|"The Peacekeeper Wars, Part Two"|
Click here to read the Farscape World synopsis for this episode.
And thus, the Farscape saga concludes once more. Only this time, it's not abrupt, it's not a cliffhanger and there's actually a sense of closure to the story. This is truly a fantastic end that provides fans with a huge pay-off for story arcs that had been building throughout the four year run of the TV series. And not only that, but it cranks up the emotional and dramatic tension far beyond what was in the first part of the mini-series, and in fact, often beyond what was in the TV series (or most other series, for that matter).
To say it's an action-packed, emotional tour-de-force would be doing this concluding part of "The Peacekeeper Wars" a huge disservice. It really is a slice above anywhere Farscape has gone before in many ways, and the whole cast and crew deserve a huge amount of credit for making it so. It's packed with some of the most dramatic, tense and visually awesome moments ever put to film. It covers so many different themes; love, war, life, death, friendship, hope and much more, and the final 20 minutes just have to be seen to be believed.
Backing things up to the beginning, and after the set-up that took place in Part One, this part runs with the story to provide the ending that everyone involved with the show deserved. It starts of moving fast, with a great bit of Sikozu action as she breaks the remaining crew out of the holding cell on the Scarran Decimator. Now would also probably be a good time to sidetrack and briefly mention that I absolutely loved many of the set designs in "The Peacekeeper Wars", and the cold, blue-toned Decimator interior was definitely one of them. It looks quite unique, and the controls even look interesting. So with the group out of the cell, the plot roars forward as D'Argo, Chiana and Jothee and his band of merry Luxans race to force an escape. The reunion goes well, and is actually quite hilarious, especially with John's comment to D'Argo and Jothee.
The reprise on Moya on the way back to Qujaga is an interesting diversion, though it only really serves to also be the point at which John leaves Moya to go and get the wormhole knowledge. It does pave the way for some amusing moments though, including the hilarious scene with Rygel crying over no longer having the baby inside him. It was also great to see Jothee's reaction to events, and him being with Chiana and D'Argo once more.
Of course, John going to get the wormhole knowledge from Einstein that he needs to make a wormhole weapon is pretty much the key plotline driving the whole war, and indeed the series. After being driven so far, and now having a family to think about in Aeryn and the baby, he really sees no other choice than to end the war by using a wormhole weapon. It's a decision that is clearly emotionally charged, and Ben Browder does a fantastic job of showing how torn John is over this decision. He literally can't see any other way. He wants the Eidelon plan to be successful, but after four years he's not naïve enough to put all his eggs in the one basket, and knows that chances are he will need it. The fact that Einstein gave it to him so quickly was perhaps a little bit convenient in a way, but there seemed to be an understanding between the two again that implied that Einstein knew exactly what John was going to do with it. Aeryn's reaction to John gaining the knowledge is very telling of how much her character has grown, too. While John has gone from the naïve person who thinks talking can solve everything, to becoming a more hardened person after so much pain and suffering, Aeryn has gone from being a warrior that knows only battle to someone with compassion, and the hope for peace. She loves John and so his actions only serve to upset her, even though she can understand them, because she doesn't want him to be harmed and wants to protect him.
The whole Moya scene underwater was interesting in that prior to airing it was expected to be quite a big part of the plot, but in fact it's only really a fraction of it. Seeing Moya submerged and full of water was quite an awesome sight, though it really only served as a way to keep Moya out of the war out in space while being close to the crew. With the plot shifting to the surface of Qujaga for the majority of the second act of "The Peacekeeper Wars", the real emotion comes out in some of the most powerful Farscape ever put to film. With Jothee and his team of Luxans sent to find the surviving Eidelons, it's down to the remainder of Moya's crew, along with Scorpius, Sikozu and some Peacekeepers, to fend off the threat of the Scarrans while Stark tries to train the Eidelons in their peaceful way.
