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- Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 1:59pm (USA Central)
Who Watches the Watchers
Changing gears from religion, I saw some of this episode while eating lunch today, specifically the portion from when Picard brings Nuria on board the Enterprise. The dramatic license during the scene in sickbay bothered me. I realize the point was to illustrate to Nuria that even "the Picard" cannot save everyone from dying (like the poor researcher in the scene), but you have to wonder about the lack of action from Crusher for someone who was, apparently, critically ill.
The woman is in fairly obvious distress (why?), so Crusher orders some sort of drug, which she oddly administers through her sternum. Now it's hard to assess given the black box of 24th century medicine, but no arrest code? No CPR? Intubation? It all looked very 19th century ("I think we're going to lose her"), as the staff hovered over the no-hope patient without actually, well, doing anything.
It's a fairly enormous contrast from how things work now, but then that's typical for TV and Star Trek in particular. Sick/dying people are always awake, distressed, or else able to carry on a conversation in a halting voice. Are there no ICUs in the 24th century?
- Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 11:49am (USA Central)
Archer: If it's there, how far is it?
T'Pol: About 75,000 kilometers
Reed: Pfft! Might as well be 75,000 light years!
A subtle hat tip to Voyager there? That's how far from home they were at the beginning of the series.
I'm a Hoshi fan, so 3.5* from me on this one! But I kept thinking "Phantom of the Opera" all the way through it, not "Beauty and the Beast."
- Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 11:48am (USA Central)
Past Tense, Part I
Filip - The bell riots created public awareness to the situation at hand. If there was no uprising and people just went on without it, there never would have been the one world government that laid the foundation to starfleet. Butterfly effect.
- Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 10:53am (USA Central)
Let He Who Is Without Sin...
Another point is that Americans need to get over this whole "its got more contact so its more of a MANS sport" mentality. I would like to see any of those people go out and play against professional European players and see how long they last.
- Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 10:50am (USA Central)
Let He Who Is Without Sin...
I've known lots of people who have "played" soccer just to make a point that they know what they're talking about. Usually the ones who actually did play soccer and hated it weren't very good at it and/or they felt like they weren't good enough for a sport that is "non-contact". The problem is is that soccer IS a contact sport. It may not be quite as much contact as football but there still is a lot of contact going on, more than what you see on a high school level(which is a joke if you breathe on the guy you get sent off, there is literally little to no contact allowed probably mainly due to the fact that high school players in this country don't know how to initiate contact without seriously hurting someone) or on the television.
- Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 10:28am (USA Central)
Star Trek: First Contact
Assuming that when they return to the future, any descendants of the people killed in Montana during the Borg opening attack just vanish from existence.
Lets hope none of them did anything important like cure Talamarian Flu, campaign for equal rights for tribbles or invent the replicator or some shit like that.
That would be bad.
- Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 3:55am (USA Central)
Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges
This episode was vile to me. I remember loving it as a teen. However, re-watched I found Cretak's fate too hideous to find acceptable. An innocent woman to be put to death - for nothing. No thank you.
- Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 2:21am (USA Central)
"To continue the Catholic analogy, if Christ himself returned to earth and told people they needed to give thier lives to do something else, don't you think a lot of Catholics (and Protestants too for that matter) would consider doing it?
I think that analogy is more accurate. Oh, and love the reviews!"
That's probably true. Hell, I'm Jewish, and if JC was resurrected and came back to life (and that was somehow verifiable)--or if like Akorem a literary icon from 200 years ago like Mark Twain came back to life-- I'd probably listen, too.
My religious "faith" would probably be a lot stronger if there were physical orbs spread across the planet that led to direct communication with actual aliens.
As for the B-story, I would have much preferred a script that focused more on Molly's refusal to interact with her father.
The writers played up the bit about Miles missing Keiko while she was away, but they gave virtually no credence to the relationship between Miles and his daughter (a relationship that was arguably far more subject to damage by the long time apart).
In this episode, Molly is supposed to be about 4 years old. She hasn't seen her dad in 6 months, and has barely seen him at all over the course of the year. This could have had a crippling effect on Miles as a father. And when Molly refused to play darts with him, even though the writers clearly didn't do anything with it, it hit a nerve with me.
