Leisure: Episode analysis, please!greenspun.com : LUSENET : Aeon Flux : One Thread
One of my favorite episodes of Aeon Flux is a "short," titled _Leisure_. I beg you to help me understand what I think is going on in that episode.
My impression is that Aeon is basically going grocery shopping - except these "eggs" are more like pleasure stimulants. It's hard for me to analyze this without getting too blatant about sexuality - so please stop reading if you may be offended by what I will write next.
Ok. First, what's up with the gimp/pet slave Trevor in the cupboard? How come he's not "getting off" on the eggs? He's just licking them like Cadburys or something, while Aeon seems pretty ticked off that he's hogged all the eggs in her cute Tupperware...
So Aeon goes outside to "warm up" on a replica of the alien's natural defense grid. She "tsks, tsks" the poor girl outside (is she practicing to "go egg shopping" too?) and does this spectacular aerial ballet manuevering through this bizarre jungle gym. (Yeah, RIGHT this could work in a live action movie ;)
Anyways, Aeon decides to go get those darn eggs. She approaches this base/crashed space ship...and by golly - IT'S SHAPED LIKE A GLOVE! Question 2: What's the symbolism of that shape?
After crawling through the inner workings of the ship, she ends up near the egg chamber. (I'm working from memory alone, so please bear with my mistakes) Once inside, she begins to work collecting the eggs, stopping to drop one, right underneath herself. Obviously, there is something VERY special about these eggs, because we get to see Aeon exhibit some very sensual reactions to the egg. (I think she has an orgasm) Aeon's so overwhelmed by this egg, she grabs part of the "curtain folds" of the wall, and puts a nice "tear" in it. Somewhere in the picture also, we see some nice 3-tailed squirmy creatures.
Question 3: What do you think those "squirmy" creatures are?
Most of what happens next is fairly straightforward to me. AF, in her most sexy way, obtains much pleasure by playing a sadistic tamagochi game with her alien embyro - snipping off its limbs, and skewering it. The sounds of her enjoyment during this are particularly sexy as well.
Inevitably mother nature has her way with Aeon, and she is caught and killed by a sentry alien. End of story - but I would gladly ask anyone to please try to provide some answers for the above three questions, and in the process, ask some of your own.
I think that it's a fascinating episode that shows a very vulnerable and Freudian side of Aeon Flux.
-- steven h. osugi (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 18, 1998
This is also my favorite episode, in fact, I named my Aeon Flux virtual world after it. But more on that in a later post, let's get on with the episode analysis. From what I've read, Chung created this episode based upon several themes: 1) Placing Aeon into the role of the antagonist we love to hate, so that when she died we felt it appropriate because of the horrible things she had done. He wanted us to cheer her death, from what I understand. 2) He was inspired by watching the klingon-federation conflicts in Star Trek VI and thought it interesting how they represented human racial conflicts using aliens, so there's a bit of that in "Leisure". As for the eggs, I think they're some sort of high commodity, well, obviously I suppose, considering the effort these people go through to obtain them (the other woman struggling through difficult training on the snare). It seemed that for Aeon these were just some kind of food source (?) or possibly she was going to sell them for money, who knows. As for Trevor in the cabinet, The unpublished 3rd season bible that Chung wrote states that this guy is an imperfect clone of Trevor that Aeon uses as a sex slave. The hand-shaped ship... I'm not sure about that. It's definitely some kind of oppressive image. I'll post more if I can think of anything. Oh, a question: What was that facility we see in the beginning? A kitchen? A lab?
-- Mat Rebholz (email@example.com), April 19, 1998.
>>What do you think those "squirmy" creatures are?
I think they are the males. There are precidents in biology for the male to be a kind of stunted parasite. These odd squirmy creatures are in my opinion what the female alien/lifeform mates with.
I do agree that these eggs have some kind of pleasure giving quality. And unlike one person's answer in this thread, Aeon uses the eggs for pleasure. Maybe she does sell them too, but it's obvious she gets off on them.
>>How come he's not "getting off" on the eggs? It looks like he is to me!
Also, does anyone notice that the alien/lifeform also appears in Peter Chung's MTV splash "Loaded"? Except it doesn't have the Trevor-like head.
-- Robert (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 20, 1998.
