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Kansas: Series 4, Episode 12


Farscape did something unprecedented in standard television shows: they took John Crichton home to Earth before the end of the show. This two-part visit to Earth was bittersweet and difficult and not the joyous visits that you would think would happen. That's another Farscapean trope. You can't go home again.

At the end of Unrealized Reality, John focuses sagaciously as taught by Einstein on where he wanted to go. Home, he kept saying. Trouble was, he meant Moya but "Home" means two things to John: Earth and his dad and sisters and Moya and his alien family and especially Aeryn. At this point in the show, John is still using lakka to "forget" Aeryn but it isn't working too well. He had told D'Argo that to get the effect, he needed now to double the dose. I don't know whether it was this drug in his system, his terror at screwing the pooch or just poor mental concentration, but John ends up orbiting Earth alone without a ship.

There is a mystery here that never gets solved: How did Aeryn sense the wormhole turning? She piloted Lo'Laan right through the wormhole as well, but then she was guided by John singing that obnoxious song, 100 bottles of beer on the wall until all he had was a six-pack. Then, amazingly, with John "floating" in a vacuum, they were able to scoop him up. Magical science.

John was frantic to know when and what about this version of Earth and sure enough, he had screwed the pooch and arrived way before he left. It was 1985, and John was supposedly 16 years old. So, what do they do? It's Halloween and they'll blend in, so down they all go to Florida and mom and dad (and Olivia with Susan off at college).

The beautiful parts of this episode is how it fits completely into the Farscape mythology. It allows John to reach out more to Aeryn while Scorpius is away out of reach. We don't see any lakka use but we do see John sort of saying goodbye to his youth through his ability to show it to his friends.

Ben provides a sad, regretful and slightly fearful performance. This is a gentle John Crichton who is desperate for his alien friends to blend in and for himself to fix the problem: his dad dies on the Challenger accident in this unrealized reality! We see Jack in a different light. He's harsher and more prone to arguing with Leslie. Young John is quite a handful as he resents how his dad treats his mother. Mom is quite dreamy and new age with her Tarot Cards and needs for peace in the family. Ben is so gentle and hesitant in his take on John's meeting with Leslie, given that we know John's terrible guilt at not being there when his mother dies of cancer. John also reaches out to Aeryn, who is quite funny as she tries and succeeds learning English via Sesame Street ("That Girl is Slow!" She's like a little girl, herself only dressed like Cher only sexier.

John has to prevent his dad from going up in the Challenger. He remembers that he was in an accident around that time and decides to re-enact the smokey house and Jack's rescue. Meanwhile, he meets his old girlfriend, who's very sweet and talks to himself about being a general pain in the eema. It's like a gazillion goodbyes. Chiana gets into the act as well. It's amusing that Farscape pulls a memory three years prior of John's go round with Maldis when he stated that he lost his virginity to Karen Shaw in a 4 by 4. Well, due to language difficulties, Chiana becomes Karen Shaw and after young John almost dies from Grandma's concoction and that old chestnut of the older character fading away because the younger one is dying is used here to allow John to visit his mother without her knowing. The cinematography is amazing as John reaches out ghost-like and strokes her face and urges her to see a doctor earlier before the pain starts. And the amazing thing is that Leslie seems to sense his gesture of love.

There are funny bits with D'Argo and Rygel who becomes addicted to sugar much to John's amusement. I loved seeing Ben handle the puppet again. We hadn't seen John interact like that with Rygel in quite a while.

The Moyans arrange the smoke and unconscious young John and Dad's rescue and old John is able to make peace with his younger self. The scene where he leans over the sleeping boy and whispers, "don't frown so much," is lovely.

Next time they pass through the wormhole they arrive at the proper time and John steps down off Lo'Laan to a meeting of bureaucrats and a much older Dad. Again, I love the call back to A Human Reaction in Season 1: Was it a Trout or a Bass?

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External Publication

  •   Sunday, 18 June 2017
Mental As Anything: Series 4, Episode 15
John Quixote Re-Watch

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20 June 2017
Farscape has an interesting entry from its recap of Terra Firma that I want to talk about here. Dad has become Jack in this episode. According to tvtropes, "The sudden switch in nickname or honori...
04 July 2017
Patricia Lynn Vanover watched Kansas. Crichton's concentration on HOME while transversing the wormholes leads to Earth only he screwed the pooch -- arriving BEFORE he left, a big no-no according to Ei...

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