Can anyone really explain chronophasia?

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I've heard rumors that Peter Chung has visited this site. Mr. Chung, if you ever read this, could you please write to tell me what meaning you had in mind for Chronophasia? I think I've watched that more than I've watched any other single TV show. I've been wondering what it means since I was 15. Sure, I have my own interpretations of it and everything, but I still want to know what was intended by those who made it. So, has anyone closely involved with the writing of this episode ever written an explanation of it?

For example... why is the baby so powerful and "agro"? Was the boy actually there before the scientists came, as he says? What was in the vial at the end, and how does it transport them to that suburban life in the "normal" world? Does the virus cause madness, happiness, is it a sham (as Trevor says in one sequence), or does it bring people outside linear time into an awareness of never-ending variation-recurrences? Does the virus do different things in the different variations? Were the mummified people in the lab killed by the boy's time-power (does he have any power, or is he just uniquely able to keep his awareness constant through the different recurrences?), by the virus, or by something else? Or did the boy expose the scientists to the virus and keep one vial for himself to wait for when Aeon came?

Someone please help!!!!!!

James Green-Armytage, Thursday, 17 June 2004 08:26 (nineteen years ago) link

James, there were actually several columns on the Lusenet board that were all painstaking devoted to Chronophasia including visits from the writer of it...Peter Gaffney. Between some of the best minds on that forum and with the help of Peter G. we never did figure it out.

Here for your amusement is the best efforts to analyze that episode, and anyone who wants to add anything new is welcome;

CHRONOPHASIA (Lusenet forum)

Hey! finally, a decent forum for flux-philes. Most of the stuff you've all been talking about makes little sense to me, as where I live (New Zealand), no-ones ever even heard of Aeon Flux. So the only episodes I've ever seen are the ones on Liquid Television and the 3rd series half-hour ones.
Anyway, my question. That episode in the 3rd series, I think it's called 'Chronosphasia', still baffles me completely. Y' know, the one where she keeps waking up in that cave after being killed (repeatedly).

Could someone please help me!

-- Joey Tarlton (, April 25, 1998

Woops, just realised that the episodes on Liquid TV ARE series one and two.

-- Joey Tarlton (, April 25, 1998.


To tell you the truth, this episode baffles me too. However, i do know some things that might help to make sense of it. First off, you know how Aeon wakes up over and over on that rock slab, then sticks her fingers in that puddle of unknown fluid? Chung says that was supposed to be blood. The idea was that she would wake up not knowing whose blood it was. Is it hers? Someone's she killed? He said that making it a blue fluid ruined the whole show. You see, for some reason(maybe because she is infected with the Virus) she gets caught in a time loop that sends her back to that slab everytime she dies. She is supposed to be learning the consequences of her actions and her mistakes. For example,the first time she wakes up, she is shot at by two breen gaurds. The second time, she knows to hide from the gaurds and she overcomes them. There are hundreds of people dead, and Aeon suspects the baby did it. But the boy states that this is not so "you have looked death twice in the face, but have not yet guessed it's secret." Later, Aeon suspects the boy did it. Boy:"i was here before. before they came with thier experiments..." Aeon:"so you KILLED them" Then, she is forced to face the fact that perhaps SHE killed them. Trully this is the most baffling episode in the series, with The Purge coming in a close second.

-- Frostbite (http//, April 26, 1998.


But what's the deal with that boy in the lab? Who the hell is he and why is he there? does it matter? And what's the significance of that very last scene? That's what bothers me the most.

-- Joey Tarlton (, April 27, 1998.


Yes I think we should start an elaborate forum on this episode called Mutant Babies (Baby)? Anyway, it baffles me too and I m sick of trying to figure it out....."to you I bequeeth?" Explain.
Alright that is all for me kitties it's finals week on college campuses across America!

Gina aka x-phile

-- Gina Holechko (, April 28, 1998.


Who is the boy?
Consider the demiurge, and the serif-trevs. There are lots of supernatural creatures in Aeons world.Clearly this boy is not human. He appears to be from an older,immortal, and powerful race. This is the first episode that Chung has no part in writing (can you tell) The boys superhuman qualities are a complete deparure from Chungs angel-like serif-trevs and god-like demiurge.

-- Frostbite (http//, April 28, 1998.


I just thought of something!What if the boy is a hallucination brought on by the virus? What if he is a personification of a hidden corner Aeon's psyche that had never been able to surface before she was infected? That might explain the fact that he loves her, and the end scene that is most likely another hallucination. Maybe hallucination is not the right word. Ever seen The Maxx? Maybe that last scene is like Julie's outback, except in reverse. Whereas Julie seeks an exotic live full of adventure, Aeon secretly wishes for a normal life and doesn't even relise it. There are other parallels. Julie projects her fantasy onto Maxx and in the end he becomes like a gateway that makes her conciously understand her desire. Similarly, the virus allows for Aeon to tap into her own subconcious wish.

-- Frostbite (http//, April 28, 1998.


This episode continues to baffle me, and that's why it remains my favorite. :) During my correspondence with Drew Neumann, he said that, indeed, Peter Chung had almost nothing to do with this episode and that it was actually his "least favorite". It's a huge departure from the other nine 1/2 hour episodes, at any rate.
Anyway. Has anyone noticed the boy's necklace? There's a yellow happy face on it. And remember "Everything that rises must converge"? I'm not very well-read, but I'm pretty sure that's the title of a book from this century. I think the happy face also points to our era somehow -- a sign of the times, akin to how the peace symbol points to the late 1960's.

So, here's my crazy theory: The boy is from our time, the late 20th century. Somehow he wound up stuck in the cave, lacking parents, lacking a childhood. Perhaps he was kidnapped and used as a test subject, whatever. The point is, he wants Aeon to be his mommy.

Boy: "You resist me!" Aeon: "No." Boy: "I will have you!" Aeon: "Have me!" (struts her stuff) "What's the matter?" Boy: "No, not like this!"

Unfortunately, there's sketchy evidence (at best!) to support this idea. "My inheritance to you" helps drop the hint, I think. And then at the end, Aeon is driving a mundane car and playing tinny pop music through the stereo, and the implication is that she's driving her son to a baseball game.

I think the 20th century references are undeniable. The mom thing is a bit abstract, but it's something to think about. Very, very weird.

-- Zach (, May 01, 1998.


Btw, the smiley face and other items that make up Boy's necklace are from the keyring in that last scene.

-- Philip Mills (, May 02, 1998.


Philip Mills, that observation about the smiley faces and things being from the keychain is ingenious. I never would have noticed. It really leads to so many possibilities for conjecture on the tie in that I don't want to take time thinking of them now to write about it.
One thing everybody seems to be ignoring, though points have been discussed that could be supported based on it, is that the boy bears a resemblance to Aeon (she doesn't notice it either). I noticed this throughout the episode, so when I saw the last scene, it really made something click for me. Comments?

-- P D (, May 04, 1998.


