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[ANDR] Jammer's Review: "Immaculate Perception"

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  • Jamahl Epsicokhan
    Warning: This review contains significant spoilers. If you haven t seen the episode yet, beware. In brief: A premise that holds some genuine interest and good
    Message 1 of 1 , May 25 6:30 PM
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      Warning: This review contains significant spoilers. If you haven't seen the
      episode yet, beware.


      In brief: A premise that holds some genuine interest and good nods to
      continuity, albeit with the usual liabilities of Andromeda action-cheese.

      Plot description: After receiving a transmission from his wife Freya, Tyr
      embarks on a risky mission to save her.

      -----
      Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: "Immaculate Perception"

      Airdate: 5/6/2002 (USA week-of)
      Written by Matt Kiene & Joe Reinkemeyer
      Directed by J. Miles Dale

      Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
      Rating out of 4: ***

      Dylan: "You don't seem too happy to be back, Tyr."
      Tyr: "I was a husband and a father. Now I'm neither."
      -----

      Tyr Anasazi, on a writer's good day, can be this series' most complex and
      interesting character. What motivates this guy? To call him self-serving
      would be accurate but not sufficient, because Tyr takes the concept of the
      self and elevates its importance through the use of self-righteous
      philosophy.

      "Immaculate Perception" is the perfect example of this. The ending is one
      that proves that in Tyr's mind, Tyr and his interests must come first,
      perhaps because he can't bring himself to trust anyone else to do the job
      right. There's a lot of incompetence out there -- a lot of "uncompromising
      inferiority."

      The storyline we get here is another example of nigh-reckless abandon, in
      which the writers venture out on a limb. Unlike "Belly of the Beast,"
      however, where the writers went out on a limb of unabashed silliness, here
      the writers go out on a limb of cosmic melodrama to bring us something
      that's stunning in its audacity and ambitious in its potential scope, even
      if we may find ourselves severely doubting the likelihood and enormity of
      the claims made.

      Basically, the claim made here is that Tyr's wife Freya (Dylan Bierk; see
      "Double Helix" from season one) gave birth to a son, Tamerlane, who is
      possibly the much-discussed genetic reincarnation of Drago Museveni, i.e.,
      the Nietzschean messiah who is destined to reunite the fragmented
      Nietzschean people. That's quite a claim. I must say that I'm almost glad
      restraint and common sense didn't get in the writers' way for bringing us
      this revelation.

      Freya is still with the Orca pride, also last seen in "Double Helix," where
      they were forced into a retreat because of that show's events. The Orca
      pride is hiding out on a remote asteroid because of a renewed campaign of
      violence by the Knights of Genetic Purity, or "Genites," a ruthless
      organization that believes in killing all Nietzscheans on the basis of their
      being genetically modified. After receiving a transmission from Freya, Tyr
      goes on a mission to rescue her. This is before he even knows she bore his
      child, and before the Andromeda crew even knows Tyr has a wife. Meanwhile,
      Andromeda tries to deal with the Genites, who have superior weapons and
      technology. The Genites propose Andromeda join their cause. Captain Hunt
      refuses.

      I suppose it's a good thing star ratings are based on the law of averages,
      because there's a scene so preposterously bad in "Immaculate Perception"
      that it warrants negative stars on the four-star scale. I'm referring to the
      scene where Orca leader Dimitri (Stuart O'Connell) rants and raves at Tyr in
      an inexplicably hammed-up voice that is plunged so deep into the chasm of
      bad acting that it threatens to pull the entire episode over the precipice
      with it. How, how, how does something like this get through the dailies
      without an automatic reshoot -- to hell with the costs -- upon initial
      viewing of the footage? It's startlingly bad.

      So it plays like almost like an inside joke (or a mercy killing, with the
      mercy applied to the audience) when Tyr sneaks up behind Dimitri and swiftly
      snaps his neck. If only all characters so badly acted could meet their
      demise this quickly. I like the way the episode builds up Dimitri as if he's
      going to be a legitimate threat to Tyr, only to have Tyr snap his neck 30
      seconds into the initial encounter. Amusing.

      I also like Tyr being Tyr to the bone after he finds out about Tamerlane and
      the implications of Tamerlane's genetic code. He blasts the Orca for their
      incompetence and announces his plans to take Freya and Tamerlane and let the
      rest of the Orca rot on their own; after all, he has no responsibility to
      them. It's a harsh verdict, but it comes across as very Tyr-like given the
      stakes at hand. By inquiring into a DNA-record comparison with Drago
      Museveni, the Orcas have essentially broadcast the coming of the Nietzschean
      messiah to those who would do anything to prevent it, namely the Genites,
      hence their latest campaign.

      This results in an eventual assault by the Genites on the Orca base, but how
      exactly this assault comes about is of particular interest, showing Tyr
      exercising the ultimate in calculated ruthlessness -- equal parts pragmatism
      and preservation of himself and his family. Tyr sends off the entire
      remaining Orca pride to their pre-planned, unceremonious slaughter at the
      hands of the Genites; it's Tyr's distraction to protect the ostensible
      Greater Good, that being Tyr's messianic son.

      Freya's death, alas but not surprisingly, comes about in such a way as to
      seem painfully preordained, as if the plot was marching on cue toward an
      unavoidable event mandated by the Gods of Tying Up Loose Story Ends. When
      the Andromeda finally rescues Tyr after the Genites blow up the Orca's
      asteroid, it's only after three days of searching and waiting (and somewhat
      oversold pathos) that Tyr turns up.

      He turns up with a sad tale about the death of his wife and son, a tale that
      Keith Hamilton Cobb delivers with so much earnest seriousness that I'm
      honestly not sure whether it's moving or absurd. What I will say is that I
      found the speech intriguing in its melodramatic strokes, because when it
      comes down to it, this seems very consistent with Tyr and his quest for
      finding a family, which to him likely represents where he'd like to end up
      in finding his place in the universe.

      Then, of course, there's the fact that the whole speech is a lie of
      grandiose proportions -- that Tyr in those three days of supposed drifting
      *did* find a way to save Tamerlane and whisk him off to the safety of some
      obscure world, to be raised in the care of the sole Orca survivor. And,
      apparently, there Tamerlane will wait until he's ready to become the
      messiah.

      There's a point where Dylan puts forward a (correct) theory that stops short
      of calling Tyr on this lie. Tyr doesn't drop the charade. And given the
      stakes we can understand why. Tamerlane's importance is supposedly of, well,
      biblical proportions. In this case, Tyr has a duty that probably goes well
      beyond Andromeda and, say, Captain Hunt potentially using Tamerlane as a
      political tool.

      Though he's sometimes inclined to play the part of a team player, Tyr's
      first duty is clearly still not the Andromeda. I like that. This is an
      episode that gets into Tyr's head and tries to see what makes him tick:
      self-serving, but not merely so. It's one of the season's better offerings.

      --
      Next week: Massive alien invasion! (Season finale.)

      -----
      Copyright 2002 Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved.
      Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this article is prohibited.

      Star Trek: Hypertext - http://www.st-hypertext.com/
      Jamahl Epsicokhan - jammer@...
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