The Cynics Corner

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda

"Music of a Distant Drum"

by David E. Sluss

17 February 2001

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: A proper mixture of characterization, action, and continuity. So why is it so deadly dull?


MYSTERIES OF THE WEEK: Of course, I'd be the first one to harp about gratuitous space battles, but this episode drifted a bit too far into the "Tell, Don't Show" school of storytelling. It might have been nice to get at least a glimpse of Tyr's daring raid, but instead we're left to wonder exactly how he could have pulled off this heist against the Drago-Katzov pride, who are apparently the top dogs among the Nietzscheans. It might have been nice to see a little bit of Beka's cunning in eluding dozens of Drago-Katzov ships, but instead we only hear about it. And just how is Tyr is going to get that big coffin aboard Andromeda without Hunt noticing that he's bringing contraband (and attack-bait) aboard? Hunt's a little out of it, but I think he can put the pieces together and figure out that Tyr took it from the Drago-Katzov and that they will want it back. Most important, whatever happened to smart bullets? Those trees took a beating...

COMMONWEALTH UNINTELLIGENCE OF THE WEEK: So Hunt doesn't want to raise cash by using the Andromeda to mine or run cargo, presumably because it's undignified and contrary to the ideals of the Commonwealth. How dignified was it in "The Pearls That Were His Eyes" for Hunt to conduct a garage sale so that he could barter for substandard parts? Our captain remains a borderline-delusional figure in serious need of a reality check. In fact, that seems to be the one thread that runs consistently through every episode aired so far. Hunt's crusade seems almost doomed to fail, because even when he doesn't outright fail (as in "A Rose in the Ashes," in which he's jailed for even suggesting that the Commonwealth be resurrected, and "All Great Neptune's Ocean" in which one of two member worlds is plunged into civil war), he seems dead-set against even trying to adapt to the reality of his post-Fall circumstances. Ideals are fine, but the fact is that Hunt can't bring back the Commonwealth if Andromeda's people don't have the resources to obtain supplies or if they refuse to make some compromises and deal with some seedy characters at certain junctures. It's almost as if this series is being written so that viewers expect the hero's failure, which may be novel, but I don't know if it's sustainable. Incidently, getting back to the specifics of this episode, it does appear that Tyr's lady friend got one of Hunt's sanctimonious speeches offscreen; why else would she choose continued indentured servitude for herself and her stepson instead of going to the Andromeda?

WELFARE RECIPIENTS OF THE WEEK: It's not just unauthorized vacations anymore, it's an outright evacuation, as half the cast is absent this week, unless you count the various clip show flashbacks. But the good news is that Andromeda's Powers That Be seem to have stumbled onto a way to get around the looming actors' strike; at this rate, the second season can be produced entirely without actors...

M.S.T. MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Raise your hands: Who shouted "I am Kirok!" at the end of the teaser when Tyr asked what his name was? But seriously, how tired is the "Amnesiac Hero Doing Good Things for the Local Yokels" yarn? Sure, there's a slightly different spin on it here, but combined with all of the other cliches, sci-fi and other, such as "Local Yokel Kid Seeks Revenge for the Death of His Father," "Crooked Local Yokel Finks Out the Good Guys; Gets Zipped by the Baddies," the Ewok tree trick, and even a Star Trek Shuttle Crash (complete with Magical Repair), it really seems like there's nothing new here.

LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK: "I...will...never...surrender!" Anyone not thinking Kirk in the teaser had to be by this point...

Previous: "The Mathematics of Tears"
Next: "Harper 2.0"
NEXT WEEK: Bounty hunters come in search of one of Andromeda's crew, but they're all on leave...



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This review is copyright 2001 David E. Sluss
Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda is a trademark of Tribune Entertainment