That's a good point to bring up, about their possible relationship as mother and child. Take a look at this bit of dialogue from the episode: Aeon: "Take a look at the photo in my top. Go ahead." Trevor: "My pleasure... How cute! Is it yours?" Aeon: "A test subject from the little 'experiment'. I came to get her out." Notice that Aeon doesn't confirm or deny Trevor's comment about it being hers? Maybe the baby is her child. But somehow I think it more likely that the boy is hers, if anything is.

-- Mat Rebholz (, May 04, 1998.


This plays into my own pet theories, apropos of nothing else on the show. The virus (near as I could tell) seems to be some kind of Time-Loop, whatever else happens, Aeon keeps waking up in the cavern with the Boy. He may or may not be her son, he definitely has some connection to her but not to Trevor. I still can*t be sure about the Baby herself, the Boy is looking out for her in some way yet unexplained. This is where my ideas begin: Forget Trevor, Aeon must apparently leave him behind. Once she grasps whatever the Boy is saying about Time, what he *bequeths* to her, she can slip free of this--situation?, timeline?, some kind of respite or oasis where she and the Boy are (for the present) living normal lives. Off-duty if you like. There is no guarantee that this state is permenant, only that it may be the *ordinary* lives that Aeon may or may not be protecting in her byzantine games with Trevor. (Aeon may be a villian, but her actions are not wrong.) Where the irrelevancies begin are when I insist on imagining Jane and Elroy Jetson also present at the ball game--are thier lives so completely apart from Aeons? If that gets too far-fetched, look at the contrasts you see in Japanese Anime, for all the star-blazing action there will be at least one scene of domestic quiet, a girl feeding her cat, someone reading a book and drinking beer, etc. Aeon, by this token, may have *slipped* into Jane Jetson*s neighborhood in NeoTokyo, for a much-needed respite from the constant cutting-edge frenzy. It leaves Aeons position as open-ended as ever, for all the pleasentries (and is it wrong for Aeon to relax into *normalcy* for a time?) there is no telling how long it will last-----not if the rest of the series is taken into account. Of course to true fans all the above will be completely wrong, but it*s my two cents so I am sticking it in. I welcome anyone who can further enlighten the subject.

-- Mrs. Whitworth (, May 12, 1998.


This episode is very similar to the structure of the earlier seasons, as Aeon kept dying in various situations. In this season her deaths are usually rendered noneffective by something (paralyzing fluid, a clone, ect.), here the saving grace could be insanity, disease, nonlinear time, or just a 'dream sequence'; whatever reality Aeon exists in can not allow her to remain dead. I don't mean that metaphorically; her immortality is one of the tenets of her reality. Whether she can learn or change anything with the ability to replay her actions is the crux of the episode, as well as the thing people find so facinating about time travel. (Digressing for a second, look at the first Back to the Future in comparison to the later two. The first is about second chances, the second somewhat, the third is just a tour of another time zone.)
The end represents another path Aeon may have taken; the route she took to get there isn't as important. One possibility is time itself bringing this about. A baby photo, a set of coordinates, Trevor's troops approaching...; beginning, middle, end; birth (a selfish, cannabalistic baby, a cynical representation of how we all begin life), life (coordinates, location, an attempt to analyze or understand one's place), death (troops, war, futility). Viewing the pool as blood ties death with the beginning. Perhaps Aeon needs to die to advance, or to understand. The child serves as a mentor, or a possible parent figure. The transition of the smiley face from the keyring to the necklace illustrates the passage of time, or the child's memory or hallucination.

Just to confuse things further, the universe is winding down in a manner that seems to indicate that time is not constant. If you want to attribute this to a deity or a big bang go ahead, but whatever the precipitating factor of existence was/is, it was probably outside the normal flow of time. (An eternal god, the big bang bringing itself about, ect.) The idea I find amusing, if not preferable, is some intelligent being (such as the child here) bringing itself into existence.

-- Val McCafferty (, May 23, 1998.


There are lots of good ideas about this episode below; here's my thinking.
I would resist the idea that AEon has to learn. That would mean that there's a "right" way to do it, and that AEon *has* to do it that way.

I would argue that AEon chooses to break that vial, the vial that, exactly when broken, freezes time (thus we get the rather abrupt snow/ice imagery). If AEon chooses, there can be no "right" way, but rather one way of many to be chosen.

The boy, I would argue, is Time itself. He is "before names," which means before labels, language, and the need to distinguish. His eternal youth suggests as much. He alone can "bequeath" the secret of time, but AEon resists this gift by destroying the vial, instead choosing to live in linear time by the boy's rules, rather than endure the non-linear time afforded by the cave.

Someone below asks about "everything that rises must converge"; that's the title of a Flannery O'Connor collection of short stories, one of which bears the title. It's not a difficult read, and anyone interested in the episode should read it, because it's about the troubled relationship between a young man and his mother. I won't reveal the ending, but I will say that a convincing argument could be made that "Chronophasia" is about past regrets and trying to fix them, from the boy's point of view.

In fact, this is one of the few episodes in which AEon's past comes back to haunt her, which is probably one reason why Chung wasn't fond of it (flaunting linear time; the past does not exist in non-linear time). She moves through times and cultures (all those costumes), only to find she cannot escape her regrets.

There's a lot more to say about this episode. I can't wait until we get to the Ep Guide for this one...


-- Steve Rach Mirarchi (, May 27, 1998.


I think that the boy was a part of Aeon and it was showing her the evils of what people like her can do.Te boy seemed to be overjoyed when she threw the vile and Aeon ended up being the "mother" of the boy like in the end when she drives him to baseball practice. Orshe went completely insane.

-- Jordan Marques (, May 28, 1998.


Chronosphasia is my favorite episode of the Series. End Sinister is a close second and The Purge a comes in a respectable third. While Most of the series is Symbolic in nature, and thus Definable, Debatable, and Logical. This is a complete Puzzle. Who is the Boy?.... there is no answer. the way i see it, he exist only of himself. if something is imaginable, it also has the potential to exist. If its thought of by a sentient being, it is created in the beings mind. aeon flux exist in the mind of Peter Chung and all those fortuante enough too view her. She exist in there minds. If one(fact or Fiction) is sease to exist(maybe...paraphysics is not definate). The boy lives outside time, time is a chronological book to be read for reference. Therefore it Can concieve thinking of hiself "before" hes "born".....a self created creature..... the fact that he says that he's been waiting "forever" and "Always" suports this. And that he referes to the dead bodies as"unborn" displays his view of linearity..... the boy is no doubt omniscient....and pehapse omnipotent the boy wanted a mommy :)

-- tak loufer (Tak@Loufer.bellona.usa), August 05, 1998.


Remember when Trevor said the virus produces happiness, well the virus tapped in to Aeons thoughts and gave her a happiness, a normal life.

-- Cliff Leslie (, October 29, 1998.


