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andromeda reviews

Andromeda ‘It Makes a Lovely Light’ review

Summary: Just say no to drugs. Really, just say no to drugs because they’re… well, bad for you. And only losers use drugs while winners stay clean. And if you can think of no better way to spend your time than an hour of these cliches, you’ll love It Makes A Lovely Light. Oh and Andromeda gets hijacked… again.

There are times when It Makes A Lovely Light actually seems like it might be a good episode or at least a decently watchable one. After all, Andromeda has come closest to success with episodes like Mathematics of Tears, which actually make use of the rich Andromeda backstory, instead of relying on cheap gags and cliches. And it was this same rich universe that seemed to have won Andromeda a large fandom before a single episode even aired. Unfortunately, under the direction of Ethlie Ann Warren (A Rose Among the Ashes, The Pearls that were his Eyes) it makes a baffling turn from being a story about Dylan locating his home and the capital of the Commonwealth to a series of dreary anti-drug cliches.

There’s very little about this story that makes any sense. Beka suddenly becomes obsessed with reaching the capital of the Commonwealth and starts manufacturing and using Flash. It’s not clear why she’s so obsessed that she would risk her life and become addicted to a deadly drug in the process for something that has no reason to actually matter to the character. Tyr decides to try and jump ship because he’s worried about the danger, though just about everything the Andromeda does is foolish and dangerous. Meanwhile Trance is having seizures. Her seizures don’t add much to the story beyond demonstrating that the actress is actually less annoying that way. Maybe she should go into seizures more often.

The one thing this episode does point up all over again is why Dylan needs a new crew pronto. From the opening of It Makes A Lovely Light, his crew throws him a birthday party by faking a core meltdown. Faking a real life threatening emergency onboard a starship is only something an idiot would do. Not just any idiot, but dangerously incompetent idiots of the kind that don’t belong on the bridge of a starship. This is then followed by Beka deciding to operate Andromeda while under the influence of a drug. Most of the crew knows about her actions but chooses not to tell anyone. And this is capped off by the revelation that Harper had secret overrides in place designed to take over the Andromeda at Beka’s command.

So, in essence, Dylan’s entire crew besides RevBem is completely untrustworthy. Four of them conspired to cover-up drug use by their commander, and at least two of them had a secret plan in place for hijacking the starship. This is without counting Tyr, who had his own plan for doing the same thing. The only positive aspect of this is that the writers finally came up with a plausible reason for why it was so easy to hijack the Andromeda.

Fortunately, the episode avoids addressing such complex and ambiguous issues and instead throws out one anti-drug cliche after another as if the Federal government were buying ad time. We have a checklist of all the drug cliches. Beka even claims she can quit any time, at which point Dylan of course asks her why she hasn’t stopped yet. Maybe it’s because the plot is so mind-blowingly boring she needs to escape from it through mind altering drugs.

Next weel: The Magog attack…finally

Andromeda ‘Star Crossed’ Review

Summary: A competently handled and well acted, if unexceptional, episode that recycles standard Andromeda material.

MIA Index: RevBem is missing again. If this pattern continues, he may end up not appearing in more episodes than he appears in. Which would be a shame. Oh well more room for Trance’s mugging and Harper’s pathetic geek spewing twentieth century slang “Mata Hari, Phone Home?”. Glad the producers know quality when they see it. Sigh.

How many Commonwealth starships with insane AI’s who have their crews and must be destroyed are out there? Apparently at least two. It’s starting to look as if AI’s have become the holodeck of Andromeda. An unnecessary piece of technology that opens up a lot of storylines because of its malfunctions. The opening quote attempts to justify it with a sentimental defense about AI’s needing to be loyal but it’s not clear why anyone needs an AI with that much personality and intellectual capacity that it can choose to be loyal or not. There’s little use for such a thing and little ethics in creating such a being. At least Voyager’s EMH became sentient by accident, and what personality he had was purely artificial.

Andromeda claims that during the Commonwealth, AI’s were considered citizens with full rights but Pax’s treatment in Mathematics of Tears suggests otherwise. After all you can’t just casually blow up a full citizen and full citizens aren’t built and made to order and full citizens can resign their posts. Anyone capable of loyalty is also equally capable of disloyalty and worse, insanity, which seems to be an occupational hazard among ship AI’s. Even more bizarrely, apparently you can’t just switch off a rogue AI by remote control, much like the holodecks. Why would anyone want this kind of messy and dangerous technology, but that’s a lot like asking why Andromeda’s avatar features cleavage. There’s no logical explanation, it’s just meant to be entertaining.

Meanwhile, Dylan appears to have learned very little from either Mathematics of Tears or Sum of All Parts. Once again rogue cybernetics are allowed to roam the ship with no supervision, leading to bad results. Once again he fails to recognize a ship AI disguised as something else. Another continuity breach occurs when the rogue AI can apparently go where it likes even though Sum of all Parts stated that Slipstream requires biological pilots.

So too most of the script is full of some rather large holes but then this is not an episode that depends on the script (which is pretty fortunate considering that this one comes from the writer behind A Rose in the Ashes and The Pearls That Were His Eye) but on the acting since after all it’s driven by Andromeda’s emotional state. On that score the episode is quite fortunate since Lexa Doig is one of the three people on the show who can actually act. Michael Shanks turns in a good performance but rather than being ambiguous or in any way complex, his character is very one note and two-dimensional. We’re supposed to believe that Andromeda falls in love with him at first sight but there’s little in his performance to support such a response.

It might have been a better idea to focus on the actual avatar, instead of an android body which is essentially the PseudoBorg from Sum of All Parts reincarnated. Namely, he’s good and decent but being used by the evil AI core to do bad things to Andromeda, which inevitably ends in his death. Like the PseudoBorg, he infiltrates the ship’s systems and disables portions of the ship. And like the PseudoBorg he really can’t be blamed for anything he does, which makes him a simplistic and not particularly interesting character. The script attempts to set him up as a tragic hero through his classical literature fixation and his doomed romance with Andromeda but tragic heroes are complex and he is just a series of witty catch phrases delivered while constantly brooding in a corner. He has no willing part in the action and therefore no real contribution to make. Where the actual AI might have defended his actions and argued his case, he can only look around mournfully and keep apologizing over and over again. And this stops being interesting very quickly.