The threat is very real, and you can really sense the tension amongst the crew and their allies as the Scarrans advance on their position. The devastation caused on the planet really shows, again with some fantastic sets, and yet as always amongst such tension there is drama in spades, with Aeryn finally giving birth and John getting married. Yes, while still firing a pulse rifle, Chiana helps turn the baby around into a birthing position after the Diagnosan is abruptly killed by a rather convenient stray shot. Despite the convenience, it's great that it gives Chiana the chance to get involved, and there are some hilarious jokes in there, including one referencing Chiana's past exploits at giving birth when she helped birth Talyn (in season one's "The Hidden Memory"). It was hilarious seeing her ask John for raslak, seemingly to use for Aeryn for sterilisation, but instead taking swigs herself and bowing out. Watching Aeryn continue with her gun was also a great laugh, as she came out with some brilliant one-liners ("I have killed men for less."). But finally, with John back (after running between her and helping with the barrage against the Scarrans) she calls for Stark, not to ease her pain but rather to marry them. I have to admit I was rooting for Rygel to be the one to actually do it, but it was funny watching her hit Stark as he recited totally irrelevant prayers, and then actually marrying them. Then finally, the baby was born. I have to admit, I'm not the biggest fan of on-screen babies, but it does work in the way the writers have incorporated it in to Farscape, and indeed seeing Aeryn continue to help fight while carrying her child is truly indicative of her character. She'll always have her fighting upbringing within her.
The battle itself on the planet is brilliantly realised, with some amazing explosions and set pieces that look truly stunning. You can tell exactly why they ran out of explosives while producing "The Peacekeeper Wars", because we see the result of every last one meticulously placed on screen. But amongst the explosions, another plotline is revealed, and I have to admit it's one of the few aspects of the mini-series that I didn't fully buy. Earlier, Ahkna had revealed that she had a spy amongst the crew, relaying their every move, and that it was an unlikely source. Everyone assumed it was Grunschlk, but to be honest for that very reason, it was pretty obvious it wouldn't be. I had my suspicions, but hoped they were wrong. Nevertheless, Sikozu is the spy. I can understand her reasoning, from what she said to Scorpius about the Scarrans saying they would release her people, but on the other hand, she has constantly shown that she knows what the Scarrans are like, and I couldn't help but think that she'd know the chances of them freeing her people if they won the war are pretty slim. So perhaps her logic there was flawed. Which is fine. I can kind of buy into it. What confused me was what went on with Scorpius. I can only think that there was probably a bit more to this story that had to be cut for time, and may turn up in deleted scenes on a DVD or something, because it wasn't entirely clear to me exactly how Scorpius found out (other than he's an intelligent guy), because Sikozu didn't seem to really slip up. The only thing I noticed was Scorpius watching her when she was joining in with the attack (perhaps because she wasn't shot?). I may have missed something though, as I've only watched the episode twice at the time of writing, so I'll definitely be keeping a close eye on their scenes when watching it again. It just seemed a little odd given that Sikozu definitely has feelings for Scorpius, and this issue was reinforced in Part One, and now she is betraying him. I also had to wonder why Scorpius wouldn't have seen her Scarran transmitter during the many times they were intimate (unless, I suppose, she only put it on when they went down to the planet). But most frustrating about this aspect is that Scorpius left her a live for a reason – to go on one final mission "for the Scarrans", but we never get to see what that is. We see her alive, crawling with Grunchlk, but we don't see what happens to her. It's one of the few aspects of the story that suffered slightly from the time constraints, and while interesting I just wasn't too clear on it all. I can appreciate though that the writers of Farscape rarely like to show all their cards, it's just given how much I like both Scorpius and Sikozu as characters, I'd have liked a little more.
But in the bigger picture, I didn't really find the problems with that aspect a big deal. The scenes between Scorpius and Sikozu are highly charged, as ever, and were certainly a joy to watch. Braca, who sadly doesn't appear enough (again, no doubt due to time), kicks a fair amount of ass when we do see him, and his relationship with Scorpius is fun to watch, as it always is. We see Scorpius protect him when he's shot in the knees, and we see Braca so glad to have Scorpius back. There's a real camaraderie between the two, as well as admiration, that I really like watching them.
With the baby born, John and Aeryn married, the spy uncovered and most of the Eidelons off the planet, it's time for the crew's escape. But the ever fierce War Minister Ahkna stands in their way, with added incentive. Staleek tells her that if she brings him John's head, when they win the war he will give her control of the Scarran Empire, as he oversees galactic matters. The whole Scarran interplay throughout the course of the mini-series was superb, and one of my favourite aspects of the story. Ahkna and Staleek are just such interesting characters, despite their sometimes seemingly shallow exteriors, and both have their motives and goals. Because of that, I was sad to see Ahkna killed, but there was a sense of symmetry in the fact that it was Aeryn who fired the shot that killed her, and she did so to protect her husband, who was about to die at her hands (though admittedly, she did quite easily given that Scarrans are usually a bit more resistant to pulse fire). It was another superb scene, perfectly acted with a great delivery from Aeryn when, while holding her baby, she tells Ahkna it's a boy. There was tension between the two characters ever since Ahkna's introduction, and the pay-off at the end was quite satisfying.
