The Cynics Corner

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda

"Star-Crossed"

by David E. Sluss

22 May 2001

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: The episode that had to happen is as bad as it had to be.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 5.0 (F+)

EYE-ROLLING OF THE WEEK: The high concept this week is "Andromeda falls in love with a fellow AI, and experiences the highest highs and the lowest lows of love." It was inevitable, I suppose, but did it have to be executed in such a cliched fashion, down to the slo-mo close-up of Gabriel's face when Andromeda first meets him? What is this, Ally McBeal? Andromeda's tongue didn't fall to the floor and her eyes didn't pop out, but it was close.

TECHNOLOGICAL ODDITIES OF THE WEEK: Some of the usual suspects this week and a few others, as well. We had another instance or two of androids making mechanical noises occasionally so that the most dull-witted viewer remembers who is an android and who isn't (some of the actors make it difficult). We had an android panting. Panting? Take a look at the scene in which Hunt slams Gabriel against a bulkhead and holds him there; after Hunt releases him, he pants (like a human actor might do if he were choked for a brief period or was exposed to Sorbo's acting at close range). A super-duper warship, the Balance, fails to notice a few dozen missiles dumped in its path, or for that matter the Maru; no wonder the Commonwealth fell. My personal favorite: the bridge crew watching the little red blips on the screen observe a Rester vessel blip get "bumped" out of position for a moment when it's hit by a weapon. We know the budget is low and the viewscreen convention is the Andromeda Way, but that's just getting silly.

PRONOUN TROUBLE OF THE WEEK: Andromeda wasn't the only one who had difficulty. Listen closely to Hunt when the Andromeda is first ambushed by the Balance of Justice: "He was waiting for us." But wait: this was before Hunt learned that the vessel was entirely uncrewed, and piloted only by its AI, which Hunt wouldn't necessarily have known the gender of. Wouldn't Hunt have said that "They [the Resters] were waiting for us?

ONGOING TRENDS OF THE WEEK: A number of episodes have demonstrated that the Commonwealth has wreaked havoc among the Known Worlds. A Commonwealth AI is behind the Restorian movement that has terrorized shipping lanes for years. A botched assassination by High Guard officers plunged a world into centuries of brutality oppression by a self-cloning freak ("Forced Perspective"). Commonwealth technology was used to destroy an entire solar system ("To Loose the Fateful Lightning"). Hunt's speeches aside, is there anything good about the Commonwealth? In addition, between this episode and "The Mathematics of Tears," these standard issue AI's are starting to look like Star Trek's holodecks: a technology that is known to be dangerous, unpredictable, and incapable of being shut down, but is used anyway. I'm also starting to wonder if were heading towards some kind of "AI's of the world unite" schtick, like Voyager's various holographic rights episodes in its seventh season.

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: I'm not sure I can believe that a lone Commonwealth AI could have organized the Restorian movement. Could an artificially intelligent super-advanced ship and its androids really gather people who are anti-technology? How exactly could that happen?

TEMPORAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: Gabriel taps into the communications system and sends a message to the Balance. How does that work? Since there's no faster-than-light communications, unless the Balance (or one of its support vessels) is "right next door" to the Andromeda, that message would never get to its destination before Andromeda arrived at the site of the ambush!
  

Previous: "The Honey Offering"
Next: "It Makes
a Lovely Light
"
NEXT WEEK: Is it better to watch Andromeda while on drugs? Beka seems to think so...

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