Mark Watches ‘Farscape’: S04E22 – Bad Timing

In the twenty-second and final episode of the fourth season of Farscape, fuck you. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Farscape.

Trigger Warning: For body horror.

This is going to hurt for a long time, even if the miniseries rectifies it. Even in the show’s final moments, Farscape demonstrates to me that it doesn’t give a fuck about my feelings or my expectations or common decency or the goodness of the world.

I’m being ridiculous, and this time, I’m totally justified in it.

Previously on Farscape

As infuriating and distressing the final scene of “Bad Timing” is, I don’t want to ignore all the elements that make this such a fantastic finale. Yes, this does not feel like an end because of a few things (and namely one HUGE thing), but there are moments of emotional closure provided by the show. We open with a rapid reminder of the bizarre, wacky, and heartbreaking journey that Farscape has been, and I loved the glimpse at what felt like practically every episode of this four-season long adventure. It was a nice touch.

Trust Eternal

It’s undeniable that the Scorpius in “Bad Timing” is not the Scorpius we met at the end of season one. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have believed that he’d be on Moya, assisting the crew and falling for another character. But this episode makes an important point about his characterization: Hasn’t his circumstance changed? Does that mean his character changed? Crichton rightly points out that at every step of this journey, Scorpius has manipulated him and everyone around him. That’s part of who he is as a character, and that makes his offer to Crichton here a true test of Crichton’s ability to finally trust him. That’s not to say that Aeryn has terrible points, because I think she and D’Argo are right in claiming that Scorpius was willing to uphold the deal he wanted to make to save Earth. He had a clear interest in stopping the Scarrans, and he had the means of securing the Peacekeeper military in order to do so.

For Crichton, though, it comes down to a singular reasoning: He was the one who opened the wormhole to Earth, and he’s the one who’s going to seal it. In that sense, Crichton chooses to trust himself (and his friends) over Scorpius. That needs to happen for the later twist to have as much meaning as it does. Crichton has to choose himself, lose faith, and then gain it back, and it works as a demonstration of the kind of friendship and love he’s developed for the people onboard Moya, as well as for Moya herself.

The Scarran Threat

Y’all, this show’s commitment to continuity is RIDICULOUS. That line about bird-of-paradise flowers in “We’re So Screwed” IS NOW A PLOT POINT. A VERY IMPORTANT ONE. The Scarrans are heading to earth to get more of them and AHHHHHH I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT THROWAWAY LINE WAS NOT A THROWAWAY LINE AT ALL.


Bad Timing

Isn’t this whole show a constant demonstration of bad timing? Has Crichton frequently been in the wrong place at the wrong time? There’s a fascinating commentary of Farscape as a whole in this episode. Things do not go as planned. Destiny is crushed all the time. Sometimes, random chance can ruin everything. So it’s fitting that the end of this journey relies so perilously on the concept of timing. That’s all that Crichton has when he comes up with a plan to eliminate the wormhole. He has timing, and it’ll either be on his side or not. Amidst all of this is the uncomfortable chance that he’ll be stuck back on Earth or he’ll be stuck apart from Earth. Which option means more to him? And does he include Aeryn in this choice? Does he finally commit to her, or is it just shitty timing to have to make such a decision right at this moment?

Y’all, I love that scene in the maintenance bay, though I admit that all of the Aeryn/Crichton scenes hold a bittersweet pall to me because of that thing. But it’s so joyous to see these two finally let down all their walls and open up to one another in a way that doesn’t avoid the elephant in the room. Aeryn insists she’s coming along, and Crichton finally doesn’t fight her. He accepts her decision, and it’s the first step towards what we see in that final scene. (WHY WHYYYYYY?!?!?!?) Maybe, then, this is not bad timing, but perfect timing for Aeryn and Crichton.

hahah who am i kidding it still hurts.


There’s just one scene of Sikozu, Braca, and Scorpius aboard the command carrier, and oh gods, it’s so weird. There’s still a bizarre sexual dynamic between Scorpius and Braca, and I couldn’t help but see it again when Braca watches Sikozu and Scorpius together. Right??? THERE IS SO MUCH UNSAID HERE. And what’s with Scorpius’s demand that they bring Noranti onboard? I should just accept that some of my questions might not be answered.


