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  • Lexxperience Mantrid

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

    Originally published on 3-15-17. Links broken from repaste still source back on original publish.

    I mentioned on Pinky blog way back in fall of 2015 that I had started working on this post, and that was true. A lot of this was already written. Thanks to tech fail and Windows 10 upgrade, DVD software must be purchased now to operate the hardware, and I'm frightfully frugal and a bit peeved about this. I've decided to go back to how I started- taking pix of my TV on my phone. Both my TV and phone are much better than my first review post in 2012, and despite becoming a prolific live tweeter in the meantime, this still doesn't fix the HD loss I'd have gotten with screen shots on a very nice laptop. In the end, reason finally said "Just share the story. The story is important."


    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. (edit: Deiter passed away on 2-29-20)

    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.


    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.

    790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
    I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.

  • #2
    Mantrid- Part 2

    Originally published on 9-16-19.

    Originally written 3-15-17 and never published. I'm not done, but you guys have waited long enough. Yes, I do still intend to write much more. Sorry no pix, too continuously busy or swamped, but you know it's killing me not to be here doing what I love most. I'm still being plowed by a freight train called Life, but I'll come back and properly finish this eventually.


    ~Back to Mantrid~. Kai wants to drag the roly poly space baby to Mantrid with the hope that he can help them help the baby make protoblood, which is a total red flag because Kai never experiences his own motivation, so hairs are already going up on our necks over that. Not a good thing following a suggestion to go dig up a guy who was so dangerous that even His Shadow had him banished onto a barren frozen planet with no other people, save one- a servant.

    And now we are back to Vigl. (That is the original original closed caption spelling in the Salter Street print.) We don't know how long Vigl has been with Mantrid, or whether he's there because Mantrid gets a regular string of tech assistants to toy with and kill along with his basic supply refill (nice retirement package, if you want to look on the bright side of not being repurposed instead of banished), but for whatever reasons involved, Vigl is a genius himself and so emotionally unbalanced that he's useless for any other purposes that served His Shadow, apparently being too brilliant to waste on feeding his brain to cluster lizards. His weakness, as Mantrid unkindly taunts him, is little boys, and I assume from his fetish look and weepy devotion to Mantrid that Vigl's addiction to sadomasochism might have been even more vicious on the little boys he loved than Mantrid's own treatment of him. I think Mantrid is attracted to Vigl's utter lack of morality in a sadomasochistic sapiosexual kind of way, and Vigl is totally turned on by Mantrid role playing abuse with him. Mantrid actually proclaims that he likes Vigl, probably not just because Vigl is shockingly awful, but because Mantrid himself is the vilest of the vile, taking his own body apart like toys and rebuilding himself into remote controlled robotic pieces that must be directly synced with something he did to his own brain.

    Side note- We actually don't know that Mantrid took his own body apart, but it would hardly be surprising. I could jaunt into a whole new background idea with a list of things that could have brought him to this point, or I could just go on. Maybe I'll do that another day.

    What's more alarming is that we find out Mantrid has been around even longer than Kai has, and while Kai was technically dead for 2008 years before we see him again as a Divine Assassin, Mantrid assuredly was not. Mantrid's life span could arguably be tied to being a top scientist, called a Bio-Vizier, on the Cluster. He knows more about protoblood and Insect essence than any other person who's ever existed in the whole Light Universe except for his teacher, Supreme Bio-Vizier Brizon, and both undoubtedly knew about the Giga Shadow growing beneath the surface, essentially helping revive the nearly extinct Insect race up to that point.

    Kai knows all this because he's got all the memories, so of course, he wants to drag a roly poly space baby to Mantrid and revive it because he's being prompted by the Insect essence he carries, as yet unknown to the Lexx crew.

    Still with me? Some of you are already running back to your TVs for rewatches.

