"The Devil Take the Hindmost"
by David E. Sluss
1 May 2001
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THE BOTTOM LINE: Some interesting ground is covered here, but I don't think that all of the implications were thought through.
CYNICS CORNER RATING: 7.0 (C-)
SAP OF THE WEEK: For once, it's not Hunt, because this week the writers have concocted a character that seems specifically designed to prove that Hunt isn't the most naive, dimwitted fool in the galaxies. Brother Thaddeus, of course, is a True Believer. He's also a hypocrite, who seems to think it would have been okay for Hunt to have planted his ship in orbit and gotten himself and his crew bloody, but not to for Hunt come down and bring the bloodiness into plain view. This could have been a complex character, but he seems badly acted and directed, coming across as merely shrill. Indeed his death scene is so poorly executed that it's actually humorous, like something out of a Mel Brooks movie.
CLICHE OF THE WEEK: The Hero causes the death of The Bad Guy's Favorite Henchman and Now It's Personal.
CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: Before their final attack, the Bad Guy's people stayed away just long enough, didn't they? And when they showed up that last time, despite Rev's dire warning that he wouldn't be able to fight off an "army" of slavers, they didn't seem to number any more than they had earlier.
CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: The "Beka and Tyr are still pirates at heart" B-story had Beka essentially ordering Andromeda to ignore the theft going on in the cargo bay. Come on -- Andromeda is an AI, and one who is assertive and protective of Hunt. Could Andromeda really be ordered to go against those instincts? And would Beka really believe that Andromeda would? Besides that issue, this B-story rubbed me the wrong way, especially coming right on the heels of "Fear and Loathing in the Milky Way," in which Beka earned Hunt's trust and respect for perhaps the first time. I'll be gracious and assume this is an artifact of scheduling, as this episode was produced before "Fear and Loathing..."
RECYCLING OF THE WEEK: Terraformers in the Andromeda universe must build these planets from a kit. Both shots of the slaver ship landing in the distance make the landscape look exactly the same as the planet in "Music of a Distant Drum."
EVOLUTIONARY ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: Brent Stait is a male; everyone refers to Rev Bem as "he." One of the Magog offspring in this episode is played by a woman; "her" uncle says "she." So does this mean that the Magog come in two sexes? If so, what kind of biological sense does that make, given their method of reproduction? It could be that I'm reading more into that exchange than is warranted -- possibly Brother Dearest simply heard his sister in the Magog child and the higher-pitched voice and used a gendered pronoun reflexively -- but I wonder...
LOOK AT ALL THESE HUMANS OF THE WEEK: After a couple of episodes that showed that there were races other than human-derived ones in these here galaxies, this one struck me as a bit of a regression, featuring yet another species that was just Human with a Twist of Lime. Now I've been known to mock Star Trek's approach of gluing a rubber nose or forehead on an actor and calling him an alien, but the human variants in this series are wearing thin. And this species' twist, genetic memory, strains credibility. So just one of great-grandpa's teeny little sperm cells carried all of his memories -- I guess Monty Python was right! It's not explicitly stated, but this trait seems like it must have been genetically engineered into the original colonists of Serendipity. If so, why? What possible benefit or advantage could that offer? Could such a society even survive? Would the boy growing up knowing his parents resent him because the condom broke or the girl who bears the memories of her father's dilliances with women other than her mother become productive citizens? I just don't see it.
CURE WORSE THAN THE DISEASE OF THE WEEK: I'm not sure that Hunt, or
our writers, really thought through the Magog Solution to Serendipity's plight. These
Magog seem friendly enough, I suppose, and the Serendipity's human population seems
willing to die horribly and give life to Magog offspring. Good for them, except for one
thing: This new race will only be able to reproduce the Magog way, by infesting and
killing others. So either these warrior priests will have to kill the residents of other
villages on the planet, people who may not be as eager to line up for Host Duty, or they
will go extinct in short order. Doesn't look good either way. What does the Commonwealth
Charter have to say about that, Captain Hunt, sir?
"Fear and Loathing in the Milky Way"
Next: "The Honey Offering"
|NEXT WEEK: Assassin chix and kewl F/X. Must be getting close to Sweeps.|
since 31 January 1999
This review is copyright
© 2001 David E. Sluss