As a father to two small girls, it hurts deeply when work forces me into scarce appearances at home. My baby still lights up at my presence, but my toddler will turn to Mommy for everything. If I try to pick her up, she screams, "No! Want Mommy!" I understand why....it's because my wife is able to be at home more. But it still stings a bit. And that's just after a few late shifts. Molly was gone 6 months. Most kids that age in that position would be standoffish towards the previously absent parent.
Devoting more exploration to that dynamic wouldn't have merely been realistic, it could have made for a very powerful arc all on its own....whether for soldiers who have been deployed, or simply parents who have to work long hours at the cost of their time with their young children.
Miles has essentially missed 1/4 of Molly's entire life, his own daughter regards him as virtually a stranger....and all he can think about is getting back into the holosuites with Julian? That rings extremely hollow for a character who is a supposed family man.
- Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 1:14am (USA Central)
Reading between the lines-- fascinating to see Enterprise crew respect the alien life form so much they shut down the entire Terraforming operation--once they realize it is life--just a different from themselves-- ugly "bags of mostly water"
What about the "alien" life on earth? Different than us? Would we treat it differently if we arrived from another planet to terraform ancient Earth? hmmmm
Lately because of the influence of my buddhist wife I have myself had a chance to study another form of life (ants) that crawl all over our house. In the past with a brush of my hand I could wipe out a few of them with ease. Yet now I find it very hard since when you look closely they are intelligent life beings (small, they don't make much noise) yet they are alive. So a few days before this episode I made a vow no more conscious killing of these lifeforms. I still squash mosquitos as they are attacking me.
When I saw this episode it reminded me even though life often cannot communicate with us...imagine what it would tell us if it could? For me this is the beauty of Star Trek--the human culture must make way for other life forms to live along us especially the smaller less fragile ones. If someday we encounter giant evolved ants on other planets...we will be forgiven.. will we?
PS. Reminds me of Spock's mind meld of Horta and the miners eventually ending up living side by side with the Horta and benefiting from the partnership.
- Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 11:36pm (USA Central)
I'm glad to see people like this episode! I almost skipped it because I remembered it as "that episode where we need to watch kids instead of the real actors", but tried it anyway. I was happily surprised! I thought the child actors did a great job actually, especially young Picard. That would be a very tough role to play I imagine, and he played it convincingly for me.
Why would it be so difficult for the crew to respond to young Picard, though? I'd imagine they'd be able to simply see his physical body as the result of a transformation, and knowing his mental faculties were unchanged, still be able to trust his judgment. Picard's wisdom and intelligence in a child's body could actually be an advantage - the child's body would give him more energy and probably spontaneity just due to his younger cells. Probably the most ridiculous thing in this episode would be how their mentation hasn't changed at all - their brains are obviously smaller, their bodies are completely changed and are pumping different fluids, which affect their mental processing. How could their mental reasoning stay the same, given their adult minds required the input of their adult bodies? Unless we start imagining their mental process is not a result of or correlated to their physical body systems.
And yeah, a little too easy for the Ferengi to take over, agreed.
- Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 9:08pm (USA Central)
Year of Hell, Part I
What I would like to have explained is how, after last season Kes explained the Krenim, the kronoton torpedoes and the time-shift factor of 1.47 seconds, how did they not have pre-knowledge of this and how were they not prepared in advance with counter measures?
I was very confused by this, and I guess I'll have to re-watch "Before and After" again to get the answers. Did anybody else figure this out?
- Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 7:50pm (USA Central)
Let He Who Is Without Sin...
Mark, I played soccer... and I hate it. I don't begrudge anyone for what they like or dislike. My point was one would think the Klingon Worf would have played some kind of contact sport.
- Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 7:11pm (USA Central)
I admit to having two biases against this episode that may color my opinion:
1) How long has it been since Voyager met up with an actual friendly reasonable species, rather than a hostile or xenophobic or some other ways irrational group? Honestly, I think it's the first season. The alien of the week is almost inevitably the bad guy, and even the ones that seem somewhat ok at first end up proving to be rude and untrustworthy anyway. So when the episode started, I thought we had FINALLY made an episode where the aliens are friendly and engaging and all around pleasant. Nope, guess not. So that bugged me when it became clear that they were hiding a dirty secret.
