|“||What I didn't understand then is all species are seeking perfection. That's what evolution is: the road towards perfection. How many generations of your species have lived and died to lead to you? How many will die after you? All in the name of achieving a state of perfection.||„|
NamTar is a one-shot antagonist from the sci-fi television series Farscape; though he only appears in the episode "DNA Mad Scientist," his actions unearth deep rifts between the main characters and drastically alters the course of Aeryn Sun's life and outlook.
Namtar was accomplished through a combination of live-action performance and animatronics created by the Jim Henson Creature Shop: his physical aspect was played by Adrian Gently, while his voice was provided by Julian Garner.
NamTar actually began life as an unintelligent rodent and likely would have stayed that way had he not been selected for use as a test subject in a highly ambitious experiment. A team of independent scientists had gathered under the leadership of the geneticist Kornata in order to study the origins of sentience; having set up a research facility built on a remote asteroid, the team set to work on testing their theories on their lab rodents.
Kornata began enhancing the lab rodent's intelligence, attempting to study how it developed from ordinary animal cunning to actual sentience. Unfortunately, she hadn't counted on the rat developing ambitions along the way: having become smart enough to operate the machinery around the lab, he was able to escape from his cage and continue enhancing his intellect to genius proportions. Along the way, he began stealing genetic traits from Kornata's archive of cataloged samples, drastically increasing his physique to humanoid proportions and steadily growing more and more powerful until he was able to take over the research base almost single-handed.
Now named NamTar, the former test subject became fascinated with the possibility of genetically improving himself by sampling the special traits of alien species. To that end, he enslaved the former research team and forced them to participate in his bio-augmentation trials as test subjects, often hideously disfiguring them in the process: Kornata herself was reduced to a hunchbacked asymmetrical mutant over the course of NamTar's experiments. NamTar, however, was still not satisfied, now obsessed with achieving a state of "perfection" through genetic grafts - even it meant preying on unsuspecting visitors.
DNA Mad Scientist
At the beginning of this episode, the crew of Moya arrives at NamTar's facility in the hopes of acquiring maps that will lead them home: by this time, NamTar has perfected a technique allowing him to pinpoint the homeworld of an individual by genetic information alone, and is able to offer D'Argo, Rygel and Zhaan detailed maps leading back to their respective home planets while avoiding Peacekeeper jurisdictions along the way. Crichton and Aeryn cannot be helped, however, as no trace of Earth or humanity can be found in the database, and Aeryn was born on a spaceship - and is effectively outcast from Peacekeeper space anyway.
Doubly unfortunately, Namtar's asking price for a cartographic crystal is one of Pilot's arms. Though Crichton and Aeryn protest the idea, the rest of the crew gang up on Pilot and slice off the arm without a moment's hesitation, and while Pilot's regenerative abilities will allow him to replace the lost limb, this represents a major pitfall in the crew's attempts to bond as a team. While the others wait for the crystal to be delivered, Aeryn pays a visit to NamTar's lab: fearing that she'll be left alone when the rest of the crew finally departs for their home worlds, she requests directions to a Sebacean colony where she might be able to fit in. However, under the guise of taking a genetic sample by syringe, NamTar injects something into her instead.
Soon after, the crystal arrives on Moya, whereupon Pilot discovers that the information on the crystal can't be processed without first deleting two of the maps, prompting a massive argument between the three crew-members. While they fight over the crystal, Aeryn finds herself growing increasingly disoriented and sickly as time goes on, and attempts to interrogate NamTar all fail thanks to the scientist's ability to reverse his pain/pleasure receptors. By the time she confesses her predicament to Pilot and Crichton, she is visibly transforming into a Pilot, having already begun to manifest secondary arms from her torso. Crichton makes his own attempt to interrogate Namtar, only to be telekinetically knocked out: after trying and failing to kill Namtar, Aeryn is captured.
Once Crichton regains consciousness, Kornata finally works up the nerve to explain the situation to him: she informs him of NamTar's origins, and explains that he's attempting to acquire Pilot's gifts of heightened sensory perception and multitasking; unable to properly extract the traits from Pilot's arm, he is instead using the genetic material to transform Aeryn into a Pilot so he can extract it from her. However, unwitting to see Aeryn or any other future test subjects escape his reach, he's also booby-trapped the cartographic crystal to erase Moya's memory and paralyze her in orbit.
After hastily stopping the crystal from being activated, Crichton and Kornata agree to a partnership to save Aeryn and restore the labs to Kornata's team. To that end, Kornata develops a serum to reverse NamTar's genetic grafts, and -while Crichton keeps him preoccupied with goading and monologues - forcibly injects him with it. Despite his best efforts to take last-minute revenge, NamTar is swiftly reverted to his original form in a grotesque transformation sequence, rapidly shrinking back down into an ordinary, unintelligent lab rat.
Soon after, Kornata is able to restore Aeryn to normal and reclaim control of the facility. It's not known what happened to the reverted NamTar after this, though it's possible that Kornata had him dissected - either out of revenge or scientific curiosity.
Despite his comparatively minor role, the encounter with NamTar left a lasting impact on Aeryn Sun and her shipmates: though Kornata's anti-graft serum was able to heal most of NamTar's handiwork, she was still left with a few remnants of Pilot genetic material, allowing her a instinctual understanding of Leviathan technology. During episodes like "They've Got A Secret," this allows her to briefly stand in for Pilot and assume some control of Moya's internal functions. On a much broader level, these new traits allow her more commonalities with Pilot: having already bonded over their experiences in "From Exodus To Genesis" and "Thank God It's Friday Again," Aeryn's alteration allows her relationship with Pilot and Moya to blossom further dramatically - arguably leading to Aeryn forging a bond with Moya's son and even being allowed to name him. However, this encounter also helped set the stage for the events of "The Way We Weren't," when Pilot specifically mentions Aeryn's pilot DNA as one of the reasons why he finds her newly-revealed actions so reprehensible.
Arrogant, vain, callous and self-absorbed, NamTar is obsessed with the notion of biological perfection, having enslaved an entire community for the purposes of perfecting himself and being fully intent on enslaving hundreds more. Though he initially appears polite and gracious to his customers, it's little more than a facade to lure in fresh prey for his experiments: in private, he is prone to fits of temper when things don't go his way, and he's not above taking out his frustrations on Kornata and the other ex-team members. He also reveals more of his true colors as his hold over Aeryn and the crew grows, freely displaying his ego during his second confrontation; when Crichton insists that they had a deal, NamTar merely sneers "A deal connotes reaching some point of equality. I'm afraid there's never been anything equal about us."
During his final scene he shows little regard for his origins, declaring himself closer to perfection than any other corporeal being in the universe. He doesn't seem to find the notion of forcibly experimenting on intelligent life forms immoral in any way (even though he himself would have been subjected to this after gaining sentience), professing an almost religious devotion to the pursuit of perfection; even when Crichton disgustedly compares him to the Nazi scientist Josef Mengele, NamTar merely declares that Mengele sounds like a visionary to him.
- Portraying NamTar was reportedly a grueling process for Adrian Gently, the costume proving immensely hot and confining under the studio lights - and he couldn't drink water to combat the heat, because the costume designers had forgotten to provide him with a fly.
- According to Terry Ryan, NamTar's unusual-looking costume was intended as "part medical manual, part fetish magazine," given its mixture of rubber and netting combined with medical tubing, calipers and metal spines. Ryan suggests that NamTar would have used this costume to hold his body together over the course of his grafting history, "hence the calipers on the legs."