All good things...
Click here to read the Farscape World synopsis for this episode.
And thus the last episode of Farscape currently produced has aired. This is it; for the time being, this is my final review.
In many ways, "Bad Timing" is such a fitting finale. The most important aspect about the episode, for me at least, is that it is just so Farscape. It has something of everything that defines what Farscape is in my mind, and for that I am grateful. It also has a sense of finality about it, even more so than past season enders, that makes it both a joy to watch and painful at the same time. In all honesty, this could quite feasibly work as the series finale thanks to that finality. Yet there are questions – many questions – that are still unanswered. And despite the sense of an ending running through the episode, the final scene, in true Kemper style, sends the episode out on a bang with the most devilish cliffhanger.
I was so happy to see that this episode was aired uncompromised. Most of all, I was pleased that the immortal words "To Be Continued" were plastered over the screen during the very last frame. That was wonderful in conveying that there is still hope that Farscape will be back, and also was wonderful just because that was how it was originally planned. I'd have been far less happy had that been left out, and the ending cobbled together in the last minutes.
The first noticeable thing that makes this episode different to the rest is the "Previously on Farscape" recap. Instead of catching up on the latest plot threads, in a similar way to the fifth season finale of Buffy, we have a montage of clips from every previous episode, speeding past, reminding us of what's gone on. It was nice, and very fitting, as was the fact that Ben Browder did the voice-over, and instead of saying the usual "And now, on Farscape," we got the words "And finally, on Farscape." Even in starting out the episode, it seemed odd to hear those words. It does make it sound so final, and that in turn is saddening.
The episode begins with an interesting scene that brings us up to speed on what's happened since the crew decimated the Scarran base on Katratzi in "La Bomba". You have John telling D'Argo and Aeryn telling Chiana about a conversation they had earlier. That conversation was actually John telling Aeryn about Scorpius' proposition for Earth to join the Peacekeepers, so they could be protected from the Scarran invasion. Because, as predicted, with their mother flower on Katratzi destroyed, the Scarrans have picked up on John telling them that the flowers grow on Earth (in "Hot to Katratzi"), and decided they need to invade Earth. Meanwhile, Braca is breathing down the crew's neck, wanting Scorpius back.
The scene opens the episode well, reminding us too of some of the lingering problems between John and Aeryn, over commitment and the like. The Chiana/Aeryn and John/D'Argo dialogue works very well in getting the point across.
Interestingly, John initially refuses to go along with Scorpius' plan. Not surprising in the slightest, though Aeryn thinks maybe he should consider it, and even D'Argo believes the Peacekeepers would honour an agreement and not enslave Earth, which is John's fear. Nonetheless, Scorpius is returned to the Command Carrier, and Sikozu goes along with him. Their relationship continues to be mysterious, and the furthering of it is something I will greatly miss. They're a fantastic pairing; both intelligent and mysterious, and their scenes together are always a lot of fun to watch. Their "bondage" type scene with the chain was very demonstrative of their chemistry, and the look on Braca's face as he watched from a distance was most interesting. As one would expect, Sikozu was also trying to persuade John that him going with Scorpius' plan would be the best option. When you look at it logically, it probably would be the safest way to keep Earth safe, as long as you could have a guarantee that the Peacekeepers would not turn on Earth. Of course, John has no way of really guaranteeing that at all. Even if he trusted Scorpius, which would be a risk, as Scorpius would likely go back on his word if it fitted with his needs, it's unlikely even Scorpius could stop that happening if Peacekeeper High Command wanted it.
The scene in the airlock is interesting for another reason. Beyond the interplay between John and Scorpius, and John and Sikozu, which works very well, it's the final scene for John with both characters. For the last time, John denounces Scorpius' plans, and lets he and Sikozu leave. But John also demonstrates his current state of mind, and straps a bomb on Scorpius. The fact that he does so, and so nonchalantly without much thought, is extremely disturbing. However, it's easy to see where he's coming from on his decision. As he puts it, he no longer wants to be a chess piece. As he has done much of the season, he is taking things into his own hands. He won't be a pawn in Scorpius' plans, or the Scarrans' plans, any longer. At least, that's what he thinks.
