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|My 2 Cents on Episode 1.4: Giga Shadow
Well, the door has closed on the first season of Lexx, and not a moment too soon. If I waited any longer to knock out this final review I would probably have to watch the damn thing again (not a complaint, but setting aside two uninterrupted hours is quickly becoming a trial by fire). It was a wild, intriguing, psychologically scarring ride to say the least. We laughed, we cried, we sat in stunned silence staring at the screen, scratching our collective head until it was raw and bloody in an effort to discern what the hell had just happened, and we questioned the sanity, sexuality, and at times the very existence of the three revolutionary, albeit deranged, Cannucks who made it all possible.
I always liked this episode, seeing as it was the only one of the original films that I had seen from start to finish. It’s a helluva ride, and certainly takes the mini-series out in style. It’s got everything a Lexxian could ask for (and a few things that we probably didn’t want, but accept as conventions of the show based on our previous bank of knowledge, and the fact that we all eventually warmed up to it instead of saying "the hell with this" and watching the sixth rerun of Sportscenter). The story line is gripping, the special effects kick ass, and it’s got some of my all time favorite lines. Also, where else can you see Alex DeLarge spend thirty minutes as a disembodied face?
The opening by the Time Prophet is a nice touch. Although it’s a bit of overkill, it certainly came in handy the first time I watched this film, as it (along with Lexx’s introduction) fills in the gaps nicely. Her narration also shows us just how chaotic the cleansing really was. To be perfectly honest, this is a particularly gut wrenching sequence, seeing an endless supply of processed human meat being filtered into the belly of the Cluster. A heavy dose of implying would have come in handy in this scene, but then again, this is the same series that introduced us to such phrases as "sizzle in my pizzle," and proved once and for all that running a few million volts through a man’s nether regions WILL in fact bring him to the very height of sexual euphoria (I’ve yet to actually try that myself...), so figurativism/metaphors are out of the question. That being said, the most disturbing aspect of the cleansing scene had to be the bone-stripping device. Not because of what it does, but because of the design. That thing looked like a friggin’ CLOWN! I’ve spent 12 years trying to expunge the horrific images that Tim Curry burned into my mind in "IT," only to be robbed of sleep once again. That definitely looked like my idea of hell, and all I can say is, if for whatever reason any of you ever see me getting devoured by anything even remotely resembling a giant clown, do the humane thing and put me out of my misery. (BTW, by that, I mean shoot the clown, or whoever is controlling the machine [if it is a machine]...I want to live!).
The sequence in which the rebel clerics attempt to stop the rebirth is awesome. The battle itself is as good as anything you’ll see on Lexx, and the overall atmosphere is creepy. Oh sure, I could make any number of jokes about a massive pillar ascending into an orifice, but that’s too easy (and too horrifying to dwell on). I am, however, curious as to why one of the clerics found it necessary to vaporize his head in that...um...head vaporizing...thing. I rewound that scene a couple of times in a vain attempt to discern just what was going on, but alas, it was lost on me. For my money, I’ll go ahead and assume that as production was wrapping up, Paul Donovan said something to the effect of "Hmmm....this is a damn good scene...but it’s missing something," to which a bombastically inebriated Jeff Hirschfeld posited that when in doubt, an exploding head will liven things up. This philosophy certainly makes sense, as I can think of more than a few overblown, pretentious, downright awful big budget films that would have been a thousand times more enjoyable had one of the protagonists’ heads spontaneously combusted.
And now, we launch into the story itself. And what better way to set the pace than by giving the audience a glimpse of the heartless Sub N mercs who were able to break Stanley Tweedle’s iron will. Feppo and Smoor: two of the most feared men in the Light Zone...for reasons I have yet to discern. Honestly, can anyone tell me with a straight face that these two look dangerous?! Sure, I wouldn’t entrust a pack of cub scouts to their care, but when it comes to their ability to inspire fear in their fellow man, I rank these two heavy breathing ethnic cream puffs in the same category as Fonzie from Happy Days. I never believed for a second that he could kick anyone’s ass, just like I can’t believe that Feppo and Smoor are somehow supposed to be the Lexx universes’ answer to Boba Fett. If anything, they look like the German ambassadors to Fire Island. Still, from a purely disinterested, comedic point of view, you’ve got to love some of the names they gave to their previous...um...conquests. I’ll never look at bodybuilders the same way again (which is not to say that I look at them in any unusual ways to begin with...aw hell, think what you want to think).
