Farscape does Back to the Future in an episode that sends its cast back to Earth and back to the 1980s. Featuring a few fun moments for fans, the episode nonetheless does itself no favours by inviting Back to the Future comparisons.
Season Four, Episode Twelve: Kansas
Crichton (Ben Browder) is rescued from EVA Earth orbit by D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe), Rygel (Jonathan Hardy), Aeryn (Claudia Black), Noranti (Melissa Jaffer), and Chiana (Gigi Edgley), who find their way through the wormhole in D'Argo's ship. Meanwhile, Scorpius (Wayne Pygram) and Sikozu (Raelee Hill) stay behind on Moya for a disappointing B plot.
Along with Pilot (Lani Tupu), Sikozu and Scorpius form the not so brilliant plan of allowing Grayza (Rebecca Riggs) to board Moya under the theory that if she sees Crichton isn't aboard she'll leave them alone. At least by the end of the episode we see Grayza leave a spy aboard so that this doesn't go as completely without a hitch as Sikozu mysteriously thinks it will. Scorpius, we see, has his own ulterior motives for the plan and his reunion with Braca (David Franklin) shows he's still got a friend among the Peacekeepers after all.
But most of the episode involves Crichton interacting with his family, trying to stop his father from going on the ill-fated Challenger mission. In addition to the 80s setting, the episode also borrows the "fading from existence" effect from the Robert Zemeckis movie for when younger Crichton (Jamie Croft) seems about to die. Mostly this just has the effect of making the episode seem like Back to the Future done quick.
The best moments of the episode are fan service moments, like when Chiana, posing as "Karen Shaw", takes young Crichton's virginity.
Also worthy of note are Aeryn's inexplicably groovy scavenged duds.
The show previously referenced Back to the Future in the first season episode "Back and Back and Back to the Future", a far more interesting episode than this, to be quite honest. I started watching Farscape during the first run of the fourth season which I think, looking back, was probably the most flattering way to see season four. Pilot and Moya's design, Chiana, Crichton--these were all new to me. Now I'm finding season four puzzlingly mundane at times compared to the first three seasons. I wonder if this had to do with any pressure from SyFy to make the show more palatable to general viewers. Still, there are some very good season four episodes and I'm still looking forward to all the drama with the Scarrans.
. . .
Farscape is available now on Amazon Prime.
This entry is part of a series I'm writing on Farscape for the show's 20th anniversary. My previous reviews can be found here (episodes are in the order intended by the show's creators rather than the broadcast order):
Episode 1: Pilot
Episode 2: I, E.T.
Episode 3: Exodus from Genesis
Episode 4: Throne for a Loss
Episode 5: Back and Back and Back to the Future
Episode 6: Thank God It's Friday Again
Episode 7: PK Tech Girl
Episode 8: That Old Black Magic
Episode 9: DNA Mad Scientist
Episode 10: They've Got a Secret
Episode 11: Till the Blood Runs Clear
Episode 12: Rhapsody in Blue
Episode 13: The Flax
Episode 14: Jeremiah Crichton
Episode 15: Durka Returns
Episode 16: A Human Reaction
Episode 17: Through the Looking Glass
Episode 18: A Bug's Life
Episode 19: Nerve
Episode 20: The Hidden Memory
Episode 21: Bone to be Wild
Episode 22: Family Ties
Episode 1: Mind the Baby
Episode 2: Vitas Mortis
Episode 3: Taking the Stone
Episode 4: Crackers Don't Matter
Episode 5: Picture If You Will
Episode 6: The Way We Weren't
Episode 7: Home on the Remains
Episode 8: Dream a Little Dream
Episode 9: Out of Their Minds
Episode 10: My Three Crichtons
Episode 11: Look at the Princess, Part I: A Kiss is But a Kiss
Episode 12: Look at the Princess, Part II: I Do, I Think
Episode 13: Look at the Princess, Part III: The Maltese Crichton
Episode 14: Beware of Dog
Episode 15: Won't Get Fooled Again
Episode 16: The Locket
Episode 17: The Ugly Truth
Episode 18: A Clockwork Nebari
Episode 19: Liars, Guns, and Money, Part I: A Not So Simple Plan
Episode 20: Liars, Guns, and Money, Part II: With Friends Like These . . .
Episode 21: Liars, Guns, and Money, Part III: Plan B
Episode 22: Die Me, Dichotomy
Episode 1: Season of Death
Episode 2: Suns and Lovers
Episode 3: Self-Inflicted Wounds, Part I: Would'a, Could'a, Should'a
Episode 4: Self-Inflicted Wounds, Part II: Wait for the Wheel
Episode 5: . . . Different Destinations
Episode 6: Eat Me
Episode 7: Thanks for Sharing
Episode 8: Green Eyed Monster
Episode 9: Losing Time
Episode 10: Relativity
Episode 11: Incubator
Episode 12: Meltdown
Episode 13: Scratch 'n Sniff
Episode 14: Infinite Possibilities, Part I: Daedalus Demands
Episode 15: Infinite Possibilities, Part II: Icarus Abides
Episode 16: Revenging Angel
Episode 17: The Choice
Episode 18: Fractures
Episode 19: I-Yensch, You-Yensch
Episode 20: Into the Lion's Den, Part I: Lambs to the Slaughter
Episode 21: Into the Lion's Den, Part II: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
Episode 22: A Dog with Two Bones
Episode 1: Crichton Kicks
Episode 2: What was Lost, Part I: Sacrifice
Episode 3: What was Lost, Part II: Resurrection
Episode 4: Lava's a Many Splendoured Thing
Episode 5: Promises
Episode 6: Natural Election
Episode 7: John Quixote
Episode 8: I Shrink Therefore I Am
Episode 9: A Prefect Murder
Episode 10: Coup by Clam
Episode 11: Unrealised Reality