The final lines of this scene are most amusing. Scorpius points out the obvious, telling Sikozu "Reason has fled them all," referring to the Moya crew. Even as Scorpius is sucked out the airlock, he still persists, telling John that he has doomed Earth to destruction. In a nice throwback to David Kemper's "Unrealized Realities", Sikozu shouts to John "Weak species!" And so, for now, the Scorpius and John saga has come to an end, and what a ride it's been.
We do see more of Scorpius and Sikozu later, in the aforementioned scene and also in the opening "dinner" scene. This one raises many a question. Scorpius tells Braca to bring Noranti on board when they have the opportunity – why would he want her? And we also discover that Grayza is in confinement, and is not adjusting well. Scorpius is also certain that John would come back of his own volition. It's a great shame we may never get to see where that goes.
Much of the episode revolves around the relationship between John and Aeryn. They're finally beginning to tackle some issues with their relationship which have never been resolved since they were reunited again in season three. There's a lovely scene in the maintenance bay which echoes a similar scene earlier in "Dog with Two Bones". This time it's Aeryn taking control; she wants to go on the mission with John. She wants to be with him at this important time. And he lets her. And so, off they go with Pilot on a mission that could potentially end their lives. The dialogue between the two throughout the episode is really nice. David Kemper has an intrinsic understanding of the two characters that some of the writers, especially this season, have somewhat lacked. Here though, it works perfectly and the awesome chemistry between Ben Browder and Claudia Black just shines through. I loved some snippets of their dialogue throughout the episode, from what Aeryn imagined for her life – "Service, promotion, retirement, death" – to John saying that he always imagined it would be like this. It was just really well done.
It's also interesting how Aeryn helps John come to his realisation that it's all about "timing." She tells him "It's always about time." This is true, but the way she said it was almost as if she knew where he was going. I'm sure that's not the case, I just found it intriguing. Anyhow, the pair pretty much reconcile this episode. The one thing that's bothered John about Aeryn is how she was so standoffish at first, and how she wouldn't be honest about who the baby's father was. As if there was any doubt, it is of course John's. But her experience in being held hostage by the Scarrans seemed to be what made her realise that all that matters to her are John and her unborn child. We know all he cares about is Aeryn, and by the end of the episode, they finally get their act together. Again, the dialogue in this scene was wonderful. Returning to the theme of "Dog with Two Bones" again, they begin with the coin toss. But this time, they don't leave their future to fate.
Aeryn tells John that she was worried about what the Scarrans did to her baby, and finally tells him that it's his. His reaction is just so John Crichton. He stands up, and shouts. He's extremely happy. Then he pops the question, proposing marriage, and she agrees. While this future may not have worked on Earth (as was foreshadowed in "Dog with Two Bones"), with the Scarran invasion thwarted, at least for now, and the Peacekeepers of their back, again for now, there really hasn't been a better time. And after all, everything is about timing. Unfortunately, this turns out to be bad timing on John's part, in the end.
The way the final scene played out was great. Having Chiana, D'Argo and Rygel watch on via the viewscreen was a wonderful choice. The three characters now have such a history, and know each other so well, and it's so fitting that the only three remaining members (other than Pilot) of the original crew are together watching on. What makes the scene all the more enjoyable is just watching their reactions. Chiana's blind, so the way she holds D'Argo, not having seen John and Aeryn's fate just fills one with sadness, and Rygel's amusing comments on the engagement are typically hilarious. It really does work very well, and again just adds to the sense of finality. I did find it strange that Rygel left the scene just before the final event, but nonetheless, the scene played out well.
Backing up a little, a lot of the characters, while getting somewhat limited screen time to make way for the plot (which is inevitable, remembering that this was not the planned last ever episode), get some really good scenes, and thankfully they are all included in some way. Stark, now back, continues to be a lunatic, and works with Pilot. Already, he and Noranti have some interesting interplay, and it's a shame that we won't get to see more of it. Noranti continues to work in her spiritual/enigma type role, helping Pilot along and also coming to Stark's aide. Even Rygel is included, in convincing Pilot to go with John's plan. While the scene is excruciatingly short, it is still an excellent one, and as always the puppeteers do a wonderful job of bringing the two characters to life when they're together. Just the way that Rygel says Pilot should do it, even though he wouldn't, but he's not Pilot, is such a great line and demonstrates the influence Rygel has in many ways.
