Space Cases About The Show

Behind The Scenes

The Crew

Episode Details

Episode Guide

Episode Snapshots



News Archives


Peter David

Site Info
and Awards

Website Contacts

Hosted by
Robert Rhodes
at Aloha Daze

Breath Of
A Salesman
Unaired Pilot

Episode Details

Plot Summary | Ongoing Story and Character Developments
Unanswered Questions | Memorable Lines | Glitches
Trivia, Inside Jokes and References | NotePAD

Plot Summary

Harlan and Bova are playing Minbar Chess in the command post. Bova wins. Harlan insists that he is a good chess player, but needs real stakes to win. Bova is not convinced.

Suddenly, an alien spaceship appears, headed straight for the Christa. Harlan tries to perform evasive maneuvers, but can't figure out how. Seconds before impact, the alien ship screeches to a stop. The pilot of the alien ship introduces himself as Yee Haw Jones, Salesman Supreme. Harlan and Bova let him on board.

Meanwhile, the rest of the crew is trying to figure out how the Christa's engines work. The ship didn't come with an instruction manual, and Thelma isn't very helpful. Catalina assures everyone that her invisible friend Suzee is an engineering genius who can explain everything, but the others don't take her imaginary friend seriously. Goddard is tolerant of Catalina's delusion; Miss Davenport is not.

Bova comes to engineering and tells the rest of the crew that the salesman is on board. They go to a cargo bay to meet him, and find it filled with junk from all over the universe. Jones slips something into his mouth, and eagerly introduces himself to everyone. His breath is so foul that it actually brings Goddard to his knees. Everyone is devastated by Yee Haw's breath... except Radu, who doesn't seem to notice. Yee Haw makes his first sale to the crew: nose plugs.

Yee Haw is fascinated to meet Radu, because Andromedans are very rare and reputed to be incredibly strong.

Commander Goddard chews Harlan out for letting Yee Haw on board, noting that Yee Haw could have been dangerous.

Meanwhile, Thelma meets Yee Haw's android assistant, Jesse, Jovian Environmental Solar Servant. They seem to hit it off.

Yee Haw overhears Bova and Rosie talking about how their trip home will take seven years, and gets an idea. He sells Harlan a worm-warp drive converter kit, which will turn their ship into a portable wormhole generator. He promises Harlan an "easy payment plan." Catalina is convinced this is a bad idea, but Harlan is determined to impress Commander Goddard by getting them home. He signs the contract. Catalina tries to stop him, but can't. Then she tries to tear the contract up, but she can't do that either: it's iron clad.

Yee Haw reveals the terms of the easy payment plan: they have to give Radu to Yee Haw. Harlan has no problem with those terms, but Catalina is horrified, and Goddard is furious when he finds out. Yee Haw wants Radu because Andromedans are rare and strong: he would be valuable as a sideshow exhibit, or as a slave.

Radu is also furious when he finds out, but the crew is in a jam: the salesman's guild is powerful, and they dare not violate the contract. Goddard and Yee Haw threaten each other. Thelma appeals to Jesse. Jesse talks Yee Haw into taking an alternative payment: Thelma. The crew thanks Thelma for making this sacrifice and says good-bye, but Thelma is not sure she wants to go.

Harlan talks to Thelma, and learns that she isn't sure she wants to go. Worse, her feelings seem to be hurt because everyone was upset about Radu leaving, but nobody cares about her leaving. She is confused, because she's not supposed to have feelings. Harlan explains that they thought Thelma wanted to go with Jesse, and he apologizes.

Yee Haw's device is attached to the engines. Catalina tells Goddard and Davenport that Suzee says the device is causing problems. Davenport doesn't take Suzee seriously, but isn't willing to bet her life. Upon investigation, they discover that the ship can't handle the power, and is going to blow.

Meanwhile, Yee Haw spots the Minbar Chess board. Harlan challenges him to a game. Harlan plays better than he ever has before. Harlan baits Yee Haw into a wager: the contract against the Christa. Then Harlan uses the same "unbeatable" maneuver that Bova used on Harlan earlier... except that Yee Haw knows how to beat the maneuver.

Meanwhile, the ship is about to blow up. Following Suzee's advice, transmitted through Catalina, Goddard saves the ship at the exact moment that Harlan defeats Yee Haw in the chess match.

Yee Haw beats a hasty retreat. Jesse says a fond farewell to Thelma.

Commander Goddard commends Harlan for cleaning up his own mess. But when he finds out how Harlan did it, he explodes, as the ship sails off into the sunset.

Ongoing Story and Character Developments

The episode spends a lot of time revealing the back story, but most of it is information that is familiar to the fans. Here are some character developments that were not found in the series:

  • Bova is a sophisticated chess player, and has memorized historical strategies.
  • Many Andromedans were wiped out when the Spung enslaved them, so Radu doesn't know many Andromedans.
Memorable Lines

Bova: Drazi offense, developed on Pluto in 2153. If you leave yourself open for it, there's nothing you can do to beat it.
Harlan: (flips over chessboard)
Bova: Except that.

