Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Peacekeepers Keeping Peace

After Farscape used its Peacekeepers to criticise imperialism in its second season, an episode in its third season comes off as almost pro-colonialist. Paying homage to classic Westerns and perhaps Seven Samurai, we find a story that shows sometimes the cavalry is indeed a very welcome sight.

Season Three, Episode 5: . . . Different Destinations

I'm not sure why there's an ellipses in the title. Maybe it's the end of a quote I don't recognise.

The episode opens with much of the crew visiting a temple set up basically like a tourist attraction, complete with goggles that actually allow the visitor to glimpse the past.

Here we find Aeryn (Claudia Black) is not completely divested of her Peacekeeper sympathies after all. She becomes irritated when the others question the story presented by the temple of a Peacekeeper soldier (Dan Spielman) who died protecting nuns from alien barbarians. It's been painful enough for Aeryn to completely change and adapt her worldview, naturally she's not inclined to think absolutely everything she'd been taught is a lie.

Of course, this isn't the story of a nice afternoon at a tourist venue. When Stark (Paul Goddard) puts on the goggles it causes a rift in time, sending him and the rest of the crew back to the point in time memorialised by the monument. Crichton (Ben Browder), having seen plenty of time travel movies, immediately warns everyone against disrupting the timeline, even if it means letting some people die.

Jool (Tammy MacIntosh) kind of becomes the show's resident Willie Scott (of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) in this episode. First she's disgusted to find she's been drinking animal urine--the nuns used this to treat her injury--and then she becomes comically drunk on it. When Stark manages to get the time rift back open for a moment, D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe) accidentally shoves her into a wall before shoving her in the right direction at which point she lands on her ass in the mud, back in the present, discovering the disrupted timeline in the process.

Of course, her outfit makes it all seem sexual, which retroactively makes me want to re-evaluate Kate Capshaw's performance.

Unsurprisingly, Aeryn finds the legendary Peacekeeper soldier isn't quite as awesome as he was supposed to be but it's only because he's an inexperienced kid. There's no revelation that the Peacekeepers were actually the villains and while among the leonine attackers there are some wise generals disinclined to slaughter nuns there are many more who are just as bloodthirsty as the stories claimed. This leads to an effectively tragic conclusion to the episode as Crichton places too much faith in his knowledge of how the timeline works to disastrous results. It's a good ending for an episode that nicely evokes memories of Fort Apache or She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. And Harvey (Wayne Pygram) continues to establish his personality in Crichton's head.

. . .

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

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