The plot such at it is hinges on the ecoterrorists who go around in starships blowing up starships. If this wasn’t enough of a contradiction in and of itself, they were apparently founded by a starship who thinks starships are the root of all evil. The easy solution would seem to involve blowing himself up for being evil. He claims to justify this using the principles of the Commonwealth; one wonders how he interprets Commonwealth principles to oppose interspecies contacts and space travel. It’s a question Dylan might have put to him, since here unlike in Mathematics of Tears, arguing the issue might have been somewhat constructive. The ecoterrorists as an enemy are a joke and he isn’t that much better since we barely see him. Instead as in Sum of Parts, we’re saddled with the cuddly mech who wants to turn his life around but can’t quite seem to manage it and messes up things royally along the way.

It wasn’t interesting then and it isn’t very interesting now.

Next week: Commonwealth Phone Home.

Andromeda ‘A Rose in the Ashes’ Review

Summary: Prison planet chic, exploitative costumes and Dylan does nothing for an entire episode. Oh and how to power your very own android using piles of dirt.

Rose in the Ashes is a completely forgettable episode that looks like a misplaced Hercules episode and plays like a droning hum in your ear. In fact it’s so forgettable that only a few hours after it aired I’m having trouble remembering the details, let alone finding anything useful to say about it. The women have the expected revealing outfits, there are mean people in pale makeup running the facility and Dylan cultivates a human relationship, which proves that the human spirt can never be entirely suppressed, blah, blah, blah. Besides its striking similarity to a far superior Outer Limits episode about prisoners on a futuristic Earth trapped in a prison from generation to generation by an android who’s breaking down, there’s nothing remotely intriguing or interesting here.

There’s the prison planet, set design courtesy of Star Trek 5 (a bunch of rusted crates, some tents and lots of people in ragged post-apocalyptic clothes) except where even ST5 had a sense of irony by placing those people on a “paradisical planet” that was the supposed result of bringing peace to the galaxy, Andromeda’s tone deaf script lacking even ST5’s sense of self-awareness places them on a mean Planet Hell prison planet. And the people behind this planet believe that crime is genetic, an idea that no one takes seriously even in the tough on crime 20th century, and so it’s stocked with the offspring of prisoners as well.

At this point any attempt in taking Rose seriously as a statement about penal conditions is laughable. Not only is the whole thing a direct to video cliche, not only does Planet Hell look a lot like Oregon and not only is the average American maximum security prison a much tougher place than “Planet Hell”, but shoving the offspring in there and never actually dealing with specific crimes makes the episode just another moralistic slam dunk. The warden is obviously evil, for one thing he’s practically caked in chalk white makeup and he keeps talking about the greater good which is an absolutely certain sign of evil. The prisoners are obviously victims since they’re earnest and the ones we focus on haven’t even committed any actual crimes. The system is obviously evil since it keeps innocent kids in prison, not much to discuss there. The question becomes not, “is this wrong”, “is this justified” or “does this reflect on our society”… but “let’s go blow up some androids.”

Where Voyager’s The Chute really pushed Harry Kim to the limits of survival and sanity, Dylan mainly tours the area, chats up the locals and gets thrown around a little in some clumsy action scenes. He’s never pushed to the limits, if anything he’s bored. There’s no real tension here, no fear, not even the sense of oppression which you’d think would be kind of important to a moralistic lecturer on the penal system. Remember the Paradise Planet from Star Trek V, well this looks a lot like it except with Hercules extras. Andromeda’s android body, like Tom Paris in The Chute, is somewhat threatened by running out of power, but in one of the most awful science blooper scenes in recent memory as she recharges herself using a bucket of high alkali dirt, and again saves the day.

Indeed, breaking down Dylan’s actions in this episode, he meets prisoners and condescendingly lectures them on being better people. He meets more prisoners and condescendingly lectures them on being better people too. For some reason they don’t kill him, probably because they recognize he’s a fool and as such under the special protection of God. Finally his cluelessness gets the “rose” of the title kidnapped by the mean androids who run the prison. He organizes a rescue party for her, and by ‘organize’ I mean he goes back and condescendingly lectures prisoners on being better people. As a result both of those prisoners get themselves killed. The android warden beats up Dylan, Andromeda who has managed to recharge herself no thanks to Dylan then destroys the warden. At this point with no more enemies to fight or rather be beaten up by, Dylan deactivates the planetary defense grid allowing his rescuers to land in the Maru.

Beka then glowingly gives him the credit for saving everyone despite the fact that his basic role in the episode consisted of annoying people with self-righteous speeches and getting beaten up (surprisingly the two were mostly unconnected). The only remaining question is why did anybody in this episode actually need Dylan for anything except condescending lectures and couldn’t Andromeda just have reached into her data banks and repeated the same lectures too?

This is an episode about a prison planet which comes equipped with a defense system protecting the planet and is nicknamed Hell but seems to only have a few dozen prisoners and a handful of guards and its control facility consists of one room which you can get into just by jamming open the door. Despite being nicknamed “Hell” the planet has plenty of trees, bushes and is actually pretty nice, aside from there being nothing to eat. Apparently Andromeda is doing its location shooting in Canada which lacks those all important deserts and as such its “Planet Hell” (an in-joke about the TNG set) looks a whole lot like Washington State. This is an episode about a prison planet where when Dylan & Co. break into the facility, absolutely no guards go to stop them. Finally this is an episode where despite being helpless and clueless, Dylan doesn’t become anybody’s girlfriend, mainly because the prison is dominated by women and big furry aliens.

So what have we learned from this episode? Don’t pick a fight with an android, because you’ll lose every time and if you have to end up on a prison planet, pick one where you can go camping.

Andromeda ‘Ties that Blind’ review

Summary: Beka’s brother comes on board and he lies a lot, Andromeda trembles before the terror of the eco-terrorists and is boarded and sabotaged yet again… and that’s about it.

Ties that Blind is supposed to be Beka’s episode, a character who has mostly been overlooked and pushed to the background since the pilot, but really all we end up learning about her is that she comes from a shady but tragic background (which we already know) and that her brother is manipulative and lies a lot. Other than that, it’s mostly inoffensive. It won’t make you think but it won’t make you throw things at your television either. And that’s a definite improvement.

Mostly, Ties that Blind is reminiscent of Past Prologue, DS9’s 4th episode which did for Kira what Ties was supposed to do for Beka, namely expose her priorities and force her to choose between the Federation and her old life. In Past Prologue, an old friend of Kira’s who has remained a member of a terrorist organization finds his ship under attack and asks for refuge aboard DS9. He claims to have renounced terrorism and changed but really he’s just part of a conspiracy to blow up the wormhole in order to get all the major powers to leave Bajor alone. Kira has to choose between her allegiance to the old terrorist philosophies or to Sisko and the new Bajor and stops him by force. And in fact DS9 liked this episode so much they did a second awful variation of it titled Resurrection that featured Vedek Bareil’s alternate universe double with pretty much the same plot again.

