Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Next Generation

"The Chase"

***

Air date: 4/26/1993
Teleplay by Joe Menosky
Story by Ronald D. Moore & Joe Menosky
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Picard's mentor, professor of archaeology Richard Galen (Normal Lloyd), comes aboard the Enterprise and informs the captain that he is on the cusp of completing an archaeological discovery that has profound galactic meaning, though he can't explain exactly what that means. Galen asks Picard to accompany him on the final leg of this quest, but to do so would require Picard to take a year or more off from Starfleet, essentially meaning the end of his command of the Enterprise. (Supposedly, this discovery would happen much faster if Starfleet would dedicate a ship to it, which begs the question of why archaeological discoveries of such alleged profound meaning aren't given adequate resources by the science-centric Starfleet.) Picard declines the invitation, and Galen's response to Picard's refusal is an excessively harsh guilt trip, to say the least.

Not long after, Galen's chartered ship is attacked and Galen is killed, leading Picard to take up the mantle of the cause under that classic motivator, They Killed My Mentor. From here, Picard and the crew go to work on solving the mystery, which Galen had discovered were carefully hidden pieces of an ancient computer program, whose pieces came from encoded DNA patterns from various worlds scattered across the quadrant — a sort of interstellar Da Vinci Code, if you will.

"The Chase" is probably best viewed as an Indiana Jones adventure (minus the action and stunt sequences) employing starships to track down ancient DNA fragments rather than employing planes, boats, and tanks to track down ancient religious artifacts. Instead of globetrotting through Europe and Asia, we warp from star system to star system. Like an Indy adventure, the story hints at a discovery of the utmost profundity while keeping the action focused on moving unpretentiously from A to B; "The Chase" is probably the right title for what this is.

The labyrinthine plot details defy synopsis because (1) I didn't write them down when I watched it, and (2) to describe it in detail is to futilely reduce the story to who goes where and when and with whom while trying to assemble a puzzle that is built from (1) DNA fragments transcribed into a digital code and (2) plenty of exposition. Suffice it to say the Klingons, Cardassians, and Romulans all become involved in the chase, because everyone has their own piece of the puzzle. Given that the puzzle has been waiting for billions of years to be solved, it seems awfully convenient that all pieces by all parties just happen to be in play within the same roughly three-day period. (There might have been a rationale that explained the coincidental timing, but I neither recall nor care what it was.)

The solution requires all the different races to work together to assemble the puzzle to activate the program, which turns out to be a holographic message recorded billions of years ago by a society that seeded the planets throughout the galaxy with their building blocks of life from which all humanoids evolved — which explains why there are so many similar humanoid lifeforms in Star Trek, you see. Their message: We live on in all of you, and you all share something genetically in common with each other. It's a Trekkian message if I've ever heard one. I don't know if this revelation works as science fiction, but it works as an intriguing payoff to an adventure that sustains the hour but will never be mentioned afterward, despite its jaw-dropping implications.

I like but do not revere "The Chase." It is an effective adventure yarn that has a revelation that strives to appear astounding while it's unfolding and yet almost wants to be casually dismissed afterward. You know this is not meant to be taken all that seriously when the Klingon hears the ancient revelation and says: "That's all? If she were not dead, I would kill her!" You almost sense the writers were hedging their bets by including that line after showing their hand. Believe this tale, they seem to say — or if not, then not.

Previous episode: Lessons
Next episode: Frame of Mind

Season Index

33 comments on this review

David - Fri, Aug 31, 2012 - 12:01am (USA Central)
For shame this is a highlight and TNG classic--4 stars. Loved the epic nature of the mystery, seeing all the familiar Trek races involved, nice action, some great scenes(Data and the Klingon in Ten Forward, the message itself, the contact by the Romulan in the final scene warms the cockles of my heart, Beverly and Picard working together and he looking for advice from her), and not only was the mystery itself intriguing and involving the actual reveal/payoff managed to live up to the build-up which in this day and age of LOST mystery shows delivering disappointing answers to their mysteries is to be applauded by these TNG writers. I also thought the idea--who cares about whether it is scientifically grounded or not--was a clever idea i.e. a message encoded in our very DNA.