D'Argo and Chiana both get some interesting scenes. D'Argo continues to be a friend for John, and what was particularly nice between the two in this episode was when he told John that he didn't think that the Peacekeepers would go back on an agreement. John thanks him, and it's nice to see that D'Argo's opinion still does carry a lot of weight.
Likewise, Chiana had a fair bit to do. From her opening scene with Aeryn, the pair having come a fair bit closer this season, to her having a go at John telling him not to give up on the plan, it was all really indicative of the character that Chiana is, and was nice to see her once again speaking her mind, as she so often does. It was also nice to see the resurgence of her ability to slow things down, which has been barely mentioned this season but proves critical at this point, to keeping Moya going while separated from Pilot. She is now blind, and she thinks it may be permanent. Again, it's such a shame that we won't get to see what happens with this any time soon, as it's an interesting place to take the character. Gigi Edgley really stepped up to the plate here, and as mentioned before, she was excellent in the final scene on Moya.
Despite all the good things in "Bad Timing," I have my problems with some of it. I won't go on and on about it because, quite frankly, I'd rather remember this episode, and the show itself for its best moments. But I found it a little too convenient that Pilot could see the bubble, and therefore help John complete his task. Of course, science fiction, and television itself often relies on coincidences to serve a plot, but sometimes things come a little too out of left-field. Likewise, the extended starburst that managed to get Moya to the location they wanted just in time, and before everyone else, was perhaps too convenient. On a personal note, although it made sense, Stark's references to being a pilot in the past bugged me because that was part of "Meltdown", an episode I'd rather forget.
Thankfully though, those conveniences led to Pilot getting a fair amount to do. He has really suffered this season from having very little on-screen time, particularly in the latter half of the season. Of course, he will always be the most problematic character since he can't go anywhere, but this was a nice way to get him out, and involved. As always, the puppeteers brought him to life in a totally believable way.
Perhaps my favourite scene in this episode though, comes from a simple phone call. John calls his Dad on Earth, from the moon. It's really quite simple, but it's so effective. Ben Browder and Kent McCord have always had a great rapport, and it works so wonderfully here. Their final talk is so believable, and really is quite emotional. The two actors play it superbly, and the dialogue is just perfect. The scene captures the separation of a father from his son so well, as the two know it may be a long time before they see each other again. It was just superb, and a real credit to the two actors.
While I haven't really mentioned the plot, I did enjoy it. There's no way it would spell the end of the Scarran threat; I've no doubt that would've continued into a fifth season. But again, I can't help but enjoy Francesca Buller's performance as Ahkna, and indeed the rest of the Scarrans do well in their roles. While they've been severely slowed down by what John has done, one would expect them to only be driven to go after him even more, since he has now cost them so much.
But what the whole episode builds up to is the big end. While I'm sure there are many who would've been happy had the episode ended with John and Aeryn's embrace after she agrees to marry him, from a personal standpoint I'd have been a little disappointed. While it's a lovely scene, it wouldn't have seemed quite right. Instead, an alien ship comes swooping down, and neutralises them for analysis. While obviously, should the series continue, they'd be put back together and somehow revived, for all intents and purposes, the two are shot and disintegrated, with pieces of them falling in the surrounding sea. While it again brings up one of those strange questions – just why didn't the two jump in the sea? – the fact that the two are left effectively dead just seems like a perfect way to end the series, at least for now.
It's so Farscape; nothing for the crew ever goes according to plan, they're always screwed in one way or another, so why would this essentially perfect moment be any different? This is why I was so glad that this scene was not altered in any way. This, combined with the final shot of the ring stood up amidst their remains, just seems like a perfect end for now. And what's more, the fact that it is a resolution that only makes one scream "how can they cancel this show?!?" should only serve to motivate people to fight for a continuation. The credits then role with no music, all that can be heard is the sound of the water moving. It just seems so fitting, and so moving, and so sad.
