Space: Above and Beyond Review #6: Eyes
Originally aired November 5, 1995
When the Secretary General of the UN (the leader of the Earth) is assassinated by an invitro, the planet falls into turmoil and another leader needs to be elected. It’s up to the 58th to keep the leading two candidates safe aboard the Saratoga as dark forces plot another assassination. But will their target be the ultra right-wing French ambassador Nicholas Chaput (George DelHoyo) or the US ambassador Diane Hayden (Harriet Sansom Harris)?
I remember this episode as being a bit dull, and nearly 20 years since I last saw it I still think “Eyes” is dull and the least interesting episode of the series so far. It almost seems as if series creators Glen Morgan and James Wong were trying to insert some The X-Files paranoia and conspiracy theory elements in S:AaB but it doesn’t come off well here.
In “Eyes,” an invitro shoots and kills the Secretary General live on TV which leads to riots planetside and paranoia across the galaxy. After the assassination, the election for the next Secretary General is held at the only safe location there is; high above the planet aboard the USS Saratoga.Which is interesting, but tonally “Eyes” is a different kind of dark than what I’d come to expect in the S:AaB universe.
Here, there are weird loyalty tests given to the only two invitros aboard the Saratoga McQueen and Hawkes, mysterious people literally hidden in the shadows, a big conspiracy about what the Aerotec company knew about the alien Chigs and when they knew it, Manchurian Candidate style assassins, the idea that Chaput might be trying to assassinate Hayden in a power play and so on and so on.
All this does is to shift the focus of the series onto people we’ve never met before, mainly Hayden and Chaput, and off the 58th who become little more than glorified extras here. There’s also a few plot lines that go no where here like the silicates being invited to the Saratoga for peace talks and new members of the 58th who are seemingly only a part of the 58th for this episode never to be seen again.
One thing I did like about “Eyes” is that we got to learn a bit more about McQueen than we have up until this point. We come to see is that his love of the higher cause of the Marine Corps knows no bounds, to the point where even if the Corps is ready to abandon McQueen he won’t abandon the Corps.
But that was about it. Otherwise, though, “Eyes” is one big mess.
Lt. Shane Vansen: “We can fly faster than the speed of light, control weather, create artificial life and nothing ever changes.”
Lt. Nathan West: “I’d rather have the truth than a medal.”
The war with the Chigs is called a “galactic conflict.”
The names of the replacement 58th members are: Lt. Richard Swirko, Lt. Stone, and Lt. Rick.
The Saratoga is a “space carrier.”
Nathan West’s brother Neil who was in the pilot episode has enlisted in the Marines.
Chaput says of the position of Secretary General, “Nine people have ruled the world.” Dictators “rule,” elected officials “governs.”