I’ve given up entirely on trying to be cute with my titles. I have no talent for it. Clever titles are overrated anyway.
A kind and wise anon on my tumblr recently drew my attention to the Flash Gordon series that was on Sy Fy back in 2007-08, and the twins Aura and Terek. I hadn’t heard of it or of them but Nonny sold me on the appeal of the brother/sister pairing and I decided to check it out.
To entice you I offer you this picture:
I’m officially categorizing Aura and Terek as canonically suggestive (and you may laugh at my “officially” but for tagging purposes decisions do need to be made), though it’s a situation where their romantic interactions come before their knowledge of their blood relation. As you know, typically if they grew up unaware of the others’ existence I’m not as interested, but the absolute deliciousness of these two well overcame those reservations of mine.
The show only ran for one season, which made things a little easier. I had only intended to watch the pilot in order to get a feel for the characters and their relationships and the general universe of the show, and then to skim the other episodes for the pertinent scenes, but I ended up rather enjoying it, and I watched all 22 episodes within a couple of days. I had been warned that it wasn’t very good, so I took it on with the lowest of expectations (as well as the anticipation of the brother/sister shipping goodness that was to come). And the extent of my knowledge of Flash Gordon was a certain familiarity with his name and the uncertain assumption that he was a comic book hero. So I wasn’t going into it with ANY preconceived notions or hopes. All of that, no doubt, contributed to my ability to enjoy the series. I can see how someone on the opposite end of the spectrum, someone who had grown up loving Flash Gordon comics (I’m still under the impression he’s based in comics and I still don’t know for sure) or one of the older series’, who had no interest in Aura and Terek and didn’t have it to look forward to, who had hoped the series would be brilliant, and who had to wait a whole week for the next installment, might have quit after a couple of episodes.
I won’t call it good. I won’t even say that I recommend it. But I did enjoy it. I thought it was fun. Silly, but fun. It seemed to me to be on par with most of what you typically see on Sy Fy. And I think it’s important to know that it gets better. It flounders around for quite a while, but once it starts building towards something it becomes much better. I found the final three episodes to be quite thrilling.
So what’s it about? Well, Steven “Flash” Gordon (called so because he’s a runner) is a twenty-something mechanic whose father, Lawrence Gordon, a scientist, supposedly died in a fire 13 years earlier. However, what actually happened is that Lawrence created a technology that opened a portal to another planet/dimension called Mongo and he was sucked into the portal and stranded there.
In the past Mongo had begun to mine their moon, but it resulted in a cataclysmic disaster that ruined the planet and its ecosystems. A small portion of the population survived, and they now struggle to endure the harsh new climates and the lack of clean water (called “source water”). The contaminated water, called “grey water”, creates mutants called “deviates”, who are covered in defects and are shunned by society.
His plan is to use his “rift generator”, a machine based on Lawrence Gordon’s technology, to steal water from Earth. But first he needs another piece of tech – the Imex – which is in Flash’s unknowing possession. And this is how Flash gets entangled into the present drama. Once he learns there’s a chance his father might still be alive, he becomes determined to find him on Mongo.Flash’s ex-girlfriend, Dale Arden, a reporter, also gets involved, along with a former colleague/protégé of Lawrence’s, Hans Zarkov.Baylin, one of Ming’s soldiers, ends up turning on him and becoming one of Flash’s posse. Ming’s right-hand man is Rankol – a man of complicated allegiances – and Aura is his haughty, beautiful, mistreated daughter.Most of the first few episodes deal with complications arising from the rifts which can only be opened by Ming and which stay open for an uncertain amount of time. These episodes are more relevant than a strictly defined monster-of-the-week episode, but the action becomes much more directional in the middle of the season. Meanwhile, there are the overarching plots of Flash trying to find his father and Ming striving to keep his power. Flash continually gets involved in the problems of various diverse “cantons” (people groups or tribes) on Mongo, and throughout becomes quite famous amongst them. Ming is a particularly paranoid tyrant because of a prophecy which says he will be overthrown, and the monks (of which Rankol is one), suspect that Flash may be the overthrower.
It reminds me of a mix of Primeval, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek, and Legend of the Seeker.Of course, there are some major plot holes. Like how Flash is supposedly looking for his father, and yet spends days and days (cumulatively) on Mongo without ever making a proper search or asking the right questions to the right people. Or how Zarkov keeps saying that the universe will be destroyed if everyone on Earth finds out about Mongo and yet never explains why. Or how Nascent City (where Ming rules and lives) is more technologically advanced than Earth and yet they can’t figure out how to purify the grey water (even though Lawrence was able to do it) and instead devote all of their efforts to taking it from Earth.
Other critiques: the acting. There are a few well-acted moments, a lot of adequately-acted moments, but mostly it’s very bad, I’m sorry to say. Eric Johnson lacks the charisma required of a lead. (I’d like to say it’s just this role but he’s barely more than wallpaper to me on Rookie Blue either. Sorry. I hate saying something so negative like that. I should just delete it. But I’m not going to. He’s pretty magnificent when he’s sad/furious though, like at the end of 1.18. And sometimes his eyes are criminally blue.)
Aura is my favorite character (and not because she’s the “sister”), but Anna van Hooft is really the worst out of the bunch. (Though she’s a magical creature: when her hair is up it’s blonde, and when it’s down she’s a reddish brunette. Now that’s impressive.) But she’s got some good moments as well, of course.
I feel really bad about singling them out, but I feel like if I give specifics I might be able to trick you all into thinking that I know what I’m talking about.
The special effects actually aren’t bad at all but the title sequence and the transitions all look very amateurish. But I will counter that by saying that the costumes/traditional dress of some of the peoples of Mongo are really entertaining.
(But I’m a nerd for stuff like that.) Ming begins running out of clean water, which causes unrest among the people and he begins losing his firm grasp. There are a couple of cantons that do not fly his flag, and others who are only in uneasy agreements with him. His soldiers – called “Patriots” – are feared, but their numbers are not that great. So this situation grows in intensity as the season progresses.
And then Aura and Ming’s relationship deteriorates as well. In the pilot she is eager to please him and to prove her worth. But his cruelty towards her wears down her devotion. It also becomes clearer and clearer that his power is his first priority. Even though she knows her father does some bad things, she does not know the full extent and she does not see him as evil or as an enemy. I think she’s in a position where she disapproves of some of what her father does but she doesn’t disapprove of his reign. Despite the fact that she is sometimes very harsh or prejudiced her compassion can usually be prevailed upon. She even helps Flash from time to time, though usually in exchange for something. She probably has the most character growth out of any of the characters. And probably the most painful growth as well, since it involves learning that much of what she had thought she had known were lies, and becoming disillusioned with her father.
So this is the general situation as we enter into episode 1.17, which is when we finally get to meet Terek!
1.17 Thicker Than Water
In Nascent City all newborns are tested, and those who have even a strain of deviate DNA (even if they don’t show any defects) are “purged”. (But in other places in Mongo they are merely cast out.) Flash is in the city when an attempt is being made to rescue one of the babies marked for death (also the cutest baby that ever lived), and he ends up, as is typical, getting involved. Stupid Flash. He takes the baby to a secret commune of deviates, and meets their king, Terek. (Don’t be too impressed by the title. I’m not sure how large the group of deviates is, but he seems more like a mayor than a king. Although their flag does have his picture on it.) So Terek is a deviate, but he only has some minor disfigurement next to one of his ears. (Some of the others look like hideous monsters and only seem to grunt.) Terek cares deeply about the deviates and the persecution and prejudices they face. He wants equality for them and recognition of their community as a canton. Flash suggests that he could arrange a meeting between Terek and Aura because Aura might help, and Terek agrees.
Aura always gives Flash a hard time but always comes around eventually. Wisely she’s suspicious and says that anyone who says they just want to talk is lying, but after Flash says, “As the future ruler of this planet isn’t it your job to be interested?” she agrees to the meeting. (Flash doesn’t normally dress like that, BTW. Sadly.) However, instead of going to meet her, Terek sends soldiers and kidnaps her.
I had a little debate with myself about whether to summarize the rest of the series and then take the Terek/Aura scenes one by one or whether to just give a detailed recounting right away. I decided up on the latter, though that’s not usually how I do it.
