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Recap / Lexx S 02 E 06

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Season 2, Episode 6

Stan's Trial

Stan is looking for the Celes Pleasure Transport, a brothel thats women can, he knows from experience, "give me what I need." Being traders, they'll accept items other than cash for their services. Unfortunately, the Lexx can't locate the Transport, and 790 is enjoying his frustration. Xev orders 790 to help Stan; 790 locates the brothel almost immediately, and Stan flies off in a moth to visit it.

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Arriving at the Celes Pleasure Transport, Stan walks into a booby trap made from an oversized condom. The surviving heretics had staked out the brothel in hopes of that the "arch-traitor" would return. They intend to put Stan on trial for the murder of the 685 billion people whom the Divine Order killed after obtaining shield codes from Stan's tooth.

Xev watches the broadcast announcing his capture with dismay. She wants Kai to help her rescue Stan. However, Kai thinks that Stan should face judgment. Xev protests that Stan is their friend, to which Kai responds that they should attend his trial.

They obtain permission to attend from Grand Prosecutor Jihanna, who orders the overzealous guards to let them board. Jihanna explains that the guards are drawn entirely from those who lost family in the destruction of the Reform planets. She inquires about Xev and Kai's history with Stan, but they truthfully respond that they didn't know Stan prior to fleeing the Cluster with him.

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The Reformers bicker over how to proceed with the trial. Jihanna wants a young lawyer named Nool, who's convinced of Stan's guilt, to defend Stan. Nool protests, but Jihanna points out that the defendant must have "proper counsel," and orders him to do his job.

Stan and Xev attend a court session. Xev doesn't like courtrooms and doesn't trust the court; Kai tells her that, presumably, "the scales of justice have shifted" since her trial for failing her wifely duties. He has to explain the concept of an adversarial system where the prosecutor and the judge (presiding via viewscreen from a remote distance) are separate entities. Only the attorneys may speak, unless asked a question; both Stan and Xev receive warnings from the judge for their unsolicited declarations of Stan's innocence.

Jihanna's first piece of evidence is a security recording from the Celes Pleasure Transport itself. It depicts Stan, then an "assistant deputy back-up courier" for the Ostral-B Reformers, bargaining for access. He offers sixteen oxygen cylinders, an extra uniform, and a piece of navigation equipment, but the Celes system keeps responding that he must give them "something of value." Stan then begs on the grounds that he's returning to the rebels from "an important mission," and gets the more promising reply that "[i]nformation has value." Although he refuses to say what his mission is, he says it's very important. The Transport lets him board, with the comment that "[w]e have a soft spot for the Ostral-B."

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Next are snippets of video, reconstructed from different sources, of Stan returning to a Reform base. Unbeknownst to Stan at the time, he was being followed by a Divine Order warship. The recordings show that it obliterates the base moments after Stan arrives there.

Jihanna argues that the Divine Order tracked Stanley Tweedle from the brothel to the base as a result of his identification. Nool points out that, even though Stan did identify himself and his destination on the video and the Divine Order reached the base shortly after he did, Jihanna hasn't offered any evidence that the Divine Order wasn't already on its way.

The court takes a recess. Stan uses the chance to insist he's innocent to Kai and Xev. Meanwhile, the legal team gathers in a lounge, where the lawyers drink and Lissha, one of the local prostitutes, rubs Jihanna's feet. Jihanna berates Nool for doing a better job than she'd expected: She traveled "all this way" to prosecute Stan herself because the idea of killing him turns her on, and she's not happy that Nool might interfere with that. He points out that he was just doing his duty, but she fires him and orders him to leave. Then she kills Lissha in front of the other lawyers, excuses it on the grounds that Lissha was a "citizenship-less whore" with no rights, and dares them to protest.

Nool encounters a work crew rolling a large object through the halls of the Transport. It's a shipment of "nerve-bore worms" that Jihanna had ordered for Stan's execution. Nool looks disturbed by this discovery.

The court resumes its work. Jihanna explains Nool's absence by saying that his conscience would no longer let him defend someone "whose guilt was so obvious." The judge is concerned by the prospect of a trial without a defense attorney, until Kai volunteers for the job and is accepted.

