Andromeda: S01E21: It Makes a Lovely Light
An epsiode review by Hollydays
Oh baby, OH baby, OH BABY! (Another great episode!)
We saw some lovely Trance & Harper development in “Fear and Loathing in the Milky Way” and this episode will delight audiences with insight into the beautiful Beka Valentine. I know this episode technically comes before Fear and Loathing, but try not to see it until after, and plot lines will reside much happier in your head when you go to sleep at night 😉
The show opens with a cute bit of fun that has nothing to do with the rest of the story line. We hear Rommie announcing that the reactor core is close to overload and we watch Dylan whipping through the halls to the reactor room to fix it. He jumps through the closing containment doors into the reactor room like he’s Laura Croft…and finds the rest of the crew standing around with party hats and enough cake to have fed the entire original Andromeda crew. Apparently it is Dylan’s birthday and they have included his 303 “frozen” years while in the event horizon of a black hole. Like a cadet pranked by his crewmates, Dylan looks a wee bit sheepish (awww).
Then our story masters get right down to business.
We find Dylan alone, escaping from his own birthday party when Beka finds him. She deliberately steers the conversation towards Tarn-Vedra, the Systems Commonwealth home world that was cut off from slipstream. Dylan tells us he was born on Tarn-Vedra. His mom was a high guard shuttle pilot (ie: Heavy gravity trucker) and his dad was a gardener working in the Imperial Gardens. It’s a good job I don’t drink (much) or I would have lost a lot of valuable beer at this point and missed a good deal of the show cleaning up my living room, the spit factor was that high. I mean, if you were in school with a dude who’s mom’s a trucker/bus driver and his dad plays in the daisies all day….well maybe I just find it funny, but it is a good job Dylan is such a tough guy and cutie pie, or I would have concerns about …
Anyways, back to the story. Beka’s eyes are glowing. She figures she’s got a good present for Dylan (no not THAT present). She presents Dylan with the mad persieds journal of how to get to Tarn-Vedra using alternate slipstreams. Otherwise known as “History’s Diary”, since that was the mad persieds name. Beka has been spending her extra time decoding it. What a cool present and what a smart girl! Dylan tries to let Beka down easy that the diary is not decode-able since the persied guy was whacked.
Apparently everyone else thinks so too. Harper tells Dylan and Beka that the diary is just bad poetry, but Beka insists that she is in the know and has the trip laid out. 46 jumps. Unfortunately they all come out in nasty little places like stellar nurseries and quasars but Beka is insistent on giving it a try.
Our strong and fearless Tyr immediately wants to do a runner in the Eureka Maru. Beka finds him in there and knows what he is up to and challenges him. He openly admits it and begs for the codes. After all he is too beautiful to die (I agree). Here we see why Beka gets to order good-looking men around and you don’t. She picks the greedy ones. She offers Tyr a salvage mission of looting Tarn-Vedra. I think she does want to loot Tarn-Vedra as it would provide her with an easy way of being debt free and living large, but I think even more so, like the pilots trying to be the first to cross the Atlantic, she is after the glory. It is a long trip and a hard trip, but she has Tyr signed up.
It seems that Beka has Harper on board with her plans too, because Harper is receiving a lecture from Rev Bem. The Rev is warning Harper that the Tarn-Vedrans would not want some salvage crew swooping down on all their choice stuff. The lecture isn’t reaching Harpers brain though, as he completely dismisses Rev by going off on a tangent about whether or not anyone is still alive on the planet. This is when Rev Bem’s words do reach Harpers brain. “What if they weren’t cut off from slipstream, what if they cut themselves off?” If a very warrior-like, powerful, knowledgeable race doesn’t want to be found, and you find them, what is going to happen to you for your efforts? one can tell Harper is thinking about this as he shudders.
While Harper is thinking his dark thoughts, Dylan is thinking happier ones. He walks in on Beka showering. He pretends to be all gentlemanly like, but he definitely could pick her out in a naked line up now. He talks to Beka about possibly letting her do the trip but he is very concerned about how she will be able to handle the stress of all those jumps. Beka assures him she wouldn’t offer it unless she thought she could do it Dylan also gets on the bandwagon.
