Andromeda: S01E04: D Minus Zero
If the previous shows provided the bones of the plot… a skeleton of a story – this episode provided much of the meat. It let us scratch the surface of the fragile new relationships of Beka Valentine’s crew (and Rommie) to Dylan Hunt. The plot was a little simple in comparison to the complexities of last week’s episode, but it was well paced and full of action.
We saw the crew’s weaknesses and strengths (though I suspect that there are more weaknesses than strengths at this stage of the saga), some very cool battle sequences (with green missiles), and we were also able to ponder the seemingly unfathomable feasibility of a bonking computer.
HERE’S EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT WAR: SOMEBODY WINS, SOMEBODY LOSES, AND NOTHING IS EVER THE SAME AGAIN.
Admiral Constanza Stark
The battle begins, but soon the Andromeda must retreat and lick it’s wounds. Dylan is hugely miffed at Beka’s attitude; he is the Captain after all. In the heat of battle, he should not have to explain himself to his subordinates. And yet, Beka is adamant that she is in the right (and lets face it, women usually are). He should appreciate that she has strong loyalties to the safety of ‘her’ crew.
Next we see the lovely Andromeda, in reduced stature – looking at Dylan’s picture of himself and his fiancé (Sarah). She is paying particular attention to the picture of Dylan. Then (surprisingly for a computer !?!) she reaches out and attempts to delicately touch the picture of his face with her holographic hand. I was tempted to say that it looked really silly, but it was strangely moving.
NOTE: From now on, and to help save confusion, I will be referring to the Andromeda Computer as Rommie when in solid form, Andromeda in holographic form, and the ship’s computer in all other instances.
Dylan enters the room, he had just showered, and without thinking, begins drying his naked self in full view of the … sensitive Andromeda. He mutters something about ‘deposits’ on the ships hull and Harper fixing the problem with Andromeda, but she (and I guess most of the female audience) weren’t really paying attention. Andromeda tries to divert her eyes from Dylan’s erm… manly extremities and focus on the hull problem, but she clearly finds it difficult.
”I’m sure you’ll come up with something,” says Dylan. Andromeda closes her eyes. Dylan is oblivious to the conflict he is causing in his computers circuits. He engages her in a conversation about his concerns over his handling of the battle with the mysterious ship. He blames himself for their situation. Although his crew are undisciplined, they are intelligent and capable – he feels that it is he who is the weak link.
“Don’t ever think that!” exclaims Andromeda, “You are a fine commander.” Aww sweet.
The Captain, sheepishly encouraged by his computers confidence, explains that time may have passed him by – that Napoleon would not have been such a good leader if he had been extracted from his own time period and placed in say, the second world war. He would have no knowledge of tank strategy or other, more modern forms of warfare.
Despite this conversation, Dylan still had an air of confidence about him. Although he was concerned, he was not too worried. His faith in his own ideals were certainly intact and as far as he was concerned, all he needed to do was prove his abilities to the crew.
Beka joined Harper in the workshop. He was hard at work fixing and repairing (he seems the most dedicated of the crewmembers). Despite Harper supporting the Captain on the flight deck earlier, Beka doesn’t bare a grudge; she actually blames Dylan Hunt and begins to complain about his leadership. Beka feels that he is a dangerous idealist – and one that will eventually get them killed.
Seamus Harper then launches into a really wacky analogy about how bugs get spattered on windscreens. “But Dylan is not flying around minding his own business, he’s looking for windscreens.” Argues Beka. But Harper suggests that Dylan Hunt is just the sort of tough bugger to smash through a windscreen without getting splattered.
On the flight deck, Rev Bem informs Dylan that the ship is being buffeted with depth charge blasts. The mysterious ship has been hunting them down. Now that the ships hull is clear, Dylan orders Beka to the bridge and he attempts to steer the ship out of cover and brave a confrontation. He issues pilot commands to the lovely disgruntled Beka. “This must be the old nauseate your enemy ploy.” She says clearly having a dig at the Captain (she being the enemy and his fast and frequent commands being nauseating).
“Keep it up. Random speed and …… attitude changes… I want Andromeda bucking like a drunken Vedran with a Nightsider on his back.” Replies Dylan… with the customary commando like bravado.
Beka smiles. “Sounds like my last date.” (What?! She went out with a bloke that looked like a horse?)
