|Angel Dark, Demon Bright|
|Original air date||
November 6, 2000
And under the ashes of infinity,
Hope, scarred and bleeding,
breathed its last."
"Elegy for the Commonwealth"
"Angel Dark, Demon Bright" is episode 6 of Season 1.
Tyr and Beka are giving Trance a Slipstream piloting lesson. Trance claims that she is uncomfortable working with machines, but Tyr insists that she learn, because one day their survival might rely on it. Beka explains that machines (like Andromeda herself) cannot navigate the slipstream, as it relies on some characteristic unique to organic life forms.
Trance pilots through what should have been a simple jump to 36 Ofuyuchi G, but it is a very rough ride and the ship takes significant damage to her Gravity Field Generator Lens, and they are not where they intended to go. Dylan storms onto command, angry at the unauthorized lesson. Trance gets a strange look in her eye, apologizes to Dylan before running to the Maru.
Andromeda has managed to determine their location – the Witchhead Nebula. Beka, Harper, and Tyr identify this as the site of climactic battle of the war between the Systems Commonwealth and the Nietzscheans. In this battle, the Commonwealth fleet was destroyed, but the Nietzscheans suffered so many losses that the Nietzschean Alliance was destroyed by in-fighting. Andromeda notes that she detects no evidence of a battle having occurred in the area.
Another High Guard ship appears out of slipstream – the Renewed Valor, commanded by Captain Borotep Yeshgar, a friend of Dylan's. She is surprised to see Dylan, saying that he has been missing for 13 months, since the Battle of Hephaistos. She tells him that the Commonwealth has been fighting the Nietzscheans for more than a year and they haven't been winning. She also tells him that Witchhead is only a staging point as Admiral Constanza Stark has ordered every last high guard ship to assemble here, afterwards, they were to head straight to Fountainhead to destroy the Nietzschean homeworld. At this point, Dylan realizes that he has somehow traveled back through time, to a point shortly before the Battle of Witchhead.
Seamus Harper wants to take advantage of his knowledge of the future for personal profit. Dylan wants to warn the Systems Commonwealth fleet and prevent the Fall. Tyr claims that it's already too late to save the Commonwealth, and their best plan is to help the Nietzscheans, so they will be strong against coming Magog attacks.
Dylan comes to a decision: They will leave, and allow history to take its course. He decides there are 2 options: either they cannot change history, so it does not matter what they do, or they can change history, in which case they have no guarantee that they will make the future any better than it was.
Harper disagrees with this evaluation, and decides to take matters into his own hand. He blinds Andromeda's internal sensors in his work area, and, using the Maru's historical records, begins to work on a plan to destroy the Nietzscheans with a Antiproton Fusion Catalyst.
Dylan lets Yeshgar believe that he was only trapped in the black hole for one year. She realizes he's not telling her everything, but is willing to trust him.
Andromeda has reviewed the Maru's records of the Battle of Witchhead. Many of the ships that were destroyed were ones she knew, and, as a warship, she wants to help them. Her Slipstream drive is still not working.
Trance has found the device Harper was going to use to trigger the fusion catalyst, and confronts him about it, saying that Dylan has told them not to interfere. Harper doesn't agree with Dylan's conclusion – he claims that he has experienced both the Nietzschean and the Magog, and anything is better than the Nietzscheans. Harper chases Trance, trying to get the device back. Trance runs to the Andromeda Ascendant Command Center and tells Dylan what he was doing. Dylan has Andromeda (who is angry about Harper blinding her sensors) lock Harper up.
Meanwhile, Beka and Tyr are working on repairs. Tyr tells Beka that he is willing to leave because it increases his personal chances of survival.
Dylan finally decides to tell Yeshgar the truth, and invite her to come with him to the future, since she will not make a significant difference in the battle, but could be a real asset to the new Commonwealth. She agrees.
As Yeshgar approaches the site of the slipstream portal, the Nietzschean fleet emerges, destroying the Renewed Valor before the Andromeda, three Light Minutes away, can react. Andromeda quickly moves to hid in the nebula.
Andromeda has counted over 1500 Nietzschean ships, which does not match with the historical records, the records all agree that there were only 500 ships. Dylan concludes that they must have somehow changed history. He realizes that Harper's device will allow them to restore the timeline, but it will mean killing approximately 100,000 people. Dylan discusses this decision with Rev Bem.
Tyr is trying to take control of the Maru when Trance walks in on him. She realizes that he is considering warning the Nietzscheans. She also realizes that he was not surprised when there were more Nietzschean ships than expected. She notes that the obvious solution that Tyr may be considering is killing her, to keep her from telling Dylan, but she points out that that would also limit his options. Through a bit of fast talking, she convinces Tyr that she did not take the conversation seriously, and will probably forget it. She leaves him on the Maru, considering his options.
Dylan decides to use Harper's device, but Harper explains that it's more like a mine than a gun – they need to be able to predict where the Nietzscheans will be. Dylan says that he will see what he can do, and Harper should get the weapon ready.
Trance insists on helping out on weapons – she says that she got them into the situation, so she is as responsible for the results as anyone.
Dylan maneuvers the Andromeda out of the nebula cloud with active sensors on, and firing. As he is preparing the fusion catalyst, Tyr relates the Nietzschean legend of Witchhead: The Nietzscheans arrived with overwhelming odds, but an "Angel of Death" appeared and "unleashed the fires of hell", crippling the fleet. Dylan activates the fusion catalyst, and destroys approximately 1000 Nietzschean ships. Watching the destruction, Harper realizes that it doesn't feel as wonderful as he thought it would.
As the rest of the High Guard fleet arrives, Dylan leaves without answering their hails, returning via slipstream to the time and place they started.
Dylan and Tyr talk on the Observation Deck. Tyr says that he could have sabotaged the Andromeda and saved the Nietzscheans, but he put his own survival ahead of that of his race. Dylan notes that it was a "very Nietzschean thing to do", and also notes that maybe he knew it was also the right thing to do. Tyr asks if he really believes that. Dylan says, "I have to."
In the Maru, Trance clips a branch off a Bonsai Tree with a cryptic "That's better."
- The phrase "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds", refers to a quote from a Hindu religious text cited by Earth's atomic scientist, J. Robert Oppenheimer, one of the men who invented the atomic bomb.
- The title refers to a reversal of symbolism. The "angels" are dark shadows while the "demons" are beings of light.
Beka: Time travel. Daddy always said, "Never mess with time travel."
Rev: While I admit the universe does have a sense of humor, I doubt very much that this is a joke.
Harper: Note to sculptors: Statues of me should look, I dunno, wise, concerned. I suggest posing me with a soldering wand over my head like a sword.
Rommie: I'm a warship, and I don't like walking away from a fight.
Tyr: You know, I can cook, too. You'd be surprised at the skills you acquire as a mercenary.
Angel Dark, Demon Bright was released on DVD in a variety of formats. For more information see:
|Andromeda: Season 1 Volume Releases|
|Andromeda: Complete Season 1|
|Andromeda: Series 1 Volume Releases|
|Andromeda: Complete Series 1|
|Andromeda: The Slipstream Collection|
|Andromeda: The Complete Boxset|