Cluster

  • Heresy in the First Degree- Thodin of the Ostral-B Pair

    Originally posted on 3-20-15 at Lexxperience.com.

    That omg moment when you wake up at 5 a.m. nearly 13 years after the show is over and realize that they probably added Thodin to the Divine Assassin collection (you can own them all!) and used him to help with the culling and cleansing in s1ep4's Giga ShadowDisclaimer- I don't read fanfic. Ever. Unless a friend shoves one in my face and that hasn't happened in years. If a Lexx fan out there has actually written about this happening to Thodin, kudos to you. I'm sure there is at least one Russian fan out there who was brilliant enough to run with this idea.

    Thodin, proclaimed Arch-Heretic by His Divine Shadow, is the leader of a small gang of Ostral-B rebels, or "heretics" opposed to the Divine Order when we see him. He was likely much more than that, since leading a strike force into the heart of enemy territory to steal the biggest weapon of mass destruction ever created would take the sort of precision and team loyalty that any black ops team knows means do or die.

    We have some idea of how long this had been in the planning stages. In the first movie I Worship His Shadow, we learn that Stanley Tweedle is still carrying one or more secret codes embedded in his teeth. We further learn in the fourth movie Giga Shadow that Stanley was originally caught by Sub-Nebulae mercenaries (Sub-Ns for short) and turned over to His Shadow, who then named him Arch-Traitor and kept him alive for years in the ironic position of processing prisoners as a security guard, which sent strong messages to outlying planets not yet incorporated into the League of 20,000 Planets. Thodin not only knew Stanley Tweedle and mocked his title of Arch-Traitor, but was probably his commanding officer when Stanley was assistant deputy backup courier in charge of getting the codes across enemy territory.

    Not turning this into a Stanley bio, but Stanley is crucial to understanding more about Thodin, since he is the last living person to have spoken to him (unless you count the Zev kiss and then the heretic who was immediately eaten by a Cluster Lizard), and their last conversation revealed so much in so little time about their relationship before Thodin was killed.

    Click to go to The Pic Bug

     

    Thodin was beyond angry at the sight of Stanley, to the point of distraction from his mission. One might think that if Thodin had been able to set his emotions aside, he might have been able to utilize Stanley's inside knowledge of the Cluster, particularly the finer points on security (makes sense, doesn't it?), but Thodin was so obviously incensed to find Stanley still alive that he couldn't help taking the extra minute to berate Stanley personally for the difficult position his capture had put them all in, on top of the many years Stanley had been humiliated as the Arch Traitor anyway. Meanwhile, Stanley was surprised and relieved to see Thodin still alive since the Reform Planets had been destroyed after his capture, based on coordinates found in one of his teeth. Basically, Thodin had to come re-steal what they had stolen in the first place, except now the Lexx was more than codes- it was fully grown and would have to be flown out.

    :edit: 3-22-15 I originally prepublished this post before I was done, which a handful of you saw (12 direct link hits from twitter and G+, additional whole page views also happened before I did this update). The issue I posed to twitter (which turned out to be a nonissue for the one fan who responded) was about how the Ericon raid was played out. I have oscillated from one event to two events back to one event. "The first raid to smuggle out the Lexx codes must have gone off without a hitch until Stanley got caught, after that it turned into a war going back to steal a copy of the Key so they could steal the actual Lexx." I recant that. It was one trip to Ericon for both the codes and the Key, they barely made it out alive, and the Key lived inside Thodin all the years Stanley was prisoner on the Cluster, where the Lexx was being grown. How Thodin actually acquired the key during the heist is left to speculation. It was doubtful he throttled anyone for it since a- the Lexx hadn't been grown yet, and b- it was meant for His Shadow. This makes Thodin the true original captain of the Lexx, and this may be why he was able to willingly pass it along. Everyone afterward has inherited the key by means of death or sexual ecstacy, a spiritual 'death' state.

