Heaven and Hell

"This has never happened before..."

The culmination of Season 3 is a strange and somewhat unsettling mix of tension, revelation and anticipation. And I love it.
       It all comes down to balance - or possibly stagnation...

Heaven and Hell finally establishes, in words, that both planets are 'repositories' for the life essences of people who have died and will live again. Fire is the 'home' of those who made bad choices while alive (not those who are 'bad'. Interesting phraseology. I suppose, though, that those who may be considered fundamentally bad end up here too.) and Water "seems to be the afterlife of the virtuous" (Kai)- though as we've seen, Lexx's definition of 'virtuous' is hazy at best.
       I suppose Xev best encapsulates 'virtue' as it is perceived in this system. Yet what she has would perhaps be better described as innocence, rather than virtue...
       As anticipated, Fire and Water are destroyed by the Lexx. But it's why they are destroyed that matters. Stan - for once - is not responsible. Stan is dead. And this is no casual, Stanic "I don't like/trust them/there aren't any women so let's just blow them up" situation. This is Xev, pacing, uncertain, torn, not trusting the far-too-simple equation (Fire=bad, Water=good). Hampered by that bloody robot head. Sure that destroying Fire is the only possible way to get Kai back, but not certain that he'd survive the experience. And finally, unable to take decisive action without calling on the survivor part of herself - the Cluster Lizard.
       And she makes a bad choice - apparently. By destroying Fire, she upsets the balance (almost incidentally saving Stan - allowing his essence to re-inhabit his body) and releases Prince from the cycle in which he has existed since the beginning...
      What, exactly, is Prince? He doesn't know. He doesn't question his existence, or his nature, or his job. He accepts that he has a limitation - at the moment, at any rate. He is aware of the cycles of time. He ensures that those who have made bad choices are punished - although he doesn't, in the main, punish them himself. He also does not actually make others do wrong: although he may tempt them occasionally, he does not force them to make the choices they do (so claiming "Prince made me do it" is both untrue and a waste of time.) He is subtle and captivating, perilous and, despite his words to the contrary, a very complex being. He is fully aware of the futility of the 'game', as he calls it - Fire attacks Water and always wins, but then the individual Fire factions attack each other so no lasting benefit is gained and the whole cycle starts all over again - but he doesn't (or perhaps can't) take any action to change it...
       And Prince wants to upset the balance, break out of the unending cycle, by destroying Water. At the same time he seems constrained to warn Xev not to destroy the planet. What is he - and where did he come from...?
       If he came into being at the beginning of all things (as he thinks - although of course he may be wrong), was he created as a force for destruction, to balance the force of creation? If so, why incarnate in human form? And why is he trapped in the Fire/Water system? (I'm assuming he doesn't just attack, take over and rule Water because of the danger of Duke usurping Prince's sovereignty of Fire in his absence. He can go to Water, but not stay there if he wants to retain his own kingdom.) Is he being punished? If so, why? And by whom? Is this all getting a little too biblical?
       I have no easy, ready answers, and don't want to hunt too hard for them. At the most simplistic, Prince symbolises the Christian devil. On a slightly deeper level, he is Ahriman. Deeper still, he is a fusion of all the gods of the darkside that ever were or will be - and still unique unto himself. I'm almost afraid to hope against hope that he will return...

       And what of the vision in white and black - Prince (the unable to stay dead) and Kai (dead but undying) walking hand in hand in step across a desolate rocky plain...

...ye gods...

Prince's skill in interpersonal relationships leaves me gasping. (Nigel Bennett seems to be able to get away with anything and make it perfectly believable!) The scene with Xev ("I will be a very good queen - but not your slave.") is wonderful, as is the aerial struggle that follows. And Xev is now where she should have been all along - captain of the Lexx.

And the Lexx destroys the twin worlds. Well, it was expected. The Lexx crew had definitely upset the 'natural' order of things (if such a term can actually be applied to the Fire/Water system)from the moment they arrived - if for no other reason than by simply being alive. And I do mean alive, as opposed to the rest of the inhabitants of the twin worlds who have already died at least once...

The twin worlds - Fire in particular - physically seem to resemble Klein bottles. Kai dives into the fire down a flue in Princetown - and emerges under a tropic sky somewhere in the bowels - supposedly - of Fire. While somewhere above the interior of the planet an inverted well of souls houses the life essences of those due to be re-awakened to eternal suffering on the surface of Fire. On the other hand, sinking into the bottomless ocean of Water brings you to a bright light at the centre of the planet, from where you are reawakened to live a happy - if pointless - life on one of Water's cities... (Thinking about this for long enough can give you a bit of a headache...)