Finally, after all the expository doin’s have transpired, we rejoin the Lexx crew doing what they do best: swimming in an ever-deepening pool of misplaced, one way sexual tension and bickering back and forth about whether or not to embark on some dangerous expedition in which the odds of dying are about as good as the odds of George Carlin slipping the occasional four letter word into his next comedic monologue. Stan, as is often the case, serves as the voice of reason, but since he is hardly a force to be reckoned with in any particular way, Zev refuses to give in when he puts his foot down. Kai, as always, does not want to be a bother, and simply requests that they let him run out the clock. You know, I often wonder, if Zev had learned much earlier that Kai’s...um..."love muscle," to use a time honored Tweedleism, is nothing more than a jet black, cobalt, Darth Vader-esque athletic supporter, would she have been so hellbent on keeping him alive? I guess we’ll never know...but it would have made for a damn boring show if they’d taken that route.
You know, now that I think about it, not a lot happens for the first 45 or so minutes of this episode. Still, while the story itself may be moving as slowly as Jimmy Stewart reciting Finnegans Wake from memory, it provided some great laughs, such as Stan’s visits to the Divine Predecessors. That these guys (if they can so be called) have gone from being the most feared, reviled entities in all of existence to comedic foils always amused me. Personally, I’m still wondering how many of them met untimely (though by no means undeserved) ends throughout the course of the first three episodes. The look into Stan’s past that they provide us with is insightful, if for no reason other than the fact that Stan’s old uniform looks as if it were stolen from the Soviet bobsled team. Though I can hardly say if it was intentional at the time, the little comment about the Celes pleasure transport is a nice little bit of foreshadowing. Once again, as I mentioned before, the Beans could have done a bit more implying when it came to the instruments that the Sub N’s used on Stan during both their encounters. From the little bit I saw, the device that Feppo (or was it Smoor...they look alike to me) was holding looked like a perverted cross between a jackhammer, shop vac, garden hose, and plumbing snake. Sounds like a disgustingly awry version of "This Old House" to me. This is quickly followed (thank the Good Dude for brevity) by the first of two musical numbers by the Predecessors, whose singing voices should be a little more refined given the amount of time they’ve had to just sit there and fester.
EDITING ALERT: I’ve been informed that a good amount of dialogue was excised during the scene where the crew discovers Squish for the first time. Can anyone back me up on this? Honestly, I think when the one Sci-Fi exec who possesses opposable thumbs (obviously he’s in charge...by virtue of evolution) tells his overdressed simian brethren that something has to go in order to meet some ridiculous time constraints, they simply close their eyes and snip the nearest portion of the master copy.
So, because the preceding scenes apparently bore no relevance to the plot (aside from the fact that Squish is essentially the HERO OF THE FRICKIN’ DAY), we are quickly propelled to one of my all time favorite scenes: the ballad of Stanley Tweedle. Whoever wrote this little ditty automatically deserves three times what he was earning, because it is absolutely brilliant. In addition to the song itself, I can’t help but laugh my ass off at Brian Downey’s dancing. This is stuff that you just can’t script, and I have to imagine he was chewing a hole in his lip to keep from cracking up.
Well, we’ve had our fun, elicited the obligatory laugh at Stan’s expense, and seen the Stunner ultimately get the last word: now it’s time to get down to business. You’ve got to love the manner in which Kai and Zev are able to tap into his old memories...even though I haven’t the slightest idea how that machine works, or why they chose to make protoblood the color that they did (I won’t harp on this too much). For the love of God, couldn’t they have made it neon purple...or liquid plaid...or ANY color other than the one they chose. Good lord, Poetman’s 2000 year old going away present was bad enough! Anyhoo, Kai’s attempt to comb his old memories was cool...lot’s of great visuals, and the conversation with the departed Divine Shadow was eerie. For whatever reason, I always liked that particular incarnation of HDS’ voice...it’s haunting, yet at the same time hypnotically soothing...a sort of "friendly evil" if you will. I’ve got to wonder why he had no idea what the Giga Shadow was...perhaps it had something to do with the essence itself? Maybe that knowledge was only stored there...so the living Divine Shadow himself was never consciously aware of the GS’s existance. Just a guess.
