| Posted: Sun Jun 21st, 2009 08:23 pm||
|My 2 Cents on Episode 4.13: 769
I’ve only been fired once in my entire life. I know, I know, a lot of you are probably going to have a tough time swallowing that, and given everything I’ve inadvertently let slip about myself since I began intermittently posting wordy, self-aggrandizing blog-entries-in-everything-but-name-thinly-disguised-as-episode-reviews, I can’t say I blame you in the least (the most, perhaps, but certainly not the least), but it’s the God’s watching, perjur-yourself-and-you’ll-be-shackin’-up-with-Bubba-at-Leavenworth truth. Go ahead and take a minute to chew that one over, I’ll wait…
(If it helps to ease the strain, you can contemplate that conundrum while watching this video of a pack of kittens riding around on a Roomba: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTxW3GWZ5hI&feature=related)
Shock wear off yet? Well, too bad, I’ve got a schedule to keep (not really).
It was the summer telemarketing job I’ve spoken so lowly of in a couple older posts. I was already on the bubble for not grinning like a Stepford simpleton and sticking to the script when some poor sap half the country away (whom our auto-dialers had already pestered three times that very evening) lost his cool and threatened to put a bullet in my leg if he ever saw me (not that he had the first clue what I look like, but company protocol required me to give my full name at the start of each call, which is more than enough information for a committed revenge seeker to work with). Shortly thereafter the other shoe dropped when I was called in to the dank, soggy boiler room my supervisor had the gall to try and pass off as an office and informed that my services would no longer be required. The offense in question: a dress code violation (now think that one through…). Yes, despite the fact that we were tucked deep beneath the earth in a vacuum sealed, unventilated nicotine stained bunker from which light could neither escape nor enter, they had a dress code consisting of a single rule: no shirts with any logos on them. A limp grasp at some semblance of professionalism? By a company whose employees could smoke like chimneys while they worked (albeit in a smoking section…safely partitioned off by a sheet of paper) and drink on their breaks, provided they didn’t imbibe anything stronger than beer? I don’t think so. No, the dress code was enacted because—according to the haggard, twenty-something-going-on-ninety behildabeast who signed my checks—they’d had a lot of problems with gang activity in the past, and decided that banning logos on clothing would be a surefire way of curtailing it (to say my employment options at the time were limited would be like saying Bill Gates has a few bucks squirreled away for a rainy day). So, what’s a functionally destitute, Ramen chomping college frosh whose wardrobe is primarily subsidized by his football program to do? Why it’s simple: wear the one print-free t-shirt he owns day after day after day…regardless of whether or not he has time to wash it. Which I did…until that fateful day when my dryer went on the fritz. As I’d already called in a couple half-assed sick days that month, I didn’t want to overplay that trump card, so I threw on the second most innocuous rag I could find—a Kmart shirt, from my first job in high school—and hoped no one would care.
Care they most certainly did! It could be that they were just looking out for me. Gang activity being the lightning rod for violence that it is, perhaps they feared that my threads might cause some insanely territorial banger in a Target tee to flip out and bust a cap all up in my ass (the prospect of staying after work and scrubbing brain matter out of the whitewalls probably didn’t sit well with them either). Whatever the case, my supervisor called me into her "office," flanked by three other guys (lest I should have to be forcibly removed from a job I hated with every corporeal flake of my being), and told me I was being let go for "insubordination" (I guess she fancied herself some sort of military commander…and to wit, she kind of looked like George Patton). In hindsight, I believe the right combination of soothing words and heartfelt contrition may have moved her to reconsider…but I torpedoed any chances of that happening by pointing out that the people on the other end of the phone couldn’t see us and didn’t give a damn what we were wearing, ergo I could have come to work in a g-string and body glitter and they would have been none the wiser. She told me to get the hell out, which I did. Told me to turn over my ID badge and headset on the way out, which I didn’t. Instead, I took them home and blew them up with some fireworks, because that’s how a mature, cool-headed young adult reacts when things don’t go his way.
I bring this up in conjunction with episode 4.13 for two reasons:
1) This episode’s references to voluntary surgical castration reminded me of one more thing I’d rather subject myself to than go crawling back to that soul-sucking line of work.
2) It reminded me of how very much I envy the beans.
