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My 2 Cents on Fire and Water
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Bilbo67
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 Posted: Wed Nov 29th, 2006 02:19 am

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***Ah, season 3; where business really starts to pick. Hot off the heels of a stellar second half of season 2, this is, in my mind, the absolute zenith of the series.  We get an epic, fast paced story arc (owing a nod to Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld books, as well as elements of the Divine Comedy crossed with various reincarnation mythologies), some deeply profound spiritual/philosophical musings, an abundance of character development (particularly with regards to Stan), and last but not least: one of the most memorable science fiction villains of all time.

 

Enough talk.  Let’s do this thing***

 


My 2 Cents on Episode 3.01: Fire and Water

(8/1/02)


 





And now for something completely different
-Unknown XXth Century Philosopher



I’m very much a creature of habit.  Much as I don’t like to admit it, I’m one of those structured types…unexpected change tends to hit me with all the grace of a baseball bat to the teeth.  So, as you can probably imagine, my initial reaction to the first few minutes of season 3 went as follows: “This is Lexx??? What the hell happened!?!?!”


Using the godsend that is 20/20 hindsight, I’ll tell you exactly what happened: the beans outdid themselves…by a long shot.  Much as I love, love, love everything that came before (most of it anyways…I could have done without ever being introduced to the Golleen clan), this is where the show really shines. I don’t think I blinked once during this entire episode.

First and foremost, as I’ve alluded to before, I like the opening credits with the Brunnen-G battle hymn a lot better, as it is one of the most addictive songs ever written. It also fits the darker, more serious tone of season 3. That’s one notable difference: this season is lighter on the slapstick. Oh it’s got some genuinely funny moments, but lowbrow stuff is largely absent. This may or may not have to do with Jeff Hirschfeld being completely absent from the writing mix. Lex G. threw his hat into the ring, but from what I can tell Paul Donovan is firmly in the driver’s seat for our latest jaunt through the Dark Zone.

The opening scene, featuring the balloon excursion to the Lexx, was one of the most visually stellar scenes of the whole series. The music, and the fact that there’s no dialogue for the first 5-10 minutes, gives it kind of an eerie feeling. I remember being glued to the set the first time I saw that strange white-haired chap and his cronies snooping around the Lexx.

How exactly did Prince know how to work the cryopod? I know hard science tends to take a beating in the Lexx universe, but those things must have fewer buttons than I thought they did.  And since we’re on the subject of the cryochamber, is it just me, or did that one henchman look to be getting a tad “friendly” with Xev’s pod? All I can say is: cop a frozen feel at your own risk…it’s bad enough getting your tongue stuck to something cold, you don’t want to take that chance when it comes to anything below the equator ;).

Stan didn’t seem to be as surprised as he should have been when he woke up and was immediately greeted by three men with. Cynical as he is when it comes to running afoul of trouble, we must face facts: he’s right more often than not.

Let’s talk a bit about Prince.  I think anyone who’s even a casual fan of the series could pontificate at length about the character, and Nigel Bennett’s incomparable performance.  For me, it was his voice that first sucked me in. Prince has a very hypnotic voice. Kind of a low, smooth rasp (a triple-decker oxymoron, I know), that lends him an air of mystery. That, coupled with his wardrobe (though I can’t for the life of me figure out the purpose of the Jurassic Park neck…thingie), makes for a character that we are immediately intrigued by, and we know right away there’s more to him than meets the eye. BTW, for anybody who knows what is to come, and what Prince will put our heroes through, isn’t it kind of creepy to see him standing at Lexx’s command console?

I liked Stan’s little back-story. It served as the perfect bridge between season 2 and 3. It also provided yet another classic 790 quote: “He (Lexx) is stupid. And you are captain of the stupid.” Simple, yes, but it had me rolling. On a related note, anyone feel up to petitioning for a fifth season, based around the planet Nimbus Nine? Anybody?...

Since the folks from Fire were able to free Stan with relative ease, why did they feel the need to rip Xev’s cryopod out of the ground? Oh well, it served as an excuse for her to rip off the middle of her costume, so I forgive them.

From there, we move to the infamous 790 reprogramming. I gotta say, the first time I heard him say, “I will love you forever,” to Kai my response was somewhere in the neighborhood of “Oh you have got to be shitting me.” This is the very definition of a curveball, and a nice change of pace. To be honest, I felt they had played the “lusting for Xev” storyline out as far as they could.

I haven’t commented on them yet, but the special effects in this episode were amazing. The exterior shots of the Lexx in the upper atmosphere, the twin planets, the towering cities on Fire, and especially the shot of Prince meditating on the silhouette of Water in the sky were all mind-blowing. The last few season 2 eps had some great visuals, but these are in a league unto themselves. Definitely a taste of things to come.

Stan’s little stint in the punishment chamber was an interesting twist on hell. I can sympathize with the poor wretch; I hate exercise bikes too. One thing that bugged the bejeezus out of me the entire time was the fact that he was peddling backwards! Oh well, when you’re strapped to a guillotine I guess things like that can slip your mind. The exterior shot, showing hundreds of identical cells, was yet another jaw dropper, and the minions traversing the prison via hooks on their heads is one of the more interesting criticisms of mundane cubicle life I’ve ever seen. (That’s how I interpreted it anyway, having done some menial clerical work and hating every second of it).

Speaking of that, the guard with no tongue reminded me of a joke I once heard about a farmer’s daughter. Those who’ve heard it, you know what I’m talking about. Those who haven’t: sorry, but I’m a tad too prudish to spell it out for you here.

I absolutely love the cliffhanger ending. Kai jumps to the wrong planet, Xev is convinced her friends are dead, Prince is already proving to be a master trickster, and Stan looks to be done for! I tell you, it was absolute agony the first time they ran these eps, having to wait a whole week to see how it would play out. Heck, even now I was wishing they would tack five more minutes on to the end, just so I wouldn’t have to wait.

All in all, a great episode. Sure it leaves us with a lot of unanswered questions, but it takes Lexx in a radical new direction, and sets the stage for a whole cadre of events yet to come. One of the criteria for judging a good ep is the following question: does it leave you wanting more? In this case, it’s a resounding hell yeah!

This is Lexx???

Damn right!!!

 
Cheery bye.


 

Last edited on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 02:55 am by Bilbo67



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Ketana
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 Posted: Wed Nov 29th, 2006 03:34 pm

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ahhh another Lexxcellent review from the one, the only BILBO!

Prince just turned me onnnnnnnn honey...he can enter my cryopod anytime! So I'm a slut, so sue me..

 

ta..



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 Posted: Wed Nov 29th, 2006 08:48 pm

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YAY, SEASON 3 !! My favorite season after One..The opening shot of Fire and Water, where Prince is chasing the Lexx in the balloons and that fantastic score of 'Prince to Lexx' theme, just stuns me..

MARTY SIMON IS A GENIUS ! You must play the soundtrack version at full volume...oh my gawd.

:globe1:



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 Posted: Wed Nov 29th, 2006 10:35 pm

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mayaXXX wrote: YAY, SEASON 3 !! My favorite season after One..The opening shot of Fire and Water, where Prince is chasing the Lexx in the balloons and that fantastic score of 'Prince to Lexx' theme, just stuns me..

MARTY SIMON IS A GENIUS ! You must play the soundtrack version at full volume...oh my gawd.


 

The music in series three is so amazing!  And it is so visually stunning, it takes you into a whole new world of Lexx!  The introduction of Prince was chilling, who is this man that Stan and Xev woke up to?  Soon they find out how evil he really is.  It's a darker story arc than season two was, but just as good if not better none-the-less.



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Shenandora
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 Posted: Thu Nov 30th, 2006 06:27 am

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A wonderful review, Bilbo, as always!

S3 is defenitely my favorite season. I like there costumes (especially Prince's and Xev's) and  the great scenery.
And yes,  Nigel really has a  breath-taking voice, I  had  a  taste of it  before  when he  played  the evil  vampire  Lucien  LaCroix  in  Forever  Knight.  In that show he also performed the Nightcrawler who ran a radio broadcast:

"When you have a friend in the Nightcrawler, who needs enemies...!"

However, "Fire and Water" is a great start into season 3! Can't wait reading more of your great reviews...


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