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It Makes a Lovely Light


Production #


Original air date

May 7, 2001

Written by

Ethlie Ann Vare

Directed by

Michael Robison

Developed by

Robert Hewitt Wolfe


Sherry Gorval

Executive Producer

Allan Eastman
Majel Roddenberry
Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Josanne B. Lovick
Jay Firestone
Adam Haight

Production Designer

Ken Rabehl

Preceded by


Followed by

Its Hour Come ‘Round at Last

"Come bitter Rain,
And wash from my Heart
That saddest of all Words: Home"
Ulatempa Poetess, "Song of My Exile"
C.Y. 9825

"It Makes a Lovely Light" is episode 21 of Season 1.


The Regular Cast of Andromeda Season 1


Alarms sound on the Andromeda Ascendant, announcing an Antiproton Solenoid Valve malfunction in the reactor. Dylan frantically runs for the reactor core to find the crew has, in fact, prepared a surprise birthday party for him, and Seamus Harper has rigged the false alarm to get him there. Beka Valentine has a present for Dylan a slipstream map to Tarn-Vedra that she has deciphered from Hasturi's diary.

Dylan is cautious: The route involves 46 jumps, many through dangerous areas. Beka is confident that she can do it, and the payoff is worth the risk. Dylan agrees to allow her to try.

Beka finds Tyr Anasazi on the Maru. He thinks the trip is too dangerous, and wants her to allow him to take the Maru and wait for them to return. Beka reminds him of what is to be found on Tarn-Vedra including arms depots and convinces him to stay with them.

Harper is checking his tools and planning how he can cut open vaults, etc., but Rev reminds him that the Vedrans were powerful, and they do not know what they will find when they get to Tarn-Vedra. Rev speculates that they may have cut themselves off intentionally, and implies that they may still be there, waiting.

Dylan notes that 70% of their projected travel time is in the slipstream, which is hard on the pilot. Beka claims she can handle it.

Harper starts to ask Beka about an "engine" that he thinks she might believe is on Tarn-Vedra, but Beka cuts him off, as if she does not want anyone else to hear about it. (This refers to the Engine of Creation, seen in "In Heaven Now Are Three".)

Beka tells Dylan a quote from Wayfinder Hastouri a.k.a. the mad persied 's diary "First I chart a course to the system of lapis and gold", which Rommie says that refers to the Capella system and they were off. The first ten jumps go smoothly with the first stop being the Capella system, but the entire crew is feeling the strain of the time in slipstream, so Dylan orders Beka to take a break. Beka claims that she is fine, and could continue, but Dylan insists. It is apparent that she is more exhausted than she will admit.

When they start moving again, the map takes them to the twin black holes at the core of the Andromeda Galaxy. It is a rough jump, and leaves the ship too close to the Black Holes to get back into slipstream, because of the gravity. By keeping exactly in the "sweet spot" between the two black holes, they are able to cancel out the effects of the gravity, but it requires careful piloting. Dylan orders Beka to take a rest, while Harper fine-tunes the drive and Rommie performs some analysis. Beka does not want to, but again, Dylan insists.

Beka goes to the Eureka Maru, where she finds Trance Gemini. Trance is not feeling well, and blames the time spent in slipstream. She suggests that Beka could use a nap, but Beka just makes some coffee, referring to it as an "Instant nap. Just add water". Trance collapses, and is taken to medical.

Rev Bem says that Trance's physiology is alien to him, so he has a hard time treating her, but he feels that her life force is fading. Beka asks for some time alone with her, and engages the ship's privacy mode. When she is alone, Beka starts looking through the medication. Trance rouses, and realizes that Beka is making Flash. She tries to talk her out of it, but Beka insists that she needs it to get them out of the situation they are in.

Dylan is trying to maneuver them out of the gravity well, and not having much luck, when Beka returns to Command, appearing refreshed. She says that, as the one who got them into trouble, it is her responsibility to get them out. She gets them to slipstream, away from the black holes, and Trance revives.

Dylan observes that Beka seems stressed, and recommends that she take a rest. Beka agrees. Dylan says that he will take a look at Hasturi's diary while she is resting, but she snaps at him and grabs the diary. When Dylan asks what prompted that, she apologizes, claiming she just needs a break. When she is alone, she takes more Flash.

Harper comes to the Maru, praising Beka's piloting, but he notices the Flash. He is concerned, and tries to talk her out of using it, but Beka claims she is just using a little, can stop any time, she knows what it does, and it is helping. She threatens Harper if he tells Dylan.