All the answers given so far have been very interesting, and certainly plausible, but I think you`re missing a more obvious one. Why couldn`t the virus have been administered to both the baby AND the boy? Let me explain: my theory is that Trevor`s virus works like the "Spice melange" in Dune. If you`ve seen the movie, you may remember that by consuming spice on a regular basis, ordinary human beings could evolve into creatures that move ships through hyperspace (or time/the 4th dimension/ whatever you want to call it) using only thought. I think the virus works in the same way, "expanding consciousness" to the point where one can control time. Or to put it another way, if what the boy said is true, and time really is in the mind, then we all have the ability to time-travel. But to a mentally inhibited, "normal" person like you or I, he didn`t see "forever" until after he`d been dosed. As for the baby, well I`m going out on a limb here, but my explanation of her is that she didn`t have the mental faculties to make the transition, being a baby and all, and ended up a stunted mutant. This might also explain why her crying has the effect on Aeon that it does. Perhaps this is her "function"? At the end, when a drop of blood passes from the boy to Aeon, and she sees everything she was/could/will be, she decides that the boy`s fantasy of living in the 20th century (the happiest place in time?) with her as a mommy, is preferable to all the others, and gives him what he wants by infecting herself. Now I`m not saying this is THE answer, just my way of explaining what was, for me, a very confusing ep. Feedback would be appreciated. I feel your pain!

-- Paul D. Gilbreath (gilbreathfamil...), January 19, 2000.


Seeing as that I haven't seen the episode in a while (will do first thing tomorrow) and the last post is over a year old, I offer a simple dumbed-down explanation (something I know none of you want, but it's an opinion).
Along with being an Aeon nut, I'm also an avid Star Trek fan, and there was a Next Generation episode that reminds me of Chronophasia. Commander Riker wakes up in the future where he's that captain of the enterprise, and has forgotten the past 15 years. In that time, he has had a son, who loves him very much. Anyway, Riker soon finds out that this reality is all a hoax, and turns out he's in a simulation (holo- deck) where he is held captive by Romulans with the boy that played is son. Riker then finds out that this reality is alos false, and that the boy is actually an alien that was trying to trick Riker into staying with him because he was lonely.

If you kinda overlay that with the events in Chronophasia, you get a few similarities. I figure the boy was some type of antcient being that lived (was trapped?) in the cave, and when the scientists came with their experiments it disturbed him and thus he killed them. Then Aeon comes along (probably the first woman he's ever seen) and he takes a likeing to her-- better yet, he wants to 'have her' as his caretaker (also think back to "The Twilight Zone" movie). But he kinda wants Aeon to accept him. He wants her to *choose him* (maybe her repeated deaths was just filling space in between those moments where the boy was trying to grow on her). And maybe offering the 'secret of time' of just the panic card he was planning to play if she said no. And in the end, he got his way; a fantasy where Aeon was his caretaker and they where doing something together away from the cave, scientists, and everything else that had anything to do with their meeting.

I dunno. Maybe I'm just on something. But that's kinda how I see it. Not perfect or crystal clear, but something to chew on until Peter Chung or Howard Baker say "this is what it meant..."

-- Christopher Wood (, March 18, 2001.


It's a good comparison; Star Trek:TNG had plenty of reality-bending moments, similar to those in Aeon. Actually, it was my favorite show as a kid (pre Aeon)... Trek influenced? You'd have to ask Peter (Gaffney), or Garrett Sheldrew about that one, but I can definitely see the similarities there. (BTW, sorry about the "you're gonna love this" post)

-- Inukko (nadisre...), March 19, 2001.


Did anyone notice that when the boy was on the ceiling that a drop of blood formed from his forehead and landed on Aeon's? Well, don't pakistani people wear that red dot on that same spot to symbolize that they have achieved the final stage of spirituality, the complete understanding, sort of like a peace with the earth. With that being said, it also represents the third eye. As for aeon asking him what happened the boy said, "What the flame does not consume, consumes the flame." So the scientists must be the flame, what did they try to consume? The essence of time? Maybe thats why they were mumified as if they were there for hundreds of years rather than 2 days. If u rember, Trevor says that it was a fully functional lab 2 days prior. In the hallucinations, the time used there does it also age you physically as if u lived those years even though your body in this time is stuck? So if I dream I lived 50 years in a hallucination, even though its imagined my body aged 50. Just a suspicion.

-- Jon (, June 24, 2001.


This is a good suspicion Jon. This episode eludes me, but your reasons are intriguing, so why would the scientists be considered the flame? Was the vial time? Why did Aeon achieve the final stage of spirituality was it only because the boy bequeathed it to her, or was it because she was worthy? Or did she? Not sure I get it...or got it...or get it...or got it...

-- Barb e (, June 25, 2001.


OK, to me this episode explored the infinite possibitites that can happen (Chaos theory I think)
As Aeon wakes and starts again in the cave

Her previous lives flashing (I like the Punk)

The ending as her becoming a Mother is just another possibility, one which she may have thought about (or thought about wanting). We all think, would happen if we did this, or what would happen if we did that. I see this episode playing (exploring) with that kind of idea as it intrinsically linked with time.

-- William (, June 25, 2001.


The thing you have to understand about this episode is that... damn, there goes the phone, gotta go

-- Peter Gaffney (, June 30, 2001.


I was reading Zach's post about the title "everything that rises must converge" i thought that sounded familiar i read it in english and it struck a certain cord in my brain. it's a story about a boy and his mother i believe, don't know if anyone posted that or not cos i was so excited i went directly to the bottom to post. that and i'm on my way to bed. so sorry if someone did happen to say that. :O) very interesting connection thought Zach! i'm excited imma have to read that story again. frostbite enjoyed ur idea on the hallucination. :O)

-- Lady Morgan (, July 02, 2001.


As someone noted in the other Chronophasia discussion here, "Everything That Rises Must Converge" is a Flannery O'Connor novella.

-- Peter Gaffney (, July 03, 2001.


Most of my ideas about this episode have already been covered, like the boy having been there before the scientists, his possible parent/child realtionship with Aeon, and Aeon learning from her mistakes. I do find it especially interesting that this is the only episode that references other episodes directly (when Aeon sees the faces of people she's caused distress in some way). It's also strange that she apologizes outloud to Rorty. On a more surface note, but also interesting to me, is that this is one of two (full- length) episodes where Aeon's hair is down and she wears something other than black or red leather.
One thing that I haven't read anything about here is Aeon's reaction to breaking the vial. I had the distinct impression that she wasn't expecting what happened to happen. Also, the episode seemed to end on a note where Aeon is trapped in a normal life, not free to rest in one. Afterall, it may be normal to us, but is it normal to her? We live in a world like that (well, sort of), she doesn't. I had the feeling that the kid was lonely and powerful and, in the end, he got his way because (and I'm reaching here) Aeon's refusal to accept change ultimately resulted in her change. That's another interesting side note for me. Her name means roughly forver changing, yet Aeon is the character most opposed to change, especially changes which directly affect her.

