The Cynics Corner

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda

"Home Fires"

by David E. Sluss

19 December  2001

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: This episode hits some of the right notes, but what's so great about Steve Bacic and/or Rhade that such contrived means must be used to bring him back?

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 7.5 (C)

WELFARE RECIPIENT OF THE WEEK: I'll give you three guesses, and the first two don't count...

CONTINUITY PLUSSES OF THE WEEK: The continuity and general feeling that a master plan is at work continues to improve in this part of the series' second season (but alas, just as the series is being demolished from within; see my article "Changing Rolls" for news and perspective if you haven't already). Respect for the long-term viewer is apparent in the tape of Sara, which ties into, but doesn't really detail, the events of "The Banks of the Lethe" from last season. If this episode had been made under the New Regime, Sara's dialog would probably have been something like, "Dylan, do you remember when you teleported back in time through a black hole, and tried to bring me to the future with you but failed? I just wanted you to know that I survived. Wait, that had big words, let me start over..."

Other good points included the crew's general feeling of paranoia about Terazed, which was more than justified based on past experience, and Harper's all-too-correct assertion that encounters with High Guard remnants have been mostly unfortunate up to this point.

CONTINUITY MINUSES OF THE WEEK: On the other hand, Hunt's discussion with Tyr about genetic reincarnation -- a bug-eaten fig leaf of a justification for Telemachus Rhade's existence, incidentally -- seemed a bit off, considering the events of last week’s "Una Salus Victus." Tyr had just explained the bit about Drago's anticipated reincarnation to Hunt in that episode, after all. Worse, Tyr's flip remark that Hunt should "never trust any Nietzschean - except me" and Hunt's smile don't quite square with their bitter confrontation over Drago's corpse. A quick look at some production information reveals that "Una Salus Victus" was made after this episode, which can probably be used to explain the oddities.

I also felt there was at least one self-contained glitch in this episode. We were repeatedly told that Terazed was safe because no one knew of its existence. And yet, at one point Rev Bem tells Hunt that Telemachus had defended the planet against Kalderan raids. Well, if the Kalderans know, I'd say plenty of people know (unless the raiders all lined up single file to be shot dead before they got a chance to report the planet's existence - not impossible based on what we saw of Kalderan behavior in "Last Call at the Broken Hammer," unfortunately).

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: Letting Telemachus Rhade's very existence slide for a moment, I thought a bigger problem was his behavior. As intelligent and calculating as he must be, based on what we saw in the first three-quarters of the episode, I don't really buy the notion that he thought Hunt was behind the fake Magog attack, or that Hunt was otherwise a threat to Terazed, certainly not to the point that he would board the Andromeda to assassinate Hunt. It's obvious that someone thought it would be cool to re-enact the "Under the Night" firefight (and budget-conscious to create another chance to recycle that footage again, to boot), but getting from A to C in this case didn't go anywhere near B. Sorry...

EXPOSITIONAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: As in "The Widening Gyre" and "Pitiless as the Sun," the writers showed their Earth-centric thinking (understandable though it may be). As our heroes approach Terazed, Andromeda reports it to be a "Sol-like system." As before, there is no reason for an AI programmed by an empire centered around Tarn Vedra to be using Earth's star as a frame of reference. It's even sillier when you look at the closed captioning, which reads "Sole-like system"; Douglas Adams tribute or ignorant misspelling? You decide.

NEW TECHNOLOGY OF THE WEEK: It seems that "Rommie" is now making android noises even when she's not doing Kung Fu Shit or otherwise reminding the audience that she is an android. Note the scene in which she first receives the election results; you can hear the mechanism as she turns he head. That's fine by me, as long as it's done consistently, and if it helps avoid the "Androids only sound like androids once their true nature is revealed" cliche in the future.

MYSTERY OF THE WEEK: Like "All Too Human," this episode seems to make the Magog retroactively more menacing than they used to be. Hunt and Telemachus make it sound like four swarm ships would be nearly impossible to defeat. Gee, how'd that guard station populated by kids ("To Loose the Fateful Lightning") do so well for so long against them? It used to be that the Magog only had strength in numbers; now the sight of a single Magog ship causes everyone to crumble, and every one of the vessels can now fire black holes.

MYSTERY OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: In the ongoing struggle to determine whether Hunt is stupid or brilliant, score one this week for "stupid." The closing scene makes it clear that Hunt thinks he made a mistake by not framing Rhade for the fake Magog attack, but to quote Tyr from early last year: "What is wrong with you!?" Not only did Hunt have a perfect way to make somebody take the fall and get everything he wanted, but a guy who was more or less willing to take the fall. What does Hunt need, a roadmap? Oh, right - simpler plots...
  

Previous: "Una Salus Victus"
Next: "Into the Labyrinth"
NEXT WEEK: A service pack for "Harper 2.0" creates more problems than it solves.

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This review is copyright 2001 David E. Sluss
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