Question about relevance of Episode Titlesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Aeon Flux : One Thread
Having been a long fan of the show (and having closely followed Peter Chung's visits to the site), I have always found myself puzzled by the relevance of the episode titles. While I read about the origins of Utopia/Deuteortopia(?spelling?), there are several mroe which are just as interesting, and just as cryptic. While titles traditionally draw upon some sort of thematic relevance to the piece, some in Flux are clearly more easy to discern then others. Reraizure likely draws its meaning from "razing", as in to "destroy again", which is what Rory does to his identity with the Narghile. Also seemingly straight-forward are: "The Purge"(Removal of Custodians), "Chronophasia" (time sickness), "Demiurge" (the name of the entity), "Isthmus Crypticus" (the chamber where the Seraphs are kept) , "A Last Time for Everything" (questionably about Trevor and Aeon's last chance together), and the "Unofficial" Episode, "The Herodotus File" (Herodotus was the founder of History, and the cruz of the plot involves totalitarians revisionism towards the past)
But what of Ether Drift Theory? Is this an actual theory in science? Or End Sinister? Does this draw on "Sinister's" archaic meaning for "left"? "Thantophobia" seems to mean "fear of death", but this is cryptic for an episode where no one seems to die (in fact, some may face realities WORSE then death)
-- D'Akano (Moloch418@hotmail.com), August 13, 2000
I'll step up to the plate on these - I think you're dead on with the first eight, by the way.
I'm pretty sure that titling the last episode 'End Sinister' refers not to the end of the series, but the end of the human race. And I believe sinister holds its common meaning of forboding or evil. Both of our main characters, Aeon and Trevor, see the destruction of all they hold dear in the episode. Firstly, Trevor sees the aliens as the perfect form of humanity, and then discovers that he himself is responsible for wiping them out via the Aldus B ray. (Okay, okay, Aeon may have pulled the trigger, but he invented the thing.) Aeon, on the other hand, watches the human race as she knows it be supplanted by the aliens. For both of them, it's the end of history, and it's an end they don't like - thus the 'sinister' part.
Thanatophobia, on the other hand, is a more difficult one - sure, fear of death, but you're right, no one dies. This is an episode that deals with the police state and its citizens. Firstly, of course, the introduction of the new, 'humane' border control system is meant to prevent death. The old system of gun towers is meant to kill any Breen attempting to escape - to remove them from existence. Note that when Sybil is shot, while she is seriously injured, she can go on living with minor visible signs of her injury. The new system, though, mutilates escapees and allows them to return to Breen society carrying an obvious symbol of their attempted escape. The Breen government can simultaneously hail this new, non-lethal border containment system as humane, and also use the survivors as a constant symbol of the impossibility of escape. I think the overarching theme of Thanatophobia is of living with pain, even embracing it... Sybil will not give up her will to live, no matter how much the border controls mutilate her. Using her twisty spine is obviously quite painful. Both Onan and Trevor meet pain, mentally if not physically, by being denied their wishes. (Reaching Monica and helping Sybil, respectively.) Final thought - despite all the bondage gear we see all the time, Thanatophobia is the only time we see Aeon actually engaging in sadomasochistic sexplay - not only does she knock Onan around a bit, but she seems very eager to apply some painful voltage to his new piercings...
Finally, on Ether Drift Theory - well, there is no 'scientific' Ether Drift Theory. But back in the 19th century, (before the discovery of that anesthetic stuff) physicists postulated the existence of ether as an invisible, undetectable substance present in both the atmosphere and outer space. Many unexplained processes were attributed to the mysterious motions of the ether. I like to think of the Ether Drift Theory as something Trevor cooked up later, back in the tower, to explain the sudden and truly bizarre failure of his Habitat. It has the nifty sound of something that combines genetic drift and chaos theory - both of which had a part in the Habitat's destruction. Who could suspect that Aeon losing her ammunition would cause an egg to enter into a bizarre chemical reaction which would eventually consume the entire structure? Ah, well, blame it on the ether...
-- Charles Martin (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 13, 2000.
That's funny, I thought it referred to the sea of "ether" outside Trevor's habitat, and that the "theory" was that, in a closed system, objects would "drift" forever (hence the ending). But yours is certainly more colorful. Genetic drift & chaos theory, interesting...
-- Paul (email@example.com), August 13, 2000.
btw, I still think End Sinister is a play on Bend Sinister.
-- Paul (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 13, 2000.
I have been trying to follow this one since you put it up, it's fascinating, but beyond me I guess, what do you mean 'closed' system? What is this genetic drift and chaos theory? Not trying to be dense, hope it's not to tedious to go into, anyway, this episode almost seems to suggest that if Aeon had not resisted Trevor things would not have led to disaster.
-- Barb e. (Suesuesbeo@aol.com), August 16, 2000.
My thoughts on the Ether Drift Theory title are similar to Paul's, but not exactly. I thought that the sea of paralytic fluid was called the "Ether Drift" and the "Theory" refers to Bargeld's theory that the fluid can be neutralized, which he discovers is correct in the episode.
-- Chaos Knight (email@example.com), August 16, 2000.
I would've thought that the 'ether' part referred to the pink sea outside the Habitat, too, except for the fact that everyone in the episode calls it 'paralytic fluid' - a very cool bit of technobabble, BTW... Of course, since ether is also an ancient anesthetic, there's certainly some kind of connection... just rambling, folks.
-- Charles Martin (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 16, 2000.
Well, to answer Barb B's question about "Chaos Theory" is interesting, as I think that this may actually have relevance to the episode. I've read about chaos theory a little bit before. It was my (possible erroneous :) ) understanding that "chaos theory" deals with the interconnectedness of things, noting that small things have ramifications on large scales; the relationships of which are lost to most, due to our limited world view, and our inability to comprehend the infinitely complex nature of the world around us.
This would certainly fit well, in an episode where, as mentioned above, Aeon's dropping of an ammo clip leads to an unlikely chain of events, bringing about the collapse of the "Habitat" itself.
-- D'Akano (Moloch418@hotmail.com), August 16, 2000.
I agree, I think it's both commentary on how the little things can build up to greater levels of chaos, and a play on words, as Aeon ends up adrift in the "ether" by the end of the episode. Or maybe it describes the "drifting" of Lindze's opinion of Aeon from friend to foe, and of Trevor from oppressor to savior. The mention of "theory" ties into the scientific aspect of the episode. I actually don't think this particular episode title is very important, but it's fun to try to find the connection.
-- Matthew Rebholz (email@example.com), August 16, 2000.