Reviewed By: Drew Vogel
Review Date: 9/6/17 12:57 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
I don't understand what anyone sees in this episode. It's terrible. It pays off some long dangling plot threads, but not in a very satisfying way, and the plot doesn't hold up to much scrutiny. It's also terribly manipulative. Of course, to some extent, all stories are manipulative by their very nature, but this one is extremely cynical about it. It deliberately misleads the audience in order to create dramatic reveals. That sort of thing really pisses me off.
Let me give just one example. After Benny discovers that Cybermen are using babies to make cybermats, Benny totally freaks out. The story would have us believe that she was so disturbed that she immediately abandoned Jason and Brax to their fate and returned to the Collection to take Peter out of school. This is so egregiously out of character that I nearly turned the story off right there, but it turns out it was a deliberate deception on the part of the author. Well to hell with that. That's not good writing. That's having contempt for the audience. This isn't the worst story I've ever heard, but this is the first one for which I feel I am owed an apology.
And that's just one complaint. The story is also filled with dialogue telling us how important and epic it all is. This is all typical of Lidster. Instead of providing a genuinely emotional experience for the audience, he provides an emotional experience for the characters and then adds dialogue about how terribly dramatic it all is. That's not drama. It's not comedy, either. It's loaded with jokes, but it never comes close to being funny, and most of the jokes undermine either the characters or the situation.
For a story that's clearly trying to use unreliable narration for dramatic purposes, it's frequently unclear who is narrating at any given time. Once again, the story is being told to Parasiel, just like "The Goddess Quandary". This script at least makes some use out of the framing device, but mostly to mislead the audience by over-complicating the narrative.
So what's the actual story? Braxiatel has been working to a secret agenda for a long time, and manipulating other characters along the way. This episode reveal why, but in an incredibly hamfisted way. The idea of using a secret army of Cybermen to protect the Collection is not bad. Using Jason as a replacement CyberLeader is pretty stupid, though. It's one thing to use some random character who appeared in one previous story (also written by Lidster) whom practically no one will miss. But using Jason Kane is really stupid and at best weakly motivated. Also, Brax explains that he built his Cyber army following the invasion by the Fifth Axis, but his mysterious behavior predates that by a long way, so the story doesn't actually explain much at all.
And don't ask me why Brax tells all of this to Parasiel in the first place. It's wildly out of character, doesn't seem to serve any purpose, and it's not even a very effective way to convey the story to the audience. Surely there must be a better way to reveal Brax's duplicity than for him to simply admit to it for no reason to a random student. I can't think of a worse way, frankly.
And this isn't just a bad episode. There have been bad episodes before. This episode actually makes the whole series worse. Braxiatel is my favorite supporting character. He's probably the best thing about this series. I realize he'll be back in some capacity, but this episode effectively writes him out, at least temporarily. Even if that had been handled very well, it would have been disappointing.