Why was there a beetle the size of a golf ball just wandering around the Lexx? And couldn’t Zev have gotten her point across in some other manner...perhaps by kicking it across the room and then eyeing Stan’s crotch? Whatever the case may be, her gesture got the job done, as it prompted yet another one of Stan’s screwy, neo-Freudian dreams, which ultimately convinces his to piss in the proverbial wind and go back to the Cluster.
Ok, I wrote these down, so I’m gonna do them all at once...
*Stanley the Brave Who Risked His Skin For His Friends
*Stanley the Perfect, the Mighty, and Terrible Champion of the Oppressed (And Unjustly Maligned Majestically Being)
*Stanley the All Powerful Legendary Space Stud Man
*Stanley the Stunner, Makes Love Like No Other
*Stanley the Fearless Warrior God, Swooping Down From On High to Protect the Weak and Innocent
*Stanley the Fearless Warrior God, Swooping Down From On High to Protect the Weak and Innocent, Mastermind of the Downfall of the Shining Star of the Cosmos (I’ve a gut feeling there was plenty more, and that we hadn’t even heard the half of it)
And last but not least...
*Stan Stan and ONLY STAN!
Admit it...if any one of us had what is essentially a semi-sentient dumb blonde with a shitload of firepower at its disposal to play with, we’d do the same.
The return to the Cluster is one of the most awe inspiring, haunting shots in the entire series. As is frequently done in season 3, the beans realized that sometimes, the best thing to do is just shut up and let the music do the talking. Marty Simon certainly pulls his weight in creating a truly memorable atmosphere...which is promptly cut short when Kai’s protoblood fails, and he collapses in Zev’s lap. Knowing Mike McManus as the perfectionist that he is, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he had them reshoot that particular scene from at least a dozen angles. After all, the death of a primary character (no matter how short term said death may be) is something that must be captured just right...
Well, while Zev and Kai are busy fishing through the dead clerics’ pockets in search of errant beer money and photos of nude loved ones (trust me, that’s what they were doing), Stan decides that he has forgotten just what it feels like to shish kabob, so he dials up some old friends. To be perfectly honest, I had no idea what he was doing the first time I saw this ep. I sat there in disbelief, wondering how Stan could possibly be THAT stupid. Just like clockwork, Stan’s transmission is intercepted by a pair of shirt lifting Germans with Jabba the Hutt’s body, and C-3PO’s sexuality.
And now comes the climax, at least from the prophetic viewpoint. Zev and Kai make their way to HDS’ base of operations (which looks like a terminally syphilitic Castle Grayskull), and Kai comes face to faceless with what remains of His Shadow. After listening to the disembodied hunk of dog food beg for forgiveness (I think the phrase "too little too late" applies in this particular situation), and watching Squish chow down on the "evil section" (don’t quite know why Kai tried to stop him), Kai brings the prophecy full circle. While I realize that this is undoubtedly the high watermark of Kai’s existence (which in itself is a moot point, as it has been clearly established that the dead do not give a rat’s ass), I can’t help but feel that he did it all wrong. Simply put, he didn’t ensure complete and utter destruction. Sure, crushing the brain was a good way to emphasize the "by the hand..." line, as well as gross us out, but I think I would have taken it a few steps further. The instant...and I mean THE INSTANT I discovered this was all that remained of His Shadow, I would have packed M-80’s into every conceivable membranous tissue fold, doused the brain in gasoline, kerosene, motor oil, and rocket fuel, struck a match, paused to kiss Zev and make a glib witticism, dropped the match and run like the proverbial sonar laden flying mammal out of the repository of the damned. Oh well, I guess hindsight is 20/20.
