Andromeda: S01E03: To Loose the Fateful Lightening
It was 10 days before we got this episode in the UK, I dreaded the wait. Some of the reviews posted on other sites depicted a poorly written and acted show with lousy special effects and weak story.
But, like the previous episodes, these so-called writers got it wrong again – they should really try to stop comparing Andromeda with Star Trek. People who enjoy Andromeda generally have more than a handful of brain cells and don’t need to hear things like ‘subspace anomaly’ or ‘quantum singularity’ to feel that they are watching good TV Sci Fi. It’s easy to criticize a new show, the characters and story have hardly had chance to develop. I wonder if they have ulterior motives – cheap shots are … pretty cheap, is it really THAT cool to be cynical?
If something attempts to be different and innovative, and they bother to take the time to look at HOW the show was developed, they would find, as I do, that the shows are a lot of fun.
Contrary to popular opinion – and believe me, I can argue the point with any idiot, this show was great, acting was sharp (especially Chris Lovic) and the story held our attention throughout.
THOSE WHO FAIL TO LEARN HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT.
THOSE WHO FAIL TO LEARN HISTORY CORRECTLY — WHY THEY ARE SIMPLY DOOMED
This show opened with a rather relaxed crew discussing the Andromeda Ascendant’s approach to a Guard Station, a place where spaceships could dock, take on supplies, and be repaired. This one in particular was once a “Jewel in the Commonwealth Crown” as Dylan put it.
It surely wasn’t that now. The station will be deserted because the surrounding systems are “infested,” said Beka, “with Magog.” Rev Bem, clearly wasn’t in earshot otherwise his feelings may have been hurt (or he may simply have ripped their heads off and sprinkled a few spores).
Tyr points out that the station is in a bad way; it is poorly equipped to defend itself. Rommie thinks that they should take a look, the Andromeda Ascendant is itself, low on supplies and spare parts and there may be useful materials that can be salvaged. Dylan is also hopeful and they head of for the stricken station.
As it get closer, Rommie suggests that there may be life – but the scans are inconclusive. After docking, Dylan, Beka and Harper explore what looks like a deserted and badly damaged station. Harper notices that there is some fresh battle damage and they proceed cautiously. Eventually they come across a dead Magog. Dylan stops to examine the body. Harper warns against getting too close in case of infection, and while Dylan tells him that you can’t become infected (from the spores) from a dead Magog, they are fired at.
All the shots all miss, Dylan shouts out that he is of the High Guard and that they come in peace. The firing stops and we learn that the ‘enemy’ were no more than children who could barely lift a gun, never mind hit something with it.
Back on the Andromeda, Rev Bem digs a handful of Magog teeth from the box and says (with a huge degree of understatement), “These children are in need of spiritual guidance.” (And you are just the geezer to give it to them!) The rest of the crew discuss what they should do. Dylan orders Harper to scavenge around to see what he can find that would be useful, Beka is to identify the source of the radiation leek and the lovely Trance is to be a liaison, someone who would introduce the Children of Hell to the acceptable face (and tail) of alien contact. For obvious reasons, Rev Bem and Tyr would stay on the ship.
Trance is certainly a big hit with the young males, and Nissin takes Dylan and Harper to the “Room of knowledge“. This is a sort of library containing engineering drawings and documentation. Nissin tells how each leader must learn the ‘scriptures’ by heart. Dylan is skeptical and attempts to test her knowledge. It becomes apparent very quickly, that the children could not read and that they interpreted the signs and words on the documents as they saw fit (usually in terms of a religious crusade).
Harper finds a whole crate of chips for Andromeda and a whole crate of booze for himself. Beka finds the leak and tells Dylan that he can only enter with ‘the words of the past‘ (password). Harper meanwhile becomes reclusive and begins work on some project in the hold of the Eureka Maru (in the docking bay).
Dylan and a contingent of vicious killer children head for the source of the radiation leak. Dylan enters his Commonwealth Officer password and the door opens to reveal approximately 20 fighters shaped like little Andromeda’s (Type two ARC light sub-fighters). Nissin issues a command to the other children and they move off to take control of the ships. Hayec and Mapes arm the fighters. Dylan learns that the ships carry Nova Bombs and even more distressingly, that they will soon be used to destroy the children’s enemies.
Back on the ship, Dylan is consoled by (of all people) Rev Bem. Rev ties to encourage the Captain that the children will see reason and that “their hearts are good“. Tyr ventures a suggestion that those Nova Bombs could buy (or force) a lot of freedom, and that if Dylan didn’t want to use them, he had contacts that would pay dearly for such a weapon – They could live as “The kings of Nightsiders.”
Dylan returns to the Station and calls all the children together. He tries to tell them of his vision of peace. Without patronising (well, only a little patronising), he tells them that their conflict is not with the Magog and Nietzschean’s, but with themselves. Hayec chips-in the odd comment, twisting Dylan’s words and making his speech erratic and unclear. Pretty soon, Dylan begins to preach, (and set himself up) and is quickly outwitted by Hayec when he is asked to bless two of the young worriers. Dylan does so – Boy was he going to regret that!