Aura enters the deviate compound shouting, “Get off me! Don’t you know who I am?!” We’ve heard her say very cruel things about deviates before, so it’s important to know her disposition upon entering this situation. The people of Mongo are raised to believe that the deviates are a curse. And Aura is a bit of a snob on top of that.
Flash is angry with Terek for lying, but Terek had been careful with is wording. He didn’t just want to speak to Aura, he wanted Aura to speak for him to her father and to Mongo so that his message would be heard.“The only thing that will be heard are your screams as you are executed,” Aura shoots back.Now you guys must know by now how much I like some hostile tension with my ships. It’s the syrup on my pancakes. So when my anon told me Aura and Terek started out hating each other I was THRILLED. And I was not disappointed, just like Terek wasn’t disappointed: “You do not disappoint, Aura. You are as fiery as your reputation promises,” Terek replies, walking over towards her as she struggles (she’s being held by two solders). He’s pretty entertained by the whole situation, clearly enjoying having his enemy’s daughter in his clutches. We’ve been on personal terms with Aura since before we even knew who she was, so we know nothing about her reputation. But it’s not surprising that she has a reputation for being “fiery”. The few times we’ve seen her interacting with people outside of Flash and gang and her small circle of intimates she has been, to put it nicely, a spectacular brat. If you say the right thing to her she is easily won over but her default mode is to be prickly.
Headcanon: Terek has had an unwilling crush on the fiery princess of Mongo for as long as he can remember.
Understandably she doesn’t respond well to being kidnapped. Not only is it disrespectful to her as a human being, it’s a horrendous disregard for her position as the daughter of the Benevolent Father and future leader of Mongo. (Ming is never given the title of king but Aura is the very definition of a princess.) She has been very particular, on several occasions, about being treated with the respect due to her position.
Aura promises Terek that her father will send an army to kill all of them, but Terek says, “You cannot kill what you cannot find.” And then adds, “Fortunately for us, we do not have that problem. We already have you.” And he reaches up to touch her face. DELIGHTFUL.
Aura backs away from the touch, and Flash starts freaking out at him and telling him not to touch her. (Though obviously he’s more concerned about the implied threat than the touch.)
Flash’s endgame love interest is clearly Dale, but the show plays around a little – though not too much – with Flash and Baylin and Flash and Aura. Under different circumstances Flash and Aura would probably be my main ship, but as is, it really doesn’t interest me as a romantic ship, and I actually really like their complicated and unexpected friendship. (Unexpected to them, that is.) Even without Terek in the picture, I wouldn’t like Flash and Aura romantically. Aura is the sort of person I ship with everyone – she’s bitchy enough to have good tension with everyone, but complicated enough of a character to be more than just the fact that she’s bitchy – and what it comes down to is that Flash is one of the least interesting options. (At one point she was engaged to be married to Barin, the leader of the Verdan, one of the cantons that had not been subjugated by Ming, as a political alliance very much against both of their actual desires, and they fought like cats and dogs and I loved every second of it and I wanted them to get married and for it to be a romcom and for them to then fall in love. But I knew Terek was coming…)
As for Flash and Dale, I don’t hate it – I don’t even care enough to dislike it – but it’s not very interesting. They’re clearly both still in love with each other, so the only thing keeping them apart is bad writing. Dale has a fiancé, Joe, but everyone except for Dale can see that she should break things off with him. And the only reason Flash and Dale broke up in the first place is because she went off to college, and he was going to go with her to the same college and then suddenly decided to stay home. What Dale doesn’t know until near the end of the season/series is that Flash stayed home because his mother had cancer. He didn’t tell Dale so that she wouldn’t stay with him and could go off and live her dreams or whatever. So that all makes Flash look like a sweetie but the only way Flash and Dale as a ship could be less interesting to me would be if they were together.
Enough of that.
“What do you want?” Flash demands.
Terek doesn’t like being in opposition to Flash, whom he knows to be a righteous dude, but he’s serious about his agenda. He says that Ming needs to know that if he doesn’t stop killing “our” children than Terek will start killing his. Cue menacing glare at Aura.“Lock them up,” he orders.
I do like Flash, though. Even though philosophically he sides with Terek and Aura has caused a number of problems for him and is the daughter/accomplice of his enemy, he feels it is his duty to save her because he brought her into this situation, and actually he is quite desperate to save her.
Aura’s cell turns out to be probably the nicest room in that whole sh!thole of a building. She’s provided with food and candles and lots of space. (Unlike Flash, who is chained to a post inside of a little room, even though he was the guy who was trying to help the deviates. But I guess Flash made it a little too obvious that he was willing to fight. Or maybe Terek just wanted there to be a bed when he went to talk with Aura!)
Terek comes to visit her in her “cell”. He opens the door. And they exchange their already trademarked expressions for each other. “You haven’t touched your food,” he notes.She’s sitting on the bed, and like with most of her outfits, her legs are on display for all to see. She stands. “I’ll starve before I eat anything here.”“I can guarantee you it’s clean,” Terek responds, entering the room and closing the door behind him. While I’m sure she’s a little concerned about any number of kinds of poisons, she’s probably also worried about grey water. Because the deviates are already infected they can drink the grey water. Apparently it doesn’t make them any worse, even though as we’ve seen there are variations on the amount of deviation (which also show up as percentages in the DNA), and the deviate mutations can begin at any time in a person’s life if they drink the contaminated water.
Of course in it’s way this is an angry taunt – Aura, so pristine, so untouched by deviation – but that’s fine too.
The thing that makes me so excited about these two is that even without my brother/sister shipping inclinations I would still TOTALLY be shipping this. It’s everything I want in a ship.
“Are we really so different, you and I?” Terek asks.
F O R E S H A D O W I N G
And irony. Hilarious irony.
“Apart from a few blemishes we’re exactly the same,” he continues. He walks her around in a circle. OK, that sounds weird. I don’t know how to describe this. As a unit they sort of turn in a circular-like pattern. He sort of spins them. But very slowly. What’s important is that he keeps a hold of her hand and she just follows. And after that last line she becomes very thoughtful. Then she gets angry and pulls her hand away from his.Fdjljfkldjaklfjdklajfkdsa
It takes her about 10 seconds to fall under his spell. That, and he really knows what he’s doing.
The writers are cruel. All those poor people who were watching and started shipping this without knowing in advance that he was her brother. And how much better would these lines be as dramatic irony with the audience already aware?
“I didn’t write The Code,” Aura declares angrily in this ear before walking away from him to stare out the window.“No,” Terek answers her. “But one day you may be in a position to change it. So I need you to understand us. See us for who we really are.” She turns around. “What? Criminals.” She’s got a point there, Terry. “I see that.” She drives by him again. She’s clearly not afraid of him, and she seems to enjoy this back and forth. If all she wanted to be was above it all then she could simply refuse to engage him.“What choice do we have? Ming won’t even meet with me. He treats us like a disease. A boil to be lanced from society.”“And you think that makes you special?”
Terek is quick to pick up on her meaning.“My father is hardly thrifty with his brutality,” she continues. “There are others he treats worse than you.”Again, she’s right. Terek has probably got it a lot better in that lovey feelgoodery he’s running than those who live in terror of Ming’s every whim.
“I can’t believe I didn’t see it before,” he says.
“See what?” Aura walks away from him again, back to stare out the completely opaque window. (She moves exactly like she did when she said, “I didn’t write The Code”.) “It’s not anger in your eyes; it’s pain. What has he done to you?” When he asks this he almost sounds angry/worried, like he’s ready to rise to her defense. Like he wants to protect her. But it’s a rhetorical question. “I wanted you to understand our pain. But I can see that already do. You hate him, don’t you? You hate him even more than I do.” Oh Terry. You haven’t even begun to hate him. He approaches her slowly from behind, and then stands very close to her. “You want to hurt him, like he’s hurt you. Now’s your chance to get what you’ve secretly wanted for so long: revenge.” He lays his hand down on the back of her neck. Jfljalfjdkajfkdlasjl;fd She lets him rest his hand there. No shrugging it off. No yelling. Just because she’s starting to listen to what he has to say doesn’t mean he gets to put his hands on her but apparently she’s fine with it.