That’s right, all three of them. After all, how many people in the world could get away with saying "Hmmm…I don’t know…let’s see how you look in something shorter…and try and arch your back more" to Xenia Seeberg, Eva Habermann, Patricia Zentilli, et al. without catching a stiletto to the temple (which I assume all actresses wear when they’re not filming)? But what I never really realized until this episode is that during the latter half of season four, those guys were gorging on a big fat slice of the (North) American dream that is typically reserved only for tenured teachers and lame duck politicians: consequence-free job security. It was the last season, the episodes were bought and paid for, and Sci-Fi had already agreed to air them. So, if the beans decided to break ranks and produce and episode or two…or ten…in which story took a backseat to depraved, cartoonish lunacy, so be it! After all, what were the bigwigs going to do…cancel them!?! (*cue sustained villainous cackle*).
And so it’s with this, the second installment in what I’ve arbitrarily and unimaginatively dubbed the Job Security Trilogy, that we work our way up from the bowels of depravity to the long, hard (and thick, don’t forget thick) extremities of undiagnosed unbalance. You might want to find something to hold on to!
The last time we parted company with the crew of the Lexx they had just sent a colossal chunk of their dwindling dignity swirling down the ol’ porcelain porthole. In what could be called a rare move by season four standards, we immediately rejoin them on the big bug. It's hard to tell how much time has elapsed, except to say that nobody’s hungry again (Lord knows it’ll be a while before that happens), but it seems to have been enough time for the swelling to subside and for their collective short term memory to have deposited much of the previous ep’s shenanigans in an encrypted coffer of subconscious shame. As you may recall, a recently disempacted Prince had challenged Kai to a friendly game of chess, about which the dead man professed to know nothing before quickly placing him in check. Having very likely declared the game a draw after feigning a sneeze and slapping the pieces off the board, we join ol’ Izzy as he stalks toward the carnivorous can, gun in hand (as would anyone who’s just gone through what he went through). In what I suppose qualifies as a Godfather reference, he stashes the capper behind the crapper just as 790 rolls up.
Bit of a heads-up to you Johnny-come-way-latelies: 790 jumps the shark in this episode…big time.
In an act of underhanded skullduggery the likes of which we’ve not seen since all the way back in ep. 4.12, the libidinous little lunchbox agrees to help Izzy track down the key to the Lexx if he agrees not to kill Kai…just everyone else. Sounds foolproof to me, seeing as you can't not not kill Kai (oh, my achin' head...), and Prince being Prince, he’s more than a little open to the prospect of getting something for nothing. So, with nary a word from the lawyers, they agree to become partners.
You'd think the first order of business would be the swift and thorough killing of everybody who's not Kai, but that half of the bargain will have to wait, because...well, just because. No, the all-important first step is to find the key, which, for all they know, is still swimming around in Looloo's hand. But Prince insists that can't possibly be the case, because ATF agents have been scouring the globe looking for her for a whole couple of days and have thus far come up with taxpayer-funded bupkiss. No way she could possibly be anywhere on the planet. No siree, not no way, not no how!
*Sigh* The heart can't help but weep for ol' Izzy (and not just because I also know a thing or two about unrequited amour). Despite what his eight or nine senses tell him, he habitually turns a blind eye to the cold, hard truth. Like a parent who steadfastly insists that little Timmy is honor roll material, despite the fact that little Timmy spends most of his school day eating paste and trying to burn things, he seems to have constructed a heavily fortified fantasy world in which the gunslinging groundlings under his command are whip-smart, resourceful, and fully capable of pulling off a massive, multijurisdictional fugitive manhunt; when in fact, if I didn't already know better, I would be forced to assume that Looloo returned to Earth, flat ironed her hair, slapped on a pair of glasses, and has been working the reception desk at ATF headquarters for the past three weeks. Look, Iz, I'm sure your agents are nice guys, but you might want to occasionally pad their confidence with something a little less challenging. Like, say, finding a needle in a stack of nothing.
Never one to let someone's delicate feelings go un-stomped upon, 790 handless waves that notion, positing that the key is still on the Lexx, likely inside one of the moth breeders, as they still technically qualify as human. Interesting word choice, and it got me to thinking: could the key potentially inhabit a non-human host? Hard to tell, as no fully inhuman being has ever been in the key's vicinity when it has been transferred. Here are the facts as we know them:
*Thodin, Thodin's lackey, Stan, Digby, Bunny and Looloo are all 100% human (how I weep for the species)
*Xev is mostly human (at least half), as are the breeders
*Prince...this is a tricky one. He took possession of the key when he assumed Xev's form, so I've no reason to believe he couldn't take hold of it in his primary form. He is most assuredly not human (though that may not have always been the case...). His body, such as it can be called, is some sort of metaphysical construct. That said, it is a living, breathing human body, subject to the same functions and frailties as any other, and while he can change appearances after death, he seems anchored to a chosen form when he is alive. In the preceding episode he remarked that he is "more deity than man." Being that it's impossible to tell when he's lying through his teeth, I'm going to tweak his words a bit and suggest that in his present condition, he is both fully man, and fully deity (anybody who's ever thumbed through the New Testament may recognize those words...not that I'm attempting to draw any parallels).
*Kai and Vlad...though they come from different sub-orders (for lack of a better term), both are dead, decarbonized humans. Kai was never in any position to receive the key, but Vlad was three feet from Looloo when she cut her down, and the key bypassed her. Gotta think it would do the same for Kai.
*His Shadow...an insect essence inhabiting a slowly decaying human avatar. Certainly not human at his core, but the fact that he could wield a key leads me to assume that either
a) his body wasn't fully "dead" (which could explain the eventual decay)
b) his body was "dead," in a metabolic sense, but was not decarbonized (ditto above)
c) the "key" he carried was not a key at all, but some native element of his essence that was encoded into the Lexx while it was being grown, only to be replicated by the biocode specialists who aided Thodin
*Giggerotta...the product of thousands of years of evolution/mutation (which makes sense, considering the history of the Order and everything that preceded it clearly spans many tens of thousands of years...perhaps longer), but still human (as evidenced by her reincarnation). Sure, she cheated when she stole the key, but she didn't have to. She could have acquired it in a friendlier manner.
The only sentient, completely alien being who hung around long enough to have potentially sat in on a key swap was Lyekka...and from what I gather, her body wasn't so much a construct as it was a mimic. Without any other hard data to go on, we'll have to assume she speaks for all aliens.
So, hypothetically, what are we to assume might happen if the captain of the Lexx was all alone on the ship and suddenly died (or was prone to the same strain of dreams as Xev)? Where would the key go? Would it sail off into space until it came upon (or actively sought out) a human host? Would it simply dissipate after a time? Or, might the Lexx itself somehow store it onboard until a new captain came along (ala Little Lexx)? I have no idea, and unless someone kidnaps Paul Donovan and ties him to a bed in a log cabin (Misery-style...strictly business), we may never know. For now, this tangent will have to remain dangling, because I've still got a big, terrifying package to unwrap...
What Izzy neglected to remember is that Stan does some of his best thinking in the throne room, and despite his dodgiest attempts at winning his trust with chipper banter, the captain smells a rat (along with a lingering reminder of that horrible, horrible thing Kai did).
"You know what this makes me feel like doing?" he asks, as flesh and hat blend into a single crimson hue. The stunner certainly ain't bluffing this time. Before Prince can so much as breathe the first syllable of "Washing my hair for me?" Stan and Xev call for his head. Better ridiculously late than never, I 'spose.
Itching to make up for his poor performance in the bedroom by taking down an unarmed, stationary target many dozens of times larger and slower than a carrot probe, Kai stands at the ready, cocking his brace and inching his way between Prince and the chessboard in hopes of disguising the fact that his bishop is pinned. Sensing doom, Izzy decides to bypass the five stages of grief and resign himself to his grisly fate, imparting our bloodthirsty heroes with a smarmy, insincere, "I'm sorry that you suck"-style mea culpa that we should all aspire to emulate when it comes time for us to face the firing squad. Nobody buys it, Kai least of all.
"When you say 'kill him now,' I will kill him." Hold on just a Brazilian tick! Where did that rule of engagement come from? Since when did Kai need to be told to kill anyone? (aside from that little two thousand year stint when he was under HDS' control and couldn't do anything without say-so...and when he was helping control the slutty teenage pet population in Wake the Dead) All right, so I understand he may have to mow down the occasional mook of his own volition when they're threatening Stan or Xev, but what about the countless blundering bozos he's chopped into salsa in self defense, despite the fact that they don't pose the slightest threat to him? Man, there's being insecure about your abilities, and then there's being really insecure! Kai, trust me buddy, it's a one-time misfire. It happens to lots of guys!
