The Cynics Corner

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda

"The Mathematics of Tears"

by David E. Sluss

5 February 2001

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: Despite some good parts, it's a bit sloppy, and it plays like Dreamscape Meets Tron Meets The Outer Limits

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 6.5 (D)

GOOD THINGS OF THE WEEK: Visuals this week were very impressive. A few nods to continuity, such as Hunt noticing the various trips crew members have made over the past several weeks and the mention of the Avenging Disco Godfather's search for High Guard ship, were appreciated, while a few lapses were not. "The Mandelbrots are spawning"; clever, nice to see someone's using their brain for thinking.

LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK: Beka offers Hunt the "list of derelict High Guard ships." Hunt's response: "More ships like the Andromeda?" Come on, Herc, try to keep up...

TECHNOLOGICAL ANOMALIES OF THE WEEK: In "To Loose the Fateful Lightning," blueprints for a life-like starship avatar were an incredible find, representing a technology not known to Andromeda or to Hunt. This week, everyone acts as if Hottie Avatars were standard issue on High Guard vessels. Now, about these avatars, are they supposed to be mechanical, biological, or some mixture? I thought that "A Rose in the Ashes" established pretty conclusively that Andromeda's avatar is a mechanism, and even here she "shorts out" machine-like a couple of times. So how is it that the android crew of the Pax Magellanic were able to produce biological samples, properly aged, for Rev to test? Then the big question: Why did all of Pax's androids, who moved and behaved like humans for much of the show, suddenly start to move mechanically and even make machine noises only after their true nature had been revealed?

COMMONWEALTH INSECURITY OF THE WEEK: In another nod to continuity, Pax's automatic security system, consisting of an ineffectual shower of sparks, was just as silly as Andromeda's, seen in "The Ties That Blind."

CONTRIVANCES OF THE WEEK: Well, let's see...

  1. Why and when was the door to Pax's engine room welded shut? Pax wouldn't have had much reason to do it herself while alone for 300 years, and there didn't seem to be sufficient time to do it after Harper arrived; it seemed to be a storytelling stall, designed to give the dull-witted Hunt sufficient time to Figure It Out. But then, none of the Andromeda crew reasoned this out very well. As soon as "Jill" revealed that she, and not some Nietzschean mystery weapon, had blown up the planet, that pretty much screwed the pooch on the "three hundred years without aging" hoax, but Hunt and Our Heroes need a little more prodding.
  2. Harper shuts down the androids temporarily by tricking the AI into running a diagnostic program. With Pax's AI unreachable from the ship's controls, how exactly could he accomplish that?
  3. Hunt and Andromeda leave the VR intending to reformat Pax; so why didn't they? Based on an earlier scene, all it would have taken was a voice command from Hunt to do it, but instead they run away.
  4. Tyr's entrance and bloodless mayhem were great fun, but when and how did he get aboard the Pax? The hangar doors were locked down, and there was no indication that he attacked the vessel with a slip fighter to break through.

MORAL OF THE WEEK: Is it "AI's shouldn't boff the captain" or "Captains shouldn't turn their ships into sex toys?" I guess they're flip sides of the same coin. Pretty kinky stuff; sure, Kirk loved the Enterprise, but not like this (at least not in the Canon). But in the end, this kind of incident was bound to happen to the High Guard when captains are away from port for extended periods of time, have anti-fraternization policies and are confronted every day by an android AI who's a total hottie. Hunt's speeches about how wonderful the Commonwealth was seem more and more hollow the more we learn about it...

CULTURAL IMPERIALISM OF THE WEEK: We haven't been given a lot of background on the Commonwealth, but with three galaxies involved and Tarn Vedra apparently the center of this civilization, it would seem that humans should be no more important than other races, possibly even second bananas. So why is it that the High Guard seems to be over-run with humans? In this case, the captain and, as far as I could tell, every crew member we saw, either as android recreations or in flashback, was human. As I said a couple of weeks ago regarding "All Great Neptune's Ocean," a show painting on this big a canvas needs to somehow show a little bit more diversity.
  

Previous: "The Pearls That Were His Eyes"
Next: "Music of a
Distant Drum
"
NEXT WEEK: Tyr's turn for an unauthorized vacation?

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This review is copyright 2001 David E. Sluss
Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda is a trademark of Tribune Entertainment