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"John Quixote"

Summary

{A long summary, but this was a tough one. So much visualization to convey through text!}

Games, games, games. You're onboard a ship with a skeleton crew, lost in space, chased by whomever and whatever, and you're bored. What do you do? You seek out a shipmate to play a game. Sikozu brings Crichton's chessboard to Scorpius who points out that if she opens the door to his cell, they can play properly instead of through the bars. Somewhere else out there on a transport pod, Chiana is checking out a series of organic-matrix reality games. Press the flash and while your body more or less sits there in a state of catatonia, your brain romps through the game. Crichton turns down Chiana's offer to play and while she's lost in the game he comms Moya. D'Argo answers the comm and tells him they're having a small problem with Scorpius. Meanwhile, Chiana is really, really eager for Crichton to try the game and before he can stop her, she puts his hand on it and they both enter.

This game starts out on the gammack base from Nerve and The Hidden Memory. Gillina is there trying to help them escape. Scorpius appears and John assumes him to be the bad guy here. From nowhere, Stark appears, saying he'll save them. He blows away Scorpius with some heavy firepower and John and Chiana suddenly find themselves in a rather colorful, live action version of a cheap video game, complete with plastic models that are supposed to be trees lining a path to a very tall and abstract-looking castle. Their clothes look like they're supposed to represent a medieval fairy land, but at the same time a little cheesy; John in brown leggings, boots, poet's shirt and basic conquistador's helmet and torso armor. Chiana looks a little like a clash between a court jester and one of Robin Hood's merry men.

Chiana is also taken aback by the sudden change of scenery, saying they shouldn't just switch levels like that. John is just annoyed and simply wants out of the game so they can find out what's going on with Scorpy on Moya and because somebody has to fly the transport pod. A woman's voice cries for help. They look up to see in the tallest tower of the castle, a very blond Aeryn as this game's apparent damsel in distress. Only momentarily distracted, John says he just wants out. "Then just say so," Chiana tells him. He does. Nothing happens. Chiana is puzzled as that's the standard override. John says he wants out a couple of more times, loud and exasperated. A TV set falls out of the castle and onto his head.

John is dazed but unhurt. Although in case his costume wasn't silly enough, a hunk of metal and picture tube is now wedged into his helmet. Stark is there to greet them, announcing himself as the avatar for the game and wondering why they're here when they're supposed to start at the gammack base. When Chiana says the auto-out didn't work, even the Avatar-Stark seems confused. He takes them to a room that appears to be a crude workshop. As he gets their story, chastising them for both being in the game while alone on a transport pod, he says that getting out may be difficult. The game might be broken. Chiana grabs him and demands answers now. Game designer; "Yoti." Neural template? Stark and an infusion of Talyn-John's memories. He thinks they've backdoored into a part of the game that really shouldn't exist and may be stuck. John suspects Scorpius. Chiana meanwhile assures him that brain damage and death from these games are very rare. On the broken TV set, a "Max Headroom" image of John appears; "John Crichton; the most notorious criminal in the known universe." He tells John and Chiana that their mission - should they choose to accept it - is to journey to the source of evil and discover the darkness. While this is happening, Stark is looking for a manual, pulls a goose and golden egg out of a filing cabinet, and finally finds the menu. John vows to kill Stark. Stark finds the information they're looking for.

"In farthest space beyond the known charts,
the horrid human and his band appear.
And though they play today at different parts
the core of subtle truth beneath is clear.

"The path of choice may draw you dark and deep
where flesh deformed doth keep the dream alive
And if the way your compass cannot keep
some pearls of wisdom to thee do I give.

"The quest is for a princess fair to seek
the one a human's fleeting love did rend.
Bring forth the sword and through the darkness peek
one loving kiss amends. And there's an end.
And if we shades with taste do not agree
a door of green shall set your senses free."

Bottom line; kiss the princess or find a green door. Having now changed appearance to look like a court jester himself, Stark hands them three white balls; 3 vouchers, each one good for one answer to one question.

