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|My 2 Cents on Episode 4.15: Mort
Being dead sucks.
Such is the claim, anyway, though I’m inclined to take it with a grain of heart-healthy salt. After all, think of the hundreds of people throughout history who’ve shuffled off this mortal coil. Can you name more than a handful who’ve come back to complain about it? Didn’t think so.
Like many a benign industry, death has simply fallen victim to trumped up bad press. Not that that makes it any less grim a subject to dwell on. Hell, I don’t even like to think about washing my car, doing my taxes, or shaking down the kids who operate a lemonade stand two blocks from my house for their weekly protection fee; let alone ponder that fateful day when I will assume room temperature. But like all those aforementioned minor annoyances, it’s virtually unavoidable. For as fiercely as we may bite, scratch, and pepper-mace to keep the reaper at bay, for all the carbs we count and all the miles we jog, for every Scottish highlander we ambush and decapitate in hopes that maybe, just maybe, one of them might pass his immortality on to us (on a totally unrelated matter, can anyone recommend a good travel agency that renews passports and performs microsurgical fingerprint removal?), the stone-cold fact of the matter is that a good majority us are probably going to die at some point in our lives.
Now personally, I always kind of hoped I could get it out of the way nice and early and get on with my life, like chicken pox or my first indictment. Alas, like that growth spurt I’ve been angling for since eighth grade, it seems to be biding its time, lying in wait until it can rudely foist itself upon me at the most inconvenient, socially scarring moment. *sigh*…You know, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve got enough on my plate already without having to put up with the reaper’s icy scythe poking me in all my hardest to reach places, and while my proclaiming it aloud frequently nets me a volley of raised eyebrows from my coworkers (who no doubt came up in "traditional" households that clung fast to quaint, outdated notions like "we’re all going to die some day" and "a clear plastic shower curtain toga does not constitute appropriate Casual Friday attire"), I’m giving serious thought to simply forgoing the whole death thing. This may just be the three-day-old pot pie talking, but the whole ordeal seems like a waste of perfectly good towel folding time. Not sure how the folks are gonna take it when they hear this, but I trust I’ll find the right words when the time comes.
What’s say we move on…I’m dyin’ here!
As most of you know by now, my sanity and self-image hinge entirely on two things:
1) the strength of the Moldovan leu
2) people coming from far and wide to read my wordy, scatterbrained musings about a little-noticed Canadian sci-fi show that ceased production six years ago
Being as I am the abstract inkblot of perfect sanity, I take it you’re all well aware of my fondness for the works of H.P. Lovecraft. It seems like only yesterday that I was rocking out to a vaguely worded Metallica song about fish people staring at the ocean. Who’d have guessed that a quick lyric search and a couple innocent questions on poorly moderated forums full of pasty-skinned social malcontents who questioned my sexuality and called me a n00b for daring to know a little less about a song that was written when I was still saying my R’s like W’s and sticking paperclips into outlets than they did would serve as the genesis for a lasting relationship with a squid faced bat monster and the anglophilic sad-sack to whom he owes his existence. So for as little substance as it brings to the table, this episode will always hold a special place in my increasingly cluttered heart because it is looooooosely based on Lovecraft’s short story Herbert West—Re-Animator (more specifically, the splatter-comedy film adaptation Re-Animator). Perhaps Mr. Life-of-the-party’s one and only attempt at humor, the story is essentially an ultra-violent, deliberately clichéd over-the-top parody of Frankenstein. In other words, bean bait in its purest, least-fit-for-human-consumption form.
The episode also borrows a couple elements from an older, rejected season 2 story (thanks again Lex, you rock!). No sense letting any part of the animal go to waste!
