LEXX: S04E01: Little Blue Planet
LEXX is back! And about time, it seemed like an eternity waiting for this new episode. We all wondered how the people at Salter Street could maintain a momentum of gripping storyline, complex sci fi concepts and humerously gratuitous sex and violence limited by the backdrop of a rather mundane present day Earth.
Welp! Our concerns diminished as soon as we heard the reassuring dulcet tones of Marty Simon Yo-Ah-Oh-ing around our earlobes.
The episode was written and directed by Paul Donovan (as are most of the key episodes are) and he confirmed to us (yet again) that he and his pal Lex Gogeroff are completely and utterly bonkers! Rarely do we see such a mix of sci fi stuff that is so not like Star Trek. Stuff which is so annoying and such a turn-on, so antagonistic, and yet so innovative. Stuff which we love and hate (normally at the same time), with so many flaws and yet which is, conceptually, utterly mind-bending… It’s like having your nipples gripped by a strong vice made of feathers.
Yep, my nipples were pointy and so were yours! (oh yes they were!) – LEXX was back and back with a vengeance!
The show opened with a pathetic pair of Canadians and one other geezer who had the most exaggerated Italian accent that I’ve ever heard. The year was 1901 and the scene was a cold, rocky coastline somewhere in Newfoundland.
Mr Marconi was about to perform the first BIG radio transmission. As they prepared, one of his companions said, “Fine weather we’re having Mr Macaroni, what!?” Mr Marconi corrected his colleague and angrily and went on to continue his test. It was successful! “Todayee,” He exclaimed, “We make a Historia….. mama meeya”
But in the dim and distant expanse of space (not in the vicinity of the moon, not even in the solar system, but actually outside the galaxy) an ominous asteroid covered with little antennae listened to the beep, be-be beep beep of Marconi’s transmission. This is no mean feat considering that it would have taken thousands if not millions of years for the (tiny, low powered) radio signal to reach it. But the writer, even with his scientific background never gets bogged down with such detail. As soon as the asteroid picked up the signal, it fired its rockets and presumably set off for Earth.
The scene then changes to sometime in the very near future. The president’s motorcade arrives at a vast secret underground chamber where we see our old pal Prince. He is addressing the President of the United States and a number of high-ranking officials of the CIA, FBI and the powerful (and completely wacky) Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).
“Mr President,” He begins, “Last Tuesday, ATF agents working at SETI (an civilian organisation which searches for extra terrestrial intelligence), reported that a twelve year old boy,” and without pausing, Prince points to a young boy called Digby who is fixed to the wall of the cavern still alive, but with his mouth taped, “from Louisiana, ostensibly as part of a school science project, called to report that he had spotted a large, self propelled unidentified object in the vicinity of the Earth’s moon. Do not be misled by feelings of sympathy for this boy Mr. President, he is likely part of the greatest threat that the human race has ever faced..” (yep, a little knowledge is a very bad thing).
The President looks on, only slightly disturbed. Prince went on to explain that the discovery of the LEXX in close proximity to Earth, triggered the murderous Haig Schleefan Plan, which automatically signed a death warrant for all non-government employees with even the slightest knowledge of the discovery. The ruthless and covert destruction of what must have been thousands of people, was efficiently carried out by the FBI, CIA and the evil AFT. Prince complemented the three agencies on a job well done and they all gave themselves a warm round of applause.
The President looked pointedly at Prince and said, “Erm… remind me,” he said, “What is the Haig Schleefan Plan?”
Prince eloquently pointed out that it was a plan originated by Senators Haig and Schleefan which the President agreed to sign following an embarrassing incident with the French Ambassadors daughter (she probably knocked his wig off).
Prince, clearly on a role and looking very confident indeed, went on to tell the President that he had arranged a conference with the aliens in precisely thirty seven seconds. Before the President could object, he explained that all possible conversations had been anticipated by the country’s top philosophers, and academics. A series of cards had been specially prepared which the President should read. Prince insisted (repeatedly) that the President should ‘stick to the cards‘.
The cards have a picture of a ‘grey’ (alien face) on a yellow background enclosed within a red circle (which normally indicated ‘warning’) It was reminiscent of the Ghostbusters logo – but a little more subtle.