Alas, the dead dude can't bring himself to perform. None of them can, not even Xev (although in her defense she did just eat a ton of MSG...plus she's had a headache all day...not to mention Prince totally reminds her of her brother). After all, why subject Prince to the easy out that is a quick death when they can cripple his spirit with the ultimate indignity: "You can't be in our club anymore!"
So, while Stan rushes to lick all the food so no one else will want it and Kai suffers a protoblood crap-out that has absolutely no bearing on the story, Xev lays a world-class frowning on the Washington power trio as they pile into a moth and skedaddle. Or, at least, two of them do. A dumb(er)struck Bunny can only cock her head and watch as they leave her in their dust, presumably after she misunderstood their shouts of "hop on," "climb aboard," "strap in," "are you coming?," and "hold tight while I pull up on the stick."
You’d think this would open the floor to all sorts of pressing questions about the sleeping arrangements, but Bunny decides to make the best of the situation by standing stymied in one place until a fine layer of dust begins to build up around her while Stan and Xev opt to burn off some of the empty calories they ingested at the Feast of a Thousand Farts by dragging Kai to the cryochamber and topping off his protoblood, which—for no discernible reason—is now a green toxic moss color…which is A-okay by me! No sooner do they shoot him full of goo (more on that subject later, unfortunately…), than he sounds the alarm by pointing out that 790 is nowhere to be seen.
*Sigh II: Compact Fluorescent Boogaloo*
You know, this isn’t the first time this has happened. I hate to have to tell other people how to do their jobs, but maybe they could try taking that little green cart of his away. Speaking of which, how does 790 actually get on that thing? Do little tiny arms pop out of the sides and grab him? Is his neck port outfitted with little booster rockets? And seriously, what is the deal with airline food?
Well, seems my cracks about the cart were a waste of your, my, and God’s time, because Prince merely carried 790 off to the moth chamber in an attempt to root out which breeder has the key. Their options are as such:
Naturally, Prince is predisposed to the latter (gotta applaud a committed monogamist), and sets Priest to work strangling moth breeders assembly line style. For once he proves remarkably efficient at his job…maybe a little too efficient; the guy averages a kill every seven or eight seconds. Now, despite what my bumper stickers might say, I’m not a doctor, but unless you’re Othello or a hemorrhoid-ravaged Bruce Banner, I’m pretty sure you can’t manually strangle someone to death that quickly. Maybe the breeders’ brains require a lot less oxygen to function. Or perhaps after Prince and Priest have left, Reggie’s "kills" will stumble back to their feet like frat boys trying to make an 8 a.m. class and go on about their business. Whichever the case, he eventually gets one to start glowing, and rather than stepping forward and claiming the key for himself—which we already know he is perfectly capable of doing—Prince orders Reggie to holster his meat hooks and spirits the cow-eyed keymaster back to Earth, facilitating another sweet shot of Lexx’s tail nacelle while 790 asks all within earshot if they know what the secret to really great sex is (ever the studious one, Prince opts to play dumb in hopes of picking up some new moves).
- find a way to bring a bunch of half-animated eunuchs to the peak of sexual ecstasy (tough to do without a few packs of Magic cards)
- kill the whole lot of ‘em
With little thought as to why the President stopped off in the only place the key could have logically wandered off to (another multi-million dollar taxpayer funded photo-op, perhaps?), or the fact that he’s absconded with someone who knows every minute detail about the Lexx’s strengths, weaknesses, and structural flaws, Stan and Xev decide to put Kai back on ice until "[they] really need him" (i.e. the next time one of them has trouble remembering a movie quote). Meanwhile, in what is little more than a rip-off of a great Futurama episode (which itself was a rip-off of an early Simpsons episode [which itself borrowed heavily from some crappy old grindhouse flick]), 790’s…um…head…is grafted onto the abducted moth breeder’s shoulder with what appears to be surgical grade velcro. In keeping with Cluster-era naming protocol: goodbye 790, hellooooo 769!!!
I know, I know…the name change doesn’t make much sense (considering where the rent-a-head is—and isn't—attached), but I’ve already embraced the fact that they spoke Canadian English, euphemisms and all, and used base-ten Arabic numerals four thousand years ago in another universe ruled by a bipolar bug man, so…
Guess what? It turns out Stan is one very healthy man (odd…I thought he was dripping with parasites…perhaps that blunt-force detox he received in the previous ep sent them packin’). Unfortunately—as your humble, fit ‘n trim scribbler can lamentably attest—that and fifty cents will get you a cup of "I like you, but I’m just not attracted to you in that way." Seems the ladies would rather wile their latest catastrophic predicament away by indulging in one of Bunny’s old high school past times: Truth or Dare.
(WHOOOOOOAAAAA there! Bunny made it through high school!?!?!? In what state?)
So be it, I’ll go first. Truth: What’s up with Xev’s tattoo? They never bothered to explain where it came from, and Xenia makes no effort to conceal it. Are we supposed to just pretend it isn’t there, like Scotty’s missing finger or that black paint Batman smears around his eyes? Because frankly, I believe that little…whatever-it-is…on her stomach represents a missed opportunity. They could have easily filmed a quick little scene of Xev wandering into a tattoo parlor, prompting the others to ink up as well. Can’t you just picture Kai with a little yellow smiley face on the small of his back? Or some drunk back-alley tattoo artist mishearing "STAN THE MAN," and instead scrawling "STAN’S MY MAN" on Stan’s arm. A pox on that dreadful road not taken! A pox, I say!
Bunny’s turn. Xev…truth: have you ever considered doing absolutely everything a woman is capable of doing for Stan? (you know that’s a loaded question…I doubt, for example, she’s ever even considered popping that red thing in the middle of his back for him). You’ve gotta love Xenia’s incredibly abrupt "-no," which hardly even qualifies as a syllable.
While the game of tipsy adolescent kings rages on aboard the Lexx, Priest is back at work brushing up on his foreign relations. With little more than a dusty old concertina and a pocket of baguettes, he so thoroughly woos the French ambassadors that they immediately surrender to his whims. Anybody out there parlez-vou? Because I’d love to know what he’s saying. For that matter, does Rolf speak French? His accent sounds pretty good (at least to me).
His Texican drawl, on the other hand, makes him sound like Urkel, which makes substantially less of an impression on a group of Hawaiian actors with ponytails and wampum necklaces. For decorum’s sake, they take their leave before he can break out the roulette wheel and the firewater.
"We are ready for the beefcakes now."
And with those seven little words, the aforementioned decorum dives for cover as a none-too-short contingent of "gifted" servicemen file into the Oval Office and, on Prince’s command, drop their drawers (even here, Nigel’s voice lends insurmountable gravitas to his words…the man truly is like a creepy British Morgan Freeman). Having combed through two million medical records (that’s it, no more physicals for me) Prince has selected six heavily armed finalists, one of whom will be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice. I’m reminded here of that old playground aphorism, "First is the worst, second is the best…" and I forget how the rest goes because by that point we were usually fighting.
Before one of the timbered tail-gunners can politely request they crank up the AC, 769 selects a winner. Oo-rah, it’s a Marine. I guess when those commercials talk about "the few, the proud," they damn well mean it…though you’d think his…extra ammo…would make the Corps’ traditional three mile run more than a little unpleasant!
Ho boy…it’s gonna take something mighty powerful to make me forget that lil’ mise-en-scene. Thankfully, for once, the beans have got my back (which probably means I’m on my own from here on out). We retreat back to the Lexx, where our flustered former captain is going to extreme lengths to construct an iron-clad, non-negotiable kiss dare for Xev, spelling out the terms and conditions in the kind of ludicrously explicit detail that I wish somebody would occasionally employ when dealing with Kai. At first it seems like information overload (Xenia with her eyes crossed might be the funniest thing I’ve seen all week)…until, at the last second, that vaunted cluster lizard sense of sarcasm kicks in, and she plants a big wet one on Bunny. Paul, Lex…hell, even you Jeff…I don’t know how many painstaking hours you spent in the editing room pouring over this piece of footage, but I for one applaud the tireless effort you put into getting it just right. *sniff*…I love you guys!
And how do they repay my love? By cutting (pun 100% intended) directly to a shot of 769 receiving his Kai-craving care package from the luckless leatherneck, complete with all the squishy surgical sound effects they could cram into this scene at once. All right beans, have it your way: consider the preceding token of my affection withdrawn. You suck!!!