Again a perfect 4 star episode IMO.
grumpy_otter - Fri, Aug 31, 2012 - 4:55am (USA Central)
I thought it was fun when I first saw it, but it's kind of a throwaway. The explanation of why all the humanoids look similar is cute, but not terribly thought-provoking.

But I have to let the grammar nazi in me out--it's "raises the question," not "begs the question."

I'm right because I am correct.
Ospero - Fri, Aug 31, 2012 - 9:15am (USA Central)
For a more thorough rebuttal of the supposed "science" in this episode, try tracking down Tim Lynch's old review of it. He's a biology major, and he makes some very good points about why and how this entire episode doesn't hold up, and in fact seems to involuntarily promote Intelligent Design theories.

Also, I can't watch this episode anymore without thinking of the German gag dub "Sinnlos im Weltraum", in which Picard's dad (Galen) arrives and begs him to do a moped race. Kind of kills the mood of the episode once you've seen it.
Paul - Fri, Aug 31, 2012 - 9:53am (USA Central)
This episode would have been a classic without the stupid Klingon/Cardassian bickering. Done in a better way, it would have worked. But it was too slapstick.

The final scene, where the Romulan commander contacts Picard, puts this higher than three stars for me. But it's a shame that they didn't make it a classic.
Elliott - Fri, Aug 31, 2012 - 12:20pm (USA Central)
I'm always torn about this episode. Like David, I see the implications in the Trek-verse as too profound to write off, but like Jammer, I see that the foundations of such implications are resting on toothpicks (that metaphor may be too mixed to glean...). Anyway, I always enjoy the episode when I watch it and I'm always moved in the end--that being the kernel of hope for a changed interstellar community between the Romulan captain and Picard. Too bad this was so poorly picked up in "Nemesis."

On balance, I'd probably have to say 3.5*
MadBaggins - Sat, Sep 1, 2012 - 7:59am (USA Central)
Jammer, how could you not mention the final scene with the Romulan contacting Picard?
Jammer - Sat, Sep 1, 2012 - 1:51pm (USA Central)
I guess the short answer is that I don't always mention everything. In this case, I probably should've, and it can be considered an oversight. So it goes.
Dimitris Kiminas - Sat, Sep 1, 2012 - 5:22pm (USA Central)
Ridley Scott took this episode, changed some bits in the plot, and released it as a movie called 'Prometheus'. Go figure!! :)
Eduardo - Mon, Sep 3, 2012 - 10:25am (USA Central)
Keep in mind that Prometheus was written by Damon Lindelof, Star Trek XI's producer, and a well-known TNG fan.

I enjoyed The Chase, but I can't revisit this episode and not think of Tim Lynch's old review. It really made some good points regarding Intelligent Design vs. the dramatic aspects of the story. Very polarizing.

In retrospect, though, this was really a way for Joe Menosky and Ron Moore to subtly address the limitations in designing aliens on a weekly TV basis.
Grumpy - Wed, Sep 5, 2012 - 11:12am (USA Central)
Menosky was apparently inspired by Carl Sagan's "Contact," in which a secret code is hidden in the digits of pi. If anyone was hinting at Intelligent Design, it was Sagan.

This episode reveals the shortcomings of the weekly television grind. Much as the production is constrained in sets, costumes, makeup, or casting, it's the limitation on the writers that makes good episodes so rare. If they had more weeks to polish "The Chase," they probably would've expanded it into a 2-parter, rather than "Birthright."
Nic - Mon, Sep 10, 2012 - 4:42pm (USA Central)
The setup part of the episode may have been good, but the payoff is something that I try to forget ever happened.

