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Recap / Lexx S 02 E 01

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Season 2, Episode 1

Mantrid

Thousands of years in the past, a small group of miners studies on the planet that will one day be known as the Cluster. One miner, called "Rockhound," desperate for something exciting to happen, explores a tunnel. When he obtains mysterious readings, his superiors attempt to call him back in favor of sending a robotic probe, but Rockhound refuses to cooperate. The strange readings come from a buried Insect, which possesses him, presumably turning him into the first Divine Shadow.

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Kai wakes up without outside interference and with a sense of purpose that he can't explain. This frightens Stan and delights Zev, who takes it as a sign that he's regaining life. Kai tells Stan and Zev that the protoblood they gathered on the Cluster will only last him a few more days, and that he feels "motivated" to find more, despite the fact that he normally does not have motivations. Kai thinks that one of the insect larvae carried by the Giga might have become dislodged during its fight with the Lexx; if so, they might be able to extract protoblood from it. To do that, however, they have to return to the Light Universe, and the Gigashadow's mass destroyed the fractal core when it lost propulsion.

Stan dismisses returning as impossible, but Zev makes 790 answer a "direct question" about its plausibility. 790 says that the conditions for a fractal core do exist in other locations, and that he can calculate where one will be, although he cautions that it would be dangerous.

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They head to the fractal core, but Stan balks at going through. Zev distracts him by promising that she'll have sex with him if he cooperates. While Stan listens to her promises, the fractal core's pull captures the Lexx. By the time he realizes this and orders the Lexx to retreat, it's too late to go back. Stan says that this had better be "the best sex in the history of the two universes"; Zev responds that she has no obligation whatsoever, since Stan tried to call off their deal before fulfilling his end.

They pass through the fractal core, using the Lexx's weapon to help manipulate it. This destroys the core and traps them in the Light Zone unless and until they can find a new one. At the former site of the Cluster, they find a larva, which Kai insists on bringing on board. He refuses to let them kill it: It may or may not yield protoblood in its current dormant state, but will not if it is dead. If properly awakened and then imbued with Essence, it would instinctively attempt to destroy any humans it encountered, along with their habitats.

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Instead, he wants to take the larva to an expert: Mantrid, a former "bio-vizier." While a brilliant scientist, Mantrid is also a "truly dangerous person," so the Divine Order imprisoned him on a frozen celestial object that Zev calls a planet, but that appears to be a moon.

On the "planet," Mantrid is pursuing an obsession with immortality. He has long outlived his natural lifespan, but, as he says, time has not been kind to him— he's reduced to a severed head, some organs in a large jar, and remotely-controlled robotic limbs. He's working on a machine into which he can "download" his personality, freeing him from biological frailty. The only human who lives with him is his servant Vigl, a self-loathing former child molester in love with Mantrid.

Stan reluctantly sets a course for Mantrid's prison. Kai strikes a deal with Mantrid: If Mantrid extracts protoblood for Kai, then the Lexx will take Mantrid wherever he wants to go. Kai and Zev use a moth to tow the larva to Mantrid's hive-like dwelling. Mantrid unsuccessfully attempts to renegotiate for ownership of the Lexx, but Kai enforces their original agreement by threatening to kill Mantrid.

The Insect larva contains an organ which much receive Essence in order to create life; in Mantrid's words, "It's like a computer without a program." He says that he can safely awaken the Insect's body, since it will have no instincts or thoughts of its own. Secretly, Mantrid plans to remove the organ and use it to hold his own consciousness in his machine.

Vigl distracts Kai and Zev by taking them to a dining room, where Zev is surprised by the quality of the food. Kai, however, remains concerned with the protoblood. He leaves the dining room and shatters Mantrid's organ jar, then kneels over the Insect. While Zev races to Kai's side, Vigl rushes to save Mantrid's head. The Essence leaves Kai and enters the Insect, which hovers menacingly over him and Zev.

Kai and Zev attempt to hide from the Insect. Kai, temporarily weakened by the Essence transfer, tells Zev to call Stan and have him blow up the planet immediately. Zev does so, but Stan doesn't obey. The Insect finds them. Kai, drained by the Essence transfer, tells Zev to run. Vigl directs Mantrids drone-arms to perform a surgery on the Insect and, unseen by Zev and Kai, extracts the organ in-flight. He installs both the personality from both the organ and from Mantrid's head in the immortality machine, upon which the hybrid Mantrid kills him. The maddened Insect continues chasing Zev until Stan arrives in a moth and rams it.