But hold on now, they must really feel contrite about what they just subjected me to, because no sooner had that image replaced the giant spider in my nightmares, then we cut right back to the Lexx, where a hot blonde in what barely qualifies as a skirt is waving a gun around. Ah, sweeps week. All right beans, you’ve won me back. Try not to screw it up this time.
Yes, after excusing herself to go freshen up, Bunny emerges from the prehistoric port-a-san with Prince’s shooting iron, insisting she knows what she’s doing as she waves the barrel in the vicinity of her head (her Chuck Jones firearms primer having assured her that the first round is always a harmless "bang flag"). She’s got murder on her mind, which you’d think would temporarily supersede a few of her motor functions, but she remains savvy enough to call shenanigans on Xev’s Kai threat, so perhaps we need to revisit that old "stupid like a fox" theory…
Or perhaps not, because in the next instant she shuts her eyes and turns her head, which should provide ample opening for a cluster lizard ninja kick. Instead, Xev and Stan stand perfectly still while Bunny takes aim, hands twitching like dowsing rods, then share a knowing look mere seconds before a TV-friendly pre-bloodletting cutaway.
From there we jump to one of those perplexing pirated link-ups between the Lexx and the White House that no one but the captain should be able to establish. Bunny reports that she’s carried out her dastardly deed, planting a scorching hunk of hot government lead between their eyes. Prince laments that a quick death would have been better, and at that I have to applaud the beans for totally pulling the wool over my eyes. When I first saw this scene I immediately cooked up a scathing, smartassed rebuttal for what I took to be an editing flub. Egg on my face, as we shall soon see.
Having "aw shucks"-ed Bunny into only pretending to kill them, Stan and Xev emerge, very much alive and bent on having Kai make Prince very much dead. Until a moth touches down and 769 emerges, all but pleading for someone, anyone to ask him how it’s hangin’.
That’s it beans, I’ve had it up to here with these mixed signals. We’re through! Finished! Sayonara!
Brimming with excitement, thanks in no small part to that choppy, friction-inducing moth ride, 769 makes a hasty, slightly curved beeline for the crycochamber while Xev and Stan respectively react with bemusement and revulsion at the sight of…nothing.
All right, let’s just get this out of the way…
We’re well aware of just what kind of enhancement 790’s borrowed body received, thanks in no small part to the beans special brand of non-existent tact (I’m not entirely sure that kind of procedure is possible, but then again, this is the "near" future…so what say we roll on the apocalypse, just to be on the safe side). But in examining the moth breeder's…southernmost convergence…it’s pretty clear that there’s nothing there that wasn’t already there. So does that mean that we are supposed to:
- acknowledge the moth breeders’ bodysuits as actual clothing? If so, why wasn’t this fella defrocked for the operation?
- use our imagination? Because frankly, I don’t wanna!
- assume the beans were going to insert some nightmarishly detailed CGI that rivals both Transformers and the last scene in Boogie Nights, but were arrested for breaking into ILM before they could bring their vision to sanity smashing life?
Notwithstanding the fact that his piece of human brain came from a woman, 769 is ready and rarin’ to make sweet, Shawshank-style whoopee with his trusty stiff, whom he defrosts and instructs to bend over (suit yourself…but keep in mind that the last foreign object to blaze that dusty trail was crushed to a million pieces…hope you like it rough). Stan’s about to puke on his boots, and even Xev seems a little weirded out, but Kai dutifully obliges, reminding them that the dead do not feel disgust (just irritation, lethargy, condescension, schadenfreude, etc.).
So it seems that finally, after a season and a half of nausea-inducing "will they/won’t they," the headman and the dead man are going to tenderly consummate their relationship (ever slam a shovel handle into dry potting soil? …yeah, something like that). And then the amorous little abomination succumbs to first time jitters and blows it. Goodbye key, goodbye confidence. Thank God Kai doesn’t have a Facebook page, or 769’s reputation would really be shot.
With many a new host to choose from, the key settles on Bunny, whose first official act as captain is to kick 769’s head off because "it got too weird for me" (mental note: if I ever meet Patricia Zentilli in person, refrain from mentioning avocado dip and her earlobes in the same sentence).