They prepare for battle with the mysterious spaceship. Dylan is determined to confront the ship and orders Beka to charge at it. Harper and Trance enter the bridge, “Life support officer Trance Gemini reporting for duty SIR!” Says Trance enthusiastically.
“Suck up.” Quips the unimpressed Harper.
As they approach for battle. Dylan orders Beka and the others to tie up fighter and weapons duties. Beka is mildly irritated with relinquishing the pilots’ duties to Andromeda, but Dylan has a plan. She follows his orders, reluctantly.
Just as they are about to open fire, Rev Bem tells the Captain that he will not fire weapons. He is ok with operating the ships sensors, but he will not fire at another ship. This surprises Dylan (and us). “I could have told you that.” Adds Beka sarcastically.
Dylan wonders what kind of ship they are up against. “Maybe it’s a baby space alien that thinks it’s his mother.” Yeah sure, and firing missiles and depth charges at the Andromeda is just it’s poor cry for mothers milk!
Dylan launches the fighters (all two of them), the mysterious ship launches a large number of large missiles and Tyr using the remote, tries desperately to stop them – without success. Harper assists but he too is unsuccessful. Tyr calls on Harper to pay attention, but the geezer is clearly out of his depth. Tyr jumps out of position to try and help Harper and lets a number of missiles through. They hit the ship causing considerable damage and Dylan orders them to make a run for it – into the corona of the nearest star.
As they head for the star, Dylan calls Tyr out into the corridor for a private word. He reprimands the Nietzschean for not following orders (breaking formation when he went to help Harper) and tells him that on ‘his’ ship he must work as part of a team – there are no exceptions.
“Work as a team? With them?” says the big thug, “They are amateurs, children. And you are and anachronism! You haven’t the first idea how unforgiving this universe has become and I will not allow you to find out at my expense.” (A big eloquent thug).
They part silently and later Beka finds that Tyr is on the flight deck of the Eureka Maru. They discuss Dylan’s leadership abilities and he suggests that she become Captain and that he becomes the First Officer. Surprisingly, Beka refuses.
On the flight deck, Dylan is startled when he is woken from a snooze by Rev Bem. Dylan is more than a little surprised (as anyone would be if a big hairy monster with pointy ears and fangs wakes them. Dylan apologises to Rev (I’d have shot the bugger!). “It (Rev’s appearance) takes a little getting used to. I’m sure humans look a little strange to you at first?”
“On the contrary“, says Rev Bem with a cheesy grin, “I find humans very attractive.” (Probably with a nice drop of gravy) He goes on to ask Dylan if he is aware how the crew are reacting to the current altercation with the mysterious spaceship. The Magog tactfully points out that they are six civilians doing the jobs of 4000 trained ships personnel. Harper especially is feeling the pressure. He blames himself for their current predicament and is working himself too hard to try and make up for it.
Dylan considers Rev Bem’s wise words and joins Harper in a maintenance tunnel where he is affecting repairs to a panel. Some pleasant male banter is exchanged and, during the exchange, Dylan explains that their troubles are his fault and not Harpers. He tells him that as the Captain, he should have had a better plan. He then asks Harper to build a gadget that will make the ship look bigger…. Much bigger. It will act as a decoy causing missiles to detonate away from the ships hull. Harper agrees to try.
As they head for the corona of the nearest star, Andromeda is hotly pursued by a myriad of missiles. Some of them detonate near the hull and damage the ships propulsions system. To make things worse, Rev points out that the sensor drones have also been destroyed. Tyr tells the Captain, “We are crippled and blind. If this ship were my child, I’d drown it.” (He wouldn’t need to, it’s probably sink to the bottom… erm…)
The next swarm of enemy missiles are destroyed by a solar flare, but not without much nail biting and nervous glances from the crew. Yet Dylan’s tenuous control on the safety of his crew was beginning to weaken.
As they hide in the stellar corona, the radiation levels begin to worry the crew and the inactivity is making them restless; Harper is almost finished with the development of the gadget when he suddenly begins coughing blood; Tyr harps on about the futility of waiting out the enemy in such a dangerous hiding place.
On the bridge, Dylan discusses the options with Andromeda (is it me or did you notice Andromeda sweating?!?! Was this to show compassion for her crewmembers, or was she feeling the heat of the stars corona, or possibly feeling a little flushed at the close proximity to her beloved Captain Hunt?)
Harper enters the flight deck and promptly collapses holding the gizmo tightly.