Wondering Allowed

That 'little blue planet' looks suspiciously like earth... If it is earth, then perhaps I was right about earthly notions of Heaven and Hell coming from Fire and Water, not our own history/myth/religion.... I like that inversion, and it acts to redeem what could otherwise be seen as basically just a retelling of tale of the fallen angel. (Isn't it wonderful to be able to rewrite history to make it fit with your own personal vision? It's one of the joys of speculative fiction...) This means that earth is actually one of the planets in the Dark Zone (unless it's a parallel world. In which case the 'real' one would have been destroyed when the Light Universe was annihilated. So I suppose the question is academic anyway.) If the coastline towards which Prince was falling is the east coast of North America/Canada, which is what it resembled, then the action would appear to be taking place in recent times (geologically speaking. What we could see of the continent looked much as today, and I didn't notice any ice sheets.)
       The streaming life essences leaving the ruins of Fire and Water look similar to the 'spirits' from the Ark of the Covenant in the first Indiana Jones film (Raiders of the Lost Ark). They head for the little blue planet... If it is earth, I suppose the implication is that they will 'awaken' here. (When, though...)
       I'm not sure how I feel about that. One of the things I liked most about Lexx was that it had nothing at all to do with earth (I liked the Star Wars films - and disliked Battlestar Galactica - for the same reason). OK, the humans were 'human' and familiar, but the civilisations and cultures were quite alien. Now we have 'good' and 'bad' life essences on earth (and Prince, who has presumably become the Prince of this world? Oh dear...). Are they going to awaken as the humans of today (which would presume that they no longer simply 'awaken' but reproduce as normal humans. After all, they're no longer in the closed system of Fire and Water. There's no immediate or obvious need to maintain any balance...)? Or are they going to appear to the inhabitants as angels and demons, or influence their development, like the monoliths in 2001 and 2010? How much control will Prince have? (Or did all this happen in our past, as I've already suggested?) Will he retain his ability to reincarnate almost as soon as he's killed, or will a different world mean different powers? And does the alien ability to re-incarnate explain human reincarnation (if you believe in such a thing, of course)? And what will the inhabitants - assuming there are any - make of the big bug?
       I could speculate further, but I've taken so long to write this Analysis I really ought to finish and post it sometime this decade! Suffice it to say that, given the choice, I simply wouldn't be able to decide whether I'd prefer to see an earth based Lexx episode/series, or have the Lexx back to roaming the Dark Zone in Season 4. (Much as I'd love it, I can't imagine how it could be possible to reprise something as exceptional as Season 3.) I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.

Kai says that the nearest solar system (i.e. a sun with planets) is seven light years from the little blue planet. There are two stars that could be considered candidates, although neither are quite the right distance from earth today (though they might be/have been at the time this episode was set...)Barnard's Star (cooler and smaller than the sun) is about six light years away, while Wolf 359 (even smaller and cooler!) is about seven and half. Neither are particularly good options. But I have to confess I'm very behind with current research, so I may have missed something significant.

It must be difficult, serving Prince. As Xev demonstrated, how can the servitors be certain the person they are speaking to actually is their master (unless they can't conceive of anyone having the nerve to impersonate him...)

Interesting, also, that Fire - or Hell - is becoming crowded. So many people making so many bad choices... Back

[Xev] "It's a whole planet."
[790] "It's an evil place."

This is a robot head who, despite overwhelmingly abundant evidence to the contrary, insists that "the dead stay dead." Why are they still listening to him (sorry, her)? 790's advice is worse than useless, especially here. Xev had already been warned - by Prince himself no less! Never let it be said that he's unfair. OK, his warnings are usually incomplete and convoluted, and he rarely explains himself fully - but ye gods, they've all had enough to do with him by now to know what he's like! To trust a schizophrenic robot head instead of your own instincts and the admonishment of one who knows is the height of folly... It's a measure of how much I've come to thoroughly like Xev that I can't bring myself to blame her for her bad judgement. Back

Does that mean Xev is now condemned? Has she done enough good things in her life to make up for this one (admittedly pretty major) slip? It's difficult to say. After all, she's given Prince his freedom - thereby doing him good - and released the twin worlds from the endless cycle of stagnation in which they were trapped. How does that rate, on a cosmic scale? Back

Prince, Xev and Kai    Back

For me, this is one of the most extraordinarily complex images of this episode (if not the whole series.) White haired Prince, his tan emphasising the brilliant whiteness of his clothing, and black haired Kai, the black version of his flamboyant Brunnen-G costume making his dead pale flesh even more noticeable, seem somehow intimately linked. If Kai is the black hole into which all things fall, never to reappear in this continuum, is Prince the white fountain entrance into a different dimension, from which wondrous things may appear? Are they opposite poles of a trans-dimensional phenomenon? Kai cannot die, since he's already dead, whereas Prince is easy to kill, but impossible to keep dead - and therefore should represent Life...

Perhaps, in the final analysis, he does... Back


© 2000 Joules Taylor (Flare)

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© 2000 WordWrights