The Cynics Corner

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda

"Dance of the Mayflies"

by David E. Sluss

25 February 2002

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: The "Living Dead" serve as yet another excuse for mindless, bloodless, Andromeda mayhem and as a somewhat poignant metaphor for the series as it seems to exist now.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 5.5 (F+)

CONTINUITY OF THE WEEK: A reminder of Beka's status as a recovering drug addict, which seemed to have fallen by the wayside since "It Makes a Lovely Light" late last season. How'd this one slip through the Sorbo Script Simplifier?

CONTINUITY OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: Another nice detail that made it through somehow is Trance's status as a possible Walking Dead Warrior Princess. Hey, I'll buy that; it meshes perfectly with her apparent resurrection from the dead way back in "An Affirming Flame."

LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK: I could go with any of Hunt's mostly mono-syllabic Action one-liners (e.g. "This is creepy," "That's not good," "Oh, yeah, level eight works," "Now we're talkin'!"), which seem to comprise most of his dialog recently, but I'll pick an old favorite, namely Andromeda reporting, "Internal defenses ineffectual." Yeah, what else is new?

MEDICAL QUACKERY OF THE WEEK: Trance Warrior Princess is not really a doctor of course, but she should still know better than to let Beka lie down in the Medical bay, when Beka needs to stay awake to survive. Find the most uncomfortable chair on the ship and make her sit there...

RECYCLING OF THE WEEK: I don't really mind that a lot of the "footage" of the Than fleet was recycled from previous episodes, but what I hate is that clip from "Double Helix" which shows a Than vessel being hit by Andromeda's weapons, bouncing down and then up like a model on a rubber band. I just can't fathom why anyone would create CGI that mimics a ship on a string – and then reuse it.

RECYCLING OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: Will the real Borg Collective of the Andromeda Universe please stand up? We all thought it was the Consensus of Parts from last year's "The Sum of Its Parts." Last week's "Be All My Sins Remembered" threw us a curve ball by offering the "people who made Bobby's Tin Man suit" as dark horse candidates. Now we have the Bokor, who survive and expand their knowledge by possessing (read: assimilating) sentient beings. How is a Cynic to decide?

CHARACTER ASSASSINATION OF THE WEEK: At least a couple of Andromeda's incarnations seemed off-kilter this week. First we have the hologram, who suddenly has a "They're all going to die, so who cares?" attitude about humans. She also struck me as rather hypocritical when she criticized Rommie for her feelings about Hunt; it was the hologram, after all, who was mooning over Hunt's picture and giving it air kisses in "D Minus Zero." Rommie's subplot, in which she tries to understand human mortality, was reasonable, even though it was shouted down by all of the episode's Action and seemed rather derivative of all those "Data Learns Something About Humanity" episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. What bothered me was the scene in the medical bay in which Trance Warrior Princess asks Rommie to access the medical CPU and Rommie presses a bunch of keys on the computer attached to the bed. Hello! Rommie has full access to the ship's computer without pressing buttons!

EUNUCH OF THE WEEK: Tyr Anasazi fans, take heart. There is some good news this week in that Tyr demonstrated an awareness that he's been deballed. Unfortunately this comes amid his hemming and hawing about spacing Beka and the infected refugees and his decision not to finish off damaged Than ships. Overall, it's not looking too good for this character.

HEROICS OF THE WEEK: Perhaps I'm overly suspicious of this "New Andromeda," but I had the feeling that certain parts of this episode were rewritten to make Hunt seem even more Heroic. For one thing, Hunt was infected by the Zombie Disease but never showed any symptoms at all. What a tough guy! More obviously, near the climax of the episode, Harper discovers that the Zombie Corpses can be put down permanently by electrocution. He calls Hunt to report this finding, but clever Hunt has already reasoned it out! "You're a mind-reader, boss!" Give me a break...

CONTRIVANCES OF THE WEEK: The Than situation in this episode is very poorly plotted. For starters, based on the beginning of the episode, I guess we're supposed to conclude that the Than, recognizing the terrible threat posed by the Bokor, attacked the drift, took a coffee break long enough for the Andromeda to show up and attempt to rescue survivors (and far enough away to be out of Andromeda's sensor range), and then decided to come back and finish the job. Right. Later, they apparently call off their attack on the Andromeda after Hunt reports that "It's all better now." Sure -- they'll believe a report coming from a vessel whose entire crew may be possessed by Bokor, and they'll live and let live with the fact that Andromeda's crew blew away all those Than vessels and crew? I'm sorry, but that's all bull, no two ways about it.

And what was the point of all the talk about amazingly improved Than weapons and shielding? Is that going somewhere, or was it just an excuse to have even more impressive exploding consoles?

ACTION HOUR ACTION OF THE WEEK: Zombie Corpses represent another stellar addition to Andromeda's Rogues Gallery of antagonists who can be fought with, shot at, and killed with outrageous but still PG-rated violence. It's brilliant. I mean how else could Andromeda's writers have topped all the previous shooting gallery targets they've created (psychotic androids, feral Magog, inexplicably incompetent Nietzscheans, single-minded Kalderans, tenacious Origami) without using the Undead? Yes, this   is the perfect Andromeda villain. They can be shot dead and still come back for more, especially when Our Heroes remember not to cut their heads and limbs off, and not to use the force lance's Howitzer setting to blow them into tiny bits. Zombies Corpses also have the ability to die at different times, but then get out of their body bags in menacing unison, providing real drama to the proceedings, and they leverage Andromeda's Super-Slo-Mo technology when falling to the floor. It doesn't get any better than this, folks.

However, it looks like some "advocate of good taste" busybody vetoed scenes showing the Child Zombie Corpse rescued by Rommie being shot at or electrocuted. This is unfortunate, but I'm confident that those folks in the Andromeda office who aren't fully supporting the New Andromeda's cutting-edge storytelling will find that their days are numbered.

This episode also offers demographically-correct action in the form of a Chick Fight, the second in two weeks, between Trance Warrior Princess and Rommie Anime Princess. This fight features Sultry Looks as well as Backflips For No Particular Reason, and is exactly the kind of one-fisted action Andromeda's target audience is looking for.

DOUBLE FEATURE OF THE WEEK: Since Laura Bertram's Breasts are replacing Brent Stait in the opening credits next season, it's only right that they are featured so prominently here. It's clear that the directors are quickly adapting to their new cast members ("Breathe deeply. Deeper. Deeper"; "Hold the medical scanner up higher for the close-up. Higher. Higher. There you go"; "Jump! Jump!"), and there are probably plenty of "popping out" outtakes that can be sold as part of the "Andromeda Uncensored" video.
  

Previous: "Be All My
Sins Remembered
"
Next: "In Heaven
Now Are Three
"
NEXT WEEK: The Indiana Jones episode.

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This review is copyright 2002 David E. Sluss
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