Per the season 4 norm, we’re treated to a pre-credit cold open in which our heroes are nowhere to be found, despite the fact that the previous episode ended on a cliffhanger. You’ll have to forgive me for kicking some brush off that lately neglected road not taken, but I think the beans missed out on a major opportunity to zing the audience. How hilarious would it have been if they’d baited us with a similar opening, perhaps a minute or two in length, that purports to introduce some dynamic new character or story element, only to never reference it again in any way? Of course I say this with a megadose of hindsight, as I can only imagine that mine would have been among the shrillest of pixilated voices taking the beans to task for daring to have a little fun at our expense and triumphantly proclaiming (IN ALL CAPS, FOR SUBTLE EMPHASIS!!!!!) that I would never watch the show again, even as I inundated the already clogged Sci-Fi (not SyFy) board with harebrained theory after harebrained theory like a court reporter hooked up to a car battery and programmed my VCR to automatically hit record again in a hundred and sixty seven hours. But mark my words, a decade or so after the fact, when the show has been largely forgotten by a public that never really gave it a fair shake and CyPhy has systematically purged all traces of its existence from their archives in order to make room for more CSI re-runs, and one of the beans grants an online interview to a plucky but loveable die-hard in which he offhandedly admits that the eternally dangling pre-title plot line that netted them a Sequoia’s worth of angry letters from the same terminally over-analytical geeks who had only recently come to terms with the fact that Kai referred to potting soil as "earth" in the season 3 episode Garden was a joke…yeah, I’d probably crack a quick smirk. Shoulda-coulda-woulda, beans. Shoulda…coulda…woulda…
Ah, but why pull somebody’s leg when you can chop it off? We fade in in picaresque Rimsore, Ohio, home to sticks, mud, the best fried muskrat this side of the mighty Mississip, and SAT scores so low they actually boast their own event horizon. To the fist-pumping backbeat of one of the better Perry Como cover bands out there, we park our P.O.V. outside of a dusty neo-gothic cathedral (no doubt presented to the people of Rimsore by a grateful French government delighted to have found a place willing to house their nuclear runoff), site of Mort’s Funeral Parlor.
Right away it becomes nice and evident that the beans have never been to a funeral home (and with good reason...would you want to place a decomposing corpse into anything that those guys may have touched? EEEEEEWWWW!), but they have been to an auto body shop. Same difference.
Let’s all say hi to Mort, the mortician (whose parlor shares a lot with Mr. Smith, the locksmith, Mr. Baker, the baker, and Mr. Wigglestiff, the daycare operator). I know what you all thought at first glance, and Lord knows I’m with ya: "Morty, ol’ pal…why the long face?" Seriously! A walking, talking answer to that age-old question, "What would the Eraserhead baby look like if it grew up?", this guy’s skull is best likened to a cross between as ostrich egg and a giant Tic-Tac. Oh if only his parents had thought to pencil him in for a sit-down with a county certified phrenologist. The poor, Muppet-faced wretch might just have gotten the help he so desperately needed (from the business end of a psychiatric-grade fire hose), while our heroes passed through Rimsore without incident, stopping only to sample the local fare and have their pictures taken next to the world’s fourth largest ball of dryer lint (keh…I still say ours is bigger!). In other words, "Bilbo, you dolt…"
Anyhoo, my petty deflections of my own physical anomalies mean nothing to ol’ cornskull, who’s up to his bony, varicose elbows in work. Embalming needle in hand, he bellies up to a cold slab and goes about prepping a corpse, popping off the occasional wry quip as he pokes this and prods that (I’ve been told that quite a few morticians do have a fairly robust sense of humor about their work…hey, like we’ve discussed before, construct it right and you can joke about absolutely anything). Yup, nothing out of the ordinary here, just an average, mildly misshapen Joe putting his forty hours in. But then, just as he’s pocketing a handful of severed toes (what, like none of you have every swiped something from work?) the tunes cut out and a Swedish chef turned disc jockey advises all nine of his listeners to be on the lookout for three dangerous fugitives in strange oooot-fits (some fake accents break…others detonate).
All righty, that’s enough of Mr. One-‘n-Done for now, what’ say we drop in on the folks with the character shields? As usual, we find our heroes right where we left them, taking a slow, leisurely joyride through God’s country. Stan’s slightly moody, Kai’s hogging the backseat, Xev is leaning on the brake with her hazard lights flashing, slowing to a crawl at forty second intervals to point at every little thing. Not a care in the world, despite the latest offering of carnage they indirectly left in their wake. But since culture shock is one of the underlying themes of this episode, it should come as no surprise that our heroes are mellow almost to the point of being zonked out when we hook back up with them. After all, when you’ve tussled with planet sized insects, traversed the boundaries of space and time, and shared a morning-after breakfast with death incarnate, an upper middle class suburban firefight would barely make your pulse quicken.
