Space Precinct episode 5: “Snake”

The titular character is an alien with his own eyes (albeit under lizard contact lenses), who is a bomber and extortionist. Friends of mine who were paying attention at the time tell me that the Radio Times‘ coverage suggested he was going to be a recurring villain, and indeed he actually rated his own action figure. Both of these would turn out to be somewhat optimistic, but see below.

Clearly if they’re going to do an action figure of him, he won’t be just a one-off gimmick, right?

Anyway, Snake seems to be running two campaigns, one blowing up corporate executives who won’t pay his ransoms, and another placing bombs on a cargo ship belonging to the Talon Corporation. In an unexpected bit of anticorporate satire, the corporation refuses to pay up because it’s cheaper to lose the cargo and ship and kill the crew than to give in to the ransom demand, and Brogan and Haldane need to defuse the bombs before the timer counts down and blah blah.

Complicating this is the fact that Castle turns out to be a bomb disposal expert, only the last time she tangled with the Snake she got her squad killed, and that’s why she’s out here in Demeter City and more blah blah. Her former mentor turns up to help defeat the Snake, and we get to watch Castle’s highly predictable emotional journey as she regains the confidence to save the day. 

She also accepts a dinner invitation from Haldane, which might encourage any young men watching to believe that sexually harassing a woman for four episodes is a good way to win her over, except I’m pretty sure most people had stopped watching by this point.

Anyway, the surprise twist turns out to be that in fact the Snake isn’t running the second campaign, it’s actually, spoiler alert, Castle’s former mentor. It seems a bit unexpectedly cold that he’d be willing to murder two of his fellow officers, as well as the civilian crew of the freighter, but whatever.

In other developments, the DCPD’s cells continue to be the easiest ones in the galaxy to break out of; Brogan’s daughter’s annoying pet animatronic* apparently has the gift of prophecy; and the production team are scarily fond of making miniature buildings blow up.

*For those who aren’t actually watching along, this thing is a horribly fake-looking animatronic monkey-parrot creature that you just know someone thought would be a great idea and a hit with Merchandising, but actually none of the scriptwriters have the faintest idea what to do with it. Think N’Grath from Babylon 5, except cloyingly cute. Spoiler alert, the gift of prophecy thing basically goes nowhere and we see less and less of the creature as the series goes on.

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Fiona Moore

Academic, anthropologist and SF writer, living, teaching and working in a global city.

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