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Czehoski's LEXX Rewatch Thread
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Czehoski
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 Posted: Sun May 1st, 2011 02:52 pm

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Hello, hi.

I signed up here a few months ago, both as a fan of LEXX and because I was hankering to rewatch the entire series.

I watched most of the show during its original broadcast run, and picked up the DVDs along the way.  However, it has been several years since they've been dusted off and watched. 

Well the wait is over!  I watched 1.0 - I Worship His Shadow yesterday and it was fantastic.  Like stepping into a time machine.  WOW!  I distinctly remember seeing this when it was first broadcast (which gives me an idea for another thread).

Reading through the epic reviews by Bilbo provided the inspiration to start my own review thread.  (Bilbo's masterworks rightly deserve a place all their own!)  :D

So as I rewatch each story, I'll keep posting comments and random observations here.  Hopefully that's OK!

A write-up of 1.0 IWHS in the next post.

Czehoski
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 Posted: Sun May 1st, 2011 04:16 pm

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1.0 - I Worship His Shadow

Here we go!

It was a neat experience to slip in the old DVD and rewatch the very first LEXX story again, after many years.  Enough time has passed so that it feels like rediscovering the show all over again.

One example is Stanley Tweedle.  I remembered him only as the bumbling Class 4 security guard who lucked into taking possession of the LEXX.  I had totally forgotten his past as an Arch-Traitor who assisted a failed rebellion against His Divine Shadow.  The explanation whizzed by onscreen, but yeah, Stanley is the one-time rebel who subsequently faded into obscurity as part of the Cluster's bureaucratic leviathan.

There's a lot of ground to cover in the first story of any series, and each of the lead characters gets a decent intro.  The actors are still feeling out their roles here.  Even though their characters are not entirely fleshed out yet, there is an immediate familiarity in Stanley's security guard uniform, Kai's goth warrior suit and Giggerota's "skinsuit".

Watching this story again yesterday, what immediately jumped out is how much of it jumped out.  Not just the crazy characters and fascinating costumes.  The musical score is amazing and still holds up to this day.  From our vantage point in the 2010's, you can look back and call Marty Simon's soundtrack "classic 80s/90s SF music".  I love the combination of ethereal synth and driving guitar.

Another big deal at the time was how much of the show was CGI.  According to the DVD extra, over 60% of the story was computer animated.  I remember this being a big talking point when the show was on the air.  Looking at it now, sure, some of it looks cheezy, like the open-air stadium.  But in its day, the percentage of animation vs real actors and sets made the show stand out.

It is interesting that while most of the show was CGI, Thodin's bug bomb was realized in classic stop-motion animation, harkening back to SF of the 60s and 70s.

Speaking of Thodin, I wonder how Giggerota could resist sinking her fangs into those juicy thighs of his!  :D

From the start, I love Giggerota -- a maneater in the literal sense.  I love how she talks, how she looks at people, how she slinks around like she owns the place, with that human face bobbing behind her back. 

Giggerota's standoff with Zev on the bridge of the LEXX was remarkably restrained.  I can't remember if they will have more standoffs in the future, but this one was surprisingly uneventful.  Tame, really.  I imagine if this scene had been in Season 4 they would have been wrestling naked in the shower.

One more thing that jumped out in this story was the gore.  There was the pie-maker being disemboweled and slaughtered, and that old man who got squished by his own toppling security slab.  Kai actally beheaded one of Thodin's band as they fled to the LEXX.  Another of them was devoured by a cluster lizard -- yikes!  And the brains.  Oh so many brains getting squooshed, stomped and splattered.  I had forgotten all these body parts flying around!

After 90 minutes, we have met our team, watched their paths converge at the LEXX and seen them soar away into the Dark Zone.  This story immediately captured my attention back in the day, and was just as awesome in kicking off this re-watch marathon of mine.  As the first story of a new series, it's a roaring success.

I wasn't planning to rate these stories, but why not!