Ultimately, I could complain about this episode. I won't bother, though. I have my problems with it, and indeed this season, especially some of these final episodes. Some have been amazing and some have disappointed me. In the end, that's just my opinion, and I write these reviews as a way to express my opinion. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, and I'm really glad that everyone doesn't. Nothing pleases me more than to see others enjoying some of these final episodes more than me. If you haven't been disappointed, that is wonderful. Ultimately, it's the diversity in opinions that inspire me, and probably everyone else, to express their own, and it's what makes the show, and its fandom, all the more enjoyable. Despite any problems that I mention in my reviews, all the nits I pick, any disappointment I express, I love Farscape. In my mind, it's a show like no other, and it's on a higher level than almost anything I've ever seen. I judge Farscape against itself; if a show amazes me one week, I'm disappointed when it doesn't the next. And yet it still manages to be a bar above so much of the drivel that hits the airwaves these days. It's a testament to the cast, writers and the entire production crew that their amazing work inspired me to create a website and be so involved and interested in it's outcome. I can only express my thanks for creating such an amazing experience.
Watching Farscape has truly been an awesome ride, and no matter what happens, I will always look back on it with a great fondness. Even those episodes that haven't been a favourite have something in there that makes it all worth watching. The show has the most amazing cast of characters I've ever seen, and ever been so emotionally invested in. This is the end, for now. But I will continue to fight for an ending; the proper ending, in hope that we will eventually get to see it. To give up now I would feel as though I was letting everyone who put more than four years of their life into the show down, and I don't want to do that. While I'll look on this episode as a coda to the series for now, I won't believe it's the end. Ultimately, the Sci Fi Channel will never have another series like it. They cancelled it in its prime, and it deserves better. I am positive that eventually we will see the true end of Farscape, and I look forward to expressing my thoughts when the time comes. Thanks for reading all my reviews.
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?
For this episode, the "previously on" segment is made up of a quick flash of a scene from each of the 87 episodes that have preceded this, and the narration ends with "And finally, on Farscape."
In a fitting coda, "Bad Timing" is the only episode to feature no music playing over the end credits.
The show ends with a "To be continued," as was originally intended. This episode was always written as the season four cliffhanger, to lead in to season five. Unfortunately, it's currently the last episode thanks to the premature cancellation of the series by Sci Fi.
Crichton records a new message that begins, "My name is John Crichton. An astronaut. Four years ago, I got shot through a wormhole to a distant part of the galaxy. I ended up on a ship... this living ship, populated by escapee prisoners who became my friends." It's possible this could've been the narration to the opening in the fifth season.
Sikozu's comment to John of "Weak species" echoes her earlier statement in Unrealized Reality.
Scorpius asked Braca to have Noranti brought aboard, but his reasoning is unknown.
Commandant Grayza is in confinement on the Command Carrier, and is under sedation at the last check.
Stark references his time as a pilot, talking of his taking control of Talyn in season three's Meltdown.
Chiana is blinded after her slowing down Pilot's controls, but this time it's taking so long to go away that she believes she may be permanently blind.
Aeryn tells John that the baby is his, and then he proposes. She agrees, so they're engaged, and he gives her his mother's ring that his sister gave him on Earth (in Terra Firma). However, an alien ship comes crashing down to "neutralise the invaders" and shoots at John and Aeryn in the boat. They shatter into small pieces.
D'Argo: "I think you should concentrate on your training with Katoya."
John: "Katoya's a frelling fruit loop."
D'Argo: "Focus on your inner strength."
John: "It's here. I just can't find the Rosetta Stone."
John: "Fruit loop."
Chiana: "Sex does it."
D'Argo: "For you."
Chiana: "For everyone." [looks to John] "Sex."
John: "With you, or with him?"
John: "What did you imagine... for your life?"
Aeryn: "Service, promotion, retirement, death. You?"
Rygel: "Hmm... Proposed what?"
Rygel: "Marriage? Idiot!"
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