2) As others have mentioned, there is a massive plot hole here. We have the common theme of one person stuck between two people she cares about, both of whom are saying that the other one is actually evil. Like I said, a reasonably common theme. Except Kirina is a telepath. Now, they don't seem to be like Bajorans in that they can read each other's minds, but they do have the ability to project their memories and experiences to another person. So instead of trying to convince Kirina with words, either Boyfriend or Dad should have mindmelded or whatever with her. Well, maybe only Boyfriend, since it's implied Dad was lying. And maybe he planned to but then heard Dad coming and had to hide. But then, why didn't Kirina demand it from either Boyfriend or Dad? Seems like that would be the only way to convince someone of it. After all, that's the whole point of the episode!
So maybe those two annoyances color my opinion of the episode as a whole. I think it's good, but don't hold it in the same high regard as other commenters here apparently do. The story did seem to take a bit too long to develop. I was rolling my eyes a bit at Torres dreamy love affair before realizing that there was something more going on, and I think they could have cut down a bit on the slow rollout and expanded more the aftermath of Torres' outburst. I also thought things escalated way too quickly in the dreamworld, with Kirina being conflicted about a resettlement in one moment and jumping to support for public executions the next. That was way too much of a leap for me.
But other than that, good job! I want to give particular props to the writers and Mulgrew, as Janeway's diplomacy worked quite well here (far cry from The Swarm, that's for sure). She stood by her engineer's convictions while simultaneously obeying the letter of the Prime Directive and not creating a new enemy out of these people. And, of course, props to Dawson for her acting in this episode as well.
And as a random aside, I found it humorous that the evil government in this episode was so clearly a Leftist one (even calling themselves progressive at some point), given the typical political bent of Hollywood. Nice to see that it wasn't yet another caricature of what Hollywood thinks Republicans are...
- Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 6:45pm (USA Central)
The real problem is the old man WASTING an hour of my life watching his nonsensical struggle.
He only gets a kick out of being the center of attention, and having a hot woman talk to him.
- Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 3:00pm (USA Central)
I think the thing that distinguishes this episode from most of the 1960's-TV sexism of the original series is that it really does make broader implications about the world. Gene Roddenberry wanted to have a female first officer in "The Cage"; a few years later, he wrote the story to an episode which hinges on the *impossibility* of women becoming starship captains. It is true that we *can* believe that it's just a statement of the current state of starship captaincy that there are no women, and Janice Lester takes this as an unwritten policy but there are no rules on the books that actually prohibit female starship captains. Still, no one who isn't Lester ever makes a definitive statement, or replies to her angry tirades. Surely *someone* should say, "Women can be captains; it just has not happened yet," or some such, if that were the case. The thing is, the episode didn't *need* to be about misplaced feminist rage. A body swap, implausible or not, doesn't require a gender-flip as well. The idea of someone getting revenge on Kirk personally because Kirk succeeded in becoming a captain and the person having failed is actually the subject of "Court Martial," in which Finney's envy and anger over Starfleet's decision that he was unfit for command drives the plot. Someone like him, male or female, would be a great candidate to try to steal Kirk's life. But everything Lester says is specifically about her womanhood, and in particular a regular insistence that her womanhood is the cause of all her problems. She doesn't even hate *Starfleet* or *Kirk* the way she hates her own sex; but of course, she's undone because her Freudian starship envy still manifests in screaming fits and, as Scotty says, being "red-faced with hysteria," irrational, overly emotional, having poor impulse control, etc. even once she's got a man's body and all the perquisites that she thinks go with that. The episode's depiction of Lester relies so heavily on her femaleness, hatred of her own femaleness, and the impossibility of a woman ever doing a man's job, and has that last "if only" speech about how Lester could have had a much better life if she'd just gotten used to being a chick. It's funny that Shatner's acting as "crazy bitch pretending to be Kirk" is recognizably "Shatner playing Kirk," just ramped up to twelve (not even just to eleven), highlighting the overly emotional aspects of Kirk's usual comportment.