"Time's up, game's on.
Good luck, have fun!
The tower's up, but up is down.
Follow the path through the fairy town."

Stark disappears.

Chiana jumps right into trying to figure out the game. "Up is down. Follow the path. Kiss the princess, you gotta like that!" John says there's a list of reasons why he's not going to like any of this. On the floor though is what certainly looks like a path made up of chocolate coins leading to a tiny red door on the wall. They go to it and immediately fall into ... a covered parking lot, empty save for a classic VW van decked out in full hippie/flower child decor and rocking back and forth. Text on the side of the van says "Palms read, fortunes told, hypnosis." As they head towards it, John asks what happens if he dies here. Chiana answers that game death works like a reset - assuming that part of the game is working right.

When they approach the van, the door opens suddenly and John and Chiana instinctively draw their swords. A large male Delvian comes out, telling them to relax. He introduces himself as Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan, 10th level Delvian priest, blood kin to the Piezor who beat Scorpy's ass. He also notes that they're invading his parking space. Chiana tries to stop him and he says he knows they're pilgrims on some foolish quest. Gesturing toward the shard of TV still stuck in John's helmet, Chiana says that John is hurt. Male-Zhaan says that John will be more hurt if he tries to kiss the princess - the ogre will get him. He then hits John, knocks him to the ground, and tells him to be still. "This is going to hurt, a lot." He yanks the shard out of John's head, which knocks him out.

Inside the van, Male-Zhaan is licking John's blood off the shard and Chiana is saying that John doesn't look so good. Zhaan milks himself, saying the hamman-side looma holds the cure. Chiana looks on with suspicion though as he milks his right side. She knocks the cup away and sees that the fluid is acid. Zhaan congratulates her, saying most get burnt the first time. She tells him to milk the other side. All the while, Zhaan talks about the ogre's jealousy and how he'll never let Crichton kiss the princess. If he knew John was being saved now he'd be angry. He feeds milk from the other side to John and John screams. Zhaan freaks, saying the ogre will surely have heard that. He starts driving out of the parking structure, shoving John and Chiana out as he does.

They follow another coin path through the parking structure and John reluctantly gives in to Chiana and says he'll give the game an honest try. None too soon, Rygel appears in front of them in full armor, saying defiantly that "None shall pass!" John is amused by the sight but undaunted. Chiana says to kill Rygel, John says they can just go around him as he's not going to be moving very fast with all that heavy armor on. They start to head towards him though and Rygel turns around and reveals an interesting new power; flamethrower farts. Chiana is the one though to skillfully duck them and slay Rygel. John is really, really annoyed with the game now and would really just like to get back to the real world to see what the deal is with Scorpy on Moya. Chiana suggests he try one of his vouchers. He does, and tells Stark he simply wants out. Stark tells him "The tower's up but up is down, follow the path through the fairy town. Later!" John is only getting angrier but Chiana figures it out; the path ends where Rygel was sitting. She stomps on the spot.

They fall into a room where D'Argo is dressed up as Hansel from the Hansel and Gretel story. Jool and another Chiana are locked in a bird cage dressed as witches. Caged-up Chiana refers to Jool as Gretel, wondering if the newcomers are here to eat. Hansel-D'Argo says the ogre will be very angry and he can't let them go without a fight. John and Chiana spot a green door on the other side of the room and Hansel-D'Argo lets them go to it. It looks easy - suspiciously easy - but they gradually head towards the green door and John reaches it just as Hansel-D'Argo tongues Chiana.

John emerges back in the transport pod and re-establishes communication with Moya. D'Argo tells him Scorpius has escaped. When John asks where Sikozu is D'Argo says he doesn't know but there's a command carrier on the way and Pilot is losing control of critical systems. John says they're on their way, but notices that Chiana is still in the game. When, he tries to peel her hand off the flash, touching it only throws him back in the game.