Harlan: I need pressure to be at my best: tournament play, high stakes. You know the old saying: when the going gets tough, the tough get--
to knock the chessboard over?

Thelma: I can answer any questions you may have.
Goddard: Good! So what's this? (points at a console)
Thelma: It's your finger, sir.

Yee Haw: (showing his wares): Makeup! Eyeliner! Eyelashes! Eyeballs!

Goddard: How could you possibly have messed this up?
But I-
Goddard: Save your "but." Your butt's in enough trouble.

Goddard: You screw up one more time and you'll spend the rest of the trip in a box in the cargo hold. (Turns and walks away, and says...) If I can find it.

Radu: (after finding out that Harlan sold him to Yee Haw): You did WHAT?! (lifts Harlan over his head)
Rosie: Don't hurt him, Radu!
Catalina: Much.

Thelma: I guess I will go pack my things. (Turns around and leaves through the jumptube)
Harlan: (Turns to look at the crew, and frowns) She doesn't have any things.

Thelma: Would you like a beverage?
Harlan: Yeah, OK. How about a Glop?
Thelma: (pours it from her finger). Straw?
Harlan: OK.
Thelma: (pulls it from her nose). Ice?
Harlan: No. No, I don't want to see where it comes out of.

Bova: I've never seen you play this fast.
Harlan: I'm trying not to think too much.
Bova: That should be easy.

Yee Haw: Life is like a sock. It starts out feeling real good, then it begins to stink.

  • In one shot, Yee Haw's spaceship is shown flying underneath the Christa, and the Christa is moving forward. Yet in the next scene, we see Yee Haw's spaceship heading directly for the Christa, and the viewscreen not only shows stars barely moving, but at the last moment, they're actually moving backwards. (Not sure if this is a glitch, or supposed to be a function of the viewscreen.)
  • Yee Haw Jones displays a tray of "exotic foods" - watermelon and grapes! Of course, I suppose that those are exotic in the distant part of the galaxy where the Christa is stuck, but no comment about it was made.
Trivia, Inside Jokes and References
  • Yee Haw is played by David Schramm, who played Roy Biggins on the TV series "Wings."
  • Jesse is played by Marcel Jeannin, a recurring Space Cases guest star who appeared in On the Road to Find Out, The Sporting Kind, Homeward Bound and Trouble with Doubles.
  • All of the moves in Minbar Chess are science fiction references:
      -Minbar Chess (from a race on Babylon 5)
      -Tower to XL5 (Fireball XL5, an old "supermarionation" series)
      -Cardinal to B5 (Babylon 5)
      -Empress to DS9 (Star Trek: Deep Space 9)
      -Drazi offensive (from a race on Babylon 5)
      -Empress to M5 (an insane computer from the original Star Trek)
      -Gladiator to VR5 (a cyberpunk TV series)
Unanswered Questions

These questions could all be relevant or not, depending on the changes made between the unaired pilot, and the regular series episodes. Nevertheless, we're asking them here, just in case they are relevant.

  1. Are androids common in the Space Cases universe? How common is it to have one android see another? (This could be a moot question, if it was decided in the regular series that Thelma would be unique to the Christa.) [sn't1/9/1999]
  2. What in the name of Kolker was Yee Haw eating to give him that breath? [11/9/1999]
  3. Radu didn't seem as affected by Yee Haw's breath as the rest of the crew. Does this mean that Radu has great hearing, but a lousy sense of smell? [11/9/1999]
  4. Why was Yee Haw looking for a dinosaur head? [11/9/1999]
  5. Can Catalina vary the pitch of her sonic scream? [11/9/1999]
  6. Does age not matter when signing a contract? Or is Harlan old enough to make the contract binding anyway? Did Yee Haw ever bother finding out how old Harlan was before having him sign the contract? [11/9/1999]
  7. How will Miss Davenport see, now that her glasses have been broken by Catalina's sonic scream? <grin> [TRR-11/7/1999]
  8. What material is that contract paperwork made out of? Catalina sure couldn't tear it in two. [11/9/1999]
  9. Goddard says that Yee Haw seems harmless enough, but later says that the Salemans Guild is "one of the strongesÕðúB the universe," and that "things could get ugly." Does this mean that Goddard knew that Harlan had made a bad mistake by letting a saleman on board at all, or did Goddard really have any idea how bad things could get? [11/9/1999]
  10. Who did Yee Haw hit with that piece of watermelon that he threw over his shoulder, when Harlan asked him to play a game of Minbar chess? (A "Yeow!" is heard in the background.) [11/9/1999]
  11. How did Yee Haw get that protomix drive down the jumptube when he left the Command Post? (The camera conveniently switched angles before we could see how he managed it.) [11/9/1999]
(Notes from co-creator Peter A. David)
  • None Available

Episode Details provided by Tracey Rich.
This page was last updated on November 8, 1999.

Email the webmaster at