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Scott K. Andrews

Farscape Rewatch: “Peacekeeper Wars—Part 1”

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

1st UK Transmission Date: 16 January 2005
1st US Transmission Date: 17 October 2004

Synopsis: John and Aeryn are reconstituted by the race that crystalised them, who turn out to be Eidelons. So our gang take one to Arnessk and try to reignite their ability to inspire peace, so as to end the PK-Scarran war. Naturally, this plan goes horribly wrong.

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Series: Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com

Farscape Rewatch: “Bad Timing”

Bad Timing
Written by David Kemper, directed by Andrew Prowse
Season 4, episode 22

1st UK Transmission Date: 10 March 2003
1st US Transmission Date: 21 March 2003

Guest Cast: Raelee Hill (Sikozu), Melissa Jaffer (Noranti), David Franklin (Braca), Duncan Young (Emperor Staleek), Francesca Buller (War Minister Ahkna), John Adam (Pennoch), Kent McCord (Jack Crichton)

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Series: Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com

Farscape Rewatch: “We’re So Screwed III—La Bomba”

We’re So Screwed III – La Bomba
Written by Mark Saraceni, directed by Rowan Woods
Season 4, episode 21

1st UK Transmission Date: 3 March2003
1st US Transmission Date: 14 March 2003

Guest Cast: Raelee Hill (Sikozu), Melissa Jaffer (Noranti), Rebecca Riggs (Grayza), David Franklin (Braca), Duncan Young (Emperor Staleek), Francesca Buller (War Minister Ahkna), Jason Clarke (Jenek), Jonathan Pasvolsky (Pennoch), David Downer (Vakali), Dean O’Gorman (Zukash), Jason Chong (Rahzaro), John Schwarz (Tugar), Sam Bettison (Grek)

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Series: Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com

Farscape Rewatch: “We’re So Screwed II—Hot To Katrazi”

We’re So Screwed II – Hot To Katrazi
Written by Carleton Eastlake, directed by Karl Zwicky
Season 4, episode 20

1st UK Transmission Date: 25 February 2003
1st US Transmission Date: 7 March 2003

Guest Cast: Raelee Hill (Sikozu), Melissa Jaffer (Noranti), Rebecca Riggs (Grayza), David Franklin (Braca), Duncan Young (Emperor Staleek), Francesca Buller (War Minister Ahkna), Jason Clarke (Jenek), Jonathan Pasvolsky (Pennoch), David Downer (Vakali), Dean O’Gorman (Zukash), Jason Chong (Rahzaro), John Schwarz (Tugar), Sam Bettison (Grek)

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Series: Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com

Farscape Rewatch: “We’re So Screwed I—Fetal Attraction”

We’re So Screwed I – Fetal Attraction
Written by David Peckinpah, directed by Geoff Bennett
Season 4, episode 19

1st UK Transmission Date: 24 Feburary 2003
1st US Transmission Date: 28 February 2003

Guest Cast: Raelee Hill (Sikozu), Melissa Jaffer (Noranti), Jason Clarke (Jenek), Sandy Gore (Vreena), Shane Briant (Trayso), Rel Hunt (Karohm), Patrick Ward (Ralnaht), Ben Dalton (Zepa)

Synopsis: The gang rock up to a Scarran border post, intercept the freighter that is carrying Aeryn and manage to rescue her—but Scorpius is taken prisoner by the Scarrans.

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Series: Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com

Farscape Rewatch: “Prayer”

Prayer
Written by Justin Monjo, directed by Peter Andrikidis
Season 4, episode 18

1st UK Transmission Date: 17 February 2003
1st US Transmission Date: 21 February 2003

Guest Cast: Raelee Hill (Sikozu, Stark), Melissa Jaffer (Noranti, Rygel), Jason Clarke (Jenek), Sandy Gore (Vreena), Sacha Horler (Morrock)

Synopsis: Imprisoned on a Scarran freighter, Aeryn is tortured for the identity of her baby’s father. John and Scorpius travel through the wormhole to the unrealized reality where he heard the name Katrazi.