As I mentioned earlier, Crichton has to doubt himself and his ability to pull off his plan in order for this episode to have as much emotional power as it does. He comes dangerously close to calling Scorpius and agreeing to the Peacekeeper alliance, but it’s Pilot – at Rygel’s insistence, y’all! RYGEL!!! – who tells Crichton there’s now another option. And in what is one of many heartbreaking sequences in this episode, Pilot agrees to be separated from Moya so that he can travel in a transport pod with Crichton/Aeryn and time the wormhole burst correctly. Because we know how important the Pilot/Leviathan connection is, we know how utterly crushing this decision is, and we know that it’s through an extreme sacrifice like this that Crichton’s doubt is alleviated. Of course, if we’re going to talk about sacrifice, then I have to acknowledge that Chiana must be included in this. She sacrifices her own sight in order to slow down all of Pilot’s command sequences for Stark. (This show is never going to tell us why Chiana has these powers, right?) And there’s no magical solution here; she’s blind at the end of the episode, and it seems like it’s permanent. I tend not to like magical healing of disabilities because they usually allow narratives to just not address disability at all. But so far, that hasn’t happened here at all. She’s blind.


I don’t even care if Farscape was being as cheesy and emotionally manipulative as possible with that scene on the moon. Because holy shit, that punched me direct in my heart, and I’m so thankful it happened. Visually, it’s a stunning sequence, one of the more surreal things that this show has ever done. But if this was going to be the last episode of the show, then there needed to be some conclusions. That scene gave us closure between John and Jack. By ripping our hearts out, yes, but Crichton was giving up his chance to ever come home again in order to save Earth. I suppose there’s a chance that Crichton could find another wormhole somewhere close to home, but it’s a slim chance, one that doesn’t affect the emotional power of Crichton’s goodbye to his father.

It’s fitting, then, that Crichton thanks his father by standing right next to a manifestation of his father’s bravery and resolve. These two have had such a complex relationship on this show and that’s especially the case for season four. As much as they’ve fought, they do respect and love one another. Their final words to one another are… goddamn, y’all.I CAN’T.

I’m not ashamed at how much this episode made me cry.

Good Timing

You know what’s ironic? I was convinced this show was bold enough to kill off Pilot, so that’s what I was worried about. :: continues to laugh until the tears return ::

They did it. They closed the wormhole. They saved Pilot’s life and reunited him with Moya. They did the impossible.

Bad Timing

I’m sure there’s been a lot written about this ending, and I’m sure there’s some meta shit going on here. On one level, it’s a bold move because no one ever does this. You’re not supposed to end your series on this kind of tragedy. You’re not supposed to lull your audience into a sense of calm and protection, only to destroy that in the final seconds. You’re not supposed to do something that quite literally explodes any chance at closure. But this is Farscape, a show that brings up tropes regularly and then constantly subverts them or heaves them off a cliff and does whatever it can to be different.

Which is not to say that this was done just for the sake of it. I don’t know how the fuck the miniseries is going to address this or rectify it because I BARELY UNDERSTAND WHAT JUST HAPPENED. But I imagine that since I personally know there’s more story here, I can start to get over the shock and pain. Because as I’m sure was the case for each of you, this is perhaps the most upsetting series finale I have ever experienced or will ever experience. After Aeryn confirms that her child is Crichton’s and that she’s released the fetus from stasis, Crichton proposes to her, and this long, complicated relationship is finally brought to its end.

By a random spaceship inhabited by some fucked-up alien whose head opens up and who shoots Aeryn and Crichton as they kiss and they shatter into a trillion pieces and they’re dead and D’Argo’s screams are going to haunt me until the end of time and I hate this show and I LIED, I’M NOT EVER GOING TO GET OVER THIS. WHAT THE FUCK. HOW CAN YOU DO THIS.

Because this is Farscape.

You can download the video for “Bad Timing” here for $0.99. We will be watching the Peacekeeper Wars miniseries in two parts, split in half at 90 minutes a piece! Then, Mark Watches In The Flesh will begin on Thursday morning.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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