is finally convinced that Ma is evil. Ma attacks Radu, and gets him with another of her love blasts. She seems to have taken him over completely, but then she begins to cough.

Radu is back in the command post with Thelma. He has realized that Ma weakens when she uses her power. He realizes that he has to make her mad to save the ship. He convinces Suzee that Ma is evil by tricking Suzee into entering Ma's mind. Suzee learns that Ma is an energy creature that feeds on passing vessels. Suzee knows that Ma wants to take the ship. Suzee, Harlan, and Radu are now ready to take back the Christa.

They show Thelma to Rosie, Bova and Ms. Davenport and convince them that Ma is evil. Suzee reaches into Thelma's mind and finds out where the ship's backup power supply is located. Suzee and Radu get the emergency power online and Harlan gets the ship out of Ma's sector. Rosie suggests helping the other ships, but all the people on them are already dead.

Radu is confused: is family life really like what they had with Ma? The others explain that family life is different, more like the relationship the crew has. Ms. Davenport promptly walks in and acts like a stereotypical mother.

Ongoing Story and Character Developments

  • Waffles with strawberries are a favorite food of Ms. Davenport.
  • Ms. Davenport does not seem to have the best relationship with her mother.

Memorable Lines

Thelma: A nagging voice belonging to a power-sucking energy force has invaded the Christa. She has made everyone passive and careless so she can sap the ship's energy. Her name is Ma.
Davenport: Nagging voice? Power sucking? Sapping energy? ... That sounds like MY mother.

Radu: Nobody draws energy from me without my permission! ... and a written note from my doctor.

Bova: Wow! You know, it's amazing what 14 or 15 hours of sleep can do to you! Hey, does anybody want to challenge me to a sleep off?

Thelma: I have a gut feeling. Which is odd, because I don't really have a gut. Or feelings.

Suzee: It's locked!
Radu: Excuse me. [rips door of its hinges]
Suzee: Show off.


  • There seems to have been something lost around the commercial break. Before the break, Radu leaves Thelma, runs down a jump tube, gets zapped by Ma, and is clearly under her power. Then Ma coughs. Cut to commercial. When we come back from the commercial, Radu is back with Thelma, and no longer under Ma's power. Huh?
  • In one scene, Radu is wearing pajamas when he realizes that he must get Ma mad immediately to save the ship. In the next scene, he's wearing his coveralls. If it's so urgent, why did he stop to change clothes?

Trivia, Inside Jokes and References

  • The voice of Ma is provided by Katey Sagal, best known for playing another less-than-ideal mother, Peg Bundy, in Married… with Children. The face, however, is Sheena Larkin, who was played the Starcademy president in Long Distance Calls.
  • The episode went through some title changes during production. Nickelodeon originally publicized the episode as "Motherlode" in its America Online site.

Unanswered Questions

  • None available at this time.

(Notes from co-creator Peter A. David)

  • None available at this time.

Episode Details provided by Tracey Rich.
This page was last updated on November 28, 1997.