And he doesn’t just rest his fingers there – they start to creep forward.
She spins around suddenly, but she’s not angry: she’s intrigued. “How?” she asks.“By cooperating with me,” he answers, pleased.Aura frowns, but she’s considering it.Clearly Terek finds her weakness and exploits it to his advantage, but it’s unclear whether he is being fake and playing her or whether they’ve simply found common ground. I could say that he’s cleverly manipulated her but I’m not at all sure that that’s true. I don’t think he’s acting. I don’t think he’s using her, I think he sincerely wants to change her. I think he wants a long term ally, which means a mutually beneficial relationship. Then again, going through Aura had never been his idea. One of the secret rebels that works in the citadel had suggested it, and then Flash said that he could make it happen.
I wish Aura had a kept a little bit of her fire, though. Oh you’ve kidnapped me and now I’m going to do exactly what you want me to do? That’s not my sour princess. She should be more distrustful, but as I said earlier, she’s easy to win over if you say the right thing. I like that she’s open. She’s not stubborn.
All of the touching is interesting. When he first touches her face after she has just arrived it’s a gesture of intimidation. When he touches her for the second time while calling her beautiful, it’s more flirtatious, but also influenced by the power and social dynamics of the situation. Then when he holds her hand after she tries to bat his hand away, he’s challenging her. It’s about the touch of a deviate, about the touch of someone who should be seen as an equal but is despised. But then at the end when he places his hand on her neck, it’s very seductive. If it was merely about establishing a friendship, he could have touched her clothed shoulder. But he wants skin against skin, and the nape of the neck can be a intimate/sensitive place.
Terek sends a holographic message to Ming with his demands, and Aura does a segment pleading for her life. (I’m not sure, but I guess if she wasn’t cooperating with Terek then she would have remained defiant of him. Instead of wanting her father to send his army, she wants him to give in to Terek’s demands.)
Ming comes off a little cold in that he won’t do anything and everything to save Aura, but he does send Baylin (who he has imprisoned) to go rescue her, and he shows a flicker of emotion. He’s not a very layered character – he’s pretty much just a sociopath.
When we cut back to Terek and Aura they are enjoying a meal together. I don’t know if this was intentional or not but there’s the bed just right there in the middle of the shot just screaming at you. It’s like the table/meal is metaphorical.
“You did well. Very convincing,” Terek says. “You seemed so vulnerable.”
“Father will be in a panic,” she says, pleased. “As long as no one finds out he’s conceded he’ll give you whatever you want. What do you want?”
“Official canton status.”
“And if he refuses?”
Terek laughs. “That’s Ludy. (Sp? I could find nothing on this woman.) She’s like a mother to me,” he says, smiling at Ludy. When I was cast out she found me and brought me here.” Ludy pats him on the head. “She’s a little protective.”
LOLOLOLOL. No, she’s just the incest police.
“Ludy, I’d like you to meet the future ruler of Mongo,” Terek says, pointing at Aura.Ludy bows to her, and greets her respectfully.“Perhaps the lady would like to rest,” Ludy suggest. LOLOLOLOL. Incest police at work, trying to separate the twins before they can bone. Yes, the lady would like to be flat on her back, but not to rest. This poor woman. “You should leave her,” Ludy finishes.
Terek’s easy smile evaporates. HE DOES NOT WANT TO LEAVE THAT ROOM. “No, I think we’d like to continue talking,” he says. Basically: “Ugh, Mom, leave us alone!” He seriously turns into a defiant son on the flip of a dime.He smiles at Aura, and she smiles back.Heh heh heh. *Lecherous Walder Frey laughter* How cute are they, though?
“Then allow me to ask Flash Gordon to join you,” Ludy responds. WHOA. An incestuous threesome is still incestuous, Ludy. “I’m sure he’s quite worried.”
Nice try, Ludy. You’re really giving this your all, aren’t you?
She runs down to Flash and says that she needs his help. He’s worried about Aura, but Ludy says, “Don’t worry, he will not harm her. He is a good man. But he is also a man.”
“What are you saying?” Flash asks. He’s so confused.
Awkwardly, Ludy tries to explain. “He’s…drawn to her. And I fear she is drawn by him.” (She possibly says “charmed by him”. I’m not certain.)
I really love that Ludy’s focus is on Terek. He’s a “man”, and he’s “drawn to her”. Because it shows that Terek isn’t playing Aura. He’s not trying to seduce her. And pretending to be her friend was never part of the plan. You can clearly see in the previous scene that Terek realizes Ludy doesn’t want anything to happen between him and Aura but he wants Aura anyway so he sends Ludy away.
Or maybe it was part of the plan – why else the mood candles and Barry White music? (OK, so there was no Barry White. And OK, maybe the candles were because there’s no electricity there.)
“Wait? Are you saying that she’s falling for him?” Flash asks.
“This can never be,” Ludy laments.
Shut up, Ludy. No one cares what you think.
“I don’t think it’s going to work out,” Flash muses, amused. “I think you’re all right.”
“You don’t understand,” Ludy sighs.
LOLOLOL. I am loving this too much.
“I’ve been with Terek for a long time,” she explains. “I know things about him that no else knows. Even him.”
“I dare not say.” Oh Ludy, Ludy Ludy Ludy. “I’ve kept this secret so long.”
“And what does a deviate seem like?” he asks, inevitably. The statement makes him tired. He’s weary of the prejudices against the deviates.
When I was watching this the first time I was really hoping it would get them fighting again for a little while, but the tension is fleeting.
She doesn’t answer, and he pulls his hand out of hers. (THEY’VE BEEN HOLDING HANDS THAT ENTIRE TIME!!!!!!!!!)He stands up and walks around the table over to her. Then he leans down so that his disfigurement is right in front of her face. “Look,” he says. But he says it gently, not angrily. She’s pulls back a little for a second, but then she looks.“Is it so horrible?” Terek asks.
Aura comes around quickly. She smiles softly at him.
“Does it make me seem like a monster?” He squats down next to her.“No. It’s not that bad,” Aura says, giving a half-laugh and then turning back to look him in the eyes. It doesn’t seem to me that Terek would like her saying that, since even though his defects are minor some of the other deviates are totally ravaged, but he seems satisfied with her answer.
“And yet it was enough to have me condemned to death.”Terek has had his hand on the back of her chair this entire time. That’s sort of personal, don’t you think? That’s not a gesture I’ve ever spent much time thinking about, but holding onto the chair that someone is sitting in sort of creates an intimacy, don’t you think?
He stands up and passes behind her; she follows his movements, her expression sympathetic.Aura stands and approaches him, running her hand over his shoulder and across his back as she circles to the other side of him. “That’s horrible.” He smiles weakly at her. “It is.”But he’s over the whole persecution thing. He’s more interested in her now. (You can see it in his eyes as he changes focus.) He lifts his hand to her face, placing a finger on her cheek and holding her head behind her ear. (You’re going to see a lot of this in this family. It’s a family trait.)They smile at each other.INCESTUOUS SMILING!!!
I will say this about Anna van, she does fantastic eye work. Tyra Banks would be impressed.
A tender moment. Ha! A TENDER INCESTUOUS MOMENT. What does The Code say about that?
Aura is unfazed by the reminder that she’s committing (or about to commit) an offense punished by death. “They say it’s necessary, that it’s for our own protection,” Aura protests, but mostly she’s just smiling at him.“Protection from what?”
Considering the incredible irreconcilability between what Aura has grown up believing and the life that Terek has lived, it’s remarkable they’re getting on as well as they are, especially so quickly. The question of the deviates is very complex, ethically. I won’t get into it. The show never really gets into it either. The one thing I do want to say is that while The Code is clearly outrageous, the idea of preventing the spread of the deviation in and of itself is not inherently wrong. So Aura sort of has a point.
Terek drops his hand, then sighs, and sort of taps her on the shoulder. “We’re not a threat to you,” he says. He’s trying so hard to not get offended, to be patient with her and to be cognizant of the limitations of her worldview. “All my life I’ve been told you were awful creatures,” Aura says. “But I don’t believe that now,” she finishes softly.
Bow chicka bow wow.
“Then stand with me against this injustice. You have the power to change the future. And you can start now.”
