Farscape The Peacekeeper Wars DVD Review (Spoilers)

  • Title: Farscape The Peacekeeper Wars
  • Format: Miniseries (241 minutes) 2-DVD set
  • Cast: Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Anthony Simcoe, Wayne Pygram, Gigi Edgley, Paul Goddard
  • Creative Team: Rockne S. O’Bannon, Jim Henson Productions (Brian Henson)

Wormhole weapons – the only way to win, is not to play.

I actually watched the entire mini-series two nights in a row, all the way through. It seems the original production was a two-night event, on the DVD it’s edited into a single long movie, which is fine.

The first time I watched this, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Not only because it’s a very intense, action-packed mini-series, but because I honestly expected them to “Blake’s 7” the show, in other words, I expected all the main characters to die, especially John Crichton.

The second time through I was able to enjoy the story more, knowing that, despite even the hints dropped during the mini-series itself, that John would survive.

The mini-series opens two months after the last episode of Season 4, with Rygel swimming underwater picking up something in his mouth. It turns out what he is doing is capturing the bits and pieces of John and Aeryn from the ocean floor. I loved seeing Rygel in his element so to speak, and his swimming was rather elegant. John and Aeryn are quickly re-assembled. They are fine, but to her shock Aeryn is no longer pregnant. It’s quickly discovered that Rygel is now carrying Aeryn and John’s baby. The Hynerian will do so until after the first quad-mester and the large enough baby can be transferred to Aeryn.

Aeryn and John decide to get married by the priestess on the non-quite uninhabited water planet, only to have the ceremony interrupted. This will be a theme, as their wedding on Moya with Rygel officiating is also interrupted when the Leviathan is attacked.

Things happen. Essentially, the Scarrans and Peacekeepers are now at all-out war with each other. The natives of the water planet are the descendants of a famous race of peace-making diplomats, who have lost their genetic ability to influence people into a state of calm and rationality. John agrees to ferry two of these people to the temple planet (from Season 4’s “What Was Lost”). They are attacked en route, and “reunited” with Scorpius and Sikozu (sporting a new “punk” haircut). Moya, damaged, manages to get to the temple. At the temple, they are reunited with Jool, and it’s John who convinces the 1200-year-old diplomatic race to train the guy from the other planet, so he, in turn, can train his people.

However, a Scarran vessel turns up. The ship destroys the temple, including Jool. John, Aeryn, Rygel, Stark, the head priest/diplomat from the temple, the acolyte from the other planet, and the acolyte’s guard, as well as Sikozu and Scorpius are taken prisoner by the Scarrans. The Scarrans want John’s wormhole weapons knowledge, and hold the pregnant Rygel (as well as Aeryn and the others) hostage against John.

Meanwhile, D’Argo and Chiana are in D’argo’s invisible spaceship. Chiana, who had been blinded at the end of Season 4, has had her eyes replaced, with a few upgrades. She’s able to read energy signatures on the ship and tell D’Argo how to disable it.

John, knowing the threat to his unborn child (and Rygel’s life) is real, and fearing for Aeryn, and with no place to turn after the Scarrans have killed the head priest, finds he has no choice. He takes the Scarran in his module down the wormhole to meet the ancient alien, “Einstein”, who still looks like Simon Pegg”s “Editor” in the Doctor Who episode, “The Long Game”. The Scarran is convinced that John can sense and navigate wormholes, even cause them to appear, but he cannot create a worm-hole weapon, and to do so would be a really bad idea.

The Scarrans meanwhile, destroy D’Argo’s ship. The Scarran general’s chief assistant and war minister, meanwhile intends to kill Rygel. The general and John return just in time to prevent it. Aeryn tells John, D’Argo and Chiana are dead. The Scarrans attempt to kill everyone, flooding the room they are being held in with deadly gas, while Rygel’s to the point in his pregnancy that the embryo needs to be transferred to Aeryn or he’ll die. Sizozu creates an explosion so they can escape, as a group of Luxans arrive to attack the Scarran vessel, having rescued D’Argo and Chiana. The Luxan attack squad is headed by Jothee, D’Argo’s son, who is now a military commander.

Everyone is rescued. Stark is more bonkers than normal from having absorbed the high priest’s essence. They return to Moya and high-tail it back to the water planet, because John and the others know that the Peacekeepers and Scarrans know of the location of the planet, and it’s a target.

