|Original air date||
January 14, 2002
Which is a problem.
If you are powerless."
"The Prince" is episode 10 of Season 2.
Answering a distress call, Dylan Hunt, Tyr Anasazi, and Beka Valentine are onboard another ship, fighting what they have been told are pirates. Dylan and Tyr fight their way through them to find the royal family of Ne'Holland, most of them dead. Prince Erik is alive, his father, King Florin, is dying, and one of their advisors is in serious condition. With his dying breath, the king appoints Dylan and Tyr as Erik's co-regents.
While Trance Gemini is treating the retainer, Yanos, Erik informs them that the ship's Slipstream drive was sabotaged. He says that the attackers were Archduke Constantine and his men, who rebelled against the king, and he considers them no better than pirates.
Rommie relates the history of Ne'Holland: After the fall of the Systems Commonwealth, they were attacked by Magog, and the world was in chaos, until one of Erik's ancestors declared himself king, and united the people by winning the civil war.
Erik explains that Archduke Constantine and the 5 barons control most of the land, so they feel that they are entitled to rule. They rebelled, and because they took the royal troops by surprise, they quickly overthrew the king. Erik, the third son of the king, never expected to rule. His older brothers were trained for it, but he was not. By Ne'Holland-law, he must have 2 co-regents, who act as his equals, until he is crowned on Ne'Holland.
Tyr says the the co-regents get an equal vote and can overrule the prince, but that means the certainty of a bullet when the assassins arrive. Dylan notes that Ne'Holland is an important world in his plans. It is on a major slipstream nexus on the path of the Magog World Ship. It could be used as a stronghold in their fight against the Worldship. Dylan and Tyr agree to act as Erik's co-regents.
A ship commanded by Lieutenant Theodore Tjoe, the Alliance War, a defence cutter of the Ne'Hollandar Noble Protectorate arrives, demanding that Erik be turned over to them. Erik protests, but Dylan votes to hear the message. Tyr "concurs" and the "motion carries". He has been convicted of war crimes. Further analysis of Ne'Holland's history indicates that King Florin, Erik's father, was not a good ruler. He imprisoned rivals and some were executed. However, the Barons are even worse. They have destroyed cities and ordered massacres. Dylan and Tyr debate who they should support. Tyr says the Barons have the power base, but Dylan states they will resist diplomacy and persausion. Erik can be influenced, they decide to stand by Erik, and refuse to turn him over. The pilot of the ship starts to make threats, but Dylan reminds him to consider the relative power of their respective ships, and he backs down.
Tyr Anasazi instructs Erik in martial arts while discussing the philosophy of ruling. Politics, war, and martial arts are ways of "bending the universe to your will". Erik is not doing well, until Tyr goads him into attacking in anger, reminding him of the attack on the royal transport. Tyr is pleased with this, and tells Erik to harness the passion, rather than let it harness him.
Erik feels that, with the Andromeda Ascendant, he can re-take his throne by force, but Dylan urges him to be less impetuous, considering the economic factors, public opinion, the long term, etc. Dylan Hunt says that to continue to hold the throne after he takes it, Erik should find out what the people really need, and then find the best and safest way to get it for them.
Yanos, the retainer, revives. Trance tells him what happened, and that only Erik has survived. Yanos says that the nobles have taken his wife and children, and that only Erik can save them. Trance allows him to go to find Erik, but he attacks Erik with a knife, blaming the king for what happened to his family. He blames Florin for starting the war by refusing to sign the "Grand Compromise", which would have weakened the king's political control. Erik disarms and pins Yanos to the floor with a move that Tyr taught him. Dylan tries to prevent him from killing Yanos by saying he could be useful, but Tyr is skeptical. Erik casts the swing vote and kills Yanos. He is not without remorse, however, he says that Yanos was like family.
Erik starts to realize that not being trained by his father might be to his advantage: he can be a different sort of king. He is also coming to realize that his father was not perfect.
Erik broadcasts a message, ordering the royal troops to cease fire, and offers to work with the nobles to restore peace by negotiation, instead of war. Constantine responds to this message and Erik offers him and the barons full pardons if they stop fighting and recognize him as the rightful king. Constantine counters by offering Erik a full pardon, if he will recognize the barons as the rightful rulers, and go into exile. They do not reach an agreement. Dylan states that they do not want a war. Constantine informs them that they have placed civilians on their warships and stationed their troops in hospitals and schools. Dylan is shocked by their use of civilians as shields, but Constantine counters that they need to do it to protect themselves from the Andromeda.
