LEXX: S02E12: Norb

This was another great episode, the graphics were wonderful, and we saw the long awaited return of the Arch Villain, Mantrid. We also saw a marvellous performance by the young Brandon McCarvell who played the title role.

The show opened with that little bastard Norb flying his spaceship to what looks like a huge Space Station made out of sugar Candy. It was probably some sort of space fairground – I say was because it is suddenly and quite frighteningly disolves into millions of Mantrid flying arms!

Norb, cleverly sensing that he is in danger, makes a hasty U-turn. He does this surprisingly well for a ten-year-old boy – the little git! The sweet little bastard, NorbNorb, you may remember, is the angelic little illegitimate son of a space-farer from the White Trash episode. He was the one who annoyed us by getting his own little spaceship when most of used to dream of such things. It’s not like I’m jealous or anything (I mean, I REALLY wanted a spaceship when I was ten), it’s just that Norb not only HAS one, but the clever little sod can fly it too!

He zooms away from the stricken space station and a mirriad of little arms follow. Norb tries a number of very mature manoeuvres to escape his impending destruction, but eventually he must give up. He radio’s an SOS message and as the arms begin to dismantle his ship, he don’s his little space helmet and ejects himself clear into space. Norb zooms off

On the LEXX, Stanley is discussing why the Bridge has changed shape. Stan is understandably concerned by this (it must be like waking up in someone else’s house), but LEXX tells him re-assuringly, that it is because he is still growing! The bridge looks better I think.

Then they receive Norb’s distress signal. Space Captain Norb says, “I’m drifting alone in space and I’m low on air. Can somebody please help me?” Stanley runs off to get the others.

Norb is rescuedXev and Kai rescue the little geezer and bring him back to LEXX. Xev is pleased to see that he is alive, but is slightly concerned that he wont accept help – especially when they get close to the football shaped orb he is holding. Norb insists coldly, that it is a picture of his father, and Xev assumes that this is the reason he is so protective towards it. Kai is sceptical. He tells them that this is not a picture of anything.

790 decides, “The little kid is clearly deranged. I suggest we spare ourselves any further unpleasantness by ejecting him back into space at once.” {66kb wav file} (I’m with you mate!)

Stanley then tries to question Norb, but the tiny space-farer refuses to answer. They give up and show him to a place where he can rest. Xev and Stan assume that Norb has suffered some sort of trauma, like, it’s not easy for a ten-year-old space ship captain, these are dark and dangerous times after all!

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Norb Dissarms

Xev takes him to her bedroom (I’m really beginning to loathe this little sod!). When he is alone, he holds up the orb and it changes into the top half of a Mantrid Arm! He then takes off his right arm (!?!) and places it underneath the transformed Norb orb. It turns out that Norb is actually MADE of Mantrid arms!! Wadda gruesome twist!

{Explanation by DalekTek790} “It was a trap to get Norb, since Mantrid knew he could use him to get inside the Lexx undetected. It was part of his game.”

On the bridge, Kai tries to explain that Norb is not the same little kid that they met. He tells them that he does not think in the same way that living people think, but he recognises a ‘Certain lack of vitality’ from the little geezer. Stanley concludes that Norb is therefore dead and they decide to go and question him (as you do).

They leave 790 on the bridge muttering to himself, but Norb appears and begins to dismantle the robot head. He takes out a small piece of brain! (790 has a brain?). Kai, Zev and Stan return to the bridge to see Norb sat placidly by the inanimate 790. He tells them that he has a message from Mantrid, “Let the contest begin.” Then he squashes the little piece of 790’s brain between his finger and thumb.

Norb dissassemblesThen Norb turns into his constituent parts – four Mantrid Drones, even Norb’s head was the top of an arm, like the Norb orb, it was able to change shape when required. (The technology in this show can be more than a little whacky and sometimes expects us to take a good deal for granted, however, I’ve tried to rationalise the science in this episode with updates on the relevant Character biographies – particularly Mantrid).

Kai manages to destroy the four Mantrid Drones and returns to look at 790’s squashed brain cube. They realise however that there must be at least one more arm left, and that it is just as dangerous. Xev and Stanley learn that each 790 robot had a small piece of brain tissue, which acted as an interface between the mechanical computerised head and a human body. If 790 had not had a small part of brain tissue, the falling in love transformation that was originally intended for Zev, would not have worked on him. It was not necessary for 790 robots to know this and therefore it was not part of his original programming.

