Andromeda: S01E13: Harper 2.0

This episode was another cracker (and a screamer!). It was well written and well directed, but by far the most praise should go to Gordon Michael Woolvett for his immaculate performance as Harper.  We’re used to Harper’s quick wit and silly mannerisms, but we’re not used to seeing such a realistic portrayal of manic pain and fear – and lets face it, not many people can talk that fast – whatever they’re on!  Brent Stait too played short but gripping scenes…. In fact they were all marvelous – and yes Trance was back. 


Systems Universal Archives,
C.Y. 8550

N'pas ouvir d'la service postal The show opened with Beka Valentine reporting their arrival to the Andromeda from her ship, the Eureka Maru.  She and Harper had just been to Drift Colony Stegus IV trading for much needed parts for the ship. They were only 20 minutes away from the Andromeda Ascendant and to pass the time away, Beka teased Harper about his linguistic prowess (or lack of).  He tried to speak to her in a foreign tongue, but failed miserably.  Suddenly a small object beached itself in the Docking Bay.  It actually looked like a large beach ball, a purple beach ball!

Harper scans the object (about 5 feet in diameter) and finds that it has someone inside.  The only way in is to cut through the skin.  Lots of murky air escapes as Harper makes the incision.  Inside is a very poorly Perseid gentleman.  They help him to a corner of the room and notice that he is very badly injured.  Beka asks who shot him, but the Perseid dude only says, “Must save, must save.

The Poor PersiedThe sick gray bloke (with the pointy chin that flies through space in a purple balloon) looked at Harper’s data connector on his neck. He looked a little excited then lunged at Harper’s neck. But instead of giving him a big hickey, the Perseid tongued Harper’s data connector! {disgusting!} But this was no ordinary necking, as the Perseid moved his head away from Harper’s, lots of green energy seemed to flow between his mouth and the data connector – neither of them looked like they were having fun.

No ordinary neckingThen, just as suddenly, the necking stops and the Perseid falls to the ground.  He gives a last gasp of breath and dies.  Poor geezer, imagine your last living activity sucking on Harper’s sweaty data connector.  Harper on the other hand can’t remember what happened, but his neck is very sore.

Back on the Andromeda Ascendant, Tyr is examining the body of the guest.  The poor Perseid wasn’t just killed he was massacred!  Tyr tells a horrified Beka that he was stabbed, shot, electrified and there were lots of pinpoint torture wounds and even residual traces of a neuro-toxin. Tyr was shocked.

I can see right up your noseBack in the Medical Deck, Trance Gemini was examining Harper accompanied by Dylan Hunt.  “Aside from a major bump on the head and burn around the cerebral port he’s fine.” Says Trance.

Fine!?,” exclaims Harper, “I was practically electrocuted.  I can still see little dots.
Why do you think he attacked you?” asks a puzzled Dylan.
Jealous of my good looks maybe?” Replies Harper. Trance smiles mischievously (and a bit flirty too).
I dunno,” continues Harper, “No rhyme or reason, he just opened up wide, zapped down a MAJOR electrical discharge.  I could smell the ozone.

Then Harper surprisingly asks Trance to run a spectral analysis on his central nervous system… and …. some other medical stuff.  Trance and Dylan look surprised.  Harper is a geezer who could baffle anyone with engineering science, but on just about every other subject, Harper was a plonker.
Since when did you pick up medicine as a hobby?” Asks Dylan smiling.

Then Rommie announces that they have a vessel approaching.  Dylan goes to the bridge and he and Rommie listen to the Captain of the approaching ship.  He I'll be backintroduces himself as Marshall Yeager, Senior Dispatch Officer with the Intergalactic Apprehension Procurement Service (and looks and sounds like Arnold Shwartzenegger’s big brother).  Beka tells Dylan that he is a Bounty Hunter. Marshall Yeager requests that Dylan hand over the Perseid who is a fugitive.  Beka tells the Marshall that the fugitive is dead.
Dead?  Are you sure?” Asks Yeager.
Dead sure.” Replies Dylan smugly.

But Yeager is still keen to get his hands on the body; the poor Perseid apparently, was a thief. He says that he has a warrant and wants to take the body away so that he might discover what happened to…. whatever it was that he stole.  Dylan tells the Marshall that he will review his Warrant and grants him permission to board. Yeager signs off with a thinly veiled threat that the ‘Service’ doesn’t like it when people harbour a fugitive.