Also, I love the show very much, and I think it gets a bum rap quite a lot, but there are some moments in certain episodes where I feel like they're just being weird for weirdness's sake. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but a lot of the stuff the kid says here just seems plain weird to me. Maybe I'm missing something, and, no, I haven't read the Flannery O'Connor story, as I just learned of it tonight, so maybe that will change my opinion, but I doubt it.

As for Trevor and his men, I'm not real sure they play much of a role in this episode. Maybe that's another reason why -- allegedly -- this was Chung's least favorite. And as for the whole virus thing, when Trevor says there was no virus, I believe him. I think whatever happened in that cave was the result of something else, probably directly related to the boy and/or the baby. The baby, too, seems just plain weird, but I like the connection someone on this thread made to the sort of id-driveness and savagry of that stage of life. You could look at it as Aeon's fear of motherhood, and the kid as trying to get her over that which each repeated death so that she'll relent and be his mom. Who knows? This is an interesting episode, though, and an interesting thread.

-- Dr. Razzmatazz (, September 25, 2001.


something just occured to me while reading these responses. What if Aeon is dead? and she is experiencing the after life. Think about it, after she falls through the hole she falls pretty far and when she wakes up shes face down on stone. She looks like she maybe washed up on shore but the river is lower then the stone she is on. also she sees images of people she has wronged. The entire episode prior to the baseball game might be a test of faith or she has to proove herself, and her reward is to have a normal life as a mom. The baby might be her punishment, like when you travel through a maze and theres that thing that will devour you if you choose the wrong path. The boy might just be her guide and when her journey is over he dies giving her the key to her afterlife, knowledge of time and everythign that has ever happened in time.Aeon screams NOOO b/c she is changing and she can not stand to be changed.thoughts?

-- Emma Frost (, December 22, 2001.


Interesting idea. When she sees the people she has wronged she is sorry, and so it allows her to enter the afterlife as a good person. What then do you make of the 'snow' scene as she is transformed?

-- Barb e. (, December 23, 2001.


I have no idea about the snow scene but I did think of another fact to support my death theory. In greek mythology when somone dies they cross the river Stix. That under ground river might have been the Stix river, it did have that super natural glow to it.

-- Emma Frost (, January 19, 2002.


At first, this episode stumps everyone. People keep wanting to explain the boy, the lab, the baby and everything else. Who cares? These are symbols, and metaphors. The overlayed plot is the ultimate purpose for the story.
Aeon Dies.

Before I give this my shot, it's important to note the well published fact that this episode was censored by MTV. The slime in the baby's mouth and on Aeon's waking place was supposed to be blood. When I learned of this, the rest of it all made sense.

Aeon enters the episode, searching for the Baby. Trevor, to find the virus that produces human hapiness. Aeon falls into the cave and (maybe) dies. The boy finds her there, and the story begins.

The Boy is Death.

He leads Aeon down the cave to the lab, a place that has been utterly destroyed and everyone killed. A large dead place, where nothing is left but Aeon and Death -- lietrally and figuratively.

Aeon and the boy talk, and she picks up a handful of clues. She finally asks Death where the baby is, and this makes Death laugh. The baby, according to him, remembers it's function. "What the flame does not consume, consumes the flame." The baby simply eats on the dead of the cave, and Death brings the Aeon to the Baby. Great Sandwich...

The Baby is the basic urges of life and survival: Consumption.

When Aeon is killed byt the baby, she awakens on the slab covered in blood. Here she faces the puzzle, of the blood itself. Is it hers? Someone elses? Did it belong to baby? Most important, why isn't she dead?

Skipping ahead... The personification of Death here would be obvious, if you concentrate on the ending. Instaead, remember who's blood that is on the slab. Who has been waiting for Aeon in the cave, all of this time. Waiting for her to die so that this game could begin.

Throughout the episode, Death refers to Aeon as "The Waker." An western metaphor, but one none the same is that when Aeon is killed she wakes up on a slab much like the tradition that became the western funeral. Death says that Aeon still sleeps, she dreams this place. This place is her afterlife, a playground where death takes her back through her life and aways from it.

This is Aeon's Death. The caves and lab surrounder her are dead. Her memories are ghosts and shadows, driving her mad, forcing her to let go of the life she had. Death has finally come for Aeon, and it has to show the "Waker" a nightmare before she can "Awaken."

This time, we see the real Trevor. He explains, bitterly, that there never was a virus. That times were never better, and nothing was ever easy. "Jascoe was either an idiot or a charlatan." Perfection, immortality and nirvana do not exist.

Aeon is arrested and, in the real world, dies once more. Only to be born again on the bloody slab. Finally, we see who's blood it is.

This time she finds the container on the slab with her, and looks up to see the boy dead and suspended fomr the ceiling. Bleeding down on her. The blood was his, and it was always his.

She realizes for the first time that there is no perfect truth, no hidden hapiness in the human mind. People are born, they consume, they die. She came to this cave to find a baby, an innocent, new life. But in a million other worlds, she herself would have always been Aeon Flux.

Finally, she encounters Death one last time. Seeing no way out of her conundrum, she throws away the vial with vengence, and inadvertently uses the virus on herself. Death is pleased, seeing her reject the ideals worthless ideals of life. Death takes her to another life.

See also the Movie Jacob's Ladder. Which did all this about thousand times better. ;)

-- A. Deskiewicz (, August 29, 2002.


...and with that inspired assessment of CHRONOPHASIA's subtextual analysis, I must say: Mr Peter Gaffney, I think I owe you a long overdue open notice of my sincere appreciation and regard for all of your effort both as story editor and writer of several of the episodes. I though I was missing something there but, dude, I really didn't see it clearly til having seen the above post from A. Deskiewicz, despite all the others (including of coure your own as you've given us on at least one other related thread). I am embarrassed it's taken me so long to recognize and give you some praise for the one you did for AEon Flux which I never had "cinched" since (at last as I see it now):
1. Ep. under present discussion requires a degree of intuitivity and patience - qualities I need to develop in creatively myself.

2. Ep. under present discussion is not appropriate to be "cinched." It requires a facility for apprehension of significance through a process of appreciation whose mechanisms are more subtle, reflective and requires one to be able to absorb, rather than cinch, a meaning.

A>D>: Thank you for your excellent analysis, if only for my own sake. Jacob's Ladder is one of my favorite films. I think it's nice to mention it as a conceptual reference but give us a fkn break dude, they only gave us 22 minutes apiece! I mean, okAAAAY??


-- Mark Mars (, September 02, 2002.


Good god, Deskiewicz, you appear to have hit the nail on the damn head. This is by far the best explanation of the episode I've ever heard, and to me it fits more than anything else. Especially the characterization of the boy as Death - there's clues that are rather obvious in retrospect, both as to his nature ("I am before names,") and his "true" assessment of reality ("Composite things are like bubbles...").
One thing that I'd like to find out that may be important: Was the substance in the vial supposed to the same color as all the blood in the episode, or was it originally meant to be the color it was in the changed episode? If the substance in the vial was indeed changed from the original form, it could have been the color of blood... which would not only solidify the role of Death's blood in the episode but also confirm the vial as a symbol of Æon's grip on the transient, material things and practices of life. When she smashes the vial against the wall, she at once recognizes the inexorable nature of Death's presence and rejects the physical instincts and objects that made up her life. The vial - the "virus" - is nothing less than the nature of humans to clutch at life, whether in the form of biological instincts and practices to perpetuate the self and the species, or the form of mankind's ideological fairytales and illusions to comfort and sustain itself.

