|"Dream a Little Dream / Re: Union"|
Zhaan crosses the road and gets arrested, and is soon charged with murder...
Click here to read the Farscape World synopsis for this episode.
Oh dear. Well, as everyone knows by now, this episode has quite a turbulent history. Originally, it was the season opener, but it was kicked out and replaced by Mind the Baby, and it's easy to see why. Whereas the latter has action, emotion and works very well at resolving the plot line, this episode packs little punch, and by most accounts is a pretty throw-away episode, save for some good performances and some nice spiritual and family-like moments. I really think people would have felt a little ripped off had this been the opener, as only four of the ensemble feature, so I support the decision to move it. It should be noted that I'm talking about "Dream a Little Dream" (save a few points) for this review ("Re: Union" is only a little different anyway), as most viewers won't see the "Re: Union" version.
The start and end scenes, with Zhaan and John, were clearly tacked on when the decision to air later was made, and they really felt just that. Although that may sound weird, "it feels tacked on because it was", it just didn't fit well in my eyes, and the whole thing seemed more than a little silly. The two scenes just didn't sit well with me whilst I was watching. Not only that, but I also was a little disappointed, at least for the first ten minutes or so, with Virginia Hey's performance.
Now I'm not just going to dog her for no reason; I really believe she is a fantastic actress. I realise too that she was doing a tough job in trying to make it look as though Zhaan was going crazy. While for the most part she got it right, in the early scenes before she settled down it really did seem overdone, and was another aspect that just didn't sit well with me. It just felt as though it was all a put on, especially when she was saying how she hated to think of how Chiana and Rygel would deal with their loss. But as I said, as she settled she did get it better, and in contrast was excellent in the scenes where she had visions of her fellow crewmembers. This seemed to embody her spirituality, seeing the three spirits, as it were, and led her back on her path to becoming a Pa'u again. Those three scenes really did show the way she was trying to move on (with John), searching for spiritual strength (with D'Argo), and trying to eradicate her guilt (with Aeryn). I particularly liked the short, sharp D'Argo vision, which was the last, where he encouraged her to return to the Seek. That was one of the best scenes in the episode in my book, and I think it's great that she will be returning to priesthood; something that she clearly puts her soul into.
I really did enjoy Rygel and Chiana's roles throughout the episode. Once again, the Rygel puppet shines as though he's not a puppet, and Gigi Edgley plays Chiana well. Their loyalty and determination to free Zhaan and not leave without her was really admirable, and probably unexpected by some folks. But then, deep down, this group has become like a family, and family is loyal. Of course, they still got to be their usual selves, with Chiana constantly playing up her sexuality, although at least it was for some all-important information. Rygel also played to his strengths, and I really liked the scene in which he and Chiana first begin their cross-examinations and she has to keep hitting him to stop him from lying. One of the other moments with Rygel I really enjoyed was when Chiana returned from her "meeting" with Ja Rhumann, and as she entered the cell the camera showed Zhaan mumbling some words, and Rygel holding her hand. I just found that extremely sweet and moving, I think because of the character that Rygel is, when he shows his soft side it seems all the more poignant. He and Zhaan definitely have a bond, too, which has been noticeable in the past through the times when Zhaan has talked him out of things, and really helped him.
Probably my favourite scenes of the episode were the main two that were removed from the beginning and end of "Re: Union" and replaced with the Zhaan/John scenes for "Dream a Little Dream". The opening is Zhaan with Pilot, which was a really nice character moment, where she is trying to help him with his feelings of loss of the others, and then Zhaan herself gets anxious and upset and Pilot has to comfort her instead. It's one of those nice Farscape character moments, that just sticks out in you head, and it's a shame it was cut. The other was at the very end where everyone prepares to return to Moya, when Pilot congratulates her on becoming a priest. Rygel and Chiana realise that mumbling is actually chanting, and I found it really nice the way they seemed really happy for her.
The biggest problems are with the story though, and there are a few of them. Firstly, the whole episode suffers from being a flashback, in that we know the outcome. There's no real sense of danger or anxiety, because you know that no matter what, they all make it out alive. For a script such as this, which relies on keeping you guessing as to the outcome, that's really not a good thing. Had it been a shocking, twisting tale, it may have still been somewhat enjoyable. However, in that respect the episode also falls flat on its face, because it really is a by-the-book story. The outcome is known, so many of the steps become quite obvious, plus, and this is unlike Farscape, all the options taken are the most obvious and natural ones. It was almost as if the writer just decided to take the easy and obvious way out of things. I found myself waiting for a big twist, something that would make it stand out, turn the story on its head, but it just never came. Instead, what we got was a story that was heavily predictable, and just seemed a little pointless. To be honest, had they had the option, it wouldn't have surprised me if they had left this episode on the cutting room floor, and save for a few moments that's probably where it belongs. Sure, it fills those nagging plot holes that were left open from Mind the Baby, but since this is what we got I would have rather left the holes open, and just be left to imagine why Zhaan became a priest again and what happened in the time frame between Family Ties and Mind the Baby.
Overall then, I was highly disappointed by the "missing" episode, and although I agree that it should not have opened the season, and I would have been disappointed if it had, I also feel that holding this one back did not, in any way, help the story from seeming anything more than a boring and lacklustre effort. A few scenes save this one from a score of 1, but when you consider that there have only been a handful of episodes so far this season that have been inspired, the fact that I considered the minimum score again is not good.
I love to hear your views, whether you agree or disagree, so feel free to e-mail me your feedback. Review by Dani Moure.
Did You Know?
"Dream a Little Dream" was originally filmed under the title "Re: Union" as the first episode of season 2. However, for various reasons, mainly it being deemed a weak opener and that it doesn't prominently feature the entire ensemble cast, it was held back and "Mind the Baby", originally the second episode, was aired first in its place. "Re: Union" was re-edited to include two newly filmed scenes with Crichton and Zhaan at the beginning and end, turning it into a flashback story. It was renamed "Dream a Little Dream" and aired eighth.
The original cut of the episode, "Re: Union", eventually aired as a special presentation in the US on SciFi on 1st June 2001, during the third season reruns.
The officer who arrested Zhaan says in court that she was found kneeling over the body of Wesley Kenn, when in fact she was just leaning over him.
PK Tech Girl
Rhapsody in Blue
Mind the Baby
Chiana: "You little toad! You had to go and fart helium now?"
Rygel: "I'm nervous, it happens. We're in court, so sue me!"
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