She nods once. “How?”
“Like this…” And he lifts his hands to her cheeks (it’s a family trait) and leans in to kiss her, and she parts her lips for him and they’re so close and thenFLASH GORDON THE WORST PERSON EVER RUINS EVERYTHING.
I’ve never hated someone so much in my life.
I can be satisfied with the fact that they were going to kiss but come on, he had to run?
He couldn’t have just walked up there?
“Stop! Stop!” he yells, bursting in, eyes wide. Ugh, Flash Gordon, you suckkkkkkkk!
But can we back up and talk about the fact that they were going to kiss?
GSA PDA PSA.
And Aura went from “deviates are disgusting” to hunka hunka in a couple of hours. She must have been REALLY attracted to Terek. Oh he’s my kidnapper? Oh he’s a deviate? Oh kissing him is a capital crime? BUT HE’S SO DREAMY.
And how about Terek? He goes from seducing her to use for political ends to using politics to seduce her. We need to make out…for social justice!
They framed it so that Flash interrupting them would be right in the middle of the shot, but collaterally that meant that Terek and Aura almost-kissing also had to be right in the middle of the shot, and that ended up looking pretty epic, don’t you think? I don’t know the technical terms or the reasoning, but the object that is the focus of the shot is usually at least slightly off-center, especially on TV. So when you put it right in the center it always stands out.
“Are you insane?” Terek asks.
Flash Gordon is not insane but he does suckkkkkkkkkkk.
“Ask the old lady,” Flash tells Aura. Ludy is such a coward. Sending Flash in to do her dirty work.
Chaos ensues when Baylin chooses this moment to make her move. She takes down a couple of the guards, then she and Terek end up with guns pointed at each other but Baylin gets her shot off first and Terek is stunned into unconsciousness. (He gets some bed time after all!)Aura watches all of this with hilarious detachment. I assume she is too shocked to be properly responsive or coherent about anything. She babbles, “My brother” confusedly a few times as Baylin and Flash drag her away.
“Tell me it’s not true,” Aura says when we join up with the three of them later as they’re walking back to Nascent City. Mongo is apparently microscopic in size, since we almost never see them travel by anything other than foot.
TELL ME IT’S NOT TRUE. She doesn’t want it to be true because of her feelings for him? One can hope. If I found out I had a secret brother or sister I actually think I’d be pretty stoked. It’s hard to say for sure, of course, but I’m pretty confident that I would feel mostly positive about it. But the situation is a little different for Aura.
Flash relates what Ludy had told him: she had been there when the two of them were born. (TWINS.) Terek was set to be purged because of his imperfections. Ludy took him and ran.
Aura is pretty upset by the fact that this means she has deviate blood in her.
Aura goes back to her father and is cool as a cucumber. Ming expects her to be angry that he didn’t send an army to rescue her and Aura pretends that she isn’t. (Honestly I don’t understand why he couldn’t have sent an army. That’s not negotiating with terrorists, that’s fighting the terrorists. And as Baylin proved, it was hardly impossible to find them.) But Aura is also very angry about the fact that her father tried to have her brother killed, and then lied to her about it. (Through she doesn’t tell him this.)
This is a major turning point for her. She has been growing increasingly disillusioned with her father, his methods, and his cruelty, but this is when she decides that she’s no longer entirely on his side. Revenge becomes the desire to take him down.
There’s one final relevant scene in this episode. We open (using one of those tacky transitions I mentioned earlier that are meant to look like the rifts but really just look silly) on Aura walking along a wooded path. It’s the same day or the next day. Her outfit + a little bit of logic tells us that not much time passed.
Terek is hiding in the bushes. He steps out onto the path and says, “And where are you going?”Aura’s reflexes are speedy and she’s got a gun pulled on him before he’s even done with his sentence. Judging by the way she had been looking around I think she expected to encounter him or one of his men there.“Well to find you, of course,” she says.
I’m very unsure about all of this. Why is Terek hiding in the bushes? He’s all alone. He’s just hanging out there in the bushes. (OK, so I’m being a little dense. It all seems very much as if they had arranged to meet, so they probably did, though I don’t know how.)
Terek isn’t at all worried about he gun, which I think just goes to show how much of a relationship they established in just that short amount of time. “It’s true and you know it,” he says, not beating around the bushes that he was mysteriously chillin’ in.
So what I’m getting from this is that they felt a deep connection to each other right from the start.
“There’s a connection between us,” he finishes.
Yes there is: SEXUAL, INCESTUOUS ATTRACTION.
“There’s only one way to be sure,” she says.Aura has a special stone that glows whenever she is near a blood relative. It was supposed to be for finding her mother but it works just as well in this situation. She holds it in her hand and then touches his shoulder with her other hand. And it glows. Terek smiles. “Sister,” he says.
Aura smiles back. “Brother.”And they seem like they’re plotting even though they’re not even plotting yet. But every time they smile at each other after finding out they’re brother and sister they look like they’re up to some evil scheme. They feel very empowered by their siblinghood.
That evil scheme is incest.
“We’re not alone anymore,” Terek says.
Awwwww. Isn’t that just the saddest/sweetest thing?
“Our father must not find out about you. If he does he’ll kill you.”
“He’s a cruel man. It is I who should be ashamed of him, not him of me.”
“Yes. And I’ll do whatever I can to stop the persecution of your people. I’ve already begun my campaign on your behalf. I think I might be able to change his mind.”
Oh Aura. Sweet, innocent Aura. Naïve Aura.
Aura doesn’t lower her gun until she smiles at him and calls him brother. I’m not sure why she even pulled it on him in the first place. But I kind of like that she didn’t quite trust him. But the second she confirms that they really are brother and sister she trusts him instantly.
If I were her I would have done it the other way around. Now that he has confirmed he’s Ming’s son he’s going to start going after his birthright.
The almost-kiss and their initial sexual attraction is never mentioned. Not during this scene – their next meeting – and not in any of their later scenes. While I would have really enjoyed seeing some awkwardness about it, I’m actually glad that it’s completely ignored after the big reveal because that means we can fill in the blanks ourselves. But I’ll tackle that subject at the end.
I wish the lobbing back and forth of death threats part of their relationship had lasted a little bit longer, I must confess. But these two move at lightning speed. They go from strangers, to kidnapper/victim, to co-conspirators, to friends, to almost-kissers, to untrusting maybe-siblings, to siblings, to allies all in one episode/day. In fact it’s insane. So my one complaint is really that I would have enjoyed seeing these different stages stretched out a lot more.
1.18 Ebb and FlowMing decides to give Aura the office of prefect to the Verdan. This is the first we’ve heard of any prefects so I think the position was made up just for this episode. But it is the first we hear of Ming giving her any real political responsibilities except for appearing in various ceremonies and marrying Barin.
Aura suggests that she instead be made prefect to the deviates. She admits willingly to her father that she “learned a lot among them” and “bear[s] them no ill will”. He argues that they’re not even a recognized canton, but Aura says that they should be, that they’re angry and they have nothing to lose, and he reminds him that he can’t control them with source water like he does the other cantons. She says she could influence them.And Ming agrees. (Which actually surprises me quite a lot.) Go Aura!Ming calls a meeting of delegates from the various cantons in order to address certain water shortfall and distribution issues. He has used the drift generator to steal a lake from where Flash lives, and so he is able to assure all of them that they’ll be getting their water soon.The Omadrians are a canton of women potion-makers. They’re sort of like a monastery except without the religious and service aspects. When we first meet them they come across as rather intractable, but they become more benevolent as the series progresses. They have a practice of castrating men and turning them into slaves called “dociles”. These dociles are also found in Nascent City, so I’m not sure whether the Omadrians are the only ones that make the dociles or not.
Well Aura notices that one of the dociles present during the meeting is actually Terek. The dociles wear chains around their necks, and Aura excuses herself to her father, grabs Terek’s chain, and says, “You, docile, come with me.” And then she just pulls him by the chain out of the room and then down the hallway. (She tugs roughly on it once pulling him out of there, which she probably enjoyed and I think he’s pretty amused.) It’s hilarious. And, well, your kink is not my kink but it does look pretty sexual, there’s no debate about that. Especially since Aura dresses and walks like a dominatrix 99% of the time, and Terek’s chest is mostly bare.“What were you doing in there?” she asks, annoyed.