Ties That Blind features Beka’s brother Rafe who’s still involved with illegal activities arriving in a ship that was attacked carrying the Andromeda version of a Bajoran Vedek monk in a crude version of the Bajoran Vedek monk costume. He spends 20 minutes beating the audience and the crew over the head with the stunningly obvious fact that he’s up to no good, but they still let him have free run of the ship. Turns out he’s associated with terrorists who blow up starships to prevent colonization. After some twists the tables are turned on the terrorists by brother and sister and everyone lives happily after.

At the moment that Beka blows up Rafe’s ship it does seem as if despite its flaws this episode may have actually achieved something and pushed through some character growth, but of course, as on Voyager when some major life-changing event seems about to happen, it turns out to have all been a trick. And it’s not surprising because ultimately Ties isn’t about Andromeda so much as it’s a recitation of patterns in which Rafe lies to and manipulates Beka and then does it some more, which gets boring very fast. There are no real loyalties in question and no actual choices to be made here and when the episode is done things haven’t actually changed or moved on in any way. The BekaRafe material could be taking place in any episode of any show of any genre and it would still be just as trite and repetitive as it is here. Where Past Prologue had a genuine life choice to be made at the heart of it, Ties is a smug package wrapped up in a bow at the end that tries to substitute a convulted plot for lack of any real drama.

Worse, it seems Wolfe has a talent for coming up with villains that make you giggle rather than cower in terror. His first post-DS9 TV project “Futuresport” featured a Hawaian Liberation terrorist organization, the villain of Andromeda’s pilot was a giant rat dressed as a 70’s pimp, in its second episode Andromeda was beset by small children and now Ties that Blind gives us the terrifyingly unstoppable terrors of a thousand sectors…the ecoterrorists. When they’re not freeing minks or living in trees, they menace top of the line High Guard starships.

Apparently these ecoterrorists called Restors go around blowing up starships on the shaky premise that if people stop travelling through space, they’ll stop wrecking the environments of planets. This apparently doesn’t stop them from traveling through space in starships themselves. Since the episode makes it clear that their focus is aimed at corporations and colonization projects, it seems more than a little confusing as to why they’d target Andromeda twice in the first place since Hunt isn’t a corporation and they’re not out to colonize any alien worlds. Sure they’re blowing up starships but there presumabely would be lots of easier targets more relevant to their immediate goals. Or perhaps the fame of Andromeda’s lousy security has spread throughout the galaxy attracting various miscreants like moths to a flame because they know that they can do pretty much anything they want here.

And once again Andromeda’s security is 9th rate. Even assuming that family ties that stupefied Beka to the point where she doesn’t much object when Rafe steals her ship, no one else seems to take any of the basic precautions. RevBem questions the nanomonk as to why he’d take on someone with such a shady past but no one actually bothers confining Rafe or monitoring him. Tyr stalks around abusing RevBem instead of suspecting the actual intruders onboard the ship. Basically Andromeda seems to need a security officer because yet again in virtually every episode Andromeda manages to be sabotaged and boarded and this is not a good record. Worse, Ties manages to pull another Voyager by having Rafe casually steal the Maru. Andromeda is an artificial intelligence and there are a handful of people onboard her and she can pop up on any monitor she pleases any time; would it have been that hard for her to ask Beka if Rafe actually had authorization to launch.

The writing features some of the worst banter and comic relief yet as Tyr tries to teach Trance how to fight. You have to wonder what kind of depths of insanity and boredom Tyr has been driven to in order to fall to this level. Then there’s an inexplicable scene where Beka tries to do a Bugs Bunny voice or a god knows what voice and the complete waste of Brian George as the Nanomonk. Brain George is a talented actor (some may remember him from his guest starring role on DS9 as Bashir’s father) and deserved a lot more than to spend his time lying on his back for a few minutes while Laura Bertram, Lisa Ryder and the actor playing Rafe demonstrate for the better part of an episode in painfully grating detail why the Emmys, with justification, ignore Syndicated shows. While Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine may have had their brillant acting, most syndication features junk that is poorly and cheaply made, badly written and composed of awful casts. And if Andromeda wants to stand out, recycling story concepts that were old when Night Court was new is definetly not the way to do it.

And with Andromeda going into reruns next week it seems a little odd that it would end on the note of Ties, rather than a stronger episode like Angel Dark which needed to be delayed anyway for full impact.

Next week: Reruns…if you haven’t seen it, it still won’t be new to you.

Andromeda ‘Banks of the Lethe’ Review

Summary: Andromeda takes another stab at duplicating TOS’s City on the Edge of Forever. Wesley Crus…err…Harper invents the transporter as Hunt’s wife tries to rescue him from the future. Everything stays the same at the end of the episode.

Banks of Lethe is indeed a stunning achievement. Not so much from the general Science Fiction perspective but from the Andromeda perspective as it is Andromeda’s first well-written episode. Namely the dialogue is bearable, the plot sane and not overly dependent on people doing stupid things, the issue actually compelling and best of all Trance is kept almost completely out of sight. This is notable because it shows that the Andromeda writers can produce above the level they’ve been demonstrating so far which gives us hope that the show may actually become watchable in the future, satisfying more than just its die hard fans.

Some key Andromeda problems do remain. The aliens of the week seem to get free run of the ship, despite a past history of almost weekly boardings and invasions. The Nietzchean attack on Andromeda is mostly un-necessary and seems to suggest that like TOS, Andromeda has a policy of endangering the ship every week to hold viewer interest. There is more than a small measure of technobabble in the plot resolution but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The acting isn’t compelling but it’s well above usual Andromeda standards with an odd twist that has Sorbo’s real life wife playing his TV show wife. The general look and feel of the show still says Trek Retread, but at least now it’s Potentially Good Trek Retread.

Unfortunately Lethe is hurt most of all not by anything it does but because it aired a mere two weeks after Angel DarkDemon Bright which makes it look too much like a regurgitation of the same material. Indeed it would have seemed a lot more logical to air Angel Dark after Banks of Lethe since Angel Dark features Hunt cutting his ties to the past all together and focusing on the future while Banks of Lethe has Hunt deciding against returning to the past to be with his wife. But in this context a lot of the efforts of Hunt and Hunt’s wife to bridge the time gap seem wasted, since only two weeks ago Hunt and Andromeda were 300 years in the past. Before heading back Hunt could have stopped to pick up his wife, or if he’d really wanted to he could have stayed to protect her from making the tearjerking technological wonder tricks of Banks of Lethe seem pretty irrelevant by contrast. More importantly the idea of Hunt bridging the gap of time doesn’t seem as magical and powerful as it should, because after all didn’t Hunt and Co. manage to go back to the same time period just two weeks ago? After all the effort expended on trying to bring one man or woman through time, it seems as if everyone could have met and decided who stays and goes whereever, if the Andromeda had left the Battle of Witchhead Nebula and gone looking for Sarah.

