|"Green Eyed Monster"|
In everyone's heart, it's all about Aeryn...
Click here to read the Farscape World synopsis for this episode.
Whilst watching "Green Eyed Monster", I found myself just looking for things to pick at. Errors, gaping plot holes, bad dialogue – anything just to prove I could say the episode was bad even though Ben Browder wrote it. Everyone has made such a big deal out of it, and expected so much from it, including myself, and I was just waiting for it to be a let down. I still think that a few people are only of the opinion that this episode is good just because our lead star's name is attached to it, but not me. Like I say, I was looking for problems, but ultimately I found none. Sure, it's not perfect, but then what hour-long episode of TV is? It's a rarity, that's for sure, but nevertheless I just found myself being drawn into this episode and being gripped throughout. The reason? That's simple – it was a character piece. I'm a sucker for character shows, episodes that just really flesh out the characters. After all, it's the characters that drew me in to the show and prompted my fandom, so much as I created this website as an ode to the show.
The great thing about the characters in this episode is that they all stayed true to themselves. You can tell that Ben has an insight missing from all but a select few regular writers – he really knows these characters. The other great thing was just who it was we were seeing. We knew next to nothing about Talyn, and yet here he becomes so much more, and we also knew relatively little about Crais, particularly, but not limited to, his relationship with Talyn. Despite being one of the original characters in the series, except Jool, he has actually been in the least number of episodes. So it was nice to see a lot more of him (in the character sense), and that's something I think the current situation with the crew being split can really add to the show. It will only be temporary, I'm sure by the end of the season the crew will be one again, but until then we have the opportunity to really explore the characters in more depth. This is no more prominent than this episode, which only involves six characters, with the main plot revolving around four of them, leaving the other seven main characters (including Scorpius) out of it. Plus of course, it saves money, as there's no need to have two Crichtons on screen at once!
One of the greatest things, that is proven in this episode, is that none of these characters are just typical two-dimensional television characters. They are presented in fully three-dimensional technicolor in Farscape, and this is particularly evident with Crais. All the way back in Premiere, Crais was a bit of a cardboard cut-out villain. But even from his second appearance (That Old Black Magic), he has gradually grown into a multi-layered character, whose motives are never quite clear, and no doubt has more plots up his sleeve than the Nebari government. Make no bones about it – he's still as devious as ever. He started as the villain, avenging his brother's death, and soon things came full circle and he became the victim of his own hatred. Then he took off on Talyn, and we hardly saw him, except for when he popped up at the end of season two. But we never knew for sure what his reasons were. We found out that he engineered the birth of Talyn (The Way We Weren't), so we all suppose that was why he wanted him. Maybe he saw Talyn as his "baby", but then what is their relationship? Up until now, I always perceived it to be a sort of teacher/father-pupil/son relationship, but here comes the revelation that Talyn has actually been doing a lot of his free will, and that he even has some degree of control over Crais. This is interesting, because it brings to the fore the question of will Crais be able to accomplish whatever goal he has (assuming he does have one) with Talyn being able to control him. I hardly think Crais knew this cybernetic bleed-back might happen when he first took off on Talyn. It's just one of those things that is indirectly implied here, but is left up to the viewer to interpret themselves.
In fact, a lot of what went on here was implied as opposed to spelled out. A lot of what happens between John and Aeryn is implied, and to a degree you may not get some things if you don't know the characters as well as most fans do. I found myself realising that John, when he first sees the vidchip, reacts exactly how he would have early on in the series. He kind of reverts back to his "human" side, and does what any other human would do in the same situation – gets extremely jealous. Not only that, but he also would rather give Aeryn a hard time and the cold shoulder than actually talk about it. It crossed my mind that had it been other people, even those close to him, he would not have reacted quite so harshly (in fact a similar thing happens to D'Argo, only for real, in Suns and Lovers). He just felt rejected. Rejected by the woman he loved, and of course it was made a hundred times worse since she was doing it with one of the men he trusts the least, and dislikes the most. One constant that has always remained between Crais and the rest of the crew, is that despite everyone else's views, John has never trusted, and always disliked Crais. After everything Crais put him through, who can blame him? But as Crais says here, and he had similar sentiments in Family Ties, they have come full circle and it's now John that always ends up wanting to kill Crais. Of course, the animosity works both ways, and Crais is by no means innocent of it – he wants John gone just as much as John wants him gone. And the key to the relationship is the radiant Officer Aeryn Sun.
Aeryn clearly feels torn in this episode, as she has in a way since Crais first started to show some affection in Mind the Baby, only this time, by the end of the episode, she has really seen Crais' true colours. For Crais lied to her about John being spaced; whether Crais was in on it with Talyn all along or not, it's clear to her (and everyone else) that Crais is the one who taught Talyn everything he knows, and hence taught Talyn to feel threatened by John. Yet despite his attempts, when John's life is in danger Aeryn sees through the smokescreen and realises that John is alive, and in a touching moment, to try to persuade Talyn to let John in, she shows Talyn what it is for her to need John, and this is something that is really one of the core foundations for their relationship. Out of all the crew, particularly in the beginning, they were both out of their worlds. John was physically drawn from his, and she was expelled from hers, and so in a sense they were both alien to their situation, and it's only natural that they fell back on each other, and have grown to a point now where they can't really be without each other. That also brings up an interesting question of how the John on Moya will handle being away from her. She certainly has an effect on men! But in the end she is loyal to Moya, Talyn and the core crew, over Crais, or even her mother. And I really did believe her when she said that she would be loyal to Talyn over her mother, and that shows how much these people mean to her.
