Andromeda: S01E15: Music of a Distant Drum
This final episode of the current run (at least in the UK), was tightly written and well acted (especially by Keith Hamilton Cobb), the Nietzschean seemed almost human.
It opened on a green and pleasant land (the planet Midden, Milaney Inlet) with a woman and a 16-year-old boy fishing in a river.
Brayon was arguing with his step-mother, Yvane about the Dragons (a nickname for Nietzschean’s of the Drago Katzoff Pride – the rulers of the planet Midden). The Dragons had ruled the planet for hundreds of years with their customary intimidation and cruelty. Yvane, the ex-partner of Brayon’s dead father, was philosophical. She promised Brayon’s father that she would look after his son and that did not involve getting him into battles with Nietzscheans.
Brayon vows that his father’s death will be avenged (the Dragons not only killed him, they cut him up and fed him to the fish, which is pretty damned nasty if you ask me!).
Suddenly, there is a white streak across the sky followed by a deafening noise. A ship is about to land, but Yvane points out that its reentry is too fast and it is not headed for the local spaceport. The ship crash lands and moments later we see that it’s the Eureka Maru.
He recovers enough to go back to the house where Yvane and Brayon live. They offer him shelter and food until he has recovered fully. Brayon (who’s father sleeps with the fish-food) is not happy about this, but there is little else that Yvane can do about it. She seems intrigued by Tyr, he clearly doesn’t treat her the same way other Dragons would, it’s as if he is actually grateful for their meagre assistance.
Tyr is able to remember only faint instances of his past, he suffers brief flashbacks but he does know (without a doubt) that he hates the Drago Katzoff Pride.
On the Andromeda, Beka Valentine tries to persuade Dylan Hunt that while they wait for Tyr to return, they should take advantage of the 10,000,000 cubic metre capacity hold of the Andromeda and do a little mining for Platinum in the local asteroid Belt. Dylan politely refuses for no particular reason (I suspect though, that he doesn’t like the Andromeda to be used for anything as base as monetary gain). He tells her that their next mission after collecting Tyr, is a meeting with a bunch of Than. Beka is disappointed, but not distraught.
On Midden, Brayon learns a lesson in stupidity, he points a gun at the head of a sleeping Tyr and moments later Tyr has woken, disarmed the silly boy and is pointing the gun at his forehead, “I’ll teach you rule number one,” said Tyr (Brayon did not object), “Never point a gun unless you intend to use it.”
Tyr suffers another involuntary memory flash, and releases Brayon, “You keep talking as if I’m a member of the Drago Katzoff Pride.” Then he looks a little sheepishly at Brayon, “But, I think I hate them more than you do.” He throws the gun back to Brayon and tries to get back to sleep.
Brayon leaves and Yvane enters asking Tyr to spare his young and foolish life, but Tyr is not interested in harming them. He correctly points of that his amnesia means that he is reliant on their generosity.
Yvane ventures to suggest that since he has no name, she would call him the Latin word for no-one (that’s not very friendly), Nemo (after the Joules Vern character from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea).
They return back to the ship in the hope that Tyr can jog his memory. He manages to come across a piece of cargo which he believes is important, but he doesn’t now why. The cargo (large and cumbersome – but luggable) has a three-stage lock; it needs a voice code, fingerprint and a key. Tyr has the key and the fingerprint also works, but he doesn’t know the voice code (a password) and aborts the attempt (the contents of the cargo box would self-destruct if the sequence is not completed correctly).
Back at the house, three human geezers (the leader is called Hano) are victimising Brayon. They are bandits looking for food (and anything else they can get their hands on). Yvane enters the room and demands that Hano and his pals leave.
Hano turns his attention to Yvane and pushes her onto a tabletop. Then Tyr enters the room and quietly (but menacingly) tells the Hano dude to unhand Yvane. When Hano pushes a knife to Yvane’s throat and tells Tyr to kneel and be tied up, Tyr is too fast for them and soon beats the three of them into submission. He lets them go when Yvane tells him that, “You don’t live here – I do, and if you kill them, I’m as good as dead.” The bandits collect themselves together and hobble out.
Beka mentions that the Maru was in need of some repair and that she warned Tyr. Dylan resolves to check the local spaceports to see if he tried to get replacement parts (this may help them locate him).
Back on Midden, Tyr returns to the wreck of the Eureka Maru. He checks the database to see if he can piece together his past. Unfortunately the ships records are all forgeries, which presumably were put in place because Tyr was on some sort of covert mission. He does notice however, that the ship is infested with a series of attack Nanobots, designed to scramble electrical and biological electrical systems. This would account for the loss of his memory. Tyr, being a Nietzschean, would be able to survive any serious attack from the Nanobots because he has a number of his own which will eventually restore his memory and well-being, but this will take time.
Later, they chat by the river. The scene is very calm and serene, but Yvane tells Tyr of how the Nietzschean’s killed her family and friends and how, they had later killed her husband. Tyr empathised with her and seemed to grow closer to her as she told her terrible tale. He delicately caressed her face and they leaned forward as if to kiss. WHAT! A Nietzschean kissing a skumbag human woman – has this dude taken leave of his senses…… oh yeah, I guess he has. They are rudely interrupted by another white flash across the sky followed by a deafening noise. This heralds the arrival in the distance, of a Nietzschean ship.