As Beka and Dylan wait for the Marshall’s ship to dock, they argue.  Beka thinks that Dylan shouldn’t provide any assistance to the bounty hunter.  But Dylan argues that the warrant is a valid one and he doesn’t want to fight over a corpse.

When the Marshall arrives he goes straight for the body. As he prepares it for it’s journey, he looks at Beka inquiringly and asks if he hasn’t seen her before. She replies “No(but Yeager doesn’t look like the type of geezer to forget a face! – thanks SwiftBiscuit). He then shrink-wraps the body, thanks Dylan and leaves with the poor Persied slung over his left shoulder.  However, just before the body was taken away, Dylan noticed a small insignia on the knuckle of the deceased.

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Later, he asks Rommie to search the computers records for all similarly shaped insignias.  Eventually they find that it belongs to The Special Collections Division of the All Systems University – the Perseid was a librarianAfter all that grief, you’d think he would be a mass murderer or something!  Dylan wonders what the poor Perseid had that was worth dying for… maybe he forgot to stamp someone’s library book.

Harper isn’t recovering.  He keeps having nightmares most of which seem to be of battles and murder in the Second World War.  In the morning, Rommie joins Harper to find that he is manic.  His brain is working overtime and he is speaking far too quickly.  Rommie wonders why his heartbeat and respiration are so high.  But Harper dismisses her concerns with flirting – in about five different languages!  Rommie called him a cunning linguist (you just HAD to laugh), but though she was impressed, she was also concerned.  He then goes on to verbally design some sort of  linguaphone and also suggests that he fine tune Rommie’s voice box…. Among other things.  He was talking so fast that I couldn’t make out what he was saying most of the time.

Persieds have green brainsBack at the Marshall’s base, we see that he wasn’t a bone-fide Marshall after all.  He laid out the body of the poor Perseid and chopped off the top of its head (As if we weren’t sick enough, the brain was green!).  Yeager was looking very worried. He lifted his head to talk with a ghostly character stood at the end of the workbench.  The ghostly character had a humanoid shape, but distinct red eyes.  It didn’t speak, but Yeager could understand what was being said.  He tells, or should that be pleads with the entity, “They are missing.  I don’t know where they are.  They must be on that salvage ship.  I’ll find them {even MORE worried look}, I’ll find them!

Back on the Andromeda, Harper is frantically building an old plane.  Dylan, Rev Bem and Beka watch as he sings, ‘She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain When She Comes’ in about 12 different languages (including an almost inaudible squeak). Dylan, Rev Bem and Beka decide to go and talk to him.  Dylan asks what his new project is, but Harper is politely evasive.  It’s not as if he’s trying to hide anything, more like he is having trouble concentrating.

Rev Bem tries to say some calming words, but as soon as Harper sees him, he becomes frightened and begins to hurl abuse at the surprised Magog.  Rev tries to calm him, but the only way Harper will calm down is when Rev Bem leaves.  Dylan and Beka decide to take Harper to the Medical Deck for treatment.

Meanwhile, Shwartzy’s brother has returned to the Eureka Maru and doesn’t so much open the door as walk through it.  Yeager is most certainly not like other marshals.  He’s built like a brick toilet for one thing, and his ability to walk through solid metal doors like that without a warrant, makes him even more scary.

Lets look at Trance's tail insteadOn the medical Deck, Beka points out Harper’s Brain scan to Trance.  His brain wave fluctuations are far above normal.  Trance says that she has never seen anything like it (I should hope not, she’s supposed to be a botanist!). Harper tells them that he is ok and suggests that they examine Trance instead, “She’s much more interesting.  An enigma, all wrapped up in a riddle with a tail in the middle.” {thanks SwiftBiscuit}

Beka and Trance suppose that the Perseid somehow transferred data into Harper’s brain.  Harper gets all excited (one of those Eureka! moments). He gets up to leave, but Beka and Trance try to tell him that he isn’t well and that the data, however it got there, is making him have nightmares and behave very strangely.

Harper goes back to his workshop where he continues to build his strange machine.  Rommie joins him and tells her that he is building a replica of the first plane to break the sound barrier. Rommie looks at him with a, ‘what the hell are you building such a useless machine for?’ expression.  She then tells him that he looks exhausted.  Harper just replies that he wants her to leave (quite right too).

Andromeda appears on the Control Deck monitor and tells Dylan that she tried. Dylan watches Harper working on his plane and says, “Well, if he doesn’t want to rest, he doesn’t want to rest.

