Earth 2 – Natural Born Grendlers

Naturally, my attempt to watch the show had to get complicated. According to Wikipedia, this episode aired as the second last episode of the entire show when it was on television, but is episode six on the DVDs. That’s not an insignificant difference. So I’m going to watch it at this point in the run, assuming the DVDs know better and that the original airing was the result of network meddling or whatever. That means I won’t be getting the same viewing experience that Little PDR had, but maybe this one will be better. It does make me worry about a potential lack of status quo progression as the show continues, if this episode could air that late. Ah well, we’ll see.

In this episode, Yale does the narration, but the story doesn’t even pretend to be about him. This is an Alonso and Bess episode. Alonso (as ever) is the less interesting part, so let’s get that out of the way: Alonso hates that he’s still recovering from his injuries and trapped on this world (the planet is called G-889, by the way). Alonso is used to the life of a space pilot, so he’s feeling doubly grounded by this experience. In this episode, he gets so upset he tries to kill himself. He is stopped by the Terrians, who then give him a dream (even more like the Prophet stuff from DS9 because it involves him interacting with an image of someone from his life) and then he feels better. Good for him.

Bess’s story is more important. Bess and Morgan are feeling like the rest of the group think they’re idiots (and the group is correct to do so), so Bess tries to prove her worth by bartering with a Grendler (who seems like not the same one that was following Morgan before) for food, and then for other items. This goes well until it doesn’t. When Bess manages to trade for a fancy piece of technology that “locks up land” so it can’t be mined and, Bess figures, Terrians would not be able to move through it. Morgan (who is in extreme unpleasant form this time) recognizes this as a chance to stake a claim on valuable minerals on this new planet and become wealthy, and Bess is easy to convince because she hates the way Devon has been treating her as an idiot or, at best, an employee. Instead of Morgan continuing that redemption arc from last thing, he sways his wife away from the group. It’s also worth noting that when they were wed, apparently the couple took a vow to “forsake all others” which I don’t think is standard in the real world of today. We also learn in this one that Morgan has been coping with life on the planet by developing a bit of a VR addiction. I’m still hoping this couple can turn things around and stop being a convenient source of drama among the Utopians, but I’m beginning to doubt.

What else? Well, 1) I caught on that Dr. Julia is genetically enhanced. I don’t know if that’s come up before, but it definitely occurred to me that this show had a genetically-enhanced doctor before DS9 (knew that it) did. 2) I like that the group is having a lot of trouble finding edible vegetation on the planet. I’ve already commented that it’s a shame the plants look exactly like Earth plants (granted that’s because it’d be awfully hard to make a whole landscape of alien plants to film in), but making it so that they are clearly not as easy to eat as Earth plants does help. 3) Was Gaal trying to steal vehicles because he thought that he’d be able to trade them to Grendlers for something cool? No, that can’t be. He was keeping them addicted with blood, he wasn’t trading with them. 4) They used the stock eagle sound effect again. I wonder how often they’ve done that before I noticed. BUT MORE IMPORTANT: They used sound effects I recognized from Doom! I’ve often heard the stock sound effects that were used in Doom in other things (especially the doors!) because I’m sure it’s the cheapest sound pack available or something. In this case it wasn’t the doors. I think it was a dying Pinky, but it may have been an Imp, I’m not going back to check. I’m just always happy to hear these sounds that I will always associate with a computer game that happened to use them. Better than a Wilhelm Scream every time.

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