Back in Hansel's room, the bird cage now holds only Jool while Chiana in the witch's outfit is bound and gagged on the floor. Hansel-D'Argo says John probably wouldn't like the taste of Chiana and besides, she bites. As Jool whines that no one ever wants to eat her, John uses another voucher to ask Stark where Chiana is. "Can you be more specific?" John aims his sword at Stark. "Gray girl, sword, floppy hat." Stark gestures towards a blue door. "Girl of gray with swords at play, girl of gray went that away!"

The blue door is an elevator and the elevator's host is Max-Headroom-John. Crichton tells him to take him to where the gray girl went. "The penthouse!" Max-Headroom-John exclaims, and he tries to make small talk along the way. "Business or pleasure? Nice sword. You should give it a name, like Cameron or Uma. First floor! Little lost girls!" But when the elevator door opens, a Scarran is there to greet John. He promptly kills the Scarran with his sword as Max-Headroom-John complains that this elevator sucks and so does his job. "Day after day, same thing. Up, down, up, down. Just once, it'd be nice to go sideways. Just sideways." A Sheyang appears and John slays him as well. "Not that I plan on doing this forever, I'm studying to be an astronaut" Max-Headroom-John continues. Finally, the door opens on the penthouse.

The first face he sees is Scorpius, with an extra long nose and formal attire. As John draws his sword and says he knew it had to be Scorpius, Scorpy turns around, confused. "Ma'am?" He addresses Blonde-Aeryn, who is sitting on a grand bed and decked out like an American Southern Belle, and tells her they have a visitor. Speaking in a voice best described as a clash between a cliché Southern Belle wannabe and Eddie Murphy in "Shrek," only with an extreme lisp, she says "That's alright Harvey, would you let the master know that we have a gentleman caller?" Even more confused, John asks if Scorpius is the ogre. "Oh heavens no, he's just an incorrigible liar. And the butler." Blonde-Aeryn knows he's looking for Chiana and tells him not to worry, that her beast of a boyfriend is showing her around the place, and proceeds to drop many a sexual innuendo. Enter Crais, barely recognizable as he certainly looks like an ogre. Shaggy hair, fangs, horns, battle axe and all. He says they've just redecorated from the last bloodbath they had here. "What is it about women and change? Nothing is ever good enough." He asks if John is here to kiss the Missus. As Blonde-Aeryn continues to act like quite the damsel in distress, complaining to Ogre-Crais that every time they meet someone nice he scares them away and begging John to save her, Chiana comes out. John grabs her and heads for a couple of doors; one yellow, one green. He reaches out.

On the transport pod, John and Chiana both fall out of the game this time. John quickly comms D'Argo and tells him they're headed in to Moya. D'Argo and Aeryn greet them in the hangar, telling them that Pilot is blind on the hamman side and they think Scorpius is hiding in those blind spots. D'Argo and Chiana go one way, John and Aeryn go another to start looking for Scorpy. John notes to Aeryn that this feels familiar - working with her. And that it's good to have her back.

Somewhere in the ship, D'Argo screams for John and Pilot comms that Scorpius is there in the chamber with him. John and Aeryn rush to Pilot's chamber but Scorpy seals the doors just as they arrive. They drop down an access shaft into Pilot's den. Sure enough, DRDs are there to greet them with gunfire and keep them at a distance. Scorpius steps out, saying he's got Pilot in a neural harness, slaving Pilot's mind to his own. If Scorpy dies, so does Pilot. Scorpius and Aeryn look at each other for a moment and Aeryn hits John, knocking him to the ground. When he starts to get up again, she kicks him in the head, knocking him out.

John inside a cell, Aeryn outside, Aeryn reports that John is waking up. John surmises that she's been tagged with a neural harness as well and she tells him to consider the possibility that she was simply protecting Pilot. Scorpius comes up behind her and she leaves as Scorpy enters the cell. He hands John a knife and invites him to end all this. He muses that John resisted the aurora chair, the neural clone, and reason in general. "You resist because you have hope, hope that your friends will save you. One by one I will extinguish your hopes and little by little you will begin to see reason." Aeryn comms him that they have Rygel. "Lovely girl." Scorpy says in response. "I hear that one-quarter Scarran/Sebacean offspring are quite handsome." At this, John lunges at Scorpius, but can't quite bring himself to kill him. "You harm me," Scorpy reminds him, you harm her." Scorpy hits John hard.