Beka returns to Command, saying she can still get them to Tarn-Vedra. Dylan says that he thinks they should turn back it is too dangerous. Harper declines to comment, but Tyr agrees that it is too risky. Beka starts to rip into Dylan, saying he is not even a "real Captain" because there is no High Guard. Dylan is dumbfounded, but Tyr notes that she is under the influence of drugs he can detect the variations in pulse and respiration, and can tell that she is wearing contacts to conceal the effects of Flash on her eyes.

Dylan is shocked, and demands that she turn over the Flash to him, relieving her of duty. She throws the bottle at him and takes advantage of the distraction to jump in the pilot's chair and take them to Slipstream. As they return to the twin black holes, the monitors in medical indicate that Trance's condition is critical. When they come back to normal space, Tyr grabs Beka and takes her to a cell on "V" deck, to recover from the effects of the drug.

Rev goes to see Beka, and to comfort her as she is suffering withdrawal symptoms. Beka feels responsible for the situation they are in, saying that she screwed up.

Dylan is attempting to pilot the ship away from the black holes again, and succeeds, but the ship travels towards Tarn-Vedra, instead of away from it, and into an area with dangerous levels of radiation. It was not him who piloted the ship, but Beka, in the slipstream core. She took a Force lance from the robot that was guarding her cell, and shot Rev. She has locked herself into the engine room, and taken control of the ship, using overrides that Harper had installed when they first came aboard, and had not removed.

Dylan tries to talk Beka into letting him into the engine room, but she does not fall for it. She claims that she is not going to take a present back, like her father used to she is not like her father, she can stop using Flash, and she keeps her promises. Dylan continues to talk to her, and, while she is distracted, Harper sneaks into the engine room through a conduit, and unlocks the door.

Dylan tells Beka that he wants to help her, but she thinks he wants to ditch her. Dylan assures her that he does not want to lose any more of his crew. Beka starts to bleed from her eyes - a sign of Flash overdose. Dylan grabs the slipstream controls and gets them away to safety.

Beka is lying in a bed in medical, with Dylan sitting beside her. Dylan reassures her that Trance and Rev are OK. Beka blames herself for succumbing to Flash addiction, just like her father, but Dylan promises that he will be there to help her fight it.


  • This poem by early 20th century poetess Edna St. Vincent Millay furnishes the title.
    • My candle burns at both ends;
    • It will not last the night;
    • But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends
    • It gives a lovely light! - "First Fig" from A Few Figs from Thistles (1920)
  • Beka refers to the poem "O Captain! My Captain!" by Walt Whitman, written to commemorate the death of Abraham Lincoln.
  • The "The Black Goat with a Thousand Young" refers to Shub-Niggurath of the Cthulhu Mythos.
  • Dylan's surprise birthday party originally appeared in the script to "Double Helix". And while there wasn’t time for it in that episode, the scene was deemed to be too much fun to waste completely.
  • Lisa Ryder (Beka) received a 2001 Gemini (Canadian Emmy-equivalent) nomination for this episode.

Memorable Quotes[]

Harper: It's half mystical mumbo-jumbo, half putrid poetry, and half bad math.
Rommie: That's three halves.
Harper: Like I said, bad math.

Tyr: No one's reached Tarn Vedra in 300 years, and better pilots than you have died trying.
Beka: There are no better pilots than me.
Tyr: (pauses) Arms depots, eh?
Beka: I knew that'd get your attention.

Rev: There's a very fine line between gleaning and pillaging. I believe one draws that line with a laser saw.

Rev: If the universe is a manifestation of the Divine, could not the slipstream be the very mind of God?
Dylan: Well, if that's the case, then I'm afraid God had a seizure and forgot all about Tarn Vedra.
Beka: And here comes God's little brain surgeon.
Rev: Beka, some humility, please!
Beka: Yeah, I tried that once. I didn't like it.
Dylan: Like they say, in slipstream, confidence is everything.

Harper: You know that 82% of people on prison planets are Flash addicts?
Beka: Y'know what? They tell you that kind of stuff just to scare you.
Harper: Sure, to scare you out of killing your neighbours.

Trance: Sometimes you just have to allow people to make the mistakes they need to make.

Harper: We need a Plan B. You always have a Plan B.
Dylan: Yes, but my Plan B's work.

DVD Release[]

It Makes a Lovely Light was released on DVD in a variety of formats. For more information see:

DVD Release
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