We may be Star Trek fans, but we know this show is fiction. We KNOW the real reason why all humanoids look alike is because there aren't any REAL aliens auditioning for these roles. It's the kind of thing you are able to suspend your disbelief as a viewer and just go with the flow. We didn't need to have the writers point it out to us and then explain it to us in a way that makes even less sense then it did before. It's the same problem I have with the "Affliction/Divergence" two-parter from Enterprise. What does it matter, really?
Paul C - Tue, Sep 11, 2012 - 2:05pm (USA Central)
This was an episode about us, wasn't it? Anti-racism? I took it to be that anyway. The Romulan part at the end was genius. This was the 1st ep that made me start to REVERE, ST:TNG.
Nick P. - Thu, Sep 27, 2012 - 3:41pm (USA Central)
I love this episode. Generally STTNG would take a middling idea, and pretend it was the most important thing in the universe! Put twice in season 6, we have literally history or science shattering discoveries, and reaction is blah! This is where I miss the hopefull optimistic heavy brass endings from season 1. How awesome would have that ending to "Encounter at Farpoint" fit right here? "Let's see what's out there?" The other episode by the way, was the dysons sphere from "Relics".

This episode also makes me wonder why some episodes become 2-parters, but other don't. If there are ANY episodes that would have been phenomonal as mid-season 2-parters it would be this and/or Relics. But no, we get "birthright", and "Gambit", and "Chain of Command", which while being a good episode, really should have been a 1-parter.
Jammer - Thu, Sep 27, 2012 - 9:00pm (USA Central)
Episodes that became two-parters (at least on TNG, and ones that weren't season-ending cliffhangers) are generally such because they had an idea they thought they could stretch, and they realized that because they had to spend a lot of money on sets or whatnot they'd budget the expense over two episodes.
James K - Fri, Oct 19, 2012 - 8:40am (USA Central)
I remember this episode is fairly interesting. One thing that really gets me is the progenitor is the same actress who plays the female changling in DS9.

Mayhaps the progenitors eventually evolved into the changlings but the information was lost? Probably not, and coincidence of course, but that would be an interesting tie in between the series.

Back to this episode. I remember watching it when it aired, and I always felt it was more a sci-fi nod to intelligent design. If all of these humanoid races had shared DNA, that means that the progenitors were the ones who created everything, every race, and the implications of all races eventually coming up with the technology to master the galaxy.

Interesting concept.
Barry - Sun, Nov 4, 2012 - 5:32am (USA Central)
These episodes were similar to the old 'shaggy stories'.

I agreed with the Klingon.
Jhoh - Sun, Nov 25, 2012 - 6:07pm (USA Central)
IS THAT THE KERLIN NESCAR? *skrish*
AeC - Sat, Dec 1, 2012 - 11:56am (USA Central)
I remember when Voyager's classic episode "Threshold" first aired, I thought Paris' transformation make-up looked a lot like Salome Jens' make-up here, and I thought we were in for a bit of inter-series continuity, with Paris evolving into that species. Instead he turned into a skink. Oh well.
Jay - Sat, Dec 1, 2012 - 10:59pm (USA Central)
It was hilarious how the precious artifact here was tossed aside like so much rubble by Picard when the Enterprise crashed in Generations...
CeeBee - Sat, Dec 22, 2012 - 7:45pm (USA Central)
It's well known that Star Trek has a dubious grasp of non-tech science. When it comes to transporting, they cover the basics. They know it's nonsense, but in SF that's possible, so their casual reference to the "Heisenberg Compensators" in one of the episodes made me laugh because it showed that they knew what they were doing.

When it comes to genetics, they don't grasp the basics. Evolution has always been a one-direction train track for the ST writers. Remember "Dear Doctor" in ST Enterprise, where Phlox invents a new evolution theory by stating that a race it genetically marked for extinction.
The same problem here.

But I do like two things: the chase as an adventure and puzzle and the explanation why the Star Trek universe is full of races who just look like one dimensional humans. It's fun when writers think about the complications originating from their own inventions.

What I didn't like is once again a Federation beyond redemption. It seems to be filled with bureaucrats and apparatchik only interested in transporting things or people from one known place to the other. That's basically their attitude. Make Picard an admiral (do these people know what the meaning of a "flag ship" is?) and let him commandeer ten ships to go on the hunt. After all, this is mind blowing new knowledge. At least the Romulan captain understands at the end.

