Andromeda: S01E08: The Banks of the Lethe
Welp! Another cracker. I was a little worried after hearing that the show was going to be based around the relationship between Dylan and his fiance. But those of us that don’t like mushy stuff with our sci fi had plenty do trying to get our heads round some pretty hefty science.
I’m not going to explain all that here, there is a much more eminent SadGeezer who has agreed to write the Andromeda Tech Section of this Guide (coming soon). There were many other interesting interactions such as an excellent scene between Rommie and Dylan or the standoff between Beka and Tyr. We also saw a much meatier performance from Harper and the introduction to the show, of the Perseids (the race that first introduced the humans to the Commonwealth). In fact the only disappointment was the absence of lovely but slightly scatterbrained Trance Gemini.
WE SAY ATOMS ARE BOUND BY WEAK ATTRACTORS.
WHY NOT ADMIT THE TRUTH:
THE UNIVERSE IS HELD TOGETHER BY LOVE.
Michio Von Kerr,
Two of these gray geezers (with chins like beards) extol the virtues of Rommie’s quantum capabilities rather like a couple of geezers talking about the chest measurements of the barmaid in thee local pub. They are very excited, believing that they are on the brink of discovering some really cool science such as improved slipstream travel and perhaps even teleportation. Dylan however is only tolerating them so that he can get on the good side of the Perseid government. He hopes to persuade them to join the new Commonwealth with a bribe – the use of the Andromeda Ascendant resources.
The close proximity of the Black hole is causing some problems for Rommie. Her processing power is almost all tied up with the experiment and the tricky gravitational fluctuations (not gravimetric distortions) make the ship judder from time to time. The Perseids are quite happy to put up with the bumpy ride and rather ungratefully acknowledge the limitations of Andromeda’s artificial intelligence. Rommie grimaced noticeably. Which is a lot less than I would have done – I’d have at least given the ungrateful buggers a sharp electric jolt in the bum.
Later, Beka joins Dylan and bends his ear about the irritating Perseids. Dylan however is preoccupied with other thoughts. He can’t wait until the experiment is complete, then he can leave the area. “That thing (the black hole) didn’t just swallow my ship, it swallowed my life.” He says to Beka.
Later, in his room, he picks up a picture of his ex-fiancé, Sarah. Dylan really misses her.
Then the scene changes; we see the flight deck of a ship that is about to try and pull the Andromeda Ascendant out of the Black Hole event horizon. It is captained by Sarah (?! Yer too late darlin’) and she and her colleagues are about to try and pull the ship out. She is so close to him that she can almost feel him, and this feeling causes her to reminisce about the first time they met.
Dylan and his comrade (a Nietzschean who is now Sarah’s second officer) were sent to rescue Dr. Sarah Riley from a Magog attack. She stubbornly refused to go until her experiment had been completed. Dylan soon destroyed the main computer console with his handy vibrator/laser weapon. Dr Riley angrily tells Dylan that Admiral Stark (a lady admiral) warned her about him. She said that she would either fall in love with him or kill him. At that point, I’d have put my money on a laser blast to the groin.
Back on the Andromeda Ascendant (the one that’s 300 years later) The Rev Ben tries to console the Captain. He suggests that he could quiet his pain by sending a message into the black hole’s event horizon. He feels that the writing of the message has a therapeutic quality even though Dylan may know that no one will read it.
Elsewhere on the ship, the Perseids and Harper are conducting experiments with ‘quantum entanglement’ which, to you and me is a transportation devise. Harper tries to explain the science to Beka by talking about the experiment in terms of two particles. Apparently these little particles have an ability to tell lies, but Harper and the Perseids have built a machine which can sort out the lying little particles from the nice truthful ones and presto! A transporter!
Beka is skeptical, her skepticism grows when Harper attempts to transport one of Trance Gemini’s plants (which Trance named Walter). The plant was certainly transported, but moments later it exploded, covering the lovely Beka with little globules of plant entrails.
Dylan records a moving video message. I guess there is some sort of time distortion near the black hole as the communication is picked up by a shocked Sarah 300 years ago. She is able to transmit a message back to the Andromeda (the one in the future). And the two ships quickly establish clear two way conversations. Wow! Wadda cool trick, if you had the chance of a video conversation with someone in the past – who would it be?
Dylan and Sarah continue their chat in private. No – they didn’t get all mushy and romantic. It was more like a ‘what the bloody hell do you mean, 300 years in the future!’. Wadda comedown. Sarah went on to talk about how she mounted a rescue operation in the middle of a war. She is determined to get Dylan out of the Back Hole.
Harper, Beka and Rev Bem discuss the feasibility of Sarah’s plan. Beka is skeptical and Harper is optimistic. Rev Bem of course, believes in miracles and divine intervention and all that stuff. Harper is happy that Dylan has someone to try to rescue him and feels motivated to help Sarah get him out.
The only problem of course is ‘get him out of what’ – get him out of the future, get him out of the past – how could a future Dylan and is crew help someone in the past to change his recent past ….erm… I need a drink.
