The Cynics Corner

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda

"In Heaven Now Are Three"

by David E. Sluss

4 May 2002

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: The best you can say about this episode, a poor man's Indiana Jones caper, is that it... happened.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 5.5 (F+)

REWRITE OF THE WEEK: Like "Be All My Sins Remembered," this episode smells like one that Hunt wrote himself into. Tyr seems to be written out when Trance reveals that in her future timeline Tyr died on this expedition. So Hunt has to go, and of course he sickens everyone with his ingratiating behavior ("I was really your first choice") and idiotic banter. The setup is also an insult to the Tyr character, since it implies that Tyr is somehow less tough or more stupid than Hunt, who didn't get himself killed in the revised timeline. But then, Tyr is so thoroughly gelded now that Hunt doesn't think twice about leaving him in command of the Andromeda by himself...

CONTINUITY OF THE WEEK: Arc-driven plotting has gone out of fashion in Andromeda-land since the series was de-Wolfed, but nevertheless, this episode does pick up from some past events. The Engine of Creation, of course, was (almost) mentioned in last year's "It Makes a Lovely Light," in which Beka believed the Engine was on Tarn Vedra. And I guess we're supposed to infer that the map Beka retrieved from the mummified Than heart in "A Heart for Falsehood Framed" somehow led her to this week's destination. How or why she concluded that the device isn't on Tarn-Vedra after all isn't clear, since the possibility that the Engine is scattered around Known Space in pieces isn't raised until the end of this episode.

PLOT DEVICE OF THE WEEK: The Engine itself is pure bunkum, naturally, a blatant deus ex machina waiting to happen that I suspect will be used to artificially end all of Wolfe's plot threads (e.g. "I wish the Magog Worldship would just go away, and the other 44 slots of my Commonwealth puzzleboard would fill themselves in... Oh! Cool! Now we can go help unfortunate people so their women will bang me"), and complete the Sorbocision of the series. To be fair, though, the device does seem to originate in the Wolfe era, and for all we know it was always intended to give the crew a cheap way to wipe out some seemingly invincible threat.

COMMONWEALTH UNINTELLIGENCE OF THE WEEK: At one point, when all three of Our Heroes are supposed to be sleeping, Trance gets up to go scheming. But hold it -- they were all supposed to be sleeping? No one was supposed to be on guard? With one beheaded expedition and another hostile group running around in the terraforming pines? That's just great. Later, we see the one thing that could prevent the Engine of Creation from being used: Stupidity. Beka and Hunt make a wish on the device (Beka: "I wish all my clothes didn't have holes in them"; Hunt: "I wish all my little friends from Hercules were on Andromeda's pad"), and are somewhat disappointed when nothing happens. Attention Heroes: Everything about the Engine was Three. THREE! TRES! DREI! So maybe the reason it didn't work was that only TWO of you wished upon it.

CLICHES OF THE WEEK: At what point does an "homage" to Indiana Jones become an el cheapo ripoff? This one had it all:

  • A treasure map, of course
  • A treasure with magical powers
  • A treasure hidden in a place accessed by solving a riddle. "Only the penitent" -- how shameless can it get?
  • Primitive but elaborate traps. I particularly loved the dart contraption, which was inexplicably set to go off when the victim steps off the trigger rather than while she's standing immobile upon it, and which take several minutes to reset after firing.
  • Primitives protecting the treasure. Best laugh of the hour: seeing rayguns adorned with feathers.
  • The  Mysteriously Disappeared previous expedition. Of course that guy had it coming, since he held a press conference announcing quarry and his exact destination in advance.
  • A competing group of stock character villains looking for the treasure. These folks were straight out of Casting Central, except for Flux, whose interactions with Trance were about the only worthy thing going on this week. (Kudos to the makeup department, by the way, for giving Flux an appearance which was similar enough to Trance's that you immediately start to wonder if he might be of Trance's race, but which didn't give it away prematurely. Now if they could just do something about the dreadful-looking makeup on Trance's tits.)

Then there are some old stand-bys, such as "The Hero spared the bad guy so He is Worthy," and the usual Andromeda schlock fighting (which in this case includes a great irony -- or hypocrisy? -- as the script has Beka denouncing catfighting, but then forces her to jump into the ring with the Villain's Evil Chick not five minutes later).
  

Previous: "Dance of
the Mayflies
"
Next: "The Things We
Cannot Change
"
NEXT WEEK: Will there be any shades of gray in Andromeda's clip show?

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This review is copyright 2002 David E. Sluss
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