Kai in Woz...

       Woz is quite an interesting performance for Kai, because while he doesn't show a lot of overt emotion, his conduct actually hints at some operating emotional or value system. He's not a neutral dead man.
       In a way, it's more interesting than a clichéd 'single overt display of emotion' during the episode... the Spock template. Here, rather than letting the exterior crack a bit to show he's not a heartless monster ('us concentration camp guards are human too') by showing us a good side, its presented differently. He remains allegedly unemotional throughout and instead of turning up a human facet, his behaviour as a robot implies to us that there is something further and more complex underneath.
       Let's take his encounter with the Wozard. In order to get the Wozard to save Xev, he threatens him. "I'll have to insist..."
       This isn't particularly new behaviour. He made the same threat to Brother Randor in Nook, with about the same result. Kai has often taken aggressive and decisive actions.

But what happens next?

       The Wozard blackmails them into agreeing to kill the Dark Lady, and what does Kai do?
       "I'm dead, I have no motivation, but I will do what the living tell me to do."
       He's passing the buck! Just a moment ago he was displaying independent action, acting like he was perfectly willing to kill to achieve his objectives. But in the next minute it's "I'm dead, I have no motivation."
       So it seems that when there's something he doesn't want to do or doesn't want to take responsibility for... he plays dead.
       It's a deliberate evasion. It might be necessary, but he doesn't want to do it. So he turns around and plays dead as a way of dumping the responsibility off on Xev and Stan. He'll do it only if they take the blame.
       This suggests something more complex going on than simple indifference. Indeed, this implies some sort of internal value system, a moral perspective, a clear reluctance to do certain acts. It also suggests a capacity for evasion and for some degree of self deception.
       For Kai, being dead isn't merely a condition, its a retreat. Start watching for the times he tells people he's dead. I think that more often than not, it's his dodge for avoiding thing he doesn't want to do, or avoiding the weight of responsibility.
       Kai is reluctant to agree to kill the Dark Lady. Does this mean he's reluctant to kill, period? So what of his threat to the Woz? Or the threat to Brother Randor in Nook? Perhaps the dead do lie. What does this capacity to lie tell us about Kai's internal landscape? I'll let you think about it.
       When it comes right down to it though, Kai is a reluctant assassin. He never suggests executing the Love Slaves who fire on him and Stan. In Stan's Trial, he and Xev are fired on, and he simply asks why.
       When he walks in on the Dark Lady, he has her in his sites, his brace raised to fire. Then he puts it down and says "I've come to kill you." Why didn't he just shoot her? I'm sure she would have figured it out, if she hadn't already.
       Then he has a conversation with her. He asks her to take off her mask, he prefers to face his victims. 1) He's dead so he allegedly has no preferences. 2) He's an assassin, it just doesn't matter.
       He asks why she doesn't use the Lustikkon, he tells her it's not wrong to want to help others, he admits he agreed to kill her (taking some responsibility), and he says he will "regret" her death.
       She begs, he says he has to. But he still doesn't do it. The Wozard shows up. Kai allows himself to be distracted. Another excuse not to go through with it right then. He allows the Wozard and Dark Lady to have an argument.
       Finally, he tells the Dark Lady 'I won't kill you now.'
       He's changed his mind! What about Stan and Xev's request? What about Xev's life? What about the Wozard's promise?
       He even considers changing sides, but tells the Dark Lady, 'I don't think I can stop him from killing you.' Which means that he considered it.
       In view of his clear reluctance all the way through, his statement at the door, 'we're here to kill the Dark Lady' takes on a new significance. This isn't the dead being obtuse. He doesn't want to kill, so he's clearly telegraphing his intention. Basically, what he's really saying is 'run and escape, so I don't have to kill you.'
       Given a clear reluctance to kill, and a series of almost subconscious stratagems to either avoid doing it, or to shift the responsibility for it... Is it really true that 'the dead have no motivation' as he constantly tells us in other episodes.
       Or is there much more going on in that dead skull than he wants to admit?

© July 2000 Darrow.

© 2000 WordWrights.

The Darrow Files