Arriving at the planet, a major battle ensues. Braca is there with a few troops, though most of his men have been killed. The Luxan assault force is there. Moya’s crew lands, with the intent of rescuing the diplomatic race and trying to end the war. Aeryn’s child has been transferred to her from Rygel successfully.

On the planet, in the midst of the  chaos, John and Aeryn are finally married by Stark while Aeryn is in labor. The child is born in the midst of a battle. D’Argo is stabbed with a pike, and, dying, agrees to cover their retreat. With some help from Jothee (who’s primary, and successful mission was to rescue as many of the descendant-race diplomat-priests as possible), and Moya (who has finally recovered, after a time on the seabed under repair) John’s crew escape the planet, with some of the diplomat-priests.

Arriving on Moya, in command, John sees the wormhole weapon device. He had gone down a wormhole a second time, and obtained the knowledge necessary to build it. And he had discussed it with Pilot. Though Pilot had many misgivings, and sounded like he was going to say “no”, he had changed his mind and had the DRDs construct the device while John and Aeryn were planetside.

John sends out a message, giving the Scarrans and the Peacekeepers one last chance to make peace. The Scarrans and Peacekeepers instead continue to fire intensely at each other. John ignites the weapon, which produces an expontentially-growing Black Hole. The hole’s gravity captures and destroys everything close enough to be caught in the gravity well, and as it grows, doubling each time, that gravity well also increases in size. The planet below is destroyed, ripped apart by gravity. John points out, Moya is next, then each of the battle fleets, and who knows what next – the galaxy, the universe? The Scarrans and Peacekeepers stand down. John gets them to agree to have the diplomat-priests broker a lasting accord, which they do. He goes back into his machine to reverse the black hole. He succeeds but collapses, looking like he’s dead.

However, Aeryn brings their child to Crichton, where his “body” lies on a bed, Crichton wakes. He and Aeryn have a formal naming ceremony for their child, looking out among the stars, and name the boy, “D’Argo Sun Crichton”.

The Peacekeeper Wars is busy and intense. It’s obviously a compressed version of what Season 5 would have been. However, the story also works. Surprisingly, the second time around, I caught a certain amount of foreshadowing that I didn’t even notice the first time. That means the foreshadowing was used correctly – it prepares you for what’s going to happen, without spoiling the fun. The only obvious “spoilers” or “foreshadowing” was Aeryn and later Crichton’s voice-overs, which clarify the plot. But the subtler ones really work.

The action scenes are very intense – which often means character suffers. And, though, there would have been more character-stuff in a full 22-episode season (or even a shorter season of 16 or 13 episodes) the mini-series still works. When D’Argo’s ship was destroyed and D’Argo and Chiana were assumed dead — I believed it. I was expecting everyone to die anyway, so I believed it. And that scene, Aeryn’s reaction to it, and later John’s reaction when Aeryn tells him what’s happened, is no less intense when you know that at that point D’Argo isn’t really dead and Chiana survives ‘til the end.

One of the most difficult plot points for the story to sell is John actually triggering the wormhole weapon device. Yet, when he does, it’s totally believable. John’s rant on how everyone – Scorpius, Rygel, the Peacekeepers, the Scarrans, wanted the weapon – is brilliantly played by Browder.

And Aeryn and John’s attempts to get married, which are finally finished with Stark marrying them while Aeryn gives birth is beautiful (as is Aeryn’s water birth of her son, and Crichton’s pure joy at becoming a father). Though, for their story, I think the naming scene… with their child being told the stars are his playground, and John saying that he hopes that his child will never know war was the most beautiful scene in the mini-series.

I enjoyed the mini-series very much. I think they did an incredible writing and editing job to get a season’s worth of material into between three and four hours. All of the cast were terrific as always, especially Ben Browder and Claudia Black. There were references to events, people, and characters from throughout the four years of Farscape, which I felt were there for the fans, but they worked and didn’t stand out like a sore thumb, the way “inside” references sometimes can. The only person I would have liked to see or at least referenced was John’s father, Jack. But other than that tiny detail, I loved the mini-series, it was really well-done, and it gave a satisfying conclusion to the Farscape television series.