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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is one of the best episodes of the series with the audience thrown
in to the deep end without any warning. The writers take the old "it
was all a dream story" but rather than have the lead start to believe,
he does not accept the situation and so the show takes on an
increasingly darker undertones as Crichton is slowly driven insane.
The story is at times funny (Zan as a psychologist with a green card, Rigel in S&M gear, Crais as the cop), sexy (Aeryn and Chiana together, Aeryn's tongue), disturbing (Crichton's Oedipus reactions, his begging for mercy at the death of his mother), gory (the death of the Scarren) and leaves the audience with knowledge that the characters will not find out until much later in the season.
The most incredible thing is that the story is very similar (in principle) to the first season episode "A Human Reaction", but this is much better. All of the cast are on top form, able to play with their characters and show their respective strengths while still pushing the story forward.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the season one episode 'A Human Reaction' Crichton found what he
though was a way back to Earth but it turned out to be a delusion
planted by The Ancients; in this episode he finds himself back on Earth
again. It is not the same this time though; he just wakes and is told
that his Farscape module had crashed during his initial mission and
that everything that happened on Moya was just a delusion. Strangely
though many of the people he meets look just like his friends from
Moya... and nobody seems to think it strange that such alien creatures
are amongst them... Only one person is 'himself'; that is Scorpius; or
at least the Scorpius that exists within his head. He knows throughout
that he can't be on Earth but that doesn't mean he knows who or what is
happening to him and the longer he is there the more likely it is that
he will just go insane.
This was a surreal episode that saw Zhaan in a suit, Pilot playing the drums, Crais in a police uniform and red stilettos and Rygel in what appears to be bondage gear! This weirdness managed to be disturbing at times; Crichton's dead mother started flirting with him in one scene! While his situation was strange the most important part of the episode involved getting to know more about the Scorpius character that dwells in Crichton's head. We learn how he was implanted at the same time he was tortured in the Aurora Chair with the intention of helping the real Scorpius learn about wormholes. Having both real and imagined Scorpiuses could be confusing but thankfully for us Crichton dubs the imaginary one Harvey! When we do learn what is happening to Crichton the reasoning is interesting and the solution is exciting... and a little messy!
Each season the production on this series had a four-month summer break
and then completed the season when they returned in the fall. Cranking
hard to get episodes 15, 16, and 17 finished for season 2 before the
break, the producers were forced to use several lesser scripts and the
series experienced an almost fatal hiccup when these were broadcast
late in the summer of 2000. "Won't Get Fooled Again" was one of these
dog episodes that reflected the desperation of the producers, who in
the rush were forced to go with this due to the absence of other
quality or even satisfactory script material.
Normally such acts of desperation do not happen until the 5th or 6th season of a hit series, as the writers find themselves flogging a dead horse in the stable of originality. In "Farscape's" case they simply stole an idea from "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (TV Series 19951999). The writers for that series had run out of ideas late in their fifth season and cobbled together "For Those of You Just Joining Us..." (#5.9) in which the writing staff (played by members of the cast) went to a corporate retreat to work on the show's quality. It was done for laughs and was quite entertaining.
Unfortunately "Won't Get Fooled Again" (a self-reflexive reference to first season episode "A Human Reaction") is not played for laughs or at least does not get any laughs, unless you are amused by the total exposure of Ben Browder's limitations as an actor. Browder is tasked with portraying a mental breakdown on the scale of Catherine Deneuve's in "Repulsion", and he mostly just leaves you embarrassed for him (and for episode Director Rowan Woods whose acting for the camera directing talents will never be confused with those of Roman Polanski).
Gigi Edgley is almost completely absent from the episode, which was probably a relief for her but not for perceptive viewers, who had concluded early on that the quality of an episode tended to be positively correlated with the quantity of her character's screen time.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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