“It’s my father,” Terek replies. “I wanted to see him. He’s shorter than I thought.” Terek’s attempt to sound aloof is failing completely.
Ming’s not the only one who’s short: Aura’s towering over her brother in her heels.
“Oh, congratulations, by the way,” Terek adds. “They announced that you’ve been made prefect. Impressive.” He continues his charade of indifference by checking his nails but the resentment in his voice is as obvious as the chain around his neck. You can hear what he’s thinking: “You had everything. I had nothing.” It’s possible he doesn’t trust her. That he’s thinking if she’s advancing in her father’s graces then she must not be carrying about the deviate agenda. But that would be a misreading of the situation on his part and it never comes up again so I don’t know. I think perhaps her being a prefect of the deviates is like her putting herself in a position of authority over him, and he doesn’t like it because he doesn’t think it’s fair.
“How did you get in there?” Aura’s all business.
Terek shrugs. “I have friends in unexpected places.”
Aura stops, and then –
ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?
She SHOVES HIM AGAINST THE FLIPPIN’ WALL!
Is this for real? My eyes are sparkling. DO YOU SEE THE WAY HE’S LOOKING AT HER?
But wait IT GETS BETTER.
Well, OK, she pulls a dagger out of his waist band.
Sadly. And while it does involve running her hand over his chest somewhat, she’s also wearing gloves.
But then she holds the dagger up against his throat, and if you don’t think that’s sexy then I don’t even know what’s wrong with you. (OK, OK, my kink is not your kink.)
Aura threatening his life is one of the biggest traits of their relationship at this point. First her whole you’ll-die-screaming bit, then she held that gun on him for like an hour, and now the dagger.
“And this?” she asks.“For my protection,” he says innocently. “Our father’s a dangerous man.”“You were gonna kill him.”She’s smart. She knew from the second she saw him that he was up to no good. Well, no good from her point of view. Personally I would have held Ming down for him.
“Wouldn’t that be sweet justice? Killed by the son he thought he murdered,” Terek responds. “But no. I merely wanted the satisfaction of knowing that I could kill him. I wouldn’t do so before we were properly introduced. That would be rude.”
“This is no time to be glib,” Aura chastises. All-business Aura. “Any action that would harm him would only further isolate the deviates.” Nice try, Aura. But I think everyone in this bar knows that you’re just trying to protect his life. Your daddy issues are as bright as the rising sun.
“You tell me that as my prefect or as my sister?” …OR AS MY LOVER?Aura lifts the dagger. She sighs. “As a friend.” …AND AS A LOVER. “I’m trying to help you.” …TO HAVE SOME SEX.“Then why don’t you help arrange a meeting between the Benevolent Father and Terek of the deviates.”Cool it, Terry. You’re lucky she wants to help you at all.
He’s clearly growing impatient. Finding out he was Ming’s son has only made him that much more ambitious, and he was already kidnapping princesses.
“This is not the time.”
“Then I’ll arrange a meeting of my own.”
“But I warn you,” he says. “It may not end well.” He slides the dagger back into whatever place he had originally been keeping it.But before he can quite finish, Aura slams him into the wall again.INCESTUOUS WALL-SLAMMING!!!
They’re so cute.She apparently does this for no reason other than the fact that this is what they’re relationship is like at his point. I really am just too happy with all of this, because they’re sort of fighting like siblings but it’s in such a sexual way and they’re actually cooperating with each other the whole time. It’s just too good.
Ming is outraged that Aura has brought a deviate into the citadel, and he attacks Terek, realizing he is the one that had kidnapped her, but Aura stops him. “He didn’t harm me, he just wants to talk to you.” But Aura:“I thought you’d be a coward and summon a guard,” Terek says to him.
I love the way that Aura and Terek stand with regard to Ming – it really feels like two children and their father. The conversation goes pretty much as you’d expect. Terek tells him that he wants the purge to stop, Ming says that deviation is a disease that “threatens to destroy us all”, etc. etc.
Terek does not have his father’s ice cold temperament. He’s provoked into saying, “And my duty is to protect my people, even if it means killing yours.”
He takes an aggressive step forward but Aura puts her hand on him and says, “That’s enough,” rather too intimately. “Threats are not the answer.” But Aura:Ming’s eyes scan the two of them. If he’s jumping to the conclusion observing that there’s some hanky panky going on he doesn’t say anything but it seems to me that it only makes sense he would think they were “drawn” to each other. Your kid gets kidnapped, she comes back best friends with the deviate king and now they’re speaking to each other like they’ve been best friends for years? Simple explanation: LOVE IS IN THE AIR.“They mean us no harm,” Aura says to her father. If that’s going to be her message then she should bringing someone other than Terek to meet with Ming. “They only ask to be treated as others are.”
More “seeds of our destruction” rhetoric.
Then, unbelievably, right in front of Terek, Ming decides to tell Aura about the son he had to purge because of their mother’s deviate blood. “I did not see it,” Ming says, “but by all accounts it was a wretched, twisted creature so repugnant in form that when it was left to die in the banelands even the henge beasts would not touch it. So don’t tell me I don’t understand your pain,” he finishes, addressing Terek. “I understand it all too well.” As you can probably imagine, Terek is not filled with filial love at the moment. Gone is the self-satisfied grin. He’s boiling underneath, tears in his eyes, but all he does is spit at Ming’s feet and then walk away.
Aura is angry as well: don’t be calling my lover brother repugnant! Though her expression is really one of judgmental disappointment, more like: really, Dad? She walks out as well, but it’s not clear whether she’s following Terek or not. I’d like to think she is. Which I doubt is surprising to you.
Flash messes with Ming’s water distribution system and allows the water to be freely distributed to all the cantons all at once. He tells Aura to have Terek take credit, so Terek makes a video saying that he had done it. Aura breaks into her father’s media system and airs it for everyone to see.“I have many interesting hobbies,” she replies after Terek guesses what she has done. And she says it in exactly the tone of voice it would be most amusing/pleasing for her to have said it in.SERIOUSLY? ARE YOU SERIOUS RIGHT NOW?
“Look how effective that is,” she says, pointing to the rejoicing citizens. “All without hurting anyone.” Uh-oh, Aura the pacifist.
*I laugh some more* *I fill with air**I float into the sun*
♪And you know, we’re on each others’ team ♪
GAH, THESE TWO.
Ming is smarter than your good intentions, Flash.
He poisons the water that Flash made available to everyone, and now many are sick and dying and they all blame Terek. It’s not grey water, it’s poisoned with something else.
Aura goes to the Omadrians and to their leader Vestra for an antidote, but they don’t have one. However, Vestra is able to figure out the witch sorceress person who created the poison, and Flash goes off to find her. For some mysterious reason, Aura accompanies him. But first she asks Vestra to go to the deviate settlement and make sure that the Turin men (another canton on Mongo), who have taken Terek hostage unless a cure if found, don’t hurt him. Awwwww.
“But why do you care about the deviate king?” Vestra asks.
Aura makes a series of enigmatic faces, and then answers a different question: “The deviates have been accused of a crime they did not commit. I believe they have been misjudged.” Which is complete BS. Not because that’s not how she feels, but because it’s not the answer to the question that was asked. It’s not why she cares about Terek.Vestra is impressed with Aura’s shows of compassion that day.
“Shouldn’t the next ruler of Mongo show compassion for all?” Aura asks. “And Terek looks almost as you and I.”
In fact we look so much alike he could be my brother. I’m not saying he is my brother, of course. Or that we’re screwing. I’m not screwing my brother. That’s not what I’m saying.
Or the other possible translation: Yeah I’m totally into him but it’s OK because he’s barely got any deviation.
Vestra gets a very thoughtful expression on her face when Aura describes that Terek only has a small deviation by his ear. I’ll leave you to guess what that means.
Vestra arrives at the deviate settlement (which apparently isn’t hard to find at all, sorry, Terry) and begins treating the sick Turin while making eyes at Terek, who seems equally as intrigued. ACCIDENTAL INCESTUOUS ATTRACTION, PART II.
