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FARSCAPE: "Won't Get Fooled Again"

A preview of Farscape's "mind-bending" new episode

By Anna L. Kaplan     August 14, 2000

Airing on Aug. 18th, the episode of Farscape entitled 'Won't Get Fooled Again,' will delight and surprise viewers. Written by Richard Manning and directed by Rowan Woods, this is the famous episode #14 that cast and crew have been talking about for months now.

At the first Farscape convention, which was held in Los Angles on Aug. 5-6, creator Rockne S. O'Bannon told the audience that 'Won't Get Fooled Again' is an 'acid trip.' The producers also gave Ben Browder, who plays series lead John Crichton, permission to give away this spoiler when he said, 'Boogie or die, man.'

'Won't Get Fooled Again' is an appropriate title. It comes from the song by The Who and John Crichton, who would know this music, quotes other lines from the same song during the episode. He is referring to last season's 'A Human Reaction,' in which aliens looking for a planet to co-habit used Crichton's memories to investigate Earth. For that episode, Kent McCord reprised his role as Crichton's father...sort of. In fact, he was really an alien. McCord of course couldn't say how, but he finds his way back to the show again in 'Won't Get Fooled Again.'

'I just finished episode #14 of this season,' said McCord after returning from Australia. 'I think it's going to be something to really look forward to. This thing is just Farscape on speed. Rowan Woods, who directed ['A Human Reaction'], directed this one. He's a very good director. He's done independent features. He's really good to work with.

'I know that Ben is a big force on the show, a very good influence on the direction that the show is going. All of the people down there are really good to work with. I really enjoy getting down there, even though it's hard--it's far, far away. I would love to be more involved in the show, of course.'

McCord's return was welcomed by the cast, as well. 'That was great to have Kent come over,' said Anthony Simcoe, who stars as the Luxan Ka D'Argo. 'He is such a wonderful actor and a great storyteller, and also just a great person to have on set. He's always a very welcome guest cast member when he comes across.'

So, to get to the real question on fans minds, what's this episode about? 'I'm not allowed to say, unfortunately,' laughs Simcoe. 'But it's really cool.'

But despite the 'code of silence' surrounding the show, Simcoe added that what makes the episode work is what makes the show work, overall. 'I think it's difficult for a show to be able to carry off the mix of drama and comedy and fantasy within the one construct,' said Simcoe. 'When Farscape really succeeds, that's what it does. It manages to tie in all those different ways of storytelling. I think that when we feel we're firing, we're really proud of the fact that we can mix-and-match that up.

'Other shows sometimes sit within the one genre of storytelling. But because of the fantastical universe that Farscape is, because it doesn't take itself too seriously, because it's got tongue-in-cheek with good actors and good directors, we've managed to be able to switch between these different forms of storytelling. That makes it more interesting for the viewer, but also considering the nature of television, much more interesting for us as performers and directors and technicians to work on as well.

'I love that. That's why I absolutely love working on the show. I think there is a great deal of freedom that Sci-Fi, Hallmark and Henson's give us, and that contributes to the freshness and the quality of the work. We don't feel like we're handcuffed. We don't feel like there're people above us trying to squash our creativity. Episode #14 would never get through a network. I'm actually waiting to see whether it will get through ours. But things like that, definitely, those tangential, strange, quirky choices that we sometimes make, are what makes Farscape, Farscape.'

Fans who remember the episode 'Crackers Don't Matter' will recall a demented episode in which the group on Moya starts to have paranoid hallucinations. That episode was written by Justin Monjo, who says that Richard Manning wrote 'Won't Get Fooled Again' to beat 'Crackers Don't Matter.' Director Woods, for one, agrees that the show's truly ambitious for television.

'Episode #14 is probably one of the craziest episodes of TV I have ever been involved in' said Woods. 'Backtracking a little bit, [executive producer] David Kemper pitched it to me earlier in the series, and I said to him, 'David, you've got to get me on that one.' He got me on it, and he gave me a pep talk just before I launched into directing it.

'Actually sitting in Jerry's late at night, down in Studio City, he said, 'Look, I want the fans, I want anyone who watches this episode to just have their jaws scraping on the ground as the end credits role.' I am proud to say that's exactly the effect it has. It's just an amazing piece of writing. Ricky Manning is just so brave and out-there. It's one of those episodes where you think you've seen it all in sci-fi, and then along comes this left-field piece of writing that just surprises you. It's one of those episodes you show to people. I'm so proud of it.'

For fans keeping track of the series constantly evolving storyline, it's important to note that plot developments during 'Won't Get Fooled Again' will propel Farscape into the rest of second season. While the episode is a mind-bender on its own, it also contains a key to the condition of John Crichton. 'Scapers' should have their sets turned onto the Sci-Fi Channel on Friday, Aug. 18, at 6 or 9 p.m. PST to make sure they catch all the action.


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