Apr 17 2013 3:00pm

Farscape Rewatch: “Green Eyed Monster”

Farscape, Green Eyed Monster, TalynGreen Eyed Monster
Written by Ben Browder, directed by Tony Tilse
Season 3, Episode 7

1st US Transmission Date: 22 June 2001
1st UK Transmission Date: 22 October 2001

This episode features the crew of Talyn.

Synopsis: While Rygel and Stark are on recon in a Transport Pod, Talyn is swallowed by a live Budong (‘Home On The Remains’). They manage to anchor the ship inside the gullet and prevent it being digested, their plan being to fly through the stomach and intestines, exiting through its arse.

Aeryn takes a neural transponder and links herself to Talyn and Crais. John finds a PK vid-chip with footage of Crais and Aeryn having sex. Talyn panics and tries to disengage the anchoring cables, and when this fails, he reverses his transponder and takes control of Crais. John is able to stop Crais releasing the cable but he discovers that Talyn’s personality is so strong he can torture Crais, who’s covered in lesions and welts as a result.

Farscape, Green Eyed Monster, Crichton

Stark and Rygel return in their transport Pod and contact Talyn to warn that a Budong’s stomach is a furnace and Talyn would be destroyed—Stark realises they have to make the Budong vomit Talyn free. They use the Pod lure it along a planetary ring, forcing it to swallow ice; Talyn dumps some fuel, and John uses a warhead to ignite it, freeing the ship.

During the escape Talyn tries to kill John by locking him out of the ship; Aeryn saves him by sharing her love for John with Talyn and ripping out the transponder. The vid-chip turns out to be a fabrication, left by Talyn to drive John away because he distrusts him.

Black T: ‘Open the door, you souless, tinheaded, adolescent pig!’ John refuses to trust Crais, despite all his claims that he’s changed, but he still doesn’t shoot him to stop him releasing the cables when he’s possessed by Talyn. With Talyn bonded to Crais and Aeryn, his gun missing, the doors not opening for him, and DRDs keeping him awake all the time, he’s feeling isolated, useless and cranky but he still tries to keep control, do what’s best for the crew, and not let his emotions cloud his judgement or dictate his actions. Understandably, he blames all of this on Crais, especially after seeing the footage of Crais and Aeryn ‘recreating.’ However, when he’s stuck outside the ship he realises that his persecutor is Talyn because Crais wouldn’t risk alienating Aeryn by killing him. He keeps star charts and always uses one star as his point of reference, a star he calls Aeryn.

Farscape, Green Eyed Monster, Aeryn, Crais

You Can Be More: ‘My life has been filled with doing what others think is right. For me, for now, this is right.’ Aeryn thinks Talyn is ‘beyond beautiful’ and she learns how to interface with him very quickly, possibly because she has got some of Pilot’s multi-tasking abilities (‘DNA Mad Scientist’). At one point she calls Crais sir, dropping effortlessly back into her PK role.

Buckwheat the Sixteenth: Rygel reverts to cowardly, self-serving type and swallows the Transport Pod Comms Relay Circuit to prevent Stark contacting Talyn and embarking on the kind of dangerous rescue plan he eventually does embark on. He can vomit at will.

Farscape, Green Eyed Monster, Stark, Rygel

The Man In the Iron Mask: Stark spent five years on a Budong mining colony and saw endless miners disappear into the innards of the space whale; he is something of an expert on the creatures. He’s still manic as all hell, and he joins the illustrious line of characters who’ve given Rygel the punching he so thoroughly deserves. He saves the day and is the hero of the piece, which is a nice change for a character who’s so far been more often a liability than an asset. He now has the dubious distinction of having been puked on by two characters, Pilot and Rygel.

The Insane Military Commander: Crais tries to persuade Talyn that John is not a threat, he calls him an honourable man, but Aeryn blames him for Talyn’s distrust of John because the ship learnt everything from Crais. He suffers extreme pain and lesions as a result of Cybernetic Bleedback from Talyn; the pain is so severe he begs John to kill him to release him from it. His tactic for stealing Aeryn’s affections from John is to get her to bond with the ship and thus with him, no wonder he’s so annoyed when she removes the link. It’s unclear whether Crais was complicit with Talyn’s attempts to kill John; he claims to have tried to talk Talyn around to accepting John, but we have no evidence of that—he remains a character of ambiguous loyalty and suspect motives.