Some time later, as John sits in his cell, Chiana sneaks around. She's got the game and draws him into it where they end up back in Blonde-Aeryn/Ogre-Crais' bedchamber (where said game characters are asleep). Chiana sums it up for John; Scorpius has control of the whole ship and everyone in it except the two of them. Scorpius can also hear everything, but not in the game. John tells Chiana to leave the game with him and he'll draw Scorpius into it so she can secure the ship.

When she leaves, John uses the knife to cut his finger and start drawing wormhole equations on the floor. When Aeryn comes by to check on him, he again thinks she's under Scorpy's control and she again invites him to question that thought, but without really confirming or denying it. She says that what keeps them both alive are the secrets they hold. He tells her he should never have let her go. Scorpius comes by to check in and indeed is drawn to the equations John has written out on the floor. The key piece Scorpy was missing is under John's foot and John warns that if anyone else comes in the room, he can spill enough blood to erase the whole thing if he wants. Scorpy enters and John quickly slaps the game on his face.

But they're not in the bedchamber or the fairyland. They're at the gammack base. Scorpius taunts John, saying he can do whatever he wants inside this game. John is suddenly torn out of the game. It's Aeryn, saying Scorpius was killing him. While Scorpius is still catatonic with the game fixed to his face, Aeryn takes John by the hand and says they have to escape. She also says there's no time to save the others and that she only wants to be with him. Now John starts to suspect something is very wrong. As he does, he pulls out of his pocket the third white voucher. "Does this mean it's over?" Aeryn asks him.

John yells for Chiana and quickly finds her. He shows her the voucher, saying they're still in the game - they never boarded Moya and they never left the game. When he does, there's a thud behind them and a green door appears. Suspicious, John rubs his hand over it, finding it's a yellow door with green paint on it. Stark appears to congratulate him on figuring that bit out. "This is all about you John Crichton" Stark says, now looking like Scorpius and re-painting the door green. "You're far too sick to be allowed to run free in the universe. When you die on the outside, your mind will live on here with us." He welcomes them back into the fairyland.

John and Chiana go back to the workshop where they first got instructions from Stark. He squeezes the third voucher and demands to know what the endgame is. Stark is now in the role of Max Headroom:

One hero's sword to set her free
one kiss upon her lips so sweet
Thus ends the quest, thus ends the game
and thus your soul is saved.

Chiana notes that they've already heard this. John says they've got no choice. Game death resets a level and the doors are a ploy, so they have to kiss the princess. John runs the sword through the TV and they're off again.

In the parking garage, Male-Zhaan is now with Stark's voice and consciousness, telling John that the thrust through the TV hurt. John asks how he did it, who helped. "You did. You and that tragic brother pouring his heart out on his deathbed." John calls him on it, saying this game has crap Talyn-John couldn't know. "It's crap you gave me along the way. You talk so much." John figures it out. No Noranti, no Sikozu. Just hints of what he probably said along the way. Questions answered, John asks one more; "Why do plants love the light?" At that, Chiana flips on the van's bright lights and honks the horn, distracting Male-Zhaan-Stark enough for John to knock him out.

Rygel tells them again, "None shall pass." As Chiana looks like she's going to fight him again, he doesn't notice John behind him in the van. John promptly runs him over.

On the Hansel level, Hansel-D'Argo is eating Jool a la Alice in Wonderland. The other Chiana is still bound and gagged in the corner and looking anxiously at John. John asks Chiana if this room is just too easy and how did she make it through the first time. "What" she asks, suddenly confused. John then asks, "What's Aeryn's secret." Chiana is again confused. John looks at her, looks at the other Chiana, and hits the one in the floppy hat who's been with him since they last left this room. He unties the other Chiana who dispatches Hansel-D'Argo and answer's John's quiz; "Aeryn's pregnant. Frell Crichton! You left me there for arns!" No time though to figure out how pseudo-Chiana might have been misdirecting him this whole time. They proceed to the elevator. Like Ogre-Crais, Max-Headroom-John asks, "What is it with women and change?"

