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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mantrid- or, celebrity boxing gone really wrong, Cluster style



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BASIC INTRO- Mantrid was played by Deiter Laser, who enjoyed a stellar 2016 via Human Centipede stuff. You can follow him on twitter and find him on facebook.

As baddies go, Mantrid reigns supreme. Or grand, actually. He was a Grand Biovizier for the Divine Order, ranked just under Supreme Biovier Brizon. Long story short, this is what happens when your weirdo lover uses your science kit to download you into tech during a crisis, so don't try this at home, kids.

Vigl was played by Holder Kunkel

I know, that guy, right? Before we even get to Mantrid we've got to get past that emotionally twisted crazy in love assistant who can't help crying over every drop of a pin. Or arm. Whatever. It's like Frankenstein's assistant helping Frankenstein turn himself into the monster, with the warmth of rainbows and kittens somehow hiding under that jerkin. He loved Mantrid. Someone actually loved Mantrid. Wrap your brain around that one for a few minutes while I go get some screen grabs.

Originally, pix on on this blog have been hosted at LexxPix for film review study and so that fans translating across borders could hotlink the pix. However, ongoing photobucket issues at large are preventing this even on my pro account (troubleshooting, supported browsers, user feedback...), and after 10+ years of paying for photobucket hosting, I can barely even get it to load most days, even though it still functions fabulously sharing hosted pix to old posts. I'm uploading straight to blogger today, which goes against better intuition, so I'll repeat- "Screencaps are used in not for profit episode and character reviews and film study. Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use." Also see my disclaimer in the right side column. If you grab and share this post, please be advised that hotlinking the pix might not work across international internet, but you're welcome to download them. Anyone can take pictures of the TV they are watching and immediately share them across all media, which is what this post contains. By the way, this is a very loaded post, so heads up if  your internet is slow.

Mantrid is well preserved for his age. Get it? Well preserved.


Y'all are going shtap already, this is not naht okay. Ok, fine, throwing puns out the window. But I won't hold back if I feel limericks coming on.

Let's start at the beginning. Lexx is currently being distributed through Echo Bridge Entertainment and can be widely purchased in the U.S. now thank goodness, and you can also find Lexx at Amazon. I am using the original Salter Street/Acorn Media version.







I began the season 2 Mantrid review with the opening narrative from episode 1 "Mantrid" in my post His Divine Shadow- Prelude to a Kiss. We now continue. I'm starting out kind of backwards and using the pix to straighten it all out. If you haven't seen Lexx,  you need to go purchase it right now and get all over this.

Kai wanted to look for a dormant roly poly space baby floating around in the jagged chunks of what was left of the Cluster, which they had the Lexx blow up at the end of season one. The Giga Shadow had been growing inside the Cluster all that time and was likely the progenitor for a revived race of extinct Insects. Kai was needing to find a protoblood source and the crew was hoping maybe somehow something in all that rubble survived, because, remember, the Divine Assassins were all stored underground and hooked up to protoblood lines, as we saw in the very first episode I Worship His Shadow. During storage, Divine Assassins were drained of their protoblood, and reactivated by pumping more in through tubing that clicked into little ports, kind of like IVs only a bit bigger. Anyway, Zev was determined they should find more protoblood to keep Kai functional, so there they went, crossing back into the Light Universe to search some out.

Some of you are wanting to know more about protoblood. Before we really get started, it's important to note that protoblood and Insect essence are not the same thing, even though they come from the same source- Insects. Protoblood is the life force manufactured by the Insects' bodies, essence is the programming that is passed on from one generation to another. Protoblood is a syrupy white goo that reanimates dormant flesh, essence is a sort of biometaphysical dark matter that seeks a host.

When Kai got his memories back from a Divine Predecessor, we saw him get not only his own memories back, but the memories of everyone that Predecessor had killed and absorbed, plus the Predecessor himself and those Predecessors before him. The glowy memory transference we saw happen didn't look anything like the Insect essence passed from one host to another and is its own thing apart from protoblood and Insect essence as far as we know. However, we do see Kai's eyes turn dark a couple of times, first during a memory review and later as Zev is kissing him at the end of season one, both times happening during the season one fourth movie Giga Shadow, so we're already getting hints that Kai contains Insect essence along with all those extra memories. We never find out whether memory transfer and essence are linked, but just know Kai is a carrier.

Now let's see this roll out in pix. When we left the Lexx at the end of season one, it was in the Dark Zone. Season two is about getting back to the Light Universe.