OK, not exactly, since Vestra knows that Terek is the little boy she was forced to give up, and I wouldn’t say that Terek is canonically “drawn” to Vestra in the same way he was to Aura. All the same this is prime.Or maybe Terek doesn’t keep looking over at her because he thinks she’s pretty. Maybe he’s right and he can just sense it, like he did with Aura.
She is really pretty though. Damn. Brief Carrie Genzel spam: She manages to get the Turin to allow her to treat Terek’s minor injuries from his kidnapping. Sweet justice – kidnapped because he did what the sister he kidnapped told him to do.He thanks her for her kindness and smiles at her, but as we’ve established, Terek’s smiles are sort of lethal. In fact all of his looks are lethal. He’s just kind of an eyesexer.Maybe I’m being too hard on them. But no, I’m not. Terek notices her looking at his deviation, and he tells her to go ahead and look, that he’s not ashamed, that he hopes a day will come when all of Mongo will be able to look upon the deviates without being repelled, even if he doesn’t live to see it. He has a dream.Vestra puts her hand on his cheek (it’s a family trait), and says, “When I held you in my arms as a baby and I saw this deviation I did not look away. You were beautiful.” Awwwww. Feels.Terek stares at her in disbelief.
Yeah, this is the way he is looking at her *before* he learns that she is his mother:“You have your father’s intense eyes, but my hands – strong and worn from honest labor.” So he gets those sex eyes from Ming? I don’t think so. It’s not a family trait, Vestra, those are just the eyes of someone who is attracted to you. Or something.
“I was but a maiden, charmed by a powerful man,” Vestra explains. “Honored to be chosen to give him an heir.” Well, at least it was consensual. Dale keeps ending up by accident in his harem of sorts and there was a pretty strong indication he cared very little about consent.“I gave him two. A perfect girl, and a fine son with a deviation,” Vestra continues. “He followed The Code and purged his own son. Until today I did not know that my son was alive.”
Tears for everyone. Tears all around.
“Why have you not told Aura that you’re her mother?” Terek asks. “It would mean so much to her.” AWWWWWWW. It’s so sweet that he’s thinking of Aura in this moment. And we can also infer that Aura and Terek have spent some time together that we haven’t seen because they haven’t discussed their mother at all onscreen. Terek wouldn’t even know that Aura did or didn’t know who her mother was based on the dialogue we’ve heard.
“With your own life in peril you show such concern?” Vestra asks, confused.YOUR MOTHER IS ON TO YOUR INCEST. Don’t be so obvious, Terry. Vestra figured things out even faster than Ming did, and Ming got to see the two of them together.
He lurves her.
He’s apparently totally over the fact that they just met.
I love these parallel scenes where Terek and Aura show concern for one another and then are asked to admit why they care and they do care – they just do.
“Then know that when Ming cast me out for birthing a deviate child he forced me to take a blood-oath. If I were to ever speak of it to Aura…”
“You would die,” Terek finishes.
“No. She will,” Vestra corrects.
Terek is horrified. “What father uses his own daughter’s life to enforce a blood-oath?”
“The same father who would reject his only son.”
Ming, you dick.
Flash procures the antidote, and he couldn’t have done it without Aura. They bring it to the deviate settlement in time to save Terek and the dying Turin. Aura thanks Vestra for doing as she had asked.
And then everybody smiles at each other. Non-plotting smiles. Gooey, lovey dovey smiles. Aura has no idea that Vestra is her mother or that Vestra and Terek have just had an emotional reunion so she’s just staring at Terek with love because that’s how she do. 1.20 Cold Day In Hell
Terek, stupid, foolish Terek, decides he wants another private meeting with Ming, and interrupts the ruler of Mongo while he’s getting a massage from a pretty girl in a skimpy outfit. He wants Ming to put the “benevolent” and “father” into Benevolent Father, and tries to convince him that it’ll look good if he stands side by side with the king of the deviates. No dice. Ming argues that the people will continue to hate and be disgusted by the deviates even if they have official canton status.
“Until they see who the real deviates are, Father,” Terek says, putting his hand on Ming’s cheek. (It’s a family trait.) In the spirit of consistent interpretation (not that I ever care about consistent interpretation – LOLOLOL), this gesture seemed weirdly incestuous as well. Gosh, Terry, can’t you turn it off? (Although this is more like the intimidation kind of caress.) (Or maybe I’m the one who can’t turn it off, and I have finally lost all perspective. No, that’s not it.)
Ming leaps away. “No! You could not have survived.”
The plot thickens.
“Never,” Ming whispers. Then he nods to his masseuse, who pulls two blades from god knows where and has them around Terek’s neck in the blink of an eye.Awwww yisssss. Kick-ass surprise female bodyguard in a pretty outfit who can also give a hella good massage. (This is probably one of my favorite things to have happened in the entire series.) I really like earlier in the scene when she looks to Ming to see whether she should intervene and take this Tarek dude down and Ming tells her with his eyes not to because he wants to see what’s going to happen:I’m obsessed with this bodyguard. I really like her face. Sometimes I just really like people’s faces, you know? I looked up the actress – her name is Kayla Laturnus – and she’s only been in two things: this small scene and then an episode of Smallville. Why did you quit on your dream, honey? Or maybe she wasn’t into acting at all. I think the idea of someone being totally blase about being an actor is kind of awesome. I wanted to find some pictures of her and my search yielded only this:I literally cannot tell if it is the same person. The nose seems kind of the same. (I’m terrible with faces, actually. I’m not sure I’d recognize Anna van if I passed her on the street and look at all the gifs and caps I’ve done.) In any case, please enjoy this picture of this pretty playboy bunny named Kayla. I like her face too. Might just be a coincidence.
“You should have stayed away and lived,” Ming says.
Terek gets locked up in the dungeon of sorts (every character has been or will be in there at one point or another), but he gets Baylin and a sympathetic guard to release him when he promises to help Flash with the shenanigans he has gotten himself into this week. (Although, at this point, everything that happens is pretty relevant to the finale.)
Meanwhile, Ming is furious with Aura because he realizes she must have known who Terek really was. They have a pretty ugly scene in which Ming not only slaps her, but chokes her while dangling her head over the ledge of the citadel. Ming, YOU DICK. He drags Aura down to the dungeons to say goodbye to Terek, whom he is going to execute, but of course Terek is gone.
Aura is quite pleased.The monks have sent Flash (against his will) to a distant corner of Mongo to rescue a queen. It’s a test, part of the prophecy that they believe refers to him. Baylin and Terek arrive and help him with this task. But they end up saving two queens, and it all gets very confused. Frankly I’m very unclear about the prophecy, about exactly what it means and to whom it refers. The episode ends with them all believing that it might actually refer to Terek, but a part of me thinks that maybe they’re just trying to fool Ming and the people of Mongo into believing that it refers to Terek in order to help his cause. Anyway, they all begin acting at this point as if the prophecy refers to Terek, and it’s possible they all believe that it does as well. (But I doubt, if the show had continued its run, that it would have referred to Terek. Seems much more likely to be about the main character, right?)
1.21, Revolution, Part I
At the deviate settlement, Terek is gearing up for war. He is leading the rebellion to take down Ming, and Flash has brought the assistance of the various peoples he has helped in his adventures.Aura arrives, and Terek turns around and sees her and frowns. “Aura, I asked you to stay away,” he says, annoyed.“Our future is being decided here. I want to be a part of it. I’m ready to fight.”
“I have hundreds of soldiers. You can help best by staying safe inside the citadel.”
He seems genuinely perturbed that she’s there because he wants her to be safe.
Protective brother Terek.
But Terek smiles at her affectionately. “You’re right. We should share everything.”
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? WE SHOULD SHARE EVERYTHING.
Yeah, like our bed. And bodily fluids.