    Click to visit The Pic Bug

    Originally, the Lexx was designed by two Ericon biocode specialists, one of whom turned out to be Brizon. The Lexx was meant to be grown on the Cluster for His Shadow, a planet killer more powerful than any weapon that had ever been built in the two universes, including the Foreshadow, which we watched destroy every living thing on Brunnis 2 in only 20 shots (I counted the firing noises, it might have been 19 if editing put two sound effects too close together), leaving behind a blackened dead planet. The Lexx would be able to blow a planet up into pieces with one shot, making the stolen codes (over which a war cost millions of lives) a last desperate hope against a government that had been spreading across the Light Universe for thousands of years engulfing all of humanity, following a war with a race of Insects that had lasted thousands of years more before that. The League of 20,000 Planets forced a restrictive political religion that not only turned humanity into a slave culture, but very literally absorbed humanity into itself, as we see in Giga Shadow. The League didn't hesitate to reward crime syndicates for their cooperation in acquiring and turning over information and hostages, and Stanley Tweedle happened to be the one who got caught attempting to smuggle the stolen codes after the Heretics finally wrested them off Ericon.

    The planet of Ostral-B, above all the other Reform Planets, was apparently famous as a staunch hold-out from the League and became synonymous with heretics and traitors, which is most likely League-speak. Joining the resistance meant politically aligning with Ostral-B, which was very dangerous since His Shadow had the resources to wipe out all life on a planet in minutes. As we must imagine, defense technology had developed into planet-level cloaking capabilities, which is confirmed in season two's Brigadoom. Since Brunnis 2 was destroyed 2000 years before Thodin's attempt to steal the Lexx, we don't know whether Brunnis 2 was part of the Ostral-B reform alliance or if the Ostral-B alliance came later. We do know that the Ostral-B were aware of the Brunnen-G being lost to history, and could reasonably make the assumption that they either once shared technology or one may have grown out of the other from another time further back, which could also conceivably make the Brunnen-G and Ostral-B very distantly related, as Vulcans and Romulans are in the Trek universe. But all that is speculation. For now, let us assume that Thodin and Stanley Tweedle were both actually from Ostral-B.

    I have mentioned the curious incongruity between what appears to be low level culture and high level tech keeping that culture in place on the Cluster and throughout the League. That Thodin and his gang look a bit like steampunk warriors belies the sheer knowledge and experience they had with Insect technology for what must have been not only lifelong but intergenerational warfare. We can probably assume from even this small amount of information gathering that Thodin was an extremely high-ranked and well-known person bordering on legend across the Light Universe. The Cluster had evidently been attempting to acquire this publicly named Arch Heretic for years, as we see they already have his judicial proceedings prerecorded for very swift justice and execution. Ironically, it would seem that Thodin and his rebels might have somehow previously infiltrated the Cluster's automatic coding locks and procedures and used being captured as a sure way in without getting caught, because they were ingeniously already caught. I also believe they chose the gate change, but this is still highly debatable, and they obviously had no idea their own Stanley Tweedle would be manning that particular switch, just as Stanley had no idea they were on board the transport to which he was refusing to give docking permission. From I Worship His Shadow- Part 2- The Cluster, "A security guard with 991 demerits is almost late reporting to work at Department 511 Level 4. A prisoner transport has been diverted to Gate 511. This is Thodin's day of justice... "

    This being the most important day in the history of the two universes, we're very surprised to see Thodin killed early on, after surviving so much war in the first place. His presence turned out to be crucial as he carried a copy of the Key to the Lexx, biotech created to reside within the body of its captain, which should have been His Shadow. As Thodin rants to Stanley about the war on Ericon where millions died so he could get the Key, we don't yet realize that Stanley failing to smuggle the Lexx codes in the first place is the reason it must be stolen now after it is grown. The Key, originating from Insect Essence and biocoded along with the Lexx, is the only way to operate the Lexx, using a host as an interfacing catalyst. If the codes had been smuggled successfully, Thodin would already be on the brink of using the Lexx himself as its captain, instead of stealing it.

    ~~~~~~~~~

    :edit: 3-22-15 Since I'm coming back to this two days later, that's go ahead and switch gears before I get lost in the history obsessing again.

