Space Precinct episode 11: “Illegal”

Surprisingly not bad, though I am wondering a bit about the fact that so far the two best episodes have been ones about emotional abuse.

An illegal immigrant who’s been forced to wrestle in “snuff fights”, which are exactly what the name implies. He escapes but promptly runs foul of the immigration authorities. Brogan intervenes on learning the man’s son is still in the hands of the fight promoters and is being groomed to take his father’s place. Of course Brogan et al. go undercover, bust the operation wide open, save the kid, and persuade the authorities to regularise the pair’s status, while still finding time for Haldane to make jokes about kink (memo to bad guys: if you capture Haldane and Castle, just shoot them, don’t bother tying them up in a storage cupboard). But we’re still in awfully serious territory for SP.

A lot less exciting than it looks.

Chief Podly, at one point, goes on a very familiar rant about illegal immigrants Coming Over Here And Taking Our Jobs– and when Brogan points out he and Haldane are immigrants, Podly swings without missing a beat into You’re One Of The Good Ones. Which is believable, but has also got me wondering about the colonial setup of Demeter City.

Is it actually a Creon city? If so, why’s it got an Earth name and why do all the Creons dress in human-style clothes? Is it a Creon city that the humans took over and now everyone’s living in a sort of awkward postcolonial situation, a kind of space Singapore? Is it some kind of human/Tarn/Creon collaborative effort?

As someone who’s very fond of Singapore (I visit there at least once a year for work), I like the idea that it’s a space-age equivalent, but speculating about it gets me into some dark areas: e.g. you can read it so that the Creons parallel the Malay population, the Tarns the Chinese, and the humans the Europeans, and there are occasional hints in the text of Space Precinct (including this episode) that Demeter City, under its facade of happy multiculturalism, has a lot of class and interspecies tensions that spill over into violence, suggests a similar sort of complex colonial history. But this never gets explored in the text.

The B plot this ep has one of the Creon officers having to look after his grandfather, an ex-police-officer with dementia. Although they tried to play it lightly, it still also struck me as believably sad.

Published by

Fiona Moore

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s