    Mantrid's last tie to humanity is Vigl. I'm sure Mantrid could have cared less about the fates of the little boys Vigl tortured to death with his sex addiction, but he taunts him continually with it, emotionally punishing Vigl over and over while Vigl weeps his love and loyalty back to an uncaring Mantrid, a perfect loop of emotional sadomasochism. This scene hints at how contemptuously Mantrid sees and feels about the human race in a society that he helped retain severe restrictions over while humans were being fed to both the Lexx and the Giga Shadow the whole time, and Mantrid knew this. What does this say about Mantrid's own fetishes? Mantrid is sexually impotent as a head on a floating jar, yet he's the one Kai looks for to revive a race of beings. How potent is that?

    If Mantrid had spared one shred of empathy for Vigl's victims as a fellow human being while they were banished together in solitude, things might have turned out very differently when the Lexx arrived, but Mantrid despised humanity, just as he despised his own limitations and being stuck with nothing on the edge of nothing going nowhere. He used Vigl's fragile emotional imbalance to cement a cultish devotion that defined the moment from which everything in the two universes would change forever.

    Lemme just say that again. He used Vigl's fragile emotional imbalance to cement a cultish devotion that defined the moment from which everything in the two universes would change forever. Got it? Because --->>>> Vigl's twisted devotion is responsible for tipping the scales and ultimately starting the avalanche that eventually breaks the time cycles.

    (If you've been following my posts, you've noticed I believe this is the time loop that breaks the cycles of time beyond repair, which is what makes this loop so important to the overall story. It's not canon, but it makes sense and doesn't mess with future episodes and seasons. See The Dark Zone and the Cycles of Time)

    Jumping right in, my first question is How long Mantrid has been banished? He knows about Kai, so it was after the Brunnen-G were wiped out. We're also not sure how long it's been since Lexx blew up the Cluster, and whether that has anything to do with supply shipments possibly stopping. Mantrid has no contact with the outside world, no way to get updates unless he gets some kind of news dropped in with the supply shipments, which could come from anywhere in the League of 20,000, but I'm betting not since Mantrid is so highly ranked that surely no one else knows he's even there, so I'm going to guess his supply shipments have stopped. Is he surprised to see Kai? Did he know the Lexx was finally being grown on the Cluster? How long has Mantrid been out here? Long enough to construct an escape pod and a few drone arms out of what scraps he got or found, apparently, and even longer enough for he and Vigl to have a history of arguments over whether his mind transfer experiment would ultimately fail, so probably a number of years, at the very least.

    Also, did Mantrid already possess Insect essence? How is he still alive? Did he steal the essence and was allowed to live (or even become unkillable, like I purport Giggerota to be) because all his memories would forever be contained in that essence and passed on to others if he were killed? Can he inherently transfer? Is there protoblood in that jar???

    Ok, ok, let's slow down and go over this.


    Mantrid already had a plan in place to try combining his own consciousness with a hard drive in a machine, and thanks to that Insect essence and Vigl's twisted devotion to Mantrid, the greatest mass murderer in two whole universes was created and unleashed.

    that would be able to remote control the drone arms he'd already created to manufacture more and more drone arms. Over a little time and a seemingly endless supply of material in the universe, Mantrid built and built until he built so big out of raw materials from all the planets and debris he found and shredded along the way that it wasn't long until he could siphon energy straight of stars and use it to extrude even more raw material and create even more drone arms on a super mega giga scale. Soon stars didn't just wink out, entire nebulae vanished, and the death of all things became imminent as Mantrid converted all of it into remote controlled drone arms.

    (minecraft meme)

    You know how Borg programming was about seeking out and reprogamming all sentient life to become Borg? And you know how in Stargate SG-1 replicators would tear apart and convert all material into more replicators? Think bigger. Imagine a runaway system turning an entire universe into remote controlled drone arms. Pretty sure not even the Jedi and The Emperor himself with all his armies could have stopped Mantrid. The Death Star would have been swallowed whole and deconstructed at some point. If you could cross all the streams and use all the armadas and strengths and armies of all the universes together, no one could have beaten Mantrid. It would be the ultimate flameout, though. What? Oh, what about the Q Continuum, you ask. I laugh. That was one of the worst plot devices ever dreamed up, requiring very little effort to work with. They barely damaged subspace with their little tiff. Mantrid remains the ultimate megalomaniac, regardless of what universe one wishes to debate.