We learned in season one that the Lexx can transverse between the Light Universe and the Dark Zone via a particularly situated and apparently permanent wormhole. We also learned that His Shadow cannot cross this boundary with the Lexx, and that the Lexx can cross using survival skills since it's a bioship. I know what you're about to say- How can Kai be a carrier crossing universes? Let us remember that he is *dead* and evidently rigged up by bioviziers to be able to carry Insect Essence, a form of dark matter programming the Insects use to info-share over large distances during dormancy. Kai being dead might be crucial to this possession in combo with protoblood. Nice back up plan, kudos to a nearly extinct race of bugs for that.
Kai makes a case for returning for protoblood, since he is nearly out. Little do we know, he has ulterior motive.
Stan questions Kai's sudden motivation, since Kai is dead and has no motivation of his own at all.
Naturally, Zev is on board with this plan and helps make the case for Kai's continuing usefulness via more protoblood.
790 proclaims his love for Zev, no matter which side of the fence he must defend, and he almost immediately has to waffle.
While Stan keeps arguing, Zev keeps her eye on the viewscreen, promising Stan a sex deal if he tells the Lexx to cross over to the Light Universe.
It's too late when Stan notices they are already being pulled in, and now he must command the Lexx to go through the wormhole to survive being ripped apart. This voids Zev's deal, of course.
The Lexx maneuvers into position.
The crew's point of view watching the Lexx plunge into the wormhole on a viewscreen.
A strangely satisfied looking possessed Kai.
Here we go! Lexx gets sucked in as correctly positioned as possible amid flying debris and energy bolts.

Once they've entered the wormhole, Stan commands the Lexx to fire its weapon. We aren't really told why or how he knew when, but I suspect that this was a counter burst against all the forces around the Lexx that protected them in a sort of bubble as they passed through.
Gratuitous Zev satisfaction at this sequence of events, since she doesn't have to do it with Stan to get what she wants.
Close up on the Lexx's ocular parabolae. From the Lexx wiki- "The Lexx has a more highly advanced weapon system than the Divine Shadow's previous flagships. Also it uses a different design of weapon, as the two previous ships utilized a highly amplified version of the Black Pack weapon system. This weapon system uses The Lexx's ocular parabolae (it's insect "eyes") to fire a concentrated horizontal beam of energy (a ring of energy in the later seasons, though was shown to once again use the horizontal beam of energy during the destruction of earth in season 4,) which has the ability to destroy any planet (including anomalies like fire and water). Though the weapon system is not without limits, and was shown to not be able to penetrate the shell of the Giga Shadow when he fully resurrected (It is unknown if this applies to all insects, or just ones of a certain age.)"
This weapon can apparently manifest a collection of energy and direct it in several ways. Talk about a bug zapper. (I know, that was boo worthy.)
Which came first, Star Trek's energy ribbon from the Nexus or Lexx's particle weapon? (Star Trek wins this round.) Fun fact- Malcolm McDowell was in Generations and found a way to steer the energy ribbon to him as Dr. Soran, and as a priest named Yottskry he was also incorporated into the Giga Shadow in the fourth Lexx movie, which was partly destroyed by a baby cluster lizard and finally blown apart by the Lexx's weapon.
Personal opinion- I've seen a lot of spaceships go through wormholes through the years. I think the CGI on Lexx is fantastic, especially for the digital era at the time. My phone pix here don't do it justice at all. Can you imagine the CGI on it *now*?
Whew, they made it!
Arriving at the rubble from the blown up Cluster. Bits of Giga Shadow exoskeleton and other pieces can be seen drifting around in the mess.
Despite Kai's inability to feel or care, he sounds very excited to be looking for Insect larvae that could have escaped the worst of the damage and still be salvageable. This is terribly ironic since he originally gave up his life quite violently trying to stop this very evil.
Stan makes it absolutely clear he's not cool with this plan, and thinks they're all crazy for even suggesting it.
So, of course, he winds up being talked into flying a moth around to help them look through the rubble. They each take a moth, so there are three flying around. My moth pix wound up blurry.
So it would be Stan who runs right into one.
Right there with you, pal. A larva the size of a small car isn't my idea of a good thing.
Um, no...
Yep, Kai totes brought that thing on board. "Is it not beautiful, Stanley?" O_O
All the wtcrazyf right there in that face.
Kai explains- "If anyone can help us obtain protoblood from this larva, it is Mantrid. He was one of the Divine Order's greatest bioviziers. No man ever had a more insatiable hunger for knowledge and experience, a brilliant scientist and a truly dangerous human being, so dangerous he was imprisoned by the Divine Order."
Love when Stan gets all serious removing his hat. He'd been imprisoned himself for years, he knows nothing good can come of this.
Personal note- I've watched a *lot* of scifi in my life, and there is more believeability in this face than in most I've seen.
But it's really hard to argue against this beautiful face standing up for something. Sorry it's blurry.
And professor Kai here was unrelenting, another unusual behavior in his undead state. Red flags going off right and left, Stan's all "Nope!" and it's just going to happen anyway.
Zev was all set to cut that dormant baby right up and dig around for the protoblood until Kai stopped her, pointing out that protoblood production is possible in a dormant specimen, but not a dead one. Irony keeps abounding. A dead human protecting a baby Insect. That is some awesome Essence programming right there. Remember this later about the programming.
Later, back on the bridge, Stan says Kai is acting weird, Zev argues that he's acting more alive.
790 observes that Kai's behavior is clearly inconsistent.
Meanwhile...
Kai is updating his programming.

There is no way I can squeeze any more into one post. This will be continued until s2e1 is covered, then I'll do a season 2 overview post, and finish up with a season 3 reflection on everything Mantrid.