Aeryn joins the crew of Moya after her commander Crais responds to her assertion that Crichton is harmless by becoming convinced that she has been contaminated by contact with aliens. Crichton rescues her with D'Argo while escaping from the Peacekeepers. Aeryn is a professional Peacekeeper soldier from an elite regiment, and was under review for possible promotion to become a Commando aboard a Marauder, a ship with a five person crew of the highest level of training. Her combat capability is essential in keeping the crew of Moya safe in numerous difficult situations. Free of Peacekeeper society she develops new insights and skills that broaden her.
Typically Aeryn is carrying at least one gun at any time, and sometimes upwards of three. That, combined with her striking good looks and the revealing outfits she wears-- apparently chosen to keep cool in order to avoid Sebacean heat delerium--has among fans of the show earned her the nickname of "Chick-with-gun". In many sequences Aeryn wears an outfit bare at the middle that exposes her navel and in some ways reminds me, albiet somewhat distantly, of Ms. Peel of the original Avengers.
Aeryn is played by Claudia Black, who brings a lot of energy to the role and, like most of the cast who appear human or nearly so, an intense physical presence as well. Here Aeryn leads a mission against a Tavlek base wearing Tavlek armor and weapons. Collectively this gear is a fashion disaster, and yet Aeryn comes through looking fabulous dispite struggling with a constant, driving need to kick ass that gets a bit out of control at this point in the story. Looking good in a bad outfit is the truest test of beauty, I think.
Here are shots from some of Aeryn's more intense scenes. On the left Aeryn has found and confronted a Sheyang raider on board Moya. She levels her weapon and shouts "On the ground, now!" and "do it!" at the invader, but is forced to leap aside to dodge firebreath and then follow at a distance until she can get a clear shot. Aeryn's strong performance as a soldier, both in combat and dealing with shipmates, is one of the better parts of this episode.
On the right and from a different episode Aeryn, who has been temporarily blinded, manages to work out a tricky plan and execute it despite a gun battle breaking out. Acting blind is not easy, and this was another performance that really stood out.
Tensions rise between Aeryn and Crichton during their encounter with the Tavleks. Crichton comes up with a plan for subduing D'Argo, who has run amok. His plan works, but fails to impress Aeryn, who ends up landing on top of Crichton in the chaos and becomes determined to plan for the next major challenge herself and drag Crichton along. The negative experiences that the characters get from making use of the Tavlek weapon bring them closer together, and more importantly give Aeryn an opportunity to show off.
It is when Aeryn takes control of combat situations that she is in her element. More than physical beauty or an important supportive role in the unfolding story, the strength and determination that she repeatedly shows when situations become difficult sets her character apart as possibly the most heroic of them all, Crichton included. In a way it is kind of interesting that displays of strength that are undeniably brutal are a way of establishing a woman's modernity and femininity, or some such.
When Crichton hosts a worm to avoid the effects of a Tannot root diet, it is Aeryn that assists him in various ways throughout the episode. The resolution of the episode includes a scene where Crichton endures a painful extraction process performed by Aeryn as she removes the worm. This experience provides Aeryn with valuable growth, but leaves Crichton somewhat the worse for wear.
And here's a photo Claudia Black took of the audience at Comic Con in San Diego. She seemed really pleased about the hype and the visit to the US, but I think I'd have been intimidated by all those surly characters, myself. (Whoa, sar-chasm!)