|Under the Night|
|Original air date||
October 2, 2000
Kevin Sorbo as Dylan Hunt
Steve Bacic as Gaheris Rhade
had a weakness, it was this:
Its officers were too competent,
too caring and too brave."
The Rise and Fall of the Systems Commonwealth
"Under the Night" is episode 1 of Season 1.
Dylan Hunt, captain of the Systems Commonwealth starship Andromeda Ascendant, answers a distress call sent from the Hephaestus system via courier. According to the message, a rogue Black Hole has entered the system and is devastating the entire solar system - which is inhabited by citizens of the Commonwealth. The distress call turns out to be a trap, and the Andromeda is ambushed by over 10,000 Nietzschean ships.
Overwhelmed, and recognizing the urgency of informing the Systems Commonwealth that the Nietzscheans, a large majority in the Commonwealth and a force to be reckoned with, are rebelling, Dylan orders his crew to abandon ship and get word to the Commonwealth while he attempts a risky slingshot maneuver around the black hole to escape the battle. His pilot, a Than-Thre-Kull named Refractions of Dawn, stays on board with him out of loyalty.
Gaheris Rhade, Dylan's first officer, and a Nietzschean, begins to sabotage the Andromeda. He enters the Command Deck, shoots Dawn several times, and engages in a firefight with Dylan. He informs Dylan that the reason the Nietzscheans are rebelling is that the Commonwealth signed a treaty with the Magog, a savage race with which the Commonwealth had been at war with. This peace treaty with the mortal enemies of the Commonwealth was a sign of weakness, and the Nietzscheans attacked because they saw a chance to not only gain dominance of the known universe, but to eliminate a stagnate government and create a new one.
As Dylan and Rhade engage in hand-to-hand combat, the Andromeda comes so close to the black holes event horizon that time begins to slow for them. Dylan grabs Dawn's Force lance, shoots Rhade and time then slows to a complete stop.
303 years later, on the salvage ship Eureka Maru, Gerentex, a Nightsider, has hired Captain Beka Valentine and her crew to find the legendary lost Andromeda Ascendant. Beka's crew consists of Seamus Harper, a human (with an uncomfortable-looking rash on his neck), Trance Gemini, a purple alien with a tail, and Rev Bem, a Magog. Harper comments that ships like the Andromeda Ascendant represented the apex of Commonwealth engineering technology. They discuss what they will do with their share of the money from selling the Andromeda. After locating the ship still trapped in a deep orbit around the black hole, they capture it with Bucky cables, and, with a little creative engineering on Harper's part, pull it out.
For Dylan, time goes back to normal, and he asks about the status of the ship. For him, only a second has passed since his fight for dominance with his first officer 3 centuries previous. The Andromeda Ascendant Artificial Intelligence informs Dylan that by examining star patterns and matching them with star charts, 300 years have passed during their pass through the black hole.
Beka and her crew enter and search the ship in spacesuits, expecting it to have no atmosphere and to have been completely abandoned.
Back on the bridge, Dylan then laments that everyone he had ever known has been dead for 300 years. Andromeda reminds him that his crew fought for what they believed in. Dylan states that the same speech he always gives, except that he can't tell that to Rhade's wives, Dawn's breeding group and his crew's families. Andromeda assures him that could contact their descendants and the Commonwealth. However, she doesn't detect any active com-relays before announcing the presence of intruders. Dylan and Andromeda watch them enter and explore the ship on the bridge monitors. Andromeda identifies the rash on Harper's neck as Triangulum Measles, a disease that was easily treated in the Commonwealth and was nearly made extinct but seems to have made a foreboding reappearance.