If you ask me, that would have been a good place to end it. A snappy one-liner, a few befuddled looks, cue Marty with that quirky little fadeout chime and roll credits. But we’ve still got like ten more minutes of show to burn through, so what say we do a full-blown curtain call and bring back Prince! And Priest! And a gun! And another shuttle! (I think that leaves two currently sitting in the cradle, but I’ll wait until they’re properly wasted to add them to the tally). Applying what he learned at the Goldfinger Academy of Longwinded Arch-Villainy, Izzy wastes precious killing time meticulously explaining the fine points of his plan to his would-be victims. Turns out that was a prerecorded message that Bunny was chatting with earlier (and I’d riff on her something fierce for that, had I not fallen every bit as hard for it), as P ‘n P had already boarded a shuttle, bent on ambushing our heroes while Kai was all tied up—and perhaps oiled up, if there was time—which in all honesty isn’t that bad of a plan. But there was a fatal flaw in Prince’s thinking, for he neglected to heed one of the most important lessons from his tryst with Stan: that’s right ladies, it really does happen to a lot of guys (I declare all further disagreements on that subject to be null and void).
Kai, at this point, should not be able to do anything. He’s on Earth, flying through hallucinogenic (Transylvanian?) storm clouds, because apparently he passed his sense of direction right along with that mangled probe. Bang, you’re dead. Bang, you’re dead too. The last son of Krypton couldn’t make it back to the Lexx in time, much less the last Brunnen-G. Stan and Xev are dead meat.
Yup…bound, gagged, very irritated and very alive dead meat. Not sure why Prince would go to the trouble of tying them up (or where he got the rope, but at this point, why ask why?), but bullets being the sluggish, imprecise nuisance that they are, it’s probably better to be safe than sorry. Speaking of bullets, just how many times are P ‘n P going to re-cock their guns? At the rate they’re going they should be ankle-deep in live cartridges by the time Prince gets done speechifying.
So for the second time in about as many minutes, our heroes are dead meat. Until Kai chimes in with an offer Prince can’t refuse: in exchange for not killing them, he agrees to play Prince in another game of chess. Not only that, but he agrees not to kill him afterward, regardless of the outcome. Prince is delighted by what seems like yet another windfall, but as we’ll soon see, the same lack of specificity that cost Stan so dearly in the Truth or Dare crucible will be Izzy’s undoing as well. My word, now they’re sharing each other’s personality flaws…only a matter of time before they start finishing each others’ sentences.
Well, Prince has his evening all planned out…the First Fungoids may as well treat themselves to a post-failed-assassination quickie. Which they do, haphazardly grasping at whatever’s convenient like a couple of blind pickpockets, until, with nary a nudge, Bunny coughs the key up (good Lord, if it’s that easy to bring her to a boil I recommend she never sneeze or drive over any speed bumps). Disgusted by its lack of options, and none too eager to go back to sharing Stan’s bloodstream with a clan of snooty fluke worms, it seeks out a new moth breeder. Or maybe it’s the same one…at the risk of rubbing the politically correct crowd the wrong way, they all look the same to me.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I must have Kai’s boots. Special kudos to whoever storyboarded his Eastwoodesque return to the bridge, which nicely highlights his kickass kicks. Further props to whoever decided to have Bunny arbitrarily don a baseball cap. She. Looks. AWESOME.
Oh, and that little promise about not killing Prince after the game, regardless of the outcome? Well the dead are some executive-class connivers, because what Kai neglected to mention is that on Brunnis 2, the truly committed learned how to play after death. There’s a sizeable nugget of subtext in that statement, pertaining—as is the case with many of this show’s more cryptic passages—to the underlying nature of the universe(s) which I could ruminate upon at great length. But that too will have to wait until another time, because right now I loves me a good kill shot!
And a good one it is! Center mass, no cutaway, a few new stains on the wall directly behind him. It’s Lexx, the Scorsese way! Sure, the bottom half of Prince’s tie probably should have fallen off, but for the sake of making this scene even more badass, I’ll assume Kai’s brace did a nifty, totally unnecessary little loop de loop around it before ventilating his breadbasket.