That's a shame, because the aspects of the episode which are *not* centrally about Lester and why women need to accept their inescapable womanhood to be happy have some merit and are even particularly appropriate for a series finale. The domino-effect of Kirk getting through to Spock, then consequently to McCoy and Scotty, and then to Sulu and Chekov and finally as a result to the whole of the ship is a pleasing demonstration of the bonds that have cropped up over the series. In his talk with Spock, Kirk-in-Lester's-body explicitly mentions "The Tholian Web" in one of the series' relatively rare direct nods to past episodes; that the two then share a mindmeld (for the first time? I forget) reinforces their closeness. I like that, during the recess, it's Scotty and not McCoy who suggests mutiny, because of course Scotty is the line officer there and the one who has to worry more directly about the ship. I love Sulu and Chekov's passive resistance. There's no Uhura (or Chapel), but maybe there's a good reason for the female cast members to miss out on this episode. That they have a greater loyalty to each other than the letter of the rules, and as such rally around their real captain rather than the impostor, is a good way to demonstrate how their time in space has brought this crew together.
Rating this episode is very hard. I guess I will say 1 star for the Lester material, 3 stars for the crew-mutiny material, for an average of 2 stars.
This leads to ratings for the season, overall. Ratings included where my rating disagrees with Jammer's (parenthetical is the difference between my rating and Jammer's):
The Paradise Syndrome: 1.5 (-1)
Is There in Truth No Beauty?: 3 (+1)
For the World is Hollow...: 2 (-.5)
Plato's Stepchildren: 2.5 (-.5)
Wink of an Eye: 1.5 (-1) (down from the 2 I suggested in the review, after more consideration)
Elaan of Troyius: 1 (-1)
Let That Be Your Last Battlefield: 2.5 (+1)
The Mark of Gideon: 1 (-1)
The Lights of Zetar: 1 (-1)
Requiem for Methuselah: 2.5 (-.5)
The Way to Eden: .5 (+.5)
The Cloud Minders: 2.5 (-.5)
The Savage Curtain: 1 (-.5)
Turnabout Intruder: 2 (-1)
The episodes I'd recommend this season are: The Enterprise Incident (****), The Empath and All You Yesterdays (***1/2), and Is There In Truth No Beauty?, Day of the Dove, and The Tholian Web (***), with a fair number of 2.5 star episodes (Spectre of the Gun, Plato's Stepchildren, Whom Gods Destroy, Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, Requiem for Methuselah, The Cloud Minders) that sort of work for me. Overall, the season is one of the weakest in Trekdom, a rambling affair with few highlights and a great chunk of boring stories with maybe one or two decent ideas with wan execution, or sometimes terrible ideas with a few moments executed well. This sense that the show had run out of ideas and was running on fumes is sometimes present in TNG's last season, of course, but TNG's seventh season had many more memorable episodes and highlights, IMO. The thing that's frustrating about TOS season three isn't so much the worst-of-the-worst episodes, because "Spock's Brain" and "The Way to Eden" are fascinating, not just bad but endlessly *weird*. Episodes like "The Mark of Gideon" or "Wink of an Eye" or, at worst, "The Lights of Zetar" just sit there doing very little, having the appearance of a Trek episode with almost none of the passion that makes this series work.
While "The Lights of Zetar" is arguably Scotty-centric, Chekov gets big roles in "Spectre of the Gun" and "The Way to Eden," and there's a lot of Scotty and Sulu screentime in "That Which Survives," I mostly feel that the season boils down, even more than previous seasons, to the Big Three, to the point where in some episodes like "The Empath" or "All Our Yesterdays" the crew besides them are completely irrelevant to the story. Still, what the season does do well, in some of its better episodes, is depict the slow shift in Spock and McCoy's affection for each other, and the way Kirk fits into their new dynamic as a result. Spock and McCoy were "friends" before this season, but "The Tholian Web" and "All Our Yesterdays" place special emphasis on the relationship between those two with Kirk absent, and the strengthening of that bond makes episodes like "The Empath," about all three of them sacrificing for each other, with all three bonds (Kirk-Spock, Spock-McCoy, McCoy-Kirk) well developed, work. This puts the characters in good position for the movies, especially the way STII and STIII play with the Spock/McCoy bond.
- Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 2:21pm (USA Central)
All Our Yesterdays
I quite like this episode as well. I know that Leonard Nimoy said that season three was a weak season overall and particularly weak for Spock, and it's hard to argue with that assessment of a season that contains "Spock's Brain." Still, some of the strongest episodes this season are Spock-focused, with Kirk consigned either to the action-adventure B-plot to Spock's emotional A-plot (this, "The Enterprise Incident") or taken out of the episode for long stretches nearly completely ("The Tholian Web"). Giving Kirk an action-adventure/suspense subplot, as happens here, with little emotional weight besides the question of whether Kirk can escape, both keeps the episode moving at a fast pace while the Spock/McCoy plot moves fairly deliberately, and also provides contrast. We know how hard it is for Kirk to get out of his predicament, the wheeling and dealing and punching and whatnot he has to do, and how he has to deal with both the past and with Mr. Atoz. However, this just serves to emphasize how much harder what Spock and McCoy have to do is: emotional difficulty, rather than physical. The Kirk plot also contains some comic relief; I especially like the shot of Atoz trying to cart an unconscious Kirk through the portal.
The real emotional core of the episode is the Spock/McCoy/Zarabeth story. Criticism out of the way first: I've always found the idea that Spock would retreat to pre-modern levels of Vulcan emotional control dubious. It would be one thing if he were "prepared" for going to the past, the way we are told Atoz can (and is supposed to) do. (Aside: this thing is handled pretty inconsistently in the episode; does Atoz "prepare" Kirk before going to send him through a portal, for example, and if so does that mean Kirk can't stay in the present? Why can Spock and McCoy stay in the past if they weren't "prepared"? What kind of "preparation" is this, anyway? It's clearly a plot device to force Zarabeth to "have to" stay in the past, and to provide a reason for Kirk to return to the present. I will accept it as such, I guess.) But Spock is not physically or internally changed by the move into the past. And even if he were physically changed in some way, Vulcan discipline is not a matter of physical parts of the brain but of regular practice and teaching. The way I tend to fanwank it is that it has to do with the mysterious, somewhat inconsistent Vulcan telepathy. We know, for instance, that Spock can feel the deaths of a Vulcan crew from light years away (from "The Immunity Syndrome"), and so by the same mysterious, improbable process, I could believe that the collective barbarism of the entire Vulcan species on his homeworld might reach him somehow.
Spock getting the chance to experience emotions, including love, and having it ripped away, were covered in "This Side of Paradise," and so this episode could feel redundant. Still, "TSOP's" spectrum of emotions as experienced by Spock (and the others) were extremely narrow, and I think it's fair to say that, joy or not, it's not much of a life. Spock is given here the chance to have the complete range of emotions, including the darker, angrier impulses that are even more powerful and more suppressed. When Spock says to McCoy, "I don't like that. I don't think I ever did," the temptation to let go of his propriety and express his anger pushes through pretty strongly. And in spite of Spock and McCoy's genuine closeness, it's hard to say that McCoy doesn't deserve some of Spock's anger (if not to a murderous degree!) at this point. The temptation to stay is in some senses greater here than it was in "TSOP," because the happy spores in "TSOP" more or less induced a euphoric state, whereas in this episode aspects of Spock's deeper desires, for good and ill, are unlocked; it feels quite natural.
And so id comes raging in: sex, meat, rage -- and having these natural inclinations and denying them all the time means having those restraints suddenly, dramatically lifted feels good. Further, McCoy of all people acting as the "voice of reason" makes it easy for Spock to ignore him for quite some time; it's very easy to believe that McCoy's rampant emotionality renders any of his judgments on Spock's behaviour, when Spock is veering toward the "irrational," easy to dismiss. McCoy and Spock's dynamic, then, is reversed. That Spock basically has to listen to McCoy, and then eventually has to return to the present because the two of them went through the portal together, reinforces the connectedness of these two. The two can't fully exist without the other; they can exist without Kirk, but they need each other, at least to a degree, in order to function, which is what "The Tholian Web" stated as well and what will continue into the movies. Spock and McCoy switching roles as a result of the time jump allows for Spock to get something of a handle on McCoy's usual frustration and for McCoy to see more clearly than usual what his constant berating of Spock must do to him, as well as a recognition of what it is that Spock's insistence on logic and propriety keeps at bay.