    Thodin was played by Barry Bostwick. I don't think he has a twitter, but here he is on facebook.

    Ok, THODIN. This outfit is outrageously awesome. I've seen all kinds of speculation in forums through the years about what kind of warrior outfit this is, is there any significance, on and on. First of all, get standardized military uniforms out of your head. This isn't Earth, and it's not the Cluster. Next, notice the vibrant colors, much like the Brunnen-G. Kai wasn't wearing a warrior outfit when he was killed. Now think about what Thodin was actually doing, his goals, how he aimed to achieve his goals. I'm going to jump to a scenario that helps me visualize a little more what's actually going on.

    Thodin and his gang of heretics wanted to be caught so they could get to the Lexx. They wound up on a transport carrying Zev Bellringer and Giggerota. Zev is from B3K. It's highly improbable that Zev had ever been off-planet, so I'm going to assume that the prisoners on this transport were gathered from B3K. Giggerota was charged with ravaging temples and eating priests, a setting which seems to be a theme when we look back through Zev's memories and conceivably fits in with being assigned to a wife bank training center and then going berzerk. But why are the heretics on B3K? Because the Reform Planets have all been destroyed. These are presumably the last of the heretics hiding out among the B3K citizenry, and we know that B3K is part of the League of 20,000 Planets. Thodin has probably been lurking in a base of underground operations on B3K ever since Stanley got caught. Or, who knows, maybe they had previously infiltrated the League and established this base before it all went down, and now it came in handy.

    So if Thodin is hiding and wants to get caught so he can get into the Cluster and steal the Lexx, what does he need to do to get caught? Well, I'd call donning a ceremonial Ostral-B outfit and wearing it in public on B3K a good way to get some big attention real fast. From there it wouldn't take much for Thodin and a few co-conspitators tussling with authorities and being recognized to wind up exactly where they wanted to be, on a transport heading to the Cluster for special execution. We know Thodin smuggled in a bug bomb which was preprogrammed with blueprints and detailed instructions, so it's likely that B3K was an ideal place to lay down an undercover information pipeline that might have gone all the way into the Cluster. That would explain how they were able to get the gate change, which apparently got them as close to the Lexx as possible once they were inside. From there, Thodin and his gang acquired black packs and then managed to quickly reach the Lexx, so they clearly had help on the inside regarding building plans, codes, timing, you name it. This plan must have taken years to set up. (Remember that when you see Stanley slapping at the bug bomb.) At any rate, I can imagine how apropos it would have been, had Thodin successfully pulled off the Lexx heist, to blast up the Cluster wearing ceremonial Ostral-B garb after his planet had been blown up. BOOYA!!

    Click to see The Pic Bug

     

    There are two things that Thodin unwittingly did that weren't according to plan and unintentionally made huge differences later. After the bug bomb detonated and he was pulling his heretics off the prisoner slabs, Thodin caved to releasing a prisoner known as Giggerota the Wicked. Giggerota is later responsible for getting Stanley up to the command center of the Lexx in a moth, then it's her idea to steer toward the Frontier, which gave them a head start. While we are speaking of prisoners, remember that Thodin was detained inside his own special unit during transport, so he isn't wearing the slab bands like the other heretics or like Zev is still wearing even after her transformation. He and Zev probably never saw each other before they met near the Lexx, even though they came in on the same transport, since she was already in processing by the time the bug bomb detonated and Thodin was brought back to the slabs. He and the other heretics never blinked at her slab bands (I doubt any of them recognized her as being from the same transport), and were so caught up in running into Stanley and stealing the Lexx that Zev wasn't much more than a wild card thrown into the mix. Thodin is responsible for shoving her onto the Lexx before she could be killed by a Divine Assassin. Zev is responsible for both bringing 790 on board and knocking out Stanley's tooth, a combination that proved extremely useful as another code was discovered for a flight path to the Dark Zone. She also told Stanley to stand up and die with dignity, which Stanley later exaggerated into mocking Divine Predecessors like no human in the Light Universe had ever done in all the millennia that humans had been savagely enslaved and abused.

