Episode Guide > Season Three > Green-eyed Monster

US OAD: June 22, 2001

Written by: Ben Browder

Directed by: Tony Tilse

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Summary:

Still hiding from the Peacekeeper retrieval squad and separated from Moya, Talyn and his crew must make do with a difficult situation. For John, this includes DRDs that work above his quarters 24 hours a day, cold showers, and doors that open for everyone except him. To make matters worse, Wynona (pulse pistol) is missing and John has had quite enough of being pushed by Crais' obvious lack of respect for the human.

John confronts Crais, who claims ignorance as to the whereabouts of the missing gun. Aeryn, stuck between the two male egos, is more concerned with returning Talyn to health and full operational order. However, while everyone's attention is turned toward John and Crais, Talyn slowly approaches a small obstruction hovering within the ice rings of a nearby planet. Realizing too late that the object is actually a Budong, Talyn is unable to react quickly enough to avoid being swallowed whole by the giant space-faring creature. The crew manages to attach Talyn to a wall inside the creature, stabilizing the ship long enough to devise a plan.

Blasting the creature is out of the question - Talyn's main gun is damaged. Crais decides to guide Talyn through the creature's gastrointestinal system and fly out its rear end. John is not convinced Talyn, who is easily agitated, has the maturity to make such a journey without panicking. It turns out Talyn isn't the only one feeling a little tension. John is annoyed that he keeps getting locked out of command when it is occupied by Crais and Aeryn. John is called to Crais' quarters, but finds nothing but a Peacekeeper video chip lying on a table. Always curious about other people's business, John gives in to temptation and plays the video.

The video shows Aeryn offering herself to Crais while John was in the custody of Scorpius during LGAM part 3. At the time, Aeryn was desperate for help in rescuing John and was willing to pay any price for Crais and Talyn's assistance. Of course, the clip was taken out of context in such a way that Aeryn appeared to be propositioning Crais. The following scene showed Crais in bed with Aeryn - they were not playing cards. The look on John's face was that of a man stung by betrayal. However, the situation with the Budong required John's immediate attention and he placed the Crais/Aeryn revelation to the side, to be dealt with later.

Convinced by Crais that the situation involving Talyn is desperate, Aeryn decides to take the Hand of Friendship. Joining with Crais and Talyn, Aeryn hopes to provide the Leviathan gunship with the confidence necessary to undertake the dangerous journey. John, already reeling from the video revelation, realizes there is no room for him in the new trio and leaves command. Aeryn's intentions are correct for the situation, but John interprets Aeryn joining with Crais and Talyn as a sign of betrayal. John has no desire to witness the joining process, so Aeryn completes the procedure without his support.

Returning from a reconnaissance mission, Stark and Rygel return to the rendezvous point and find Talyn missing. Narrowly avoiding the Budong, Stark desperately attempts to communicate with Talyn's missing crew. Aeryn, now learning Talyn's systems, manages to establish a communications link with Stark. Informed that Talyn is inside the beast, Stark tells everyone that there is no hope for Talyn and its crew. Crais' plan to navigate the Budong's insides will meet with disaster when Talyn enters the stomach region. Stark's dire prediction sends Talyn into panic and his crew scrambling for another plan. Rygel, apparently of the belief that waiting for Talyn to die is a waste of time, wants to cut and run. During the struggle with Stark, Rygel expels vomit, covering the former slave with stinking Hynerian fluid. It turns out the experience gives Stark a moment of inspiration and he develops a plan to help his friends.

Stark and a somewhat reluctant Rygel must lure the Budong into the ice rings in a desperate attempt to free Talyn. Unfortunately, Talyn believes the plan will go better if John isn't around to interfere with Aeryn. Left to die in the Budong, John's only hope rests with Aeryn, Crais, and some explosive Budong indigestion.

