July 17th, 2020

Then Again

Keeping Wars from Peace

Two years after Farscape abruptly concluded its fourth and final season, a pair of TV movies aired, the result of fervent demands from disappointed fans. The miniseries is essentially a condensed version of what the showrunners had planned for an unmade fifth season. It bears many of the problems in terms of story and character that cropped up in season four but it's still great to revisit the wonderful locations and effects and to enjoy the performances of a terrific ensemble cast.

The Peacekeeper Wars, Part I

We meet up with Dominar Rygel (Jonathan Hardy) showing off his heretofore unseen swimming prowess as he gobbles up pieces of a "crystalised" Crichton (Ben Browder) and Aeryn (Claudia Black) off the ocean floor. So, of course, the pair weren't really killed. This solution to what had looked like a permanent problem results in the amusing development of Rygel's body taking custody of Aeryn's foetus.

This is discovered by none other than Grunchlk (Hugh Keays-Byrne), one of the more memorable characters from the series' history who makes his first appearance since the beginning of the third season. No explanation is given for his surviving what looked like death back in season three but we can forgive this oversight when we have the man delivering lines like, "If there was a little passenger before, it ain't aboard the train no more."

Less forgivable are some of the ongoing problems resulting from pushes to get characters from point A to B without much concern for how they do so. Why does it make sense for Scorpius (Wayne Pygram) to abandon his command of a Peacekeeper armada to travel as a refugee aboard Moya again just because Crichton is alive again? Crichton was alive when Scorpius last left Moya, after all.

When D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe) talks briefly to Aeryn about her baby during a gunfight, she tells him that Crichton wants the baby so bad that she's trying to want it too for his sake. It seems kind of late in the game to give her character this motive. It might also put a complicating light on the torture she underwent in the previous season if the show ever bothered to portray any lasting psychological effects from the experience in Aeryn's behaviour or in the way others treat her.

The plot about the war between Scarrans and Peacekeepers continues to get hazier, especially when a deus ex machina McGuffin is introduced in the form of a sentient race capable of influencing warring factions into pursuing peace.

Jool (Tammy MacIntosh is briefly returned in order to wear an unexplained cave girl outfit and sexily straddle and smooch Crichton--which is nice though one wonders what happened to her yen for D'Argo. She doesn't last long in any case, being obliterated with the Eidelons by a "precaution" missile courtesy of the Scarrans.

Stark (Paul Goddard) and the last survivor of the Eidelons (Ron Haddrick) confer about the psychology of Scarrans as though this factors into the peace negotiation technique but it still seems more like mind control as a disappointing shortcut for the development of relationships. Which is too bad because the Scarrans remain intriguing with fantastic makeup and costumes.

Even if their makeup, and Scorpius', looks oddly more artificial than it did in season four. I'm not sure if it's the makeup or something to do with the cameras but their faces look a bit more like masks, thicker and shinier.

I find I like Sikozu's (Raelee Hill) costume redesign a lot more now than I did the first time I watched the miniseries.

I was happy she had at least one moment talking about her relationship with Scorpius that explores her tendency to see other beings only in terms of whether they're inferior or superior.

The apparent deaths of Chiana (Gigi Edgley) and D'Argo at the hands of Ahkna (Francesca Buller) is a nice, surprising plot development though their escape is attained by the disappointingly improbable means of D'Argo somehow pulling both himself and Chiana unharmed from the explosion of his craft and floating in space, keeping Chiana alive with his own breath.

Crichton's decision to bring Staleek (Duncan Young) into the wormhole feels a little like a repeat of Crichton bringing Scorpius into a wormhole but the confrontation between Einstein (John Bach) and the Emperor is kind of neat. I liked that the situation actually seemed to compel the emperor to see reason, a much more effective development than the quick fix of the Eidelons.

. . .

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):

Season One:

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

Season Two:

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

Season Three:

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

Season Four

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
Episode 12: Kansas
Episode 13: Terra Firma
Episode 14: Twice Shy
Episode 15: Mental as Anything
Episode 16: Bringing Home the Beacon
Episode 17: A Constellation of Doubt
Episode 18: Prayer
Episode 19: We're So Screwed: Fetal Attraction
Episode 20: We're So Screwed, Part II: Hot to Katratzi
Episode 21: We're So Screwed, Part III: La Bomba
Episode 22: Bad Timing