    I know I go off on tangents, but because of Thodin, these other things happened. Under all that brusque, Thodin apparently had a heart of gold for the ladies, and it made all the difference in the Two Universes.

    --there may be a part 2 down the road--

     

  • Lexx ecards

    Years ago I used to be able to find Lexx ecards, and wondered ifanyone out there still hosted this service.  Here we go.

    Hi Janika!
    Janika (janikabanks@aol.com) has sent you an eCard:

    hello

    This eCard was sent to you through SciFiUpdates.com the home of all things Sci-Fi.

    If you'd like to check out sending Lexx ecards for Christmas, go to Media and Download Sections to the Lexx Gallery, choose the image you want, then in the upper left menus (they are tiny) choose 'item actions', and 3rd up from the bottom is 'send as ecard'.  Easy peasy.  My Hanukkah-Christmas-Kwanzaa-whatever holiday, birthday, or non-holiday present to you. It's all good on the Lexx.

    You're welcome.

     

  • I Worship His Shadow- part 8- Zev Bellringer

    This is part 8.
    Go back to part 7.
    Go on to part 9.
    Return to The Lexx.
    Go to main blog.

    Images from photobucket.com/lexxpix. Thumbnails click to original size.

    While Stanley Tweedle is going through a nasty Cluster parody of Theatre of the Absurd, his female counterpart in this story is about to be, well, let's find out. We rejoin her in the judicial chamber, where she's just witnessed Argon Protopi being gutted and brained for useful components and the protein bank. Argon's screams are barely over when her slab moves forward into position and her hologram advocate begins. "My client- (inserted voice here) Zev Bellringer of B3K- is innocent of the charge of- (pause for glitch)- failing to perform her wifely duties and humiliating her husband in the temple, and throws herself on the mercy of this court, secure in the knowledge that His Shadow's wisdom will prevail upon these proceedings."

    I can't keep from wondering how many hours now she's been bolted to this slab. I try to imagine having to stand like that on those tiny footholds and never getting to put your arms down or go to the bathroom, and how terribly hungry you'd get. But we also don't know other stuff, like the smells around her- old metal and electronics, stale air perhaps, lots and lots of death... I can imagine this part of the building smelling like a slaughter house. I encourage Lexx fans to visit slaughter houses to really get that sensation of how awful being a prisoner is on the Cluster, and to realize that these experiences are at the heart of any kind of meaning behind the rest of the movies and series. For fans who don't 'get' the different seasons, you have to remember THIS is what shapes the minds and actions of our core four. What is the meaning of existence, where do you find it, and how do you know?

    Like Argon before her, an assembly clamps to Zev's head while a robot activates the automated memory software. "Memory search commencing." You may notice this is 790's voice now if you've seen any of the Lexx movies or series before.

    I don't know about you guys, but the idea of having my head clamped into place just sux, and I bet having the holojudge staring at her like this sucked for Zev, too.

    Imagine this thing jabbing into your head for a memory search.

    Like Argon, it looks like it about made her sick, but it starts working instantly, and the screen shows the search flitting through several memories. There were more, but dang hard to get on screen grabs.

    Kinda curious about those bars... We find out what that's all about in season 2.

    The screen settles on a memory, focuses a little, we see a boy and people in the background, and apparently Zev is the one saying, "You are my every dream come true" in a pretty, cultured voice.

    The boy steps forward with a you've gotta be kidding me look, then turns and angrily screams, "There must be a mistake! There's no way I can marry that COW!"

    As we hear a shocked, possibly terrified, and definitely confused "Husband! I shall serve... I shall love...", we see Zev rolling her eyes at the memory, obviously well aware of how screwing up this badly canceled out how demeaning the whole experience was. Ridiculous is a word that hardly begins to describe it. She's on trial, and death can be its only outcome...