Analysis:

Much has been said about the fact that this episode was written by Ben Browder, the actor that plays John Crichton. However, the fact that an episode is written by an actor does not make it special. Had GEM been a stinker would it still be considered special just because Ben wrote it? My guess is that it would not be. Special episodes are those where the writers, actors, directors, and production staff work together creating a story that advances Farscape. What makes GEM special isn't that Ben wrote it, but that it was written by someone with a keen understanding of the characters that are the essence of the show. Knowing the characters the way Ben obviously does, means writing character interaction that is believable, but not necessarily predictable. Offering such a story, within the make-believe world of Farscape, is where GEM succeeds.

GEM throws four important characters, black John, Aeryn, Crais, and Talyn into a situation that none are particularly comfortable with. Yet, to survive in an extreme situation, they must struggle to overcome their own animosities and work together. Isn't this the essence of Farscape? That the characters must overcome each other before saving the day is what makes Farscape a unique science fiction show. The primary story of GEM isn't that The Budong has swallowed Talyn; it's how the characters interact with each other.

John still distrusts Crais with a passion. I believe John's distrust goes deeper than Crais chasing the crew in season one. In Family Ties, John, worn by life on the run, opened himself to Crais in a way that is rare among males. It takes a great deal of trust for one man to cry in front of another, yet that is exactly what John did. John trusted Crais, to the point of releasing him amongst a wary and vulnerable crew. Unfortunately, when Crais abandoned Moya, he placed the crew's lives in greater danger. For John, the double-cross, no matter Crais' real intention, cut deep. Though the crew survived that particular ordeal, John has never forgiven Crais. Now, one-and-a-half cycles later, John finds himself on a ship captained by Crais. Already paranoid about Crais' intentions, John can only watch as Aeryn takes the Hand of Friendship. There is a triangle developing between Aeryn, Crais, and Talyn and the human is odd-man-out.

Crais is obviously pleased to have Aeryn on board Talyn. However, the look of surprise on his face when John came aboard during TFS suggests Crais isn't happy the human tagged along. It is revealed that John is the least of Crais' problems. The former Peacekeeper captain could barely control the Leviathan gunship when it was an infant, but now the gunship has reached the terrible-twos. Over time, Talyn has become powerful and strong willed, to the point that he now threatens Crais. During times of stress, such as being inside a Budong, Talyn's emotions become so strong that he actually takes over Crais. The physical manifestation of this phenomenon, which covers Crais' body with painful lesions, is called cybernetic bleed-back. Crais' only hope is that Aeryn will be a more positive influence on the Leviathan child.

To this point in the series, Talyn has been featured in only a handful of episodes. Like a veil, the mystery of his character is slowly lifted as GEM progresses, providing a revealing look at the enigmatic Leviathan. Talyn is a child - a devious, possessive, and impulsive child with life and death control over everyone onboard him. This is particularly true for John, who is manipulated and eventually threatened by Talyn's own jealously and distrust of the human. Talyn tried turning John against Aeryn by placing a video chip, containing damning images of Aeryn and Crais, where John would find it. Finally, Talyn decides to rid the crew of John altogether by abandoning him inside the Budong. Only when Aeryn reveals why she needs John does Talyn spare the human.

In GEM, one character is both the focus of everyone's jealousy and the key to success by resolving the crisis - Aeryn. Of all those on board, only Aeryn seems to be working with a clear head. As the Budong was swallowing Talyn, John made the suggestion of dropping anchor, but Crais and Talyn scoffed at the idea. Not blinded by jealousy, Aeryn quickly recognized the value of John's idea and set into motion plans to carry it out. When it became clear that Crais desperately needed Aeryn's help to control Talyn, she didn't hesitate to take the Hand of Friendship. Aeryn, in spite of the males surrounding her, attacked each problem with focus worthy of a Peacekeeper.

GEM is a complex story that is so character driven, the impressive special effects of the Budong seem almost superfluous. The story is tight and has enough action and drama to please almost any scaper. The sexual tension permeating this episode, along with the final scene between John and Aeryn, make it clear that this episode was written by more than a major shipper, but a hopeless romantic as well. A job well done to everyone involved with making Green Eyed Monster.

 

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