“The struggle and the victory both,” he finishes. Yeah, OK, so there’s a little bit more to that sentiment.“So what can I do to help?” she asks.Blah blah blah strategy talk. Terek puts his hand on her back and guides her to another staging area. More strategy talk. More hand on back.Aura has misgivings about Terek’s forces attacking Nascent City. Underneath her acidic exterior Aura is a big softie and she doesn’t want anyone to get hurt.“We couldn’t do this without you,” he says sweetly. “You know that.”She smiles back weakly but she’s still upset.She runs into Vestra, and her special stone starts glowing. Vestra denies that she is Aura’s mother but Aura isn’t convinced.She cries quietly and it’s very powerful, I think.Good on you, Anna van.Back at the citadel, Ming takes his daughter aside and bemoans the betrayal of Rankol (who was revealed as a monk, therefore guilty of divided loyalties, and who then joined the deviates), and the lack of loyalty from his people. He tells Aura that she is the only person he can be sure of, which actually makes me sort of sad even though he’s so horrible. But everyday Aura finds something new to be angry at him about, and today it’s Vestra. Aura accuses Ming of not telling her that Vestra was her mother because Ming was the one with deviate blood, not Vestra. I’m not sure if that was Terek meant with his “real deviates” comment, and I’m also very not sure of when Terek and Aura found out that Vestra doesn’t have deviate blood. But apparently this is all true, and Ming is the one with a deviate strain. Awkward. (It’s a little cliché, in my opinion.)
Ming has more of a panicked reaction here than the fury we saw from him last episode. He has Aura locked in her chambers under the guise of protecting her. She just can’t resist, can she? She’s supposed to be stealing guns but she’s got to rile up her father.
Meanwhile, Rankol is at the deviate war camp, and he tells Terek that he would fight to see Terek in his rightful place where Ming is now.
HOLD THOSE FLIPPIN’ HORSES, WOULD YOU? What about Aura?
Flash frees Aura, who then goes to raid her father’s munitions. I’m crazy about her lipstick and her hair and her hat and her outfit and her whole everything during this part so I’m going to spam you with rebel Aura: She looks pretty bada$$ holding her gun: “Your success is a victory in itself,” Terek says, greeting her as she arrives with the weapons.Aura pulls him aside and begins to tell him about Vestra. She’s not happy when she learns that Terek already knew, but he explains the blood-oath. When she asks why he didn’t tell her, he says, “I would have, sister, once I knew that Ming could no longer harm you.” He called her sister! (As long as he didn’t call her “sweet sister”, because that’s always messed up.) “It is not for you to decide how much I should know,” she counters, and she’s quite right. Though I tend to be pretty forgiving when people take protective actions, even if it infringes upon a person’s right to make their own decisions. I’m always OK with it, even if it’s clearly wrong, as long as it’s not stupid. I can definitely see not telling Aura, since she basically goes to her father and tells him everything the first chance she gets hoping to make him angry because getting one over on him is the way she measures her worth in that relationship at this point.
You can see Aura’s anger escalating: He smiles at her, affectionate and proud, and says, “Of course.”An acting deficiency sometimes makes it unclear when Terek is being 100% genuine but I think this is all meant to be sincere.
I’m actually a fan of Terek’s mini-speech to get the troops all jazzed up. It’s pretty much: “We may die but we will win.” He looks over at Aura. It strikes me as very significant. He knows she has qualms about what’s happening and he acknowledges them but without ceding anything. Plus I really like that he’s been in it with these deviates for his whole life, waiting for this moment, but in a matter of weeks (? Days? Months?) Aura has become the privileged one, both in his life and in this struggle. He feels all of these immediate obligations towards her.
Later, Rankol announces that the forces are ready to move, and Terek and Aura exchange another look. She’s supportive, but very unhappy. I like this moment because it’s another moment of deference to her. She’s like an honorary second-in-command, though Rankol is obviously the one now in that position technically.1.22 Revolution, Part II
Here it is. The last episode.
Terek was hoping to get Ming to yield. The rebels had smartly arranged for most of his troops to be tied up elsewhere. But Ming doesn’t surrender. He kills the messenger, which is very bad form. That’s one of those things that bothers me disproportionately. So Terek’s option now is to take the city. Aura, naïve summer child, had hoped that it would be a bloodless revolution. She was prepared to accept that the armies might have to fight. But she does not approve of the rebels taking the city by force.
“You said you wanted to force our father to surrender.”
Hahahahaha. Oh, Aura. Sweetheart.
“I cannot give you that,” Terek tells her honestly. “We will do whatever is necessary to bring him to justice for his crimes.” She gets annoyed with Terek and turns to Rankol, hoping he’ll support her.But Rankol supports Tereks’s plan, and they devolve into a spat about whose betrayal is worse.Aura turns back to Terek, and pleads again: “Please, just promise me he won’t be killed.”Terek clearly finds it very difficult to resist her pleading but he chooses not to lie to her.“He’s our father,” she insists.“He may be your father; he’s not mine,” Terek says, and he walks away. I love that old resentment coming back out to play.
Terek is pretty inconsistent about this. Ming is his father when Terek wants him to be.
Aura sneaks away from the deviate settlement and returns to the citadel. She gets her father alone and tells him outright where she been – “with my brother” – and that she’s on Terek’s side. She urges him to surrender, but he’s not having any of that. He tells her that she’s not his daughter anymore.
“I have stood by you, supported you, defended you – and you have treated me with scorn, murdered people I care about! And yet somehow I still love you. How is that not enough?,” she pleads.
“Do you really love me? Why did you desert me? Betray me?”
“Because you have become something dark and terrible. Please, Father. Terek is trying to save Mongo. I am trying to save you.”
Ming puts his hand on the side of her head (it’s a family trait), and it seems almost like she has broken through to the human being inside of him, but no, when we cut back to them he has her on the ground and is choking her. Ming, you dickity dick. You’re almost bad as kiss-interrupting Flash Gordon, and we all know how I feel about that misallocation of atoms.
While they’re down there, they find Vestra, because there was this whole thing where Ming locked up her up and was poisoning her with grey water to turn her into a deviate. What a jerk. It’s kind of sad there wasn’t a love story there. That would have made Ming more interesting. Really this whole paragraph is just an excuse for me to post more screencaps of Vestra: The battle is won by the deviates.
We return to Aura and Terek. Terek is sitting in Ming’s chair, a de facto throne, resting his feet on Ming’s desk with perfect ease. Aura is standing behind him and to the side, drinking and leaning against the window.
One of my favorite things about this scene is how much it reminds me of Zuko and Azula from the finale of Book 2 (Crossroads of Destiny). Some of the qualities are distributed differently between the siblings, but there’s a marked resemblance. Zuko and Terek even have similar facial disfigurements.
“At last, where I belong,” Terek says. (I feel like “at last” is a bit of an exaggeration, since he only found out that he was Ming’s son recently. But maybe he’s just impatient. Well, we know he’s impatient.) He laughs.
“In control?” Aura asks dryly, a little leery, a little skeptical. She’s studying him. She doesn’t feel that she can celebrate after what she has just gone through with her father. I think it bothers her to see him enjoying himself. It’s understandable.
So he’s saying they belong ruling together. As brother-husband-king and sister-wife-queen, right? They’ve already got deviate blood, what’s a little inbreeding? And like Vestra said – a union between them would make them both stronger. A MARITAL UNION.
“And our mother,” Terek adds as an afterthought.
(I’m sorry I just had to include those.)
Look how married they are already!
It’s nice to see Aura so self-aware. Her journey has been amazing. I think Terek is probably the opposite right now. He’s very wise when it comes to the deviate situation but not power.
Terek puts his hands on the side of her head (it’s a family trait) just like he did way back when he was about to kiss her – squee! It’s just such a perfect parallel. They’re even framed in the middle and everything.
Zuko needed reassurance and Azula did the same thing as Terek – she reached out and touched him.
Aura rests her hand on his arm, which might actually be my favorite detail of this whole moment because even though she’s very unsure about a lot of things in this scene she trusts him. And you see the way she inclines her head towards him? It’s a small submission. It’s like she’s saying, “Even though we’re disagreeing you’re still my brother.” She’s so tired of it all, the poor thing. She gets pulled into the “tender moment” but not for long.
“You know that he has to die,” Terek says.
Terek kisses her…
…but on the forehead.
She closes her eyes while he kisses her, and they remain closed after he pulls away. She clearly enjoys it. Ming kisses her at least once on the forehead that we see so she’s not exactly touch-starved but you can tell from the way that she keeps referring to Terek as “my brother” that she’s seeking a warm and loving familial relationship. It’s like when Terek said, “We’re not alone anymore.”
