And before you can say “Didn’t Russell T. Davies write a story by that name?” I can answer, “LEXX beat him to the punch by eight years”. Also, even though there’s at least once instance of LEXX doing a story which anticipates a RTD one surprisingly well, this one has nothing in common with the Doctor Who episode bar the name.
Anyway, this one does have more of a plot than last episode. Civil war breaks out on Fire as Duke squares off against Prince, and we learn that everyone in the Light Universe has a Dark Universe double, yes, even Kai. Meanwhile, on Water, the crew of the LEXX have sex with the locals in various ways and combinations. I’d say this one was entertainingly bonkers, in all senses of the word.
Also: shoutout to Bunny, who will be one of the few reasons to watch Season 4.
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.
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 ship encounters a TV satellite station where hapless travellers must compete for ratings in programmes with android presenters where losers meet a gruesome fate-worse-than-death, and before you can say “did Russell T. Davies watch this series by any chance?” Kai is having to climb out of cold storage and rescue Xev, Stan and 790 from their own libidos yet again.
Kai gets all the lines, for a change, and the Xev storyline does a good job of subverting the usual sexploitation tropes (as she first dominates a harem of handsome male androids and then forces the audience to recognise her humanity in a way they clearly don’t like). Nonetheless, the series still feels like it’s floundering, with the premise for going down to the station handwaved rather than emerging from the characters and situation, and the resulting action predictable.