Later he returns to the Andromeda and discusses the problem of radiation sickness with Trance. It seems that most of the older children are terminally ill. They all know this of course, life expectancy on the Station is about 20 years or less. But the younger children could be saved if the radiation leak was plugged and if medical Nanobots were injected into their bloodstream.
Meanwhile, Tyr covertly boards the Station and heads for the flight deck. Harper continues his work, whatever it is, in the Eureka Maru. But Dylan attempts to reason with the Nissin. He talks to her about peace (the caption is a little misleading I guess. It’s dark, late at night and he is alone in the bedroom of a young and vulnerable lady – However, please be assured that he was not discussing the size of his weapon!). But suddenly, Hayec interrupts and informs the leader that the two blessed children have now embarked on a mission to destroy two of the closest Magog solar systems.
Dylan is mortified and calls his crew back (except Tyr) to the Andromeda so that they can give chase. They catch up with, and capture, one of the little fighters, but the other one manages to let loose it’s bomb and destroy a sun and the surrounding planets (killing millions of people – erm, I mean Magog).
Later, the lovely Beka, in a terrific turquoise ensemble, tries to talk Harper into ‘fixing’ the other ships so that a similar incident would not happen. Dylan returns to the bedchamber of the leader (without any incriminating hand gestures this time) and continues to discuss his ideas of peace.
This time he takes a chance and brings a cloaked Rev Bem. Nissin immediately draws her gun, but Rev Bem asks that she not shoot him for one hour. He wants to talk to her to persuade her that he is a goodie Magog and that not all Magog settlements are worthy of destruction. She listens, finger poised to fire.
But Hayec was able to watch from some sort of web cam contraption hidden in Nissin’s bedroom (WHAT! What is this young geezer doing with a web-cam in a young lady’s room… these kids grow up fast!). He meets with Dylan at the doorway and diverts his attention. Rev Bem attempts to get back to the ship alone, but is captured.
Back on the Eureka Maru, the beautiful Beka attempts to find out what Harper has been working on. Unfortunately for her, Harper is determined to keep his work a secret until he is ready.
Next we see Nissin trying to talk peace to her subordinates. Rev Bem’s words did mean something to her. But she is very ill with radiation sickness and not nearly as eloquent or forceful as Hayec and he soon interrupts her. Rev Bem is thrown over a balcony in front of everyone and left to dangle by his ankles while a number of children beat him with sticks. Dylan enters and orders Hayec to cut Rev Bem down.
Hayec taunts Dylan and tells him, “If you really are our messiah, you will beat this Magog to death yourself.” But Dylan compounds his earlier error and tells them, “I am High Guard, I am your messiah, but my ways are not your ways…..” He then goes on to preach the peace thing again – but it had lost a lot of it’s meaning. After the ‘I am the messiah’ comment, all Dylan was going to do, was get himself deeper and deeper in trouble.
The Magog is cut down and taken back to the Andromeda where he is tended by Trance. She seems to have taken on the role of medical officer. Tyr and Beka return and report that the remaining fighters have been ‘fixed’ and can now be controlled remotely. Whatever Hayec has planned, the little fighters will now only obey the commands of Dylan Hunt.
Dylan’s feelings however, are tempered by feelings of guilt. He enters the medical quarters and tells Trance and Rev Bem that they are leaving (I guess playing God is harder than he thought). Rev Bem presses Dylan for a reason. Dylan confesses that he compromised his objectives. He is worried that the mistakes in judgment (I’m not sure if the messiah thing was included) led to the death of millions of (Magog) and put his crew’s life in jeopardy. I think he feels some remorse for underestimating the children’s ability, ruthlessness and their intent on the destruction of their enemies. Rev Bem consoles the Captain.
This was quite an important scene. It demonstrates quite clearly that the writers aren’t trying to make Dylan Hunt to actually be a messiah (or a John Luc Picard or bloody Janeway for that matter). He is depicted as one of those rare Sci Fi characters, a human being! And what happens to most humans when they are treated like messiah’s – that’s right, they act like bloody idiots! (well I do anyway 🙂
Trance is walking past the docking bay doors when she sees a message from Mapes. He pleads with her to let him go with her, and after indicating that his life was in danger from Hayec, Trance reluctantly opens the door.
Mapes is not alone, Hayec and a number of others slide into view. “All your brains must be in your tail.” Says Hayec to Trance as he boards the Andromeda. She raises her hands as she sees the guns pointing at her, and you can bet her tail didn’t wag! Andromeda reports that her sensors are being tampered with, and before she can elaborate, her image disappears. The children, still holding Trance as hostage, enter the flight deck. Worse still, Dylan learns that Hayec has managed to jam his data link and now the fighters are able to attack whatever target Hayec intends.
