Mark Watches ‘Farscape’: S03E08 – Green Eyed Monster

In the eighth episode of the third season of Farscape, everything is extremely uncomfortable. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Farscape.

Well, this episode was rough to watch, but goddamn, was it ever worth it. I know that “Green Eyed Monster” was designed to be frustrating, but I must admit that it nearly lost me in the process. It’s been a while since I’ve written about this, but one of my least favorite storytelling devices is using miscommunication to build tension and conflict. That takes numerous forms in fiction. Sometimes, it’s people simply not telling one another the truth for no reason. As much as I loved LOST, I was certainly frustrated that the writers just didn’t have these characters TALK TO ONE ANOTHER. You’re on an island full of mysteries, why aren’t you talking to each other about this. And so you got this situation where you had to keep track of who knew what at which time, and that was not nearly that fun.

Granted, that’s not quite what happens here, but a prime feature of “Green Eyed Monster” is Crichton’s unwavering jealousy, all of which is rooted in A LIE. Like Aeryn says at the end of this episode, Crichton’s always been a stubborn, arrogant person, and that’s certainly on full display here, so it’s not like this is all out of character for him. But oh my god, JUST TALK TO AERYN. STOP ACTING LIKE A JERK. STOP REFERRING TO WHAT MAKES YOU ANGRY WITHOUT ACTUALLY STATING IT. STOP TREATING HER WITH SO MUCH DISRESPECT BECAUSE YOUR MAN FEELINGS GOT HURT.

Of course, this temper tantrum is made a thousand times worse because of the presence of Crais, so I don’t want to ignore that dynamic. It definitely did not help quell Crichton’s suspicions when Crais was so frequently acting… well, suspicious! Incredibly suspicious! Locking Crichton out of rooms, sending him to places he absolutely had no intention of going to, acting all shifty and weird any time Crichton came into a room. Plus, it’s not like Crais isn’t attracted to Aeryn. It’s pretty clear he is, but that is taken so much further by Crichton than it needed to be taken.

And then everything is just so much worse because this is Farscape. At the moment that Crichton sees the video of Aeryn and Crais together (which is creepy and invasive in and of itself, and I wish this episode had made it more clear that he shouldn’t have done that), Aeryn is agreeing to a modified connection with Talyn, all of which exacerbates Crichton’s jealousy to PREVIOUSLY UNSEEN LEVELS OF MANLY EMOTIONS. I know I’m picking on Crichton a lot more than usual, but he’s such an asshole here! Ben Browder, who actually wrote this episode, doesn’t necessarily let Crichton off the hook, though. I think this script does a fine job of showing us how flawed Crichton is when it comes to Aeryn. What’s fascinating to me, though, is how Crichton’s longstanding mistrust of Crais comes into conflict with Crais’s own mutual distrust.

I think I’m pretty squarely in the camp that Crais is a different character than the one we met in the first season. That doesn’t mean he’s so different that there aren’t aspects of his old self in the current state of him. Like Aeryn, he’s spent a life in the Peacekeepers and that’s always going to play a part in his life. You can see his arrogance and stubbornness, too! It’s all over this episode. It’s in his interactions with Aeryn; it’s in all of his frustrated shouting matches with Talyn; and it is certainly in those scenes towards the end where he’s ready to cut Crichton loose and leave him behind.

The problem, of course, is that neither Crais or Crichton is ready to trust the other person, and I think they might never trust one another. Unfortunately, that same mistrust is what causes Talyn to view Crichton as a threat to Aeryn, so much so that he willingly cuts Crichton loose and nearly kills him. Crais’s own bias against Crichton bled into Talyn. WHICH IS FASCINATING, given that this episode reveals that Crais is suffering from cybernetic bleed-back. But there’s nothing I love more than the reveal that Talyn is absolutely and fully his own character, one that can act independent of everyone else in the narrative. It’s not shocking when you consider that he’s part Leviathan, obviously; Moya’s always been a central character on Farscape. But here, Talyn exhibits a kind of independence that’s frightening, since he could ignore both of the neural links and OPENLY LIE TO THOSE CONNECTED TO HIM. He lied to Aeryn by showing her an altered glimpse at Crichton, and he lied by creating a false video file that purported to show Aeryn and Crais having sex. Again, Leviathans have always been living beings, but have we seen this sort of emotional manipulation from Moya? Have we seen her go to such lengths to hide the truth? I imagine that its the Peacekeeper part of Talyn that’s created such a fascinating and complicated characterization, AND I WANT SO MUCH MORE.

But let me be real with myself. As intriguing as all this is, there is one single thing that makes “Green Eyed Monster” worth it now and forever: Aeryn showing Talyn what it means to need someone. Because Talyn is part Peackeeper, there’s a chance he may never fully understand this sensation. It’s such a meaningful display of love because we all know how subversive it is for Aeryn to even feel this kind of shit for anyone, and it’s for Crichton, who is seconds from dying, and I CAN’T FUCKING DO IT. THIS IS TOO MUCH. I know I’ve said that Zhaan was my favorite character, but do not underestimate my undying (GET IT) love for Aeryn Sun. I’d even venture to say that there’s no better written character on this show than her, and her growth and transformation in Farscape is unreal to think about.

And I’m so happy that Ben Browder’s script gave her the space at the end of “Green Eyed Monster” to tell Crichton – in perfect Aeryn Sun brutality – how much she cares about him and how much she absolutely despises him for that. Because the truth is that John Crichton really did ruin Aeryn’s life. He undoubtedly did that! It’s difficult for her to talk about shit like this, but the fact that she’s willing to speaks volumes to how much he’s affected her. The same goes in reverse, and because I’m a LOST fan, Crichton’s whole bit about Aeryn being his constant COMPLETELY DEVASTATED ME FOR AN UNINTENDED REASON. I get what it means in the context of Farscape, but I’ll just entertain my own little romantic headcanon here because y’all. Aeryn Sun is John Crichton’s constant.


The video for “Green Eyed Monster” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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