Rates the Farscape Episodes
The Captain gives "John Quixote" a rating of:
Captain's Rating Scale:
5 Moyas-one of the best episodes
4 Moyas-an excellent episode
3 Moyas-a good episode
2 Moyas-a fair episode
1 Moya-a less than fair episode
0 Moyas-a poor episode
Oh boy, where do I begin? Its time for yet another romp into John
Crichton's memory/fantasy world/mind, whatever. Its time for yet
another experimental episode that experiments just for the sake
of experimenting. Its time for "John Quixote", a poor
episode in my view.
First of all, the Farscape producers have been in this experimental
mode too much lately. First, there was "Scratch N Sniff",
then "Revenging Angel", then "Dog With Two Bones",
now "John Quixote". Yes, I know some of those eps aired
nearly a year ago, but these experimental eps have been popping
up with a good deal of frequency since that time. Are they getting
to the point of going off too much on the experimental kick or what?
I understand that the producers of Farscape are trying to produce
some form of art, and think this kind of episode is probably very
avant guard. "Oohh, let's split the screen, that is so cutting
edge. Then, let's fuzz up the picture so it looks like its on a
bad TV screen." While they do all that, of course, they dump
the plot right out the window-if they even had much of a plot for
the fantasy sequences in the episode.
I can take a little experimentation, a little weird. After all,
I am a science fiction fan. And I have even enjoyed an experimental
film now and again, depending on how much experimenting they do
in it. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed a German movie I saw recently
called "the Nasty Girl", a film about a young lady who
seeks to find out about her small German town during the Third Reich
for a book she wants to write, and the resistance she meets from
the town. It did things like show moving street scenes in the background
of people sitting around an office or living room talking. It was
experimental filmmaking, but one was not distracted by it to the
point that the story suffered.
But, when the weirdness gets to the point of sheer cornyness, and
distracts too much from the story, then I respond negatively to
it. This episode reached that point, and crossed it.
And the experimental track they used is not even new for this show.
We've seen this all before, in both "Won't Get Fooled Again"
and "Revenging Angel". Its almost as if they mated those
two episodes, and they gave birth to this one. You don't see it?
Let me show you.
John Crichton has another in his head fantasy, drawing on memories
and placing familiar friends from Moya in the guise of other characters
in his fantasy. Also, someone is deliberately keeping him in the
fantasy. Sound familiar? Well, that's the basic plot of both this
episode and "Won't Get Fooled Again", with the biggest
differences being that the tormentor is a part of the simulation
and Chiana is along for the ride.
This episode has Crichton moving through an almost cartoon like
world, with water color looking castles and a TV falling on him
like something out of a looney toon's cartoon. And he is being plagued
in the fantasy by the face of a familiar friend. Sound familiar?
Minus the TV, I could be describing either "Revenging Angel"
or this episode, with the only differences being that John is not
a cartoon in this case and its Stark plaguing him, not D'Argo.
So, its experimentation that is not even original for this show.
Even at the point where they seem they are out of the fantasy, but
we're not supposed to know they aren't. We know they are still in
it. At least, its pretty predictable that the fantasy was still
going on. After all, this is a plot twist that is so old that my
Grandma would figure it out. They did it on various Star Trek episodes
over the years in the different Trek series, and they did it in
Farscape-the scene in "Won't Get Fooled Again" where Aeryn
seems to free Crichton from the simulation. That is even repeated
here, with Aeryn being the main character that John thinks is real,
but isn't, in the part where he thinks he's out of the fantasy,
but he isn't. Even if it wasn't an old plot twist, it happened half
way through the episode. One could surmise quickly that he too easily
escaped the fantasy (especially since we saw him confronted with
an image of Zhaan in the simulation in the previews, and he hadn't
at that point in the episode).