I'll have to watch this episode again in the near future and apply this interpretation, and find more contextual evidence to support it...

-- Brian Davis (ubi...), September 03, 2002.


So it definately was blood, I never really felt clarified on.
In relation to recent discussion its also interesting to note this effect censorship had on Chronosphasia.

-- Sam (janecherringto...), September 03, 2002.


Yep. It was supposed to be blood. Chung said so once somewhere on this board already, I think.

-- Mars (, September 03, 2002.


Also interesting is that death becomes Aeons child. Actually another screening of Aeon is well over due for me, this ep especially I guess.

-- Sam (janecherringto...), September 03, 2002.


Yeah, yeah... I still prefer to think of the boy as Tralfamadorian ;)
*4-th dimensional mom and dad appear* Billy! Stop playing with your toys and come to dinner!

But Mooom... I just got this new Aeon Action Figure... oh, alright...

*The baseball field vanishes, Aeon wakes up in the jungle*

-- Inu (, September 03, 2002.

One brief scene that I had some confusion about is the one near the end, in which Trevor is taking the supposedly flu-ridden Aeon back to Bregna in that walking-vehicle thing. Trevor: "I appologize for the bumpy ride, Aeon. Are you feeling better?" Aeon then seems to mumble something like, "I don't know," with a wierd look on her face, but I'm not even sure that this is what she says. Soon after, it appears that the Monicans attack, and explosions go off, but it looks like they don't even get near the vehicle, and then the interior of the thing starts flashing, and Aeon is dead again. This could be easily explained by just suggesting that the Monicans blew it up, but somehow the whole thing seems more mysterious than that, especially Aeon's comment, whatever it was. It all just seems odd for some reason. Is it even worth debating?

-- Mat Rebholz (matrebhol...), August 20, 1998
Chronophasia is my favorite episode of the series. Thus I have given it much in the way of interpetation and analysis. Your question can only be answered if yet an another question is brought to light. While most of the Aeon Flux episodes are based on symbolisim and parallel's in situations, this one seems to be different. It's hard to pinpoint what exactly, but as you may have heard this is the only episode that Peter Chung had nothing to do with. I'm not sure but I think it may be that this episode is more of a puzzle. A puzzle of what is up for debate (the puzzle may be trying to figure out whats going on). The entire episode revolves around the boy, he is the vocal point, and seems to be controling the events to meet his own ends. I think he is a omniscient, omnipotent being who exist outside of time; and since he exist outside of time, he may have created himself. Think of it this way, at one time or other, while Peter Chung was sleeping off a bad cold, lying somewhere drunk, or tripping on acid, he formulated Aeon Flux in his thoughts; and thus after that point in time Aeon existed(in the form of a thought), created by Mr. Chung(her God?). This boy, who exist outside time, brought himself into being by thinking of himself "before" he existed(he could do that since time is meaningless to him). This is supported by him saying that the dead were "unborn" and that he was waiting "forever", and that he was "always" waiting for Aeon. Why Aeon kept "dying" and reserecting in the caveren is a very debateble subject. Personally I think the boy was simply showing Aeon the many different outcomes of the event. When a situation became dangerous or deadly, the boy "killed" her. When she "died" in the vehical, I don't think she died(I can be wrong) but the event was merely "resetted". Does anyone have any thoughts on Aeon breaking the vial? I believe the boy, in a way, was a product of the virus(a pure speculation... maybe it gave him the ability to create himself?) and by breaking the vial it showed Aeon "giving in" to his wish for a mother(Omnipotent beings don't have mommies). Aeon became a part of his reality. The "real" Aeon may or may not have stayed, she might have gone back to her daily schedual of terrorism and seduction, but a part of Aeon will always be with the boy (Much like the Nexus in Star Trek Generations). I might be way off and have too much imagination, but I would like to read other opinions.

-- Tak Loufer (Tak@loufer.bellona), August 20, 1998.


I got the impression that the boy and the vial had nothing to do with each other, at least initially. Perhaps the vial became important only because it was an item of desire for Aeon and Trevor. Thus, it only is connected with the boy in Aeon's mind, perhaps? Perhaps the boy does what he does upon Aeon's breaking the vial because he requires her to forget the importance of material possessions? She believes that the vial is the center of the whole cherade, but perhaps the boy knows that it isn't and is leading her to the truth by eventually bringing her to destroy the vial. Almost like how Zen teachers break down their student's abstract minds to get to the core of things. The vial is unimportant and in the end, Aeon realizes this. In fact, this zen connection seems to show up earlier as well, when the boy is naming off meaningless statements (during Aeon's "Costume change").

-- Mat Rebholz (matrebhol...), August 20, 1998.


Zen also says that the perception of time, and as a result, time itself (as the perception is all that exists) does not exist. This boy is starting to remind me of a zen monk :)

-- Mat Rebholz (matrebhol...), August 20, 1998.


It does seem to fit better that the boy and the virus are unrelated things. The virus may be merely a experement gone wrong and the boy just happens to be "there". Maybe the boy is God?(if thats true maybe we should call Him "The Boy" :). Perhapse the Universe is his play thing, a sorce of entertainment, and so is Aeon. A need or desire for maternal love?.... am I stretching? any thoughts?

-- Tak Loufer (Tak@loufer.bellona), August 20, 1998.


I think in this case it's best (for me anyway) to leave this question to mystery... I think the main thing about the boy is that he is some kind of symbol, and exists purely for that reason alone, so I won't speculate. But if I were, I'd say he's a manifestation of god or something. I still consider him to be a symbol more than anything else.

-- Mat Rebholz (matrebhol...), August 20, 1998.


One of the things I like about Chronophasia is the ending. It gives a slight taste of a world beyond Aeon Flux - a more normal world where Aeon's adventures are the daydreams of a young kid. Aeon is in this episode pushing the limits of fiction. She is glimpsing the reality behind her stories - her existence in our world as the nondescript mother of an imaginative child.

-- Charles Martin (, August 26, 1998.


Just a thought in response to the answer given above: What if the entire series is the daydreams of this boy who idolizes his mother? and the ending of the episode shows that - Aeon, in her most shocking form, as a normal woman. I know it's not likely, and far-fetched, but you never know. Maybe that's why Chung chose not to participate with this episode (besides the fact that this episode portrays Aeon in linear conjuntion with every other episode.)