It's obvious that Aeon is getting pleasure, but I think not chemically. Rather, I think she's getting sadistic enjoyment out of tormenting these beings. Maybe she holds a grudge...
-- Mat Rebholz (email@example.com), April 20, 1998.
The room at the start is a lab - it's locked and full of test samples.
Spaceship shaped like a glove? Yeah, but it is actually like that all the way round. From overhead it looks like a flower.
The Quadrupeds in 'Loaded' are the males, with no mouth so they can't eat the eggs and a third eye, great for going on guard.
-- Philip Mills (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 22, 1998.
hmm. it would appear as though tis question has been covered. still, i would like to give some different oppinions, just for the sake of arguement. No one here seemed to notice that just brfore aeon slammed the door on slave-Trevor, she reached for something hanging on the door that looked an awful lot like an S&M whip. This may have something to do with the title. She forgoes the "leisure" of doing her wierd sex thang with Trevor in order to get these important eggs. I don't think it would be right to say that aeon was "warming up" to go get the eggs. She doesn't get the idea to jump through the lattice-work until she sees the blonde chic fail and decides to show off. It seems to me that aeon is in some sort of training complex. Remember, she doesn't become a mercenary character until the third season, before that she seems to be workinf for some sort of Monican spy operation. I always thought the room was the kitchen of her apartment(it looks a lot like sybil's kitchen, and why would the bondage trever clone be in some lab?) Also, aeon may not be having an orgasm from the egg, she might just disgust herself because of what she's about to do. She has a big frown on her face as she gets out the tomagochi thing and starts torturing the embryo. I basicall agree with the ides that those squiggly things are the males. They do look a little like sperm :-)
-- Frostbite (email@example.com), April 26, 1998.
I tend to disagree with a lot of frostbite's analysis. She *is* warming up to get the eggs. The blond girl is training, (note: not necessarily specifically to get eggs, but for the kind of acrobatics in evidence throughout the series [stepping through lazers, avoid the mesh in the opening sequence, etc]) however the blond girl is not as skilled as Aeon. After the girl takes her turn, Aeon goes for a quick run through to make sure her skills are up to speed. Aeon once went through what the blond girl is going through, and is not just taking a quick refresh before going off to the real world (something the blond girl would not yet do, I imagine).
Also, Aeon is indeed getting pleasure from the egg and manipulation of the embryo. It makes no sense to say she disgusts herself because of what she is about to do, because she would simply not do it. Her frown is only one of concentration. She is intent on her sadism. Incidentally, one of Peter Chung's posts confirms this analysis. He was trying to see how immoral he could make Aeon and still have the viewer identify with her. These are his words.
-- P D (Snazzman@Hotmail.com), May 04, 1998.
I agree that the pink thing in the cupboard is a whip or something, but I thought Aeon was going to 'punish' CIS-3 for eating her eggs, but changed her mind when he offered her some.
As for the grid maze - notice that the training frame ends at the same point Aeon is caught in the ship. She could not practice beyond that point.
Perhaps the squiggly things in the egg chamber are the Quadruped's food - after all, they're almost in a desert.
Btw, in case it hadn't been pointed out, the ship had crashed as you can tell from the angle it's resting in and the huge trough it left in the ground. I find it strange that these creatures are still here and haven't repaired their ship, begun colonizing the area, or moved on to somewhere safer (like anywhere away from Aeon). I don't like to call them aliens because, after seeing some of the other stuff on this Earth, they could easily have come from say another continent. There's no evidence that the ship is a spacecraft rather than an aircraft. Besides, having a different set of aliens in End Sinister would just be crowding the universe. :-)
-- Philip Mills (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 05, 1998.
I think Aeon restrained herself from doing whatever it was she was going to do to the clone not out of forgiveness, but out of pity or something similar... As to whether or not they are aliens, I think Chung intended them as aliens, as that's how he himself refers to them.
-- Mat Rebholz (email@example.com), May 05, 1998.
That observation about the training ending at the same point Aeon is caught is brilliant if it is true. I'll have to rewatch the tape.
-- P D (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 14, 1998.
