Captain Hornblower Rates the Farscape Episodes

The Captain gives "Kansas" a rating of:

4 Moyas

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 not so fair episode
0 Moyas-a poor episode


"Kansas" is an interesting and fun episode. It registers with the viewers on so many different levels, and it sets up an overall direction for episodes to come.

First of all, this is an effective continuation of "Unrealized Reality". All of that scientific techno-babble in the previous episode gets played out in reality in this one, as Crichton tries to fix the consequences of his little trip back in time. As it was described in the previous episode, any changes to the timeline ripple outward from the person themselves. So, Crichton goes right to his home in 1985, and does find an important change in his family. His Father is set to go on the doomed Space Shuttle Challenger, and Crichton must get his Father not to go without causing more damage to the timeline. All of this is played out very well in terms of Crichton's thought processes on what to do to accomplish this, clarification of important details to the idea behind what's going on, and the emotional drama of Crichton getting to see his late Mother, knowing he can't save her life, too, without doing damage to the timeline.

I also liked the fact that they chose to do this episode with the backdrop of the Challenger disaster being the cause by which Crichton's Father will die unless Crichton can fix things. This disaster was the biggest event of the 1980's, and was certainly the most traumatic event in my childhood, as I'm sure it was for many people who remember that time. I think this gave the impending disastrous change to Crichton's timeline a solid connection to reality for the viewer, and the topic was treated with a great deal of respect whenever it was brought up.

Beyond the interesting, more thought provoking elements of the episode, this was also a fun romp for Crichton's companions, who finally get to experience Crichton's home world for REAL. Aeryn watching Sesame Street, the middle finger as a "greeting", D'Argo saying "bite me", Rygel getting into Halloween-all very funny and very well performed by the cast. And, purely from a guy's prospective, you had to love that retro-top Aeryn was wearing. And she did kind of look like Cher, only sexier. (Now, I just want to see her dancing on a battleship, singing "if I could turn back time!")

There was even some important developments on Moya. The revelation that Bracca is working with Scorpius will definitely have ramifications in future episodes. It shows Scorpius is still very much a player on the Peacekeeper scene, and that he has plans for dealing with the forthcoming peace between Peacekeepers and Scarrens, a peace that Scorpius believes is a bluff that will prove deadly for the Peacekeepers. I think it also puts forth a tantalizing question: how does Scorpius intend to enlist Crichton's aid in preventing peace with the Scarrens and in possibly destroying the Scarren threat?

But Grayza is still not a very compelling character to me. It is still very unclear why she is so hell bent on capturing Crichton, even taking a detour from a meeting to establish peace with the Scarrens just to catch Crichton. The only apparent reason she wants him is because she is angry at him for overcoming her boob sweat and leaving her in the stirrups. Without any other apparent motive, that ridiculous one is all we are left with for her pursuit of Crichton, and that is a problem since the pursuing villain has been an important Farscape plot element from the beginning. It makes that element less than compelling, where it was very compelling in the past with Crais and Scorpius, in turn, as the pursuers.

Finally, the end of this episode leaves the viewers with a resounding "huh?" Crichton finds his Dad on board Moya when they meet up with her, in orbit around Earth in 2003. This leaves the viewer frothing at the mouth for the next episode, so that the answers to how that happened will be revealed. A great surprise ending for this great episode.

Well, that's my take on "Kansas". What did you think of the episdoe, and this reviews?

Captain Hornblower
Keeper of Jenavia's Jewel Gun
Worshiper of Aeryn's Remarkable Vessel

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Originally aired in the US January 10, 2003

Written by Justin Monjo

Directed by Rowan Woods

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