He is taken to the medical centre where Trance performs a number of tests on him. “He’s dying.” She says. Dylan quietly pointed out that it should have been hours before anyone started feeling the effects of the radiation. He didn’t seem too depressed at poor Harpers demise. In fact nobody did, I half expected someone to say, ‘dying, is that terminal?’ Beka tells Dylan that Harper was raised in a refugee centre, “….he has a dodgy immune system at the best of times.”
But we all managed a collective sigh of relief when Dylan asked Trance, “So how long before his condition becomes irreversible?” (I guess it’s hard to get used to the Andromedan concept of death, what a great excuse for taking a day off work, “Can’t come in today boss, I’m dying – I should be better tomorrow.”)
Tyr takes the opportunity to tell the Captain that he would rather take his chances in battle than wait around and be fried in the heat and radiation. Dylan asks Beka for her opinion. She tells him that she would rather do a runner in the Eureka Maru then asks her compatriots to join her. Trance nervously (and a very sweetly shifting her tail), explains that she would rather stay with the Captain. Harper and Rev Bem also decide to stick with Dylan. This was a tense scene, I half expected Tyr to challenge Dylan for the Captain’s job, but it seemed to fizzle out. Beka had a sort of ‘no hard feelings’ attitude.
Dylan was the one to go on the offensive. He told Beka, dispassionately, that would prefer her to leave. He planned to use the ‘gadget’ on the Eureka Maru to make the enemy think that it was the Andromeda. Then while it is attacking the decoy, Dylan would come up behind and give it a good blasting. He holds up a remote control device that is used to turn on the ‘gadget’. “It’s your call Beka, do you want to walk with me and live, or walk out on me and die?”
On the flight deck of the Eureka Maru, Beka sits quietly alone (I guess Tyr decided not to accompany her – the wimp!) She stares glumly at the empty consoles around her and Dylan joins her. As he enters the bridge, Beka hands him the ‘gadget’. She mentions that it was poorly hidden. Dylan is pleased that she didn’t damage it because he would have to use the gadget when he flew the Eureka Maru later (?!?). There then followed a wacky exchange in which Dylan and Beka argued who was going to fly this decoy ship into the gaping jaws of the enemy.
Beka wins. She flies the ship within sniffing distance of the enemy and they take the bait. Beka calls for Dylan to intercept as she speeds away heading for slipstream. She is hotly pursued by lots and lots of enemy missiles.
Dylan chases after the ship and just manages to catch up with it before Beka is blown to bits. Tyr fires a round of intercept missiles at the other missiles and they are all wonderfully blown up (this sequence had some great graphics – even if I didn’t fully comprehend what was going on). The Andromeda then fires hundreds of little erm… green missiles at the mysterious enemy ship and the enemy ship also fires lots and lots of green coloured missiles back at the Andromeda.
Either Tyr fired more of the little green missiles than the enemy ship or the enemy ship was more susceptible to green missile attack than the Andromeda, because later (after a painfully short exchange), the enemy was incapacitated (engines were knackered). Tyr wanted to finish them off but the ship exploded before he could do so.
Andromeda told the captain that the enemy had blown themselves up. Dylan guessed that this was because they wanted to hide their identity. They were mysterious to the end.
Later, Beka and Dylan make-up but they didn’t kiss and they certainly didn’t use tongues. Instead they discussed some strange concept of head kicking when either of them required it (?!?).
The only other person Dylan had to make-up with, was Tyr (and no, they didn’t kiss each other either). This time they played a friendly game of basketball. Tyr commented bitterly that he had underestimated Dylan Hunt and that it would not happen again. Was this a form of Nietzschean apology? If it was, Dylan was not impressed, he clobbered Tyr in the face with the ball, obviously committing a foul and yet, at the same time, getting past his opponent. I’m sure that there was some sort of understated underestimation statement there, but it was lost on this SadGeezer.
(By the way, NewKate, my wife and committed lady SadGeezer who fiddled with the scans, would like to send a personal note of thanks to the writers and creators for NOT having Dylan Hunt shave his chest).
I thought that this episode was the best yet. It had lots of grit, some clever banter, cool and sexy spaceships, impressive green missiles and of course a lovely shot of Beka’s bum. I’d just have to rate this a cool 38,498 (it would have been 38,499 if we’d seen more of Andromeda’s infatuation with Dylan).
What did you think?
The “D Minus Zero” 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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