Wed
Feb 26 2014 4:00pm

Farscape Rewatch: “Peacekeeper Wars—Part 2"

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, wormholes

Peacekeeper Wars – Episode Two
Written by David Kemper & Rockne S. O’Bannon, directed by Brian Henson

1st UK Transmission Date: 16 January 2005
1st US Transmission Date: 18 October 2004

Synopsis: Ka-BOOM!

Buck Rogers Redux: John returns to Einstein in order to get the knowledge of wormhole weapons, expressly stating it’s so he can force peace. Perhaps surprisingly, Einstein grants his request. He’s initially thrown for a loop by it, horrified at what he’s now capable of (and how does he get the cut on his head that’s bleeding so obviously upon his return to Moya?) In the end, he takes the responsibility in order to protect Aeryn and the baby.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Crichton, Pilot

When Pilot and Moya refuse to endorse his plan, he tries to use the Eidelons to initiate peace but there aren’t enough of them to stop the battle. Even when that’s failed, and Pilot demonstrates that he’s changed his mind by presenting John with the wormhole weapon, he still can’t quite bring himself to do it until Aeryn gives him the final push.

When he unleashes the weapon, he reveals that it will swallow the universe unless he stops it, and he won’t stop it until peace is declared. Is this his finest moment, or the most selfish thing he’s ever done? You could argue both ways. Certainly he’s willing to put his money where his mouth is and sacrifice himself and everyone he’s ever loved. He can’t help his resentment of his situation from spilling out as he taunts everyone that this is what they had always wanted; it’s not an attractive response, but it’s very human.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Crichton, Einstein

And then he switches it off, job done. Einstein removes the knowledge from his brain, knocking him into a temporary coma, and when he comes round it’s to a peaceful universe in which he and Aeryn can raise their baby. He’s done what he set out do, but at huge cost, and great risk. Maybe now he’s brought peace to the universe, he can find some himself. What are the odds?

You Can Be More: ‘You don’t just protect me, we protect each other’—Aeryn, wondering how she can protect John from the consequences of the actions he’s taking to protect her.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Crichton, Aeryn, Stark

She gives birth in a fountain in the middle of a firefight, insists she’s married while in labour, carries her baby unscathed through a battle and then, at the end, is the one who finally convinces John to use the wormhole weapon, after all the times she’s argued against it. When it looks like John has doomed them all, she still backs him—her loyalty to him, and faith in his choices, is impressive but never seems weak or thoughtless, it’s a typically finely judged performance from Claudia Black. She finally embraces motherhood, loves it, and all her fear is forgotten.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Aeryn, Little D

I Was A Teenage Luxan: ‘This is the other side, I was hoping to go back!’ When D’Argo leads the attack on the Scarran ship, he demonstrates the kind of close-quarter combat techniques you’d expect from a seasoned soldier—nice to see. He’s proud of Jothee and, happily, gets the chance to tell him so right before he is skewered in battle, saving Chiana. He gets so close to his happy ending only to have it snatched from him. He dies defiantly, taking down as many bad guys as possible, saving his friends. He bequeathes his Qualta blade to Jothee.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, D'Argo, Chiana, Aeryn

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, D'Argo, Crichton

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, D'Argo

It’s the kind of death you suspect he would have relished back when he first met John, and it’s tempting to see it as a fitting end for Farscape’s great warrior. But he never really was that warrior, he was more complex, more peaceful and really, all he wanted to do was grow plants and make babies. It’s a cold, cruel end for a wonderful character, and it breaks my heart a little bit. He had evolved so far beyond the noble warrior, but it is as if the universe refuses to let him bloom and casts him, finally, irrevocably, in that role almost as a way of humbling him, of preventing him getting above himself. Thought you could be a man of peace? Nah, you’re just a soldier, always were, foolish mortal.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Crichton, D'Argo

(Not, perhaps, most people’s reading of it, but it seems to me there’s something of the Greek tragedy about D’Argo’s quest to outgrow his limitations only to find that at the moment it looks like he might break free of his destiny, it catches up to him. Maybe I’m just feeling morbidly tragic today, I dunno.)