Death has always been a theme Farscape has not shied away from exploring, and it's never been truer than in "The Peacekeeper Wars". With several deaths already, including major characters like Jool and Ahkna, there's one more that will always be remembered, and it was absolutely heartbreaking. It was logical, and in a way I had an inkling that it could happen, but it didn't lessen the emotional impact at all. As John and Aeryn said early on in the mini-series, when they get involved there is often death, and it's so true. In a rather nonchalant way, D'Argo gets skewered by a Scarran, but he manages to help everyone fend off the latest wave of the Scarran attack. Unfortunately, just as everyone else is about to escape, he drops to the ground because he can't go on. The scene plays totally different to the deaths of past major characters, in that there's no time for a big speech, as most of the characters are forced to hurry off because of the situation, but it's beautifully portrayed. First there is Aeryn, who simply asks "Can you make it?" The look on her face says all about her sadness, but she knows that D'Argo wouldn't want a big fuss, so goes on with the escape plan when Chiana arrives. Naturally, she's most upset, and just doesn't want to accept it. Stark is there, and prepares to take his pain, but Chiana pushes him back and D'Argo is poignant in saying "pain is good, means I'm still alive." Very touching is Rygel, who just looks on, and again proves how the puppets can pack just as much of an emotional punch as the regular characters when he stands there beside D'Argo, saying nothing but looking on in dismay, with his hand outstretched touching D'Argo. Again it says a lot about the character and indeed how Rygel sees D'Argo.
Then it's John's turn. After four years, they've gone from constant arguing to being close friends, and it's so touching as they say goodbye and John gives him his pulse pistol. The words ("You could've done better." "Nowhere in the universe."), the body language, with them touching hands, it's just extremely sad, and yet the final moment between the two has D'Argo cracking a joke like he so often did, and ends in them laughing. It's a truly fitting final moment. And last is Chiana. Finally having mended their differences, with her agreeing to go to Hyneria, they part ways like this. It's really tragic and Anthony Simcoe and Gigi Edgley are superb in their final moments together, and again with some amazing dialogue they say goodbye in their unique way, and then John has to pull her away. And D'Argo goes out fighting, telling the Scarrans who their daddy is. It's a really fitting end for a character who really has come full circle with his journey complete. He found his son, he found his wife's murderer, he made peace with himself, with Chiana, and with his son. He was ready to settle down with Chiana, but it was not to be. Of all the characters in Farscape, D'Argo started out as probably the most stereotypical of the bunch, but over the course of the show he has grown so much and the character's maturity was on display throughout "The Peacekeeper Wars". It's extremely sad to see him go, in one of the most emotional moments the series has produced, but it's an absolutely perfect end for him to go out fighting, protecting the ones he loves.
With D'Argo gone, everyone makes it back to Moya in another awesome sequence, as she takes off from the seabed and swoops down to grab everyone with the docking web, which leads to the resolution of the mini-series. Undoubtedly, starting with D'Argo's emotional death, Rockne O'Bannon and David Kemper just keep the emotions rolling in what is just an amazing half hour of television and an awesome end to the Farscape saga (at least, for now). Pilot and Moya, despite wishing not to, have the wormhole weapon built for John. What convinced them? Aeryn. She gets a great scene with Pilot while the crew are back on Moya before landing on Qujaga, in which she really explains why John did what he did, and helps Pilot understand. They all want the same thing – peace. And this is the only way it looks like they'll get it. So the machine is built, and it looks menacing enough before it's even been used. The scenes on Moya here are fantastic. With the crew having little time to mourn for D'Argo, they all get to say something brief about them as Chiana goes a little crazy out of shock. Pilot also finds out, and his reaction is just as telling as with the rest of the crew. Even without many words said, through reactions like Aeryn's crying, you can really see how much the loss meant to them, but that they have no choice but to move on.
