Hallucinogenic, bizarre and confusing - John Quixote probably takes us as far into the mind of writer Ben Browder as we'll ever want to go.
This reference-saturated, colour-drenched tale of virtual reality won't have been to all tastes, but no-one can accuse Browder of doing the obvious. Here he pulls out all the visual stops - imagine Mario vs Alice in Wonderland on acid, and you'll be about halfway there.
Today's audiences aren't gullible enough to be taken in by the device of the game that doesn't end. We've all seen it before, and expect the obvious twist. But John Quixote did almost pull off the trick - and rewarded those too smart to be fooled with little tip-offs like D'Argo's dated costume.
Another treat was seeing the characters play against their roles, something Farscape does well and often. The cast did a brilliant job of bringing their ludicrous characters to life, with Claudia Black's lisping, fluttering temptress and Lani Tupu's brash and beery ogre particularly amusing. The mincing or deadly virtual Scorpiuses (Scorpii?) almost made up for the loss of the late lamented Harvey, and there was the delight of seeing characters thought lost once more.
With a mix as heady as this, even fans who praise Farscape's imagination and unpredictability may have found John Quixote a bit much to take. And those wishing to carp at Browder's scripting style could point to the fact that he's put himself firmly centre stage for the second time running.
Such reckless creativity, humour and madcap stylishness deserves applause though, and this episode is surely headed for classic status amongst gamers at least.
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