In the mean time at Federation headquarters: "Jean Luc, can you transport mediator T'Cuckoo to the next stupid regional conflict between CountryBumpkin Omega Six and TRex Prime? Thanks. Good to have a starship with a complement of 1000+ to provide this commuter service."

For exploration the 24th is not a good century.
Brandon - Thu, Dec 27, 2012 - 7:56pm (USA Central)
Ospero and Eduardo -

Tim Lynch's scientific critique of the episode is empty and very un-scientific, though very typical of belligerent skeptics of intelligent design.

His basic thrust is that intelligent design is a needless theory because despite the low probability of humanity's exact DNA profile occurring, SOMETHING had to occur and all outcomes were likely to lead to something like man. His analogy is a deck of cards - something of low probability occurs in every hand, if you think about it. Therefore, to say that the statistical unlikelihood of mankind's development argues against evolution and in favor of grand design is, in his words, "a rotten, rotten abuse of statistics."

Fair enough, if statistics were all there was to it. But biologically speaking, not all outcomes are equal. He leaves that part out. Humans are genetically close enough to chimpanzees that you could change one "card" and get them instead, yet only one of them has anywhere near the computative ability to take over the planet like we have. The evolution of a species physically mentally capable of mastering its physical environment AND building its own, subduing all other species and the entire planet, and pondering the mysteries of the universe at every level - that outcome is NOT some random, scattershot junk hand of cards. It's an ideal combination, more like getting a royal flush.
Nathaniel - Thu, Dec 27, 2012 - 10:56pm (USA Central)
@Brandon:

Please read some biology books before you write further on evolution, lest you embarrass yourself further with your ignorance.
TH - Wed, Jan 16, 2013 - 3:20pm (USA Central)
I have to say that I thought this episode was not bad, and the first time I saw it I was engaged by the mystery, but it really never quite felt like it "fit" in TNG. I guess it's part of the "mystery" genre of TNG that includes Clues and Suspicions (any others?). That genre already had a feeling of not quite fitting in with the rest of TNG, but something about this one always felt a little off.

Maybe it just felt a bit too far-fetched that some ancient culture had actually hidden clues to something all across the galaxy (or wherever) but only on planets within the reaches of a couple of species. Also, the clues are 4.5 billion years old, but yet ALL of these species began the hunt for these clues at roughly the same time. And I also found it a bit hard to believe that any of these cultures would really consider destroying a planet and all life on it to hide a clue. I think the imapct of that is glossed over a bit. Finally, what the hell are the odds that 4.5 billion years ago, some form of data was scattered about the universe and today you could put that into a tricorder and see a hologram? You can't even put a Mac-formatted floppy disc into a PC and read the data. I don't have any reasonable belief that a computer could interpret any data from 4.5 billion years ago as 3-D audio-visual data.

Ultimately, perhaps, the ending was just a bit to Trekkian in it's do-gooder intentions and a bit too meaningless in its "we all come from the same place" message. Yeah? So what? Is that going to have any impact on humanity or any of these other cultures? I doubt it... I'd have to drop this to 1.5 or 2 stars.
Comp625 - Thu, Jan 17, 2013 - 3:23pm (USA Central)
I enjoyed this episode quite a bit, for many reasons.

1. It quells fans' desire to know why every alien in Star Trek has 2 arms and 2 legs. My girlfriend continually asked that question when she began rewatching TNG with me.

2. I love the fast-pace excitement of this episode. Each "act" contained a significant plot element, whether it was Galen's ship being destroyed, or when the Enterprise was temporarily disabled by the Cardassians. Like Jammer said, it was very Indiana Jones-like without the stunts).

3. Seeing all of Trek's major races (Humans, Klingons, Cardassians and Romulans) was a riot. This greatly tickled the inner nerd in me.

4. It was greatly amusing to see all of the major Trek aliens working together in order to solve this puzzle. *** SPOILER *** If I remember correctly, the only other time where Trek's major aliens worked together was in DS9, when most Alpha Quadrant species banded together to combat the Dominion occupation.