The whole Commonwealth charter bit isn’t spelled out and shoved to the background which seems pretty odd since after all rebuilding the Commonwealth is the focus of this show and hence any diplomatic developments including the charter and meetings with alien races should have taken front and center, rather than stories about the past and Beka’s con artist brother. As it is there apparently have been major developments in Hunt’s quest to rebuild the Commonwealth and virtually all of them have happened off screen. In this case shouldn’t the show’s premise change over to a show about misfits on a starship dealing with personal traumas and trying to rebuild the Commonwealth in their spare time? How exactly has Hunt gotten races to surrender their sovergnity to an organization that doesn’t exist except for himself? Just by visting them and doing them minor favors with his starship? This seems a little iffy.

Ultimately though this is the symptom of a bigger problem. Andromeda’s premise has him cast away 300 years into the future and forced to make of it what he can. But two episodes that air nearly one after the other showing him phoning and visting the past regularly completely undermines that. Imagine Voyager if instead of waiting 5 years, Voyager had been interacting back and forth with the Federation in the first season. It would have hurt the credibility of an already shaky premise. Hunt’s decision to choose twice between the past and the future doesn’t carry much weight if we haven’t really seen the future. Contact with his wife or an oppurtunity to change the timeline should have been a major event that occured only once we really got to experience the future and once Hunt put down some real roots, otherwise all we’re seeing is an irrational Hunt martyrdom.

Andromeda’s premise of “you can’t change the timeline” makes the entire concept of time travel episodes irrelevant and predictable and worst of all completely pointless. Whatever originality Angel Dark’s finale explaining that everything Andromeda did had already happened in their past anyway is lost when Banks of Lethe repeats the same routine as a way of trying to compensate for the futility of the events that have taken place in the episode. How many episodes can you possibly have that feature the purpose of the time trip turning out to be irrelevant, except for one act which has already occured and shaped history but needs to be repeated by the time travelers. So in the end all that your efforts get you is that things stay the same as they were at the beginning of the episode. Not only is this a bleak and dreary view of human affairs but it’s not a very useful one for SF drama, which has traditionally stood for empowering characters, not tying them to some superstitious notion of fate and destiny as preached by a Bhuddist Werewolf. It’s certainly not what Gene Roddenberry stood for and that is his name before the title I believe.

Still, Banks of Lethe should get credit for being the first Andromeda episode that actually managed to achieve a certain sense of wonder. This is all the more amazing because the production design remains absolutely awful. Tyr wearing a set of clunky oversized “80’s idea of what VR glasses would look like” gear while jerking around the joysticks as enough sparks to weld a bridge go off in the background would have embarrased just about any SciFi production of any age, place or time. The bridge of the Starry and Sara’s lab are even more dated. Even TNG’s set designs looked more advanced than this and TOS could have given it a run for its money. Often with dated materials in a SF show you wonder whether the people involved have read any recent SF. Well, in this case you have to wonder whether they’ve ever used a cell phone or a palm IV because not only doesn’t technology look like that in the future, but it doesn’t even look like that in the present.

Finally, having Harper inventing the transporter even with assistance just looks pretty bad. Wesley may have saved the ship a few times too many but Harper is several times as annoying as Wesley (and considering that Wesley Crusher is one of the most annoying characters in the history of SF TV this is clearly a notable if questionable achievement) and he invents the transporter. If Andromeda’s producers wanted the show to eventually get a transporter there were better and more credible ways to do it. But having Harper achieve this is just ridiculous. In Angel Dark we apparently discovered that Harper is smarter than the entire Commonwealth and Nietzchian fleets combined. Now we have him inventing a transporter in a few days. The only question remains is, when does he follow Wesley on a journey to a higher plane? Because it can never be too soon. This is after all a journey both Wesley and Kes made. It only seems fair that Harper and Trance, the characters based on Wes and Kes should join them in Annoying Character Nirvana too.

Next week: Hunt goes to prison, sparks rain on Andromeda’s bridge and the reaction shots look worried. Fortunately post-apocalyptic ragged refugeesprison set design is easy to do.

Andromeda ‘Harper 2.0’ Review

“Harper 2.0”

Summary: Simply awful. Harper gets a huge library database downloaded into his brain which makes him run around like a chicken without a head for most of the episode. Also there’s a smirking Schwartzenegger wannabe in aluminum foil hunting after him.

Basing an episode around Andromeda’s most annoying character was probably not a very smart idea to begin with but it always helps to have some grain of an original idea or plot twist in the episode. Fortunately, Andromeda compensates by making the annoying character twice as annoying and by having him speak twice as fast and in different languages. Now having him speak in different languages is helpful since it prevents us from understanding much of his dialogue and therefore leaves a certain amount of doubt as to just how awful said dialogue is. Still, even filming this entire episode with all the dialogue dubbed in French wouldn’t have helped, it would have just made the experience less nauseating–like wearing a blindfold to a showing of Battlefield Earth.

The plot here has a fugitive researcher stowing a whole lot of data in Harper’s brain effectively upgrading him to Harper 2.0. The result is a Harper on caffeine who yammers on twice as fast, does nothing useful and occasionally curls up and moans in a fetal position. The episode is mostly reminiscent of The Next Generation’s “Nth Degree” in which Barclay is turned into the smartest man who ever lived by an energy surge from an alien probe. Except that as annoying and mediocre as that episode was, at least Barclay accomplished something useful there while Harper mainly rambles on about modifying nanobots and screeches in different languages as if he were possessed by the demonic spirit of Linda Blair. But then this is a character who combines the worst qualities of Wesley Crusher and Tom Paris in one WB reject body and an actor whose idea of acting involves mugging for the camera like a demented chimp.

