Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Starship Mine"

**1/2

Air date: 3/29/1993
Written by Morgan Gendel
Directed by Cliff Bole

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

High Concept 101: Die Hard on the Enterprise!

Actually, that's a pretty good one, and the setup is appealing: The Enterprise is vacated by the entire crew in order to make way for a baryon sweep, during which some bad guys posing as technicians try to steal trilithium resin from the warp core. Picard ends up as the only person on board (because he went back for his saddle, of all things) and becomes the starship's last line of defense. He must sneak around the ship and stop them from getting away with the resin, which in the wrong hands could be made into a weapon, exclamation mark!

I really like the idea of the baryon sweep as this slowly moving, deadly, implacable force that gives the story its ticking clock while also decreasing the real estate available for the cat-and-mouse games. So you have an action premise that seems like it would be reasonably adaptable to the decks of the Enterprise, you have Picard taking up arms (look, a crossbow, with poisonous — but not deadly poisonous — arrow tips!), and you have an amusing (if disposable) subplot aboard the planet where Data takes up the activity of small talk and ends up in a small-talk duel with chatty Commander Hutchinson (David Spielberg). What's not to like?

Well, some of the execution, unfortunately. The plot holds together fine, but "Starship Mine" is a pale imitation of Die Hard (and, honestly, how couldn't it be?) and suffers from some hacky moments and a weak villain in the bland Kelsey (Marie Marshall). There's a scene where Picard and Kelsey trade barbs over their communicators, and it's here where the riffs on Die Hard become (1) glaringly obvious and (2) a liability — because "Starship Mine" suffers when it makes us think of similar, better scenes in Die Hard. There's also the problem that an action premise like this feels watered-down when Picard has to be in a constant state of tempered restraint in his response; Star Trek has an inherently non-violent philosophy, which is kind of counterproductive to thwarting bad guys in this sort of plot. And the fairly laughable final fistfight in Ten-Forward suffers in no small part because of an especially atonal Jay Chattaway score (albeit one typical for this period of the TNG era). If ever a sequence needed to be carried by music (and isn't), it's this one — because the stunts sure aren't much to speak of.

On the other hand, as a wind-up action toy with these built-in restraints, "Starship Mine" works about as well as it probably could've. Motormouth Hutchinson always makes me grin (and killing him in the planet-side action was clearly a wink to the audience, even if I don't think Hutch deserved it). Picard posing as barber Mr. Mott is fun. An abandoned Enterprise turns out to have a fair amount of atmosphere for playing hide-and-seek. And the final scene where Picard is reunited with his saddle shows that this story knows that "light" is the right tone here. This is a guilty pleasure that maybe could've been more fun had it been guiltier.

Footnote: Tim Russ has a small part as one of the bad guys.

Previous episode: Birthright, Part II
Next episode: Lessons

◄ Season Index

58 comments on this review

David Clark
Thu, Jul 12, 2012, 10:28am (UTC -5)
I think the TNG cast was simply not suited for action oriented episodes. They never tried many, so this wasn't a liability for the most part, but when they did it, it usually didn't work. I also think that this was what finally did in the TNG franchise with the last two movies. Both Insurrection and Nemesis depended to a large degree on action to carry the movies forward, but fell flat. For sure the scripts were not that great, but I think this is due to the fact that it's just really hard to write action for these characters.

Anyway, I think this episode showed it in spades. My first reaction to remembering this episode after your review was that they should have put someone other than Picard as the one defending the ship. But then the question is who would be better for an action oriented episode? Unfortunately the answer is: No one.

Or think of it this way, keep the same plot, but put it on DS9 and have Sisko replace Picard. The action would have been much more fluid and entertaining because either Brooks as an actor or Sisko as a character simply does action better than Steward/Picard. Come to think of it, most of the DS9 actors/crew could probably have made for a more fluid episode.

I don't intend this as a critique of the actors, but more as a critique of the writers/producers for creating stories that were hard for the characters/actors to pull off.
bigpale
Thu, Jul 12, 2012, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
I loved this episode. It's a great guilty pleasure.

It's right up there with the Quark-centric DS9 epis that Jammer hates so much!
Patrick
Thu, Jul 12, 2012, 10:58pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer
The group of mercenaries are actually stealing trilithium *resin* in this episode.

Pure trilithium (whatever that is) is a major plot point in Star Trek: Generations--which also features Tim Russ in another non-Tuvok role!