Speaking of culture shock, a little pro bono tip for you out-of-towners: cars don't listen. Trust me, this is the hoarse voice of experience talking here. If the little men in my TV are content to ignore my boisterous baritone, then the crankcase troll who lives under your hood is just going to snicker and give you the finger. Best to simply pull over, pop the hood, and indiscriminately drive a sledge into the first working part that catches your eye until it dawns on that uncooperative sumbitch that you mean business. That way, ladies, while Mr. Fixit is busy making a fluid-sopped spectacle of himself, you’ll have ample opportunity to slink away and quietly rectify the situation, as Xev does when she happens across a mobile hobo apartment. Capital idea! Nothing screams "move along folks, nothin’ to see here" louder than two garishly adorned strangers with vaguely unfamiliar accents pushing their pale, lifeless companion across an abandoned rat pasture in a stolen shopping cart. And they would have gotten away with it too, had not a surprisingly fit and trim local cop spotted them and vaguely reported their location before speeding off to clock in for his shift at the local moonshine still.
Five seconds and about fifty feet later, the cart is ancient history (savvy fugitives—which our heroes really should be by now—would have opted to swipe a commercial grade garden cart, or traded a group of passing children piggyback rides from Xev in exchange for their wagon…what?…didn’t you play on the side of the highway when you were a kid?), and the task of schlepping Kai around has fallen to Stan (who isn’t doing his lumbar any favors by carrying two hundred pounds of irregularly shaped dead weight with his back hunched forward), despite the fact that Xev has routinely demonstrated superhuman feats of strength and endurance. Hey, Stan obviously didn’t bring it up…no reason for her to either.
Two yards into the lice-infested thicket is more than enough to shake the local law. With a key-transferring-like sigh of relief Stan dumps Kai to the ground (with what looked like no warning whatsoever for Mike McManus) in order to realign his joints and try to figure out just what that was that descended when he initially hoisted him up. Alas, the friendly public self-examination will have to wait, because the fuzz is in lukewarm pursuit.
Time being something of a razor-thin luxury, the super-strong, super-fast, nigh-indefatigable metahuman badass pokes her head and it’s three feet of easily identifiable hair around the tree to keep watch while the winded middle-ager with piss poor arch support hoists up one of Kai’s legs and nearly twists if off like a drumstick in the course of awkwardly shouldering his lanky load (Mike McManus is surprisingly limber…ladies). Supposing, perhaps, that the spooky looking abode across the way might turn out the be some kind of complimentary all you can eat smokehouse and sexatorium, they make a stumblesome, irregular break for it, plowing the side of Kai’s head into the sign and inadvertently rechristening MORT’S FUNERAL PARLOR as MORT’S FUN PARLOR (such subtle, nuanced wordplay…come to the States at once, Jeff, the New Yorker needs you!)
Now, I don't know which part of the next scene astounds me the most. The fact that:
a) Mort looks a helluva lot like H.P. Lovecraft
b) Mort simply shrugs his shoulders and mutters a quasi-cordial "meh" when a group of people wanted in connection with a boatload of murders nervously insist that they didn't do nuthin' (though the fact that our heroes blindly accept the word of the first sinister looking stranger they come across rolls right off my mind like water off an oil-smeared duck's back)
c) Mort must have canine DNA, seeing as he can hear a demure woman lightly rapping on a glass door with an open palm from within a sealed underground meat freezer (CIA's loss)
You’d expect any good borderline-paranoid small-towner to ask a few follow-up questions through a slightly cracked door while holding fast to their granddaddy’s old bird gun. But something about Xev’s heaving, upthrust story melts his suspicion like butter in a pottery kiln, and so, with a spastic mandibular quiver that apparently passes as a smile, he doffs his surgical grade parka and happily welcomes the three arch-fiends.
Yeah, that’s right, I said it…arch-fiends!