-- TGoodchild (, August 27, 1998.


ok, but how about this? The boy is more than just a symbol, he is a being, just one that is unlike us. To say that time doesn't exist for him seems to miss the point a little. He says to Aeon "my time is not your time", thus implying that time does exist for him, but on another level. The bulk of the episode is the boy trying to demonstrate to Aeon that her concept of time is very arbitrary. The thing seems to be that the Boy doesn't see time as a linear entity as we (and Aeon) do. If we think of time as a straight ribbon along which we move in one direction, the Boy seems to relate to time as if the ribbon were crumpled up and piled up on itself; therefore, moving from point to point in time, or not moving through time at all, would be relatively effortless, a simple act of will. He tries to show this to Aeon by allowing her to experience a brief timeframe several times, each one different, but she can not or does not understand the point of what is happening to her ("the waker sleeps", also an interesting time-based paradox). By the end, he tries to force-feed the concept into her brain by showing her that all things in all times ("a brain tumor and an icecream sundae") exist simultaneously, and that linear time is just our way of seeing it so that it can be understood. He shows this to her as well by making her all of the things she is/was/could be/might be/is connected with at the same time (cowgirl/knight/Joan of Arc type person, etc). It is, of course, too much for her mind to grasp, and very nearly tears her mind apart. (think of it like someone shoving the entire North American economic system into the coin slot of a Coke machine). This is the realization that Aeon sees Trevor having made ("time is in our minds"), and the one that leaves her in something of a stupor when Trevor finally finds her.

-- alex (, November 08, 1998.


I don't know if this has been discussed in detail yet (I'm "new" here), but can anyone tell me their take on the meaning/significance of the very end of the episode?
Personally I found that scene both incredibly "comforting" (for lack of a better word), and devastatingly stark and lonely. Seeing Fon sitting in her car as a typical current-day mother taking her son to a baseball game - such an ordinary, mundane existance - the kind of life most of us live now. That's in such brutal contrast with the life of Monican Enforcer Fon Flux, who's lived through so much and seen and done everything. Fought countless battles, seen incredible sights, created history and danced with death in such a bizzare era. It gives the feeling of a melancholy ending to a vast, sweeping, epic story that collapses down to near nothing as the heroine contentedly settles down to a life of anonymity. From terrorist and cold-blooded killer to a mother and your next door neighbour. What if the two Fons could see each other, what would they think of their alternate life? Is a wonderfully ordinary and happy life all she would really want if she had the choice? Is this what the boy wants? The mind boggles, but tell me what you think...

-- oopsmaster (, November 08, 1998.


...created history and danced with death in such a brassiere?
Note to self: Read more slowly. :-)

-- Philip Mills (, November 13, 1998.


Yes, that too! An understandable error. You've got to stop reading with a pic of her nearby... ;)

-- oopsmaster (, November 15, 1998.


...and what if our suburban mom-next-door Aeon is married to...Trevor Goodchild? Now that would be one heck of an ending!

-- K. Anderson (, January 28, 1999.


I've just thought up an entirely new take on the ep. What if Aeon is infected with the virus from the very beginning and all the stuff with repeating time is how her mind copes with the virus. As the story progresses the events get more and more chaotic until finally Aeon gives into it (represented by the drop of blood from the boy'h head to Aeon's head) and her descent into madness is complete, she thinks she is an ordinary mother and the boy is her kid.

-- Keith G. Redhead (, February 18, 1999.


Regarding the drop of blood someone mentioned earlier, did you notice that the boy bled from the center of his forehead, right where the pineal gland would be? The pineal gland, sometimes referred to as a "third eye", produces DMT (Dimethyltryptamine, the world`s strongest hallucinogen) and is capable of releasing it into the brain during times of extreme stress (death, for example). Some DMT users report being taken to an "alternate dimension" where "time as we know it does not exist". I thought Aeon Flux was drug influenced, this seems to confirm it. Your thoughts on the subject?

-- Paul D. Gilbreath (gilbreathfamil...), January 29, 2000.

Barb e (Barb e), Saturday, 19 June 2004 04:41 (nineteen years ago) link

one year passes...
You are all crazy...

Noata Gorad, Thursday, 28 July 2005 05:28 (eighteen years ago) link

three months pass...
Noata's interpretation of the episode may be the best and (clearly) most succinct I've ever seen. Note the use of the second person plural. Whom does that "you... all" -- REALLY -- exclude? Is it possible to assert that everyone except oneself is crazy? Isn't sanity by its very nature a cultural construct based on a SHARED definition of reality? Is the radical denial of this fundamental assumption the conceptual shift which ultimately frees Aeon from her imprisonment in the temporal loop? (Or is Noata's remark perhaps intended to be less an act of analytical liberation and more a mocking jibe in which "you... all" refers not to the entirety of humanity but rather to those of us on this forum whose lengthy posts about a defunct television show suggest a somewhat eccentric sense of priorities?)

Anyway, obviously almost all of these posts are ancient, and it's quite possible that many of their authors are long since dead (or, worse, no longer interested in the mysteries of Aeon Flux), but I thought I'd offer one last comment on the comments, since a lot of them offer some very cool theories about "Chronophasia."

I think Deskiewicz had some great ideas (particularly about the nature of the baby) but I also think it's a mistake to view the boy as (exclusively or even essentially) death incarnate. Alex made some spot-on comments on this and other matters. In fact, most of the entries collected here had interesting insights and analyses. There was never supposed to be one "right," comprehensive interpretation of the episode (just as there is no "right" answer to whether or not there is an active virus or which -- if any -- of the scenarios represents "reality"). Ultimately dream logic prevails -- tons of meaning but the solution never quite comes together in a consistent, comprehensive way. A number of possible dualistic alternatives are set up -- waking vs. dreaming, madness vs. sanity, reality vs. illusion, virus vs. no virus, science experiment gone wrong vs. ancient evil, baby as victim vs. baby as killer, boy as good vs. boy as evil (also, boy as child vs. boy as man), Aeon knows more than Trevor vs. Trevor knows more than Aeon, and so on -- and it's never clear (to us or Aeon) where things really stand (for all we know this whole thing is Trevor's elaborate mindfuck/practical joke at Aeon's expense, with the boy and baby merely players or props). If there is any clear realization at all, it is merely that waking up repeatedly on a stone slab drenched in blood is ultimately not all that much more puzzling or bizarre than waking up repeatedly on a Sealey Posturpedic Mattress. The former situation is perhaps more immediately scary and dangerous, but on the other hand we know for a fact that ultimately the latter is invariably "fatal" (not that any of us know what that particular term -- despite being so heavily freighted -- actually entails, and frankly it's really the least of our worries). Either way, at a certain point you just have to stop constantly obsessing over the obvious question, "Just what the hell is going on here?!"

Anyway, this present bit of pretentious babble shouldn't be taken terribly seriously... except when it comes to my genuine appreciation -- in both senses of the word -- for both the interest and the tremendously perceptive insights offered by so many of the people posting here.

