|The Dark Backward|
|Original air date||
February 3, 2003
the result of complex
negotiations between the
observer and observed.
But that is simply a
point of view."
Michio Von Kerr,
"The Apotheosis of Reason,"
"The Dark Backward" is episode 12 of Season 3.
As the show opens, we find Beka Valentine, Tyr Anasazi, Seamus Harper, and Dylan Hunt dead and Rommie being cast into the Slipstream core by the Scourge. After we have seen this, the Andromeda Ascendant explodes.
We then see Trance Gemini, who is pruning a Bonsai Tree. “Okay. That did not work”, she says.
Suddenly we go back in time, all the way to a point when the Andromeda has just entered space from a slip portal. Everything is fine until the crew discovers something coming toward the ship. It doesn’t respond to hails, so Dylan Hunt orders it to be blown up. Missiles are launched, but they go right through the object like it wasn’t even there. Harper then reports the Scourge, which starts ripping through wires. Soon it disappears and reappears on the Command Center and shoots Beka.
Again, we see Trance pruning. She decides to explore a different scenario.
Time is reversed again, and we are back at the beginning. Everything is the same. Harper asks, “Did we invite any guests?” and the intruder starts ripping through wires. Harper is told to leave the intruder alone but doesn’t listen. The intruder shoots Harper, wounding him. Trance does everything possible to save him; meanwhile, Rommie tells Beka and Dylan that the intruder’s armor is over 12,000 years old, and it seems to be going backwards in time. Harper’s vitals become unstable and he dies. Trance re-lives that timeline again and again, but every time still ends with Harper dying. She has to try a different approach.
Time reverses yet again, with the same storyline unfolding, except this time Dylan tells Tyr Anasazi to get the intruder. A fight ensues, Tyr is killed and the Andromeda explodes.
The time line repeats a fourth time, this time with Trance stopping Dylan from shooting at the incoming object by trying to explain what she knows, but as soon as she is done talking, the intruder drops from the ceiling and kills Dylan. Chaos reigns as Trance wanders the ship, thinking to herself. The Andromeda explodes.
Back in Trance’s own timeline, where she is pruning the bonsai, Trance decides that Harper is the most expendable person. Trance jumps back into the storyline and Harper dies. Trance and Dylan have a heart to heart. She asks Dylan how he can deal with choosing one life over another. After a thought, Dylan decides that he knows all, and orders Beka to move the ship into slip drive. While in the slipstream, the intruder can no longer disappear and reappear elsewhere on the ship, so Tyr tries to shoot it, but doesn’t have any effect. The intruder opens the slip tubes and Tyr shoots at it one last time. This only makes the intruder angry, and the Andromeda explodes.
Back in her own timeline, Trance can’t figure out how to stop the Andromeda from perishing. She decides that she has one last choice: Dylan.
The story rewinds to the beginning again. As soon as the missiles miss the intruder’s ship, Dylan orders the Andromeda back into slip drive. This seems to work until Rommie notices that there is an intruder on the ship. Dylan runs down to the belly of the ship and opens the a gigantic set of doors to the vacuum of space, which tries to pull him off the ship. The intruder appears and plays with the switches that control the doors. Dylan uses his force lance to impale the intruder and send him flying into space. While Dylan hangs on with one arm, desperately trying not to be thrown into space, Trance suddenly appears, grabs his arm and pulls him to safety. Dylan closes the doors. Suddenly, the intruder reappears. Trance readies herself to fight but doesn’t need to. The intruder disappears as quickly as it appeared. Trance’s reasoning: “From its perspective, it still hasn’t found us yet.”
Trance explains to Dylan how she goes through millions of different scenarios every second. Dylan asks her how she can determine if anything is real. Trance replies that she can’t.
- The episode was originally written as part of the show's overall story arc: The Scourge was sent by the Spirit of the Abyss to come to the Andromeda Ascendant and retrieve the pieces of the Engine of Creation. Tribune demanding fewer story arcs in the show forced the removal of the connection to the Spirit of The Abyss.
- This episode resembles the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode "Cause and Effect", in that events repeat (with slight differences due to the actions, or inaction, of the crew), until, finally, the final action, (or, again, inaction) resolves the situation.
Beka: I can't get over the feeling that should be me on that table, not him.
Trance: There's way that this won't happen to any of you.
Harper: Did we invite any...uhh...guests on board? 'Cause I've got one standin' right here in front o' me. About eight-foot-twelve, not much into conversation.
Dylan: Tell me that this all works out okay, Trance. That it means--something in the end.
Trance: I wish I could do that...but I can't.
Beka: All hands, abandon--
Trance: That thing out there, wants to kill us. And nothing you can do will destroy it, believe me. Now I don't know what this creature is, or why it is doing this, but I do know that it can tesseract through space, and backwards through time, so that it knows our next move before we even make it. Now, all I can tell you is to get Harper out of there, get Beka to move away from that pilot's station, and to tell everyone on board to set their force lances to full plasma blast, because that is the only thing that will even begin to slow this thing down. That's all I know.
Dylan: Thank you Trance. That was admirably straightforward.
Dylan: Harper, back off, security force is on its way, let them handle the intruder.
Harper: Alright. Make sure you tell them to use excessive force.
Trance: Why come here to kill Beka? Does it know that she's the one? Or is it just making calculations? Let's find out.
Dylan: If each one of those futures is indistinguishable from reality on a quantum level, Trance how do you know, that, any of this is real?
Trance: I don't.