They arrive at the penthouse and John says he's here for the princess. An impressed Blonde-Aeryn seems eager to be rescued. John and Chiana both draw their swords. He tells her this could be fun, she says she's all about fun, and the fight is on. Chiana takes Harvey and John takes Ogre-Crais while Aeryn sits on the bed kibitzing. Chiana kills Harvey and starts to help John with Ogre-Crais when Stark comes in to join the fight. Chiana deals with Stark as well, not killing him but definitely taking him out of the fight, then throws her sword at Ogre-Crais, killing him. A smitten Aeryn asks John if it's really him. He answers yes and claims his kiss. Blonde-Aeryn falls blissfully on the bed. Nothing else happens, other than a slightly evil look from Stark. "Maybe you have to do more than just kiss her. Maybe 'kiss' is a metaphor for showing her a really good time. And maybe Chiana has to kiss her. Can I watch? I love to watch!" Frustrated, Chiana tells John that Blonde-Aeryn isn't the princess. Blonde-Aeryn looks only slightly disappointed. "I'm not the princess you seek but we could still have a really good time!" Stark tells him again that this is his world and when he's dead on the outside, his mind will live on here forever. Crichton decides to reset the game. He jumps out of the window.

Cutting through the workshop, Max-Headroom-Stark asks John what he's doing. "Your world, your princess. One princess fair, her broken heart by ugliness enslaved." Max-Headroom-Stark screams.

He comes into the parking garage but Stark stands between Male-Zhaan and Crichton, begging him to work this out. John knocks Stark out of the way. "One hero's sword to set her free." He cuts through Male-Zhaan's head to reveal in a flash of light the real Zhaan. She tells Stark to be silent and asks John if it's really him. He answers yes and asks if she's real. "For all that matters. This Stark wishes to keep you here. He blames you, believes I died for the love of you." John answers that a lot of people have died because of him. "Have you wasted my death and the death of so many others?" John says he doesn't know. "Then I suggest you find out, before anyone else dies for the love of you." She kisses him. He and Chiana exit the game for real this time. John comms D'Argo to find all that was wrong was a problem with Scorpius' door, but it's already sorted out. They're overdue to return to Moya.

Finally on Moya - the real Moya - John pays Noranti a visit. Asked if his day was interesting, he says that they're all interesting and this one was more like "confusing." She tells him that a warrior needs clarity. He argues that he's not a warrior, that it's Scorpy's war, not his. "That's not the war I'm speaking of." She speaks of Aeryn and Crichton agrees, he doesn't think too clearly where Aeryn is concerned. "Pain clouds judgment" she says, and offers him some distillate of laka. One whiff, and the pain is gone for a short while. She says she empathizes with him, that it's been 150 cycles since she's felt for someone the way he does for Aeryn. He takes it, but we don't see whether or not he uses it.

John walks through a corridor and Aeryn is sitting against a wall. "So, I hear I was a princess" she asks in amusement. John pauses, then keeps walking past her without looking, without a word.


Review

Sorry that summary was so long, but once you've seen the episode, I think you'll understand. "John Quixote" is easily the most visual Farscape episode since Scratch 'n Sniff. To boot, there are so many little intricacies that I just wasn't sure how or if to convey through text. The first part of Stark's game instructions for instance. John and Chiana are hardly paying attention and Stark goes through it rather quickly. The clue that Zhaan is the princess hidden inside Male-Zhaan is there, but the scene is obviously intentionally designed to misdirect both our protagonists and us. When John and Chiana think they've exited the game the first time, I didn't notice at first (and I'm sure most of us didn't) that John reaches for the green door, but at the last moment, turns his head and his hand hits the yellow door instead. Again, I'm certain this was an intentional misdirection to make us think he'd opened a green door (and provide a little treat for those of us quick enough to pick up on the yellow door).

