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Farscape - Season 3 - Episode 05

Farscape - 3x05 - ...Different Destinations - Originally Aired: 2001-4-13

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 4.45

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Synopsis
While at a Peacekeeper memorial, Crichton and the crew are pulled back in time into the middle of a great siege between Peacekeepers and the Venek Horde. As they try to stay alive long enough to get back to their own time, they realize that every action is changing the course of history - with devastating effects on the future. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 1, partial filler, but has important continuity. I recommend against skipping this one.
- This episode is mostly filler, but these events are referenced briefly in a pivotal fourth season episode. The reference is not essential, but it's pretty neat if you've seen this episode.

Problems
- When John places the time travel mask on Stark's head in the teaser, he is very careful to place it on his head in a level fashion. But in the next cut, it's shown on his head tilted askew.
- There's an error in dialog just after the Harvey scene when John says, "If Grines dies, he's a hero who averts a war." He should have said, "If Dacon dies, he's a hero who averts a war."

Factoids
- The opening credits of this episode were altered to remove Zhaan from the list of main characters.
- This episode establishes that Sebaceans can live for as long as 700 cycles.

Remarkable Scenes
- Stark accidentally transporting everyone to the past at the scene of the monumental battle.
- D'Argo throwing Jool into a wall mistakenly thinking she'll pass through the tear in time and return to their time period.
- The nurse taking out Grines just as he was about to escape.
- John summoning up Harvey (in cowboy boots) to chat about what to do.
- Dacon, just before getting killed: "No, heroes always get killed. I'll be fine!"
- John, in the midst of the intense battle: "I'm gonna have a heart attack!"
- Everyone returning to their time only to discover that they doomed the peace after all.

My Review
A rather cliched time travel story not unlike what we've seen on Star Trek too many times now except the plot device used to get there is less interesting. Stark's mystic abilities + mystic goggles from the memorial = time travel! As a consequence of the rather deus ex machina plot device, the writers were able to invent as many nonsensical predestination paradoxes they liked to give those still on Moya something to do and of course to give the end of the story some semblance of meaning.

The basic point behind this story is to explore the idea that our heroes making contact with alien civilizations might adversely affect them sometimes so our heroes can learn a lesson about treading more carefully. This is not unlike a Prime Directive episode on Star Trek. The trouble though is that lesson comes through much more clearly in a single exchange of dialog in Suns and Lovers when Borlik had a mistaken impression of the legendary John Crichton's exploits. The simple act of John having to correct her is far more interesting than John accidentally rewriting history on some nameless planet we don't care about.

What does work well in this episode is the delightfully striking contrast between John's and Aeryn's approach toward surviving their peril. There's nothing particularly surprising about their chosen tactics, but it's very in character. One touch I greatly enjoyed was how easily Aeryn blended into the ranks of Peacekeepers from 500 cycles ago. That says a lot about the static nature of Peacekeeper culture. While there's been some advancement in, say, pulse weapons since then, there's little difference at a high level.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From BSHBen on 2010-06-21 at 6:44pm:
    I hate to keep commenting only on the rare occasion that I disagree, but I really think this is a stellar episode, particularly the twist at the end which is really powerful and never would have occurred in a Trek episode. The action here was great, too. The time travel wasn't perfect, sure, but the episode was tense and exciting enough.
  • From Hugo on 2015-11-19 at 3:31am:
    Not bad, but I had a hard time getting emotionally invested in the deaths of Dacon and the nurses. The biggest emotional moment was in the end, with D'Argo finding the carving.

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