Somehow the scheduling got taken off my LEXX posts! Apologies for the hiatus. Resuming:
Stanley collapses from a mystery illness, the rest of the crew send out an SOS, and before you can say “Isn’t that Louis del Grande, well known from such cult favourites as Scanners and Seeing Things?” the SOS has been answered by a dysfunctional family who turn out to be custodians of the planet where all the undead husks of His Divine Shadow hang out. Before long Kai’s gone crazy, the dysfunctional family are trying to take over the LEXX, and Lyekka’s got loose and is eating anything with a brain. As you can probably already tell, this episode reads like it’s been cobbled together from previous episodes (crew member illness, dysfunctional family with designs on the LEXX, revenants of His Divine Shadow, Kai going crazy, Lyekka as a deus ex machina, or ex plant or something), and is kind of unsatisfying as a result. There’s sex again, but this time it’s lesbian for a change (Lyekka just wants to satisfy your desires, and, well, turns out there’s a reason Louis del Grande’s wife doesn’t like him).ETA: The set for the episode also looks suspiciously like the monastery exteriors from “Nook”.
The LEXX pick up Norb, the child who escaped the hillbilly clans in episode 2.8, drifting in space, and before you can say “it’s been a while since they touched base with the Mantrid storyline,” he turns out to be an undead Trojan horse for Mantrid’s self-replicating autonomous zombie arms.
This story has some great moments of genuine horror, with the sense of strangeness reinforced by the fact that, 790’s usual protestations of love for Xev aside, this is a completely sex-free episode. On the downside, they again have more episode than plot, and while the effects are again on the upward curve there’s some rather obvious repetition of footage.
The LEXX discovers an all-male monastic society who reproduce by cloning and have never seen a woman in real life, and before you can say “party’s at Xev’s place!” it is. A generally cheerful, life-affirming, sex-positive and even queer-positive story (Stan initially rebuffs the advances of one of the monks, but eventually decides, Chuck Tingle fashion, that love is love), with an interesting philosophical twist (the monks are the guardians of all the knowledge in the universe, but only one of them’s allowed to actually know what it is– and he’s the one who disapproves of all this sexual hedonism). I also liked the implication that Stan is getting over the trauma of his previous same-sex encounters and is at least theoretically capable of forming a positive relationship with a man. The CGI backgrounds are outstanding, but Kai seems to be bizarrely in angry mode, and also strangely insistent that only heterosexual sex can lead to reproduction, which is surprising since at least three of the people he shares a ship with weren’t created through it.
I’ve just come back from my first holiday outside the house since 2019, namely a week in Whitby, Yorkshire.
Unexpectedly, Whitby turns out to be very much like the overlapping cities in China Mieville’s novel The City and the City (Wikipedia link if you haven’t read it and want a quick summary). In that you are either Here For A Seaside Holiday, or you are a Goth. And people from both groups walk in the same spaces, go to the same attractions, eat at the same restaurants, and yet do not acknowledge each other’s existence.
This insight brought to you after the umpteenth time of being blanked by a citizen of Ul Seaside, since apparently I live in Gothzel, and to see me would cause them to commit Breach.
This is also not a matter of self-assigning necessarily, nor is it possible to belong to both Whitby simultaneously. I expected to be able to speak with the citizens of Ul Seaside at least when I was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, but it seems that if those jeans are purple and the T-shirt depicts Dolores Abernathy from the television series Westworld, you are too Goth for Ul Seaside and are immediately consigned to Gothzel.
There seems to be one time when it’s legitimately possible to do this (apart from if you’re a shopkeeper, who seem to be able to sell to anyone), and that’s when you’re admiring someone’s dog. You can cross over and say “who’s a lovely Staffie then?” But after that it’s back to your Whitby, and stay there.
The crew find a camper-van full of teenagers in suspended animation. There’s a jock, a fat guy, a bully, a party girl and a virgin, and before you can say “wow, all that setup needs to become an American-style slasher-horror movie is a serial killer,” Kai’s woken up and is butchering his way through them in the classic approved horror movie order. It’s really a lot of fun, particularly after watching “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” last week, to see the tropes in reverse, with the story being from the point of view of the murderer/s rather than the victims.
Finally, this episode we get to see what toilets are like on the LEXX, which really doesn’t disappoint.
The crew of the LEXX find a crashed prison ship and, before you can say “790 doesn’t get much to do this series, does it?” 790 has figured out how to fuse itself with the cyborg pilot of the ship and, in a state of sexual confusion, sets out to rape Stan. Xev and Kai, however, can’t help because they are finding out the hard way that in the LEXX-verse it’s always a bad idea to try and free the prisoners.
There’s some good body horror (the prisoners are physically confined to their cells by having their hearts removed), Lyekka seems to be becoming a full crewmember of sorts (which helps the ostensible gender balance a bit), and the 790 storyline’s actually less offensive than I was expecting, particularly in comparison to the earlier storyline involving Stan and rape. Probably because in this case 1) it’s clear that it’s not 790 who’s behind it, and he’s actively trying to stop it, and 2) it’s not played for cheap homophobic titillation, but as part of the sadistic dominance culture of the prison ship. Your mileage may, however, vary.
The LEXX is hijacked by a family of cannibal inbred hillbillies, and before you can say “Garth Ennis called and would like them back please”, Stan, Xev and 790 have figured out that not only is this not an impediment to their quest to get laid (at one point Stan states that their goal is to “find a home” but we all know better), it’s actually an asset, at least until the father/brother/husband finds out Stan’s banging his daughter/sister/wife, and Xev finds herself caught in a genocidal war between hillbilly clans. Light on plot but heavy on fun double-entendres, and it’s nice to see Lyekka back in the story.
The writing team have finally decided they’re OK with the sole motivating factor for the LEXX crew to seek out new worlds etc. being that they’re looking to get laid, so before you can say, “well, at least their treatment of female sexuality is generally positive, without slut-shaming, misogyny or lack of respect for consent,” Stan, 790 and Xev mistake a transmitted porno film for a genuine distress call from the very hot inhabitants of the planet Orgasmos, and hijinx ensue when they instead find a freighter crew infected with a bioweapon which causes people who come in contact with it to develop the genitals of the opposite sex.
Definitely one of those where you’re not sure if it’s horribly offensive or really very clever, but extra kudos for an unexpected deus-ex-machina that actually works.
The crew of the LEXX go down to a pleasure station and before you can say “isn’t this the third time they’ve done this plot?” it turns out to be a honey-trap, and Stan finds himself standing trial for war crimes, of which he is in fact guilty (not a spoiler if you’ve seen S1).
There’s some clunky bits– it takes Xev 50 minutes of screen time to realise that if Stan is executed, they can’t fly the LEXX, and although the Chief Prosecutor gets all the lines, her delivery’s so wooden you could miss them easily– but the final third is a rather deep meditation on justice versus compassion that’s impressively nuanced and ambivalent. Despite the presence of killer mealworms.