While Zev and Kai frolic off to have further innuendo laced adventures, good ol’ Yottskry is jolted back to life after accidentally ingesting a heaping helping of what can only be visually described as Roman Polanski’s "special" pancake syrup. After convincing himself that what happened was either a dream or a drinking binge the likes of which the two universes have never seen, Yottskry is overcome by the evil chunk of HDS’ brain, which Kai wouldn’t let Squish finish off (evil brain goo must do to cluster lizards what chocolate does to dogs). One would think that since Yottskry was one of the rebel clerics, he would have immediately tried to destroy it...but I’ll accept some uncharacteristic slowness on his part, seeing as he hasn’t the slightest idea what the hell is going on. After making several amusing attempts to kill himself, and pulling off a fruitless 100 mph faceplant, he pleads for Kai to kill him. Once again, Kai is off his game (protoblood failure and whutnot), so he hesitates, leaving Yottskry to be whisked away to God knows where, beheaded, and assimilated into a large brain, leaving him a pink, fleshy, autonomously thinking face. Read that sentence again...now again...close your eyes and visualize...where else but Lexx could such a scenario even hope to see the light of day?
Well, Stan finally hitches back up with his old running buddies who may as well have been ripped right from the mind of a heavily intoxicated Mel Brooks. While payback is indeed a sumbitch, and Stan’s plan is rather ingenious, he certainly goes to extreme lengths to see it succeed. Considering the size of that colonic fun noodle that F&S were carting around, I’d have to say that Stan’s revenge plot is akin to suicide by cop. Oh well, who’s to say how Stan’s mind works.
Thankfully, Zev can at least put 2 and 2 together. She rationalizes that Yottskry could only have been brought back to life via protoblood...ergo, she goes back to the area previously occupied by his rancid, festering carcass (and right quickly, considering how damn many stairs there were). She sucks some protoblood into a small hose (beans just had to force feed us that image), attaches it to Squish, and heaves him like a carnivorous lawn dart into the rapidly decaying opening (nice use of the iris symbol)...definitely a pass worthy of John Elway (although, I never fantasized about being trapped on a deserted island with him...I MEAN IT!).
Once again, it’s a moot point, but during Zev’s mad dash to scoop us as much protoblood as possible, was I the only one who cringed slightly when the second tube was destroyed? One of those "if only" moments...both from a character standpoint, and from a we-could-have-logically-had-a-few-more-seasons standpoint. As always, the road not taken (I’ve used that phrase so many times that I’m all but certain Bob Frost’s next of kin will be slapping me with an injunction).
And now comes the moment of truth...the birth of the Giga Shadow. Considering how I have criticized the somewhat primitive visual effects of the first season, I’d like to retract some of those comments, because I forgot just how awesome the Giga Shadow looked. It was massive, it was terrifying...in short, everything the most evil entity in the universe should be. As one who is constantly blown away when moths and smaller ships are shown right next to the Lexx, the scenes of the Lexx zipping away from the Giga Shadow were awe inspiring, as it gives an idea as to just how damn big that big damn bug is (say that ten times fast).
I think it is also interesting to take stock of exactly what the Giga Shadow is. It is a hyper-intelligent insect that has all but wiped the human race from the face of the light universe...and what is it...a rollie pollie! You all know what I’m talking about. Surely we’ve all abused those little buggers from time to time, if nothing else than for the pleasure we get out of flicking them and watching them roll at 100 mph. It’s kind of eerie to think that something we’ve all abused and taken for granted may eventually rise up and enslave/devour all of mankind. Think about it...(but not too hard).
To capitalize just how badass the Giga Shadow is, it takes a full force shot from the Lexx (piloted with confidence by Stan, who is most certainly walking funny/unable to sit at this point). Though Lexx is hardly an action series in the traditional sense, I found the final shootout/chase to the fractal core to be quite exciting. Despite the tensitude (my word) of the situation, I still got a smile out of Lexx’s reaction to being nailed by the Giga Shadow’s tentacle.
