Space Precinct Episode 12 (halfway!): “Divided We Stand”

This one starts out reasonably enough and then takes a sharp left turn into WTF Canyon.

A far-right populist politician who is campaigning on, among other things, an anti-police platform (remember, this was the 1990s, so that was still reasonably credible) is assassinated; Haldane manages to talk the killer into surrendering. However, the media pounce on the fact that Haldane disparages the politician in the process, and the politician himself turns up miraculously alive and using the assassination attempt, followed by the disparagement, as further proof that the police are incompetent and corrupt. The apparent assassin also turns out to be a longtime friend of the politician, so Brogan and Haldane, in disgrace over the abovementioned incident, begin quietly investigating to see if this all isn’t a stunt to boost the politician’s popularity. So far, so credible.

And then! The politician’s partner makes a call to the police alleging domestic violence; when Brogan and Haldane turn up they find him apparently killing her, and shoot him, and, guess what, he turns up alive again. It turns out he’s been cloning himself (using Tarn egg-sacs, tying neatly into the B plot of the Girl Officers investigating the kidnapping of said items from the local maternity hospital, because, you know, they’re Girls, and Girls Love Babies) and copying his memories into the clones. Brogan and Haldane steal the memory backup and hand it over to the media, who play the juicy bits live on television, and the politician’s supporters all turn on him (which recent real-world events would suggest shows rather too much faith in human nature). Yeah, you wouldn’t get that kind of story on NYPD Blue.

See what I mean? Isn’t this the cutest thing ever? Squee.

This is also a rare episode where Haldane comes across in a good light, showing his political conscience and being a bit sympathetic rather than just spouting one-liners and sexually harassing Castle. It’s a shame there’s not more of them.

I also have to shoutout to the production team for great compositing; we have several scenes where model shots of air-cars flying are credibly mixed with the regular actors performing. Also, the baby Tarn puppet is the cutest thing I’ve seen in ages.

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Fiona Moore

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

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