Actually there are a few Ming/Terek parallels here. The kiss on the forehead is very similar (though I’m not sure how different it was possible for it to be), and then the gloved hand on Aura’s cheek while she regards them with suspicion. (Of course that’s a family trait.)
Zuko’s misgivings, just like Aura’s.
Ming has to walk past everyone to the gas chamber. There’s a term for that walk, isn’t there? I don’t remember what it is. Terek can’t keep that bleepin’ self-satisfied grin off of his face, but Vestra and Aura are grave. Terek asks him if there’s anything he’d like to say.
“Is this how you want it to end, Aura?” he asks.
“Does the deviate speak for you now?”
Aura is crying. Some really good acting from Anna van, actually. All of her crying scenes are absolutely her best. You can hear it in her voice: she’s actually crying. “No, I speak for myself,” she says, through her tears. “Goodbye, Father.”
Terek has brought her around, it would seem.
Ming nods at her. He’s proud. “Finally, a daughter I can be proud of.” In an earlier episode when she pulled some tricks in order to save his life, she reminds him that she could have killed him while he was unconscious and he told her that if she were fit to be ruler of Mongo then she would have. At least he’s consistent.
Everyone watches while the chamber fills with gas. Ming stares at Aura, the poor girl. Rankol actually looks sort of upset, and I’m not sure whether he’s supposed to have mixed feelings about it or not. I would have thought that he would be 100% happy to have Ming dead.
I never would have guessed that the execution would go off without a hitch. I kept waiting for something to interrupt it. But nothing does.
HOWEVER, Ming has a medallion with a gem on it, and when the smoky gas clears, all you see is the medallion floating in the air. WITCHCRAFT! I don’t know if he was absorbed into the medallion, or somehow used it to transport himsef, or what. In an earlier episode, a creature that was able to absorb life force from others is forced to give Ming a ton of life force energy, so I thought that might come into play. It wasn’t made clear that it did, but that might have been part of it. I don’t know. The point is that he’s probably not dead.
Terek and Aura look at each other, worried and confused.
As for Flash and his posse, they find Flash’s father, and destroy the rift generator, but then find they are unable to use their rift-opening device in order to get back home. All of the rifts have been permanently closed. So Flash, Dale, and Zarkov are stuck in Mongo. (Baylin had been planning on staying.)
So those are sort of the cliffhanger endings that set things up for the second season that never happened. But I don’t mind those cliffhanger endings. A few minor tweaks and things would have been perfectly concluded. If Flash and them had been able to open one last rift, or had left a rift open when they destroyed the generator, or however you want to work it, then they could have gone back to Earth and that would have been that. Dale started causing some excitement and telling people about Mongo but that could all just blow over.
And as for Ming, well, one could just imagine that he died. And that would be that.
A few other things to discuss:
I believe that Tarek can be taken at face value, that he is exactly what he appears to be, that he means what he says, that his desires and motivations are what we think they are. However, there are some hints that perhaps he’s got a darker side, or perhaps that he’s corruptible. (That maybe he has more than just his father’s eyes.) I am mostly going by Aura’s reactions to him. Those suspicious looks, those moments of disagreement and/or disapproval. Aura is hardly a moral authority, and yet in these final episodes she plays the role of the heart.
Two moments that particularly stand out are when we see Terek sitting in his father’s chair saying that at last he is where he belongs, and when he confronts Ming and says that he is his father’s true son and heir. It would seem that there’s a part of Terek that has a lust for power, not just rights for deviates. I don’t think Terek ever does anything that is more wrong than what is acceptable for his character. But it’s possible the writers were sewing the seeds for future plotlines.
Of course, Ludy does say that he is a good man, and she has raised him. And when Terek says that he and Aura will be better than Ming, it’s sincere. And as I’ve tried to establish, his caring for Aura is genuine. (I mean, just remember how he was thinking about her when he was meeting Vestra for the first time, and was also possibly about to die!)
There’s also the issue of succession. Aura is all set to be the next ruler of Mongo. And she expresses interest in gaining experience and being a good leader. And then Terek shows up, and suddenly starts throwing around phrases like “rightful heir”. Does he plan on edging Aura out of power? Is he willing to share it with her? Can they get along well enough to do that? Is she willing to share with him? These issues are never addressed. Terek is Ming’s son, has leadership experience, and led the rebellion. The rebellion probably wouldn’t have even happened without him. And the prophecy is allegedly about him. So he’s actually in a better position than Aura to be the next ruler of Mongo from the P.O.V. of the people. They’re far more likely to want him, even if he is a deviate. (Of course Aura is a deviate too, but it doesn’t show and no one really knows.) But she was the undisputed successor to Ming. Aura is never shown to have any issues with the idea of sharing power with Terek. She lets him call the shots, both in the revolution and in the matter of what to do with their father. If she had decided that she wanted to be the one calling the shots she might not have been able to make that happen, but she never even raises the issue. The most important image is really Terek sitting in Ming’s chair, with Aura behind him. It was staged that way for a reason. And Aura might have looked at Terek with some reservations, but she’s not disapproving of or disputing anything about it. Her concerns seemed to have been entirely about her father’s life. (And the absolute last thing I am going to blame Terek for is wanting to execute Ming.)
It’s sort of a difficult situation to describe. I feel it would not be accurate to say that except for Ming somehow surviving his execution that everything is hunky dory with Terek and Aura right now (aside from Aura’s grief), but at the same time it’s not as if anything specific is wrong. I can’t call Terek bad – he’s done nothing wrong – and yet I have some qualms about saying unreservedly that he and Aura will rule in perfect harmony and usher in a new era of sunshine and rainbows. But again, it’s not as if there was anything explicit, or really anything implicit, indicating that Terek was anything less than what he promised to be. I just wonder if maybe they were setting up something for season 2 that was never paid off and so we’re left in this sort of limbo. But I don’t find it very difficult to just ignore those minor things that give me a pause.
But then I also wanted to say that I wouldn’t mind at all if this had turned into a throne rivalry. I enjoy a good throne rivalry among family members any day. Terek and Aura, “drawn to each other”, and drawn to the idea of having a sibling, but also struggling against each other for power. Backstabbing and manipulating each other and then going bed together. Yes. That would be magic. (Of course I would want it to end eventually in happily ever after because I’m a romantic. Well, sometimes I’m a romantic…)
But I also like the idea of Aura and Terek having such a good relationship and connection that the co-rulership just sort of happened. They didn’t even really need to discuss it, it was just automatically what seemed right to both of them and so that’s what happened. I mean, that’s basically what I see the canon being. They learned they were brother and sister, and now they share everything.
Except for no longer trying to kiss each other – at least not onscreen – it’s basically all the same. The same slightly distrustful and yet deviously collusive looks, the same occasionally tense but largely sympathetic demeanor, the same physical closeness and touching. So here’s my theory: nothing’s changed. The mutual attraction is still there and they both know it, and except for needing to keep it a secret they really don’t even care that it’s incest. As I mentioned, it’s indicated that they’ve had moments together that we haven’t seen, so it’s my suggestion that we think of there being some … romance in those offscreen moments. There’s absolutely nothing in canon to dispute the idea that Aura and Terek are banging, or at least that they both want to and are maybe just waiting for things to settle down and for them to have the opportunity. IT JUST MAKES SO MUCH SENSE.
Of course it’s not the *only* explanation for why there’s no discussion of their almost kiss – a nonshipper would probably submit that the attraction evaporated once they realized they were related by blood (and there’s certainly a precedence for never bringing it up – like Luke and Leia, or how about Arthur and Morgana for something more recent) – but I posit that that is wrong and stupid and incorrect and dumb and also lame. And this is the sort of reaction that isn’t going to be true for every single person, but wouldn’t you think that if you had almost kissed someone, and then you found out that he was your brother, wouldn’t you – I don’t know – NOT push him against walls and pull stuff out of his pants? Wouldn’t that be a little awkward?
And there you have it: Aura and Terek.
ETA: I WROTE A FIC!!!
Summary: A missing scene one-shot fic that takes place during the episode “Ebb and Flow” (1.18). After Terek storms out of his meeting with Ming, Aura chases him down and some of their unresolved sexual feelings come to light.
Note: The word “bonded” is Mongo-nese for married/marriage.