By the way, as I guess I've said elsewhere, I agree "Jacob's Ladder" is an amazing film, and it was surely an influence on my own writing. (Trivia question: what perennially pissed off "Daily Show" commentator appears in the film for about five seconds, playing a doctor?) Let me also take this opportunity to strongly recommend two great books, "Cosmicomics" by Italo Calvino and the long out-of-print "Memories of Amnesia" by Lawrence Shainberg (I'm not sure about the author's name). The former is a collection of hilarious short stories, the first of which takes place before the Big Bang; the second is a novel, an equally hilarious first person account of a brain surgeon suffering from some kind of catastrophic brain damage. Oh, and try Stanislaw Lem's "The Futurological Congress."

Also, as I or someone else has also surely mentioned, the ending of "Chronophasia" -- which I sometimes hate and sometimes think is a stroke of genius which really saves the episode -- was not in my original script. I'm pretty sure it was added by the director, Howard Baker -- a wonderful, brilliant guy whom I first met when we were both working on the early seasons of "Rugrats."

Of course, it doesn't really matter who came up with what -- it's not as if we as individuals can take credit for "creating" anything; at our best -- and certainly at our worst -- we are more like editors, constantly torn between the need to give some style and shape to whatever (if anything) is pouring (or trickling) out and the nearly impossible-to-master art of keeping our selves enough out of the way that we don't impede or corrupt the flow.

And of course in TV there's the equally astonishing/frustrating ballet/battle of collaboration -- it's SO great when an artist or actor adds an unanticipated depth to a sentence or scene you'd thought was nothing special, and it's SO maddening when some latter-day Mel Cooley gives you a few "creative" notes just (you're sure) because he wants to justify his enormous salary.

(ANCIENT HOLLYWOOD WRITERS' JOKE: a writer and a producer are crawling through the Mojave Desert, miles from civilization, quite literally dying of thirst, when by some miracle they happen upon a tiny oasis with a natural spring pouring forth delightfully cold, perfectly pure water into a tiny pool. The writer opens his parched lips and is about to start drinking when the producer unzips his fly and begins pissing -- straight into the little pool of crystal clear water. "My god, what are you doing?!" cries the writer, dumbfounded. To which the producer cheerfully replies: "Making it better.")

Peter Gaffney, Monday, 7 November 2005 14:21 (eighteen years ago) link

One never tires of the mysteries of Aeon Flux.

One does tire of producers making things better, though. Why is it people outside of the arts feel their input is justified? I suppose the trick is to invite the producer to the first cold drink.

Chronophasia is still a mystery to me and the interaction between Trevor and Aeon were some of the best. I still actually find myself from time to time wondering about the boy and the repeating scenes with the baby.

Barb e (Barb e), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 20:55 (eighteen years ago) link

Peter, thanks for reviving this thread. It gives me the chance to take back what I said years ago about this being my least favorite episode. Working on remastering the episode again recently, I realized that I had still been hanging onto a preconception based on Garett's original synopsis and was missing out on what you, Howard and the animators at Mook actually managed to put on the screen.

First off, it's one of the best drawn episodes, thanks partly to Garett's beautiful storyboards and partly because, being episode #7, the animators had a much better handle on the style. One name that has been sadly neglected in any of these discussions is Shimizu-san the animation director at Mook who is responsible for much of the animation quality of certain episodes, including this one.

The issue of the blood, which keeps getting mentioned, makes a neat anecdote about MTV's meddling, but shouldn't be relevant to a viewer's appreciation of the episode as it stands. The clear fluid comes from the broken vial and Aeon's contact with it may be connected to her confused state, but is more likely a red herring representing an object on which to project external causation.

Peter G didn't like having to incorporate the giant man-eating baby into the script, but that was one element Garett would not let go. I honestly don't think he had a rational reason for its presence, other than it representingf fear of the responsibility of parenthood (see Eraserhead)-- one of Garet's infinite anxieties , and no doubt one of Aeon's as well.

In the commentary to this episode, I called this a "circular" narrative as opposed to the "linear" type toward which MTV was constantly (and hopelessly) trying to steer us. I'm not sure that circular is quite right, though, since it is an open loop. I wish I'd said "elliptical", which as a word, is fairly elliptical itself.

Peter Chung, Wednesday, 9 November 2005 23:45 (eighteen years ago) link

one month passes...
One thing I found to be completely and oddly ignored in these discussions is the boys severe similarities to Trevor. He shows an attraction to Aeon by smiling when she removes her clothes. And at one point in the episode he says the same exact line that Trevor said earlier in the episode. I wish I could recall the quote, but I can't at the moment. In another scene you see him telling Aeon that he "will have [her]". and when she offers herself to him he says "not like this." His reaction is a sign that he wants her but refuses to take her while he is in the form of the boy and not Trevor.
There's my idea. I'm not sur eof its significance, I'll watch the show later and repost what he and Trevor both say.

Jesse R., Tuesday, 3 January 2006 06:02 (eighteen years ago) link

Chronophasia: Confusion caused by time editing. While most people get over it, some suffer chronic chronophasia where they feel uncertain of reality, who they are and the meaning of their actions.

Carlos C., Sunday, 8 January 2006 09:33 (eighteen years ago) link

I think Emma had it right years ago.

Aeon falls. Dies. Goes into limbo.

The boy is already there...he's not death...he's dead, but doesn't want to move on without his/a (doesn't really matter which, but his mother is a stronger argument for him to wait) mother.

This is why he wants her, but not like she thinks herself (in a sexual way). Aeon is often confused by the events that unravel in front of her.

The reason why the time keeps looping is because she hasn't realized that in limbo, one continues to live until they realize they are dead and life never ends. The secret.

The vial is the last symbol of her former life. But, in order to smash it, she has to redeem herself. So, Aeon repetitively tries to complete her mission not knowing she's dead. Finally, in the last iteration, she realizes she's not going to win, and the baby comes to see her. She's ready to redeem herself and does. Now, she's totally ready for the truth. The boy shows her the truth by opening her portal (the red dot) up to complete understanding that she's never been dead. Just as he's never been dead (his inheritance is the recognition of eternal life).

As his time isn't her time, he suggesting that he's been dead for a long time, even though in the living world, it's only been three(I forget exactly) weeks. This is important because one would ask how would a little boy give an inheritance to an older person. Hence, the answer.

Anyway, after learning that she's been around for eternity, and that the vial, the picture, Trevor were all "things" of her former life. She can't take it and smashes the vial (the last thing left) and leaves limbo to move onto another existence with the boy.

BTW, the snowy scene is them waiting to be reborn.

Paul O'Brien, Sunday, 15 January 2006 16:53 (eighteen years ago) link

would like to offer a variation on the above theme.

Aeon falls. She is unconscious and about to die but is desparately trying to hang on to life.

The boy is that part of Aeon that is trying to prepare her for her eventual death. ("Everything that rises converges" = "Everything that dies goes to heaven". "My time is not your time" = the boy resides inside Aeon's subconscious).

Aeon is still trying to complete her mission as she thinks she is still alive. When she shows the boy the picture of the baby he laughs because it is no longer important ("This on remembers her function which everyone else has forgotten" The boy is talking about Aeon, not the picture.) The monster baby is that part of Aeon that blames the baby for her eventual death.

