Doing Lunch in the Dark Zone - the Main Course...
Where's the Gravy...?
ZEV/XEV AND THE CLUSTER LIZARD HUSTLE or WHY STAN AIN'T GETTING ANY
All right. Xev is a beautiful tailored sex machine instilled with a body to die for and a libido like an erupting volcano.
Her sexual drive in Lexx is impressive. She's lusted after and been willing to bed Thodin, in IWHS, the Doctor in Terminal, Junior in White Trash, the two crewmen in Love Grows, male prostitutes in LuvLiner, guest stars in Lafftrack, the dreamer in Patches in the Sky, Monks in Nook and 790's new bod in 791. She refers almost constantly to her accelerated enhanced Libido. In terms of her approach, sex with complete strangers is fine to her, as we've seen from her readiness to jump into bed practically on meeting. Group sex? Hey, she did three monks. Her approach to sex is guilt and commitment free.
On the other hand, she hasn't been in lust with every man she's encountered. Who hasn't she been interested in? What's Xev's puke list? Mantrid's assistant, Brizon, Pa from White Trash, Louis Del Grande's married character from Twilight, so we can assume that ageing, balding overweight men don't do it. We can throw in the Pimp from Luvliner, into that mix, and the fat balding doc from Terminal as well. Bottom line, if you're repulsive enough, she doesn't go for it.
Also, in Wake the Dead, there are three healthy teenagers that she seems to have little or no interest in. One of them is fat, but two are already in relationships. This may also be a reason for lack of interest in Louis Del Grande's character (not that she needs another reason) in that he's married too. Essentially, regardless of her libido, she's not inclined to assert where other women have claimed. B&D or S&M, no apparent interest? No interest in women either, which is clearly demonstrated with Lomea in Twilight.
So where does Stan fit in the continuum of Xev's interest. Well, he certainly isn't the buff, muscular muffin boys that get her juices flowing. But then again, she's also expressed interest in characters that are about equivalent to Stan - the crewmen in Love Grows. Junior and the Dreamer, in White Trash and Patches in the Sky, although both younger, definitely seem to be sub-standard. On the other hand, he's no Brizon or Pa, that's for sure. He isn't ageing, overweight, balding or particularly obnoxious. He's not attached, he's not violent. Basically, Stan seems eminently eligible to attract Xev's interest, he's well within her zone of appreciation and there's nothing overt that disqualifies him.
In a way, it's difficult to really get a fixed window on Xev and Xev's sexuality. Zev/Xev, much more than Kai or Stan appears to be an evolving character, who visibly matures through the course of the two seasons. Part of this, undoubtedly is the differing approaches of the actresses, Haberman and Seeberg.
But even within Seeberg's performance, I believe we see a progressively evolving personality. She matures in her attitudes towards love, friendship and sexuality. She may start as a near uncontrollable sex machine, but towards the end, she seems to have reined in her drive and become a more mature person.
(A detailed discussion of the evolution of Xev's character, while interesting in and of itself, is something for a future paper perhaps.)
The thing is, Xev's practically a sex machine, a woman who wants to do it at the drop of a hat with practically every reasonable man she sees. Stan is a man, there's nothing wrong with him, he's within eligible parameters. He's available. It doesn't appear inconsistent with what we know of her values and personality. Stan is, at one point, the last man left alive in a Universe which has very little time left to it, there aren't any other options or opportunities left. Xev's not interested. What the hell is going on here? It's just not human.
Maybe, just maybe, it isn't human. I'm thinking that the answer may lie in Xev's nonhuman nature. Perhaps her sexuality is influenced by the Cluster Lizard in her makeup. If her behaviour doesn't make sense in human terms, it may be derived from cluster lizard traits.
So what do we know about Cluster Lizards, aside from the fact that they're nasty predators? They apparently socialize or operate in packs. They display some degree of communication in screaming at each other. They lay eggs. And newborn Cluster Lizards, like baby birds, appear to imprint on the first large moving object they see as mother.
Are Cluster Lizards intelligent? To be frank, I don't see anything in their behaviour that would be inconsistent with animals. Based on the evidence before us, I would regard Cluster Lizards as fundamentally instinct driven.
So, perhaps what we're seeing is Xev expressing Cluster Lizard instincts towards sex. Remember that during her origins, Xev seemed to be expressing Cluster Lizard traits quite strongly.
Possibly, on some subconscious instinctive level, Stan is mother. Remember, he was the first large moving being she saw. She may have imprinted on him, explaining both her attachment to him and lack of interest.
[Hmm.... But animals have no particular problem with what in humans is perceived as incest... Once they reach maturity, that is.]
Or possibly, Cluster Lizard's have a no-mating with podlings instinct. From a genetic point of view, this may make sense. If Cluster Lizards lay multiple eggs (unproven but not unreasonable) then the other eggs in the pod will be brother and sister lizards from the same genetic stock. Bad idea to interbreed with siblings. Better to stir the gene pool by mating outside the pod. So, an instinct not to mate with the first being(s) it sees, usually its pod sibs. Poor Stan was the first man she saw, back in those few moments when the Cluster Lizard instincts were still brand new and active.
Of course, in IWHS, when they got together on the bridge of the Lexx for the first time, I believe they started to make out. Then she tried to eat him. If this Cluster Lizard sex, what does it mean?
Possibly, if Cluster Lizards eat their mates, this may make for pretty short term relationships. Devouring mates is common among some arthropods, Mantis's and Spider's particularly, so we can't rule it out.
This may say some disturbing things about her future romantic relationships, given that she seems to go for "meaty" guys. However, I think we can assume that if this trait does occur in her, it is now sublimated or under control, since she didn't eat the monks on Nook. Or at least, we think she didn't eat them. I don't recall, did anyone see them after Xev?
[I don't think so. But I think we heard them...]
If she does have such a predatory instinct, then it's quite possible that her disinterest in Stan may be a means of protecting him.
Or it may be simple instinctive Cluster Lizard programming. Interest in potential mates may simply switch off permanently after the mating instinct passes to the next phase. In the initial rush, her addled Cluster Lizard instincts may have flared with mating instinct and then moved past. In which case, Xev is incapable of seeing Stan as a mate.
She may still be capable of seeing Stan as lunch. If her Cluster Lizard instincts were active and confused during her formation, this may explain her ambivalent attitude towards Stan. Whatever her consciousness or human side was going through, her instincts during the kiss/bite scene were trying to classify Stan as either a mate or food. The instincts settled permanently on food. Her hostility towards Lyekka in 791 may not just be self-preservation, but an instinctive hostility to a rival for a meal.
Or, if we want to soften it a little, we may just assume that Cluster Lizard reproductive strategies are built on one night stands. Once a relationship is consummated, or pseudo-consummated, she's no longer interested in further encounters with that being. That's why she stopped being interested in Stan after their first encounter, she revved up and dropped off.
And that's why she keeps pining for Kai, because her Cluster Lizard mating instinct has fixed on Kai and can't drop him until she consumates. After mating she'll lose interest. Consider that she didn't seem all that interested or concerned with the Monks after she had them.
So basically, under Cluster Lizard instincts:
1) Stan is Mom, and not a breeding partner;
2) Stan is Sibling, and not a breeding partner;
3) Stan is ex-mate, and of no further interest;
4) Stan is ex-mate, and of no interest except as food;
5) Stan is lunch.
If she is being affected by Cluster Lizard instinctive programming, then it's likely working unconsciously at subliminal levels. All Xev knows is that no matter how horny she gets, Stan just doesn't attract her.
© Sept 1999 Darrow
© 1999 WordWrights.
The Darrow Files