I got the impression from the moment that I saw "Leisure" that the "squirmy things" in the walls were somehow altering the other aliens to Aeon's presence... In fact, this could explain Aeon's action from there on out. Let's assume Aeon has made this trip before. This time, she goes into the egg chamber, and after taking the eggs, realizes that the fabric in the walls has been ripped, exposing the squirmy creatures and thus making Aeon's presence known to the other aliens (this assumes that on earlier trips, the fabric wasn't ripped, and thus Aeon could carry out the operation without fear of being caught). She realizes now that she's in deep trouble, and she makes that grimace and moans, ripping more of the fabric. Now that she knows that she could be killed trying to get out, she goes sadistic, and kills one of the beings. This would completely explain her reasons for becoming so sadistic... she knows now that she's being watched, and she's rubbing it in their faces by killing one of their young.
-- Mat Rebholz (email@example.com), May 15, 1998.
Very nice idea. But to change it very slightly, how about she's annoyed because she knows she'll have to waste one of the eggs on the way out?
-- Philip Mills (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 15, 1998.
I don't know, maybe I'm way off. My impression was always that the apartment was the blonde's, not Aeon's. Maybe my interpretation is completely wrong, but I thought I'd share what I had thought in case it led to some new conclusion.
Aeon goes in the apartment and finds the eggs. What are they? She doesn't know. To me, she seems to act like she doesn't know. At this point, there's nothing to tell us that the things are eggs at all. But, they're for something, and Aeon is going to find out what. The blonde is practicing outside ... Aeon can get through the bars easily. Why does Aeon do this if she hasn't been to the ship before? Because the blonde is doing it.
Note that "Trevor" in the cupboard is not Trevor per se. In the Liquid Television episodes, the Trevor-looking man is many different people -- a "generic spy man." Some of the generic spy men are on Aeon's side (as in the falling episode) and some of them are not (as in the giant elevator episode). The blonde woman figure is used as at least three different people as well in the silent episodes. It's a definite mistake to think of the generic spy man as Trevor Goodchild per se.
Now, Aeon goes to the ship. How did she know to do this? The way it seems to me, if there's an alien ship, that must be the place to go. In other words, Aeon knows of the ship and goes to it simply because it's the only foreign thing around.
Once in the ship, Aeon finds the eggs in some strange bowl. She picks them up. Now this is why I had thought that Aeon didn't know what the eggs were and was finding out -- because it had seemed to me that when she suddenly flinched and made a face, she had been grossed out. She's suddenly realizing that the eggs are eggs, and that they've dropped from the body of some living alien into that bowl. She actually says "Plop" and drops an egg, just as it was dropped into the bowl at some point. And the man in the cupboard had been eating them. That is pretty gross, if you think about it. That's how I had seen it.
That's the only talking Aeon does in the Liquid Television episodes that I recall.
I had always thought the things in the wall were simply some sort of larvae. A lot of episodes contain things that are deliberately mysterious, and I had chalked the wall things up to that.
Now, Aeon gets killed trying to get out. To me, the reason she got killed is because she had no idea how good the aliens were at running through the bars. Aeon had never actually been chased through the bars before -- she knew there would be something like them, because of the blonde woman, but she didn't know what would happen. She thought she knew everything, but actually, she knew nothing, so to speak. I didn't see it as Aeon having been there before.
-- Doug Buel (email@example.com), May 19, 1998.
As Mat said earlier, the guy in the cupboard _is_ a (poor) clone of Trevor as stated by Chung in the Aeon Flux bible. No mystery there, ok.
-- Philip Mills (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 19, 1998.
I get it now! Those sqiggly things DID alert the aliens to Aeons presence! When she first sees the wall is ripped she gasps in shock. Then she acts all pissed off cause she realizes she's been discovered. notice that when we see her hold the egg behind her and drop it, it looks like the view the swigglt things would have. After it hits the ground there is a closeup of them and they start wiggling faster. (because they're alerting the alien mother) I guess she tortured the embryo to show the aliens she would not hesitate to destroy on of the eggs and because she enjoyed it
-- Frostbite (email@example.com), May 20, 1998.
I'm starting to agree with this train of thought, it's very feasible, but I daren't ignore Chung himself. He said that he wanted to see how immoral he could make Aeon. This scenario seems to justify her actions - fear, regret, defiance - not cruelty or pleasure.
-- Philip Mills (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 20, 1998.