9/10

 

Abby1964
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 Posted: Mon May 2nd, 2011 12:17 am

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The first time I saw it was channel surfing at work and it was in it's first run on SciFi. I actually had went past and then backed to see if I had really seen what I thought I saw, some long lost member of the B52's (The old college rock group)

Yes I did see big hair but on a guy and one that was pretty darn easy on the eyes too! I remember thinking WTF??? But it was strange weird wacky. All pluses in my book! But it wasn't until last year that I saw the first season which got me into the story arc and explained a lot that really made now sense to me first time around.

Last edited on Mon May 2nd, 2011 12:17 am by Abby1964



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 Posted: Tue May 3rd, 2011 12:40 am

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I saw the original run on the Sci Fi channel, though I missed a few episodes. It makes so much more sense when you see the whole thing. (Duh! :P)

I remember it felt very secret and almost forbidden. No one else knew what it was or that it even existed. It was like I had gotten this accidental view into another universe. (Get it? Get it? Sorry, I had to. :c030a:) When I watch it now, it does not seem risque to me, but at the time it was naughty and almost shocking. I must have been very innocent. Oh, that was hard to type through the ironic laughter.

Truly, though, it was unlike anything I'd ever seen. Still is. There is nothing else quite like Lexx, the aesthetic is so unique. And even though I like the entire series as a whole (despite the fact that some of the espisoded were real stinkers towards the end) I must admit that it's the earlier, darker episodes that are the closest to my heart.

I try not to watch it too often because I don't want to lessen the impact it has on me.



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Czehoski
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 Posted: Wed May 4th, 2011 01:31 am

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Okay, bit of a snag.  On the DVD cover, "Super Nova" is identified as story 2.0, but on Wikihaha, it is designated as story 1.02.  The latter makes slightly more sense, but never mind all that.  Let's do it!

 

2.0 / 1.02 - Super Nova

As the previous story showed us the crummy lives that the newly-minted crew of the LEXX left behind, this story now lays out the template for the remainder of these TV movies and the next season to follow.  In micro: Crew arrives on planet - crew explores - crew gets into trouble - crew gets out of trouble - reunion and departure.

I loved that little bit at the beginning, where the person in the survival pod floating through space is reanimated just in time to crash into the LEXX with hardly a flicker.  LEXX gives a quiet "ouch" and nothing more is said.  Nice little tribute, I thought, to a Douglas Adams gag from "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."  If that wasn't the intent, it was still funny!

Compared to the busloads of actors and extras in "I Worship His Shadow," "Super Nova" has a drastically reduced cast.  For the most part, it's down to the main characters and some holograms.

This is one of the things I have always loved about LEXX -- it's about a disparate group of people, who likely wouldn't even be friends in a different set of circumstances, brought together and living a nomadic existence with all of space to roam.

This story is of course infamous for containing Zev's first shower scene, with Stanley peeping at her in total pervy mode.  OMG!  T&A!  Whatever.  I'm gay, so it wasn't as bonerific for me as it was to a generation of young males, but that's OK, plenty of shirtless men coming soon (if memory serves!).

It was an interesting choice to go to Kai's home planet in the very next story after the beginning.  They could have dragged it out, made the journey to Brunnis a quest all its own, setting the stage for a season-finale story.  But they got Brunnis out of the way immediately.  Yeah, it's dead.  Yeah, nobody here but us holograms.  Yeah, you don't want to screw with the stabilizers.

Kai and Zev get themselves into a pickle, and kind of disappear into the background.  A rather repetitive background, getting themselves sawed or not sawed while Poet Man leers at them from a video screen.

I betrayed my undying affection for Giggerota in the previous review.  I was delighted to see her steal the show in this story.  Roaring, scheming, dining out on the "flying meat", and bullying the hell out of poor Stanley.  One little moment I really liked was when the moth flyer abandoned Giggerota on one of the towers, and flew away laughing at her.  :D

For all her nasty behaviour, she got her just desserts (geddit!) at the end.

Who says you need a cast of thousands for a good SF action story!