And since Harper is an idiot, it’s only appropriate enough that an episode dedicated to him should revolve around an idiot plot. It takes the crew about ten times as long as needed to figure out the obvious about what happened to Barclay. Despite continuing bizarre behavior by Harper no one bothers to confine him to sickbay and despite a bounty hunter who can melt through walls being on his tail, no one bothers to keep an eye on him. This of course allows for a predictable “steal the ship and try to draw the bad guy away” finale which could be seen coming from a mile away. Unfortunately it appears to be as easy to steal the Maru as it is to steal one of Voyager’s shuttlecraft. Though considering that the Andromeda’s crew could be crammed into a phone booth with room to spare, you would think that some way could be found to prevent crew members from stealing and launching the Maru into space, especially since the last time a crew member stole the Maru… was last week.

Of course there’s the bounty hunter who’s here to cut open Harper’s head; he’s big and speaks with a Teutonic accent and seems really mean. According to Andromeda’s Joe Reinkemeyer, “Jeger is a very interesting character, He’s about 6’7 and speaks with a German accent.” I’m not really sure which part of this is the interesting part, but it certainly is a good description of the character since you need know nothing else about him and you never will anyway. He’s an all purpose baddie who makes Voyager’s most trite alien of the week look startlingly innovative and original. He’s working for an entity which looks a bit like Earth: Final Conflict’s Taelons and was responsible for directing the Magog attack on a human planet. But we don’t learn anything about the entity– that’s Andromeda clearly setting up some revelations for the future. Too bad since this episode could have used some revelations or dancing clowns or lots of static.

There is one nice scene with RevBem only partially marred by spiritualistic babble and having Harper convert to RevBem’s BhuddismLite religion. And it is confusing as to why Harper would suddenly turn against RevBem because of some third part video footage and not his own personal experiences related in Let Loose the Fateful Lightning. Still, it’s ironic that in an episode dedicated to Harper, RevBem gets more character development in a few lonely Harper-centric scenes than Harper does in the entire episode. But then there are characters who are interesting, characters who are bland and characters who are just plain annoying. Unfortunately Andromeda has mostly sidelined RevBem in favor of Harper; this is as if Star Trek had sidelined Spock in favor of Wesley Crusher. Not a smart decision except as an attempt to appeal to some transient young adult demographic, the same demographic which loathed Wesley and Jonathan Brandis’s character on SeaQuest and all the other prototypes all of whom come off as positively benign in relation to Harper.

In that Harper 2.0 is reminiscent of Windows 95, it doesn’t fix the problem; it just expands it on a grand scale.

Next week: Captain Hunt is put on trial and torture… shirtless of course.

Andromeda Pilot Review ‘Under the Night’

Review Summary

Like that other TribuneRoddenberry show Earth Final Conflict, Andromeda has a promising concept and plenty of good background materials but is hampered by a weak cast and poor production values as well as uneven writing. As with EFC, things may improve or get much worse as time goes on.

Show Summary

The purpose of a pilot is to set up the show’s basic premise, introduce the characters and let us know what they’re going to be doing for the next few years or so and why we should watch and by that measure Under the Night sails through nicely. The situation, the crisis, most of the main characters and even a few of the gadgets are laid out nicely in the first hour. By the end of the episode, halted on a cliffhanger of sorts, even the average Hercules viewer will know what’s happening and why. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing either. A pilot should be compact and coherent without too much story clutter. It should set out characters that we’d like to get to know and suggest that we’ll get to know them more as time goes on. There’s the conflict, the crisis and everything wrapped up in a neat bow.

Andromeda’s pilot kicks off with a battlestations alert (ah but it turns out to be just a drill) introducing Captain Dylan Hunt and his genetically enhanced second in command. His genetic enhancement is demonstrated by his complete lack of a sense of humor and strong similarity to The Terminator. After exchanging some banter about Hunt’s upcoming marriage (this show’s equivalent of “he’s only got six weeks to retirement”) it’s time for the crisis. Andromeda answers a distress call and winds up in the trap set by the genetically engineered Nietzscheans. In show developer’s Robert H Wolfe’s DS9 episode “Let he who is without sin…” he suggests that the Federation is soft and corrupt and introduces the Essentialist movement which sees the Federation as being too weak in dealing with the Borg and the Dominion and thinks it needs to be shocked or torn down. Like the Essentialists of DS9, The Nietzscheans also think the Commonwealth has gone soft in facing the evil Magog and try and solve that problem by attacking the Commonwealth (rather than the Magog).

Since most of the battle sequence consists of Captain Hunt standing around in shock, watching as sparks fly from consoles, refusing to use heavy weaponry and muttering technobabble; it’s not particularly surprising that the Nietzscheans win easily. But just as Andromeda is about to be destroyed he executes a plan, somewhat disrupted by the sabotage of his first officer, which saves Andromeda but traps it in the event horizon of a black hole until a salvage vessel containing most of the show’s major characters comes along to tow it out and try to salvage it. Captain Hunt after getting over the shock of time lost decides to resist. This sets up the problematic arc of the episode in which we go from something very important happening at the beginning, crucial and meaningful conflicts to a petty state of affairs that basically degenerate into a shoving match between groups of people, most of whom we know will eventually team up to become the show’s cast. What this means is that the show is at its most gripping early on when the battle matters and at its least interesting towards its cliffhanger when the conflict really doesn’t matter very much. Still things may very well improve in the second half, though the preview doesn’t bode well.

Andromeda Concept and Execution – B-

The early portion of Under the Night is effective in its evocation of professionalism and the capabilities of a vast civilization but still most of this is told to us and very little is shown making the loss of the Commonwealth far less meaningful since we never actually saw it. And this is a problem that Under the Night’s writing suffers from over and over again. Rather than showing what’s going on visually, through behavior, through characterization; UTN tends to have characters recite flat statements at each other. Using the salvage vessel’s crew discussion as to what they’ll do with the money as characterization is about as subtle as a sledgehammer but it’s still the cleverest piece of characterization in the episode. The epic battle that ends up standing Andromeda centuries from home is shown as a confusing mixture of FX of varying quality that give no sense of space or direction. The actual bridge side of the battle consists mainly of technobabble and indeed the ratio of technobabble to plot ends up being pretty high. Since unlike the uniform effort of a production crew, each writer tends puts him own stamp on the show, it’s still too early to make any broad statements about Andromeda’s writing quality without further data.

One senses that there is a good concept here. On paper the Commonwealth, the High Guard, the Magog and the Long Night have a certain poetry and epic dignity. On the screen though the result feels small, silly and a look that is less epic SciFi and more Cleopatra 2525. Without a Star Trek sized budget and with a very weak production and special effects department that lacks the scale and ability of key Trek players such as Foundation Imaging or Michael Westmore, the Andromeda universe just isn’t being realized. Now SF shows including TOS itself have been known to stretch a dollar and find creative ways of making use of their resources to produce quality work but that requires talent and creativity which just doesn’t seem to be there at this time.