Beka explains it better, “But we know Sarah’s plan didn’t work, if it did then we wouldn’t be here right now. What happened in the past happened, Dylan wasn’t saved. His ship was still here in the future when we rescued him, and nothing Sarah’s planning can change that.” I’d have thought that was a pretty convincing argument, but Harper suddenly gets a brainwave and rushes of chanting, “Call me the love god baby!”
Harper demonstrates an experiment in the Hangar Deck with Dylan. He shows the materialization of a melon through the transportation device, they both watch as the Melon (with a funny face drawn on it) get blown to bits as it materializes. Harper however is not even the slightest bit upset. He gets another Melon and draws a funny face on it then begins the transportation procedure. He beams to Dylan, “I blew up THAT melon.”
I guess the implications for this are pretty staggering and Dylan certainly looks thoughtful. Nevertheless, the inescapable problem with the whole idea is the likelihood of Dylan (should he chose to accept such a mission) would end up being splattered across the face of his loved one when he eventually materialized 300 years earlier. Confused? You will be! Harper explains the science in his usual flowery way, “Do I rule?” He concludes, “Or do I RULE!” He repeats irritatingly.
They both watch as another melon (which has yet to be transported) is blown to bits in front of their very eyes! Harper says it’s a ‘one way ticket to love’ more like a one way ticket to oblivion! Dylan contemplates this, he doesn’t look too worried, he could just ask Harper to try it out first.
Later, in a scene that tugged at the ol’ heartstrings Dylan manages to transmit a hologramatic form of himself into Sarah’s quarters. She is startled at first, but then they talk about her mission to save him in the past. He tries to point out that the past cant be changed, but the lovely Sarah explained that the math’s (or math) shows that it can be done. She explains that for all they know he is in an alternate reality and if she can’t save him in this one (hers), then it might be possible to be together in a reality which they might create for themselves. “I just want you back” she said. It sounded like a pretty desperate argument and I guess they both knew that.
Dylan later materializes on the Bridge to meet up with a few of his old comrades. His old pal Khalid a Nietzschean (so not ALL Nietzschean’s were baddies in the war) agrees to look after Sarah if her grand experiment fails.
Dylan looks on as the rescue attempt begins. A number of pods are released and they surround the beached Andromeda Ascendant “I can’t wait to see the look on my face when you pull me out of there.” Says Dylan with a smile.
Sarah smiles back, “What would I do with two of you?” she replies innocently. And while most of us wondered what it would be like to have two of our partners to play with, the pods began to pull out the Andromeda Ascendant.
But just as they get to the critical bit, a Nietzschean stealth fighter opens fire on them. Their ship is doomed, or it looks that way, until that is Dylan takes command and orders one of the crew to deploy two of the pods to attack the Nietzschean ship. Although the pods don’t have any explosive qualities, they do have a useful ability to fiddle with the enemy’s gravitational thingy and make it fall into the black hole. This it does, and Sarah and her crewmates are saved. Unfortunately those pods were needed for Dylan’s rescue and worse still, it will be another 12 hours before the can make another attempt to rescue him.
Sarah storms of in a huff, it’s not that she’s annoyed with Dylan (well, not much I guess) more likely she feels disappointment and frustration. Worse still, a Nietzschean destroyer is also on its way – expected in eleven hours. Dylan follows her and they discuss he problem of the Nietzschean battleship, but Sarah refuses to leave. She is determined to rescue him or dye trying.
Dylan tries to comfort his tearful loved-one by telling her that there is a small chance that they can try something else.
He returns (in spirit at least) to the Andromeda Ascendant and discusses with Tyr the impending attempt to transport himself back in time. Tyr is skeptical but points out that ‘genetic propagation is one of the few endeavors worth the risk of death‘. He then disgraces himself when he asks what will happen to the ship if Dylan should die. Tyr’s tactless remark was rewarded when Dylan explained that command of the Ship would go to Beka – ‘no question’. But he hoped that Tyr would stay on, they needed him. Tyr grimaced and asked why Dylan should feel that he cared. But Dylan made him think, “Don’t you?” He asked and Tyr’s half-smile faded.
In the Hangar Deck, an excited Harper demonstrates to a skeptical Beka how to transport a melon (with Trance’s name on it) from one end of the room to the other.
“I have given life and form to the first time traveling fruit in the history of the universe.” Says Harper, enthusiastically.
“So what’s the plan? We engrave ‘Trance’ on Dylan’s forehead?” Replies Beka sarcastically.
Harper glibly responds with, “It couldn’t hurt. In fact he might look kinda cute.” He goes on to explain how this might help Dylan bring back Sarah. He goes on to point out that he can now transport a fruit to the other side of the room with a 100% chance of success, but tells Beka that he only has a 50% chance of getting Dylan and Sarah back in one piece (or maybe two pieces).
Dylan prepares for transportation and is on his way to the Hanger Bay when Rommie joins him. She’s not happy with the whole idea at all! She tries to talk him out of it, explaining that his crew is not happy and that he is the only one capable of bringing other worlds back into the Commonwealth, “This is bigger than you Dylan, you have to be objective.” She says.