The romance between Spock and Zarabeth works for me, despite the short running time, because of the "unlocking" of Spock's emotions as imposed by the episode's plot, and because she really is quite beautiful. I do think that this makes the romance in "The Cloud Minders" seem particularly silly, since part of this episode relies on the recognition that having a real, open-hearted emotional relationship is extremely difficult for Spock, perhaps all the more so because he's half human and doesn't have the security in his Vulcan training that pure Vulcans have. For Game of Thrones viewers, something about this dynamic reminded me of Jon Snow and Ygritte, Zarabeth as a guide to life on the margins, away from what Spock had thought of as "civilization," which also happens to be a place where Spock will never quite feel at home. With Zarabeth, the ultimate outcast, alone in the middle of nowhere and deep in the past, Spock might have been able to "be himself," whatever that means, without fear of judgment, even judgment from himself. He also might eventually have killed her in a rage on their first lovers' quarrel. And ultimately, as much as he still feels like an outcast on the Enterprise, with McCoy in particular not really understanding him...he does belong there at least to an extent.
I think it's a strong outing and one which, I agree, allows the series to end with some dignity. 3.5 stars.
- Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 12:38pm (USA Central)
Favorite episode of Star Trek TNG of all time and arguably favorite episode of star trek period. So many deep relatable topics in this one and pretty much perfect from beginning to end. Amazing episode and fully worthy of a 4 star rating.
- Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 12:34pm (USA Central)
Let He Who Is Without Sin...
Yanks is just displaying the usual ignorance that a lot of my fellow Americans have when it comes to soccer(its actually football, the real football but I digress). They don't really know anything about the sport but yet they "hate" it. Makes sense to me. Of course the typical response there would be "I know enough", which is one of the most arrogant and ignorant comments someone can possibly make about anything. I echo the sentiment of grow up.
As far as the episode goes, this has to go in the top 3 or 4 worst episodes of star trek period. One reason I hate it so is because I've never seen Jadzia and Worf as a legitimate couple, and their scenes were just beyond painful in this one. I will never understand for the life of me why the writers decided to pair them up. To me Jadzia only liked Worf because of her obsession with Klingon tradition from her past hosts, and that influenced her to liking the only available Klingon who was also a main cast member. I think her getting with Julian in the last season and not getting killed off would have made more sense then the almost train wreck direction they decided to go with her character.
Dreadful dreadful episode overall.
- Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 10:06am (USA Central)
When the Bough Breaks
What I meant to say was: "It's understandable that the Enterprise will often encounter civilizations that have *NOT* made certain scientific discoveries (yet)"
- Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 10:05am (USA Central)
When the Bough Breaks
"I agree with Jammer that the plot is illogical when Dr. Crusher can find cure in a few days and advanced race cannot figure that out in eons."
This is a common thing in Star Trek which I hate. It's understandable that the Enterprise will often encounter civilizations that have made certain scientific discoveries (yet), just like they often meet near-omnipotent beings. But the way the crew keeps coming up with quick solutions to problems which these other civilizations have been laboring on for ages is just too implausible. I get that they do it because the problem has to be solved in the course of a 45 minute episode, but they could at least make the crew work a little bit more to get there.
- Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 6:56am (USA Central)
When the Bough Breaks
I agree with Jammer that the plot is illogical when Dr. Crusher can find cure in a few days and advanced race cannot figure that out in eons.
I do like the part where Aldeans encourage kids to follow their feelings (encourage them to do what they love to do such as art & music) instead of thinking (calculus).
PS. The angelic little girl's face reminds me of a like a younger Miranda Kerr.
- Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 5:22am (USA Central)
The Mind's Eye
Definetely the darkest episode so far, and another thrilling LaForge-focused story after his holodeck investigation on "Identity Crisis".
Since I'm often unsatisfied with TNG's endings, where plots are usually resolved by technobabble or deus ex machina and the crew flies off into the sunset without any consequences from their adventure, I was very happy with this episode's ending. Of course TNG is far away from today's arc-based drama series, but the last scene at least shows that the events of the episode have some lasting effect on Geordie and he will have to work to achieve some closure. This was a welcome change after the last episode, where a Trill used Riker's body and we were shown no effect at all on the host. I also liked the ending because Troi actually does some real counseling (only for the third time after "The Loss" and "The Nth Degree") instead of just "sensing feelings".