In response to the previous comment "It's a definite mistake to think of the generic spy man as Trevor Goodchild per se.": No, I don't think it is. Chung obviously determined that there would be two main characters in the show from the very beginning, Aeon Flux and Trevor Goodchild. The "Trevor-like" man in each of the episodes _is_ Trevor, but, just like Aeon, he takes on different roles in each episode.
-- Mat Rebholz (email@example.com), June 20, 1998.
But he was in a completely different situation then. No great power yet. Remember, originally he was going to be on the same side as Aeon. He was just going to be a male version of her, who accidentally shot her in his enthusiasm. He'd never repeat his role in 'Night' now either, it's not his style at all.
-- Philip Mills (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 20, 1998.
I tend to disagree somewhat. I think it's perfectly plausible that Trevor could have been "in power" during these season two episodes (in fact, if you choose to follow a chronological path using info provided in the Herodotus File, any episode in which Aeon and Trevor know each other, as in most of season two, takes place _after_ President Clavius had been kidnapped). As for Trevor's style, I think he has his moments... In most of third season he plays the role of scientist and philosopher, but I don't think that excludes him from going on an outing every once in awhile to get something done in the "real world". I think one consistent thing about Trevor is that when something needs to be done, he goes out and does it, by himself and in the field if necesssary. As for the speculation that Trevor is on Aeon's side in Chung's original story, I disagree. I think that Chung intended them to be opposed. I saw an original sketch of a proposed scene (forget where) that shows a prototype Trevor on his now signature jet boots, shooting Aeon in the back as she plants her nation's flag on a pile of dead Breens. I think this evidences my claim.
-- Mat Rebholz (email@example.com), June 26, 1998.
That pic was exactly what I was refering to. Trevor is just caught up in the action blasting everyone (as Aeon often is), as mentioned in the original proposal and the Nexus(?) article.
-- Philip Mills (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 26, 1998.
These interpretations are missing a couple of key points. One, the title. The titles of the shorts were invariably a lot less cryptic than those of the full-length episodes. If they chose to call it Leisure, it was for a reason. I always figured this was what Aeon chose to do on her day off. That would serve to add to the irony of her death, i think. Also, i think that the idea that she was getting off on the little bag of eggs is ludicrous. The little moan she lets out shows that she's not looking forward to having to do this. Think about it, how would she get off on cramming a sack the size of a large grapefruit inside herself? Does that sound fun? She does it because she wants to take the eggs back with her, and has nowhere else to carry them. The "plop" probably is a demonstration of her sadism, but i think she is studying the embryo as much for scientific curiosity as for fun, although she does seem to get a kick out of its struggling. (What the hell is this tamagochi thing everyone is talking about?) Her training on the bar thing was a matter of preparedness, since when the alien pulled the lever that swung out the bars on the ship she didn't miss a step. She was holding the egg out in front of her as a hostage, since as soon as she showed it to the quadraped, it winced and pulled back, as you would if someone was holding a gun to a baby's head. It was a hideous thing to do, and Aeon knew (well, thought) it was her ticket out of there.
-- alex (email@example.com), November 11, 1998.
A tomagatchi is a Japanese Giga Pet
-- Frostbite (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 1998.
Eh, wait a minute. She was going to cram the bag inside of herself?!
-- Frostbite (SlipperyMermaid@bar.com), November 18, 1998.
Eh, wait a minute. She was going to cram the bag inside herself?!
-- Frostbite (SlipperyMermaid@bar.com), November 18, 1998.
I'm pretty sure she wasn't going to stick anything inside of herself...
-- Mat Rebholz (email@example.com), May 02, 1999.
my interpretation of this fuckin awesome short, my favorite, goes like dis. the aliens' ship crashed recently and they haven't made repairs or been rescued yet. nearby earthlings investigate and discover the eggs, the fillings of which they find desireable as an intoxicant. check out the Trevor clone Fon has in her appartment ( she has keys ), he is so intoxicated he crushes the half shell he is holding and it spills and he then proceeds to lick it up like a true fiend! he then offers some of the filling to Fon as if to say, "i'm sorry i bogarted your stash", but there's not enough for her to get off on. all she wants is a little relaxation, but now an egg-run is in order, which i think doesn't bother Fon in the least. she, and others like her, like the challenge AND the reward of this form of play. on previous runs they discovered the jungle-gym-like structure which is one of the aliens' ways of passing leisure time, but it might as well be a security system because it makes quick passage for humans difficult, so they construct a replica to practice on for future egg runs. it's like an extreme sport - hence the title of the short - see who can successfully infiltrate and make it out alive with the eggs. i think the squigly things on the wall were installed for security as a result of the human invaders, but Fon thinks they are animated alien wallpaper ( no doubt the aliens' intention ) and drops an egg to examine it's contents with her microscope, maybe to see what stage of development the eggs are in as this might effect their potency, or maybe out of sheer curiosity. she sais "plop" to the squigly things because they seem alive and represent to her the alien opponents; she thinks she's getting away with it so far and she's being cocky about it. as to why she moans and rips at the curtains covering the wallpaper - could be she's jonzing slightly for the eggs ( she would not like this out-of-control feeling ), or for no plot-related reason at all.
