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Episode Guide
John Quixote


Not just a pretty face:This episode was written by Farscape lead Ben Browder. It's the second script he's contributed to the series, his writing debut being season three's Green-eyed Monster.

Interviewed by Entertainment Tonight Online, he said "The thing that I love about writing is that you are alone with your thoughts and you are totally responsible for the story at that point, as opposed to being a part of it. You are creating something anew; you're creating something for the first time in total, whereas in acting you are doing part of a story and you are interpreting."

Tongue-spotting: Only one bit of oral action from D'Argo in this episode - tonguing Chiana into unconsciousness.

Spanish castles: John Quixote is a pun on the title of fifteenth century Spanish novellist Cervantes masterwork, Don Quixote de la Mancha, about a knight who imagines grave threats which he then defeats, causing woe and hardship to himself and all around. In the most famous passage from the book, Quixote attacks a windmill, beliving it to be a giant.

My side, your side: Paul Goddard returns to reprise the semi-regular character Stark, last seen leaving to search for Zhaan (despite her being dead) in season three's Choices. It's a strange place to find him, but anything is possible when it comes to Stark, as he's previously survived the complete dissolution of his body, in season two's The Ugly Truth. One little detail may give a clue to whether he's real here or not - his metal faceplate has swapped sides.

Insert credit to continue:The theme of games which mimic reality has been dealt with on screen a few times, including the Red Dwarf episode Back to Reality. The best treatment, however, was in David Cronenberg's 1999 film ExistenZ, which also featured fleshy "game-pods."

Back and Back and Back to the last season: During John's "return" to Moya there are several clues that all isn't right. No Sikozu or Noranti, for one thing; plus Pilot still has four arms, and D'Argo is wearing his season three threads.

Big, blue and belligerent : The role of Zhaan's big, male alter-ego is played by Rowan Woods, who's better known as one of Farscape's hardest-working directors. Credits to his name include A Human Reaction, Nerve, Won't Get Fooled Again, Die Me, Dichotomy and Into The Lion's Den part 2: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, plus many more. Obviously Ben Browder is very persuasive, or has something on Mr Woods that convinced him that shaving his head and submitting to a blue makeover was a good idea.

The John Crichton guide to pop culture.

With this episode being set inside a world based on Crichton's memories, there's plenty of room for pop culture references.

Game on: The surreal, brightly coloured world in the game has a look straight out of a platform game, such as the Mario and Sonic series. A path marked by coins is also a staple of this type of game - although here collecting 100 of them doesn't seem to buy you another life.

H.h.have a n.nice day! The late 1980's cyberpunk series Max Headroom is spoofed by the appearance of a computer-generated head of John Crichton on a television set, complete with Max's trademark glitches and stutters.

In the original series, investigative journalist Edison Carter's (Matt Frewer) features and brain pattern are scanned into a computer, creating an artificial lifeform that calls itself Max Headroom. Max went on to have his own video jukebox show on Channel 4.

Headroom John finishes his first speech by stuttering out "Erp, erp," - the word Aeryn misheard "Earth" as in the Premiere.

Life, the Universe and Everything: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series also gets a strong nod during the lift scene, when the Crichton on TV is complaining about only ever going up and down. He, like the lifts in the Hitchhiker's Guide publishing offices in Douglas Adams' second book, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, would like to go sideways, just for once.

Grimm (virtual) reality: Many of the game's themes are based on fairy tales. There's the Princess who must be kissed, and her Ogre guardian, D'Argo's mad Hansel and Gretel scenario, a Scarran wearing a little red riding hood, plus the goose which lays golden eggs, sitting in Stark's filing cabinet. The giveaway is the game manual - emblazoned with the words "A Grim Fairy Tale" in a takeoff of the famous Brothers Grimm anthology.

Neo-Scorpius : There's a Matrix-like moment during John's second visit to the Gammak Base level of the game. Scorpius shows John how he sees the gameworld by disappearing Gilina in a puff of equations, in a style similar to Neo's final confrontation with the Agents at the climax of the 1999 blockbuster.

Going underground: "Mind the gap!" says Stark. Maybe this is a hint of Paul Goddard's London origins - as any London traveller knows, it's a message often heard on the London Underground.

The Knights who say Frell : "None shall pass!" declaims proud knight Rygel, before unleashing fiery doom from his bottom. It's a moment straight out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, as Crichton quickly realises. In the 1975 comedy, King Arthur similarly meets a Black Knight who bars the way. Even after the loss of his arms and legs, he still won't give up the fight, shouting "Come back here and take what's coming to you! I'll bite your legs off!"

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