The fluid dude - 'He'll  be back'Suddenly Yeager melts through the door and attacks Harper.  He tells him that he should have taken his friends advice.  Dylan sees what’s happening and calls for Tyr to go to the Medical Deck.  Tyr arrives just in time and the two big dudes battle.  Tyr looks to be losing (?!?) and Dylan arrives shooting his force Lance at the big intruder.   Yeager seems unharmed by the blast and does a runner by melting through the floor. (Yeager didn’t say ‘I’ll be back‘ (though MartinJ on the board at SlipstreamWeb says he heard Dylan say that)

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That evening we are able to see one of Harper’s dreams Harper has another nightmare, this time about a Magog attack. Lots of furry monsters chase him and catch and kill other humans, Harper wakes with a blood-curdling scream (and it was blood curdling too!  Believe me, it will send a shiver down your spine!). He woke and cried to himself.

Oi, what are you looking at?Dylan, Rommie and Tyr try to work out what the big intruder wants from Harper.  Rommie guesses that after her recent upgrade by the manic geezer, “…Harper has access to the quantum and neutrino based engineering platforms“.

Before they can discuss it further, the big fluid dude fires a thundering blast from his spaceship rupturing the Andromeda Ascendant’s hull.  (Some of us watched in distress, as a poor robot with breasts got sucked out into space through the hole).  This was no ordinary blast.  It was caused by a PSP (a Point Singularity Projector- like a mini black hole gun).  Dylan suggests that they do a runner and escape by using the slipstream.  Unfortunately the slipstream drive was one of the areas of the ship that was damaged.  To use it now would tear the ship apart.

Later, Harper gives Tyr a more detailed explanation of just how bad things are.  Tyr goes off to affect repairs elsewhere and Harper is joined by Rev Bem who just wants to help.  Harper goes APE!  He picks up a big bar and tries to kill the poor Magog.  Dylan comes to the rescue and tears the pole from Harper’s grip. But this doesn’t stop the manic dude, he continues by hurling abuse at Rev Bem who uncharacteristically gets very angry when Harper says something in Rev Bem’s own language (we didn’t learn what it meant).

Dylan manages to calm them both and Rev Bem leaves in a huff.  Harper is taken to the Medical Deck and strapped down (for his own safety).  Harper tells Trance and Beka how to download some of the data into a separate storage device.  They fabricate a device and try it out.  It works for a time, but they are only able to download a few gigabytes. Harper is rendered unconscious by the activity and Dylan asks Trance to make sure that he remains strapped in when Harper wakes.  He and Beka then go off to review the material that was downloaded.

They see lots of images of war but nothing worth dying for.  Beka suggests that the material is certainly the stuff of nightmares, but not the reason for attacking Rev Bem.  Dylan asks Rommie to review only the material relating to the Magog.

The images displayed are of the capture and subjugation of the people on the planet Brandenburg Tor (I probably heard that wrong).  Rev Bem tells them that although three and a half billion humans died in five days, it was seen by many Magog as a great victory.  It was also the beginning of the end for the Systems Commonwealth (one of the Magog incursions that caused all the trouble between the Systems Commonwealth and the Nietzschean’s 300 years earlier).

Rev Bem is moved to go and see Harper. “I have seen your nightmares,” he says. Harper turns away appalled at the sight of Rev Bem.  The Magog apologises to Harper for the role of his people in the massacres on Brandenburg Tor and asks his forgiveness.

Wouldn't you have nightmares if you had friends like Rev Bem?This seems to quiet Harper who eventually tells Rev Bem that it is not Rev Bem’s fault, “It’s just that every time I look at you, all I can see is … people dying.”  He asks Rev Bem how to make the nightmares stop.  But Rev just harps on about Wisdom.  He manages to get Harper to recite, “My pain belongs to the Divine.  It is like air it is like water ……… It’s like a freaking Freight Train going through my brain, are you sure this works?

But Rev Bem calmly tells him, “Think of hunger, think of what it must be like to go days, even weeks without food.”  Harper listens slightly calmed by Rev Bem’s voice, “Now, imagine what it would be like to know that in the midst of that starvation, you could eat, feast, insatiate your hunger – but only by killing the people that you love.  That is my pain.  It is with me each day.  My pain belongs to the divine, it is like air, it is like water.

Harper tries to recite the phrase.  Rev Bem must leave to help defeat Yeager (who’s ship has just returned), but Harper asks Rev Bem to free him from the arm and wrist restraints.  Rev Bem does this grudgingly (and against Dylan’s orders).  Harper promises that Rev Bem can trust him.

