The Cynics Corner

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda

"To Loose the Fateful Lightning"

by David E. Sluss

23 October 2000

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: Hopes for improvement will have to wait another week, as this episode is pretty much a dead loss, with contrived and unbelievable situations and some terrible performances.


GOOD THINGS OF THE WEEK: Hmm... Maybe I shouldn't have created this weekly after all. But let's mention Rev's character, the Only Good Magog, who continues to be the most interesting member of the crew. Harper, surprisingly, was pretty strong this week as well, though his abject hatred of the Magog doesn't seem to square with his easy banter with Rev in "An Affirming Flame."

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: The entire situation, with generations of children living on this station for 300 years, is simply unbelievable. There is virtually nothing about this set-up that passes the laugh test. None of the key systems, like life support, failed in all that time? The weapons still work and there is still ammunition to fend off regular attacks? Radiation lethal enough to kill every inhabitant by the time they reach twenty years of age but which doesn't render them sterile or hopelessly disabled? Children who can't read, but who have learned how to pilot a fighter ship without ever seeing one? Children, with no real tactical or weapons training, can successfully defend the station from repeated (and presumably organized) assaults? Children who can't read and have mislabeled everything but who know what nanobot inhibitors (or even nanobots) are? I hate to say it, but 95% of Voyager's plots are more believable than this.

COMMONWEALTH UNINTELLIGENCE OF THE WEEK: Hunt even outdid Janeway on the stupidity front here, but then this "idiot plot" only works if stupidity is omnipresent. Among other things, we have this gem: Hunt opens the door to the fighter bay, watches the kids arm the nova bombs, leaves the kids alone, and goes back to his ship to confer with his crew. How about leaving someone to guard the bay? Or just closing the damned door, considering that the password and a handprint scan were required to open it in the first place. And how about Hunt blundering into his blessing of two "holy warriors," who promptly fly off with his "permission" to wipe out a solar system. And since one of the goals of visiting the station in the first place was to obtain slip fighters, is there any good reason why in the end Hunt didn't retrieve the fighters before disposing of the nova bombs? I'm with Tyr: "What is WRONG with you!?" If Hunt is the best and brightest the Commonwealth had to offer, then it's pretty clear why a ridiculously outnumbered force defeated them 300 years ago. It might also be worth mentioning that in terms having the ship invaded and/or sabotaged, Hunt is three for three in the episodes aired thus far...

LAX SECURITY OF THE WEEK: Aside from the above absurdity of course. Last week, the voiceprinted consent of four (semi-)authorized officers were required to arm and launch the nova bombs. This week, any two clowns with key cards can do it.

HEAVY LIFTING OF THE WEEK: Somebody's a Mel Gibson (or Tina Turner) fan, I guess, considering the whole "mish-brief" scene, including the amusing props and mangled history and language, seemed to be cribbed from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

MERCHANDIZING OF THE WEEK: Model Andromeda ship on a stick -- in stores in time for Christmas!

MESSAGE OF THE WEEK: Peace is good, peace is right, peace works. Repeat often. Given that this is a Roddenberry vehicle, we can expect a certain amount of this sort of pap, but hearing it over and over again, particularly from Sorbo, who can't convincingly deliver the material, is nearly unbearable.

MALE DEMOGRAPHIC PLOY OF THE WEEK: Andromeda and her new android body stepping onto the bridge naked is like some sort of fanwank fantasy. Any particular reason, outside of the "drama" of the last minute appearance by a nude rescuer, that Andromeda would need to go to the bridge in order to play Ring Around the Rosie with the kids? Some of her systems were disabled by the kids early in the invasion, of course, but if they were still off-line, then going to the bridge in person shouldn't suddenly give her control over the gravity field. And if they are on-line, then she should have been able to do it from anywhere.

CHEAPO F/X OF THE WEEK: There seemed to be an awful lot of "tactical screen" shots rather than views of actual ships and action this week, particularly in Andromeda's failed attempt to prevent the nova bombing. In the chase-and-harpoon scene, there are extended shots of a viewscreen which look suspiciously like some unfinished CGI work...

CONSEQUENCES OF THE WEEK: Has anyone considered that the loss of an entire Magog solar system is a pretty serious situation that should have real ramifications? That, for instance, the Magog just might notice the missing solar system, investigate, and perhaps trace it back somehow to the Andromeda or to the Guard Station? On the other hand, if there's no follow-up to this, I'll let it slide, because this show is best forgotten...

Previous: "An Affirming Flame"
Next: "D Minus Zero"
NEXT WEEK: The smell of mutiny is in the air (and since this one is the first episode of Andromeda actually produced, other scents may be present as well).



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This review is copyright 2000 David E. Sluss
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