Cry your pardon ladies, but apparently that’s how they swear in Rimsore. Take a moment to fan the vapors away if need be. While you’re doing that, we may as well do a little backtracking. Thus far, in the course of their recurrent stopovers on Earth, our heroes have routed a squadron of F-117s, slugged it out with serial killers, assassinated an Assassin assassin, made multijurisdictional monkeys of the ATF, and spent the night in Texas, all without so much as breaking a nail or accidentally signing up for one of those crooked record clubs. Impressive…I guess…but what makes them think that’s in any way prepared them to match wits with Deputy Festus, the righteous regent of Rimsore!? A spitting image of ol’ Bufford Pusser (in the middle, anyway…his face is more like a slobbering image of a glandularly challenged Seth MacFarlane), this ticket-scribblin’, taillight-bustin’, own-shoe-tyin’ corpulent arm of the law is gosh-darnit-to-heck-bent on seeing justice done by any means necessary, regardless of what the feds and his ethnically questionable by-the-book superiors have to say about it.
A***-f****s beware, you picked the wrong day to cross him! That’s right…he just started a new diet (consisting of a downgrade from bourbon to rye). Prepare to…
You know what folks, upon further review, I hereby withdraw my most recent dig at Festus. What’s more, I’m considering taking back a couple of the things I’ve said about him. Because while the man may be a towering monument to derelict personal hygiene; while it’s true his approximate intelligence quotient falls somewhere between that of pie filling and pie crust; while the mere mention of his name may cause grown men to giggle like schoolchildren and every sheep within earshot to bury its hindquarters in the sand, the man deserves a shiny gold smiley face on his next performance review, because within ten seconds of being told off by Sheriff Dougal O’Shaughnessy, he marches his ever-widening keaster right over to Mort’s with little to go on aside from instinct and an ingrown distrust of anyone who seems the least bit different or out of the ordinary. Somebody done raised this ol’ boy right!
Having only just had time to confess his quirky, clinically antisocial behavior to the closest thing he’s had to friends since he learned how to throw his voice and paint little faces on his shoes, Mort—who speaks like one of those prerecorded weather alert machines—secrets our heroes away just as Deputy Dependable clip-clops up to the door and raps his whiskey-tipper on the glass. Looks like the jig is…
…down (or wherever jigs go—or don’t go—when they’re not up…nobody’s ever told me). Yeah, "career making" doesn’t even begin to describe the bust Deputy Direct could have made with a pinch of panache. Too bad he’s about as subtle in his questioning as a tipsy toddler and is apparently ignorant of the concept of a search warrant. But even with all that working against him, he very nearly cracks the case in spite of himself. Mort was already on the ropes, stop-and-go stammering about spillovers, and how "nobody comes in here alive, except you" (…so then, who wheels the stiffs in? Because what you call biceps, I call little wet strings). A few more carefully constructed questions, and Deputy Dewlap could have massaged a confession out of him right there. Then his prodigal peepers lock onto something bright and shiny (read: candy colored), and he oozes his way over the threshold, effectively invalidating the search.
Down, down, his improbable forward momentum takes them, to the spleen of Mort’s operation: the morgue, or as Mort might refer to it, "Totally not my mother’s basement." A cozy, if somewhat cramped, little setup; and once you mentally punt the fact that wearing a store bought winter coat in a –80 degree Celsius (-112 Ferenheit) environment is right up there with using a battery operated hand fan to repel a napalm strike, nothing that strikes the casual observer as unusual or out of place. But Deputy Dumpy is anything but casual. Sensing foul play (or perhaps mistaking the cadaver shrouds for giant white tamale husks), he unwraps the contents of Mort’s to-do pile and finds the good guys hastily laid out in warm, rosy-cheeked, shallow-breath-taking state.
He’s a little less than convinced, and it’s not hard to see why. First of all, Mort is practically brimming over with nervous ticks. What’s more, aren’t corpses supposed to be nude? (I ask this knowing full well that I’d be getting a double dose of bad with my good). Harkening back to his can-kickin’, catfish noodlin’, cousin courtin’ boyhood, he decides to satisfy his lingering hunch by poking a dead body with a stick; or in this case, jabbing Kai with a postmortem dipstick (…do I dare make a penetration joke?). Begrudgingly satisfied (and going on six minutes without a gristle fix), the Cholesterol Kid takes his leave, to the relief of a near-panic-stricken Mort, who loudly announces "HE’S GONE!" roughly half a second after Deputy Depth Perception reaches the top step (his ever-ready ears no doubt filled to the brim by his own strained panting and the tormented shrieks of a dozen hopelessly mutilated wooden stairs).