He accuses Dylan of not being High Guard, but an impostor. Tyr tries to change side (a Nietzschean trait which didn’t surprise the Captain). Dylan tries to activate some tiny-creepy-crawly-hidden-things to attack the children (I’m with you mate!) but quickly learns that most of the children injected themselves with Nanobot Inhibitors (read more about Nanobots here). Meanwhile, the fighter ships are armed and ready to depart.
Nissin enters the Flight Deck to listen to the ridicule being heaped upon Hunt by Hayec. She looks hurt. Dylan confesses that he is not a messiah, but just a man. He lied because he wanted her help, and he still does. Hayec proclaims himself G-Stat Com, “This is Def-com one, the Day of Lightening, now do as I say!”
Trance uses her tail to try and work the knot that ties Dylan’s hands loose (I found myself strangely jealous) – she didn’t succeed.
Things are looking pretty black for Dylan and his crew when suddenly, elsewhere on the ship, we see a naked (clearly feminine) foot step out of a doorway and onto the floor. Two young guards are surprised to find the owner of the foot completely naked. The naked lady is able to restrain the two guards. Back on the Flight Deck, Hayec prepared to let loose his fighters. Suddenly a very shapely and completely naked Andromeda enters the room. We assume that she is fully naked of course – you’ll never see a nipple in a Gene Roddenberry show! – despite Canadian production!
Hayec is resolute however (yeah right! A real teen-geezer would have become a blubbering jelly – Hayec was inhuman) “Who are you?” He asks somewhat academically. There was some other banter between Hayec and Rommie but I was distracted. Rommie takes control of the situation by increasing the artificial gravity field in the area of the vicious killer thugs (children). They fall to the ground in a heap, unable to move. Rommie gives a very sweet smile.
I couldn’t help notice as the field was turned on, that everyone looked at the children dropping to the ground. All except Harper that is, his eyes remained fixed on Rommie – wadda SadGeezer! It transpires that this manifestation of Andromeda, was Hamper’s little project – a cool SadGeezer! The Andromeda male members of the crew manage to control themselves and give chase to the fighters. They suddenly issue a data command to eject the pilots and destroy the bombs.
The crisis is quickly over and Dylan takes a shirt (I think it was Harpers) and hands it to Andromeda ( – not a SadGeezer). The two of them exchange nervous glances, Hunt was desperately trying not to look at his computer in a disrespectful manner, and for the most part, Andromeda gave some pretty pensive glances back. The naked, physical manifestation of Rommie by the genius that is Harper, was clearly a shock for both of them. The furtive glances between Hunt and Rommie were wonderful!
Incidentally, when she does get her clothes back on, there is a great picture of Lexa Doig making fun of her costume behind the scenes (I assume for a promotional shoot, I’m not sure – I think she is making fun of the push up aspect of her underwear). I’m certainly not complaining 🙂
The children are returned to the Station (Harper strenuously points out that it was he who created Rommie’s body – I wonder if he too noticed the glances). Later, Rommie meets with Dylan Hunt in one of the corridors, they are alone, but Rommie is clothed. “It’s good to finally meet you,” she says (personally I thought that was a VERY flirtatious comment). She hold’s out her hand, “face to face” she adds. Hunt blurts out some embarrassed comment about it being strange to see her (he almost said ‘in the flesh’), “I’m so used to seeing you on the holoscreen. Me waking up in the morning, you seeing me.”
“Get out of the shower” adds Rommie nervously.
“Can we just say…. on many occasions?” says Hunt, equally nervously.
“Erm.. of course” confirms Andromeda.
She went on to point out that Commonwealth protocol prohibits anything more than a purely professional relationship. I’m sure she said this with a half smile, I wasn’t sure if she was finding humour in the protocol, or because Hunt was concerned (I suspect the later). I know I’m a SadGeezer but I’m sure that was a mischievous and subtle exchange. He welcomes her aboard and gives a salute (taking another brief glance at her before he leaves).
Back on the Station, Hayec had been deposed and Mapes has taken over (Nissin was too ill to continue). His attitude is clearly conciliatory and not nearly as aggressive. The children resolve to face the challenge of Peace. Which is completely nuts considering that they are surrounded by slavers, Magog and Nietzschean’s. Dylan Hunt may have turned the hell-children into a bunch of namby pamby pinko liberals who would rather fend off a marauding Magog assault with an aggressive leaflet campaign – I’d give them a week!
Back on Andromeda, Dylan Hunt secretly stores a salvaged Nova Bomb in the hold. He’s not happy about it – just cautious.
I’d rate this a wonderful 22,629 out of 10. What did you think.
The “To Loose the Fateful Lightening” episode review is © 2000 Tony Fawl.
Not for reproduction without the authors express permission.
The names, characters and everything else associated with Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda TV series are the property of the Tribune Entertainment Company. All rights reserved.
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