After Heidi's surprise return cliffhanger in "Safety Canary," "Lying Pig" opens with a brief flashback to that scene to show us what really happened. Where the end of "Safety Canary" was shot mostly from Jaye's perspective, the beginning of "Lying Pig" gives the scene from Eric's point of view. He was actually trying to resist Heidi, unwilling to accept her apologies and her offer to return to his old life. When Jaye shows up and finds Eric and Heidi together, he stumbles out of The Barrel to get some air. Talk about a tough night.
But that's only the tip of the iceberg for Eric. His character becomes so wishy-washy during this episode that I had difficulty identifying or sympathizing with him at all. First he refuses to take Heidi back, still upset with her for breaking their days-old wedding vows. He admits to Mahandra that he loves Jaye, but he then tells Mahandra that he won't actually tell Jaye this unless Jaye first gives him some glimmer of hope. The animals, however, have instructed Jaye to "mend what was broken," which she interprets to mean that she has to save Eric's marriage. Hence, even though Jaye too admits to Mahandra that she has romantic feelings, Jaye won't say a word about it to Eric.
Confused yet? After Jaye accidentally hits Heidi on the head with a television ("It was a portable!") and Heidi feigns amnesia to win Eric back, Eric begins to soften towards Heidi. Or, perhaps more accurately, Eric hardens towards Jaye, which makes Heidi look better by comparison. I got the feeling Eric had given Jaye an unspoken ultimatum to admit her feelings, and that the clock was ticking. When Jaye fails a final, dramatic test to tell Eric she loves him, the clock expires and he accepts Heidi's offer of a second wedding ceremony and the two of them drive off to an all-night wedding chapel.
When the animals tell Jaye not to miss the ceremony, she sets off in hot pursuit. Instead of the standard fairy-tale ending where Jaye and Eric admit their feelings, we get a Eric's half-convincing speech about how Jaye made him realize he could still love someone . . . in this case, Heidi. Jaye finally does tell Eric that she's "crazy about [him]," but all this gets her is a kiss on the cheek and the opportunity to witness Eric and Heidi's second ceremony.
Eric's final choice seemed to be less about which women he wanted and more about which wanted to be with him. Or, at least, which woman vocalized that desire louder. Is Eric really that starved for love and attention? He essentially chose Heidi because she professed her love and Jaye couldn't seem to get the words out. One could even make the argument that Eric married Heidi (again) to get back at Jaye. Eric's choice--when he finally made one--rang hollow with me, which is why I can't give this episode a higher rating.
The subplots were amusing distractions from the main theme, particularly Aaron's efforts to round up all of the animals that had talked to Jaye. Jewel Staite did a marvelous turn as Heidi, who resembles a richer, more proper version of Jaye.
Finally, I find it hard to believe that Jaye would have immediately jumped to the conclusion that the snake's instructions to "mend what was broken" referred to Eric and Heidi's marriage. Why wouldn't she have assumed the snake was talking about Jaye and Eric's relationship? That was broken as well, wasn't it? Jaye would have far more to gain herself by mending that, rather than working to her own detriment by forcing Eric back to Heidi. If she had taken that interpretation, she would have admitted her feelings for Eric, who likely would have told Heidi to pack her bags. Perhaps this is supposed to demonstrate how altruistic Jaye has truly become, or perhaps deep down inside Jaye doesn't really want herself to be happy. Either way, I'm not quite sure that I can completely agree with Jaye's interpretation here, especially since she never really considers the much more advantageous alternative.
How did she get off that spaceship? It was scary to watch cute little Kaywinnit Lee turn into ‘lying pig’ Heidi, although amusing to see her tottering around in a velour leisure suit and high heeled shoes and she did look adorable in her white nightie/re-wedding dress.
Enough of Kaylee/Heidi/Jewel. The Tylers. Here we start to see cracks in the perfect family. Darren emotionally neglects Karen, so she goes on a date with a handsome Irish-esque doctor. Sharon goes bananas over this, whilst still keeping it a secret from her parents that she’s gay. Aaron continues his sexy eyebrow wiggling to get another piece of Mahandra, a relationship that is bound to upset Jaye and possibly Mahandra too if he’s not serious about it. Is Aaron ever serious about anything? However, he comes up with the goods in this episode as he kindly rids Jaye of all of the animals who have ever spoken to her, including the infamous cow creamer and the plastic pike at the Barrel bar.
Not that it does Jaye much good; the pig on the TV advert, the snake on Eric’s t-shirt and even a gonk in a taxi she throws out of the window (“I didn’t say anything!”) carry on exhorting her to “mend what was broken”. But what? Her parents’ relationship? That seems to sort itself out, as laid-back Darren shows that he can be just as scrappy as Jaye. Interesting to note that although Jaye’s name doesn’t rhyme with the rest of her family’s, we are shown just how similar she is to them in most episodes. She freak-watches with Aaron in “Muffin Buffalo”, she messes up her relationship with Eric at the same time as Sharon’s hissy fit spoils hers with Beth in “Safety Canary” and now she punches her rival, just the same as her father in this ‘sode. The fight with Heidi when she realised what was obvious – faked amnesia – was the only time Jaye seemed like Jaye. The rest of the 40 minutes, she just seemed bewildered, torn between wanting Eric and thinking he should return to his wife, between throwing the animals away and following their bidding. Although the title of the episode is Lying Pig, the snake seems a more appropriate conduit. Serpents are signs of jealousy, betrayal and temptation, everything Jaye feels in this episode.
So, to return to my question, what do the animals want her to mend? The obvious answer is Eric and Heidi’s marriage. But why? Do the animals really believe that they could be happy together second time around? Even with the rare glimpse of a sympathetic side to Heidi - when she’s telling Jaye how difficult it is to be on a pedestal within a relationship - it seems unlikely that these kids are gonna make the ruby wedding. Or is the animals’ long term plan more subtle? To force Jaye into admitting that she cares for Eric? To make Eric get over Heidi by extreme measures so he knows he can be with Jaye, heart and soul, with no regrets or other clichés? It seems a little over the top.
To be honest, I’m not sure Eric is worth it. His attitude swings and sways all over this episode. He says Jaye is “no-one” and “the least of his problems” and then he talks about how he loves her and doesn’t love Heidi. His reaction to every stressful situation is to faint. He seems to re-marry Heidi just because Jaye won’t say that she loves him – is such a weakling really Jaye’s ideal man? Then 15 minutes later, he’s thanking Jaye for leading him back to Heidi because he’s realised that he is unable to walk away without seeing if the relationship can work, he’s not the kind of person who can do that. Nice Guy Eric? Maybe.
The episode leaves us with questions unanswered, but the most important one is: How does the Barrel bar keep on operating whilst all of its staff are off shagging in the storeroom, getting hitched or just generally running about on crazy schemes. And aren’t there any other restaurants in town?