"What are you doing?"              


Sorry - I couldn't resist it. What a wonderful piece of dialogue!

Almost every religion that is or ever has been has the concept of a garden as a kind of heaven. From the Elysian Fields to the Summerlands, the garden is a place to go for refuge, to rest and recover - often in preparation for being reborn, which has obvious resonances with the fundamental precepts of the two-world system.

I'm glad there were no blatant parallels with the 'Garden of Eden' - it would have been easy to have taken the easy way out and used the allegory. Instead, the Garden seems more like a Muslim paradise (there are even beautiful and willing young maidens caring for it - even if they aren't quite sure what they're supposed to be doing for the men there ...)

The gardeners (all female) are intriguing - and form interesting counterparts to the moth-breeders. Attuned to the plants for which they care, the garden is the be-all and end-all of their existence - literally. When one dies another is immediately brought into existence to take her place. They serve the garden. They are extensions of it, more like plants than people, although quite different to the carnivorous plant that is Lyekka. And they're colourful and attractive too. The moth-breeders (all male), on the other hand, are grey, almost mindless, almost-zombies, relics of the Divine Order's ruthless attempts to impose order on everything it touched. His Divine Shadow would have hated Garden. Though he would probably have approved of the single-minded, slavish dedication of the gardeners...

There's a good contrast, too, between the gardeners - who respond sexually only to plants - and Stan's rampant (pun intended...) lust. The gardeners can't even be said to be innocent - they're fully aware of the mechanics of sex, and appear almost orgasmic (OK - strike the 'almost') when bringing the Lyekka plant into being. There's simply no common denominator between Stan and the gardeners - although, being Stan, he tries to firstly find one, and when that doesn't work, make one...

Kai's rôle is very odd in this episode. He's worried (well, as worried as he ever gets), he buries himself (or allows himself to be buried), even though he freely admits that his own decomposition will "take some time" since he's now decarbonised. Fair enough, he has nothing much to do: his self-appointed duty of taking care of his colleagues is essentially unnecessary in the safe environment of Garden. But to lie down and wait for decomposition makes very little sense... On the other hand, it's peaceful here: Stan is, apparently, happy; Xev is planning to find herself a city - somewhere, at any rate - where she can be happy. What else is there for him to do?

Xev positively shines. Not only are we permitted fractional glimpses of her past, but we also see how far she has developed, emotionally, from the Xev of the second series. In Garden, Xev is tolerant, allowing her companions to make their own choices, and quite obviously fond of Stan - as a friend.

Lyekka is wonderful here - as sweet and lovely as ever and even more dangerous! And yet... It's difficult to feel sorry for the gardeners she ingests. They simply don't have sufficient character to seem truly real, except during the creation scene... "Let the Garden dream". A wonderful notion, the Garden as the creator. I don't recall coming across a parallel to that, except possibly in Aboriginal folklore.

They're all behaving a little untypically again. They know how dangerous Fire is, even given the apparent status quo, but their reactions are slowed, almost as if they have been lulled into a sense of security. I can't help but wonder exactly what those plants are spraying into the air...

It's all very elemental. Earth and water have traditionally almost always been seen as feminine and female, while fire and air are masculine and male. Water contains Garden, and is fruitful and - arguably - nurturing: Fire has Prince and balloons and is warlike and aggressive. Unfortunately the episode is also a little unsatisfying - a brief respite before the finale, apparently (unless I've missed something blindingly obvious, which is quite likely) only serving to show, firstly, the relationship between the crew, and secondly, that even on Water all is not as it seems. I'd already guessed that.

Nice magic mushrooms, though...

Wondering Allowed

OK - so now we know where Duke saw trees.

And I was right about Water using sailing ships for transport (well, it was a fairly obvious option...)

Cute phallic watering cans! I'm not sure about the colours and the patterns, though - they looked somewhat unwell to me! But then, it was all symbolic anyway. It seems highly unlikely that the Gardeners would know what male genitals look like. And even less likely, on this showing, that they'd know what to do with them...

Kai's comment is interesting - "I think you should make a choice that brings you happiness." But what, exactly, will bring them happiness? For Stan, it seems to be a bevy of compliant, adoring females (having Lyekka included improves matters of course. There really does seem to be true feeling between Stan and Lyekka, even if he does intend taking advantage of her affection for him...) I'm not convinced, though. Stan is always at his gentlest and most relaxed when in the company of a woman he can talk to, as well as sleep with. And Xev? Who knows what will make Xev happy? I'm not sure even she knows...

Though quite who would play the serpent is a matter of some conjecture. Stan is probably the first choice - but he's essentially ineffectual, and in any case the gardeners are pretty much incapable of being 'corrupted'. Garden isn't Eden - which doesn't stop it being a close approximation to Paradise - superficially, at any rate. Personally I think I'd grow bored fairly speedily... Back

Was this inspired by the gardeners' "We like dead things. When things die here we put them back into the soil"? Back

Xev is extremely unhappy, both with Garden (no men) and with Stan. Why? She's always refused Stan, and should, by all rights, be happy for him. But she isn't. The thought of the group separating has hit her surprisingly hard. Has she become truly emotionally involved with the group as an entity, or is it a fear of change? Then again, they are, effectively, ignoring the threats posed by the Lexx and by Fire - it could be simply good sense! Back

© 2000 Joules Taylor (Flare)

Episode 10

Sound byte posted without express permission but calling on the reviewer's privilege of quoting up to 10% of the reviewed material as examples.

© 2000 WordWrights