I tell ya, that Mort…he is just a nice guy. Not only does he keep the French fried five-o at bay, but he completely forgoes the compulsory screaming and panic induced mindless bludgeoning typically associated with the revelation that one of your house guests is a zombie. Hardly a clipped, Shatnerian moment’s pause before he happily dons his off-the-rack thermal body armor and wheels Kai into the freezer, right next to the icy, rictus remains of his one true love. Yup, frigid though she be, he’s sticking by her side. They just don’t make ‘em that like that anymore.
Nice guy or not, Stan’s nurturing an entire rest home’s worth of cynicism and wants nothing more than to find his way back to the Huffertainment complex to get his parking stub validated once and for all. But he’s willing to settle for getting the hell away from Earth if that’s all they can manage. Antique transistor in hand, he tries and fails to reach 790, after which Xev suggests that they try to contact 790. O_o How freakin’ thin is the air in Ohio!?! Thankfully, St. Morton the Benevolent has their back yet again. In a further show of his dangerously over-trusting magnanimity, he offers to put our heroes in touch with the Lexx (because, you know, that doesn’t take much more than a couple Dixie cups and some yarn) in exchange for all the information they can provide him about protoblood. Aside from what it looks like, where it comes from, and why you shouldn’t spread it on toast (you know that double-dog-dare must have come up at some point), I wouldn’t think Stan and Xev have all that much to offer him, but, never the sorts to turn down a seemingly beneficial deal from a shady character they just met under terrifying circumstances, they shake on it, just as our Swedish spinmeister cuts into the latest tune to explain the FBI’s plans in detail (presumably having already asked anyone in his audience who might be a wanted fugitive to cover their ears for the next ten seconds).
Sometimes all you need is a hammer…or in this case, a DIRECTV dish. Predictably, the conversation with 790 goes to the very outskirts of nowhere and serves only to chip away at the runtime and make me ponder whether "ickylickystick" is a single compound word, or three words strung together with hyphens (see, I’m presently paring down my vanity plate options).
So with Kai on ice and aid from above pretty much the opposite of immanent, it looks like our heroes will have to spend the night. Since it’s tough to rent a room with 4,000 year old pocket fuzz, Mort decides he’ll call it even if a group of people who typically react to the accidental annihilation of a heavily populated world with as much concern as you or I might reserve for flinging a candy wrapper in the trash (or stuffing it under a couch cushion…whatever’s convenient) if they might help him console emotionally shattered mourners. After the perfunctory vixen-maiming sausage break, of course.
Now I realize that under normal circumstances I would be swearing vengeance against Mort and accepting preemptive donations for my doomed-from-the-start legal defense fund, but in this one and only case I’m going to let it slide, in full spite of the fact that I’ve spent most of the last decade scrawling "I FIGHT FOR XEV!!!" in oversized bubble letters on any form requiring me to put down my place or type of employment. First of all, she’s hardly fazed by the little nick across the finger, which is entirely in keeping with someone who’s taken a spear through the heart and technically lived to tell about it (which, come to think of it, all three characters have now done). Secondly, although I’m duty-bound to see to it that Mort pays for his transgression with what could charitably be called his life, I’m genera-savvy enough to sit back and bide my time, content in the knowledge that he’ll almost certainly meet some tragicomedic end before the credits roll (hell, Xev herself should be at least tangentially aware of this by now). And finally…hell, I’ll just out and say it: can you really blame the guy for being distracted? God only knows what my hands and eyes would do after Xev’s mere presence caused them to spontaneously detach themselves from my higher faculties…aside from earning me an all-expenses-unpaid trip to Boot (population: face).
The mourners come to call. The viewing parlor is tastefully adorned, the ersatz hosts formally bedecked. Certainly a classy move (though I contend that the last thing a bereaved family needs to be greeted by is a hatless Stan…it might send the wrong message about just which abode holds the faithful departed). Then Stan and Xev speak up, and it all goes very south very fast.