Then Stanley appears and launches in to his customary, ‘what can this little planet give me?’ speech. The President tries to rely on the cards he has given, but invariably comes up with the wrong phrase at the wrong time. Stanley becomes agitated, “… what I want is a nice place with nice beaches, good food and open-minded, interesting, attractive women and not a whole lot else. So, start helping me out here ok.”
Stanley eventually gets tired of talking to the weird Presidential dude and mentions that he can not only blow up planets, but that he’s quite happy to blow up Earth. The President makes another inept remark and Stan ends the discussion by telling them that they’re toast. The screen goes blank.
Prince looks slightly agitated and pulls out a piece of paper and places it in front of the President. “The Earth is clearly under threat,” he says, “It is time to put the full Haig Schleefan Plan into effect”. He hands the President a pen in which to sign the order. “I prefer to use my lucky pen.” (a silver pen with a little silver Texan hat). Said the President. But it doesn’t work and he has to use Prince’s pen after all. You get the feeling that if he’d signed the paper with his lucky pen things might just have turned out a little better.
Back on the LEXX, Stan is in the mood for a rant. He tries to get the LEXX to blow up the planet, but he doesn’t have the key! It was transferred to Xev in the last season. Stan looks at Xev and tries to persuade her (and Kai) that he should have his key back. Xev reminds us all that she cannot relinquish the key except in moments of extreme passion, or unless she is just about to die (what’s the difference?).
790 tells everyone that the planet is not worth blowing up since it is a typical Type 13 planet. one which usually blows itself at this point in it’s development either by war, environmental catastrophe or more likely it is unintentionally collapsed into a pea shaped object by scientists trying to determine the mass of the ‘Higgs bozen particle’ (no idea what that is – anyone heard of it or is it another little PD joke?)
Meanwhile, somewhere in a high security prison, a criminal called Cobra is about to be fried in the electric chair. He is asked for any last request and engages the guards to clean his fingernails, “They’re feelthy,” he pleads in another over exaggerated accent (I’m guessing it was a cross between Hungarian and Icelandic, but Newkate suggested it was Italian).
When his nails have been cleaned, the guards settle down and make ready to throw the switch, the lever is pulled and just as the contacts are about to touch, the telephone rings. Cobra is saved at the last second by a request by the ATF to undertake some dastardly deed. Cobra sighs.
He is taken to a meeting with Isembard Prince. He is offered a deal. He can either go back to the electric chair and be executed for his many crimes or he can go off and kill humankind’s greatest enemy…. And then be executed in the electric chair.
The assignment Mr Cobra should you accept it, is to drive up in a Space Shuttle and engage the enemy (the crew of the LEXX) and kill them. “But I don’t know how to drive a Space Shuttle.” Says Cobra still trying to work out if he has a reprieve or not. “Think of it as a taxi, NASA pilots will be doing the driving.” (You can just imagine NASA pilots everywhere cringing at the idea that a Space Shuttle is driven …. Wait up guys, it gets worse).
Cobra ventures to ask what his reward will be, but Prince tells him that his reward is death, his only payment being the opportunity to kill some aliens. Cobra asks for two men to assist him, Mustafa Alhambra and Arête Siemenovitch.
The President whispers to Prince that half the CIA is chasing Alhambra in Afghanistan. “That’s Mohammed Alhambra,” says Cobra who wants Mustafa Alhambra (his manicurist from Boston) and the Russian sounding geezer (apparently it’s not a Russian name) who is his personal trainer.
The dastardly trio accept the assignment because the next scene is of a Space Shuttle blasting off to the heavens complete with two NASA drivers. The crew discuss their imminent demise. The NASA drivers are happy to lose their lives to save the human race, but the murderous Cobra, nail artist (Mustafa Manicure) and gym instructor have other plans.
At this point we see the benefits of Paul Donovan’s Physics education. We gain an insight into the internal workings of a Space Shuttle cockpit. A NASA pilot demonstrates that forward and reverse actions are effected by a simple lever marked with ‘F’ at the top and ‘R’ at the bottom; acceleration is achieved by pressing your foot on the accelerator peddle and the ship is steered using what looks like a steering wheel from an old Rolls Canardly (a old jalopy that can roll down hills but can’ardly get up them). Up and down wasn’t demonstrated, but I guess this happens from the complex manipulation of some of the hundreds of other little buttons and levers on the cockpit…. dashboard.