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, D'Argo, Chiana

Everyone’s Favourite Little Tralk: She admits she changes her mind too often and then says that she will come with D’Argo to Hyneria. Despite her protests, nearly ends up midwife to John and Aeryn’s baby; she seems au fait with water births, so has she been present at a birth before?

And Chiana too, so close to accepting the life she’s fought against all the time we’ve known her, willing to settle down with D’Argo and build a home, finds it snatched from her. She decides to go to Hyneria anyway, but what kind of life awaits her?

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Chiana, Rygel

Buckwheat the Sixteenth: He’s a weepy hormonal mess once the baby is removed. He was holding onto the ring as his reward for picking up all the pieces of John and Aeryn. He has decided to return to Hyneria. He has the measure of Chiana, knowing that she would not hurt him. But he gets no real send off, no crowning final moment, which seems a shame.

In The Driving Seat: Great scenes with John and Aeryn discussing the rights and wrongs of using the weapon. But as much as Pilot says he won’t do it, he eventually does—indicating that John’s final plea to the importance of family, and Aeryn’s sober appraisal of their chances, got through to him.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Aeryn, Crichton

This Living Ship: Moya finally snaps after the pounding she’s been taking, takes control from Pilot and plunges herself into the ocean in order to recuperate and hide.

Grandma, we love you: When the shit hits the fan, she rounds up the surviving Eidelons and takes charge of them—she’s even made an honorary Luxan Commander. But due to the makeup problems she also gets no grand send off, simply appearing in the background, bossing the Eidelons around.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Crichton, Stark

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Stark

The Man in the Iron Mask: Stark’s initial distress at holding the knowledge from Yondalao seems mostly to be based upon his sense that he is not worthy to carry such a cargo. He finds some calm but when Moya crashes he runs and hides. Once Yondalao’s knowledge is out, he gradually calms down until he reveals at the end that he has found inner peace—a reflection of the peace that John has forced in the outside universe. His face heals up, he takes off his mask and walks away, a changed man.

Bobblehead: Her ability to shoot fire from her fingers also, apparently, allows her to direct the flow of the fire she ignites. Scorpius seems to work out she’s the Scarran spy during the assault on the temple—is it because she’s too prominent during the fighting, taking uncharacteristic risks because she knows they won’t shoot her? He says he’s known for a while, but it seems likely he’s lying.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Sikozu

She explains she turned traitor because Ahkna promised to free her people. This is the biggest logic leap in the history of Farscape, because I just don’t see Sikozu being that dim. The decision to make her the spy was taken on set and while yes, it is a surprise, it’s the kind of decision I like to think they would have backed away from after more reflection, or at least not without a better explanation being offered.

We last see her tied to a rock in a cave, left to die by Scorpius. In a deleted scene, Grunchlk, who finds her, makes a comment about the beginning of a new opportunity, hinting that maybe she and he could escape the destruction of the planet together. With that line cut, it seems we’re supposed to assume they both died. I find myself quite annoyed at the way her story ended—it’s as if they made her the spy to retroactively justify how horrible everyone was to her during Season Four, when she really didn’t deserve everyone’s scorn and suspicion.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Scorpius

Nosferatu in leather: His overheated coolant rods can burn through heat-resistant metal. He finally gets his fondest dream come true, is impressed by how insane John is, and then looks very happy indeed when peace breaks out.

In fact, Scorpius wins.

Let’s be honest, he gets everything he ever wanted (although he does lose Sikozu, and seems a bit pissed off about it, but not, y’know, desolate or anything—he’s not going to lock himself in a room and play The Smiths all night). With the shit-eating grin on his face when we last see him, it becomes possible to see Farscape as primarily the story of Scorpius’ long, hard and ultimately successful campaign to use anyone and anything to hand to achieve his ultimate goal of keeping the Scarrans in their place.

It’s his story, his show, and he gets his happy ending. The dick.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Crichton, Harvey

Hi Harvey: Once Scorpy gets his way, Harvey deletes himself with one final Kubrickian flourish—opting for 2001 rather than Strangelove.