I liked this, because of the small cast, the rampaging Giggerota, and Tim Curry's offbeat performance as Poet Man.  I am loving this show all over again!

8/10


Czehoski
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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2011 10:24 pm

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3.0 / 1.03 - Eating Pattern

 

There's that old saying about how "art imitates life".  Recently, I saw the movie Hobo With a Shotgun.  In it, Rutger Hauer plays a nomadic outcast who arrives in a city ruled by a demented maniac played by Brian Downey.

Reverse the roles, and you have "Eating Pattern", the third LEXX TV movie, in which Brian Downey plays a nomadic outcast who arrives in a city ruled by a demented maniac played by Rutger Hauer.  Shall we call it, "art imitates art?"

Food!  Glorious food!  Everyone needs it - Stanley, Zev, Kai (in the form of proto-blood) and even the LEXX.  This whole story is about the driving force that is hunger.  The crew is hungry, the ship is hungry, the inhabitants of the garbage planet are hungry.

Speaking of which, I like how the LEXX has enough free will to set off on its own when Stanley is too neglectful.  Badly in need of nourishment, the LEXX picks out a planet and sets course for it on its own.  We'll see more of LEXX's self-preserving sentience later on.

To the story itself.  Holy wow, it's a stomach churner.  The LEXX crew have come upon the planet Claggia, supposedly a dumping-ground garbage planet.  As Zev sets off to explore (with the ever-cowardly Stanley in tow), we learn that the planet has been decimated by a predatory monster that has fed on the people of Claggia and rendered them hosts to a species of parasitic snakes.  (yuck!)

The place is creepy from the start.  As the LEXX crew meet more and more of the locals, the planet's secrets are revealed.  This is a civilization that has been reduced to a cluster of drug-addled murderers, whose sickening desecration of life is exemplified by the "wheel of fortune" device where pathetic souls gamble their body parts in exchange for a hit of "pattern".  This "pattern" is an addictive fluid that is distilled from the churned-up body parts of humans, and doled out by Bog, Rutger Hauer's character.  It is a truly horrible place.

Bog is the belipsticked man in charge here.  But there is also Wist, an enigmatic, leather-wrapped female who renders Stanley into a zombie-slave by transfering one of the parasites into his body.  (did I mention YUCK??)

It is up to Kai to save the day.  He discovers what is really happening on Claggia, he frees Zev and Stanley, and helps to destroy the parasite queen (although LEXX again shows its sense of self-preservation by blowing up the planet and flying into the debris storm in order to destroy the parasite that clings to its exterior).

A wild, gut-wrenching tale.  You can see how this story continues to set the template for the season to follow.  Can't say this is a favourite, but still, it was compelling stuff.

7/10

 

Czehoski
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 Posted: Wed May 11th, 2011 10:27 pm

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Holy kats, that's the first season over already. Well, it was only four made-for-TV movies, and serves as a hella long prelude to the series to come. Let's do this!

 

4.0 / 1.04 - Giga Shadow

[Pompous Alert] In this grand LEXX rewatch I have been undertaking, this story more than any other, blah blah blah (well okay, it's only been four stories).

This story more than any other reminded me why I love LEXX so much.

Watching "Giga Shadow" again, it brought home the feeling that our heroes are totally isolated and up against the worst evil in the two universes, all on their own. Sure there were other characters woven into the story, but when a notorious scene-stealer like Malcolm McDowell gets relegated to a quiet supporting role, it shows how strongly the leading characters stand out.

Everyone really hits their stride here. Kai is so utterly dead here that you'd be forgiven for thinking Michael McManus himself had been drained of blood to the point of near-death. Zev makes a legend of herself in her hell-bent quest to save Kai. And as for Stanley the Perfect, the Mighty and Terrible Champion of the Oppressed, he runs the gamut: cowardly, conniving, clever... and almost fully nekkid! :shock:

Did this story start with the longest preamble ever? First, we had an extended version of the familiar spoken-by-LEXX intro, then a windy explanation of the birth of the Giga Shadow by the Time Prophet. Fully eight minutes already gone!