The gags in this episode that were supposed to be funny, were not
even really funny. Most of them were corny or annoying. Crichton
as Max Headroom-great cultural reference, I give them that. But
that got very old fast, too, and very annoying. At one point, I
was telling the Max Headroom Crichton to "shut up, already!",
and promptly took an Tylenol. And, of course, the fat Delvian guy
cured Crichton with some bodily fluids-very crude humor, like something
out of the latest teen comedy. The only thing that made me laugh
a little was Rygel's flamethrower but.
Even the things this episode had going for it were not given good
presentation. One of these things was the return of several favorite
characters from the show's past (Zhaan, Stark, and Gilina). Stark
was okay in the episode-his annoying self. But Gilina-here is a
character that we haven't seen in a while, and we don't even see
that much of her. And Crichton doesn't even have much of a reaction
to seeing her. "Oh, yeah, Gilina, the girl who's heart I broke
and who died to save me." No reaction from him at seeing her
again? And Zhaan's return, while slightly moving, seemed rather
useless. She tells him to not let her death be in vain. This is
obviously referencing the fact that she died to bring Aeryn back
because John loved her.
And how does Crichton respond in the end, to both Zhaan's advice
and to his mixed emotions about Aeryn at the moment? He apparently
snorts something to make the pain go away, and subsequently treats
Aeryn like dirt. Oh, yeah, what a great solution presented to one's
pain. Snort something and make it all go away.
Now, admittedly, John Crichton has never been presented as the perfect
hero. He is a flawed, imperfect hero with many weaknesses, which
makes him endearing because he is an accessible hero who struggles
using faith and heart when his weaknesses get in the way. But now,
they have him apparently snort the equivalent of a drug to make
his pain go away. John Crichton-experimental drug user? Of course,
there are two things about this that alleviate some of my concern
over this plot point. One is the fact that we don't know for 100%
certainty that he used what Noranti gave him. Two, its pretty clear
that if he did do it (thus explaining his coldness to Aeryn), he
pushed her away and missed a possible opportunity of an available
Aeryn and a chance to start working some things out between them,
thus showing in a slim way that the drug only worsened things for
him. Still, the overall message here is quite unnerving to me.
When I sat down to write this review, I was really considering toning
down what I had to say, to not say what my mind/gut/whatever was
telling me to say about this episode, or at least say it in less
blunt terms. But then I decided I had to be honest with myself and
those who might read this review, as I always am in my reviews.
If I love an episode, I praise it to the stars and lavish it with
words of admiration. When I don't like an episode, I say so and
I say why I didn't like it in no uncertain terms.
This is only the second episode I have ever given a 0 Moya rating.
But that is how the show rates in my view. Therefore, I have to
be true to myself-I felt this was a poor episode, and I should spare
no punches in explaining why I think its poor.
Also making this a hard review to write, and something that made
me reconsider before I did write it this bluntly, was the fact that
Ben Browder wrote this episode. Giving this episode such a poor
review might be interpreted as tantamount to slapping Browder in
the face verbally. But, again, I decided that the most honest thing,
the fairest thing, was not to take into much account the fact that
Browder wrote this episode, and to review it just like I would any
other episode. It should also be noted that he was the writer, but
not the only creative source for this episode. There was the director,
producers, etc. So, its not only Ben Browder's vision that we are
seeing, and that I am criticizing.
That being said, I do feel the fact that the lead actor of the show
wrote this episode is an issue that should be briefly noted. I do
think Ben Browder is a talented actor, and showed his writing ability
quite well with the marvelous job he did with "Green Eyed Monster."
Of course, that episode and "John Quixote" were two totally
different eps, the first a drama/action adventure, this one an experimental
comedic episode, with some action and drama thrown in. The only
comparison I will make is to say that "Green Eyed Monster"
is by a long shot is his better work.
That's my review-straight from the gut, and not edited to protect
the innocent (or guilty as the case may be).
What did you think of the episode, or this review?
(Before you answer, I would ask that you please not skewer me just
because I dared to criticize Ben Browder's work. Skewer me if you
think my review is frelled if you want, but not JUST because it
was Ben's ep I bashed. And of course, any feedback or comments from
any point of view-agreement/disagreement/ambivalence-are welcomed)
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