Jihanna uses a memory probe to show the circumstances of Stan's capture. Stan's own memories show him stranded in a shuttlecraft, low on oxygen, sending out encrypted signals in hopes of rescue by other rebels. Feppo appears on Stan's screen, claiming to be a rebel "sub-com." Stan asks how he knows that Feppo isn't really a mercenary; Feppo warns Stan about the unpleasantness of death by suffocation, and adds that they're speaking on an encrypted channel: "I didn't know any mercenaries had access to it." Stan decides to trust Feppo, who thanks him and then reveals that he's the enemy: "And Stanley? How do you spell sucker? Sucker? Sucker?"

Jihanna removes the probe and asks Stan if its display was accurate. Looking stunned and ashamed, Stan says that it was. Jihanna describes the memory as the moment when Stan committed the ultimate crime: He had time to blow up the shuttle, along with himself and the codes, but he let himself be captured instead. The mercenaries wound up giving both Stan and the information to the Divine Order, which used it to circumvent the shields which protected a hundred reform planets (although Stan insists, at ever opportunity, that "it was only ninety-four!").

Kai makes no effort to deny Stan's culpability in the murders of the Reformers. Instead, he focuses on an ameliorating factor: Stan's participation in destroying His Divine Shadow. Stan, inspired by Zev, smashed Predecessor brains during His Shadow's fight with Kai, distracting His Shadow so that Kai could land a killing blow.

The judge pronounces Stan guilty and gives him a short break to talk with Kai before sentencing begins. Jihanna smugly informs them that death is the minimum punishment for murder.

Kai tells Stan that he must plead for "the mercy of a swift and painless death." Stan protests that he doesn't "want to die at all," and Xev wants to break Stan out, but Kai is unmoved.

The court reconvenes. Jihanna wants to subject Stan to the "nerve-bore-worm treatment," the most painful method of execution ever devised. Kai argues that Stan's "heroic actions" against His Shadow "merit some mercy from this court," and that "[f]urther suffering insults the lost souls. As they are dead, it cannot be argued that they would derive satisfaction from his suffering." Jihanna challenges his credentials to speak for the dead; Kai retorts that he is "well-qualified to speak for the dead."

Stan's own plea centers on his regret: "I wanted to blow it up, but I couldn't. I wish I had. I was afraid to die. And I can finally say it now."

The judge delivers Stan's sentence: "[A] quick and painless death by the most expedient means available." Jihanna asks for, and receives, permission to perform the execution herself. Xev begs Kai to help her save Stan; Kai merely says goodbye to Stanley and leaves the courtroom.

In the hallway, Xev and Kai argue about Stan's fate. Kai believes the sentence is fair, but Xev is more concerned with the fact that Stan is their friend. Additionally, she points out that they won't be able to operate the Lexx without Stan's key. Kai replies that she will begin a new life here, and that he has no future.

Jihanna shows up in the execution chamber and taunts Stan with the nerve-bore worms. She has no intention of granting him "a quick and painless death": She delights in the suffering of others, and finds Stan's death the most exciting of any she's ever been party to. Not content with torturing and killing Stan, she orders the guards to execute the "citizenship-less drifters" for being accessories to Stan's crimes.

The guards attack Xev and Kai, who easily defeats them and asks why they don't get a trial. The guards explain that Jihanna ordered them executed without trial because, in the absence of citizenship, they have no rights. Kai declares that this is not justice; Nool appears and adds, "No. It isn't." He tells Kai and Xev about Jihanna's plan to torture Stanley.

Xev and Kai break into the execution chamber just before Jihanna can force the worms down Stan's throat. They free Stan and capture Jihanna. Kai says that, although he has no motivation to kill anyone, he will do so if Stan asks him to act as the enforcer of justice. Stan waffles on the decision before deciding against it: "I don't know. Let's just go back to the Lexx."

Back aboard the Lexx, Stan asks Kai if he really would have killed Jihanna. Kai says that, if Stan had asked him to enforce justice, he would have killed Jihanna and then Stan. Shocked, Stan asks if he means that. Kai replies that he has no motivation to lie, and leaves the bridge.

Jihanna watches through a window as the Lexx flies away. She's distraught over her missed opportunity to torture Stan, and wonders how Stan's friends found out about the nerve-bore worms. Nool appears and reveals that he told them, "Because you, Grand Prosecutor, are a truly evil woman." Jihanna takes comfort in this response.

A strangely-moving formation appears in the window. It's Mantrid drones. They descend on the Celes Pleasure Transport and completely obliterate it within seconds.