Rommie on the attackOn the Command Deck Tyr launches a range of Kinetic Missiles (lovely green ones).  But the missiles seem to have no effect.  Then Dylan is surprised to hear Harper on the Eureka Maru, hailing Yeager and goading him to chase the Maru away from the Andromeda.

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Yeager gives chase and Harper takes the Eureka Maru into slipstream.  Beka tries to call him back adding “and by the way that’s my ship you’re steering into oblivion.

As Harper jumps into Slipstream he ‘warps the … stream… into some kind of wall’.  The Andromeda Ascendant is unable to follow but Yeager’s ship does.   It gradually catches up with the Eureka Maru.

Meanwhile the Andromeda crew can only guess where the Eureka Maru came out of slipstream.  Trance interrupts their attempts to find Harper and tells Dylan that she has enhanced some of the video footage of the Magog attack.  They look closely at the video pictures and eventually notice a ghostly figure with red eyes.  It seems to be directing the Magog in battle.  Trance asks, “Do you think that is what Yeager was after?

Dylan thinks it is, and also concludes that the mystery figure, whatever it is, wants to stay a mystery.

Yeager meanwhile, has caught up with Harper and has tied him up on the Eureka Maru.  He jabs what looks like a huge hypodermic needle into Harper’s neck.  Harper reels in agony when, just in the nick of time, Dylan and the Andromeda arrive (Harper was shouting in pain, “I want my Rommie{thanks MartinJ} to save him. Ouch!They were able to work out that a Point Singularity Projector can be tracked through slipstream and manage to follow the trail to the Eureka Maru.

The big fluid dude melts into the floor and tries to escape on his ship.  The ship is destroyed, but not before the fluidic dude melted again.

Later, on the Medical Deck, Trance is looking after Harper.  They are joined by Dylan and Rev Bem who inquire after Harper’s health.  Trance gives him a sweet (and flirty) little smile and say’s, “He’s gonna live.

Then Harper looks at Trance with a puzzled expression and exhales a whiney, squeaky sort of noise.  Trance looks a little surprised, but she also looked as if she understood. Dylan and Rev Bem try to guess the language but they can’t.  Dylan asks Trance if she recognised it.  But Trance pauses for a moment then says that Harper’s brain is holding too much information and that it is bad for him (oooo, sounds like a threat to me!).

They discuss how the information can be extracted from Harper’s brain.  Dylan requests that the Brandenburg Tor video is copied but Trance's secret tattooTrance tries to suggest that the information is best destroyed (I guess we all wondered why?). Harper simply replies that if you destroy history, you don’t learn its lessons. He then tells Dylan that he will find a solution.  As Dylan and Rev Bem turn to walk away, we see Harper look at the back of Trance’s neck (neck?!?) where we see a small tattoo.

Meanwhile, in some other place, Yeager is frightened.  He tells the apparition that he will find another way to retrieve the data, but the ghostly geezer is clearly not pleased and shows his appreciation of the big fluidic dude by opening his arms and drawing Yeager into his body – swallowing his energy until there was nothing left (he didn’t burp). Lets face it, it’s the least Yeager deserved. the dude had a seemingly impervious spaceship with amazing firepower, he could walk through walls and kick Tyr’s ass for fun! And yet, he always ran away – what is it with this dude, is he wimp or what? I’m sure I[‘m missing something here, but there were no obvious reasons for Yeager to run away like that.

Later, in the workshop, Rev Bem and Harper exchange verbal observations on life, themselves, the universe and everything.  Eventually, Harper apologises to Rev Bem for his earlier insult and returns to building his X1.

And with that, this wonderful show ended.  I liked this episode lots, but there were a great many interesting questions left unanswered. Why was Trance so secretive about her language? why was the ghostly geezer directing traffic at the Magog massacres? Why didn’t we see how Harper managed to clear his mind? Why did all the images that were in the data file concern war and why were so many of them about the Second World War?  and why was it so easy to chase off Yeager when he was clearly more powerful than anything Rommie or Dylan could throw at him? I wonder how long it will be before we get the answers.  I guess we’ll have to wait at least a week for the next gripping installment.

I’d rate this episode a throbbing 39,947 out of 10.  What did you think?

Thanks to MartinJ and SwiftBiscuit for helping with corrections

The “Harper 2.0” episode review is © 2001 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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