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Farscape season 3

July 23, 2013
Season-3-farscape-32199713-3066-2020

The large cast of season three Farscape and, this picture is missing Stark.

Somehow I always think that during the summer months I’m always going to have all this free time and then find my schedule being tighter than any other time of the year.  Given my age, you think I would have learned this by now but, somehow the lesson never sticks.  This is my long winded way of explaining why season three of Farscape took me longer to get through than it should have because I wanted to specifically emphasize that it had nothing to do with the quality of the season.  My feelings run quite the opposite, in fact.   As with the reviews of the previous two season spoilers are everywhere and largely unavoidable at this point.

The season opens with Crichton on the operating table to remove the chip Scorpius previously implanted in John’s brain.  Scorpius, having just killed the surgeon, walks off with the chip leaving John to whatever fate awaits him.  The resolution was a simple “surprise the surgeon’s not really dead after all”.  I didn’t have much problem with this as I kind of had trouble with the way Scorpius had supposedly killed him in the first place.  Moving onward, Farscape is like Star Trek: The Next Generation in that it took both series their third season to really hit their stride.  The episode quality was, with only one noteworthy exception for me, generally quite high.  The series also almost completely abandons the episodic format at this point as the show has a number of storylines running throughout the entire season. 

A lot of things happen in this season.  One of the more interesting early pieces is a two-part story called Self-Inflicted Wounds that sees Moya colliding with another ship coming out of a wormhole.  In trying to starburst away, the two ships end up fused together inside the wormhole.  It’s an interesting story as the crew is trying to save Moya while at the same time decide whether they can trust the alien crew of the other ship.  The story turns out to be Zahn’s swan song which I can’t say I was too sorry to see given that she had kind of become a bit of a fifth wheel by this point anyway.  The departure was also a bit cliché for me as she got time to tell everyone what she thought of them in what has become the standard style for series departures.   This leaves Stark flying solo who, as I have said in my season two review, is not one of my more favorite characters.  They also introduce a new character named Jool as a side effect of Crichton’s surgery.  Crais also becomes a regular member because he seems to be the one person able to control Talyn.  As one can imagine, this leaves the cast quite top heavy in the regular character department. 

We learn more about Aeryn’s background when Crais informs the crew that a Peacekeeper recovery squad is after them and they are being lead by Aeryn’s mother.  The squad’s mission is to recover Talyn and bring back Crais as a traitor.  In another story line John is split into himself and a clone leading to two of him running around (it made sense within the context of the episode).  I was pleasantly surprised to see that they ran with this for as long as they did as I was expecting your standard “resolved next episode” sort of story.  The crew ultimately gets split between Talyn and Moya as the two ships  head in opposite directions to lose the Peacekeepers.  Each group ends up with one of the two Crichtons which allowed for a greater amount of focus for each character as well as probably saving in the visual effects expense of having to have two Crichtons in every episode. 

One of the groups encounters the aliens from the previous season that gave John subconscious knowledge of the wormhole technology to see if he is ready to be given the knowledge on a conscious level.  Shortly after this we learn that a race known as the Scarrans are planning an attack against the millennia old rule of the Peacekeepers.  To hedge their bet, they have decided to try to acquire wormhole technology for themselves by attacking Furlough who John had given all his wormhole data to last season.  Things are not what they seem and the crew escapes and while doing so stop the Scarrans from acquiring the data thanks to a sacrifice made by the Crichton accompanying them.   His death emotionally devastates Aeryn as John and her had become extremely close during this time. 

When the split crew finally reunites, Aeryn snubs the other Crichton as she is still suffering from her loss.  While she is dealing with this John realizes that his wormhole knowledge is too powerful to leave in Peacekeeper hands as well.  As a result of this, John comes up with an intricate plan to destroy Scorpius’ command cruiser which will take the wormhole data with it.  The series concludes with a two-part episode surrounded by two other episodes that really makes it a four-parter for the season finale.

Like I said, a lot of stuff happens in this season but, given all of it, the third season of Farscape is really Aeryn’s season.  We learn a good deal about her life story and also see her go through an emotional rollercoaster ride that really helps define and further develop her as a character.  She also leaves us with one hell of a cliffhanger for the end of the season.

While I really liked this season of Farscape the most by far, there were still some minor things I didn’t enjoy.  I felt that Jool was a largely superfluous character.  She took over Zahn’s roll as the ship’s doctor but, little else was done with her.   Stark did get on my nerves less than during season two as they toned him down a bit but, he still had his moments and I was happy when he left.  And as strong as the writing was, there was still one episode I could have lived without.   I’m probably in a minority here but, there was one episode where D’Argo injures John and, as he is recovering from a coma, we get to see a Looney Tunes style cartoon of what is going on inside John’s head.  I’ll hazard a guess that this episode worked for a bunch of people, I just wasn’t one of them.  Again, these are extremely small complaints in the face of what was an outstanding season and, I have already started season four.

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