Tropes present in this episode include:

  • Amoral Attorney: All over the map. Most of Jihanna's associates either don't care or are simply to scared to protest her many depredations. Nool is an aversion, as, despite his personal hatred of Stan, he considers it his duty to defend whatever client Jihanna assigns him. Jihanna, on the other hand, is actively immoral.
  • The Baroness: Jihanna is cruel, domineering, manipulative, and powerful.
  • Belly Dancer: Lissha (or, more likely, a hologram of her) wears the outfit while dancing in the Transport's parlor, although her style of dance is ambiguous.
  • Bio Data: Stan carried secret Rebel codes in his tooth.
  • Booby Trap: The one set for Stan involves dropping a giant condom over him.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Xev believes that, since Stan is their friend and only committed his crimes out of fear and ineptitude, rather than malice, she and Kai should rescue him. Kai believes that, no matter how they know Stan, his choice to risk hundreds of billions of lives for his own was wrong enough that they should let him be executed. The narrative presents both views in a sympathetic light.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Stan reacts to the accusations of causing 100 plants to be destroyed by insisting that six of the planets weren't protected anyway.
  • Courtroom Episode: The main plot is, unsurprisingly, Stan's trial.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The nerve-bore-worm treatment. The worms eat their way up a person's nerves, keeping their brain alive and in pain until they finally reach it and kill them.
  • Dirty Coward: Stan risked billions of innocent lives to save himself.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Jihanna kills Lissha in front of Jihanna's colleagues, then dismisses her as "a citizenship-less whore."
  • Double Entendre: Stan, hailing a brothel: "Permission to come aboard?"
  • The Horseshoe Effect: The Reformers' "justice" system is shaping up to resemble the Divine Order's in a lot of ways.
  • Insult Backfire: Jihanna thanks Nool for calling her "truly evil."
  • The Judge: In addition to presiding over the trial, he also decides the case.
  • Justice Will Prevail: Subverted. Kai certainly believes this early in the episode, and in fact the judge and defense attorney seem to believe this as well, but it's undermined by corruption, prejudice, and the potential for cruel punishments.
  • The Last DJ: After ordering Nool to defend Stan, Jihanna fires him for doing too good a job of it.
  • Mental Picture Projector: Jihanna uses one to reveal the specifics of Stan's capture by mercenaries.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Lissha wears one in the Celes Pleasure Transport's advertisement.
  • Private Military Contractors: Sub-nebulae mercenaries captured Stan and sold him to the Divine Order.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: A rare example in the judge. While the surviving Reformers' system of justice is very harsh, the judge does make a decent attempt to evaluate and weigh all the legally-relevant factors.
  • Regretful Traitor: Stan says that he wishes he'd had the courage to sacrifice himself in place of the Reform planets.
  • Reign of Terror: Played with. Not all of the new régime's officials are corrupt or fanatical, but those that are can easily abuse the system, as shown when Jihanna gets permission to perform Stan's execution herself and then attempts to torture him.
  • Sadist: Jihanna states outright that her motivation for killing people is that it turns her on.
  • Scales of Justice: Invoked by Kai.

    Kai: "Presumably, the scales of justice have shifted since you were charged with failing to perform your wifely duties.

  • Screw the Rules, They Broke Them First!: Not only does Kai not let Jihanna torture Stan, once he finds out that she planned to do so, he decides not to carry out the sentence himself... unless Stan himself requests "justice."
  • Secret Test of Character: When Kai asks Stan if he wants him to enforce justice, Stan only thinks he's asking in regard to Jihanna. In fact, Kai thinks that both Jihanna and Stan deserve to die for their crimes, and he would have executed them both if Stan had chosen justice over mercy.
  • The Stateless: According to Jihanna, it's legal to kill these without trial.
  • Stock Legal Phrases: We never find out why lawyers in the Light Universe address the judge as "your honor."
  • Trapped in Villainy: Stan, during his last days as a Resistance courier. After His Shadow's ship (probably) followed him from the Celes Pleasure Transport to the Resistance base and destroyed it, Stan found himself running out of oxygen, with nowhere to land or refuel, and made a deal with Feppo that ultimately caused far more destruction than Stan's inital betrayal.
  • Treachery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Stan didn't deliberately kill anyone whose murder he's charged with, but his incompetence and weak will caused helped outsiders to do so. As a result, the Reformers seriously consider having him tortured to death by the most horrific means in existence.
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