The further development in the Klingon-Romulan alliance arc was excellent, too. In my memory, the Borg were the most menacing TNG villains, but during my recent rewatch I've grown to appreciate the Romulans as much more interesting. Their actions in this episode give us some of what the people over at TV Tropes like to call "fridge horror": SkepticalMI already pointed out that only Bochra could have informed the Romulan command of the VISOR, but there is another thing - how could they have known that LaForge would be attending the conference on Risa and that he would be travelling there by shuttle? Either they had an informant on the Enterprise, or they had access to the ship's communications. The only person aligned with the Romulans who had sufficient access to the ship's computers had been ambassador T'Pel (from "Data's Day"), so it is probable that she had planted a bug there. Anyway, in this episode the Enterprise's crew learns the hard way that the Romulans know much more about the Federation than they had thought. They even employed a human spy who acts as Geordie's double (or was that a surgically altered Romulan?)!
Another interesting aspect for me was the role of the Klingons. TNG had first developed them into a one-dimensional warrior race, but then their society was gradually explored over the course of several episodes and they became more and more fleshed out and believable. Here, we are shown more of the corruption that drives their political elite and which is usually hidden behind big words about honor and glory. We also see that not all Klingons care about the Empire. In fact, a whole colony is fighting for independence!
Starfleet's role in this conflict is of particular interest, because here, their whole non-interference and alliance policy serves to protect an aristocratic empire which crushes its internal resistance with brute force. Even with all the Federation's ideas of cultural exchange and mutual understanding, the Empire's policies are obviously against Federation core values (well, at least against values which Picard likes to uphold in his speeches). Picard, who is usually eager to understand other cultures, doesn't show the slightest interest in the nature of the conflict on the colony. Why do the secessionists want indepence? What are their problems with the Empire? What has either side done in the conflict, and how might a resolution be reached? Instead, Picard's sole interest is in keeping friendly diplomatic relations with the Empire, because they are needed as a military ally against the Romulans. This is in line with his behavior in "The Wounded", where he put the goal of avoiding war with the Cardassians above everything else.
The episode gives an interesting twist to the optimistic portrayal of TNG's non-interference policy in the previous seasons. Here, non-interference is just another word for realpolitik. In that way, the Klingon-UFP alliance reminded me of the relationship between the USA and despotist governments like Saudi-Arabia, whose human rights violations are tolerated by the US as long as they are considered a useful ally against their enemies.
Just some more minor thoughts:
Isn't Troi a little too nosy and fond of gossip to be considered a trustworty counselor? Granted, Geordie is her friend and she'd like to know if he enjoyed his vacation, but he's also her colleague and a potential patient and she should respect some boundaries when asking other crew members about their love life.
Speaking of love life... Wasn't it nice of the Romulans to inject Geordie with the memory of a holiday romance? And wasn't it sad that his love life as shown on the series now consists of one holodeck romance, one fake memory romance, one date where he got stood up and one date which only came to be because he had been given an artificual boost of confidence by an alien?
And another thing about Geordie. It's cool that we see for once what his VISOR shows him, but really: How can he function in the world with this thing? It only gives him blurred infra-red images of his surroundings with some strange blinking symbols going over the screen. No wonder he always complains about headaches! But more importantly: It must be really hard for Geordie to have a convincing holodeck adventure. Unless the holodeck also replicates the infra-red signatures of the images it creates (including the body-warmth patterns of humans), he should only be able to see undefined mass and a lot of light.
- Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 1:57am (USA Central)
When the Bough Breaks
Enjoyed this episode and also your take on it.
One line that stood out for me was Aldea leader and Riker in the negotiation
Riker says "We sympathize with your situation. But what you ask is not possible."
Aldean Leader says "And that your final answer" and Riker says "Its our only answer"
Picard of course knows that is not true and continues the negotiation stalling for time.
The computer has taken over the planet and what they think is their savior (computer tech) is killing them. Kinda similar to our planet? Hmmm...
- Mon, Jan 26, 2015, 2:47pm (USA Central)
Doctor Bashir, I Presume
Why play for the bullseye when playing for triple 20 would be better?
I always wondered this and especially now when apparently Julian "played" properley at end of episode.
If you're playing days properley you would be going for triple 20 not bullesye as bullseye is only 50.
- Mon, Jan 26, 2015, 11:38am (USA Central)
The Sword of Kahless
I enjoy Dax's storylines because I like how Farrell protrays her. She is not the stronger actor on the show, but her mannerisms as Dax are truly fascinating. There is always something slightly manly in her body language.
Other than that, I felt that the episode went too far with Worf too. If it had been another Klingon, I'd be ok, but Worf would never kill someone like that. I don't even object to his political ambition, I object to his coward attempt against Kor.
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