Stan and Xev are understandably relieved. As for Priest…why he’s positively elated, his bulging forehead vein on full display as he races a shuttle through Lexx’s innards (yet another badass shot…it’s a shame they never came out with a scale model chart or map of the big bugs various tracts) giggling like a schoolgirl and itchin’ to take the missuz around the world. Until it dawns on them that Bunny still has the key…or at least she thinks she does…which means for the foreseeable future their loins are on lockdown (well, technically he still has plenty of options…but she’s not about to let him know that…stupid like a fox indeed!)
Sooooo…the bad guy’s dead, the bit players have flown the coop, nothing left to do now but punish 790 eight ways from Thursday. They could smash him, melt him down, chuck him off the bridge, have Kai tell him to shut himself off (what the HELL ever became of that option?)…or, they could have breathed new life into his character by reprogramming him yet again. Perhaps he could awake to his own reflection and fall madly in love with himself. Or, maybe they could attempt to have him fall in love with Stan, only to find out that even his mindless love slave programming finds Stan revolting. The possibilities are nigh-limitless! So naturally, they wag a finger and advise him to shape up. Kai goes back in the box, Xev goes slumming in the moth chamber, and Stan neglects to rifle through Prince’s pockets (you’d think he’d be keen on tearing certain pages out of Izzy’s little black book). With one last pass over the crime scene, Marty finally graces our ears with that ominous fade-out jingle as Prince’s corpse vanishes in a plume of brilliant orange light.
This episode was dumb. Real dumb. But like the ep that precedes it and the one that follows, it wears its stupidity on its sleeve, embracing the fact that it is little more than a sophomoric gag-fest while nonetheless managing to inch the primary story arc along and contribute to the mythology. Despite most of the plot being complete filler (a term I despise, but it applies), it nicely complements 4.12 in serving up the second half of the catalyst for the climax. Truthfully, the chess wager and Prince’s death could have been condensed into a single five minute segment had the season been pared down to twelve tightly plotted episodes, as I’ve suggested it could have been, but I’m not about to Monday morning quarterback the beans’ vision.
I think it’s interesting how 4.12 was credited entirely to Jeff Hirschfield, while this ep was credited to Paul and Lex…you know, the guys who brought us the deep, nuanced, deadly serious season three. I wonder if they looked over the script Jeff was working on and decided to try and one-up him. All told, I prefer Jeff’s offering, though both ultimately made me roll my eyes and say "Can we move it along?" Still, it’s always interesting to see what the beans are capable of unleashing on us when there’s nobody around to tell them "no."
Now brush off your copy of Soldier of Fortune. Next stop: suburbia!
Shuttles wasted- 4 (I think)
Kai kills- 13
If you're normal, the crowd will accept you. But if you're deranged, the crowd will make you their leader.
— Christopher Titus
| Posted: Sun Jun 21st, 2009 09:24 pm||
|Ah the dreaded telemarketer job, I took one and lasted one hour when I was 18, then quit... never in my life would I go back!!
What I most liked about this episode was the little wager of life for Kai in a chess game. It left your mouth watering for just a little bit more.
I thought it was hysterical that Bunny just kicks the horny robot head off the motherbreeder's shoulder, Bunny does have alot of spunk after all!
Another great review, very funny! I love your observatory scribbles on the show!
The dead do not squeeze and please....
| Posted: Tue Jul 7th, 2009 02:38 am||
|What I've always wanted to know is, who played the moth breeders? Especially in scenes that featured a lot of them. Did they just conscript random extras? Or were fans invited to participate, ala Live Kai's audience?
If you're normal, the crowd will accept you. But if you're deranged, the crowd will make you their leader.
— Christopher Titus
| Posted: Tue Jul 7th, 2009 02:45 am||
|I've never heard of any fans playing mothbreeders, and I used to keep my ear to the ground back in the day. The only fans that were invited to be part of the show was in Fluffdadday as you mentioned. Only way I guess we could see who the mothbreeders were is if their names run in the credits.
The dead do not squeeze and please....
|Joined: ||Wed Oct 25th, 2006|
|Location: ||Lioness' Lair, USA|
|| Posted: Mon Aug 10th, 2009 07:01 pm||
|"instructs to bend over (suit yourself…but keep in mind that the last foreign object to blaze that dusty trail was crushed to a million pieces…hope you like it rough)."
Why yes, yes I do thanks for asking! Gads Bilbo...you tease me then leave me hanging..
call me k?
Don't sprinkle sugar on your bullshit and then tell me it's candy!
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