In short, this episode was a visual thrill ride. In short, Ben Browder has done it again. Well, maybe not "again," since the only thing "John Quixote" has in common with Green Eyed Monster - Browder's other script contribution to the series so far - is that both pull at John Crichton's heartstrings and both are fantastic works of television. Otherwise, the two episodes are very, very different from one another.

John Quixote also got quite a heated, mixed reaction from fans on the SciFi BBoard. This surprised me in that I really expected folks to automatically like it just because Ben wrote it. It didn't surprise me in that it really is a love-it-or-hate-it episode. For one, this ep demands a lot from the viewer. As already mentioned, there are a lot of subtle plot points and turns that are easy to miss the first time around and an almost guaranteed miss for the casual viewer. Misdirection seems to be the theme of "John Quixote." To the casual viewer, it appears as a playful, possibly annoying, probably superficial or even pointless amusement park ride. The attentive viewer is treated to much more, but only if he or she is paying very, very close attention. That doesn't mean that everyone who disliked "John Quixote" is inattentive, but that bit of audience participation certainly helps. Reminds me a little of "The Blair Witch Project." I have found that most of the people who liked that film were the ones who got themselves wrapped up in the backstory, even before seeing the movie.

Since this episode is depictive of John being stuck in a VR game, it's only fitting that as much as possible is done to get the audience to "play" the game as well. I think this was about as well done as it could have been without actually handing us all joysticks. The many hints and clues dropped along the way accomplished this. Some hints were bigger than others, some obvious, some carefully camouflaged. I for one didn't know that his stint on Moya was still within the game until John himself suspected. Same with John suddenly getting suspicious of which Chiana was with him. Just enough time was spent on each obstacle/world/room for we the viewers to try and figure out the catch and how to overcome it. The other way to do an episode like this is to make the audience third party omnipotent and give us answers along the way so we could yell at John for not figuring them out. But that would take away the "audience participation" element. I much prefer discovering things as the protagonist does in this case.

It's a tradition with Farscape after all - not explaining every little detail or backstory and allowing the audience to fill in the blanks. For instance, where did these games suddenly come from? Who cares! This is Farscape! We just go with it!

We have here a virtual world created by the imagination of Stark with a little help from Talyn-John's memories. Not just how Talyn-John might have perceived the people around him, but how Stark thinks he perceived them, then however Stark decided to use or not use or twist or distort those perceptions. Hence, we can end up with something as ridiculous as Hansel-D'Argo, or a blonde Aeryn playing the spoiled-brat/damsel-in-distress. At the same time though, we end up with some characterization that makes a lot of sense, particularly in Harvey. The butler image is extremely suitable here. Crais as an ogre might have been over the top, but the tease of Crais and Aeryn as an item is something that plays heavily on John's jealousy.

Then of course, it all comes together with Stark viewing Zhaan as the princess and finally Zhaan's brief conversation with John. It's easy to suspect that this is a bit of the real Zhaan and not just Stark's perception of her. After all, if it were truly Stark's perception, wouldn't she have been much harder on Crichton like Stark was? Zhaan's appearance was brief, but powerful. "Beauty in simplicity." No fireworks or fanfare, but as has often been the way with Zhaan's character, her gentle approach packs a lot of power. Sometimes, a whisper can be louder than a scream.

The staging of this episode was fantastic. Farscape has always been quite good at contrasting moods against the dark setting of Moya. Here, we are almost overloaded with color and bright and when the game enters Moya, the contrast is striking. The costuming was fantastic, especially in the case of Chiana. Her game-outfit really complimented her look. Here's hoping that the next costuming Emmy goes to "John Quixote!" The music was also quite good in setting and shifting moods. Something not mentioned in my summary was occasional split-screens, especially during action scenes. For instance, the swordfight in the bedchamber where Chiana takes on Harvey and John takes on Ogre-Crais. Once again, it's almost like you're really watching a video game and the split screen between what each player is doing. Once again, the viewer is challenged to pick out significant bits. It's multi-layered and I really don't see how someone can catch it all in the first viewing. I can see where this would bother some people. But for some of us, it's great fun to depart from the norm for an episode like this!