Whichever tunnel Aeon takes leads her back to the same place--the place with the spilt virus (I like the gray liquid over the original version with blood). Aeon cannot escape death. She reaches a fever pitch of insanity near her end.

The frozen Aeon and the boy is what the boy bequeaths to her--another complete life to live in the last nanosecond of her life.

Ray Lee, Saturday, 21 January 2006 04:40 (eighteen years ago) link

three months pass...
One last thing,

She's dead at the beginning. The first part is a review.

Paul O'Brien, Sunday, 30 April 2006 23:06 (seventeen years ago) link

three years pass...

So, in answer to the original poster, after all these years, with posts from people actually involved in the writing and creation of the short....No.

No, they can not tell you the meaning of it. No, they have not written an explanation of it. They don't know why the baby was so powerful. They don't know if the boy was there from the beginning. They don't know what was in the vial at the end or why it aided in changing their reality. They have no idea why or how the mummified people died.

They have no idea what was created or why it was created(save to make a buck). It's like watching a David Lynch film minus the few parts that make sense enough to string together a movie.

Absolutely nothing is to be gained on examination of this short other than that pieces have been placed in opposition and are blatantly left without any conclusion. It is not a reflection of life, metaphysics or science. It is a nothing. You can sleep easy now.

They divided by zero and the zero won.

iseewutudidthere, Saturday, 24 April 2010 01:09 (thirteen years ago) link

one month passes...

Anyone else a little queasy at the fact that Æon and the boy form a mother/son bond with a dose of incestual consummation?

Jake Bromberg, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:33 (thirteen years ago) link

six years pass...

I just watched the episode called Chronophasia for the first time. What a trip. I liked it so much I felt like I needed to figure out what it’s about. First I looked for an explanation online, but couldn’t find an adequate one. So I sat down and started writing this. And I kept writing for a while. This might seem like the ramble of a madman but here’s what I got out of it.

Some people have argued that the time-jumping in this episode represented an actual event and that Aeon was taking leaps in time. However, this doesn’t seem to be likely considering there is no mention of time warping technology or anything of that sort from Trevor, who clearly knew what he was looking for from the start. The only thing mentioned, later, was a virus. While a virus that warps time wouldn’t be the strangest plot device in this series, there’s a far more likely and less fantastic function that the virus could be carrying out instead. Consider what we know about the virus, mainly from Trevor, which is that it can bring about a state of permanent insanity. He goes on to say that it was once able to bring about a feeling of “connection, being in and of the world.” While Trevor seems to believe that this was desirable, or even somehow beneficial, there’s no evidence of this. In fact, Trevor himself provides the evidence for it being detrimental by stating that humans gained resistance to the virus. The important detail in this is that resistance is not something that simply happens in an entire population at once. It’s a process of selection and evolution, which means that there was an advantage to being resistant.

Then is there a way that it could have been both damaging and yet still be as Trevor described it? Yes, the most likely explanation is that this virus brought about semi- or entirely hallucinatory states that, while being pleasurable, left the individual less able to survive. This also matches the intentions of the scientists who wanted to use it to bring about madness in those infected. Madness was not so different from the altered consciousness already achieved through the virus. It could already effect a person’s perceptions, they just tuned it to be less pleasurable. Aeon being infected by this virus would then explain most of what she sees as delusions or dreams experienced only by her. For example, the scene where Trevor states that the scientist never had such a virus and that he was either an idiot or a charlatan. This can be explained by viewing it as just another part of Aeon’s visions, after all there are other scenes where Trevor and his team are all dead or where Trevor is driven mad. Alternatively, Trevor may have been led to a false conclusion after reading the notes of a scientist who had recently been infected by an escaped virus, driving him mad and making his notes seem ridiculous.

Another potential flaw is that all this information about the virus would have been revealed within a vision, so how could Aeon learn about it? The answer is that she already knew about it. The visions are clearly drawing on her experiences and knowledge of reality, up until the last two scenes at least, so perhaps everything that Trevor explained was already known to her. After all, she didn’t seem very surprised to learn she was infected and going mad. The confusing sequence of events can also be explained this way, but there are still certain mystical-seeming parts to this story. Possibly the most important is the boy.
The boy, I believe, is a mental representation of the virus, which seems to be able to communicate with its host through creating this representation. He continually states that he was there before anyone, even the researchers. This could be interpreted as meaning the virus existed in this place for a long time and that’s why the scientists went there to study it. The monstrous baby could also be a representation of the altered part of the virus, mutated and dangerous. It takes the form of a baby because Aeon was expecting to find a baby there and feared what might have become of it.

Some things are still a mystery. The apparent age of the corpses in the facility remain unexplained, though it could, again, be part of the visions and in reality the people may have died from the virus, from fighting caused by the madness, or even from suicide to escape from the visions. The smashing of the vials by the scientists could be interpreted as their last sane act, in order to prevent more death, or as a desperate search for the one vial, the vial that Aeon eventually finds, that could cure their infection. This leads to the final puzzle piece, how did Aeon find that vial? That vial had to be real for the ending I have in mind to make sense. It seems, through the scenes and Aeon’s visions, that the vial is emphasized both by Trevor and by the child. She is led to search for it through the vision, created by the virus. While she had the visions, she could have been stumbling around the actual caves searching for it until she retrieves it (possibly in the chamber where she takes it from the boy).

Later, the virus, through the boy, tries to communicate to Aeon that she should break the vial she finds. When she finally does, she enters a happy vision, as opposed to the frightening visions of death she had before. I believe this is because the virus in the last remaining vial is actually the original virus and that this can somehow prevent or override the madness. A few clues from the boy’s dialogue can also support this theory. He speaks of willing her something and bequeathing his inheritance. This might mean that while he, the virus, will die after she smashes the vial, his inheritance (the ability to give visions) will remain with her through the second virus. He even has one line which could be interpreted to mean he is the virus, “I was here first. Before they came here with their experiments. A virus that produces human happiness.” He wants her to submit to him, but he rejects her when she offers herself. This is because he didn’t want her for himself. The virus, for some reason, desired the release of the original virus, and accomplished this by the end of the episode.

Well, I feel crazy for writing all this out, but it was largely just so that I could get my head around this insane episode. I think it makes sense, but of course I also recognize that the meaning of the episode is still very much open to interpretation. Hopefully this can help other people make sense of it too.

NeonRevolver, Monday, 24 April 2017 14:27 (six years ago) link

five years pass...

Sorry for being late to the party, but I attempted to write an analysis of "Chronophasia" here. I'm indebted to the many smart/deranged/etc posts in this thread, who either gave me ideas or inspired me to think in unnatural directions.

I wonder what happened to some of these people after 20+ years? Did they die? Did they become stranger?

Coagulopath, Tuesday, 20 December 2022 09:02 (one year ago) link

Thanks for reminding me of this episode and for your words on it. What a great one!

Nhex, Tuesday, 20 December 2022 15:37 (one year ago) link

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