The only opposed male left now is Rev Bem. But I guess he is not really male so we can understand him holding out. We see the crew assembled on the bridge waiting for Beka, whom I assume is fashionably late. Beka comes in, in a manner that can only be described as a swagger. Alarm bells go off in my mind. Beka is intelligent, beautiful and skilled. But her manner is normally passive – aggressive. “I am in charge of you because you want something or you are in charge of me because I want your love and respect”. For example, she never bullies Tyr and Harper the way Dylan does, she coerces. Dylan doesn’t often have to bully Beka, because she wants to prove her worth to him. The alarm bells are dampened by an interesting theory proposed by Rev Bem. He thinks the universe is a manifestation of the Divine and that maybe the slipstream is the mind of the Divine. Humm, skipping along God’s brain. Rev Bem asks for more reverence (ie: don’t take the trip). While it was a cool theory, If Rev Bem felt this way, wouldn’t he have been opposed to all the other slipstream travelling the Andromeda does? As usual, his cries fall on deaf ears and Beka does her first jump effortlessly. She does 10 more and then unstraps herself and takes a break. Dylan and Tyr are both mighty, mighty impressed and
Beka is soon raring to go but everyone else is frazzled from all the jumping. We find out that Trance in particular doesn’t like slipstream. It makes her feel very nauseous. We find out Beka is toast too as once out of Dylan’s sight, she collapses.
Rev Bem is now signed up with Beka too. The jumps go on. Our intrepid crew pops out of slipstream between to black holes. Beka tries to get their butts outta there, but to no avail, she can’t find the slipstream with all the gravitational flux. Beka starts whacking Andromeda this way and that to find slipstream (I can’t get out of the room so I’ll whack my head against the wall). Dylan orders Beka to get out of the seat and go rest while Rommie and Harper work on finding the way out.
Trance is in a bad way. She heads off to the Maru to lie down. The Maru is more like home to her than the Andromeda, so it makes her feel safe. Too bad the Maru doesn’t give her a bag of chips and some flat ginger ale like my mom did. Those always made my tummy feel better. Trance is now positively less purple than she should be and does a wobbler and passes out.
Trance is in the medical bay. Rev Bem is examining her (as would you). He diagnoses that her energy is somehow being sucked out of her and he doesn’t know why. Huh? Off he goes to pray for her, leaving Trance and Beka alone. Beka starts going through all the drugs on the shelves. one would think she is trying to find something to help Trance, but one would be wrong. Trance revives and looks at the sampling of bottles that Beka has and concludes out loud that Beka is going to use them to make flash. Flash is a drug that makes pilots reactions faster. Trance gives Beka a good tirade about how bad flash is on the body. The tirade proves too much for Trance and she needs to sleep it off. We see Beka contemplating a picture of herself with her dad. Her dad was a pilot and a flash addict. She hated that he was a flash addict but just like kids who hate their parents smoking and grow up to smoke, we see her put the drug drops in her eyes.
Now may I just say that creepy contacts bother me. Ewww, her eyes turn real gross as her pupils decrease to dot size and her iris whitens. She looks kind of blind.
Flash forward to Rommie and Dylan chatting on the command deck. Dylan is holding the mad persied’s journal. Beka barges in, eyes nice and normal, thank goodness. Beka slipstream jumps out of there. Dylan thinks she is hot today (no not in That way, well, maybe he does) and starts praising her skills when she gets all snippy and snatches the journal, hissing at him about it being her score and steams out of the room. Needless to say, Dylan is shocked. He chases after her and tells her to rest. She has been piloting for 16 hours. She does the “yeah, you’re right routine” and once out of site…doses herself up with flash again.