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This upsets Xev. I suppose the knowledge that 790 was at least part human makes her miss it/him more. Kai believes that there is enough information contained in the robot head to help them in their fight against Mantrid.

Kai attempts to fix KaiLater, in Kai’s cryogenic chamber room, he uses a contraption and some of his protoblood to attempt to re-constitute the fragment of brain and make 790 whole again. The process however would take time. Kai also explains to Xev that Mantrid Drones are of similar technology to 790 type robots. This is the reason he supposes that 790 will be able to help them stop Mantrid.

Stanley wonders off nervously to look for Mantrid Drones, eventually he finds a large group of them. They are stripping parts of LEXX and using the material to make more Mantrid arms. Kai is concerned that given the time and raw materials, the Drones are capable of constructing anything, even more Mantrid Drones. He hurries to complete the process of reviving 790.

Stanley shouts out for help, Kai and Xev rush off to help him. Kai manages to destroy the group of Mantrid arms that attacked Stanley but there are many more. LEXX complains that the Mantrid drones are now actively stripping enough of it to make the giant organic ship ‘hurt’.

Mantrid arms make themselves up!They return to the bridge and notice that high up, near the ceiling, a large number of Mantrid arms are ripping large parts of LEXX and using the raw materials to build new drones. Hardened sci-fi nuts may be a little concerned that, no matter how nimble the fingers of a robot, it cannot reconstitute organic material into inorganic material. The idea that skin can become metal will seem annoying. It is supposed therefore that the Mantrid Drones contain Nanobot’s or Nanites, small molecule sized machines capable of dismantling other molecules and re-constituting the atomic material. In this way organic raw materials could be re-built to form metallic in-organic components. The components are then screwed together by Mantrid Drones rather like assembling a mecano set.

Xev and the others decide to flee. They take a moth and are chased out of the LEXX by what is now, a myriad of Mantrid drones. Meanwhile, 790’s brain cube has become fully re-generated and he calls out for his beloved Xev. Kai returns to retrieve the robot head and between them, they learn how to destroy the drones by getting LEXX to reverse the polarity on his main particleKai shoots it up! accelerator. This will, in effect, de-polarise all mechanical devices on the LEXX and render them inoperable.

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LEXX unfortunately, is becoming very sick indeed. The poor bug is literally being eaten alive and the only way Stanley can communicate is by returning to the bridge. In a very tense scene, Stanley manages to issue the order to LEXX and Kai stays on the Bridge enabling Stan to escape. Xev deftly drives the LEXX saves himselfMoth to safety by flying through the oncoming Mantrid drones. As soon as they are clear of the LEXX, the particle accelerator is reversed and all the Mantrid drones are destroyed.

Later, when they return, Kai re-adjusts and checks 790’s brain cube and restores him to the 790 we all know and loath. Xev however, is delighted. Stanley returns to the Bridge and notices that all trace of the Mantrid arms have now gone. The LEXX tells him that he has re-constituted the raw materials from the drones back into his ‘system’ He needs the material if he is to recover properly. (Erm. I have no idea how the LEXX can do this. In the first episode, I Worship His Shadow, LEXX could not digest inorganic material)

Kai and Xev join Stanley just as the face of Mantrid appears on the screen. This new, computerised, rejuvenated Mantrid, tells them of his plans to destroy all of humankind and explains how Mantrid’s mind fused with the insect essence and entered Mantrid’s spaceship (designed to keep Mantrid’s mind alive past the death of his body).The new Mantrid!

Did you enjoy my little game?” Asks Mantrid, “That was just a game, I was playing with you. If I had wanted to destroy you, you would long ago have been destroyed, but you helped create me, so I’m saving you for last……. It will be my going away present. Now, I will go away from you, for a while. Goodbye.”

The LEXX crew determine that Mantrid should not be underestimated. “He is a very dangerous… thing.” Says Kai. Everyone becomes glum as they contemplate Mantrid’s purpose and with that thought, the show ends.

And the moral of the story? Yer asking for trouble if you let ten a year old boy drive a spaceship!

I’d have to rate this episode a cool 33,720 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.

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