Thursday, March 31, 2022



PHENOMENALITY: *marvelous*
CAMPBELLIAN FUNCTION: *cosmological, sociological*

The producers of the FARSCAPE series set up so many unresolved plotlines at the end of Season 4 that one assumes they thought a fifth season was a slam-dunk. The SYFY Channel did not renew the expensive series, but an earnest fan campaign encouraged the money-men to open their wallets just enough for this three-hour, two-part wrap-up.

While I was certainly glad to see all or most of the dangling plotlines resolved-- particularly the one with which Season 4, wherein both Crichton and Aeryn are vaporized-- the thing I noticed most about the wrap-up is that the characters don't spend most of the time yelling at one another. In my review of Season One, I observed that FARSCAPE could have easily been subtitled "Not STAR TREK." On the upside, this overall attitude kept the characters from descending into the platitudinous goody-goodness of the later TREK characters. On the downside, there was so much sturm and drang between the crew of the Moya that there was only rarely a sense of esprit d'corps, or even much of a sense that the characters even liked each other. But since the writers must have known that PEACEKEEPER could be the last hurrah of the FARSCAPE franchise-- which, as of this writing, it still is-- they seem to have bent over backward to make them more congenial to one another. Naturally, there's more bonding between Crichton and Aeryn once their molecules get reassembled and Aeryn gives birth to their child-- though, in between those two events, the child is accidentally transferred into the body of grouchy Rygel (easily the best-ever use of his role as comedy relief). D'Argo and Chiana rekindle their own romance, though it's one destined for a poignant doom, and though some characters are shown the door quickly-- Jool, who apparently dies but doesn't get a death-scene as such-- others, like Stark and Sikozu, get some minor defining arcs. 

Since I was not a fan of having Scorpius join Moya's crew even on the most tentative status, I was pleased that here he's back with the power-hungry Peacekeepers, along with the ambitious Grayza. However, as the title says, war has erupted between the Peacekeepers and the Scarrans, and both groups pursue Moya with the aim of acquiring the wormhole knowledge from Crichton's brain.

The story does finally deliver on the long-deferred promise to reveal the Big Wormhole Secret, and it's thematically congruent with the series' frequently repeated criticism of centralized power (another point of departure from TREK). There's also an interesting exploration of the early history of the humanoid Peacekeepers, who became an authoritarian force after splitting off from their near relations, the Eidolons-- whose fundamental ability to negotiate proves crucial to Crichton's real destiny; to save the madding crowds of aliens from their own pride and selfishness. 

After watching PEACEKEEPER, I was mildly regretful that the regular series hadn't managed to find a middle ground in their depiction of character conflict, wherein the vivid personas might have clashed while still showing amity and respect for one another. Nevertheless, the series was a good ride overall, and the wrap-up crossed the finish line in an exemplary fashion.

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