The Cynics Corner

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda

"Forced Perspective"

by David E. Sluss

1 March 2001

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: Tolerable, if a bit over-the-top and sickeningly Roddenberryian in places.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 7.0 (C-)

GOOD THINGS OF THE WEEK: We got a bit of continuity, including some galactic publicity from the events in "All Great Neptune's Ocean," something that I'd hoped to see. Trance "gets lucky" again, but we finally get some clues about her nature, plus an indication that dimwitted Hunt has actually noticed that she has unusual abilities.

WELFARE RECIPIENT OF THE WEEK: With flashbacks to the glory days of the Commonwealth every few weeks, Steve Bacic, charter member of Andromeda's Welfare Program, should be able to make a respectable living off the Rhade character for a couple of years. He already seems to appear in more episodes than Trance, Harper, Rev, and other wayward characters, after all...

SOCIAL PROMOTION OF THE WEEK: Believe it or not, I actually won't begrudge Hunt his promotion in the flashback, but I will begrudge Rhade his. Sure, he may have saved dead weight Hunt from certain death, but his attitude and conduct during the mission was pretty inexcusable, and possibly contributory to its fatal result. Presumably, Rhade was assigned to the mission to make sure that goody-goody Hunt didn't wimp out, but that's no excuse for him to act like a jerk and talk openly about killing Farin in front of "Mr. May," the inside man who was obviously very jittery and unreliable to begin with.

LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK: Rhade to Hunt: "Now we'll see if you're a fool, or just a hypocrite." Can't he be both?

COMMONWEALTH UNINTELLIGENCE OF THE WEEK: We got more clues as to the reasons behind the fall of the Commonwealth this week. It's obvious that, like Star Trek's Federation, the Commonwealth, so hoity-toity in its adherence to high standards of conduct, fails to see the value of and need for a professional intelligence and counter-intelligence service, relying instead on an amateur hour program that got a couple of dozen Commonwealth soldiers killed during the Mobius mission alone. And it's not hard to see why they died, with their simple-minded code names and a propensity to conduct secret meetings loudly in crowded corridors.

INSECURITY OF THE WEEK: I had to laugh at the fact that Mobius had all this fabulous security, that Venetri himself had designed it, that he knew first-hand how important security is because of the various attempts on his life, but that he didn't even put a lock on the "clone room"; Hunt and Trance just walked right in!

TWO-BY-FOUR TO THE HEAD OF THE WEEK: I daresay the Compass/Architect/the True Arc stuff was just a little over the top. The Great Compass! Made for a good MST moment anyway, when "Compass" is babbling about "straight lines, never crooked" near the end of the show: "He can't draw straight lines, he's a compass for crissakes!"

NEW TECHNOLOGY OF THE WEEK: Andromeda's people were out scavenging again, this time for a <mumble> solenoid. And what does this mysterious gadget do? It paralyzes the vessel (and sends Lexa Doig "on vacation") by making it necessary for four buttons to be pressed every couple of hours, apparently. Surely no matter how dire the ship's situation (and it can't be that bad if Tyr's fancy hotplate still works), that bit of button-pushing could still have been automated.

MYSTERIES OF THE WEEK: Plot holes, Stuff That Got Forgotten, you decide:

  1. At one point during the interrogation, Hunt watches a video that shows him killing one of the guards and claims the recording had been altered. Was it or wasn't it? It's never brought up again, and so I assume that Hunt's claim is supposed to indicate that he was in denial about his actions, since the video did in fact seem to be an accurate portrayal of the events.
  2. How did Hunt know that "Mr. May's" real name was Venetri? It was implied that Venetri only learned Hunt's real name only through publicity about Hunt, but he never spoke his name in Hunt's presence during the flashbacks.
  3. Hunt pontificates self-indulgently about what a hypocrite he is because of his involvement in the murderous Farin's death, but at no point does the episode examine whether or not Venetri was in fact an evil ruler (or compass). Hunt would seem to know nothing about what is going on Mobius currently, and he certainly saw little of it during his visit. Does Mobius mistreat his people? Does he violate their sentient rights? Does he kill them? Not that we ever saw. He hates Hunt, is perhaps a little unstable, and is conducting cloning experiments, though apparently only on himself. I'm not entirely convinced that Hunt has the right to insist that he leave office; it could very well be that he is the kindest, most benign leader the planet has ever had. On the other hand, you gotta love the Commonwealth and other Roddenberryian institutions, and the saps who work for them. Here's Hunt, who believes he's got a maniacal tyrant on his hands in Venetri, deciding to Talk It Out and then letting the guy abscond to South America. Let's hope the next time travel episode doesn't land Hunt in Nazi Germany...

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: The whole "encounter" between Beka and Tyr in this week's B-story is pretty much horseshit, the kind of plotting I'd expect to see on a sitcom. Beka talks about a shipboard romance -- whoops, Tyr misunderstood! Ha Ha. Tyr inexplicably talks about the inability of Hunt and Andromeda to reproduce because they are "different species." Hello? She's a machine; that's why they wouldn't be able to reproduce, and there's no way that ever-blunt Tyr would word the issue so imprecisely. But Tyr's sloppy wording of course has the side-effect of shooting down horny-as-hell Beka, who promptly turns into a bitch. Ha ha. Is Friends new this week?
  

Previous: "Harper 2.0"
Next: "The Sum of Its Parts"
NEXT WEEK: The Mummy on crack.

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This review is copyright 2001 David E. Sluss
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