You know, apart from Xev’s little quip about how the happiest people are the ones who get the most action (…and how’s that other saying go? Something along the lines of "the exception that proves the rule?" Not sure what brought that up…), I didn’t find this sequence—or the subsequent viewing a little later on—the least bit funny. I did, however, find them fascinating. Because for as clumsy and as mean spirited as they may initially seem, they shine a light on the extreme cultural divide between the world as we know it and the world or heroes come from in a way that most of season 4’s tongue-boring-a-hole-through-cheek satire fails to accomplish. Both times Stan and Xev come off looking like insensitive, borderline-sociopathic jackasses, primarily because they are trying—and failing mightily—to grasp a concept for which they have almost no frame of reference. Think back to season 1…if I asked you to come up with a few words to describe day-to-day life under the Order, what immediately springs to mind? Cheap…short…unpleasant…meaningless. Unless you lived soooo far from the Cluster that the Order was ignorant of your existence, or had the suicide-by-proxy misfortune of being born into this or that futile rebellion, you knew—and accepted—that you were a person. You were a natural resource. From birth to death and beyond, you existed only to serve the Order in one form or another. If you lived to see tomorrow, you did so only because the Order deemed you more useful to them alive than dead. Human rights, human decency, the very notion of humanity…alien. Completely and totally inconceivable. What is this concept of "attachment," beyond perpetually venerating His Shadow? You, everyone who came before you, and everyone to come after you, are a thing. To be used without care, discarded without thought, and replaced without fail. That’s all you know, and all you need to know.
Cut and paste that innate mindset into a culture that—by and large—places a premium on the sanctity of individual human life, and there’s bound to be just a wee bit of disconnect (misunderstanding + overcompensation = funeral faux pas writ large). Much as I hate to repeatedly harp on old allusions, this is yet another sequence that leads me to believe that the beans are intimately familiar with Huxley’s Brave New World (and not just the Freudian firestorm that is the first couple chapters).
Now, since I just mentioned exceptions, you may feel compelled to recall that in contrast to their nihilistic upbringing, when some horrible fate befell one of our heroes, it upset the other non-Kai crewmember(s) deeply. All instances of irreconcilable one-way sexual tension aside, I believe their initial time together on the Lexx begot the first genuine interpersonal bonds that Stan or Z/Xev had ever known, without their noticing it was happening at the time. The ensuing grief accompanied with severing one of those connections probably caught them entirely off guard. Case in point: "I’m making eye water again. It happens when I feel this way."
While we’re on the subject of Xev and fluids (tut tut tut!), it looks like that blunt force plasma sample that Mort nonchalantly culled from her finger is a wash (which in no way absolves him), so he chugs right along to plan B, extracting what now appears to be partially digested curds from Kai and squirting them onto an eyeball, which springs to life and starts hopping around its Petri dish like a Canadian jumping bean. Can’t help but love the blatantly cheesy stop motion. A direct nod to the Re-Animator flick, as well as a throwback to Thodin’s bug bomb, which utilized the same style of animation.
For the second time in less than five minutes, I am utterly shocked that Xev didn’t haul off and fist-fillet Mort on the spot. After four thousand years of throwing herself at him from every conceivable three dimensional angle, to walk in on someone else sucking fluids out of Kai…man, oh man, is he ever lucky she’s still woozy from the massive blood loss.
It turns out the poor lil’ guy doesn’t mean them any…specific harm (if Xev is willing to basically handwave that minor aside about lopping her cans off, I guess that means we should too). He’s just been a little testy of late, what with his overbearing workload and all the setbacks associated with hand crafting the woman of your dreams (I feel your pain, buddy…Legos chafe something awful).
Yes, at long last we make acquaintances Kai’s subzero suitemate, the lovely Deedee, glistening freeze dried picture of partially preserved ideal femininity and love of the everlasting train wreck that is Mort’s life. Cue the sepia-toned flashback (a first for the show):
While polite society might deign to brand Deedee an "extreme extrovert," the plebe in me prefers to liken her to a communal merry-go-round…a fun—if fleeting—ride, best enjoyed with friends, that serves up a cheap thrill but ultimately leaves you feeling disoriented and vomiting uncontrollably. It’s been said that there are no atheists in foxholes (of course there shouldn’t be foxholes in the middle of a wheat field either, but I’ll let that one slide under the assumption that the sinkhole is actually a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Colour out of Space reference). To each his own, but if there is in fact a just and loving intelligent designer, let us pray He saw fit to deposit some penicillin and a box of tiny combs in this one, because Deedee was something of a…patient zero. Seemed she had an open door policy with but one tiny caveat: you had to be anyone other than Mort. Most of the menfolk found this plenty reasonable. But Mort, by virtue of the fact that he was Mort, felt the rules shouldn’t apply to him, and promptly marched over to Kent Farm to declare his undying love for the drippy little debutante. Oh, he ran fast as any two feet ever carried a man of his sickly physique…but Pa Kent’s combine ran faster. Not since my old Mortal Kombat days have I seen a torso explode with such verve. Now for most of us, picking bits of liver out of our eye would probably debut amongst our top five mood-killers. But Mort’s mama done taught him right…when life hands you a pile of quivering limbs, you make limb-onade.