-- neobe the gibbon (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 28, 1999.
- could be though that the squirmy objects are meant to be completely open for interpretation. if they ARE alerting the aliens when they see Fon's actions, it seems strange that only one alien shows up, unless the aliens are making the best of a bad situation by playing a leisurly life and death game of one on one with each invading human because they happen to enjoy the same high-adrenalin style leisure these humans do. this would support the title and theme of the short. but why would Fon, knowing that she's been discovered, stay and examine an egg? if the squirmy things were security, i don't think she realized this. if they were only wall paper, she could have been startled when she saw the movement, and ripped the curtains because she didn't like her new-found jonz for the eggs. one of the things i like about this short is it's straight-forwardness - at least that's what i thought before reading this forum; now i see numerous interpretations are possible. i welcome comments on the above
-- neobe the gibbon (email@example.com), November 28, 1999.
Here's a neat little tidbit I found in an interview with Chung that I had never seen before today:
"Is this in any way related to... In the "alien egg" episode in the second season, Fon is walking around and she goes to the closet and she finds Trevor in this gear licking something. Now that, to me, looked like he was in some kind of bondage game. Is that what's supposed to be happening, or is it just far too weird for me to comprehend?
Yeah, well, if you notice, her kitchen is lined with a lot of different cabinets.
Oh, God. There's a different person in each one, isn't there? [laughs]
I didn't think of that. That's great.
She's got a long list of clients."
Never thought of that before...
-- Mat Rebholz (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 05, 1999.
whoa, i never thought of that either. i wonder if Fon offers her eggs to just anybody? ~(:-]) j/k, probably not. although her clients might find her services all the more unique with the option of a side order of exotic intoxication to go with the main course of domination.
-- neobe 316 (email@example.com), December 08, 1999.
After reading the interpretations already presented, I sat down with my tapes and watched the episode a couple more times. Here's my analysis:
I believe that the surroundings at the beginning of the episode are of a communal nature. Notice how Aeon struggles with the keys to the lab - like this isn't something does on any kind of regular basis.
I think she went to the lab to do some leisurely research on the eggs. (Yes there is such a thing! We largely see Aeon being very physically active in her job as a spy. Some people with physically demanding jobs need to exercise their brains as their leisure activity - almost the exact opposite of what us computer jockeys need.) Finding the container virtually empty, she discovers the sex slave in one of the lockers (who says it's her locker?). Probably the eggs were used as a reward to him for services rendered to a prior visitor to the lab.
I think the 'jungle gym' structure is a practice area, not just for the egg runs but as a means of keeping fit for any number of similarly demanding situations, as we've seen Aeon encounter in nearly every episode. I do think there is an element of 'showing off' by Aeon to the girl who is so obviously a novice.
I don't really get why the aliens haven't left their ship. And I'm not entirely convinced that they crash landed. I don't think there are enough facts surrounding their presence to form good conclusions about them.
As for the scene in the egg chamber, my interpretation was that the squiggly things were some kind of sentinels, and that when we see Aeon grimacing/moaning and tearing the curtain that this may be her reaction to some kind of physical/emotional discomfort that they're inflicting on her through telepathy or something similar. I believe she drops the egg both as a warning to them and as a purely sadistic act. I'm a little puzzled that she actually stops to examine the embryo when she's clearly in some jeopardy, but then I guess that never has been much of an inhibitor for her, has it?
That's my two cents.
-- Stephen Fuller (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 09, 2000.
For anyone interested in Leisure...
-- Barb e. (Suesuebeo9@cs.com), September 08, 2001.