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Series: Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com

Farscape Rewatch: “A Constellation of Doubt”

A Constellation of Doubt
Written David Kemper, directed by Andrew Prowse
Season 4, episode 17

1st UK Transmission Date: 10 February 2003
1st US Transmission Date: 14 February 2003

Guest Cast: Raelee Hill (Sikozu), Melissa Jaffer (Noranti), Nick Tate (R. Wilson Monroe), Sarah Enright (Olivia Crichton), Joshua Anderson (Bobby Coleman)

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Series: Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com

Farscape Rewatch: “Bringing Home The Beacon”

Bringing Home The Beacon
Written by Carleton Eastlake, directed by Rowan Woods
Season 4, episode 16

1st UK Transmission Date: 27 January 2002
1st US Transmission Date: 7 February 2003

Guest Cast: Raelee Hill (Sikozu), Melissa Jaffer (Noranti), Rebecca Riggs (Grayza), David Franklin (Braca), Francesca Buller (Ahkna), Jonathan Pasvolsky (Pennoch), Peter Lamb (Rekka), Peter Fenton (Negotiator), Olivia Pigeot (Marella)

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Series: Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com

Farscape Rewatch: “Mental As Anything”

Mental As Anything
Written by Mark Saraceni, directed by Geoff Bennett
Season 4, episode 15

1st UK Transmission Date: 20 January2002
1st US Transmission Date: 31 January 2003

Guest Cast: Blair Venn (Macton Tal), John Brumpton (Katoya), Rachel Gordon (Lo’Laan)

Synopsis: John wants info on the Skreeth, so Scorpius tells him that a man called Katoya, who trains people in mental discipline and martial arts, may be able to help—but only if D’Argo, Rygel and John undergo Katoya’s training. It’s partly a ruse—while he is keen to find out about the Skreeth, Scorpius also wants John to undergo anti-Scarran training, so he will be able to resist interrogation when he is inevitably captured.

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Series: Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com

Farscape Rewatch: “Twice Shy”

Twice Shy
Written by David Peckinpah, directed by Kate Woods
Season 4, episode 14

1st UK Transmission Date: 13 January 2002
1st US Transmission Date: 24 January 2003

Guest Cast: Raelee Hill (Sikozu), Melissa Jaffer (Noranti), Paula Arundell (Talikaa), Chris Pitman (Nazradu), Walter Grkovic (Outurak)

Synopsis: After negotiating with traders for maps of Tormented Space, Chiana buys what seems to be a slave girl, Talikaa, from the traders in order to free her. Unfortunately Talikaa is a Walaxian Arachnid—a shapeshifting spider who screws with the crew. She finds out what a good idea this was when she gets blown up and turned into a tasty soup.

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Series: Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com

Farscape Rewatch: “Terra Firma”

Terra Firma
Written by Richard Manning, directed by Peter Andrikidis
Season 4, episode 13

1st UK Transmission Date: 6 January 2003
1st US Transmission Date: 17 January 2003

Guest Cast: Raelee Hill (Sikozu), Melissa Jaffer (Noranti), Kent McCord (Jack Crichton), Rebecca Riggs (Commandant Mele-On Grayza), David Franklin (Captain Braca), Murray Bartlett (DK), Geoff Morrell (Holt), Sarah Enright (Olivia Crichton), Katherine Thomas (Laura Kopecki), Erika Heynatz (Caroline Wallace), Amy Salas (Skreeth), Joshua Anderson (Bobby Coleman)

Synopsis: John and the gang arrive on Earth in 2003. While the aliens are kept in luxurious—but secure—confinement, John and Jack lock horns about how to proceed. Although the authorities go public about John’s return and the alien contact, his dad wants to keep the secrets of alien tech for America. After some to and fro, Jack agrees with John and offers to share the aliens and their tech with the world. 

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Series: Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com

Farscape Rewatch: “Kansas”

Kansas
Written by Justin Monjo, directed by Rowan Woods
Season 4, episode 12

1st UK Transmission Date: 30 December 2002
1st US Transmission Date: 10 January 2003

Guest Cast: Raelee Hill (Sikozu), Melissa Jaffer (Noranti), Kent McCord (Jack Crichton), Rebecca Riggs (Commandant Mele-On Grayza), David Franklin (Captain Braca), Carmen Duncan (Leslie Crichton), Jamie Croft (Young John Crichton), Tyler Coppin (Chief McPhearson), Nadia Townsend (Kim), Casey Burgess, Louise Fox, Kosta Doukas, Amy Salas (Skreeth)

Synopsis: John’s arrival in the 80s, before he left, has screwed the timeline, setting it on a new path in which Jack pilots Challenger and dies. Aeryn, Rygel, Noranti, D’Argo and Chiana set up in an abandoned house as John tries to work out how to set things right.