Farscape, Green Eyed Monster, Crais

Big Baby: Talyn does not trust John because he’s non-Sebacean and not a PK. He hides his gun, hassles him with DRDs, fakes a vid-chip to cause tension and eventually locks John outside to try and kill him. His first reaction to any situation is to start firing, and his insistence on focussing on weapons rather than propulsion contributes to his being swallowed. When anchored he wants to rip free and escape, acting against his best interests and forcing Aeryn to short him out and knock him unconscious; he even deploys his weapons against her. In short he is impulsive, hard to control, violent and willing to kill his crew. He has a docking web. His DRDs are a different design to Moya’s. In extreme circumstances he can use the neural transponder to take physical control of Crais. He still responds well to Aeryn’s guidance and she is able to calm him down and teach him control when he’s panicking—had she been in control of Talyn from the start, he’d probably be a far more balanced individual.

The Ballad Of Aeryn And John: ‘I had this life. I liked it, it had rules, I followed the rules and that made everything right. And then you come along and you frell everything up. This strange human, with arrogance, stubborness. You are like a plague, John Crichton, and you have ruined my life. And yet, I just keep coming back.’ John tells Aeryn that he is not her boyfriend or her husband and she can do what she likes, but there’s real bitterness when he tells her ‘it’s always about what you want.’ The vid-chip Talyn created to force John away actually manages to bring them closer, forcing Aeryn to explain her feelings for John. He tells her she is his reference point, his one constant, and they kiss, not for the first time, but this time it looks like the relationship might stick.

Farscape, Green Eyed Monster, Crichton, Aeryn

Alien Encounters: Live Budongs are extremely rare. Their stomachs are furnaces burning at 5000 klanches, which is hot enough to melt everything. They home in on and eat things that generate electromagnetic energy fields.

Disney On Acid: John names three stars Huey, Louie and Dewey, after Donald Duck’s nephews. He refers to Mintaka Three, which was a planet from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode ‘Who Watches The Watchers,’ which was written by Richard Manning, who now writes for Farscape.

Get Frelled: Aeryn tries to defuse John and Crais’s feud: ‘Talyn, you've seen them both naked, perhaps you can tell us who's bigger.’

Seen It All Before: In the Bible: Jonah and the Whale.

Farscape, Green Eyed Monster, Crichton, Crais, Aeryn

Logic Leaps: Why were Crais’s lesion not discovered when Jool examined him in ‘Thanks For Sharing’? If Talyn is anchored above the Budong’s stomach, why does the ice being swallowed by the creature not smash Talyn to bits on its way down?

WHAT did you just say?: Ben’s familiarity with English vernacular shows when John says that Talyn’s mooring control is ‘totally buggered.’

Backstage: It was Rockne S. O’Bannon and David Kemper’s idea to get Ben to write an episode, and it was agreed as far back as the end of Season One. He’s obviously a natural: ‘I love doing it. I absolutely love sitting at a coffee shop writing. 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.’

Farscape, Green Eyed Monster, Crichton, Crais, Aeryn

The Verdict: In an age when so many TV stars have a chance to direct written into their contract, it’s rare indeed to find an actor choosing instead to write for the show they act in. Inevitably there are worries that such a script will be a vanity piece, sanctioned as a way of keeping the star happy. Happily no such situation appends here—Browder’s script is tight, cogent, funny and demonstrates a firm grasp of character, structure and mood. On the basis of this performance it’s no surprise that he will be writing for Farscape at least once during year four.

The episode’s great strength is to take the traditional love triangle story and spin it by having the environment, the ship itself, be a part of the relationship too—it muddies things up, allows all sorts of conflict and emotional re-examinations. Parts of the episode are straightforward character drama that wouldn’t be out of place on a soap opera, but the involvement of Talyn means that despite its familiar themes this is a story that could only be told on Farscape.

Farscape, Green Eyed Monster, Crichton, Aeryn

Verdict redux: I really like this. I love drama built around two or three people in a room, but only in Farscape could the room itself be an additional character. The star-sparkle fade out is cheesy as hell, and the logic leap with the ice does bother me, but these are minor niggles in a very strong character piece.