But Dylan responds by touching Rommie’s forehead. Rommie is stunned, “When I touch you,” says Dylan, “Do you feel me?” Rommie doesn’t answer, but you could almost see her diodes doing summersaults. “or do you measure the pressure of my fingers against your skin? When I speak, do you hear my voice?” But Rommie just looks at him as though she’s about to turn into an exploding melon!
Then Dylan said something that clearly hurt Rommie and made the rest of us cringe, “You can’t be objective about this, I’m not a machine.” Ouch! I guess we all felt like giving the geezer a real slap. But all Rommie could reply, was a miffed, “You have to think about the Commonwealth.”
“Sarah IS my Commonwealth.” Says Dylan.
Rommie half threatens to refuse her help, but Dylan knows that she is only bluffing. And he leaves. That was a great scene, I really like the way things are progressing between these two – it made you wonder if we’ll ever see them end up in bed together – yes it did!
Dylan arrives at the transportation gizmo and Harper hands him a signal booster to help get Sarah get back in one piece. The Perseid scientists wrongly assume that Dylan is displaying some sort of devotion to science and completely misunderstands his true motives. At that point, Beka enters the room and tries to dissuade him from going. Beka as you know, is a starship captain in her own right and is used to issuing orders rather than taking them. If someone close to her makes a mistake, all she has to do is order them to put it right or simply tell them not to do it. Imagine her frustration then, when faced with a geezer who she cannot order to stop from doing something that she clearly feels is wrong. You could almost see her grinding her teeth in frustration. And yet her words seemed patronising and even a little bitchy. “The truth is that you feel guilty that you survived the war and Sarah didn’t.” She says. “We’re all guilty for something Dylan, it’s called life. It isn’t fair, but it’s not a reason to die.” Then she storms to the other side of the room and turns her back.
Dylan responds by telling everyone in the room, “Let me be clear. I am coming back.” Then he gets into the transporter gizmo and is beamed onto Sarah’s ship….. in one piece.
He materializes on the bridge to the delight of Sarah and the rest of her crew. But before he and Sarah can give each other a big sloppy wet kiss, Sarah’s ship AND the Andromeda both suffer an attack from those pesky Nietzschean’s (don’t you just hate it when that happens).
It turns out that the Nietzschean ship in Sarah’s timeframe must have left attack orders for their descendants in Dylan’s timeframe. Rommie then explains that the Perseid experiment is taking up most of her/it’s resources. If the experiment is stopped then Dylan will be left in the past. But Dylan shouts to Tyr, “Tyr, you know what you must do. Do it!”
Both ships are taking a heavy pounding, but when Tyr leaves the bridge, he is followed by Beka. She is worried that he will cut Dylan off from returning and she pulls a gun on him just as he draws his gun to Beka. The two of them stand silently for a moment with guns aimed at each others forehead. But in the end it is Tyr who lowers his first. “He’s worth more alive than dead. To both of us – now can we get to work here?” Beka lets him go.
On Sarah’s ship, Dylan orders a green Than (warrior) to bounce a voice transmission off the stricken Andromeda to the attacking Nietzschean battleship. This it does and the message orders the Nietzschean to cease firing or be destroyed. Dylan’s hope is that the Nietzschean battleship will think that the Andromeda Ascendant (a more powerful ship) is now operational and that it is capable of defending Sarah’s little recovery ship.
300 years in the future, Tyr is commanding a squadron of drone fighters against the other attacking Nietzschean ship. Then he lets lose a whole load of those lovely green missiles. These distract the enemy ship long enough for Tyr’s little fighters to get under its hull and, I guess hit it where it hurts. The ship explodes slowly and marvelously.
On Sarah’s ship, he Nietzschean battleship decides that it’s better to do a runner, and leaves.
Unfortunately, Dylan and Sarah learn that they are not able to transport themselves back to the Andromeda together. The little booster device apparently doesn’t have enough power and Sarah must stay back (Dylan’s atomic details are already stored by Harper). Sarah knows that Dylan wont stay back in time with so much work to do restoring the Commonwealth. They only have a minute together before Dylan returns.
Dylan and Sarah, both tearful, finally part company as he tells her he loves her. Then he is transported safely back to his ship leaving poor Sarah alone on her bridge. Everyone is please to see him back, but Dylan is less than happy.
On an observation deck, Rommie joins him and explains that the Perseid Government have agreed to become the first planet to sign the new Commonwealth Charter and goes on to say that Sarah’s ship may not have pulled them out of the black hole. But what she did helped them enough for the Eureka Maru to pull them out 300 years later.
“She saved you after all” Rommie concludes.
“Isn’t that what people who love each other do?” said Dylan quietly to himself.
And that (sob) was the end (sob) of the episode. A cool story as sci fi love stories go, and some hairy scary science.
I’d rate this a romantic 31,640 out of 10.
Despite the absence of Trance Gemini.
What did you think?
“The Banks of the Lethe” 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.
Checkout their website