    I can't help interjecting here that the boy's parents, as I assume them to be, are so intriguing that I had to go back and really look at them frame by frame as this all went down in the temple. We're already getting the strong hint that women are about as 3rd class as it gets in this societal structure, and the boy's mother is as passive as a cow in a sunny pasture herself, evidently so brainwashed into the expected behaviors of the system that she barely reacts at all to Zev's appearance or her son's anger. I mean, I almost feel like she is on a crapload of xanax or something. Likewise, the boy's father doesn't seem very perturbed beyond mild surprise, either, and as I watch the background behind them, I see another robot as part of the 'wedding party', as it were. This temple they're in leaves a LOT of questions open and hanging.

    Ok, here comes the good part. Watch the parents' faces as the boy turns and screams again, "She makes me want to throw up! Get her out of here!"

    Go Zev!!! ~Poor~ Zev, omg, she's about to be executed just for having a perfectly normal healthy reaction to being treated badly.  "Memory search complete."  The clamp lets go of her head. She knows what's coming next.

    "You- Zev Bellringer of B3K- have been found guilty of failing to perform your wifely duties and humiliating your husband in the temple." I feel awful for her, I imagine the pain in her head from being jabbed with that probe must really suck on top of hearing this.

    "You are hereby sentenced to be transformed into a love slave and to be given to Seminary 166145 to be used for their pleasure, may His Shadow fall upon you."  Whaaaa???

    How old is this hologram program, anyway? I'm asking because I am noticing the lines across the judge's image, like something in the electronics or software is worn out. Kinda creepy thinking that the guy used as the model for this program might be long since dead himself. The rail clangs over to a different track than the one Argon's slab followed, and Zev's slab moves forward toward another room as her defense advocate stands there smiling at her, frozen in place.

    A robot walks along with the slab as she cries out, "Oh, please! Put me out of my misery! I volunteer for the protein bank!"

    "I don't want to live this terrible life anymore!"

    And her slab follows the robot into the next room.

    So, there is punishment worse than death, such as being reprogrammed to serve those who would continue to mistreat you, or even to live on in pieces and parts in things like robotic drones. I wonder how many of these 'trials' this robot has assisted with. Would you care if your body was forced to live on without your head? I think it would be creepy to have other people's bodies walking around without their original heads, but I think everyone in the League of 20,000 is so used to it they don't even think about it any more.

    Zev's trial makes me think a *lot* about not only the penal system on the Cluster, but the rigid societal control His Shadow must have throughout the League of 20,000 Planets. You slip up even just a little bit, that's all the excuse they need to whisk you away and repurpose you. I think the whole gender class structure is just a cover for something far more menacing. If you can brainwash people to follow preset ruts without allowing them to think outside the lines, and then reinforce it with instant retribution in the form of immediate and absolute removal from society, never to be seen or heard from again, you wind up with a lot of people toeing the line and living in denial just to survive. Thinking about it only makes you miserable, saying something about it probably gets you killed sooner or later.

    Trapped by high tech in low culture. His Shadow is a genius. Humans are so easy...

    Original Zev Bellringer is played by Lisa Hynes - IMDb, but is credited in I Worship His Shadow as Lisa Hines.

    Am I Lexxing too slowly? Order it for yourself from Echo Bridge Entertainment- Lexx

    This is part 8.
    Go back to part 7.
    Go on to part 9.
    Return to The Lexx.
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  • Lexx 1: I Worship His Shadow, part one

    This is part 1.
    Go on to part 2.
    Return to The Lexx.
    Go to main blog.

    "I am Kai, last of the Brunnen G.   Millenia ago, the Brunnen G led humanity to victory in the war against the Insect Civilization.  The Time Prophet predicted that I would be the one to destroy the Divine Order in the League of 20,000 Planets.  Someday, that will happen.  But not today, because today is my day of death- the day our story begins."

    There is no way I can cover the whole first movie with the screen shots I want to highlight, so I'm breaking "I Worship His Shadow" down into several posts.