The key difference between a TV show and a novel is that the writer of a novel enjoys complete freedom to create whatever worlds he wants on the page and how well it’s realized is entirely up to him. There is no FX budget, no set decorators, no costume department, no casting or anything but the story. It costs just as much to write a battle with 50,000 spaceships as it is to write a love scene. A TV show though is a cooperative effort and the script, the writing is only the first part of the task and so writing alone does not make a successful TV show. indeed Star Trek’s success is not based merely on the quality of its writing, which often was and often is abominable, but on the characters and how the actors who played them came to define them, the look of the show and the atmosphere that combine to give it that certain feel that we associate with Star Trek. Any new show has to create that same vision and feel for itself just as Babylon 5 did which clearly established a vision and a sense of place and purpose that distinguishes one show from another just on a casual glance and the show’s pilot is the place and time to make that happen…or not. Right now Andromeda just looks like low budget SciFi TV and feels like low budget SciFi TV which makes it a good fit between Xena and Cleopatra 2525 and Earth Final Conflict which is exactly what Tribune wants. But as has been demonstrated with EFC, what’s good for Tribune is not what’s good for good science fiction.

Cast & Character – D

Surprisingly enough Sorbo is not the weak link in the Andromeda cast. In fact by contrast to his castmates, he’s actually pretty good at delivering heroic lines and going from light heroic banter to strong heroic tragedy. But then that’s exactly what he’s been doing for years now so we’ve yet to see if Andromeda will actually push any of his limits. As of now Dylan Hunt isn’t much of a character but more of a stereotypical Captain, this might just be a lack of exposure and backstory but Sorbo does demonstrate that he at the bare minimum has the persona to hold on to the role. This is no small feat when compared to the inability of Babylon 5 to find a Captain that could do the same.

Captain Ballantine his second in command makes no strong impression. Her backstory is an SF novel cliche. Her persona seems to be that of a younger Janeway. How she’ll mesh with Sorbo is a question of time.

Among the salvage crew though with Trance and Harper, Wolfe has managed to produce the two most annoying characters in a long time. Annoying to an extent that Wesley and Neelix never managed to be even after years of practice. As two refugees from teen dramas who somehow ended up on Andromeda, every moment of their screen time is purposeless, leeches away the show’s credibility and grates on the viewer. Harper is a character from a 90210 show by way of a beach party movie. He would be unnecessary and annoying as 30 second comic relief, as 42 minute comic relief plus supposedly being the chief engineer of a starship is a stunningly terrible idea. Paired with Trance whose alien makeup looks suspiciously like night cream and sounds like she’s supposed to be in Clueless, instead of a Science Fiction show its producers want to be taken seriously.

Andromeda herself is probably the strongest character concept yet though at the moment she’s more concept than character, and it doesn’t seem particularly necessary for a starship to show cleavage.

The Special Effects – B-

The quality of the special effects is mixed and ranges from upper Babylon 5 quality to shows that would have embarrassed the TOS production crew. Some of the high end animated scenes including the blasters emerging from Andromeda’s hull and the salvage vessel detaching from its crew pod to a TOS quality shot of a piece of the Andromeda shaking from unseen blasts and several mattes that don’t match the foreground or look extremely fake. Probably one of the worst offenders is the greenhouse room that Trance discovers which uses a matte whose look dates back to early TNG nearly a decade ago. And indeed even in early TNG, in episodes such as When the Bough Breaks, the results tended to be more creative and mesh better. A large portion of the special effects budget has been clearly expended on the battle scenes with the Magog which is thoroughly wasted since the battle without any structure or coherence. Far-off shots of the incoming Nietzschean ships use a matte background and aren’t placed in the same shot as Andromeda itself. The close up battle scenes are meant to show off Andromeda’s capabilities but don’t do anything of the sort. While the FX quality here is much stronger with a few exceptions, it would have been a lot smarter to exchange some of the shots of tiny ships flying past Andromeda and being blown up for narrative shots, improved time dilation effects and a shot of a Commonwealth space station or two.

The Aliens – C-

The aliens which often end up being the pivot of any SciFi show are created against the Roddenberry directive which emphasized the mobility of the actor’s face in portraying the alien instead goes for oversized monster masks that look as if they were borrowed from an 80’s horror movie, an impression that the actors only reinforce by constantly writhing around the humans like oversized vampire bats. The concept of the Magog may be that of terrifying superhuman aliens but in practice they look like rejects from a Tales from the Crypt episode. Each time one of them speaks you half expect to hear Jon Kassir narrating in the background. The Nightsider is annoying and chews the scenery so desperately it’s almost funny. But it isn’t. He does everything but stand on his head and carry around a giant neon sign reading “I’m slimy and up to something, I’m evil and can’t be trusted.” This puts him in the category of the Star Wars aliens who are basically just talking fantasy critters. The good Magog is a much stronger character but he still ends up going through the same shambling, snuffling and snorting routines that make it hard to take him seriously as a character and not a wind up toy. The good aliens consist of metallic suits that are predate even the original Star Wars movie and seem to have been borrowed directly from 50’s Invasion from Outer Space thrillers.

Since in Science Fiction aliens are meant to represent the other and to nail down the sense of really being out there, not being able to get the aliens right is bad news for an SF show. Earth Final Conflict has managed to go a very long way on Da’an alone. TOS went a long way based on Spock. But Andromeda lacks even the ability to put its equivalent on the screen.

Hopes for the Future

Andromeda needs to seriously rethink its production values, iron out its cast problems and come back stronger and more focused not just on its concept but on implementing that concept as it deserves to.

Andromeda ‘Sum of its Parts’ Review

“Sum of Its Parts”

Summary: Andromeda’s Borg Redux turns on the tearjerking machines in the absence of an original story with a revoltingly saccharine reworking of TNG’s I.Borg . Meet the first Borg Teletubbie. He’s cute, cuddly and he wants to hug you. Get yours today.

MIA Update: RevBem is once again missing from the entire episode, his character is one of the few interesting characters on Andromeda and it appears he’s being written out of entire episodes more so than any other character. It may be the makeup expenses or the fact that he’s simply not liked very much by the suits.