So John steps inside the weapon. With Scorpius watching on, he goads him. The exchange with him asking Scorpius to say "please" is devilish, as Scorpius is finally getting what he wanted. So as the crew look on in horror, John fires the weapon. And at first, it looks like nothing. But gradually, it grows, and begins to consume everything around it, from the planet to the ships. The special effects depicting the weapon's effects are second to none, and easily some of the best visual effects ever put to film. With a dramatic score from Guy Gross, it just plays out perfectly. The Scarrans and the Peacekeepers are forced into a corner. Initially, neither of them care and they try to continue the fight until they can't ignore it, and they see how truly destructive it is. Their reactions are very well played, as is the crew's, as they watch everything disappear into the black hole. It truly is amazing to watch as the two sides are forced to stop the fighting and agree to peace because they see just how destructive the weapon can be; it literally won't stop growing until nothing exists, and that's why no one should ever be able to wield that power. Neither side is stupid, so under this force they agree to sign a treaty with the Eidelons involvement. The story arc ends with Grayza and Staleek stamp their approval on the treaty for their respective sides, bringing the war to a close, as Scorpius watches on with a childlike glee. Quite why he was so happy, I'm unsure, since he always seemed to want revenge against the Scarrans, but perhaps that is how he was planning on using Sikozu in her "last mission". Nevertheless, he has what he wanted in that he's seen a wormhole weapon, and the war is over without the Peacekeepers being dominated by the Scarrans. The look Scorpius gives Staleek and Grayza annoys them both, and it simply says, "I won".
It's not the way I expected the war itself to end, but then to be honest, I'm not entirely sure how I expected it to end. But it was as emotional and action packed as anyone could have hoped for, and the conclusion is both awesome and stunning, and it completely fits with the nature of the show. In the current world climate, it also has a powerful underlying message: the ultimate weapon is not the way to peace. So the crew have won, thanks to John getting the knowledge to build the weapon (which has finally been removed), but it has cost them, and everyone else, so much.
The scene when John fell out of the firing device, and was left lying there with Aeryn shouting and no music playing was truly powerful, and it had me believing that John himself may have died. But the scenes that followed, with him lying on the bed and Aeryn's speech, as played as a voiceover at the very start of Part One were just as highly charged emotionally as the best moments of the mini-series, and I breathed a sigh of relief when John opened his eyes and I saw Aeryn's reaction. Even I admit that the scene with John and the baby was really sweet. And while it was a little corny in a sense, the final scene was a beautiful way to end the saga, at least for now. John and Aeryn name their baby (and who didn't see that name coming after the earlier events?), and give a beautiful little speech that is a truly fitting, and touching end. "This is your playground."
With Farscape reaching emotionally draining heights even beyond where it has gone before, the conclusion to the mini-serie is all about the characters. While the first part was a bit choppy in places in that it was providing all the set-up for this part, Part Two was a superb experience that really showed how far all these characters have come. Granted, some don't make it out quite as well as others. Noranti is shafted again here, making only a couple of brief appearances as she's completely out of the plot (and her make-up just looked totally bizarre; to my eyes, she looked like a goblin). Braca doesn't get enough screen time, though to be fair David Franklin has always done a superb job of making the character's presence felt in the relatively small time he has got over the course of the series. Pilot (still with the slightly pitchy voice) isn't quite in as much as you might hope, but again with the constraints of the character, he doesn't do too badly at all. But for the rest of the core characters, we really see how much growth they've had. John and Aeryn, who have in many ways switched mindsets, with John going from talking to aggression and Aeryn going in the opposite direction, it's great to finally see them together, and get a bit of happiness at long last. Because if there have been two characters in the history of television that have deserved it, it's these two! D'Argo came full circle over the course of the Farscape saga and has a truly fitting end for the character, with his whole story wrapped up, and it's great that the character finally got a fitting swan song after past attempts at closure to his story had been a little disappointing in the series. Chiana has come so far, too, and the very fact that she agreed to go with D'Argo to Hyneria (and indeed, told Jothee she would still go there after D'Argo had died) is indicative of just that. She's had a really interesting journey and while there was never an opportunity to fully explore the story with her people, she has still had some great growth that really shouldn't be overlooked. Rygel, too, has changed a lot. He may now return to Hyneria to reunite his people, but he has seen and done so much, and really has proved that despite his exterior, he really has a heart and is a good Hynerian deep down.
Perhaps the most surprising growth in "The Peacekeeper Wars" is from Stark. He has always gone between insane and slightly left of normal, but he finally finds peace here, after seeing the peace that the Eidelons can project. It's a really nice way for Stark to go out, and what he said to John while he was on the bed was really quite touching. The other supporting characters get quite good development here, with Grayza in particular as we see her go from wanting to destroy every last Scarran in sight to realising that peace is perhaps the right course of action, "for the sake of our children". I'm sure that line will prove quite the talking point amongst fans (and was surely designed to do just that!), but her journey is definitely interesting. Likewise, Staleek's appearance in the mini-series shows us another side to his character, as we've seen what his goals really are and he eventually sees that peace is the right way. I've always been a huge fan of Ahkna since she first appeared, and while she meets her maker here, she too had some very interesting screen time.