    Not to spoil too much (haha, how old is this show again?), but Mantrid's final destructive move was gathering all the mass he'd amassed (sorry, pun, couldn't help it) together, forcing the universe to collapse into a smaller and smaller state until the Lexx had nowhere to flee and had to turn and face Mantrid, their only hope lying in tricking Mantrid long enough to distract him from their intent to flee through the wormhole back to the Dark Zone that the collapse would create. Unfortunately, Mantrid was far too brilliant to not anticipate this, and snuck aboard the Lexx, crossing over to the Dark Zone with them barely ahead of everything he'd turned the Light Universe into collapsing in a huge crunch. But fortunately, he wasted time in mockery instead of starting all over again in secret. Guess what- I won't tell you how that ended. If you haven't see Lexx, go watch it.

    We could jaunt into Mantrid's psychological profile and reflect on why Brizon found him tedious, but as brilliant and capable as Brizon was, even he fell to the redundant overkill of Mantrid's single-minded focus. Megalomania 2.0 trumps intellectual arrogance and easily outstrips a weakness for remaining intact and using other humans to stay alive. As nasty as Brizon was, at least he could be negotiated with. Mantrid only wanted to win, even if winning meant not having anyone around afterward to appreciate the fact that he'd won. It would seem Mantrid had managed to strip himself of the burden of being human in order to ultimately triumph over the Insects- wait. Back up. What did I just say? Did we just uncover Mantrid's motivation? Was he so intent on winning because he'd been so scourged of his soul feeding his fellow human race to the monster? Mantrid may have enjoyed his work, likely because he excelled at that sort of genetic tinkering, at any cost, but we do have to admit he didn't just crush humanity, he finally beat the Insects. No more sides, no more good or bad, no more doublespeak, no more political and religious agendas, no more anything. Mantrid erased it all from existence so thoroughly that there was no more record it had even having happened, and then he wound up on Fire with his memory erased, a fitting retribution for someone who put salvaging his memories via data storage above the fate of an entire universe.

    I've been told I overthink things. Let's take a break while we absorb that. I find that verse helps organize my thinking.

    Mantrid, a Limerick
    by Janika Banks

    The world's greatest Bio-Vizier
    Through banishment most austere
    Created a pod
    Of which he'd be mod
    Uploaded his mind
    Which was unkind
    And sculpted a whole new frontier

    I guess that's putting it lightly. I have fun thinking about Mantrid. I thought for a long time that his extreme motivation after the transfer might have come from the Insect essence, because Insects went after humanity for thousands of years. However, we can't forget the indomitable human spirit (I'll root for a psychotic human over an Insect any day), the possibilities that were fueled along Mantrid's past, and what might happen to the human mind when it is already psychotic before it's uploaded into a machine in combination with Insect programming, because that's what essence is, a metaphysical software program passed from one generation to the next. Mantrid's vehemence wasn't just Insect based, it was originally psychotic human based, and combining the two inside a computerized machine was a disaster. Forget survival instinct, because physical flesh was gone. Forget which race to choose sides over, neither one matters to him. All Mantrid cared about was the ultimate definition of life, and instead of killing himself with ennui over the depression of it like so many do, he motivated right past KILLALLTHETHINGS to turning the entire universe into a game to win. Nothing else mattered. In a world with all kinds of things to do forever and ever, Mantrid opted to simplify omniscience into nothing more than incorporating the entire universe into himself for no other reason than reaching an end to incorporating. He didn't even have competition. No, Mantrid's motivation had nothing to do with Insects or even his past- just blame it on a faulty upload and a crazy runaway super focused single-minded program loop with a personality glitch. Mantrid's sole definition of being alive was answerable only in terms of continuing the program.

    My favorite visual of Mantrid is us first seeing him alone in banishment, and us last seeing him alone in the Tunnels on Fire, an icon for being torn apart from humanity itself. I'd like to continue my Mantrid thoughts in another post, hopefully coming a lot sooner than this one did.
    790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
    I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.