    Images in this post click back to original sources.  Some images are thumbnailed for loading convenience, they will click back to original source or to full size if it's mine.  I still want to add a little more detail (in some shots the characters might be blurry, but the Insect tech will be more sharp, etc), so I am doing what any fan on the planet can do, I am using my Nikon Coolpix 10X wide FullHD camera to take pix of my Vizio 1080P FullHD TV screen and clipping them down so we can see some really cool stuff (so yeah, you'll see the pause button in some of them).  I'm also running my dvd through the blu-ray.  My only frustration is the room lighting and screen reflections, but overall, I'm pretty satisfied with what I'm doing.  I have equipment, but I like to play.  As fans or as film students, The Lexx series is well worth the extra study because it's so different, fresh, and timeless.  It's incredible what you see frame advancing on pause, because this show sometimes goes so fast, and they don't slow down and explain anything.

    Ok, sorry, back to I Worship His Shadow.

    We open with a battle scene as a few warriors leave Brunnis 2 to take on His Shadow's planet killer, the Foreshadow.  We get more details later in season two's episode "Brigadoon".

    The Brunnen G have Insect technology, but it's never disclosed throughout the series where they got it from or how long they've had it.  All we know in the beginning is that they are an ancient race of romantic dreamers.

       

    Kai is in command of the tiny squadron, and is the only one to evade annihilation and make his way to the Foreshadow's control pod, while Brunnis 2 burns in death throes behind him.

    In a last ditch move, Kai ducks through the power grid and follows one of the Foreshadow's main arms to the central command deck.  This is a very quick but very detailed scene, well worth the frame advance so you can catch his strategy and all the detail along that arm.

    You can see the command center (the control pod Kai is talking about) is at the heart of the Foreshadow and facing toward the planet it is destroying.

    The collision is horrific, and the control pod is, indeed, smashed open to space, the Insect gunner that Kai is piloting shears into pieces and lands upside down, skidding through shards and fire, and Kai is violently thrown out at His Shadow's feet while the control pod shields automatically close to seal off the venting atmosphere and stabilizes the command center.

       

    Although Kai's body is broken and he can't move, he remains defiant with his last ragged breaths.

    Kai: His Shadow.
    HS: His Divine Shadow, yes.
    Kai: The Brunnen G will defeat you.
    HS: I don't think so.  The power of Order has destroyed your planet.  The power of Order will destroy you, and you were the last of the Brunnen G left alive.
    Kai: The Time Prophet has seen your Order destroyed by the Brunnen G.
    HS: The Time Prophet's vision appears to be flawed.

    His Shadow draws a curved dagger and slips it into Kai's body.

    Then His Shadow takes Kai's memories.

    "This last specimen of the now extinct culture of romantic dreamers merits punishment beyond death.  Transport it to the bioscholars."  This Cluster symbol is a big deal, and you find out what it represents in the fourth movie.

    And then His Shadow finds it curious that Kai's shattered ship was an Insect.

    What does it all mean?  Where can it go from here?  The hero is already dead!  The bad guy won only 6 minutes into the movie!

    This is part 1.
    Go on to part 2.
    Return to The Lexx.
    Go to main blog.

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My first tracker was installed in 2004 and broke several times before moving to a new server, which lost a few months of stats, and then Xanga moved to new servers and I lost more stats for more months before the page came back up, so I've lost a total of about two years' worth of stats. The second was installed 2-22-14 and is considered very conservative by business owners who use analytics, which itself is very conservative, estimates being that roughly one third to one half of hits by real live people aren't even counted, most likely due to javascript discrepancies. Actual hits on several posts here are in the thousands now, and the Lexx Index in the ten thousands. I've got pingbacks turned off, so spam isn't counted at all within the Xanga internal tracker, and most direct post hits can be correlated to my real time linking activity on twitter and other social media. When I did Google Analytics beta testing I got to see how search engine performance compares to tracking. I believe live feed linking sources to various social medias are key to a future where search engines are more about performance than cataloging, which has been confirmed to me by coders who create bot algorithms as I was beta testing paper.li. I've fought hard through redundant age-old stacks to make my way to the google front lines again, so my Lexx work shows up faster on Chrome searches now. This has been a really interesting ride. At any rate, my point is, I can still go back 6 years on my original tracker and I can still see that in 2013 just before the last big blog server move, I was getting traffic like this (and since then, the tracker may have been abandoned, we can't tell). Click the thumbnail to see full size.

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