Space Precinct episode 14: “Takeover”

Brogan and Haldane are facing an inquiry after shooting a suspect, and, mysteriously, the witnesses are changing their statements from saying that the suspect fired on them giving them no choice but to fire back, to that Brogan and Haldane fired on the suspect unprovoked. When even Castle changes her story, Brogan suspects some kind of mind control may be at work.

Meanwhile the precinct hosts a visiting officer from the interplanetary police; she is blonde and pretty and so Haldane takes up sexually harassing her for a change.

Anyway, spoilers, it turns out she’s the one mind-altering the suspects, though there’s a pretty good red herring about midway through (the inquiry chair is a new species of alien and we see him fairly obviously eavesdropping on our heroes). The motivation is to stop Brogan and Haldane testifying in the trial of a mob boss, which I suppose makes sense at least. She’s thwarted because she can’t alter the mind of Slo-Mo, the division’s robot assistant, though considering that cyberpunk was already a thing by 1994 the possibility of doing so should have been obvious.

I don’t want to be too negative about this episode, so here’s some lovely creature makeup for you. Isn’t it great?

We also finally get a non-White speaking character who’s not a criminal or a pizza delivery man: Carson, the division’s computer expert. NB: before anybody says “of its time” this is actually pretty unusual for Anderson, who were ahead of the curve in having a decent number of non-White supporting cast in the 1960s and 1970s, and certainly it’s inexcusable by the 1990s, the era of Deep Space Nine.

Given that the Brogan kids start appearing much less from about the middle of the series, and the annoying puppet pet disappears entirely, I think there must have been a behind-the-scenes overhaul halfway through, getting rid of concepts and characters that aren’t working, and addressing the diversity problem. it’s not enough to save the series though.

One of the witnesses is a Creon in what appears to be an interspecies relationship– he’s walking in the park with a human woman who’s pushing a pram. It’s unclear whether or not mixed Creon/human babies are possible (presumably it wouldn’t be with the Tarn, who lay eggs), but they could have adopted or something.

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Fiona Moore

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

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