Gene Roddenberry may have had a hand in creating many of the classic Star Trek aliens, but the Borg certainly weren’t one of them. But that doesn’t seem to have stopped “Gene Roddenberry’s” Andromeda from borrowing them for Sum of Its Parts. Of course the Borg here have been retitled as “The Consensus of Parts” which is what the Borg are. Their costumes look quite a bit like the early designs for the Borg costume featured in Communicator magazine. They call their humanoid versions drones. They harvest and integrate human brains into their systems and they’re out to assimilate Andromeda and her crew. So of course when they ask him to come to a meeting, Hunt enthusiastically accepts. He doesn’t know much of these things but he doesn’t ask either, as in Mathematics of Tears he offhandedly dismisses the rumors about “The Consensus” and allows their drones to have free rein of his ship. Unsurprisingly bad things happen.

Most of this episode is basically TNG’s I, Borg and Voyager’s Drone redone. We have a sympathetic childlike drone who develops friendships with the crew after some initial hesitation. He has to return to the Borg or risk endangering the crew. We have a situation where his sacrifice might be required and the value of his life is debated. And ultimately when the ship is threatened by the Borg, he sacrifices himself for the crew but the emotional bonds he has formed remains. The idea of a new kind of Anti-Borg consensus being born because of the crew’s actions and grateful to the crew appears in Voyager’s Unity. The idea of the ship being infiltrated with weird wiring and circuitry by a new lifeform taking control of the ship and trying to bring itself into being and endangering the ship as a result can be found in TNG’s Emergence.

Of course I, Borg did much of the same material with intensity and a sense of genuine danger. Picard and Guinan’s reactions to Hugh were borderline and disturbing in the sense of altering what we thought we knew about these people and what they were capable of. The friendly drone here though is just one of the missing Teletubbies, he’s cute, he’s friendly and kind of stupid. And most of all he’s loveable. And we meet him before we meet the Directing Intelligence, pretty much guaranteeing that the DI and its parts o’ junk ship won’t be particularly threatening or impressive. Where the beginning scene focusing on Andromeda’s personality suggest that this will develop her character, no such luck. Instead the better part of the episode is spent on the Borg Teletubbie acting cute and desperately trying to worm his way into the viewer’s affection like a Hallmark Gold Crown store on “cute steroids.” And his departure in not one, but two death scenes to milk the maximum amount of pathos for a character whose sole reason for existence is emotional manipulation.

Where I, Borg focused on developing Hugh as a viable sentient being separate from the collective which happens only by stages, the Borg Teletubbie arrives eager for your love and affection. I, Borg worked because of Hugh’s contrast between his Borg exterior and his essentially innocent mind. But this only worked because we knew the Borg and because Hugh wasn’t waddling around hugging everyone and as desperate for affection as a Tribble. Instead of developing the Consensus first and introducing Borg Teletubbie later to make a contrast and humanize the Consensus, Sum of its Parts goes for cheap emotional manipulation and pushes the tearjerking lever as far back as it can. Of course no intelligent adult would care about the robotic equivalent of a teddy bear with no contrasts or complexities, but then that doesn’t exactly seem to be Andromeda’s demographic. As such the Borg Teletubbie basically comes off as the Simpson’s Funzo or the creature of David Gerrold rejected Pre-Tribbles TOS script who looks cuddly and cute but is actually practicing mind control on the crew with evil intentions. Like it, the Borg Teletubbie invades Andromeda and nearly gets everyone killed when he tries to take over the ship but since he had good intentions, it’s all written off as okay in the end.

And just in case the average viewer hadn’t just consumed so much sugar, he was headed for diabetic shock; the episode ends with Trance burying the Teletubbie’s heart in her garden proclaiming that “even though you only lived for one day, you already became a hero.” There’s a certain appropriateness to Andromeda’s most nauseatingly saccharine character who doesn’t just mug for the camera but practically beats its senseless delivering a saccharine eulogy for a character almost as nauseatingly saccharine as herself. If this scene could somehow be harnessed and transferred into actual form, it could produce enough melted sugar to feed several starving third world nations.

Now this episode could have been hilariously awful if Sum of its Parts had featured dozens of similar Borg Teletubbies invading Andromeda and trying to take over the ship all the while talking in a childlike voice and attempting to assimilate their victims by hugging them. Unfortunately that idea never comes into practice and so this episode is simply awful. Voyager and TNG Season 7 have done some awful things to the Borg, but Andromeda has topped them all. This makes Unimatrix Zero look practically delightful, Descent begins to look like Must See TV. Unless Voyager’s season finale features the ship being invaded by huggable Borg signing “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy collective family”, Andromeda has officially taken the Borg to the lowest nadir possible. I can’t imagine what could possibly be worse than this, but no doubt Andromeda’s writers will discover it in the second season.

Next week: Borg Barney Attacks!

Andromeda Forced Perspective Review

“Forced Perspective”

Summary: Amateur night continues as Andromeda puts on a production of Apocalypse Now set in an industrial basement, Captain Hunt is tortured by “The Great Protractor” and another Andromeda couple pairs up. And for want of a stun gun Dylan spends a half hour having horrific flashbacks. Welcome to another evening of contrived moral dilemmas and clueless character theater.

MIA Update: RevBem, Harper and Andromeda all go AWOL in this episode confirming Andromeda’s recent trend of completely writing characters out of entire episodes possibly as a budget saving measure.

Forced Perspective is a dreary and confused muddle whose most exciting part involves a B-story that has Tyr and Beka bored out of their minds. Viewers can probably sympathize since FP’s A-story involves ideals and consequences that plays out like Dan Quayle trying to make a speech about quantum physics. In other words long, clueless and very incoherent but at times so bad it’s actually amusing. Beyond finally providing some backstory on Trance Gemini, Forced makes the horrifying revelation that Dylan got his command through a mission that involved the self-defense killings of a brutal dictator who was preparing to massacre billions of innocent people and two of his guards.

Doesn’t seem very horrifying to you? Well Andromeda and Hunt seem to think it’s very horrifying and spend a half hour exploring the moral considerations of whether killing brutal dictators in self-defense is a bad thing or not. As complex an issue as this might be for an episode of Sesame Street, Forced Perspective manages to completely bypass the obvious point in favor of assuming that it is a bad thing and then having Dylan mope about it for a while. While Andromeda has always been morally tone deaf, indeed so morally tone deaf that their basic moral premises could be logically taken apart by small children, Forced Perspective is still a real gem deserving of some sort of special award. Perhaps the ‘Distinguished Janeway Pip for Courageous Moral Incomprehension in the Face of Obvious Facts Staring you Right in the Face’ plaque.