Tyr prepares to leave, Yvane suggests that he stays and give up the cargo to the other Nietzschean’s, but it belongs to Tyr and he wont give it up without a fight. I don’t think he knows why he should keep it, but he clearly believes that is very important to him.
He returns to the Maru and is soon joined by a two of the Dragons. He battles with them and manages to kill one and get the other to carry the cargo off the ship. The captured Nietzschean is forced to carry the cargo through the forest until he collapses with exhaustion (presumably Tyr has a plan to store the box in a safe place).
Tyr leaves the collapsed Nietzschean and tells him not to follow. The Nietzschean tells Tyr that it was an honour to carry the box – Tyr looks as surprised as we were.
Meanwhile, in the local spaceport, Dylan and Beka learn that Tyr has landed in the stronghold of the Drago Katzoff Pride. Moments later (it was reported) the Dragons mobilised their whole space fleet. Dylan is concerned, but at least he now knows where Tyr is.
Tyr manages to find a cave to hide the box and later suffers one of his flashbacks. He is gradually remembering that he was a crewmember of the Andromeda and also about his family history (and how the Katzoff Pride destroyed his own Codiac Pride because they wanted to take charge of the remains of one of the great Nietzschean’s).
He opens the box after remembering that the voice code is ‘retribution’ and we see the half-decomposed remains of an ancient Nietzschean dude. “Drago Museveny I presume.” Mutters Tyr shivering with emotion.
The other Nietzschean’s are following his trail in the forest, but Tyr has rigged a number of booby traps (Rambo style) and manages to escape an altercation by jumping into the river.
Back on the Andromeda Ascendant, Dylan and Rommie join a jubilant Beka on the Bridge. Beka has recently managed to outmaneuver a group of Nietzschean warships in their pursuit of Tyr.
Dylan and Rommie are not just impressed with Beka’s ability to fly the ship; they also accuse her of illegally downloading lots of data (besides Tyr’s whereabouts) from the spaceport.
Beka is not the slightest bit ruffled by their accusation and freely admits her hacking spree. “Dylan, why do you think I am here? I mean, you wont let me use Andromeda for running cargo, I’m not allowed to mine, god knows you’re not paying me. I like your idea of the Commonwealth, but do you really think that’s the only thing that’s keeping me around?”
“I prefer to,” replies Dylan looking slightly hurt.
“Come on Dylan,” says Beka, “Your entire crew has an ulterior motive. Rev Bem wants to use our Commonwealth to spread his faith, Harper is in lust with your ship, Tyr is always plotting something and god only knows what the purple one’s up to. Does it really surprise you to find that I’m no different?”
“No. I suppose not.” Replies a resigned Dylan.
“I’m here aren’t I?” says Beka.
“For now.” Rommie says mischievously.
“Ok, the way things are going these days, now is all we’ve got.” Concludes Beka.
On Midden, Yvane who had come out to see if she could help, picks up Tyr from the river. They get back to her house only to find that Hano and his thugs have betrayed Yvane and Brayon. Tyr is captured once more.
Hano is killed for his trouble and the Nietzschean’s threaten Yvane and Brayon’s life if Tyr doesn’t tell them where the cargo is. Tyr agrees and they all set off for the cave.
As they enter the cave, one of the Nietzschean’s asks Tyr why he cares about the humans, “they’re nothing.” He says indignantly.
“Nothing?” Tyr replies, “The people who feed you, the people who clothe you. If it weren’t for it’s enslaved worlds, the Drago Katzoff Pride would cease to exist. Ruling over them doesn’t make you strong, it makes you dependent…. and weak.” You tell ’em dude!
Tyr manages to trick the Nietzschean’s and rescue Brayon and Yvane. They escape into an alcove but are trapped. Tyr is about to make an attempt at escape when he receives a final flashback. Suddenly Tyr remembers who he is and screams his name and parentage to his enemy adding, “and I will never surrender.”
Suddenly Dylan and Beka arrive (just in the nick of time) and save the day. The Nietzschean’s are taken prisoner and everyone goes back to Yvane’s house (sounds like an episode of friends doesn’t it). Beka repairs the Maru (Clearly, that mangled wreck of machinery beached in the inlet was a lot less damaged that it looked). Yvane is preparing for her departure with Brayon and Dylan has a brief chat with Tyr.
Tyr tells him that Dylan’s timely arrival was appreciated and thanks him sincerely. Then he goes to say his farewells to Yvane. He asks her to join the Andromeda crew, but Yvane thinks it would be better to find a new place amongst her own people. They bid each other farewell (but they don’t kiss).
As Beka, Dylan and Tyr leave for the Andromeda Ascendant, Beka asks Tyr about the cargo. “It’s something that belongs to me.” He replies sternly, “It’s always belonged to me.”
And there the show ends. I can’t say it’s going to be considered one of the classics, but good nonetheless.
I’d rate this show a cryptic 31,611 out of 10. What did you think?
The “Music of a Distant Drum” 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.
Checkout their website