Captain lickspittle: Hard as nails, he’s leading a gang of PK and Eidelon survivors in a last stand at the Great Temple. He survives, wounded, to fight another day.

Servalan Redux: Now the Grand Chancellor is dead, Grayza takes control—it seems her rank was not stripped from her following the debacle at Katrazi (which I find a bit of a leap). She leads her forces into battle, all the while crying ‘death before subjugation’—but when she’s actually offered death or peace she opts for peace, the implication being that she does so for the sake of her unborn child. (Is It John’s!?) So she’s a softy, really.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Grayza

Alien Encounters: It seems Staleek is ready to abdicate his throne in favour of ruling the universe, creating room for Ahkna to become Empress. Shame she gets her head blown off by Aeryn.

Stats: Sebacean babies are born very quickly indeed.

Logic Leaps: It’s incredibly convenient that the thing you need in order to create a wormhole weapon is in a leviathan.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Aeryn, Braca, Scorpius, Stark, Crichton, Chiana

The Verdict: Leaner and more focused than the first part, this is essentially the three-part finale to Season Five with each episode boiled down to half an hour—escape to water planet / battle on water planet / wormhole weapon. The dramatic beats all land, and the final confrontation is hugely satisfying, managing to take something we’ve been waiting to see all along—the wormhole weapon—and turn it into something powerful, satisfying and unexpected.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Crichton, Harvey

The endings we are given to our characters’ stories are, for the most part, satisfying and appropriate, but there’s enough tragedy in the mix that it doesn’t feel easy, and enough threads are left unresolved that a continuation is never off the cards.

Would it have been nicer to have a proper fifth season? Of course. And the mini-series is an imperfect beast—narratively unbalanced, hyperactive, hand-wavy and hectic. But it lands the big punches right, particularly in the final half hour, so that it feels like we’ve had the best compromise ending we could realistically have hoped for.

And so ends arguably the greatest TV sci-fi saga of all. Less coherent than Babylon 5, less iconic than Star Trek, less fawned over than Firefly, but bolder, bawdier, riskier, cleverer, funnier and more emotionally involving than any of them. Farscape was unique and wonderful and I miss it.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Aeryn, Little D, Crichton

If you’re still hungry for more, check out m’colleague Emily’s excellent essay on John and Aeryn, and m’colleague Keith’s fabulous Boom! comics.

It’s been a blast. Thanks to all who’ve watched along, especially everyone who ever took time to comment, it was greatly appreciated. I have a book to write now, but there should be an ebook of the whole Farscape rewatch hitting the ‘net in a few months, once I have a moment to collate and revise it.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Aeryn, Little D, Crichton

 

Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | www


Scott K. Andrews started this puppy back in 2012. For more memories, head over to the Farscape Rewatch Index!

Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com: ‹ previous | index
17 comments
lvsxy808
1. lvsxy808
It’s incredibly convenient that the thing you need in order to create a wormhole weapon is in a leviathan.
Ah, but is it just convenient? In yet another iteration of lvsxy808's wacky theory hour, I'm not convinced it's not perfectly logical. I think it's very possible this is where the story was heading all along, and if we'd had the full fifth season, more might have been done to set it up better.

All along, Moya seems to have had a connection to wormholes not unlike John's. Does the starburst manuever not strike you as a Leviathan's own personal wormhole - a blue hole in space, that takes you anywhere and everywhere and you don't know where you're coming out until you get there?

Look at "A Human Reaction" and "Through the Looking Glass" way back in season one. The Ancients give John wormhole knowledge, and in the very next episode, Moya is in mid-starburst when she encounters a transdimensional entity who is there specifically to keep an eye on peopl trying to cross universes. Does that not sound like Einstein?

Many "god-like aliens" have taken an interest in Moya. The Ancients. The Builders. The Pathfinders. Einstein. Moya has been said to be terrified of wormholes, but she keeps finding herself in them. And Pilot can see wormholes before they form, just like John can.