And so, for the past six years Mort has been steadily piecing her back together out of choice corpse bits in hopes of improving the original design (because as we all know, there’s nothing women like hearing more from a man than "You know, I really wish you had her ___________." How he intended to restart her metabolic processes prior to crossing paths with a half-animated bucket of protoblood is anybody’s guess, but it’s like they say, a decade’s worth of pent up psychosexual neuroses is the creepy old uncle of invention.
‘Bout time Kai finally piped up. Thus far this season he’s capitalized on some mighty questionable "transgressions" in the name of slaking his newfound bloodlust. So when a panic-stricken Xev reveals that the creepola standing five feet from Kai’s killing hand stole a dollop of his lifeblood and threatened to carve her up, then by God he…all but tells her to "Lighten up, toots." Kai’s a real cutup when he’s circling the drain. He should get wasted more often!
Further demonstrating the depths to which his crippling insanity plunges by turning down a throw-down with Xev, Mort sets about siphoning more of Kai’s diminishing go-goo, despite that latter’s insistence that it is used up, practically worthless, and might not have any effect on non-decarbonized flesh (it really is a tossup, based on what little we know…recall that Yottskry, who was revived some indeterminate time after his death, was pretty much back to normal after the Giga Shadow leaked protoblood on him, while the rest of the clerics acted like zombies). Not sure if the page still exists, but if anybody still knows how to find our old buddy Valdron’s "Darrow Files," he had a fascinating essay in which he put forth several theories about what protoblood really was and how it actually worked. Worth a read if you can find it.
Oh, and Stan…I understand you’re more than a little jarred by what’s going on, but does it really make much sense to say "I always knew you were…" when speaking to someone you’ve known for less than an hour? Come on man, you’re a captain (in theory)…lead by example!
Bet you’re all wondering what became of Deputy Dribble. Well, too bad, I’m going to tell you anyway! After a quick cram session at the local Waffle House, he’s decided to case the joint a second time, once again trampling all over police procedure by barrel rolling through a basement window while Xev attempts to phone home. Except Xev isn’t Xev…she’s Deedee. Yeah, see she was dead, but not all the way dead. Then Mort revived her with protoblood, except he didn’t revive all of her.
Deputy Drumstick finds himself at a rare loss. Her story makes perfect sense, but something about that strange oooot-fit rubs him the wrong way. Sensing he may be on the verge of successfully putting two and two together for the first time in his life, Xev offers to rub him the right way, and just like the clinically-stiff (as in dead)-from-the-waist-down Mort, the prospect of a once in a lifetime freebie sets him on his heels and he thunders his way right back out the window. What the hell…is Rimsore, Ohio the county seat of Oppositeland, or has it just been that long since Xev brushed her teeth!?! And as if being a cold fish weren’t bad enough, Deputy Dumpster is also a promotion-seeking tattle-tale (who keeps a tube sock over his radio for reasons I’d rather not attempt to examine…).
Ten real-time seconds later the sun drops like a transwarp rock and all at once it’s night. Kai shoots the breeze with a freshly reanimated Deedee before presenting her to Mort, whereupon she attempts to emulate the psycho chick from GoldenEye by adductoring him to death. It doesn’t quite work, but for a girl who’s been slacking off on going to Yoga class for the past six years, she gives it one helluva community college try.
Good Lord, it’s time for another viewing. Apparently the sun changed its mind about setting, so it’s day again, and with a new day comes a new crop of soon-to-be-traumatized mourners. Today’s guest of honor is a young woman cut down in the prime of her life who bears more than a passing resemblance to Anna Paquin (how awesome would it have been if the beans had gotten an Oscar winning A-list actress to come on their show and play a corpse!). Stan—who narrates the proceedings like a tactless Mister Rogers and proves once again that he can take a punch like nobody’s business—is forced to fly solo this go-around, because Deputy Dingus is back…AGAIN, and Xev has to use her feminine wiles to distract him…AGAIN! All right Hirsch, confession time: this was a fifteen page script that primarily consisted of X-rated stick figure doodles and coffee stains, wasn’t it?
