What an absolutely extraordinary episode. Sheer poetry from start to finish...
"That is my function, my occupation - my job. My joy."
So Fire is the repository of all that is not good? Presumably, then, Water is the repository of all that is not bad. Interesting phraseology: Prince doesn't actually say that Fire is the home of all evil (yes, I know he calls himself evil, but that's more in response to Xev's comment than a reflection of his own self-image. Or so I believe.) I for one would not call Water a 'good' place, particularly - I agree with Kai that the inhabitants are complacent and essentially stagnating. By the same token I wouldn't call Fire 'bad': to a large extent the inhabitant's natures seem to have been shaped by need and topography.
Battle is another episode in which a great deal happens without appearing to do so. We're back to a stately dance again, with Stan and Kai teaming up this time while Xev ends up back on Fire. But the way it happens! The actual physical conflict in the sky was enough to give me vertigo - and I like heights. Beautifully, gracefully - and realistically - done. After all, you can't really fight a fast-moving battle if you're in balloons. In a way, this episode has resonances with Gondola: conflict in the air, on Water this time, (and instead of being personal and internal this is external and impersonal,) and it's Xev who ends up walking on Fire, rather than dead Kai. And stunning imagery...
OK, let's start at the beginning. If we're borrowing from the Garden of Eden allegory, Prince can now be seen as the 'serpent', sneaking into the garden at night to steal Xev from her friends (and I admit the parallel is loose at best.) But why is he doing this? Is he still determined to win Xev over to his side? There's a real innocence about Xev - not least because of her early life, some of which we saw in this episode. After all, if you have literally grown up in a box, you haven't had a lot of opportunity to do anything very bad, have you? And most of the few 'reprehensible' things she has done since escaping the Cluster can be blamed on the fact that she is no longer entirely human. She has helped her friends, worked co-operatively with them, saved them on occasion, she refuses to give in to Prince... Yes, if Prince is an incarnation of the devil, Xev would be quite a prize!
It's power Prince wants, Xev's acceptance of his darkness - and her own potential darkness, for everyone has the capacity for both light and dark within them - rather than her body (though he'd quite happily take that as well!) It's obviously not love. Back on Fire, Prince joins her in the desert, wanting to watch her die - because he's never seen anyone die for the first time. A bizarre phrase that could mean a variety of things, not least of which is if that's the case, have all the inhabitants of both Fire and Water come to the system from elsewhere? We've already established they aren't born, simply awakened, and that several individuals from the Light Universe have appeared on Fire or Water. Has everyone on the twin worlds come here after dying in the Light Universe? (I'd guess not everyone who dies in the Light Universe makes it here, or the place would be a little crowded by now...) So is this some kind of punishment - Purgatory, perhaps?
I've been trying very hard all along not to think of the twin worlds as approximations of heaven and hell (thinking about it, Mount Olympus and hell is perhaps a better way of describing the pair), hoping that the situation was more complex and less based in earthly allegory than that. I'm now reluctantly losing that hope, although in its favour, while the series has the equivalent of the devil in Prince, I haven't yet noticed a god-figure. But there are still three episodes to go...
As a final note, the imagery in the third season is incredibly powerful. That absolutely beautiful scene at the end of the episode raised a shiver - Xev alone amidst an awe-full expanse of desolation and loneliness with Water shimmering in the sky... Entrancing.
"I see hate in your eyes. If you can hate me, you should be able to hate others. It's a small step for you to take. Take it Xev - be mine." Was there also an echo here of the Doctor in Terminal, back in season two? Not in the words, but in the scenario? Back
Unlike Stan and Lyekka. What a wonderfully touching little scene that was. Stan truly affected for once, and Lyekka did care for him. But I'm not overly certain I understood her words, "If you cry you lose the memory of our love." Unless this is a reference to a particular element of her alien nature. After all, she's a plant. Plants have a chemical nervous system: perhaps in her terms memory is contained in salt tears... Back
Prince called his servant Priest. Maybe I was right about the caste system in Princetown, then.
And Prince dies twice in this episode. You'd think he'd be bored with it by now. But maybe having the Lexx crew there is providing him with more excitement than he's seen in a very long time, and is worth all the nuisance of death and reawakening...
Isn't it amazing how Prince's minions (well, most of them anyway) seem to accept his orders without question, even when that means killing themselves...
Why didn't Xev stay with the balloon? She might have got a little battered, but her Cluster Lizard half would have taken care of that. And a drifting balloon is a lot easier to spot in the desert than one small walking figure (who also happens to match the colour of her surroundings...)
© 2000 Joules Taylor (Flare) Episode 11
© 2000 WordWrights