There's that unsettling scene with the kinky perverts setting their sights on Stanley Tweedle, and finally -- finally! -- we catch up with our heroes.

It's quite simple. Kai needs proto blood. The crew failed to find any on Brunnis, there was none to be had on Claggia, and time's a wastin'. Zev unilaterally declares that the LEXX must return through the fractal core, to the Cluster, where Kai's body was first animated by proto blood. There, surely they can find more.

It says something for how fast-moving this story is, that the story was already half-over by the time the LEXX flew through the fractal core. There are many great little character moments along the way: Kai discovering and adopting the baby cluster lizard, the divine predecessors being forced to sing a stupid song by Stanley the Legendary, All-Powerful, Space-Stud Man, and Zev's barely-simmering anger as she is met with frustration from everyone else on the LEXX.

Once the crew arrives back at the Cluster, the story shifts into fast forward. Yottskry gets his head popped off and plugged into the Giga Shadow's brain, Zev and Kai continue the hunt for proto blood, and back aboard the LEXX, Stanley the Stunner, Makes Love Like No Other follows a false distress call and gets himself captured by the pervs.

I found both the concept and the realization of the Giga Shadow disgustingly effective. The gigantic, wriggly, stoney space insect was a suitably gross manifestation of all His Divine Shadow's evilness. The "blackface" thing that appeared inside the LEXX was a little less effective (okay it looks hokey now), but still, a loathsome villain.

Squish saves the day, the LEXX saves Stan, Stan, only Stan, and Kai gets a fresh dose of proto blood (and maybe some residual Shadow coarsing through his body, yikes!).

And there we have it! Season one of LEXX is in the books. Our heroes are more or less back where they were at the end of the first episode: through the fractal core into the Dark Zone and searching for a new home.

In the decade-and-a-half since it was first produced and broadcast, the show may have lost some of its innovative uniqueness, but that would be because of its influence and the imitation it inspired.

Give this one 8/10.

Looking forward to Season Two!

Czehoski
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 Posted: Mon May 30th, 2011 11:01 pm

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And we're back. :D Time to kick off my rewatch of LEXX Season 2.


2.1 - Mantrid

What a black little story this is.

Centred around the concept of "life" and exploring its myriad forms, it shows the lengths (and depths) to which some beings will go (and plumb) in order to stay alive.

The first voice we hear is that of His Divine Shadow, as he provides us with a recap of how he came to possess Kai's body at the end of the last story, in order to continue his existence.

The possessed Kai persuades the rest of the LEXX crew to return to the Light Zone for more proto blood, supposedly because he is running out.

They pick up a dormant larvae and bring it on board to try and extract some proto blood. Kai realizes that they need help in the form of Mantrid, the Divine Order's Biovizier (which I assume is short for "mad scientist").

Mantrid. What a triumph of design and realization. The disembodied head locked atop an airborne casing that protects his remaining vital organs. The mechanical flying arms he has fashioned to carry out his physical tasks. The metal ruff and funky padded helmet that give him some semblance of retained human vanity.

Casting Dieter Laser to pull it all together was a great move. He exhudes sheer malevolence. Some fantastically lecherous tongue acting too, by the way. Only a Kai who was possessed by His Divine Shadow would trust someone as nasty as this.

It falls to Mantrid to deliver a discourse on what it means to be alive, and it brings home the fact that there are so many variations of life on display here: humans, disembodied humans, human-hybrids, reanimated corpses, insects, spirits, machines... all in one little 45 minute story. All alive in their own way.

Vigl, Mantrid's leather-clad servant, was pathetic yet strangely endearing. He more than any other character showed an unconditional love to someone else, but got nothing out of it.

Cut to the chase: Kai destroys Mantrid's casing, His Divine Shadow escapes Kai's body, Vigl rescues Mantrid, Stanley rescues Zev, and the LEXX destroys the planet, although everyone seemed to escape alive... except poor Vigl.