It doesn't all come together perfectly, but there's something there, the unformed roots of a storyline, that suggests to me that the link between Moya and wormholes is not a coincidence at all, but something very deliberate that just never got a chance to coalesce properly.

BTW, the actual contruction of the machine that John climbs into is made from the harpoons that attacked Moya in part 1. But the power that drives it - that comes from Moya.
John Skotnik
2. ShooneSprings
Thanks for sharing your rewatch with us.

Will you be covering the comics next?
gary blaney
3. wordbird
There are some devasting moments in the Farscape run, but D'Argo's death absolutely blindsided me. Characters we've grown to love + the "oh my god we've got to hurry!"-ness of the situation = quick painful goodbyes. Absolutely heartbreaking. Somebody had to be sacrificed, why not that warrior who has at least found internal peace? Brilliant work by Browder and Simcoe in that final scene together.

Not sure I agree that Scorpy wins, not completely anyway. Scorpius, ever the schemer/opportunist, smiles at the peace treaty signing because he's NOT on the losing side, and has at least bested the Scarrans AND the Peacekeepers, whom he's been playing all along. Scorpy was always reassessing situations and repositioning himself to succeed.

Crichton wins. It's a costly victory, but he wins. And after 4 plus seasons of getting his ass kicked halfway across the universe, he deserves it.
lvsxy808
4. Can1981
There finishes the greatest sci-fi-fantasy saga I have ever seen (and probably written ) in televised media format. Seriously in this era especially in an as cliched and streotyped genre as like sci-fi , something like Farscape was an oddity , an anomaly , something unusual and wonderful. And that's why it would be difficult to beat in quality. It was weird , quirk , inventive , hillarious but when it needed to be melodramatic , tragic , serious oh boy it was the best....It was a character story or more like a character development drama arc story on a sci-fi/fantasy/adventure/action/humor platform. The production values were all organic , authentic and unusual something weird and unusual like sci-fi supposed to be. I do not think Henson's trademark of using pupets or animeotric creatures would be copied by any other studio or network...due to budget and easyness they will use CGI...The actors from Browder/Black duo (ultimate sci-fi couple that defined romance against all odds , too bad both actors were later wasted on that God awful Stargate franchise) to amazing Dargo and astonishing performance of Wayne Pygram as Scorpius ( best antagonist I have ever seen in any sci-fi tale) they finished their stories and we the audience feel like we read the last chapter of a fine novel.
lvsxy808
5. Nicholas Winter
Anyone interested in the series should find a copy of The Creatures of Farscape which looks at how the principal characters were created including D'Argo.

It also looks at many of the other creatures including the Scarrans (and the origin for their design). How costly the show was why the investors got really testy after the first season with Brian Henson.
Jack Flynn
6. JackofMidworld
Thanks for taking us along for the ride! It's been a blast!

Will there be an announement here on Tor.com when the ebook comes out?
lvsxy808
7. ChrisG
Thanks for everything. It's been a terrific rewatch!
Iain Cupples
8. NumberNone
I'm sad that the rewatch is over. :(

I totally agree about the Sikozu reveal. That just feels shoehorned in and totally illogical. It's not set up, it's not in character, and it absolutely feels like the last-minute decision it was. It's the one blemish on this instalment, which is otherwise just about perfect.
lvsxy808
9. Colin R
Still bittersweet--the Sikozu switch does seem out of character. I trust that, had they been given a full season to deliver this material, a lot of that kind of stuff would have had more time to develop.

But this is an explosive ending to a great show. Every since the end of Season 2 it's been one thing after another, spiraling into chaos and madness. How do you top nuking a planet in Season 4? By threatening to pull the plug on the entire frelling universe. This is why I love Farscape--commitment to its own dark and weird vision of the universe.

Wayne Pygram and Anthony Simcoe are amazing and have the roles of their lives in this show, but I really think Crichton's journey over the course of this series is uniquely great. He transitions from innocent castaway to hero to mad scientist, and it seems human, reasonable, believable (if not sane).
lvsxy808
10. Roldy
I cried when D'Argo died, no other movie nor show has accomplished that for me. Thanks for the rewatch, it has been a most excellent ride!
lvsxy808
11. DougL
It was a good show that sometime hit great, but I find I have to be in the right mood to watch it, while I can put Serenity in the player anytime and enjoy it. So while Farscape did reach great heights I will not disagree, but the tone requires, for me, a certain mood to truly appreciate.
Scott K. Andrews
12. ScottKAndrews
@ShooneSprings: No plans to do the comics, but you should totally track them down.