Tyr tries to formulate a plan with Erik to get rid of Constantine. He suggests that they make plans to kill the barons, without consulting with Dylan, since Dylan would never agree, even if out voted. Tyr suggests that Erik's choices are a false-peace that will disappear as soon as the Andromeda leaves, or an unassailable throne. Erik agrees to kill the barons.
Andromeda summons Tyr and Erik to Command while the entire Ne'Holland defense fleet arrives, led by Admiral Alexander, who commanded the king's defense fleet, but turned on him at the end of the war. He claims that he wants to end the fighting, but he doesn't trust strangers to look after the prince. He invites Erik to join him on the royal flagship. Erik declines, suspecting a trap. Alexander offers to send a royal guard contingent to protect him. Erik says that he will consider it.
Erik says that he does not trust Alexander, but can tell that he wants peace. Dylan suggests they invite Alexander, without the royal guard, to the Andromeda to talk.
Erik and Tyr discuss trust. Tyr reminds Erik that he should not trust anyone, and he should always have a backup plan that does not rely on anyone else. Erik asks Tyr how he got the nobles to trust him. Tyr reluctantly tells him that it was by offering them Erik.
Erik tells Rommie that he is not sure who he can trust. Rommie informs him that Dylan has reached an agreement with Constantine and Alexander that will allow Erik to be crowned king, if he agrees to negotiate to share power with the barons. Rommie, Dylan, Erik, and Tyr go to the planet to make coronation arrangements.
Tyr and Constantine discuss their deal. Tyr says that he has left holes in the security perimeter. Constantine says that he did what he has done for the people. He says that the king should not rule without the aristocracy, but stops short of allowing that the people themselves should have a part in the government. He says that his snipers will kill Dylan and Erik, then the Andromeda will belong to Tyr. Tyr nods in agreement.
Tyr visits Erik while he is preparing for his coronation. Erik asks him why he has not killed the barons yet, and Tyr explains that it is important for his public image to appear provoked by letting the barons make the first move.
Rommie informs Dylan that she has detected security breaches in the perimeter.
As Rommie announces Erik to the assembled crowd, her Planetfall Defense Bots land nearby. Constantine orders his snipers to open fire, and Dylan and Erik dive for cover. The Bots take out the barons' troops, and Tyr kills Constantine and the barons in a knife fight on the dais. Tyr states that he agreed to side with the winner, and the barons have lost.
Erik says that he has learned that ruthlessness has to be his last resort. He is crowned king, and agrees to share power with the people in a democratic government. Tyr does not think that he has a very good chance of surviving very long, but Dylan thinks he can count on the people. He notes that the barons' land, which has "conveniently" become available, will be distributed among the soldiers, encouraging their loyalty.
- The title, with all of its political ramifications, are a reference to the seminal and eponymous work "The Prince (Il Principe)" by Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, published in 1532, 5 years after his death.
- The mention of a civil war started by barons over the kings refusal to sign the power sharing "Grand Compromise" is a reference to King John of England, the Magna Carta, and the First Barons' War.
- Drago Museveni's comment in the opening title itself references J.E.E. Dalberg Acton, First Baron Acton's famous observation that "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
- Both Tyr and Dylan use gunboat diplomacy and the Big Stick ideology.
- The dialogue in the episode is similiar to the storyline in "A Game of Thrones" and "A Song of Ice and Fire" concerning political themes.
- "The Prince", a CoDominium novel, was also inspired by Machiavelli's writings.
- The titular name of the Prince in the episode was changed from "Willem" to "Erik" by the regular writing team, as a nod to the freelance writer of the episode, Erik Oleson.
- The Ne'Holland capital where the final battle takes place shares the same set that was used for the planet Tollana from Stargate SG-1. It was also filmed at the Simon Fraser University in Burnaby Mountain, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
Dylan: This is Captain Dylan Hunt of the Andromeda Ascendant.
Tyr: Apparently, they've heard of you.
Tyr: I haven't a thing against tyrants per se, but tyrants who lose?
Tyr: My prince, if you rely on people to play by the rules, your reign will be sad, violent, and short.
Erik: Our entire defense fleet?
Dylan: Rommie, how long would it take for you to destroy that fleet?
Rommie: 6.2 seconds.
Dylan: That long?
Dylan: A Glorious Heritage Class cruiser like the Andromeda could completely de-populate a world like Ne'Holland in under two minutes. More tea?
Erik: You're killing them! You-You're just like Tyr!
Rommie: No, I'm better.