And finally, saving the best for last ... Gigi Edgley rocks ... SO HARD! I can't believe I almost forgot to add it into the review. Actually, I did forget. I'm adding this in a day after posting the review. Too much work, too good a vacation, and a sunburned scalp might do that to a person.

For a season and a half now, there have been cries of "Give Chiana/Gigi a bigger role!" I've been saying all along that she packs a mighty punch in the small amount of screen time she does get. So many people are so concerned with literal amount of screen time, I wonder how many noticed that the dynamic duo in this episode is John and Chiana. Not John-Aeryn, John-D'Argo, or John the lone hero? How many noticed that just about every villain/obstacle slayed was ultimately slayed by Chiana? Chiana slayed Rygel the first time. Chiana was paramount in slaying Rygel the second time. She dispatched Hansel-D'Argo. Chiana killed Harvey, helped John with Ogre-Crais, stepped away for a second to dispatch Avatar-Stark, then finished off Ogre-Crais. It was Chiana who figured out where the path ended in the parking structure. It was even pseudo-Chiana who brought Crichton the game within the game, figuring out that Scorpy can't hear them in the game. Last year might have been "Season of Aeryn," but this year could ("could") well turn into "Season of Chiana." Not bad for a character who was originally supposed to die off in the one and only episode she appeared in. There's so much depth and mystery to this character that we've only just begun to touch upon and it's episodes like these that give us such a delicious taste and leave us hungry for more!

Switching from character to actor, last year might have been "Season of Claudia," but this year could ("could") turn into "Season of Gigi." She brings countless layers to the character. So often, alien characters in other shows are relegated to very shallow depths. Even the Klingons in Trek; as much as we got into the language and there are whole Klingon Societies out there, it's still little bits and pieces we get with few connecting threads. They'll toss out some line referring to some outrageous Klingon practice but nothing in the behavior to suggest it's anything but outrageous. In Chiana, we get a full range of character, from the familiar and not-so-unlike-us to the truly alien. Gigi's voice, movement, body language, mannerisms, the way she really becomes Chiana every episode makes this possible. And besides, did you see Farscape Magazine issue 8? The woman is totally cute and totally the kind of person you want to be your best friend who hangs out at the movies with you way too late on a school/work night. Ok, so that has nothing whatsoever to do with her job as a Farscape cast member, but somehow, given the personality she infuses into Chiana, it seemed worth noting.

I really wonder if "John Quixote" was intentionally designed to alienate a certain number of casual viewers in order to give the those of us who dig this style a little extra treat. Whatever the case, "John Quixote" wasn't easy to jump into, but once you're in, it's fantastic, multi-layered fun!




Agree? Disagree? Comments? Questions? Email me! Written by Mary Wood.

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Fun Factoids
Best line (a possible dig at Trek?):
Chiana, on figuring out why the auto-out isn't working: "I'm sure there's some really good technobabble explanation..."


Click here to read Dani Moure's review for this episode.

Click here to read Dani Moure's synopsis for this episode.

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Episode Credits
Season 4, Episode 7 - "John Quixote"
Writer: Ben Browder
Director: Tony Tilse
Production number: 10407
First UK Transmission: 11th Nov 2002
First US Transmission: 26th Jul 2002
Guest Stars:
Raelee Hill (Sikozu); Melissa Jaffer (Noranti); Lani Tupu (The Ogre); Tammy MacIntosh (Jool); Paul Goddard (Stark); Rowan Woods (Big Ugly Blue Guy - Male Zhaan); Alyssa-Jane Cook (Gilina Renaez)
Special Guest Star:
Virginia Hey (Zotoh Zhaan)
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