Quite frankly, the only negative aspect to this episode was the lack of follow-up. Finding out a major piece of DNA evidence that impacts the whole quadrant, and never hearing about it again is a bit odd. Then again, such episodic writing was TNG's motto, and just because everyone shares very similar DNA doesn't mean it improves inter-species relations.

My rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars
T'Paul - Tue, Jun 18, 2013 - 9:50am (USA Central)
Yes it has some weaknesses, but at least it does give some kind of explanation as to why in the Trek universe all the aliens look the same... yes, we know it's fiction, but sometimes all the human look-alikes can be frustrating.

And well, if all plots were scientifically plausible (in terms of the science we know of now) then we wouldn't have a heck of a lot of science fiction now would we? There is a certain suspension of belief required - especially in 45 minute episodes - and this episode, in the end, smooths out that "humanoid" wrinkle for us. I think at least they tried to give us a reason (in trek terms) for that, even if we know that aliens are really portrayed humanoid for much more prosaic budget or dramatic reasons. For "plausible" science fiction, well, there are very thick books and series of books that really put that effort in. I don't know if that's possible on a TV show.

mephyve - Fri, Sep 6, 2013 - 12:38am (USA Central)
The only part I really enjoyed was the Klingon captain's interaction with Data.
The Trek universe has displayed countless lexamples of intelligent life that do not look humanoid. If any of them had solved the puzzle the ancient alien would have looked stupid.
William B - Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - 3:29pm (USA Central)
I agree with most of Tim Lynch's famous critique of the episode, actually, and the main way I get around it is that I think that while big aspects of Trek are clearly meant to be taken as plausible scientific futures, others, to say the least, are not. While the episode may have been partly inspired to answer the longstanding "why does everybody look human(oid)?" question, I think the deeper implication is the answer to a more serious question -- "Why are all the humanoid races in this show ultimately meant to reflect on present-day humanity?" Some episodes of Trek, especially TOS, do try to imagine what alien life might really be like, but for the most part the humanoid alien races on the show are more accurately metaphorical representations of different parts of the human psyche, or different human cultures. In that sense, on some level, yes, it makes sense that they be all related to each other, and that there be some basis for the connection between everyone. It does become a problem in that the episode does eventually suggest that *humans themselves* "evolved" in a guided-evolution intelligent-design way, but even then the original humanoids seem to have evolved through natural process and the deeper meaning here exists only to link humans to other species without actually putting humans on a higher level than them. It's pretty junky as science and its implications are unscientific, even, on that level, but on the mythological level this works very well.

Basically, this is Indiana Jones, as Jammer notes, and the Ark of the Covenant that is eventually recovered is the very *idea* of connectedness. It's a creation myth, which is half-translated into scientific language to go into the show's language, but has the same function that a lot of creation myths do for us: it gives us a sense of our connectedness to the rest of humanity. The Kurlan Naiskos Russian-doll thing that Galen gives Picard at the episode's beginning changes meaning as we go through the episode; early on, as Picard says, it is about the many people who live within the one person, and at the episode's very end he stares at the smallest of the figures, representing the seed of some primordial species which exists in all the humanoid life forms they have encountered. And I think the episode's moving outward -- from Picard himself to Picard's relationship with his professor mentor, to the humans & Klingons & Cardassians & Romulans to the source of all humanoid life -- is a way of answering, in some ways, the initial challenge Galen poses to Picard. How can Picard live with having given up one "dream" -- of being the foremost archaeologist of his time -- for another? I think the answer is that Picard is not alone; that he, and all humans, and within the show all humanoids, are part of a broader community, and that life does not end with each individual's life. Picard himself cannot live every life he wants to live, but some other person can, and as long as someone does the human race (and humanoid races) are better for it. Thematically, the episode is pretty tight -- Picard and Galen's father-son relationship, and Picard's desire to carry on his own mentor's work after his death so that it not be in vain, ties in with the eventual discovery that the original humanoid race seeded the galaxy so that its own life would not be in vain and would be remembered. That Picard and Galen go back and forth between close connection and angry, even vicious recriminations (mostly from Galen to Picard) sets up the two different kinds of reaction that we see at the episode's end: disgust between the Klingons and Cardassians at the notion of any kinship, and some measure of peace and bonding between Picard and the Romulan commander.