This story serves as a bridge between the previous series and the season to come. It establishes Mantrid and his arms as the new menace, and launches the LEXX and its crew onward to more adventures. And it was black, so very, very black. I really loved it.

9/10

Last edited on Mon May 30th, 2011 11:01 pm by Czehoski

Be_You_
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 Posted: Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 02:21 am

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Czehoski, I am enjoying reading this thread that you've started and I am inspired to make a few comments.    

Previously I've written that TV World was the first episode that I'd ever seen, but strictly speaking, that's only true in the sense that it was the first episode I watched in its entirety. Previous to that, I know I had run across Mantrid because I remember seeing the evil creature floating around on my TV screen and momentarily thinking I was watching a rerun of Dune - i.e. the similarly evil and gravity-defying Baron Harkonen character.

I was new to having cable at the time - having held out for years until I moved into a place where it was included in the rent - and I remember being shocked that such weird people were being portrayed... well - not that weird really for around where I live... but different from what I was used to seeing on broadcast TV. I'm sure I would have watched the whole show, but I must have desperately needed to do my laundry or something. I know if I'd watched the whole episode that I wouldn't later have been confused about which came first Zev, or Xev.

I'm not posting this in a timely manner, but in your earlier write-up of Eating Pattern you accurately describe that central theme as "hunger" - and you did mention the addictive quality of "pattern" - but I'd add that this episode is nothing less than a haunting allegory to the hell of drug addiction. The writers did a bang up job of depicting what I once heard a friend of mine who was a recovering heroin addict and a very creative person describe as the "need state."

Sure, just like the hapless amputees going for another spin on the wheel as in the epsiode, junkies and other addicts often are seen doing things which nobody outside their world can fathom. Wist too - perhaps just like a drug pusher in a way - was in her own state of need.

The anecdote you added about how Rutger Hauer plays a traveler who stumbles into the realm of a demented maniac played by Brian Downey in Hobo With a Shotgun is golden. That's on my to-watch list now.

Thanks.

BU

Last edited on Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 02:25 am by Be_You_

Czehoski
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 Posted: Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 11:10 am

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Awesome comments, BU! Thanks for joining in.

Hobo With a Shotgun is pretty gorey in places, but probably not too shocking for any folks who watched and liked LEXX. There's a similar feel of absurdity to it. :D

Czehoski
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 Posted: Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 09:48 pm

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2.2 - Terminal

Well, who saw that coming?? :shock:

Zev is dead! :(

I don't know enough "behind the scenes" history of LEXX to know whether this episode was quickly thrown together upon the news of Eva Habermann's departure, or if her departure was known well in advance and there was plenty of time to script this send-off story for her character. Anyone?

Whichever way the show's producers approached the reality of a departing cast member, they ended up producing a sparse, almost minimalist story that results in Zev's death being a truly shocking, explosive moment.

(It is worth noting that following Zev's death, 790's wailing and caterwauling was perfect here and very reflective of how I felt!)

But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

This story actually begins with the near-death of another crew member, as Kai accidentally pulverizes Stanley's heart (woops).

Despite so many shows of faux animosity towards one another in previous episodes, the crew rally to rescue Stan. They bully their way onto a MedSat using the LEXX's destructive capabilities as a bargaining tool.

The sets aboard the MedSat were an interesting contrast of simple, 70s-style whites and blacks in the corridors and operating rooms, and the psychedelic CGI of the restaurant where Dr. Kazan took Zev.

Dr. Kazan, what a slimeball, along with his accomplices Dr. Funz and Dr. Veezra. (Is the universe destined to be populated by evil Germans at every turn?) Anyway, Kazan wants the key to the LEXX, and is so hell-bent on getting it that he electrocutes Zev to the point of death.

An interesting point to this story was that we saw the entire LEXX crew incapacitated: Stanley near-death from heart failure, Kai frozen, 790 damaged and malfunctioning, and Zev nearly killed.

