Summary: Captain Hunt and the Andromeda have to transport Elaan of Troy…err…Elssbett to make peace with the opposing pride by offering herself as a bride.
This Andromeda episode offers essentially the same exact setup as the famous TOS episode Elaan of Troyius. The original TOS episode featured Captain Kirk and the Enterprise having to transport Elaan to her marriage with the leader of the opposing side as part of their peace treaty. Elaan is initially arrogant and views them as inferior but confrontations with Kirk help bring her around to recognizing their worth, respecting him and he is even nearly pulled into a relationship with her. On the way the Enterprise plays cat and mouse with the Klingons and unravels deception and conspiracy and finally having gained some maturity and responsibility, Elaan overcomes her reluctance and goes ahead with the marriage.
This is essentially a pretty good rundown of the basic plot of Honey Offering. Elssbett even duplicates the famous Elaan scene and complains about her quarters. There are various differences produced by the need to accomodate the story to different universes and the cultural changes that have taken place since Elaan of Troyius originally aired, but the resemblance is indeed very striking. It is nice to see Andromeda broadening their range of “Trek appreciation” to beyond the borders of The Next Generation and its assorted spinoffs.
With that said Elaan of Troyius wasn’t a very good episode, just a memorable one more for reasons of camp than of quality. And there’s not much Andromeda can do to improve on it. The producers have decided for some reason to blow a good chunk of their special effects budget here with the usual mixed results. Some of the battle FX look pretty good if a touch repetitive and recycled, while the matte of the station is awful enough to have actually appeared on TOS. The choreography of the action sequences has improved, as long as you ignore obvious questions about why two heavily armed warriors keep fighting each other in hand to hand combat.
With the changes in society with regard to the roles of women, it’s virtually inevitable that Elssbett would be a stronger character than Elaan. Being allowed to get out more and do more while relying less on men and even temporarily defeating the Captain (somewhat more problematic in the TOS universe) certainly helps. It also helps that the actress playing Elssbett is far more capable than France Nuyen’s essentially one-note performance. Although in the context of the Nietzchians, her vulnerability isn’t particularly plausible. Her ruthlessness doesn’t really seem to equal that of the Nietzchians we’ve seen so far.
The retrofitted robot suits make an apperance and all the Andromeda crewmembers put in an apperance as well, however briefly. Considering the rash of MIA’s during recent episodes, especially RevBem, this is a welcome departure even if it means that they all have to be paid for brief apperances. The Andromeda has a small enough crew as it is and it helps the show’s plausibility if all crew members are present, accounted for and working together to deal with the crisis whatever that might be.
Next week: Andromeda falls in love with a bad AI.