This makes this one of the show's best episodes at representing the kind of secular mythmaking that Star Trek can do well, at its best -- telling truths about the human condition which religions can communicate (that the one is part of the whole and the whole is part of the one) without requiring theistic belief. To do so, it kind of junks up some of its own science when trying to use the scientific language to get the point across, but you know.

The end scene with the Romulan really does make me wish that things had gone differently. DS9 didn't do that much with the Romulans except as a plot device and mirror of the Federation's darkness/greyness (in ITPM and IAESL), which is fine, as DS9 already had a lot of races to examine. And Nemesis and Abrams' "Star Trek" basically trashed the implications here; Nemesis tried to examine the possibility of a human/Romulan peace, and (spoilers, I guess) Trek 2009 revisited Spock's attempt at Vulcan/Romulan unification just in order to destroy first future-Romulus and then past-Vulcan. But toward the end of TNG, Unification and this and Face of the Enemy suggest that there was maybe a chance that the Romulans and Federation could come to a new understanding that breaks through the perpetual stalemate the two had; The Pegasus, which reveals that the Federation has some duplicity to match the Romulans', could have led to some greater sympathy on the part of our Starfleet crew for the Romulans' distrust and history, too. Alas.

Anyway, I think this is still a solid 3.5 stars.
Smith - Mon, Feb 17, 2014 - 8:15am (USA Central)
Fun episode that perhaps asks whether we humans we're seeded by alien cultures? It's nice to see a more scientific episode as the writers can get too much into "soap opera in space" "conflict stories". The weak first act was Piller's fault. He thought Moore's initial script didn't have a believable emotional connection between Galen and Picard. That kind of slowed down this episode, but it still was good.
Pluto-Nash - Sun, Aug 3, 2014 - 1:39pm (USA Central)
The 'explanation' by the ancient humanoid might not hold up to scrutiny, but when I first saw the episode (long time ago, I admit) it seemed to make sense then. And Galen's last words "I was too harsh..." made his death scene that much more moving. But there's one unanswered question that still bugs me years later- if Worf's phaser blast was only strong enough to disable the Yridian ship, why did it explode anyway?
Jack - Fri, Aug 8, 2014 - 4:29pm (USA Central)
I didn't find Galen a very sympathetic character at all. He was incredibly manipulative, and his death bed admission to same wasn't moving at all, nor was the death itself.

Does anyone really join Starfleet in order to become an archaeologist? I can see why there would be classes in it because it would be part of the skillset for an officer on a ship of exploration, but becoming a full time, nothing but archaeologist like Galen was demanding Picard be, both then and now, seems absurd on its face. Between his scheming manipulations and his instantly reasserting himself as professor grilling Picard in the opening scene, I found Galen every bit as obnoxious as Jellico.
SkepticalMI - Sun, Aug 10, 2014 - 4:05pm (USA Central)
Ugh. I remember that Tim Lynch review and how I lost a chunk of respect for him from it. So rant time! People here mentioned Prometheus and Contact as similar ideas, but to me the most blatant comparison is with the monolith creators in Arthur C Clarke's 2001 series. It's the exact same premise: the first spacefaring race finds no intelligent life out in the universe, and thus seeds the galaxy with a method to develop said intelligence. Arthur C Clarke. About the hardest "science" author in the science fiction realm. Predicted cell phones, GPS, and satellite television broadcasting decades before they happened. Invented the idea of the geostationary satellite. He was also an ardent atheist who gave increasingly silly reasons for why mankind suddenly and without notice ended up immediately giving up religion in his books. And yet, in his most famous series, the central plot is one of, well, Intelligent Design. So if the most science-oriented, most atheistic respected sci-fi writer can get away with it, why can't Trek?

Oh, but in 2001 it wasn't genetic. Oh, wonk wonk wonk. This is the same series that has riboviloxinucleic acids that make you magically de-age, and where activating introns makes you turn into a spider. Do we really think there was any malice in this plot, any subtle arguments for ID? Of course not. Heck, this episode features DNA that magically fits together to form a shape that also happens to program a holographic image. Lynch seems to think there's a difference between this and technobabble, but there really isn't. Trek uses biology as a magi trick just as often as it uses inverse phase discriminators. No, they really shouldn't. But why is it such a crime here? Given how silly Trek science is, does he really think there was some subtle argument for ID as opposed to just, you know, a story in which as much effort to make it scientifically valid as in Rascals and Genesis.

So really, Lynch's rant comes down to the fact that he doesn't like ID. Well, yippee. Guess what? The Trek universe, like every fictional universe, is intelligently designed (or unintelligently designed...). Not only that, but Trek has delved into plenty of contentious issues (for real, as opposed to this episode which is only in his imagination), and doesn't exactly provide a great argument either way. Yet Lynch never comments on those. And if he only wants to see shows that reinforce his beliefs, then that represents a pretty limited mind.

I mean, he still seemed to think the episode was good, but couldn't seem to get past an issue he created in his own mind.

Oh well, rant off. Like many others, I did enjoy this episode. I think it started off too slowly though, as the scenes with Galen weren't as interesting as the actual mystery and chase. Yeah, disappointed father figure, we've gone down that road a hundred times before. And what's with the Enterprise being conveniently the closest ship to Galen's shuttle when he ended up attacked? And all to have Galen simply say "I was too harsh". I'm not sure if the introduction was made solely to mirror Indiana Jones even more (both Raiders and Last Crusade had Indy trying to finish a quest his father/father figure started). That first act simply seemed to drag on too much, especially compared to the fun of the second half.

And the payoff, with the Romulan being quietly accepting of the message, was very nicely done. Picard had a rather disappointing few days. First, his mentor rejects him. Then his mentor dies. Then, his attempt at finishing Galen's work is stymied by some annoying little Klingons and Cardassians. And then, after the final revelation, the rest of his colleagues completely reject the final message. So Picard was probably feeling rather down about the whole thing. That little bit of a breakthrough, having the Romulan imply that there is hope for the future, was a pleasant way to end with just a hint of optimism. We followed Picard around on a huge chase, and we too were a bit disappointed in the outcome. But putting this last little morsel in the show made it all better.

Likewise, it made sense that the Romulan would be the one receptive to the message. After all, they already have cousins in the Federation, so they know what it's like. Also, given the recent underground movement (particularly a defection of a high ranking senator), the idea of a unification movement might be on the minds of any thoughtful Romulan. They're a fun race to think about, given that they were always portrayed as a smarter, more contemplative race than the Klingons or the Cardassians. Given their contemplative side, the idea of a potential peace, or at least truce, movement with the Romulans held a lot of promise. I thoroughly enjoyed The Enemy and The Defector, but I am finding myself enjoying their more conciliatory tone this season as well.
Polly - Tue, Sep 2, 2014 - 6:06am (USA Central)
A fun episode. I guess the Progenitors didn't see the need for a Prime Directive.
HolographicAndrew - Wed, Nov 19, 2014 - 12:33am (USA Central)
I think this episode is almost too good to just be an episode. It's two-parter or movie worthy imo. And the reveal at the ending should be heard "half way across the galaxy" but it doesn't even get mentioned in the next episode.

Submit a comment

Above, type the last name of the captain on Star Trek: TNG
Notify me about new comments on this page
Hide my e-mail on my post

Season Index

Copyright © 1994-2014, Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of any review or article on this site is prohibited. Star Trek (in all its myriad forms), Battlestar Galactica, and Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc., NBC Universal, and Tribune Entertainment, respectively. This site is in no way affiliated with or authorized by any of those companies. | Copyright & Disclaimer