The only characters with a major role in "The Peacekeeper Wars" that perhaps weren't fully developed were the Eidelons. While I liked their introduction, and the story behind them, I do feel that in the end, their involvement was a little peripheral. They were the trigger for many of the events in the story, such as the whole journey to Arnessk and back, and yet in the end they weren't able to force their peace on anybody. I like what that says in terms of the story, since John had to make the Peacekeepers and Scarrans see why peace was for the best and was so important, as opposed to having the ideals forced on them by the Eidelons. It's just that I can see why people might feel that aspect of the story was a little under-developed and that in the end they didn't matter as much as they should have.
Though I have a few niggles with this part of "The Peacekeeper Wars", it really is a triumph overall for everyone involved. The whole cast do a fantastic job, with everyone over the course of the three hours doing a superb job. Ben Browder and Claudia Black steal the show, as they so often manage to, but that should not undermine the performances of the rest of the cast, in particular Gigi Edgley, Anthony Simcoe, Wayne Pygram, Raelee Hill and Paul Goddard who are outstanding throughout. The rest of the cast of recurring characters are equally wonderful, and everyone deserves praise for superb characters. Even Nathanial Dean, who is thrust into Matt Newton's shoes to take over as Jothee, surprisingly manages to step up to the plate, and even does a very similar voice for the character (although the make-up and initial costume looked disappingint). The writing is just as on the ball as ever, with David Kemper and Rockne O'Bannon, who have such a great understanding of the characters and what the show is, penning some of the most amusing, dramatic and heart-breaking lines ever to grace our screens, and Brian Henson's direction works extremely well. But everyone involved creatively, both credited and uncredited, deserve a huge amount of praise for making "The Peacekeeper Wars" such an amazing experience. It's often been said by that everyone involved with Farscape makes such a huge contribution to the final product, and they all deserve all the praise, and any awards that they get, because they've risen to a very trying challenge and have produced a mini-series that easily matches, and often surpasses, where the best the series had to offer went, and that is perhaps the highest praise I can bestow.
In the end, "The Peacekeeper Wars" will go down as a massive success. It's not perfect, and it may overwhelm some new viewers who don't want to pay enough attention to make sense of it all, but for the fans, it's a huge, triumphant, raving success story. It succeeds in its goal to wrap things up in a way that brings a sense of closure to the story and the characters, and puts the series in a place where it can literally go anywhere now, be it movies, another mini-series or even a spin-off show. And it's exactly what you all deserved. Every single fan of Farscape, and that includes the cast and crew, deserved a chance to get the proper end to the story, and thanks to the hard work of all those who took part in the fan campaign to bring back the show, this is what we all have. Everyone who wrote a letter, sent an e-mail, told someone about the show, donated money or organised some stunt to promote the show deserves a huge thanks and round of applause, and it's something for which I for one am extremely grateful. Without such activity, without a big furore, this mini-series would never have been made. But you made noise, and in a completely unprecedented move got the show back for its most awesome adventure. That's the biggest victory any of us could have gotten, and I am so thankful for everyone's hard work that got "The Peacekeeper Wars" from a thought in the creative team's head to our TV screens. You should all be proud of what has been accomplished here.
I want to focus on all the positives, and don't want to over-analyse because seeing "The Peacekeeper Wars" reminded me exactly of why we all fought so hard for this show, and it only makes me want to see more Farscape, be it some sort of follow-up or spin-off. There are just so many possibilities. But if this is the end of the Farscape saga as we know it, then we can be happy in that we have a superbly poetic and fitting swan song to the story of John Crichton and the crew of misfits aboard Moya.
I love to hear your views, whether you agree or disagree, so feel free to e-mail me your feedback. Review by Dani Moure.
Jothee: "Sgt. Learko, you go with them. Stark is now our number one priority."
Rygel: "Stark? How's that for an inversion of normalcy?"
John: "Is there anything I can do to help?"
Aeryn: "Oh, I think you've done enough already. If this was a Sebacean child, a pure one, it would've been born long ago. So how long is this going to take?"
John: "Well, on Earth it can last days."
Aeryn: "I have killed men for less."
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