Beka is resting in the Maru. Harper is bringing something into the Maru when he notices Beka sitting in the dark. His face lights up and he starts telling her what a great pilot she is but comes to a stop mid-sentence. He sees her creepy eyes. It is now time for a Harper Tirade. He tells Beka about the stats on flash users (they aren’t good) and even more cutting, how bad she looks. And boy does she look bad. Her skin is clammy and sallow and her hair resembles greasy spaghetti. Beka tries to defend herself to Harper and comes off sounding like a hippy. It’s medicinal, its miniscule amounts, and realizing he may rat her out to Dylan, she starts on how it is none of Dylan’s business. After all Dylan is too much of a straight guy to understand the necessity, etc.
We are then taken to later in the day when the rest of the crew is working on the command deck. Enter Beka. She announces that she has figured out how to get back on track to Tarn-Vedra. Dylan has got cold feet about the whole thing now. Beka asserts that she can do it in twelve jumps and then revises her estimate to ten. There is general dissention among the crew so Beka starts verbally attacking Dylan about the fact that he is not a real captain since the Systems Commonwealth doesn’t exist and she is the only real captain on board. Dylan takes the bait and starts winding up but is interrupted by Tyr. In a very dry tone, Tyr tells Dylan “it is pointless to try and reason with someone who is on mind altering drugs.” Tyr then directs an icy cool gaze at Beka. “I can hear your heart racing, smell the adrenaline…don’t you think my Nietzschean eyes can distinguish between a human cornea and a contact lens?” The girl is sooo busted. Tyr hates chemical dependency, but since Beka’s plan had been working he had shut up. Dylan finds out both Tyr and Harper knew and didn’t say something. He seemed more upset that Tyr and Harper didn’t let on sooner about Beka than Beka being a drug addict Dylan takes Beka’s bottle of Flash away and orders her to quarters. She jumps in the pilot’s chair and does a slipstream jump. We see a flash of Trance going critical in the med deck. Tyr whips Beka’s butt out of the chair and she gets sent to her room.
In her room we see Beka coming off the drugs. Now she is behaving about as well as she looks. She looks ready for the looney bin. Laughing and crying, shaking and twisting (Lisa Ryder is a very good actress)
Back on the command deck we see Dylan trying to take the ship into slipstream. Why? Isn’t Tyr or Harper the back up pilots? Dylan is a piss poor pilot.
Rev Bem goes to Beka to offer her comfort. She says her hair hurts and she wants to rip her skin off with her fingernails. She begs him for some flash. Rev doesn’t give her what she wants but a platitude “the divine loves us best when we are broken”. Beka replies that as a pilot, no one ever loved her for messing up.
Back at the bridge we see Dylan taking another slipstream jump. Tyr checks the readings after the jump and is confused. They went closer to Tarn-Vedra instead of Dylan’s intended purpose of farther away. We see poor Rev Bem shaking on the floor where Beka was (doped up) and Beka now flashed up again and piloting the Andromeda from the slipstream drive room. Now Harper is for it. The only way Beka could pilot from there is if the security system was told command was destroyed (Wouldn’t Rommie be more aware of these things?). Harper confesses that some of the overrides he put in when the Eureka Maru crew had first taken over the Andromeda were never removed.
This leaves Dylan trying to reason with Beka through the door (like that works, eh guys?). The next jump will come out to close to a quasar and there is a problem with the neutrino dampeners. They will likely die. Harper saves the day by breaking into the room so Dylan can restrain Beka.
We see Beka once again in dark room. This time the med deck. We also see Dylan there. Her body has been detoxed as well as it can be by Trance. It is her mind he is worried about. Like a heroin addict, she will feel the aching in her bones for more flash for the rest of her life. Beka can’t believe she put herself into fighting her fathers own dragon. Dylan vows to be there for her every day and help her fight the darkness within. After all, his overall mission is about chasing back the darkness.
Well, that’s it. I thought that overall, it was one of the best shows yet! The only weakness is once again the show relying on stereotypes. The drug addiction was very well played by Ryder. But the material was a little cliché.
I’d rate this 20,023 out of 12
What did you think?
The “It Makes a Lovely Light” episode review is © 2001 Hollydays.
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