The Cynics Corner

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda

"The Things We Cannot Change"

by David E. Sluss

4 May 2002

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: It has more new content than most clip shows, but in the end, the subject matter just isn't that interesting.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 6.0 (D-)

MYSTERY OF THE WEEK: It's apparently not supposed to be entirely clear what Hunt experienced. There seem to be three possibilities:

  • Just a hallucination
  • A mindgame Trance played on Hunt for some unknown purpose
  • A mindgame mysterious aliens living in the black hole played on Hunt

Regardless, this episode seems intended to move us in the way Star Trek: The Next Generation's "The Inner Light" did, but unfortunately it plays more like TNG's"Shades of Gray," and not just because of the clip show factor. To me, the failure of "Shades of Gray" was less about the clips and more about the fact that Riker was not (and has never become) interesting enough to merit a retrospective. Similarly, Hunt is generally the least interesting character in the series (and getting less and less complex by the hour) and I just don't care about his alternate universe family life or his inner demons.

RECYCLING OF THE WEEK: Well, it's a clip show, after all. I don't know if it was supposed to suggest increasing disjointedness in Hunt's mind, but it's interesting that the clips chosen started out appropriate and well-connected to Hunt's hallucination/dream/experience, such as the scene in which Cuchulain asking Hunt if he has any children (from "The Honey Offering"), and seemed to degenerate into randomness as the hour wore on. The awful scene with Rommie bawling from "Star-Crossed," for instance, seems to come out of nowhere. More troublesome is Hunt flashing back to a scene from "The Banks of the Lethe" in which Sara reacts to a message Hunt left for her. But hold the phone -- Hunt wasn't there to see her reaction, the entire point of that episode as I recall, so how could he hallucinate it (or how could Trance or mysterious black hole aliens plant it in his mind)? Other weird clips: He sees Tweedledee and Tweedledum shooting up bad guys in "The Prince," even though Hunt himself was in Erik's tent the whole time and didn't seem to personally witness it, and he flashes back to the fight with Rhade -- only it's the "wrong Rhade" from "Home Fires" rather than the original from "Under the Night" (in the latter case, we can assume that even under duress, Hunt is too humiliated to remember the Breakdancer from Hell uniform he sported during the first fight).

RECYCLING OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: Remember all that yellow Saran Wrap that Deep Space Nine always used to cover the cameras during "Prophet Experiences?" It looks like Andromeda picked up the surplus on the cheap, using it for all of Hunt's hallucination scenes, presumably so that the folks in some of Tribune's target demographics are able to distinguish between the fantasy scenes and the reality scenes.

ANDROMEDA CLICHE OF THE WEEK: When not recycling scenes outright, the show reuses all of that lovingly crafted "black hole footage," seen in over a half-dozen episodes going all the way back to "Under the Night." This episode never even bothers to offer any explanation for the trip to this black hole, making the true reason -- "The footage is cool, and didn't require us to spend any money" -- obvious. About the only saving grace is that the black hole used for surprisingly good continuity effect, as Harper thinks to use the transporter from last year's "The Banks of the Lethe" to attempt Hunt's rescue.

ANDROMEDA CLICHE OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: A trend almost certain to accelerate in the Sorbo era is Hunt Getting Some. The question here is: Why is he hallucinating this babe of the week rather than Sara? If it's his own personal dream of family life, wouldn't Sara be his ideal wife? And if it's alien intervention of some sort, wouldn't the use of Sara rather than a stranger have made the scenario more convincing to Hunt? I'd chalk it up to a continuity glitch if it wasn't for the "Banks of the Lethe" clips. One continuity error that does seem to creep in is that at one point in his hallucination, Hunt rails about unseen manipulating aliens who know "how much I love being married." But wait -- Hunt was engaged to Sara, not married (unless there's an Ex lurking around -- no doubt preserved in suspended animation to torment Hunt in the Far Future!).

LAUGH SCENES OF THE WEEK: There were a few that would have made me giggle, if that were part of my disposition:

  • Hunt's imaginary son Ethan, who seems old enough to understand, doesn't know the difference between "tired" and "retired." A real "chip off the old block," I guess.
  • Hunt looks for needle marks and incisions in the mirror. That seems rather future, since nanobots and the other medical technology we've seen to date don't seem to be devices that leave much of a mark.
  • Poor Tyr. He had some good dialog, bringing him slightly back from the abyss of sap-hood and Hunt-worshiper status, but he forgot to measure the bucky-cable...
      
Previous: "In Heaven
Now Are Three
"
Next: "The Fair Unknown"
NEXT WEEK: Another New Enemy revealed? Tally up another target for the Miracle Machine.

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This review is copyright 2002 David E. Sluss
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