As Harper finds a Flexi containing schematics on the Andromeda, Dylan confronts him. Dylan states that Harper has no right to claim salvage to a Systems Commonwealth ship. Harper tells Dylan that the Commonwealth lost the war with the Nietzscheans and was toppled over 300 years ago. Dylan blames himself for this because of his failure at Hephaestus. On command deck, Andromeda tells him that even if he had warned the Commonwealth, the High Guard had not fought an organized "real" war for over a 1,000 years, whereas for the Nietzscheans, every day is considered a battle. The Commonwealth's overwhelming advantage in numbers was undermined by the lack of combat experience. Dylan refuses to believe it, reasoning that the Commonwealth spanned 3 galaxies, with a 1,000,000 member worlds, asteroid colonies, orbital habitats, and Drifts, that there may be remnants out there. However, he has one thing to do.
Beka and her crew discuss what to do. Dylan, over the intercom, orders them to leave the ship or he will re-take it by force. Gerentex reveals his backup plan, he has hired a group of mercenaries led by Tyr Anasazi, a Nietzschean, in case force is necessary.
- Rhade's views on Dylan and marriage are summed up in the Friedrich Nietzsche quote from "Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None", in section 18, "Old and Young Women", cited below.
- The title is taken from the W.H. Auden poem 'September 1, 1939', in which appear the lines.
- Defenceless under the night
- Our world in stupor lies;
- Yet, dotted everywhere,
- Ironic points of light
- Flash out wherever the Just
- Exchange their messages:
- May I, composed like them
- Of Eros and of dust,
- Beleaguered by the same
- Negation and despair,
- Show an affirming flame.
- The title refers to the First Systems Commonwealth Civil War that begins the fall of the Systems Commonwealth.
- When Harper is asked what would happen if his method for getting extra power will not work, he answers "then I hope Rev Bem has a major pull up there". Bem begins chanting a strange prayer: "Yisgadal... ve'Yiskadash... Shmey Raba." These words are in Aramaic, and mean "May His name be celebrated and sanctified". It is the first verse of the Jewish Kaddish prayer, recited in an Ashkenazi accent.
- The re-emergence of Triangulum Measles and the overall chaos is similiar to the Klingon-Cardassian War in "Star Trek". Rudellian plague becomes a severe problem and the Maquis take control of the Demilitarized Zone.
- The Gaheris Rhade who fought Dylan was not the same Gaheris Rhade seen at the beginning of the episode. He was actually a future version of Rhade, who had come back in time to ensure Dylan survived the battle (See "The Unconquerable Man").
- The "Greek god" description of Dylan (Kevin Sorbo) is a form of Lampshade Hanging epitomised in the pilot of "Stargate SG-1", when Captain Samantha Carter mentions, in front of Colonel Jack O'Neill, that they managed "to MacGyver a system for the gate on Earth". O'Neill is played by Richard Dean Anderson, who made his name as MacGyver.
- Elizabeth Thai, the actress who plays Refractions of Dawn insisted on doing her own stunts during the fight scene on the command deck. The gel-pack that was used to simulate the Than blood was extremely hot, and burned her thighs when it was detonated.
Rhade: Three minutes five, three minutes six, three minutes seven, Move it Thompson!!!
Rhade: As the great philosopher wrote, "Man is for woman a means. The end is always a child."
Dylan: I take it back. You're not a cynic, you're a romantic.
Dylan: (to Rhade during their fight) I've told you before, pessimism is not a survival trait.
Harper: I have one word for you two, Seraglio
Beka: Seraglio (serallio), slave girls and grapes, eunuch guards, classy.
Trance: Oh, he's the guy who retired. Didn't you say he bought a farm?
Harper: The farm, Trance. Bought the farm.
Trance: What's the difference?
Beka: Torn pressure suit and a bad emergency seal.
Trance: Oh, that is different.
Harper: You want something done right...
Dylan: (interrupts) You have to do it yourself.
Harper: (about Dylan) I'm telling you, the guy is huge. He's like some kind of Greek god or something!
- This is a nod to the fact that the actor who portrays Dylan Hunt, Kevin Sorbo, used to star as Hercules in the TV show, "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys".