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Farscape - Season 4 - Episode 12

Farscape - 4x12 - Kansas - Originally Aired: 2002-12-30

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 5.01

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# Votes: 21 1 5 5 5 3 4 4 5 7 17

Synopsis
The crew travels through a wormhole to Earth, 1985, and Crichton finds he has somehow disastrously changed the course of time - his father Jack is now slated to fly the doomed Challenger mission. Lying low in Crichton's home town, the 'aliens' use the timely Halloween celebrations to remain (almost) anonymous, while Crichton tries to revert the timeline - in the process putting his younger self in mortal danger. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Numerous major long term plot threads are serviced here.

Problems
- How did Chiana interact with young John? Did she learn English too?

Factoids
- When Chiana met young John, she accidentally identified herself as Karen Shaw, the girl Crichton claimed in Losing Time to have lost his virginity to at the age of 16. This means that John lost his virginity to Chiana before he even met her. I wonder why John didn't recognize Chiana when he first met her in season one then? ;)

Remarkable Scenes
- John, in orbit of Earth in nothing but his space suit: "I can't believe I'm gonna die here. This is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."
- John asking D'Argo to follow John through the wormhole.
- John discovering that he's traveled to Earth, but it's in the 1980s.
- John observing his younger self.
- John discovering that his dad will be on the doomed Challenger shuttle.
- John confronting his younger self.
- Aeryn watching Sesame Street.
- Chiana flipping off an Earth woman.
- Rygel accidentally being exposed to an Earth woman.
- Grayza locating Moya.
- Aeryn referring to Rygel as Kermit. ;)
- Noranti drugging the cop.
- John confronting his mom, telling her to stop Jack from going up on the Challenger.
- D'Argo attempting to drive the cop car.
- Rygel on a sugar high.
- Scorpius meeting with Braca, who is revealed to be secretly still loyal to Scorpius.
- Rygel scaring kids to get more sugar.
- John using his semi-corporeality to his advantage to convince his mother to prevent Jack from boarding Challenger.
- The single cop who remembered everything being perceived as crazy.
- John returning to Moya only to discover that Moya is in orbit of Earth and it's also the correct year.
- John seeing his father aboard Moya and acting with immediate disbelief.

My Review
Having John return to Earth for real but in the wrong year would have been good enough for a fantastic story by itself, but the amazing twist at the end of having John return to Earth at the correct year along with Moya and with his dad having already boarded Moya is an absolutely fantastic development. One of the greatest fascinations of Farscape's ongoing story is to explore the idea of what would happen if John did some day return to Earth with all the knowledge and technology he had gained out in space. They touched on this way back in A Human Reaction, but it was deliberately exaggerated and I rightfully never believed it was a realistic portrayal of what would really happen.

This time though it's real. No illusions, no smoke and mirrors, real. I loved John's disbelief at the end of the episode. Even though there's absolutely no reason to think any of this is a fake this time, John doesn't buy it. He thinks it it just has to be a fake. He's become paranoid. And can you blame him? I certainly can't. The best part about all this for me is it's not even the end of the series yet. They didn't even save this big moment for the big finale. If the follow-through of this plot arc is as bold as the setup, we've got the makings for perhaps the best storytelling ever depicted on Farscape.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Lennier on 2010-07-26 at 1:36pm:
    Quite an effective episode. I once read on a forum that Farscape has amazing stingers-great revelations and events on which to end episodes. "Kansas" has one of the best of the series.

    The Moyans on Earth thread was mostly played to perfection, and the story was quite strong. However, what was with Mulder and Scully in 1985, though? :-)
  • From Hugo on 2016-09-09 at 1:00am:
    Sorry, not too impressed, found it mostly boring and dull - and this has been done many times on Star Trek and also e.g. Back to the Future. The whole setup is not very impressive - and the plot mostly so-so.

    Thumbs down. Next ep is AMAZING though!

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