Farscape - Season 4 - Episode 11
Farscape - 4x11 - Unrealized Reality - Originally Aired: 2002-8-23
Crichton is sucked down a wormhole he correctly senses will appear near Moya. Within "wormhole limbo" he is confronted by an interdimensional being who is intent on discovering why Crichton was entrusted with this knowledge. The alien sends Crichton through various "realities" of past events to illustrate how dangerous it can be if wormhole knowledge is misused. [DVD]
0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Numerous major long term plot threads are serviced here.
- Chiana regarding humans: "They can barely escape their own gravity."
- Rygel: "I wouldn't have risen to Dominar if I wasn't good at recognizing things before they happen." Pilot, annoyed: "You were deposed in a coup led by your own cousin."
- John getting shot through a wormhole in nothing but his space suit.
- John encountering an alien in the wormhole(?) and then suddenly being transported back to the moment he entered this part of the galaxy, refusing to take it terribly seriously.
- The alien revealing that he targeted Moya with the wormhole Moya disappeared into at the end of the third season.
- The alien revealing that the vision John experienced was real; an unrealized reality and that wormhole technology can make those realities real.
- The unrealized reality in which all the alien characters on Moya are strangely mixed up.
- John exiting the wormhole targeting Moya, but arriving at Earth instead.
This trippy episode is some pretty hardcore science fiction, diving deep into Farscape's fictional wormhole physics. As a result we get a very heady episode exploring the what-if physics consequences for what sort of reality we'd live in if wormholes, as depicted on Farscape, were really real. Basing this thought experiment on the real physics of relativity and the fictional physics of the instantaneous nature of wormhole travel, the episode deliberately fails to resolve the time travel paradoxes inherent in the idea, choosing instead to go in the direction of using this nature of wormholes to create yet another way in which developing a technology to harness them could result in a terrifying amount of power in the wrong hands.
Not only could wormholes destroy a planet or perhaps a whole planetary system itself as depicted in prior episodes, but now it's revealed that they can be used for time travel and also to fundamentally alter reality itself, except for the person wielding the technology who seems to maintain an immutable frame of reference. The ancients who currently are in sole control this technology appear afraid of their own knowledge, which is confirmed by their "test" of John's demeanor, stating that fear is the correct answer. It's almost as if they consider their own very existence to be as overwrought as the power they possess. Their obsession with keeping this knowledge a secret seems to stop just shy of their own willful self destruction.
Aside from big exposition and the fun exploration of fantasy physics, this episode has much to offer in simple storytelling as well. This episode does much to redeem the third season's lame cliffhanger, revealing that our ancient alien friend was behind the suspiciously sudden appearance of the wormhole which devoured Moya. It's also fun watching all the silly unrealized realities. My only real complaint, aside from the wonky cliffhanger leading us into the next episode being yet another Earth-but-not-really episode, is that the directing of this episode is at times too trippy and can be at times hard to follow. Overall though I find this episode's unusual style and tone to be quite bold and refreshing.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Hugo on 2016-09-09 at 4:33am:
I liked the wormhole alien, great acting - all in all a decent episode!