In Let Loose the Fateful Lightning, Captain Hunt enlightened some frightened and terrorized children fighting for their survival on the idea that if they stop hating and wanting to kill the Magog and Nietzchians out to exterminate, rape and enslave them, everything will be alright, thereby essentially blaming the children for defending themselves and providing them with no solution whatsoever. In Angel Dark, Demon Bright Captain Hunt was brooding about the moral implications of fighting back against Nietzchian warships who are here to fight a battle with his own fleet. In Forced Perspective we are led through flashbacks on Hunt’s first pre-Andromeda mission which involved kidnapping a ruthless and brutal dictator who would have massacred billions and bringing him to trial. Since the dictator has heavy security and comes out shooting at Dylan and Rahde, the dictator and two of his guards end up dead. Oh the Horror! Oh the Humanity!

Captain Hunt feels bad about this. Not so bad that he feels the need to return and check up on the place but bad enough that he broods about it. But then, Hunt seems to brood about everything. He probably spends hours brooding before deciding which breakfast to order. Brooding is his way of demonstrating that he has a moral dilemma he can’t resolve without first brooding about it to show how much it tears him up inside. Of course his ideas of moral dilemmas involve ludacrous moral standards, which not even Janeway would subscribe to. And what those standards come down to is that Hunt is completely unfit for command or any job which would require making decisions or putting people’s lives at risk. He’s naive, pompously self-righteous and basically just plain stupid. One gets the feeling that the Commonwealth assembled him out of stock hero body parts but forgot to include a brain.

Indeed, essentially Forced Perspective’s contrived moral dilemmas could have been entirely bypassed if on their mission to kidnap a dictator, Hunt and Rahde had bothered to pack a stun gun. Certainly stun gun technology is probably well within reach of the advanced and mighty Commonwealth. The followers of the Great Protractor seem to have them. Admittedly they don’t work very well on Hunt, but then one has to allow for the conductivity problems involved in penetrating his 3 foot thick skull covered in internal layers of cement. Since they were there to take the dictator as an unwilling prisoner, they would have had to knock him unconscious anyway or deal with him kicking and screaming all the way back. A stun gun would have prevented both the dead guards and the dead dictator. So in a sense if Hunt has to blame himself for those deaths, he can blame his defective brain. Though if you actually asked Hunt about the subject, his reply would probably be that of Captain Harriman in Star Trek Generations, “The stun guns don’t come in ’til Wednesday.” Of course this makes you wonder who would win a starship battle between Captain Harriman and Captain Hunt or would they both just manage to crash their starships into a planet?

At this point we could again mention the complete lack of security that allows anyone who wants to board Andromeda or steal the Maru or board the Maru to just do it with no problems. We could bring up the complete lack of crew despite there being two Commonwealth member worlds or ask why the Captain has to go look for parts himself instead of sending Beka and why he takes Trance instead of Harper with him. We could ask why Trance doesn’t send a distress signal to the Andromeda for help or advice when she discovers Dylan missing, why the Admiral sends a potential Starship Captain on an inteligence raid instead of using their inteligence division or why this episode not only became a script but was actually filmed and broadcast. But these would mostly be complaining about the perennial plot stupidities in Andromeda episodes, instead of the more unique and wonderful stupidities of this particular episode.

And of course no review of Forced Perspective would be complete without a mention of The Great Compass, or as the planetary insignia would suggest The Great Protractor. The Great Protractor is the sniveling British guy who decides to help the duo kidnap the dictator by leading them on a Heart of Darkness-like journey through an industrial basement. As in Apocalypse Now, they’re going after Captain Kurtz but instead of going up the river, they’re going down the hallway of an industrial basement. Why the palace of an interstellar dictator in the year 4000 AD (or whatever year the Andromeda future is set in) has a 20th century basement is best left to the lack of imagination and funding of the set designer. But The Great Protractor (though he has yet to assume this noble title) wants to turn the evil dictator in because he rejected one of his designs for a “Cathedral of Light.” The Cathedral of Light appears to be different from ordinary medieval cathedrals in that it’s really small and made out of plastic. The Great Protractor however does not want the dictator killed and when bloodshed ensues, he turns even more rabbity and babbles on about something or other. These things of course make him an ideal candidate to be left in charge of the planet which Dylan proceeds to do, and fails to check up on him or send someone from the Commonwealth to check up on him.

Now, shockingly enough, leaving the first guy you meet in charge of a planet turned out to be a bad idea. The Great Protractor clones himself for body parts and rules the planet for 300 years and after 300 years of being an absolute ruler doesn’t snivel as much as he did before. So of course Dylan decides he must die. Now Dylan has opposed killing Magog who rape and eat human beings, he’s opposed killing Nietzchians who enslave and murder human beings. He’s opposed killing Harper and Trance who screech and annoy human beings. But he decides to murder The Great Protractor mainly for cloning himself for body parts and torturing Dylan. (Wonder who he would have left in charge of the planet this time, the Pizza delivery guy?) Now, obviously, making Dylan scream like a little girl is a terrible crime but Dylan barely has any idea where he is or what kind of state The Great Protractor has been running or how his people are treated. Dylan opposed killing the dictator who was about to butcher billions, yet The Great Protractor’s government appears to feature a Senate which suggests that some form of democracy is already in place. Clearly Dylan has a shorted circuit somewhere in his decision making process and this is a shame since without the ability to make sane decisions, Captain Hunt is pretty much a mannequin with sun damaged skin.

And to cap off an evening of insanity, Captain Hunt leaves The Great Protractor in control of the planet… yet again taking his word for it that The Great Protractor will leave and turn over power to the Senate. So if The Great Protractor is evil enough to deserve to die, then taking his word for it is probably a bad idea. Furthermore, since Hunt doesn’t have a clue who the Senators are and what they’re likely to do when in power, telling The Great Protractor to turn over power to the Senate is a bit irresponsible and idiotic. Fortunately, Captain Hunt is not one of those captains who lets lack of information, lack of responsibility or lack of intelligence stand in the way of command decisions; and so Hunt once again leaves power in the hands of a man who has shown he will abuse it, makes no arrangements for an interim government and takes no role in guiding the planet towards democracy. As in Fateful Lightning and Rose in the Ashes, he walks away from the entire mess glibly assuming that everything will be all right, even though there’s no possible reason for believing so.

Instead of actually taking responsibility for a mess he had no small role in creating, Hunt leaves to return to the Andromeda for another crucial week of exchanging witty repartee with Beka, learning about BhuddismLite from RevBem and having Tyr as his personal trainer. So once again with his mission botched and absolutely nothing accomplished, but his self-righteousness intact, Captain Stupidity rides off into the sunset…or the sunrise…or just in some random direction.

Unfortunately he just can’t tell the difference.

Next week: Andromeda is boarded and attacked by someone or something. Lots of yelling and screaming ensues.

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