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Series: Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com

Farscape Rewatch: “Unrealized Reality”

Unrealized Reality
Written by David Kemper, directed by Andrew Prowse
Season 4, episode 11

1st UK Transmission Date: 16 December2002
1st US Transmission Date: 23 August 2002

Guest Cast: Raelee Hill (Sikozu), Melissa Jaffer (Noranti), Virginia Hey (Zhaan), Paul Goddard (Stark), Tammy MacIntosh (Jool), Lani Tupu (Bialar Crais), David Franklin (Braca), John Bach (Einstein), Murray Bartlett (DK)

“Space and time are fused, a set of co-ordinates for each required to locate a specific event. Movement at speed through space becomes movement through time. Wormholes bridge space-time, creating a unique ability to navigate.”

Synopsis: John is floating in space outside Moya, waiting for a wormhole to appear. He wants to see it up close and personal, and is especially fascinated with this particular wormhole. It opens and the swallows him up before anybody on Moya can rescue him. He crashes into the midpoint of a branch in the tunnels and finds himself on an iceberg in a small pocket dimension, accompanied by a dapper alien he christens Einstein.

Farscape, Unrealized Realities, Crichton, Einstein

The wormholes are the only point of contact between our universe and one inhabited by an immensely powerful race, unnamed, of which Einstein is a representative. This race augmented some of themselves and these augmented agents entered our universe as ‘The Ancients.’ Their job was to keep an eye on things on our side and make sure that none of the warlike races gained access to the wormhole network. They died, so more are being prepared to cross over to our realm. In the meantime, however, the wormhole network may be vulnerable.

Einstein was responsible for pulling Moya through the wormhole at the end of Season Four. He interrogated Pilot and Noranti then released them when he realised that his real quarry was Crichton. He then kept an eye on Moya, waiting for her to find him. Since John was hanging around for so long by the wormhole at the start of the episode he, was able to locate him and pull him through.

Einstein is not fully augmented, so he can only interact with John in a special halfway point he creates in the wormhole network. It is, however, not stable for long, and requires enormous effort to maintain.

Farscape, Unrealized Realities, Crichton

Einstein explains about wormholes… pay attention now, this gets complicated.

A wormhole is not a single passage between two points. You enter a network, with branching forks—one entry point, many possible exit points. Your outward journey is not a problem, but the attempt to return to your original point of departure can cause problems. Unless the person doing the navigating is able to exercise complete mental focus on their destination, it is possible for them to arrive at their destination at a point in time before they originally left. This causes all sorts of weirdness and deposits the traveller in an ‘unrealized reality.’

Farscape, Unrealized Realities, Sikozu/Stark

An unrealized reality is not an alternate timeline, nor is it a parallel universe, but some sort of semi-mystical creation that mixes elements of both.

(It is unclear whether the hapless wormhole traveller alters the universe for everyone, or whether they create a wholly new reality, different to their original one, leaving their original one untouched but unreachable by them. The dialogue hints at both interpretations and it’s impossible to say for certain which is the correct one. When John offers to die at the end, it seems he believes the former explanation and is willing to sacrifice himself to protect his friends from the effects of a possible mistake, but Einstein repeatedly refers to unrealised realities as being unique to the traveller—‘it would become your permanent reality’… note the ‘your.’ And in fact, if an unrealized reality were a rewriting of the single universe it would be impossible, surely, for John to pop in and out of various unrealized realities as he does throughout the course of this episode.)

Anyway, as you get close to your original point of departure, the possible points of exit around the one you seek open onto increasingly similar unrealized realities, making it harder to spot the right exit point and increasing the risk of you picking the wrong one and rewriting your universe.

Farscape, Unrealized Realities, Crichton, Scorpius

If you exit only a short time before you left, it may be possible to limit the damage by ‘fixing’ the first major change you see. If you’re lucky, time/space can then be turned back to its proper course. Harvey, it appears, knew of this danger. John concludes that Scorpius did too. (But how?) It is unclear whether Nyalla and her pathfinder buddies did—leaving us with the tantalising possibility that the whole of Farscape takes place in an unrealized reality caused by the Pathfinder’s cackhandedness.