Back on the Lexx, Stan orders the planet's destruction. Kai, unaware that Vigl had the organ removed, insists on examining the debris until they find the Insect's body. 790 spots its front half, blown off by the Lexx, and the crew believes that they've won. Zev is still worried about Kai's protoblood supply, but he tells her that the Essence made him lie about it, and that he has a "sufficient" amount remaining. The Lexx sails away. As it disappears into the distance, a Mantrid's machine and a set of drone-arms glide onto the screen.

Tropes present in this episode include:

  • Always Chaotic Evil: The urge to exterminate humans is an inherent part of the Insect psyche.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Vigl has some kind of depraved history with "little boys," but he also licks Zev's hand, kisses Kai's forehead, and professes his love for Mantrid.
  • Catchphrase: "How curious," for Mantrid.
  • Animate Body Parts: According to Mantrid, his drones have independent wills to live.
  • Asteroid Miners: In the opening flashback.
  • Cruel Mercy: Mantrid initially refuses to kill Vigl, because putting him out of his misery would be better than he deserves.
  • Deadly Environment Prison: Mantrid's planet doesn't have any barriers or traps, it's just a frozen wasteland that may or may not have a breathable atmosphere outside the prison.
  • Demonic Possession: The Insect Essence works this way. It possesses Rockhound in the flashbacks, and it's been manipulating Kai from the inside since he destroyed the last Divine Shadow's brain in Giga Shadow.
  • Dirty Coward: Mantrid says that Vigl won't kill himself because he's a coward. Subverted in that, at least when Mantrid's life is at stake, Vigl behaves bravely enough.
  • Dug Too Deep: Rockhound ran into the Giga when he refused to quit tunneling deeper into the Cluster.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Played straight with Vigl. Averted with Mantrid.

    Mantrid: "I like you, Vigl. I've enjoyed some of our time together. But I don't love you. I don't love anyone."

  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Rockhound, a bored miner, becomes the first Divine Shadow as a result of stumbling onto a buried Insect.
  • I Lied: Kai, on his previous claims about his protoblood supply.
  • The Igor: Vigl is simpering, obsessive, and happy to help Mantrid's schemes.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: Vigl is in love with Mantrid, who has neither the genitals nor the emotional range to reciprocate.
  • Incoming Ham: Mantrid's first negotiations with Kai.
  • Insectoid Aliens: The Insect larva, of course.
  • Kick the Dog: Mantrid forces one of its drones to beat itself to death.
  • Kill Us Both: Zev tells Stan to blow up the planet with her and Kai on it rather than risk letting the Insect live.
  • Lecherous Licking: Vigl does this to Zev.
  • Left for Dead: Averted. Kai makes the crew confirm that the Insect is dead. He just doesn't know that the Essence-containing organ was removed before its death.
  • Losing Your Head: Mantrid's head no longer has a body to accompany it, but it can still think and talk.
  • Mad Scientist: Mantrid.
  • Maniac Tongue: Mantrid, on meeting Zev.
  • Mess on a Plate: Vigl serves Zev something that looks like a cross between an armadillo and a foot-long roly-poly. It tastes good, though.
  • Ninja Pirate Robot Zombie: Mantrid has already converted himself into one of these, but he takes it to another level when he adds in the ghost of a giant insect.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Averted: Rockhound's company actually has safety protocols that would have protected him, if he hadn't refused to obey them. Notable in that the series seldom misses an opportunity to play this trope straight.
  • Our Spirits Are Different: The Insect Essence.
  • Panty Shot: Zev gets one while running from the Insect.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Mantrid's prison looks to be completely covered in snow and ice.
  • Too Dumb to Live: If Rockhound had just listened to his superiors about basic safety precautions, he wouldn't have gotten possessed by the Insect Essence.
  • Undying Loyalty: Vigl will do anything for Mantrid.
  • Way To Break It Hero: If the Lexx crew hadn't brought the Essence to Mantrid, the combined entity would never have existed. It goes on to be the Big Bad of the season.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The hybrid Mantrid pulls this on Vigl.
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