Season 2, Episode 15: “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
***** out of *****
“I like your style, hombre. But this is no laughing matter. Assault on a police officer. Theft of police property. Illegal possession of a firearm. Five counts of attempted murder. That comes to… $29.40. Cash, check, or credit card?”
Won’t Get Fooled Again is very nearly the weirdest episode of Farscape. (It’s not John Quixote, but it’s close.) John finds himself back on Earth as if the Farscape project did NOT hurl him into the uncharted territories. Instead, he actually just crashed the module. Were the past two years all a dream???
Of frelling course not! Being savvy television watchers, we know this. Being a savvy television character, John does, too. After his experiences in A Human Reaction, he wastes no time trying to figure out if it’s real or not. He KNOWS it’s a sham from the moment he wakes up in that nauseatingly green hospital room. It’s not about what’s going on so much as WHY it’s going on, and who’s doing it.
We get numerous callbacks to A Human Reaction as John checks for things they did wrong before. Yet the papers are up to date. The women’s bathroom isn’t a mystery. And even John’s friend and Farscape Project collaborator D.K. made it this time. So what’s going on?
Aeryn’s apparently playing one Dr. Bettina Fairchild, and soon we’re meeting others: Zhaan in a suit, playing psychologist. D’Argo as a pompous fellow astronaut, and Chi (again in red—they learned) an astronaut groupie. Rygel as John’s new boss? (He fills the role well, puffing on stogies.) Even Pilot’s in the band playing the bongos next to Scorpius…
It starts out funny, but soon turns the corner into disturbing territory. This whole thing is a Scarran plot designed, as it turns out, to drive John insane so as to soften him up for interrogation, and it works. Things grow progressively wilder and more disturbing (I did NOT need to see Rygel in a BDSM getup…), pull back to amusing again…and then Crichton’s mom shows up and we’re slingshot way back into disturbing territory.
Browder does an excellent job throughout it all as John bounces from amused to confused to sobbing on the floor and begging the specter of his dead mother to leave him alone.
This episode also has the creepiest-looking Scarran in the series. It’s a mixture of the episode’s atmosphere, the dark room, and those glowing red eyes. The guy looks like a gremlin, really. Evil bastard.
And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for that meddling neurochip and his human! Because this is, finally, where we learn definitively that John’s got something in his head doing it’s own sort of insanity-inducing interrogation as it burrows its way to John’s Ancients-implanted wormhole knowledge. Okay, so in this case it’s a hidden defense that save’s John’s butt, but, really, eww.
And thusly “Harvey” is christened. Harvey also erases John’s memory of the neurochip once John’s out of danger. Dick move, non-existent personality simulation.
This episode takes the “it’s all an illusion” trope that most sci-fi shows try and goes one step further, revisiting it with the Farscape twist. Fun, disturbing, and excellent.
“I’ll be with you always. Keeping you safe.”
John overloads his pulse pistol and shoves it down the Scarran’s throat when he leans in to investigate the sound. What would he have done if it hadn’t leaned down?
Why does Officer Crais have a little dog named Toto? Do we want to know?