The Cynics Corner

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda

"Into the Labyrinth"

by David E. Sluss

20 January  2002

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: An episode which could almost serve as a microcosm of the Wolfe-era Andromeda series, in both the good ways and the bad.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 7.5 (C)

GOOD THINGS OF THE WEEK: On the upside, we have an episode that fully leverages Andromeda’s backstory, tying into at least a half-dozen past episodes to one degree or another. We also have a decent helping of Nietzschean dialog and behavior, although Marsters, a shining light among the less-than-stellar guest stars Andromeda usually gets, is shamefully underutilized in favor of the Eye-candy Villainess. There’s even some actual progress, a tiny bit anyway, on the "Who or what is Trance?" front. On the other hand...

BAD THINGS OF THE WEEK: A number of the Andromeda "usual suspects" turn up here as well, namely:

  • Cheapo Props: The Magog "gummi bear" larvae.
  • Absentee Rev: For all intents and purposes, this character was written out of the series after "The Widening Gyre," even if he formally won’t be gone for another couple of weeks.
  • Eye-rolling Exposition: Trance’s "Let’s review the facts" summary of "Harper 2.0." I suspect we’ll see more of this sort of thing in the post-Wolfe era, assuming the entire backstory isn’t scrapped completely.
  • Mindless shoot-‘em-up: The scene featuring Satrina’s "goon line-up" aboard her vessel was worth a shake of the head, as the low-rent nature of these villains was pretty obvious, even before they started using their awesome dimensional shifting technology to get aboard the Andromeda and – strangle people, slash them with swords, and fire standard rayguns at them? Say what? Their toys, of course, could have easily been used to, say, turn the observation deck inside out and send the dignitaries out into space or to hose the slipstream drive to make it explode. For that matter, since the Spirit of the Abyss appears to have dimensionally transported his minions away at the end of the episode, after their devices were destroyed, it would seem that he should be able to hose the Andromeda, or anything else in the Known Worlds, without sending anyone. Tribune accountants must have told him that was fiscally unsound...

FILLER OF THE WEEK: The scene in which Satrina visits Hunt’s cabin struck me as being out of place. It’s entirely pointless, for one thing, and the transitions from the previous scene (Satrina talking to Harper in his lab) and to the next one (Satrina’s goon line-up) seem badly edited, as if this was stuck in at the last minute. A too-short script, or a belated attempt to give Sorbo more "action" in this show? Who can say?

COINCIDENCE OF THE WEEK: Enterprise’s "Cold Front" featured a phase-shifting device this week too. And neither episode featured caves. Hmm...

MYSTERIES OF THE WEEK: The "Brandenburg Tor" file, and the Secret Archive in general, has in my opinion been mishandled since it was introduced in "Harper 2.0," and the trend continues here. First, it would seem that no one actually watched the entire archive. Despite the important evidence about the Magog conspiracy found in it, Hunt never went through it to see what other dirt might be found. And apparently even Trance, who supposedly watched the archive in "Harper 2.0," didn’t look at the whole thing, as she doesn’t know what information about her people was on it. Considering how secretive she is, you’d think she would have originally gone through the data in its entirety, and perhaps censored the parts she didn’t want people to find. Finally, "Old Red Eye’s" interest in the data seems ill-motivated. For example, now that everybody and their dog know about the impending Magog invasion, what’s to be gained by getting the data? That suggests that there’s more useful information in the archive, other than the Brandenburg Tor footage, but no one on Hunt’s crew seems to have figured that out. And if the "Spirit of the Abyss" is so interested, why didn’t he do anything about it in "The Widening Gyre," when the Andromeda crew was in his clutches? And the big mystery: Why does he continue to rely on incompetent rent-a-villains to do his dirty work?

SPLIT PERSONALITY OF THE WEEK: Yes, it’s another installment of "Dylan Hunt: Fool or Ruthless Genius?" I don’t know how we can possibly reconcile Hunt’s Commonwealth-building efforts this week with those of last week, in "Home Fires." Last week, Hunt refused to pull a single dirty trick – against someone who was willing to be a victim – and let an important new Commonwealth signatory slip through his fingers. This week he’s willing to get in bed with the Sabra-Jaguar, whom he compares to Stalin and whose membership would most likely force a final confrontation with the Drago-Kazov, a battle that some of the member worlds are ill-prepared to fight, as seen in "Home Fires." I just don’t get it.
  

Previous: "Home Fires"
Next: "The Prince"
NEXT WEEK: Hunt and Tyr must keep a young royal from being exposed in the tabloid press as a doper and a drunk.

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This review is copyright 2002 David E. Sluss
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