Scott K. Andrews has written episode guides, magazine articles, film and book reviews, comics, audio plays for Big Finish, far too many blogs, some poems you will never read, and three novels for Abaddon. He is, patently, absurd.

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Colin R
1. Colin R
It's interesting how when actors try their hand at writing or directing, they often make the episode about other characters. I suppose it makes sense if you are directing--it means you don't have to pull double-duty as often!--but Browder is really showing off how well he knows the characters, particularly Aeryn.

Because even though the title suggests it's about Crichton or Talyn, this is really all about Aeryn sorting through everything that has happened, and making a decision. Crais and Talyn are offering her an easy way out of all of her personal conflicts. She can get back part of what she lost--she can be part of a Peacekeeper family again, of a kind. But that would also mean giving up what she gained by leaving the Peacekeepers, closing a door with Crichton. She didn't leave the PKs by choice, but now she has to choose between them and Crichton. Obviously she chooses Crichton, and it's what everyone has been waiting for for three seasons. But it has consequences; everything has consequences now.

And I haven't even gushed about what a great job Tony Tilse did at making Talyn a character, and a frightening one. He feels completely different from Moya, intimidating, cold, and unhinged. And that camera effect they use--I think Browder kept calling it 'Tilse-vision'. It's great. This one of the best Farscape episodes.

(Also, whatever to the Stark-h8ters, I think that the comedy duo he and Rygel form in this arc is pretty great. Paul Goddard beats the hell out of that puppet.)
George Brell
2. gbrell
It's probably my favorite Farscape episode and it's the one I've rewatched the most.

Talyn is just phenomenally done.
Rob Rater
3. Quasarmodo
I questioned whether Talyn would understand how seeing a vid chip of Crais and Aeryn would affect Crichton, but I suppose if Crais is constantly fantasizing about Aeryn, he could've picked up on it that way.

For Seen It All Before, I'd probably go with Pinocchio or The Adventures of Baron Munchausen over Jonah and the Whale, just because both of those forced sneezes to escape (similar to vomiting), whereas Jonah was just let out after a while.
Jack Flynn
4. JackofMidworld
Wow, I had no idea Ben Browder wrote too! I was just watching Justice League Unlimited on Netflix and was shocked when I heard his voice as a cowboy (which is kinda funny to me, since he was also a cowboy in Doctor Who), but that man does everything, doesn't he?
Vicki Smith
5. EclecticMayhem
*Adds Justice League Unlimited to Netflix queue*

I loved his gig in Doctor Who, I was turning cartwheels at the thought of two of my favourite SciFi worlds colliding and was fascinated to know more on how it came about - is Browder a Whovian? Is the Moff a 'Scaper? I still don't know how Moffat feels about Farscape but Browder (and his entire family) are Whovians - yay!

I'd also like to know the history behind Browder turning up in the penultimate episode of Chuck in a tiny wee role as a henchman... was it just a 'jobbing actor' thing, did he like Chuck, were the Chuck team 'Scapers? Who knows?!

One of the things I've always enjoyed about Ben Browder (it's right up there with my enjoyment of his leather trousers) is how unashamedly invested he is/was in the John/Aeryn love story arc. It's beautifully fitting that he got to write the episode where the characters get together and it looks like the relationship will 'stick'.
Liz J
6. Ellisande
@4 he does! he's capable of so much, I just wish he'd do more of it! He needs a new show. Or something. I just want him around more than half an episode of some random thing each year.
Vicki Smith
7. EclecticMayhem
Oooh - I've just had a thought! The three stars John (Black T) names - Huey, Louie and Dewey - are clearly named after Scrooge McDuck's nephews but they could also be referencing the three robots in Trumbull's SciFi classic Silent Running (1972) 'coz I'm betting John Crichton has seen that film...
Joe Henlin
9. RinnicBob
Ben Browder has often said, in the past, how much he enjoys science fiction, personally. And when you boil it down, science fiction is just comedy and tragedy with different sets and costumes.

This episode is simply brilliant! Ben using a reference to Shakespeare, the "Green Eyed Monster" of jealousy, to play off of the green-eyed monster the Budong, and as so well said in the review, having the "stage" itself, Talyn, be part of the love triangle. It's brilliant, plain and simple.

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