Never one to promise some revolting slob a liaison and actually keep her word, Xev slaps a blindfold on Deputy Dumbass and throws Deedee at him. MinuteMan away! And just like in conventional horror movies, everything starts to unravel after the spontaneous nookie. See it turns out that Deputy Donuts (then Cadet Custard) was inadvertently responsible for Deedee’s condition, as he was next in line to meet her in the field that fateful day…this does not sit well with what’s left of her higher faculties…or Mort’s! (so we’ve got dismembered bodies and ludicrously convoluted character connections…no damn wonder a Lexx alum took over the Saw franchise).
To the best of my nonexistent medical knowledge, an embalming needle to the middle of the back probably wouldn’t kill you…at least right away…I think…so I’m going to assume that at that exact moment, an undigested hunk of pork worked its way into one of Deputy Dustbin’s arteries and triggered a massive on-the-spot infarction. From there Kai finally touches base with 790, who sends the fuzz packing, while Mort and Deedee settle down for some much anticipated alone time, during which that kinky cadavress informs him of her newfound choking fetish…IN THE NAME OF HIS SHADOW!
Hot bubbling damn, I can’t tell you how excited I got the first time I saw this ep, when those words rolled off her tongue and that ominous music kicked in. Now we were really getting somewhere! Surely this was the start of something big…so big that the beans never mentioned it again. Guess I should be careful what I wish for…
…wait a second, what am I saying? I wound up getting exactly what I claimed I wanted. In that case, I should stop holding back, because apparently, whatever I wish for will come true within the course of an hour. Oh boy, my life begins today! Now then…I wish I could think of something to wish for.
Like so many before it, this ep ends very much as it began, with our heroes tooling along some unincorporated byway. They’ve traded up, and now they’re rollin’ in a hearse. Against my better judgment, I laughed when it went by.
All in all this wasn’t a great episode. Like the ep that preceded it, it meets the oft-overprescribed "filler" criteria, and I personally felt that it didn’t have quite as many "little moments" as Prime Ridge. But as a heavy-handed parody of a heavy-handed adaptation of a heavy-handed parody, it filled the bill, as anyone who has read the original Re-Animator or seen the movie would attest.
That said, I owe the casting director a Coke, because Rory MacGregor, the guy who played Mort, was perfect! Looking for big ears and a high, glassy forehead, but can’t afford Jason Isaacs or Pete Postlethwaite? Rory’s your man. I already pointed out that the guy bears an eerie resemblance to H.P. Lovecraft, which couldn’t possibly have been lost on the beans. Let me now take it one step further, because another famous name pushed its way to the front of my mind the first time that gargantuan gourd filled the screen:
That’s right, Robert Downey, Jr. be damned! Rory MacGregor is my Sherlock Holmes!
Last edited on Mon Nov 9th, 2009 10:48 pm by Bilbo67
|When you mentioned Michael McManus being limber.....all I could think about was you must have heard about his....uhhh....never mind.
This was a hilarious Frankenstein type episode that showed the comedic side to the characters. Very well done, Bilbo! I laughed thoughout the whole review!
|(Mike McManus is surprisingly limber…ladies). *ahem Bilbo we all know that!! where've you been?*
(I feel your pain, buddy…Legos chafe something awful). Oh Bilbo darling please, please don't go there!
But Mort’s mama done taught him right…when life hands you a pile of quivering limbs, you make limb-onade. AAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHHH!! the nightmares the nightmares!!
Oh Bilbo, my Bilbo you've done it again..*change the depends before he gets a bum rash* you know I simply adore you and always will no matter the medications prescribed..
When you mentioned Michael McManus being limber.....all I could think about was you must have heard about his....uhhh....never mind.
Legendary ability to take the stairs three at a time? Aw shucks, I've known about that for years.
(I feel your pain, buddy…Legos chafe something awful). Oh Bilbo darling please, please don't go there!
Hey, I understand...some folks prefer Mega Bloks.
I prefer lincoln logs myself, they're longer.