It took 790 awakening Stan, and Zev morphing completely into cluster lizard form, for them to break free. And for Zev to rescue Kai - the man who was never able to reciprocate her love - that was tragic to the extreme. The reanimated corpse was barely able to acknowledge what she had done.

For a story that had one main objective - kill off Zev - it was very effective. It began with a near-death, and ended with a real one. In between, the script slowly wound up the tension like a clock-spring until the shock ending.

A bowl of goo - that's what Zev has been reduced to. Cue 790 bawling!

9/10

Abby1964
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 Posted: Wed Jun 8th, 2011 04:00 am

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Actually if you stop and think for a moment, Kai actually does show some level of emotion in this episode. No he's not wailing and sobbing but it is Kai that grabs the punch bowl and scoops up the goo. And when questioned he says he's 'bringing her home'. It is a far cry from how he reacts to a dead Xev later.



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Czehoski
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 Posted: Wed Jun 8th, 2011 10:22 pm

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Good point. I think he did manage to get out a single "Zev!" as she was dying, but he thought well enough to collect the remains. He, more than anyone, would appreciate that the dead can continue to exist in some form.

Kaden
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 Posted: Thu Jun 9th, 2011 12:20 am

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For me, the dynamic between the characters changed a lot when Zev died. I thought EH came across as more innocent and vulnerable than XS, and that added a much needed and interesting dimension. Like Abby has said before, Zev was in love with Kai, and Xev was in lust. I really missed that in the later seasons. Zev and Xev always seemed like completely separate characters to me.

Last edited on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 12:21 am by Kaden



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 Posted: Mon Jun 13th, 2011 02:13 am

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2.3 - Lyekka

An unknown length of time has passed since Zev's death. The LEXX flies on, its crew coping with their loss. 790 keeps a vigil by the container of Zev's remains, reciting elegies to her. Kai is in cryostasis -- the dead do not cope. Stanley meanwhile is dreaming of a girl from his youth who rejected and humiliated him publicly.

This same girl mysteriously reappears in his bed chamber. Only it isn't really her, its an avatar produced by a space spoor that has entered and embedded itself within the LEXX.

This spoor -- one of many that we saw flying in space -- is capable of reading a person's fantasies and provoking hallucinations that make them seem to come true. It does this in order to eat, and Lyekka is hungry.

Enter the brave astronauts of the Eagle 5 on an exploratory mission from the planet Potataho. Red blooded good ol' boys driven by values and patriotism, the astronauts serve to provide the audience with a refresher: we hear all about the LEXX and its crew as they do. They don't get a chance to do much else before Lyekka begins picking them off one by one, granting them a hallucinatory fantasy before devouring them.

This episode is pretty straightforward. It's a vehicle to introduce two new characters, Lyekka and Xev, who is made by the combined proteins of Zev and Captain Moss. Not sure if this means that Xev is now part human, part cluster lizard, part Potatahoian or not, but there she is! Xev reborn, based on descriptions recited by 790 -- the only character whose fantasies come true in real life.

I liked the use of "regeneration" here to allow a new actor to take over an existing character from a departing one. The departure of Eva Habermann left a gaping hole that needed to be filled, and it was brilliant for that hole to be filled by the same character in a new form. I'm a big fan of Doctor Who and this was right up my alley.

Of all the fantasy sequences, Captain Moss's was the most memorable. He works the soil of his beloved planet, sowing row upon row of living-faced "cabbage patch" creatures. What the hell was that??

Anyhoo, Xev is back! Kazaa! Did I catch Kai of all people getting teary-eyed during the reunion? Perhaps he is indeed able to feel things for others, even if they are just echoes of real emotions.

Weirdly, despite the obvious threat that a man-eating plant aboard the LEXX poses, the crew let Lyekka stay. This was a bit weak -- I guess her gift of a new Xev put everyone at ease for now.

As for Potataho, it got annihilated by Mantrid's arms. The pursuit of the LEXX continues.

7/10


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