I hate to sound like a broken record here, but when I staunchly believe in something, I will rattle on about it until my body is in the cold ground, or stuck in the grill of a large vehicle: why, OH WHY COULDN’T THE DEATHCLOUD UNLEASHED BY THE GIGA SHADOW HAVE HUNTED DOWN AND WIPED OUT THE GOLEEN CLAN!?!? I DON’T CARE IF IT WOULDN’T HAVE MADE ANY SENSE!
The Giga Shadow’s final speech brings everything full circle, and answers all of the lingering questions. But, before it can get too far into its tirade, or even develop a witty catch phrase, Squish locates the brain, and, in what I found to be a rather comical scenario, shows Hannibal Lecter how it’s really done! Personally I’d like to have seen Squish live, but at least he went out in a blaze of glory.
I think it would have been cool to let the Giga Shadow live for an episode or two. Of course, the beans would likely paint themselves into a corner, as by the time the crew returned and decided to combat it, it would probably have systematically eaten the whole universe ala Unicron (Transformers Movie...yeah, I’ve got a little geek in me). As always, the...ah hell, you know it.
Well, all is once again well in the world. The Giga Shadow is wasted, the fractal core is kaput, and the morbidly obese Seigfried and Roy are jettisoned to what appears to be the Everglades where they encounter the cast of Deliverance with a massive thyroid problem. In the world of Lexx, this is a storybook happy ending.
Last but not least, Stan and Zev lock lips. When I first saw this episode, this pissed me off, as it is completely and utterly out of character for Kai. I figured it was the producers’ way of shucking established character traits in favor of a traditional ending. However, I have since learned that in the original version, Kai’s eyes go black, indicating that he is now HDS’ new avatar. Basically, when he kisses Zev, he is acting under the influence of His Shadow. I have no Earthly idea why the American versions omit this. Perhaps Showtime (who ran the miniseries originally) had no intention of picking up the series, and wanted some sort of definitive ending. Personally, I think they should have left the black eyes, as the new ending, with Kai simply staring at the camera, looks awkward.
Well, that’s all she wrote...and by she, I mean me...but I’m not a she...I mean that! This brings about a close to the catalyst that set off one of the most memorable, off the wall sci-fi series of all time.
You know, when I originally watched my tape of this episode Sci-Fi had no plans to put Lexx back on the air, making this the final Lexx episode ever aired on this channel. I was all prepared to write a heartfelt, tear jerking send-off, quoting everything from Scripture to Shakespeare to Larry Flynt Himself...but, joy of joys, the show is coming back, so we can continue to enjoy it...at least until the next time these asshats pull the rug out from under us. Personally, I’m hoping that they air ALL of the episodes this time...I’ve never seen Luvliner or Nook, and would really love to both see them, and write reviews on them. Come on Sci-Fi, don’t screw us again.
Well, that’s it for now. Once again, sorry this took so damn long. I’d love to write full time (and plan to some day), but for the moment, I have to work to make my livings. Oh well, it could be worse...I’ve yet to be asked to submit a testicle for coming in 2 minutes late.
Good night, God bless, and remember, time moves mountains, life begets death...but Stan’s hat...that my friends, is forever.
Last edited on Fri Nov 3rd, 2006 07:12 pm by Bilbo67
|damn it bilbo you kill me! I had to print this out and read it on my train trip home, no interruptions except for the occassional homeless person buggering for some loose change..man oh man..I just adore the way your mind works..warped and all..sorta like mine! anyhooo once again my baby boy you are SPOT ON! Deep and delving..alright that's just my imagination once again and don't worry the doc said once the meds level out It'll be safe once again for me to be out in mixed company!
Things that make you go umm umm ummm! That's you honey pot, that's you!
|You take my breath away, Bilbo, can I have your kids?
|LOL, thanks for this one, Bilbo!
My 2 Cents on Episode 1.4: Giga Shadow
I concur, the movies are the stepping stone into so much more. That part about the clown in IT, used to freak me out too when I first saw the mini series, hehehehe.. You are so right on with your reviews, and have a funny and refreshing look at the series.