Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Farscape Geekwatch: The Peacekeeper Wars

Here we are! 88 episodes of Farscape behind us and only the movie to go. The Peacekeeper Wars ties up most of the loose ends left in the series and give things a dramatic send-off.  John finally builds a wormhole weapon, one that puts the piddling bridge to a star built in Infinite Possibilities to shame. The FX department really sells just why it is that it was so imperative to keep this tech away from Peacekeepers and Skarrans alike.

We get some closure on the Eidelons, introduced in the early S4 two-parter What Was Lost. We witness the birth of John and Aeryn's son and the dramatic death of D'Argo, There's plenty for the Rygel and Stark to do, which is good because they're sometimes hard to write for. It almost goes without saying that there's plenty of delicious John / Scorpius interaction. Jothee makes a welcome appearance, which helps bring extra poignancy to D'Argo's death. Little time is wasted on the reconstruction of John and Aeryn, which is good. I have no doubt it'd have made a fine episode, but it wasn't germane to what the PKW was trying to accomplish.

There are a few flaws, mostly in the things that were designed to be revealed over a season and instead are crammed into an episode.  I'm thinking specifically of Chiana's new bionic eyes (the producers have said that they were going to let her be blind for 4-5 episodes), Jool's odd return (she's out of character with little explanation), and the reveal that Sikozu is a Skarran agent (too abrupt, not enough set-up.)  On the other hand, O'Bannon has stated that Chiana's brother was slated to make an appearance but got cut for time. Probably wise. While the Nebari plotline is one of the biggest dangling threads, it was never all that engaging. Besides, our heroes need SOMETHING to do even after we stop watching them.  Most of these would have been addressed in Season 5, I have no doubt, along with some other returns. (Furlow is another obvious candidate for a return.) I'm also glad they didn't shoe-horn Crais or Zhan in. 

And, of course, the geek comes flying fast and furiously. John makes an almost out-of-universe reference to Farscape itself when, under interrogation from the Eidelon descendants, he tells his story "for the eighty-ninth time," borrowing from parts of the the opening credit narration. The Peacekeeper Wars is, of course, the eighty-ninth episode of the series.

"Next Ferengi we see, we run," he commands, nodding yet again to Star Trek.  When the Eidelons later achieve some early success in negotiating with Staleek, John happily notes that they're "walking into federation-ville here." 

When Scorpius reveals that he's being hunted by Peacekeepers and Skarrans alike, John ask "what the hell did you do when you left the fatherland, kill the goose that laid the golden egg," nodding to Jack and the Beanstalk while calling the Peacekeepers Nazis.

There is, of course, an extended Wizard of Oz sequence while John tries to convince the Eidelon's to help teach the gift of peace to their descendants. "I'm just the guy without a brain." (Points at Stark) "The lion here would like some courage. (Points at Scorpius) "Tin man... he needs a heart." (Points at Rygel) "Toto here just wants an easy birth." (Takes the arm of the Eidelon's descendant) "And Dorothy here, she is just looking for a way home. Now, we're not going to be here tomorrow, so I suggest you take a long, hard look at our broomstick." He later lists all the threats facing them and includes "lions & tigers & bears." 

He also tells the Eidelons that the Skarrans are not "chirpy, saturday morning sleestacks," a Land of the Lost reference.  He then calls Emperor Staleek 'Godzilla' to his face.

There's some repeated Geek too.  In referencing the events of What Was Lost, he again calls the aquatic monster 'The Creature from the Black Lagoon.'  While meeting Einstein in the snow, John calls himself 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.' He then repeats the Time... sequence ('sup, flies, Bandits, wounds all heals, rosemary and...') only to conclude it differently with "time ends."

When Braca asks if Crichton and crew are reinforcements, he replies "No we're the band. Looks like KISS was the opening act."  Whew! Almost went all of Farscape without a KISS reference.  (Aside: I love that Braca gets wounded and Scorpius puts himself in harm's way to save him. Braca didn't have much to do this extended episode, but nice to see he wasn't forgotten. Trulys, his character peaked in We're So Screwed pt 3.)

As we pull into the home stretch, we get a Star Wars nod, when John asks Staleek how the wormhole weapon looks "from the Death Star." 

And, finally, we get the death of Harvey in an extended visual homage to the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Harvey notes that he toyed with Slim Pickens & the bomb, the iconic ending of Doctor Strangelove. I can't help but wonder if he was speaking directly for the writers, as that too would have been an amazing and appropriate fantasy ending for Harvey. 

And, for the not-really-geeky stuff, we have a bit.  John tells Staleek that he is "asking for a kilo of pure wormhole tech," a drug reference. He later references the infamous 'this is your brain on drugs' PSA when he crumbles up a snowball in his fist saying "this is your universe, this is your universe on wormholes."

"Things are looking grim in mudville," John narrates, alluding to the poem Casey at the Bat.

While talking with Aeryn about war and peace, John notes that "Woody Allen's version is better than Tolstoys. You know why? His version is funnier." He's probably referencing Love and Death, though of course there is the famous Woody Allen quote "I took a speed reading course and read 'War and Peace' in twenty minutes. It involves Russia," that comes to mind.

John calls Stark (containing the death-energy of the last full-blooded Eidelon) "the Johnny Appleseed of d├ętente," recalling that little bit of American folklore.

Lastly, during his wormhole weapon demonstration, John addresses his announcement to "Ladies and gentlemen and all the ships at sea," the last bit taken from radio commentator Walter Winchell's opening address.

 There you have it, folks! A fun project for me, cataloging every bit of pop culture and especially geek culture that finds its way into the 88 episodes and one mini-series of Farscape. Note that there is absolutely zero Doctor Who references here. No 'Doctor,' no 'Dalek' or 'Cybermen,' no nothing. Maybe John doesn't like the BBC. Or, heck, maybe it's the same universe. Tonally, I could totally see Matt Smith or David Tennant showing up on Moya. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Breaking the fourth wall seems appropriate for a 'show/movie' that features a replica of the 2001 film set. I think I read somewhere that the obelisk was the same proportions as the film's aspect ratio (though I'm not sure if that's been confirmed).

I'm kind of surprised Dr. Who got no love, the show was classic.