As for Talyn, he is presented here as more of a character than he has ever been, and despite being limited to the occasional sound effect, he is really brought to life, and gets some great characterisation. Through the, quite frankly, awesome performances of the three key actors, we really get to know something about the way Talyn thinks. He's clearly not fully matured, he's definitely an adolescent, and is still acting irrationally and at times immaturely, but it also becomes clear in this episode that he has learnt most of what he knows from Crais, and that can severely affect his judgment. He is totally against John being with Aeryn, and reacts as such, really in exactly the same way as Crais does, only without the tact that Crais has. However it's also clear that the one he perhaps remains most loyal to is Aeryn herself – maybe he sees her as something of a surrogate mother.
Another great thing about this episode for me was Stark and Rygel. They're a great comedy duo, and were written as such here, but I also think it's clear that, much like Rygel, Stark can actually be a valuable member of the crew. He clearly has knowledge that none of the other crewmembers possess, and as they say, "knowledge is power". I do happen to like Stark's character, and I really think he's a valuable member of the show, only sometimes he's not written very well. Here though, I think it was pretty good, in that the comedy, which some people perceive as annoying, was actually balanced, and in fact was used to fuel his plan to solve the problem. And not for the first time, despite the hitches, his plan worked.
There was of course that beautiful moment with Aeryn and John at the end (and I did try to ignore the twinkling star at the end!), but it's really hard to put into words. Whilst this happy moment will no doubt spell much more trouble for the two in the future (it always does), I like these moments, and no, I'm not a big shipper, I just think they're great emotional character pieces, and really add layers to the characters. But this one was so well done that it's very hard to analyse. Suffice to say it needs to be seen – it's a great summary of the two and a half year relationship.
Basically, this review has been all praise, and I'm sorry for going on so long, but it really does deserve it, not because it was written by Ben Browder (although he does deserve credit as it was very well done – love the references!), but rather because it was a superb insight into these characters, and one of the core relationships of the show. Not only was it outstanding in that respect, but also "the man" Tony Tilse deserves a deluge of credit for doing yet another marvellous job directing this episode; the close-ups and angles were just perfect. He knows how to bring and episode to life, and I really don't know how he manages to keep it up – this is his fourth (out of eight!) episode this season alone. He's certainly a veteran. All the visuals were superb – the special effects were great and yet subtle, and the musical score was so fitting. There are so many ways the story can go from here, particularly with the crew split up, that I am just loving it, and to coin a phrase from my fellow staff member Mary Wood, "enjoy the ride". And what a superb ride it is.
I love to hear your views, whether you agree or disagree, so feel free to e-mail me your feedback. Review by Dani Moure.
To see Mary Wood's review of "Green Eyed Monster", click here.
Did You Know?
Whilst Crais generally has a degree of control over Talyn, during times of high emotion cybernetic bleed-back via Crais' transponder can allow Talyn to gain some control over Crais.
Aeryn pledges her loyalty to Talyn and the crew over her mother.
The crew still believe that Crais killed the real Scorpius.
It's possible that Crais may have prompted Talyn to lie to Aeryn and pretend John had been spaced.
Both Talyn and Crais have affection for Aeryn, and will clearly do a lot to gain some from her.
John's line, "That's no moon... that's a budong!" is a reference to Star Wars, when Luke and co. come across the Death Star and say, "That's no moon... that's a space-station!"
Aeryn's line, "Still nothing... pitch black." is a reference to the breakout Australian film she starred in back in 1999, entitled Pitch Black.
John's follow-up line, "Could'a, would'a, should'a brought a flashlight." is a reference to the saying, which is also the title of a David Kemper episode from earlier this season, "Self Inflicted Wounds, Part 1: Could'a, Would'a, Should'a".
Mind the Baby
The Ugly Truth
Liars, Guns and Money, Part 3: Plan B
Die Me, Dichotomy
Season of Death
Thanks for Sharing
Ben Browder adds some fantastic lines to this episode, and since one is just not enough, here are just a selection:
Aeryn: "Talyn, you've seen them both naked... perhaps you can tell us who's bigger."
John: "That's no moon... that's a budong!"
Aeryn: "Still nothing... pitch black."
John: "Could'a, would'a, should'a brought a flashlight."
Stark: "They're just not here!"
Rygel: "None of you deficients can properly read a chart!"
John: "I've seen my share of hardware insertion. I'm not watching."
Aeryn: "It's been modified ... Less invasive; it's safer."
John: "Yeah, it's new, it's improved, it's the finger of friendship! $19.95! But wait kids, there's more..."
Aeryn: "What is the matter with you?"
Aeryn: (about Talyn) "He is beyond beautiful!"
Crais: "Welcome to our world, Officer Sun."
Stark: "You're loose!"
Rygel: "Not half as loose as Chiana!"
Crais: "You'll have to shoot me."
John: (shoots the panel instead) "See Crais, I don't have to kill you."
Crais: "I wish you had!"
Crais: "No, her transponder is limited; she will not be harmed by Talyn."
John: "You cockroach!"
Aeryn: (to Crais) "You're not going to make it out the door in your current condition." (Crais tries to get up) "Why doesn't anyone ever listen to me?"
Stark: "Vomit. Come in, please. Vomit." (to John and Aeryn over comm.) "I know how we're going to get you out of there – vomit."
John & Aeryn: "Vomit?"
Rygel: (to Stark) "No, Sebaceans are ugly, not stupid."
John: (to Talyn) "Open the door you soulless, tin-headed adolescent pig!"
Aeryn: "You are like a plague John Crichton, and you have ruined my life, and yet, I just keep coming back..."
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|Season 3, Episode 8 - "Green Eyed Monster"|
|Writer: Ben Browder|
Director: Tony Tilse
|Production number: 10308|
First UK Transmission: 22nd Oct 2001
First US Transmission: 22nd Jun 2001
None (credited cast only)