So, Einstein sends John to multiple unrealized realities, to teach John… what, exactly? How dangerous he is, or how lost he could become? To be afraid of his knowledge and the damage it could do? Certainly when John admits he is afraid, this convinces Einstein to spare John’s life and leave him free to navigate the wormholes.

In fact, the implication is that John is being released so he can stand in for the dead Ancients, monitoring and protecting the wormhole from incursions until the new band of augmented ancients can cross over and pick up the task again.

Unfortunately John’s attempt to return to Moya goes wrong and he exits the wormhole in orbit around Earth…

Farscape, Unrealized Realities, Chiana, Aeryn

You Can Be More: Aeryn is learning English.

The Ballad Of Aeryn And John: D’Argo finds out about John using the Lacca extract to forget Aeryn. He’s not happy, and John’s unapologetic.

Buckwheat the Sixteenth: Rygel intuits that John is on the verge of a breakthrough that will let them escape the Peackeepers forever.

A Ship, A Living Ship!: Moya’s new filters are blocking the electrostatic surges of Tormented Space, so she is in much better shape.

Farscape, Unrealized Realities, Scorpius, Sikozu

Bobblehead / Nosferatu in Leather: Scorpius has proposed that he and Sikozu become allies. She takes him up on offer, knowing that she will always be less important to Scorpy than John. Scorpy appears to scan Sikozu at one point—what exactly was he looking for, and did he find it? She has worked out a way to reset the coolant rods.

Disney on Acid: John is not Kirk, Spock, Luke (Skywalker), Buck (Rogers), Flash (Gordon) or Arthur Dent (from Hitchiker’s Guide To The Galaxy). He is Dorothy Gale from Kansas.

The Verdict:  A benchmark episode, in which we get a huge info-dump on wormholes that only kind of makes sense. It’s typical of Farscape to avoid going for something as simple as alternate timelines or parallel universes—instead we get some kind of metaphysical mashup of weirdness. It doesn’t make the remotest iota of sense, but that’s kind of the point.

Farscape, Unrealized Realities, D'Argo/Jool, Noranti/Rygel, Rygel/D'Argo

When John is told that navigating wormholes is more of an art than a science, it reflects the refusal of the episode to give us anything as comforting as cod-science technobabble. The nature of unrealized realities is bizarre and inexplicable, and it feels right that it should be beyond our understanding—the universe is too weird to play by a set of rules we could comprehend. (Though it is arguable whether the version of unrealized realities presented by this episode is reflected in the next one, but that’s a discussion for next week…)

The unrealized realities we see all feel tangible and both fun and threatening—from the re-runs of the first episode, to evil Scarran spy Sikozu, hybrid John and his dad, to John the PK traitor aboard a ship of oddly familiar fugitives. They also provide fantastic opportunities for the cast to play alternate versions of established characters, something the show does at least once a season.

Farscape, Unrealized Realities, Crichton

First time around I found this episode really confusing and not in a good way; I felt it was a continuation of the kind of muddy writing that blighted the start of the season. But on reflection the confusion engendered here is very different to that engendered by 401-403 because it is very considered and deliberate.  I think it really rewards multiple viewings and reflects David Kemper’s determination to make Farscape unlike any other show.

Surprised to find my opinion has wholly changed—I think this is actually one of the best Farscape scripts to date—challenging, clever and original.


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Series: Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com

Farscape Rewatch: “Coup By Clam”

Coup By Clam
Written by Emily Skopov, directed by Ian Watson
Season 4, episode 10

1st UKTransmission Date: 2 December2002
1st US Transmission Date: 16 August 2002

Guest Cast: Raelee Hill (Sikozu), Melissa Jaffer (Noranti), Barry Otto (Dr. Tumii), David Field (Ho’Ock), Chris Mayer (Mekken), Sara Groen (Mujombre), Kelly Butler (Selva), Susan Prior (Kiryah)

Synopsis: Moya has come to Khatanan, a planet in Tormented Space where she can be fitted with a filter that will protect her from potentially lethal radiation. The planet also provides the first food the crew have eaten in ages. On Khatanan, women are ruthlessly oppressed.

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Series: Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com