Aeon Flux, season 3 episode 3 Thanatophobia

4 Nov

At the beginning of the episode the timbre of clapping with a maintained tempo is heard as two children throw fists near each another’s faces. The view then shifts to the source of the sound. A third child happily clapps in his hands near the border wall that separate Bregna and Monica. The episode focuses on this border, heavily controled by soldiers, automatic guns and video cameras. A couple tries to cross the border from Bregna to Monica but only the man succeeds while his lover is shot in her spine and stays on the other side. The men falls in Aeon’s arms in Monica and the woman is cured by Trevor in Bregna and is forced to work in a factory making “medical parts”.

Here again, secondary characters are stuck between Aeon and Trevor’s game. However, what makes this episode different from the first two seasons is that both of them seem to feel guilty about it. The woman is missing a vertebrea and has to regularly get it changed for an artificial one, which Trevor personally takes care of. Meanwhile Aeon who lives just across the border and can see what happens in the woman’s room, decides to pleasure the boyfriend so that Trevor will get jealous in return. I really liked this episode because a new tone is set. Aeon, tired of her silly game with Trevor, feels empathy for the woman who is cheated by her boy friend and manipulated by Goodchild, and decides to help her cross the border again.  Also, for the first time in the show, a real political thought appears. The governor of Bregna wonders if the border should be secured as it is because he believes people should stay in the city because they want to, not because they are afraid of crossing the border. He somehow manipulates the woman to make her reveal that she knows about Aeon’s terrorist plans and thus that she is faithful to Bregna.

However, we are still in Aeon Flux ‘s world, where utopia does not exist and the dark side of things prevail. The woman still wants to reach Monica, though she finally dumps her unfaithful boyfriend. She seeks freedom and is not taken by the false freedom offered by Trevor Goodchild’s ideology.

The end of the episode made me shiver. The woman goes further than the first time in her progress through the border crossing. On the verge of stepping in Monica however, she gets trapped by tiny wires and  machines come out of the wall, anesthetising her legs. With saw blades, the machines cut them off and sew them up. The real horror comes from the fact that the woman, now lying on the floor, realizes that the machines were built with the same parts she constructed at the factory. Both Aeon and Trevor watch powerlessly the scene.

The last scene repeats the very first one, except that we can’t hear anymore the sound of clapping and the view shift to the kid who now has his arms cut and sewn shut.

With this episode the show evolves to have deeper meaning. It is not only absurd and grotesque, as the characters appear more complex and concerned by their behavior, the atmosphere turns more dramatic.

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