(The more you know...!)
Latex Zebra
Fri, Jul 13, 2012, 10:10am (UTC -5)
Read the script to this the other day as I couldn't remember it. This seems quite a breezy episode. Especially the parts with Hutch which read pretty funny.
I'll have to check it out when I can.
Ospero
Fri, Jul 13, 2012, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
One of the issues with this episode is that probably its funniest guest character, Commander Hutchinson, vanishes off the face of the planet after the terrorists attack. We don't even get a confirmation that he's been killed; he's just not there anymore. Also, I blame this episode for starting the "Action Picard" persona that would eventually lead to all that glaringly out-of-character behaviour in "Nemesis".
Jammer
Fri, Jul 13, 2012, 11:59pm (UTC -5)
Actually, after Hutchinson is shot we briefly see a covered body at the beginning of the next act. Pretty sure that's meant to be Hutch.
Josh
Sun, Jul 15, 2012, 1:15am (UTC -5)
The script has this exchange (which was probably cut for time):
RIKER
What about Hutchinson?

BEVERLY
(grim)
There was nothing I could do for him.
Jammer
Sun, Jul 15, 2012, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
@Patrick. You are correct about the trilithium resin. I've corrected it in the review.
Jake
Mon, Jul 16, 2012, 6:06am (UTC -5)
@David Clark:

Oh, please! Knowing DS9, this episode would've ended with Sisko resolving the issue by talking to those stupid wormholes aliens.
You see, for all of Ira's hot air about how 'different' & 'believable' DS9 was, it was no less susceptible to cliches as the other Trek series.
Nathaniel
Tue, Jul 17, 2012, 7:13am (UTC -5)
"Oh, please! Knowing DS9, this episode would've ended with Sisko resolving the issue by talking to those stupid wormholes aliens. "

xkcd.com/285/
Nic
Tue, Jul 17, 2012, 11:01am (UTC -5)
I actually enjoyed this straight run-and-jump show, though maybe that's at least partly because I haven't seen Die Hard. I certainly wouldn't have wanted this type of show every week, but it was a refreshing light romp.
David Clark
Tue, Jul 17, 2012, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
@Jake

I agree that DS9 had its own cliches. That wasn't my point. My only point was that TNG never did action very well, and this episode has it on display. The only point of bringing up DS9 was by way of contrast, DS9 did action much better than TNG did. Hell, even Voyager and Enterprise did action better than TNG. Note, this does not make them better shows.
Eric Dugdale
Thu, Jul 19, 2012, 7:28pm (UTC -5)
@David Clark

Actually, this would have been a good episode for Worf, no?
Elliott
Fri, Jul 20, 2012, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
A completely forgettable and disposable piece of fluff.

Action or no, this is just a waste of time. Many of the commentators refer to the high-concept tone of this episode as "refreshing" or "a nice change of pace". Change of pace from what exactly? Interesting dialogue? Compelling ideas? Moving character interaction? Why do we need a "break" from those things? I'll tell you what I want, is a break from the white-milk monotony that Season 6 has become--"Chain of Command" and "Tapestry" were refreshing breaks because they were about something interesting for a change. This was silly made more silly by the completely contrived idea that Picard is an action hero. Any of the other captains would have been more suited to this kind of show, but in the end, the show simply did not have to exist. Seasons 6 and 7 should have been combined into one more unified and energetic season leaving out the clunkers like this one.

I will say to the episode's credit that the Data/Hutch scenes are always enjoyable. It's rather macabre to have poor stupid Hutch killed off amongst this fluffiness.

2 stars.
David
Sat, Jul 28, 2012, 8:57am (UTC -5)
@David Clark:

"Oh, please! Knowing DS9, this episode would've ended with Sisko resolving the issue by talking to those stupid wormholes aliens."

=( That doesn't seem fair at all. After the pilot they didn't appear again until Season 3, once in Season 4, once in Season 5, bit more in 6 and 7. I don't think they count as a DS9 cliche.
Grumpy
Sun, Jul 29, 2012, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
"...who would be better for an action oriented episode?"

I'm picturing Tasha Yar in a Season 1 episode. A single Yar-centric show would've rehabilitated her whiny character. Might even have been meaty enough to convince Crosby to stick with the show a little longer. However, human villains would've been totally forbidden in Season 1.
paul
Mon, Jul 30, 2012, 6:17am (UTC -5)
"=( That doesn't seem fair at all. After the pilot they didn't appear again until Season 3, once in Season 4, once in Season 5, bit more in 6 and 7. I don't think they count as a DS9 cliche."

Maybe they wouldn't have if they didn't become more prominent over that show's run and, thus, making its final season a disappointment.
Nick P.
Mon, Sep 10, 2012, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
@ Ospero, I agree completely with the "action Picard" problem. I always felt Picard as a character worked WAYYYY better on the bridge, which is of course technically, where he belongs. Compare this to season 2's "Q who", the scenes where he is on the bridge while the away team was on the borg ship are 1000 times more compelling to me than this boring drivel. I hate this episode. Jammer and I repeatedly complain about the poor state of music at this point in TNG, and this episode is exhibit 1.

