Æon Flux, "Tide" (November 17, 1992)
The description below was written by Jason Forrest* for Network Awesome.
Chances are you won't find the animation on NA or YouTube because a certain youth-market producer is playing its little games (when they're not allegedly uploading videos under aliases to give them promotional exposure, they're in outraged copyrightholder mode, which appears to the case with NA's upload of "Tide").
But I like the idea of complicated narrative being a substitute for a complicated animation when the original is apt to disappear without warning. So this is a found text or art-equivalent.
Peter Chung states on the DVD commentary that he planned this episode like a piece of music. The entire segment is composed of twenty backgrounds shown for two seconds each in the same order and same angle for seven cycles. [The elevator in a modern industrial building becomes a stage set moving down among floors, with a series of more or less identical actions occurring on each level. The ritual aspect of these repeated actions also suggests a kind of high-tech, absurdist Noh play. --TM]
Æon and a blond female accomplice are on an offshore platform. Æon is shooting at a rope draped from a hovering helicopter, trying to keep it from connecting with a semi-submerged pylon, while her partner holds Trevor Goodchild captive in a nearby elevator. As Æon returns to the elevator Trevor has overpowered the partner and attempts to exit, pressing all of the elevator's level buttons. Æon stops him and tries to grab the numbered key he's holding, but he throws it behind a sink. When retrieving it, Æon accidentally rips off the attached numbered label, so it is unknown on which level the key will be useful.
The elevator descends. Æon attempts unsuccessfully to use the key in a storage locker on level six, while avoiding gunfire from a Breen soldier and again shooting at the hanging rope, which has stopped swaying enough for another attempt to reach the pylon. Upon returning to the elevator, Æon handcuffs Trevor to a handrail and attempts to retrieve the numbered key-label, but it is just out of her reach. Æon repeats the leave elevator/exchange gunfire with Breen/try key/shoot rope/return to elevator cycle for several subsequent floors, while her traitorous partner smooches with Trevor during Æon's absences. By level two, Æon realizes what's going on and the partner tries to stop her from killing Trevor; during the struggle she snatches Æon's empty gun and throws it at her. Æon falls back, strikes her head and is killed (although it is not explicitly indicated in the episode that she is dead, the DVD commentary indicates that she is).** The partner takes the key and runs to the level two storage locker. The Breen soldier enters the elevator and shoots Trevor, and on his way out shoots the helicopter rope just as Æon had been doing. (We'll soon find out why.)
The partner opens the storage locker with the key and retrieves a latched yellow case, taking it back to the elevator. Inside she finds a giant, ribbed rubber plug -- an obvious double entendre. Unsatisfied with what seems like such a measly prize, she runs out leaving the plug behind. As she reaches the semi-submerged pylon, the helicopter has successfully inserted the rope, weighted with a metal device that interlocks with the pylon, and starts to pull up and away, carrying the Breen soldier who has come downstairs just as the device lifts upward (his shot from level two bought him a few seconds of needed time to arrive). As the helicopter ascends, it yanks from the pylon a rubber plug identical to the one the partner previously discarded, causing seawater to spout out of the newly vacant hole. The enormous platform and gangway behind her suddenly sink into the ocean, leaving her stranded alone on the concrete pylon.
*I made some edits for clarity, style--call it a remix
**Æon dies in all the early, short episodes.