The LEXX is much more complicated. It has a navigation and control system that always seems to be hungry. Stan and Xev discuss with the LEXX what it needs to recharge itself. A small green salad (like say, a forest) is insufficient to sustain escape from the Solar System at full speed. LEXX needs a substantial meal.
On the Shuttle, the dastardly trio have tied up the NASA drivers and are excitedly communicating this to NASA control when they see that the LEXX has broken it’s orbit around the moon and is heading straight for Earth. They do lots of button pushing and frantic turning of the steering wheel. They even beep the horn! All to no avail as the ship is swallowed by the LEXX as a tasty snack.
While inside the belly of the LEXX, the crew of the Shuttle discover an atom bomb (clearly marked that it is intended for blowing up the aliens – nice touch that, greys have had it far too good lately) . They fiddle around with the controls (in exactly the same way that normal people don’t) and accidentally set off the timer – for one hour! The LEXX continues its journey to the Amazon Rain Forrest where is gobbles up a sizable chunk (including a number of tourists) and the last surviving pair of luminous parrots (?!).
Back on Earth however, it’s election night and President Davidson and his trusty entourage are cuddled up in front of the TV watching the results as they come in. The president is upset to learn that the electorate have become frustrated during his term of office and indeed, they are likely to vote for some Vietnam war geezer called Mr. Priest. The TV announcer explains, “… who hid in the jungle for the last three decades until he turned himself into a Belgian Tour bus…. Erm… turned himself over to a Belgian tour bus.”
The election computer makes a prediction that the next President will, be Mr. Priest. Davidson is understandably upset while Isembard Prince smiles (why should he be so pleased?). Mr. Priest is interviewed on TV and seems harmless enough until he is asked what he intends to do when and if he gets into office. “My first official act,” he says in his strong German accent (?!?), “will be to pardon President Davidson for his crimes…. It’s part of my general amnesty for all the criminals who’s names begin with the letter ‘P’.” A clear reference to Mr. Prince wouldn’t you say?
The reporter points out that Davidson’s name begins with the letter ‘D’ but Priest simply replies, “both P and D then.”
Now I know I’ve had a few beers (you can’t review a LEXX episode without being drunk) but how crazy is this! Watching this episode is like being smacked on the head with a slipper while being tickled with a fork! There is no doubt method in this madness, but for the life of me, I can’t work it out yet.
Back on the LEXX, 790 is trying to talk Stan into destroying Xev. Stan absolutely refuses and walks off. The dastardly trio however have made their way over to the Bridge and, as Stan walks away, they enter.
Cobra overheard the robot head discussing his intentions toward Xev and offers to kill her.
“You will?.” Replies 790 excitedly. He listens to Cobra’s request for information on how to get the key from Xev then he asks, “You’re not attracted to 6000 year old dead men are you?”
“In what sense?” replies Cobra (haha, wadda cracking line). 790 explains, and to his complete satisfaction, gets the answer he needs (that’s a ‘no’, just in case you were wondering). However, Mustafa Nailfile did indicate that he might be!
Stan wonders off to find Kai and discusses 790’s disturbing fixation with the death of Xev. Stan angrily tells Kai of his annoyance with 790 but in a touching moment tells Kai that he doesn’t want anything particularly bad to happen to the robot head because they are, after all…. family.
They go on to discuss the LEXX’s requirement for more food and Stan asks, “So what do you suggest?”
“The dead do not make suggestions……normally.” Replies Kai firmly (they don’t bloody-well walk and talk normally either!), “But there is clearly more than sufficient organic material on the blue planet to satisfy LEXX’s dietary needs.”
Xev is sat on her bed doing her nails. She’s sat with her legs wide open quietly humming to herself as she carefully polishes her cuticles. Cobra walks in and surprises her. “Xev a.” He says in his weird accent. Xev instinctively closes her legs (as you do). “Can I do that for you?” He adds
He goes on to tell her that he is a love slave and that he has hidden away in one of the Moth Breeding chamber cells. He talks to her about his special needs and talents and tries to get her to put down the nailfile. Xev is interested but a little apprehensive.