@JackofMidworld: Doubt it, but I'll shout about it on various social media :-)

And thanks for all the kind words, folks.
lvsxy808
13. Scionicist
I was also really bothered by D'argos largely pointless and gratuitious death. I don't know if this was something originally planned for the end of S5 anyway? But it is tragic, I also don't like the way he reconnects with Jothee is also through militarism. I wonder if Jothee really told the Luxan army he was a half-breed and son of a wanted criminal (when the official Luxan ambassador arrived to complain about Dargo not being captured at the end of S3, right before they blew up a command carrier, I have to imagine Jothee would have been heavily questioned by the government.) Couldn't Jothee too have started up an organic farming cooperative to please his father? I don't like that in the comics Chianna and Jothee supposedly run off together, and I hope that won't still be the case in the upcoming movie.

And S4 made me hate Scorpius more then ever seeing as how he brought this vile, claustrophobic atmosphere to Moya. I wanted Scorpius to die at the end--that would have been a fitting conclusion to his story, if he died in battle just at the moment where he got what he wanted. He, unlike Dargo deserved to die and the ending would have been fitting.

As for Sizoku, the 'twist' on her story was just insane. For all the time involved, just providing a throw-away line to how the Kaleesh resistance were also fighting the Scarrans now would have sufficed. Of course is S5 happened we could have seen the Kaleesh, the Delvians, the Nebari and perhaps even the Garden Planet people led by that white woman choosing this war as the time to throw off the opressive forces of both the Scarrans and the Peacekeepers. It would also have been more fo a triumph for the Eidolons if they had brought all those parties to a peace agreement that would have involved freedom for the oppressed peoples.

I just recently watched PKW for the first time, and while there was some satisfaction, these aspects of it as well as the generally rushed, compacted nature really left a bad taste in my mouth.
lvsxy808
14. Ryan Viergutz
As risky and ballsy and twisted and deranged as Farscape is the seriousness and tragedy of the show sometimes escapes me, oddly enough. I get it and I love it but it's so gloriously gleefully bizarre that I just crack a big smile every time I watch it.

I've been rewatching it at times in the large-scale televisions we have now and holy crap, Farscape gets even more mindbogglingly with surround sound, loud volume and massive detail. Even the episodes that aren't Pivotal feel wild and warped.

I liked reading your lookback on the show and I'll look into your books if they are anywhere near as fun and fascinating to read! :)
lvsxy808
15. Colin R
The utter lack of justice in the universe is one of the running themes of Farscape, I think. There is no corrective balance in the galaxy that makes sure that heroes prosper and villains are punished. It's totally in character for the show that Scorpius receives no comeuppance at the end, and that D'Argo dies so close to achieving the peace he really wanted.

That attitude is de rigueur in contemporary television drama, but it was pretty radical how far Farscape took it at the time. And it still did it better than say, The Walking Dead does now.
Sara Berrino
16. Mashara
I had never watched this show. I was a STNG fan in my teens. In Argentina series are on every week day, so I turbo watched STNG's 7 seasons in a matter of months. It took me only 1 to watch through Farscape.
I decided to watch it because you all were raving about it, all I can say is I wish I had had Aeryn Sun in my more formative years. What an awesome ride. Now, please some other recomendations, either books or tv shows, for the withdrawal syndrome...
marc abrams
17. LovesAeryn
"It’s his story, his show, and he gets his happy ending."
I completely disagree with this statement about Scorpius. Seems to me that what he really wanted was the tension of war between the Peacekeepers and the Scarrans. What's he going to do now, learn to crochet? Scorpy needs problems, that's what makes him happy. Now he has to find some new deadly struggle and intrigue to get involved in.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment