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My 2 Cents on P4X
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Bilbo67
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Joined: Fri Oct 27th, 2006
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 Posted: Sat Sep 8th, 2007 08:54 pm

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My 2 Cents on Episode 4.03: P4X
(9/8/07)

 
 
Ahoy hoy.  Once again, I didn’t expect to knock out another review so soon, but when you’re forced to work on a Saturday and there’s painfully little work to do, sometimes the only recourse is to wile some company time away in the Dark Zone (because I can only sit and talk to myself for four, maybe five hours tops before I start to bore myself, get irritated with myself, and challenge myself to a fight). 
 
P4X.  This is one of those episodes that I liked a lot more than I should have for reasons I can’t really grasp.  If I had to venture a guess, I’d say it’s the atmosphere.  It’s got that grungy, gritty season 3 feel to it, and upon this second viewing I found that it sort of parallels Luvliner, a season 2 episode with a shady reputation that I nonetheless enjoyed.  Of course, in keeping with the Mad-Magazine-on-acid feel of season 4, it introduces a couple of truly wigged out story elements which suggest that at some point Paul and co. must have shrugged their shoulders and said “Screw it, it’s the last season…might as well go for broke.”
 
It’s also worth pointing out that this ep contains what some might consider the biggest cameo appearances since season 1, in the characters of “the warden” and his wife Heidi, played by Craig Charles and Hattie Hayridge respectively, whom many fans will recognize from the show Red Dwarf.  Now I for one don’t know the first thing about that show.  I’ve never seen an episode in my life and haven’t the faintest clue what it is about.  That said, I did the bare minimum in fact checking and found out that Red Dwarf was a quirky British sci-fi show that served as something of a forerunner to Lexx; so it goes without saying that these two probably knew what they were in for when Jeff Hirschfeld showed up on their front porches in a fishnet bodysuit and tinfoil headscarf and said “Come with me if you want to live.” (…what…you honestly don’t think that’s how it happened?)
 
Like Texx Lexx before it, this episode picks up right where the previous ep left off, with a barrage alien drones descending on Earth, hell-bent on figuring out who prank called them a hundred years prior.  I suppose the beans could have taken a little more ambiguous approach to this scene, but then again, there aren’t too many good things out there that travel in gigantic swarms, so it’s probably a safe bet that Earth is about to reap the rewards of Marconi’s meddling.

From there we jump to the now-familiar ATF bunker/tax write off and are treated to some splendid establishing shots that reinforce just how colossal the place is (nice to see the CGI folks flexing their muscles despite all of season 4’s on-location shooting); a nifty, surreal little montage that brought to mind some of the eldritch edifices in the Nostromo from the original Alien (these guys certainly know how to win points with me) and the low-budget Canadian sci-fi gem Cube, which I’ve lauded in previous reviews (definitely worth a look, but stay the hell away from the sequels at all costs).  All told this sequence is worthy of mention alongside similar montages from the previous seasons, a visual effects triumph that almost succeeds in keeping one from questioning how they could possibly dig a hole the size of a small town and construct a Legion-of-Doom-inspired secret base without so much as a single errant conspiracy nut happening by and muttering, “Huh…wonder what all those steam shovels are for?”  (Guess that shoot-on-sight sign isn’t just there for show).

I’ll bet that’s the kind of thing Digby is wondering too, for as we quickly discover, that overachieving little pisher is one of those “20 Questions” kids who, if given the slightest opening, will chew your ear off with a relentless volley of sanity-sapping “hows” and “whys” until they’ve reduced you to a quivering, teary-eyed husk of your former self…I dare say most all of us have weathered that storm at one time or another.  And right now, it’s Stan’s turn, although the stunner gets off a little easier than most of us (…in more ways than one), as Digby dispenses with the standard intergenerational icebreakers—What’s your favorite color?  Who’s your favorite baseball player?  Where can I get a hat like that? (something I myself have been wondering for many a moon)—and asks after Stan’s crime.
 
Being as he is unfamiliar with Megan’s Law, Stan curtly tells his pint-sized cellmate—er…wallmate, I ‘spose—that his only crime was not leaving this stupid little planet of ours in his dust when he had the chance (which he’s yet to have, but that’s a moot point).  Pouncing on the opportunity, Digby persists, demanding to know why Stan didn’t simply fly away, and while the truth of the matter is that it’s all Xev’s fault (Whose idea was it to go down and explore the little blue planet?  Who blew up Fire and Water, which led them to the little blue planet?  Who demanded they return to the Light Zone to get Kai more protoblood, thus accidentally awakening the Giga Shadow, which possessed Kai, thus facilitating the creation of Mantrid, who destroyed the Light Zone, thus trapping them in the Dark Zone where they drifted into the conjoined orbit of Fire and Water and upset their age-old balance, thus allowing Prince to run amok unchecked on the little blue planet?  My God, when you step back and take an objective look at things, Xev is a walking disaster with a failure rate that would make even the most ham-fisted ATF stumblebum blush!), Stan steps up, and in one of those rare displays of personal integrity, blames himself…“Because I’m stupid.”  Rather big of him, all things considered.

As far as Stan’s concerned, that admission should have closed out the conversation, but unfortunately, Digby (who must have starched and scotch guarded his shirt before they strung him up, what with the complete absence of dust and wrinkles) didn’t get the message, and pops off with a truncated version of his life story before asking Stan if he could take him off the planet, to which Stan responds by shouting for Prince at the top of his lungs, because at this point he would rather attempt to barter a shady deal with a malevolent inhuman enigma who has already tried to kill him two dozen times than listen to the kid drone on for another second.  Alas, the cries go unheeded, and Stan remains at the little motor-mouth’s mercy.  Oh yeah, when Prince say’s he’s very good with pain, he means it.

 
Time to check in on the Queen of Consequences herself, Xev.  When last we left her she had just contributed to a slight rise in the nation’s collective IQ by accidentally inducing Rooster and his buddies to blow each others’ brains out, and despite the fact that none of the murder weapons bear her fingerprints and her alibi is airtight, Texas justice is and always has been a good ol’ boys club, so the local law promptly fingers her (don’t even think about it!) as the perp and slaps her in irons. 

Next stop: women’s prison, which on this show means markedly fewer knife fights and a complete absence of introspective, life-affirming Shawshank-style bonding and personal growth, offset by a major upswing in totally pointless shower scenes.  Ah yes… “double” and “standard” really are the two greatest words in the English lexicon.


Fresh out of the squad car (arraignment, hearing, trial by jury, formal sentencing…no time for any of that Constitutionally mandated crap, we’ve got a schedule to keep!), Xev is escorted into the big house where she is processed by sub-warden Heidi, who applies her clown-colored rouge with a trowel, talks like she’s chewing on a cud, and basically looks less like a human being than Sesame Street character that was reject on the grounds that it was too horrifying for children to look at.  Much as her character annoyed me at first, Heidi’s scenery-chomping performance gradually won me over.  I for one have always found it kind of odd how many British actors, upon attempting to affect an American accent, come across sounding like southerners (which is to say nothing of how badly we usually mangle their accents), and I personally believe that Heidi’s unbelievably over-the-top Texan drawl was a deliberate nod to this practice.
 
Heidi ain’t much to look at but she’s thorough, hitting Xev with a litany of questions about who she is and where she came from (none of which would be necessary if they’d bothered to hold a trial), and after drawing some sort of comparison between Houston and a box that must have either been a seven-layer in-joke that four people in the entire world got, or a throwaway line that one of the beans inserted to pad the runtime, presents her with a fresh pair of panties…which kind of brings things to a screeching halt, as it makes about as much sense as much sense as the first three pages of Finnegans Wake (which is as far as I ever got), yet serves as the precursor to a major plot element, which more or less signals the point in season 4 in which subtlety is drug out into the street and shot. 

Xev, quite understandably, is just as confused as we are, and as she ponders this latest development we learn that she’s being watched on a security monitor by a creepy looking chick with a John Elway smile and a nose that you could stick roadside trash with.  Apparently no one ever told her that massaging a TV screen with your tongue is a good way to shock yourself (but then, how many unrequited Kai-lovers out there already know that?).

From there we cut to something that seems quite out of place (not really sure if you can get away with saying that when you’re reviewing this show): a happy-go-lucky young dimwit dressed kind of like a Divine Assassin—which is to say, black on black without a hint of offsetting white to accentuate his eyes…you know what, just forget I said that—paying a visit to a one bedroom townhouse in the middle of the suburbs that looks like it was constructed out of giant, psychedelic waffle blocks (anybody else remember those?).  He’s apparently some kind of missionary who has decided to take his message directly to the people after getting banned from Dallas International for excessive loitering.  Perfectly noble endeavor if I do say so myself.  Unfortunately, like his Jehovah’s Witness brethren, this nondenominational numbskull has a propensity for calling on people during the most inconvenient hours, and though it’s 3:00 in the afternoon, he rouses the resident of this candy-colored sugar-shack—a crabby, camera-shy coed—from her sleep, and rather than telling him off with the standard “No habla Ingles,” or “We’re all Jewish here,” she forcibly drags him across the threshold, where I’m sure she intends to give him a polite but firm talking-to before sending him on his merry way.

From one torture chamber right back to another, it’s back to Stan, who would have clawed the first two layers of skull clean off his face by this point were they not bound by what appears to be giant retractable zip ties, much as Digby has continued to incessantly prattle on about nothing in particular.  Though no one either asked for it or gives a damn, he fills Stan in on his background, revealing that he is from Louisiana, a mostly-pointless revelation of interest only due to the fact that he is the first native-born earthling we meet with an IQ that surpasses the temperature of a glass of ice water and who has not been cursed with a thick, crippling accent that all but cries out for a loud, nasty demise.  Seems I may have to rethink my opinion of this meely-mouthed little runt.

 
And it seems I’m not the only one, as Stan—either relenting or slowly succumbing to delirium—decides to acknowledge the kid, and before long winds up telling his own life story, bragging about the Lexx (which just screams “compensation!” on so very many levels) and puffing up his exploits on the Cluster to a ridiculous degree, essentially painting himself as a hero, which is vintage Stan all the way, but come on…who amongst us hasn’t embellished from time to time (especially when we’re trying to impress creepy, bug-eyed children)?  Hell, one summer in college I worked a few soul-crushingly boring weekends as a doorman at a crappy heavy metal bar…or, to put it another way, I protected rock stars.  Semantics, people…it’s all about semantics.

Of course Stan may have Digby fooled (I’d put the odds at no better than 7-1 in Digby’s favor), but it’s gonna take a helluva lot more than semantics—or some antics—to put one over on Prince, who listens in on Stan’s pathetically profundo pontifications via a video monitor, seemingly on the verge of either rolling his eyes or laughing out loud and probably pining for a beer and a big tub of popcorn.
 
Well, as anyone who’s spent more than eight seconds in his company can roundly attest, the stunner’s a loquacious fella when he gets to talking about himself, and after rattling off a few of his ridiculously revisionist exploits he tells Digby a little more about the Lexx, explaining that he and he alone is capable of controlling it, as the one and only key lives inside his body, and will continue to do so so long as he is alive, at which point Prince scoffs, and rightly so, for as we all remember, he got the key to rocket out of Stan’s hand in the time it would take most of us to tie a pair of Velcro shoes, and he damn sure didn’t have to kill him (although in hindsight, I’m sure Stan wishes he had).  
 
From there the topic of conversation switches to Prince, and although that too is a tender subject for Stan for all sorts of reasons, he wastes no time unloading the truth about Prince’s origins onto his new bunker buddy, who, for all his worldliness, seems to know only that Prince is a bad man, which itself is a misnomer, for as Stan posits: “I don’t think he’s a man.” (…no…not this time…too easy).

All right, what’s say we change gears and check in on the only one of our heroes who is not presently in misery…for the dead are perpetually mellow, and pretty much just go with the flow.  Kai’s still kickin’ it at Longbore’s secret hideout (which has completely changed in design since the last ep, but what the hell), where the two members of the Scooby gang who were deemed important enough not to get mowed down during the preceding day’s ATF raid are assisting him in contacting 790, who by this point in the season is beginning to wear on me just a bit.  I’m telling you: having him jump ship and start lusting after Kai was a stroke of genius…at first.  But a little of him goes a long way, which is another reason why I like season 3 so much…because he’s hardly in it!

But, as we’ve seen before—blink and you’ll miss it, but it’s true—the bitchy little biscuit tin can prove useful from time to time, and after serenading the dead man with a customary round of uncomfortably graphic sweet nothings that would make even de Sade wretch, Kai engages in a little psychological subterfuge and declares that if 790 truly loves him, he will locate Stan and Xev for him, post haste, which is a commendable bit of quick thinking on his part, despite my dogged belief that there should be a statute of limitations governing how many times the “if you love me…” ultimatum can be issued in a given relationship.
 
He also requests that 790 help Longbore and his surviving retinue evacuate the planet, and while I get the sense that Kai doesn’t care one way or another about helping them, filling someone with false hope is a surefire way to get them off your back.  Alas, they—by which he means we—lack the necessary technology, and 790 seems content to let them rot; but with a little more cajoling form Kai, relents that they do have the technology to build the big machines that can build the small machines that can build the tiny machines that can construct an interstellar space ship, all in a slightly irritated “you owe me” tone of voice that seems to foretell of Kai plugging a high voltage cable jack into his codpiece at some point in the near future. 

**Pardon me a moment while I slam a work boot into my temple in hopes of sluicing the aforementioned image from my mind’s eye**

 
Well, that didn’t work.  Better find something else that does…

Like the aforementioned obligatory shower scene.  What, you thought that was just wishful thinking on my part?  Well then apparently you’ve forgotten what you’re watching.  Cue the generic, bass-heavy backbeat as a stocky female guard who resembles a clean-shaven Mike Ditka escorts Xev and a couple of her buxom bunkmates into a grimy, claustrophobic shower room that looks like a renovated third world dungeon straight out of one of those torture movies that are all the rage nowadays.  Unfortunately (all the more so now that I’m no longer beholden to SciFi’s pointlessly inconsistent S&P department), when compared to her predecessor, Xenia is a bit bashful (probably worked that proviso into her contract just to bust chops), but all is not lost, as the sequence is mighty suggestive, and as anyone who’s caught a glimpse of what I look like has probably already surmised, I’ve got a pretty active imagination.

Meanwhile 790, working very much under duress, has decided to take Kai’s request 100% literally.  As such, he dutifully locates Stan, insomuch as he is able to call up a video image of Stan telling Digby exactly how to pilot a moth—I’m sure that won’t come back to bite him—but doesn’t bother to actually figure out where he is.  You could certainly argue that 790 knew damn well what Kai really wanted him to do, but in his defense, he is naught but a computer, and as some smarmy, anonymous bastard once said, “the problem with computers is they do exactly what you tell them to do” (if anyone can put a name to that quote, don’t hesitate to fire it my way so I can put a hit out on the guy).

Well by now, Prince is behind schedule.  Like all of us, he could whittle an entire evening away listening to Stan’s bombastic boasts, but there’s work to be done yet before he knocks off for the evening, so he departs his world-class rec. room and mounts the niftiest looking cherry picker I’ve ever seen so that he might have it out with the prisoners face-to-face.  Stan, ever the opportunistic optimist, initially assumes Prince means to let them go, in spite of the fact that nothing in their history together even remotely suggests Prince has a magnanimous side.  No, Prince assures him, “I’m not here to release you.  At least not in the way that you would like” (…nope…also too easy).  Stan, to his ever-waning credit, quickly surmises that Prince means to test the shock absorbers on his brand new, state-of-the-art concrete floor, and, welshing on their budding friendship, implores him to drop the kid.  Lots of luck with that pal, I’ve been calling for the little twerp’s demise for the past two-and-a-half episodes.

Would that it were that easy, but Prince has other plans.  As he explains to Stan: “You have the key to the Lexx, I want it.  I want to do an experiment” (to which Stan, were he not struck dumb from fear, would surely have replied, “Yeah, well if it involves you and me perched atop an out-of-control washing machine, you can forget it!”).  First, he will drop Stan to his death in order to release the key (you know…without having to pony up for dinner)…pretty much no getting around that part.  From there he wishes to know whether the key will jump to his hand or Digby’s.  If it goes to his hand, he will drop Digby to his death and take control of the Lexx.  If it goes to Digby, he will drop Digby to his death and take control of the Lexx.  Kind of an end-loaded experiment, but it more or less adheres to the scientific method, in spite of one or two vague ethical quandaries.  Stan’s cries that the experiment won’t work because Prince isn’t really alive (notwithstanding the fact that it’s already worked once, although Stan has been doing his Class-4 best to repress that night, in spite of the lingering bite marks) go unheeded, and without further delay, Prince punches the big, bright, candy-colored button that deactivates the shackles and subjects Stan into a fall that, in all honesty, you could probably survive, provided you tuck and roll at just the right instant and are comfortable with the idea of living out your remaining days as an immobile hunk of propped-up flesh that subsists on meat-flavored milkshakes.  Be that as it may, the key still decides to hedge its bets, abandoning Stan’s body for Digby’s the instant gravity takes hold of him (hat and all), despite the fact that 790 overrides the shackles an instant later and Stan catches himself.  In lab coat lingo, this is what we’d call a variable…in laymen’s terms it’s one more reason to dispatch that sniveling little whelp.  

All right!  That was as tense a sequence as anything we’ve seen.  Unfortunately, as my eternally Polish luck would have it, Xev finished showering while Prince was playing Blofeld: The Home Game, and so we meet back up with her in sector P4X, where this west Texas prison’s inexplicably British warden has gathered all of the inmates (not a one of them shackled, so why no one’s shanking him eight ways from Tuesday is anybody’s guess).  He instructs them—in a stentorian British baritone that somehow manages to inject a little gravitas into this scene—to hand in their used panties along with a handwritten form letter claiming to be from a lonely sixteen year old girl (what I said earlier about subtlety…yeah…that was a gunshot you just heard).  Alright…somebody monitor my thinking here…why is it that I cannot shake the hunch that if I were to assume the identity of a Canadian federal agent and sequester the beans’ mail records I would find the basis for this scene?  Still, I guess it could have been weirder… (I kid you not, a few years ago I was walking through downtown Denver in sandals and some guy came up and asked if he could take pictures of my feet…for decorum’s sake I won’t repeat what I said to him).

Well, Xev looks about as perplexed as the rest of us—and pretty stylish in running shoes, I must say—and if she’s scribbled anything on her clipboard it’s likely in cartoonishly endowed stick figure form.  Right on cue the monotony is broken by the unannounced arrival of the bird-faced goth chick from earlier.  She is none other than the warden’s daughter, and if she looks familiar it’s because she is a carbon copy of Lomea from Twilight, the scatterbrained offspring of a pair of deposed Divine Clerics who expressed some rather messy affections for Xev (shortly before Xev went on a George Romero-inspired brain binge).  Seems the more things change the more they stay the same, as this incarnation—also named Lomea, because despite the multitude of writing credits they have between the three of them, neither Paul nor Jeff nor Lex could think of another name—looks Xev over in a suggestive manner that says just a little more than, “Like, omigod!  That is totally how I’m wearing my hair to the winter formal” (yeah, I know, I’m about as out of touch as someone my age can hope to get).  And because Lomea only looks dead, Xev does not reciprocate…in fact, she announces she’s leaving, prompting sub-warden Bacon Face to stick Xev in the hole (yuk it up ya reprobates, you know what I mean!).  On cue two butch guards Xev could easily thrash drag her off to solitary confinement as Lomea tags along, giggling like an idiot and prompting her folks, straight-laced pillars of morality that they be, to quip that she must be from a parallel universe or something. 

Three cheers for foreshadowing.

It would make sense to check in on Kai at this point, but for whatever reason we don’t see a whole lot of him in this episode; probably because without anyone to talk to, all Kai can really do is walk and look at stuff…versatile as Mike McManus is, the guy can only do so much with nothing.  And so it’s back to Stan, who’s still hanging out, so to speak, because in addition to overriding the shackle, 790 has disabled Prince’s controls.  In case you’ve lost count, that’s two good deeds in a row for the love-struck lunchbox, which gives him carte blanche to act like a complete bastard for the rest of the season (…what I said about subtlety…yeah, he repeatedly desecrates the corpse). 

Unfortunately for Prince, Stan has ridiculously strong hands (figures), so he’s not going anywhere for a long time; and because it never once dawns on him to call one of his heavily armed security goons (more on them shortly) and say “Shoot this guy for me,” he’s little recourse but to turn his attention to Digby.  Seems the little crumb-cruncher doesn’t take kindly to being spurned, and rather than slowly nurturing a grudge over the years until it gives rise to a middle-aged embolism like most reasonable people, he demands satisfaction right here and now, and promptly offers to kill Stan for Prince. 

You would think that ol’ Izzy would be above such an obvious stab at reverse psychology, but darn it all if he doesn’t immediately do a one-eighty and take a liking to the kid (in full spite of the fact that every one of his underlings eventually betrayed him at some point), cheerfully praising his “bad choice” as he unshackles him (with his spontaneously repaired controls…?) and invites him aboard the cherry picker. 
 
Now, remember what I said way back when about how insanity = doing the same dumbass thing the same dumbass way and expecting a different result?  Well, pencil Prince in for an appointment with Nurse Ratched, because the man’s officially certifiable.  No sooner does he extend his hand to his bloodthirsty new charge than the kid produces a push dagger from his watch (for which I blame the recording industry, and their shameless glorification of high-tech medieval ninja weapons), guts him like an overdressed trout, and assists him with his dismount the hard way.  Man…Digby don’t play…I definitely have to reevaluate my opinion of the wretched little honor roller.  
 
Despite possessing the stone-cold fortitude to kill a man, Digby’s a little shaky driving the cherry picker (like I have any room to talk; I’ve yet to master a stick shift), but he eventually negotiates his way to the ground, where he begins combing through Prince’s pockets (I gotta think he’s done this before).  He quickly finds what he’s seeking—a keycard (kid must be a gamer)—but not before discarding a little curio that caught my eye.  At first I thought Digby had retrieved the little water vial that Prince wore around his neck in several of the season 3 eps (which I’ve always thought looked totally cool), but it looked a bit too big.  I actually paused and rewound this scene a few times, and best as I can tell it looks to be a small jar of dirt.  Though it’s never addressed, I believe that it’s meant to be a memento from Fire that Prince either physically took with him—somehow—or that he was resurrected with as a means of reminding him of his past (for it seems to me that he is as much a prisoner on Earth as he was on Fire, in spite of how much control he thinks he has).  One thing that I hated about Lexx in the beginning but quickly grew to appreciate is how the writers seldom explain anything outright.  Rather, they sprinkle the story with clues that—though vague—can be used to reverse engineer an explanation, provided the viewer is willing to do the necessary mental legwork (I would point to Den Valdron’s fascinating reconstruction of the history of the Divine Order as the ultimate example of this theory put into practice). 
 
Yes, much can be made of the little jar of dirt, but Digby doesn’t have time to dwell on it.  He’s got what he needs, and after talking a little trash to the corpse, scampers off in search of more ass to kick.  This is a banner day for Digby, for he has just joined the world’s most inclusive club: people who’ve killed Prince (which, as of this writing, consists of everyone currently alive today with the exception of myself, the Dalai Lama, and one vision impaired shut-in from Saskatchewan).  Hot damn, I’m liking this kid more by the minute.

By now the homicidal little home-schooler has my undivided attention, and I’m anxious to see what other Thodin-like ordnances he’s stashed away on his person.  Unfortunately, when you’re juggling three separate plot lines, sometimes you have no choice but to cut away.  So we rejoin Xev, which is always forgivable, making the most of her first night in solitary confinement.  She’s done the customary two thousand pushups and started digging a tunnel with one of her toenails…nothing left to do now but turn in for the evening.  Heavy sleeper that she is, she fails to notice the unidentified person or persons sneaking into her cell, and is swiftly abducted just as she seems to be on the cusp of her recurring “slow motion bull riding” dream.  0-2 for dashed expectations so far, and we’ve still got like twenty minutes of show to go.  

Remember in my last review how I made mention of Stan’s wholly infrequent strokes of genius?  Well terror must breed clarity, because he goes and has himself another one…although this plan only further blurs the already smudged line between genius and madness.  He figures he can’t hang onto the harness forever, so he takes to dangling by one arm while he uses the other to take off his boot. 

**Sidebar: anyone here ever hung by one arm for more than a few seconds?  Try it some time…unless you’re an Olympic gymnast or an anorexic rock climbing enthusiast, it’s damn near impossible (breaks my heart to say it, but action movies are a crock)**


Here’s that genius/madness part I mentioned: Stan intends to trip the cherry picker’s controls by hitting them with one of his boots from a hundred feet in the air…presumably because he’s figured out that flapping his arms on the way down won’t do him much good.  Of course he misses with the first boot (gotta build suspense after all), and in yet another textbook example of practical insanity, immediately begins unlacing the other one.  Now, if you’re like me (and God help you if you are), you’re probably wondering just what the hell he intends to do if he misses with the second boot; ball up his hat and hope for the best?  Luckily, his aim proves true, thereby sparing us the burden of unnecessary thinking.  Those boots must have lodestone heels or something, because not only does it land on just the right button, it practically fuses itself with the console.  The odds of that happening are frankly staggering, but Stan’s a priority-one guy, so he’s a little too busy thanking his lucky stars he’s alive to lament the fact that nobody was around to see his one-in-a-million trick shot.

Not to be outdone by Digby, Stan takes the opportunity to hurl a few insults at Prince’s carcass while he attempts to massage some of the feeling back into his forearms.  Unfortunately, the temporarily ousted gallant captain’s jumpy luck kicks back on him again, and before he can punctuate his little tirade with “…and you know something else…I’VE HAD BETTER!” Prince awakens, revealing that while he’s not exactly mortal, he now has a better understanding of what pain is.  Despite the fact that he’s lost a ton of blood and still reeling from blunt force sciatica, Stan just stands there gawking instead of finishing him off, while Prince insists they must stop Digby from escaping and hijacking the Lexx at all costs.  And so, once again, in spite of what just transpired five minutes beforehand, Captain Capricious casts his lot with his mortal enemy.     
  

790 meanwhile, fresh off his most recent forty-minute break, is back to doing Kai’s bidding and manages to locate Xev via an internet link, appropriately named P4X.  According to the Scooby gang—no strangers to pixilated perversion as you no doubt guessed—it’s an extremely popular web site…that alone should be enough to tell you that it’s either porn or…oh who am I kidding, what the hell else do most people use the internet for?!?!  Sprung from solitary and half-concealed in shadow, Xev narrates her life story (which really does read like a porn prologue if you think about it), tearfully lamenting her loveless existence and her bitterly unrequited desire to be with Kai.  This was probably my favorite part of the episode, as it featured some solid acting on Xenia’s part that served as a reminder of the emotional void through which Xev was forced to trudge for most of her life and really emphasizes how fragile she is deep down.  In other words, another instance in which Paul said, “Piss off Jeff, I’m writing this part.”
 
Nothing fragile about Digby…this kid is hardcore.  After dispatching Prince with nary a wink he gets the drop on the stupidest security guard this side of the Cluster by using the time-tested “teary-eyed waif” routine, then snatches the guy’s wholly impractical fully-automatic Punisher-style carbine and demands to know where the moth is.  Bad enough this idiot failed to notice that one of only two prisoners housed in the entire facility is now strolling through the halls like he owns the place, but the stupid bastard actually tells him where the moth is instead of buying time by slowly taking him there.  Hate to say it, but he was askin’ for it, and in the Lexx tradition of extreme overkill, Digby happily obliges, pumping about forty rounds into his gut.  And before the last muzzle flash even has time to dissipate he pulls the exact same stunt on two more nimrods who couldn’t possibly NOT have heard the deafening bark of close quarters automatic gunfire.  All right, that clinches it…I’ve officially changed my opinion of Digby.  ALL HAIL THE PATHETIC LITTLE SCIENCE STUDENT!  He may just give Kai a run for his money before all is said and done.

Speak of the devil, there’s the dead man right now.  As I alluded to earlier, he’s purposefully stalking toward…something, and stops to vandalize a newspaper machine when he sees Xev’s picture on the front page; which is a complete waste of effort on his part, as he can’t read our language.  Thankfully, some convenient kid strolls by and teaches him how.  They had real chemistry those two, and I’ve a feeling that if the series hadn’t ended the way it did, their brief scene together could have been parlayed into a spin-off.  There’s that road again…

Xev, meanwhile, is still riding out her fifteen minutes of internet fame, clad in some rather minimalist attire and chained to a mattress that’s seen better decades.  As the camera pans back we learn that the mattress is but one part of a larger contraption—which, by my best estimation, resembles a giant waffle iron—and that Xev is not alone, as Lomea and her cronies have outfitted the kidnapped missionary in some off-the-rack bondage gear, which is among the more normal props this show has utilized…what does that tell you? 

Lomea proudly announces that they’ve just surpassed one million hits…and as fate would have it, one of those hits just happens to be her parents, who are watching this little closed-circuit freak show from the comfort of their own home.  They share a loveless, insult-based marriage (gotta love British humor), and to tell you the truth I’d have been perfectly content to listen to them hurl witty put-downs at one another for the rest of the show, but instead they discover Lomea at work, are overcome with disgust (in spite of the business they run), and hurry back to the prison to give their misguided little princess the business.

Meanwhile, Digby’s cracked open a six-pack of Whoop-Ass and transformed the ATF bunker into his own personal shooting gallery.  He quickly blasts his way to the moth, only to run into Stan, who attempts to stall him because he is a highly suggestible dimwit who doesn’t even consider blurting out “Prince is alive, go shoot him!”  I find it kind of odd how Digby—who has proven himself quite the marksman—suddenly can’t shoot worth a damn when he takes aim at Stan, but it’s worth considering that perhaps the kid felt enough of a genuine connection with Stan to miss on purpose.  Either that, or “character shield” is more than just a fanboy metaphor.

Didn’t take Kai long to find the prison, did it?  Given the jacked up levels of violence in this episode, I fully expected the dead man to storm the place Bastille-style with his brace a-blazin’, slicing and dicing anything in his path as he fought his way to Xev.  Nope.  Instead, he calmly stands around the processing center with Heidi and the warden, who inexplicably receive a fax ordering Xev’s immediate release.  Not exactly a deus ex machina solution…but damn close.
 
Looks like all’s well that ends well for Digby.  He’s got the key, a moth, and enough firepower to invade China.  What he doesn’t have, however, is a parachute; and so, when Prince orders Stan to seal the overhead hatch the moth bucks like a steer, pitching him overboard, and he hits the cement like a water balloon full of tomato soup.  As the key once again takes refuge in Stan’s hand a dozen guards—all presumably armed—advance on him.  Where they were during Digby’s rampage is anybody’s guess.
 
Back to P4X, where it’s just about show time.  They’ve strung the missionary up to the top of the waffle iron and are slowly lowering him onto Xev.  Can’t quite figure out how it’s supposed to work from there, unless that baby is equipped with some sort of rapid fire hydraulics, but then engineering has never been my strong suit.  The missionary is teary-eyed and apologetic, while Xev, ever the free spirit, is up for whatever (despite the fact that they…you know…kidnapped her).  Alas, their tryst ends prematurely (like that wouldn’t have happened anyway) when Kai and the warden show up and discover not only Xev and the missionary, but Lomea’s entire life-sized leatherboy action figure collection.  It’ll be a little tough to explain that one to the Board of Prisons come Monday, so Heidi and the warden promptly decide to take an early retirement while the missionary gifts Kai and Xev with a “Life of Joy” book (the beans tread lightly for once).

Quote of the night- Kai: “Books contain useful information sometimes.  And interesting stories…less often.” (sounds like some of the jaded literary agents I’ve been duking it out with) 

Well, that just about wraps things up.  Kai and Xev start off in the direction of D.C. in hopes of freeing Stan (Xev doesn’t bother to ask him how the moth landing went) while the warden packs up his family and hits the road.  Seems he’s been spontaneously bitten by the political bug, and decides he wants to run for mayor of Waco (on what…a tax cut/sock fetish platform?).  They don’t make it very far, however, before Heidi spies something moving on the side of the road and decides to get out of the car to investigate (umm…ever heard of coyotes, rattlesnakes, tarantulas, or chupacabras?…they move, and you sure as hell don’t want to get out of the car when you see them).  Well, as Doc Faustus warned us, overreaching can be a bitch, and Heidi and the warden pay for their overzealous curiosity in spades when they are accosted by a couple of the little carrot-shaped robots that rained down on the planet at the beginning of the ep.  Personally, if I were in charge of the show, I would have waited just a bit longer to reveal how they really work…but as it is, my opinion counts for zilch, and it is one helluva WTF moment (…what I said earlier about subtlety…yeah, that sound you’re hearing is Paul, Jeff, and Lex tap-dancing on its grave).

And so the ep closes out with a tacked-on reminder that Stan is back up on the wall, which not a one of us paid a lick of attention to as we were all still digesting the previous scene whilst feverishly scribbling a new #1 on our respective Top Ten Ways I Definitely Don’t Want to Die lists.
 
All in all, a highly entertaining ep with a little something for everybody and a two-fisted dose of raw, unprocessed strange.  Not a lot of Kai in this one, but he’ll get his turn and then some down the line.  Gotta love the way they took the “helpless kid” stock character and totally flipped it on its head.  Truth be told I wouldn’t have minded seeing Digby leg it out for another episode or two, but the beans’ contempt for children is surpassed only by their hatred for rednecks, so he was worm food from the get-go.

Alrighty…I just re-read this monstrosity, and I don’t like where this is headed.  Since I started writing reviews again they’ve gotten progressively longer (as opposed to some of my originals, which topped out at three, maybe four paragraphs).  I’ve got to figure out a way to rein these things in, because we’ve still got twenty-one eps yet to go, and if this keeps up I might as well quit doing reviews and just write a Lexx-based doctoral dissertation (which I could have a lot of fun defending against a panel of Ivy League eggheads).


Cheery bye.



Shuttles Wasted- 2
 
Kai Kills - 6
 
Digby Kills - at least 5½ (half a point for technically killing Prince)





 

Last edited on Sun Sep 9th, 2007 05:14 pm by Bilbo67



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 Posted: Sun Sep 9th, 2007 10:31 am

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I think this was one of your longest reviews, Bilbo, but it was definitely worth it, reading your words,  I can picture the ep in my mind and it's like watching it again by reading your words, but with alot more fun and humor.

Bilbo wrote: Apparently no one ever told her that massaging a TV screen with your tongue is a good way to shock yourself (but then, how many unrequited Kai-lovers out there already know that?).


Um...do you have a secret camera in my home or what? :blushsmiley2:



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 Posted: Sun Sep 9th, 2007 12:34 pm

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I watch them on a TFT screen which doesn't have hight voltage - or does it? :P



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 Posted: Sun Sep 9th, 2007 03:39 pm

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no no Bilbo you take all the letters of the alphabet you need when you write up your reviews..STELLA! STELLA I TELL YA..HE COULDA BEEN A CONTENDA! excellent..loved every single word, comma and period!



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 Posted: Mon Sep 24th, 2007 12:59 am

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I returned home from Canada, but needed a couple of days to get back to normal life (jet-lag etc.). And after work I will read Bilbo's new review. Can't wait!

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 Posted: Mon Sep 24th, 2007 04:07 pm

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I really enjoyed seeing Craig Charles in a Lexx ep!



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 Posted: Sun Sep 30th, 2007 03:03 am

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I just finished reading your last reviews and I'm glad I did, because it helped me to understand the whole meaning of this ep, lol.

Thanks again, Bilbo! Great review, as always!

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 Posted: Mon Mar 21st, 2011 03:31 pm

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This is one of my favorite episodes simply because of all the 'truth' in it. Unintentional or not. I mean didn't Xev even rate a kangaroo Court trial? She goes straight from the scene of the crime to prison or did it take years for us to get from Texx Lexx to P4X, I mean the American court system moves like molasses in the middle of a cold snap, in February!

But looking back on it now the whole Prison Industrial Complex theme. I loved that they showed this for what it is, whoring out those who don't have a choice for financial gain. As prisons become less about punishment/rehabilitation and more of a source for cheap labor. All I can say is the beans must had an uncontrollable flash of clarity while they were writing it.



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