On the bridge, Kai confronts 790 and tries to get the robot head to promise not to hurt Xev. But the robot head can hardly keep from them the fact that Cobra and his cronies are on their way to kill her.
Meanwhile, Xev and Cobra attempt foreplay in the mess hall where she manipulates that big penis looking gadget used for getting food to produce a blue milky substance. She dips her finger in it and provocatively sucks it (her finger that is). “I have a surprise for you Xev,” says Cobra. “I’m a baaaad boy.”
“I don’t mind” replies Xev.
“But you don’t understand,” replies a determined Cobra, “I’m a veeeeery baaad boy.”
“I’m a very bad girl.” Says Xev with a sweet smile (bad boys and bad girls are COMPLETELY different don’t you think?)
“I do believe that baby,” say’s Cobra, “But what I mean is that all I intended to do was kill you” He adds, menacingly holding up a nail file. “to get the keys to the ship. But now I’ve seen what you look like in the flesh, I’m going to break with my tradition and dooooo you first. And once I have my personal … and uniquely … special … satisfaction, I’m going to squeeze the breath right out of you.”
“Why are you telling me this.” Asks Xev only mildly disappointed.
“It makes it more exciting… doesn’t it?”
“No!?” argues Xev.
“Well it does for me baby,” retorts Cobra, “and that’s all that counts.” (Good point nicely put).
Xev goes on to prove that she is not only a love slave and Cobra seems mildly impressed at her attitude, “I like your claws…. But they are not perfect.”
“What?” Asks Xev.
“What about them?” She asks with a worried expression.
“I am going to smooth of the rough edges and when I am satisfied that they are as perfect as they can be, I will kill you.” He adds, clearly indicating that his idea of satisfaction is nowhere near that of Xev’s.
“I don’t think you’re well.” Concludes Xev correctly.
“I’m not, but I promise you that you will be a well manicured corpse.”
With that, Xev screams at him and demonstrates her cluster lizard tendencies. The geezer stands no chance. But does manage to pull out a gun.
Stan and Kai meet up with Mustafa Manicure and the gym instructor. They confidently point their guns at Kai not fully appreciating their imminent demise while Kai asks them to step aside. The poor geezers don’t know what hits them as Kai uses his handy wrist gadget to do a double cross stitch through their hearts at the same time. This manoeuvre by the way is completely impossible .. but it looks good!
Xev meanwhile, asks Cobra about the pointy thing in his hand (the gun), and just as he demonstrates it’s use, Kai arrives and uses his handy wrist gadget to block the speeding bullet before it enters Xev’s lovely chest. Xev’s key on the other hand, is not as confident in Kai’s ability and quickly does a runner to the nearest outstretched hand…. Stan’s hand.
The key is in its rightful place and Cobra is quickly dispatched as Kai’s handy wrist gadget makes a detour through his heart. Xev is mildly disappointed, she wanted to have a little fun with Cobra first.
Meanwhile, the atom bomb in LEXX’s belly explodes! But LEXX only burps. 790 explains that it was a 23-megaton blast from a bomb that came from the Earth. Stan decides to blow up the planet and let LEXX eat the chunks but Xev stops him. Her urges are more important and she rather likes the idea of staying on the planet. She asks Stan to wait for her while she goes down to explore. If she likes it then she will stay. Kai agrees to accompany her, leaving Stan and 790 onboard.
And then, in the vast distance of space, we see the asteroid (you remember, the one in the first scene) presumably headed towards Earth accompanied by lots of little star shaped gadgets (reminiscent of Mantrid drone arms, but shaped like carrots).
And there the show ended. Wadda cracker! There was a lot of scene setting in this, the first episode, but I don’t think this diminished our enjoyment of it too much. The asteroid thingy was nice too see. I wouldn’t like to see a whole series dedicated to adventures on Earth – Earth is just too boring.
Nevertheless, I’d have to rate this a sultry 34,767 out of 10.
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This episode review is © 1999-2019 Tony Fawl.
Not for reproduction without the authors express permission
The LEXX names, characters, pictures and everything else associated with the series are the property of SALTER ST FILMS & TiMe Film-und TV-Produktions GmbH in association with Screen Partners. All rights reserved.
Some of the Vidcaps scanned in by thefrey
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