That all being said, it could have been better. heck, just the better soundtrack would have brought this up to a 2 for me, as is 1 star. .5 for the enterprise, and .5 for the sort-of humour on the planet.

BTW, I actually think, music aside, season 6 has been pretty good. Definitely better than I remember it. Way better than season 5.
Sxottlan
Tue, Sep 11, 2012, 3:03am (UTC -5)
I always wanted to see Die Hard on Trek, so this was basically aimed straight at me.

However, at that point in my life I was frankly looking for a little more carnage and action. I could usually depend on DS9 for that (we never saw any kind of "automatic" weapon in Trek until we were introduced to the Jem'Hadar rifle). It was a big reason I loved it so much at the time. And this episode promised much, but did not deliver what I had hoped.

I mean, it WAS interesting to see Action Picard every now and then. As we saw, he was more prone to that when he was young. But his character always seemed better suited to brief bursts of violence. Perhaps like a samurai. His charging right at the terrorist in The High Ground is more of what I'm thinking.

What was always kind of hard to reconcile with this episode was the seriousness of what was happening on the ship with the almost sitcom-like set up on the planet (it was a similar problem with First Contact). Picard running from the reception is one of the funniest bits we've ever seen with the captain.

And his last line in the episode is worthy of any 80s action film one liner.
Cail Corishev
Sun, Oct 14, 2012, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
I was 23 when this first aired, and I used to get so tired of Action!Picard. It wasn't that I didn't like him, but I liked the other characters too, especially Riker. Too often the rest of them got to sit on their thumbs while the oldest, baldest member of the crew had the adventures. The movies were even worse.

Now that I'm closer to Picard's age, his action scenes don't seem as ridiculous, but watching the episodes one right after the other instead of weekly also makes it more obvious -- "Sheesh, another one all about Picard?" Had it been more of an ensemble show, Riker could've been the one playing commando. It's easy to imagine most of the DS9 characters taking center stage in an episode like that, but TNG just wasn't that kind of show.
Rob
Fri, Nov 30, 2012, 10:52pm (UTC -5)
One thing I always found odd about this episode was that Picard makes such an effort to take out the Trilithium thieves in non-lethal ways, but he ultimately leaves them all to die in the Baryon sweep. I know he didn't have much choice, but taking out your opponents non-lethally only to lock them in a closet so the "death-ray" can take them out seems somewhat pointless.
Jay
Sat, Dec 1, 2012, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
@ Cail...yeah it seems these "action hero" episodes are relegated only to the 24th century captain characters....Janeway had her equivalent to this episode with Macrocosm.
tony
Wed, Mar 13, 2013, 5:58am (UTC -5)
@Nathaniel

Well let's see, they show up at DS9's first damn episode, they figure in boring episodes like "Destiny" and even that one episode where the Nagus 'regresses' to a more generous person, they infamously gave that deux ex machina ending to the arc which began the sixth season, & (for reasons we could care less about because Ira did) they send Sisko away at the series's end.
matt
Fri, Mar 15, 2013, 6:09am (UTC -5)
Agreed, Tony.
Those stupid aliens were as much a cliche for DS9 as the reset button was for Voyager
Josh
Fri, Mar 15, 2013, 11:32am (UTC -5)
I'm unsure why *any* appearance of the wormhole aliens, regardless of the context, constitutes a "cliche". That makes about as much sense as saying that the appearance of Q constitutes a cliche.

The reset button wasn't a cliche for Voyager - it was a recurring plot device that ensured that nothing that ever happened had any lasting consequences.

As for this episode, I agree that the Die Hard comparisons fall down mainly in the villain. Kelsey is not Hans Gruber, sadly, but I could see a more compelling villain (and more interesting characters on the planet) making it just about perfect.

I do think that "action" Picard worked pretty well, especially because it was more about his ingenuity and knowledge that let him succeed. In some ways this is more in keeping with John McClane in the original movie.
Sintek
Sun, Jun 16, 2013, 4:31am (UTC -5)
What is it about DS9 specifically that gives so many a raging hardoff? Is it because, unlike TNG and Voyager, it can't be followed while playing in the background?
T'Paul
Mon, Jun 17, 2013, 10:02am (UTC -5)
Absolutely loved the Data small talk scenes... made the rest totally worth it.
Adam
Mon, Jul 22, 2013, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
I love the fact that Tim Russ's character was put down by Picard with a Vulcan nerve pinch.
Glenn
Sun, Jul 28, 2013, 12:52am (UTC -5)
Never having seen Die Hard, I didn't even have that storyline to bolster my impression of this episode. Way too many plot conveniences and improbabilities make for a (mostly complete) waste of time. Bummer.
mephyve
Mon, Sep 2, 2013, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
Nice episode. A few bothersome points. Data was afraid of a phaser. The two dumb terrorists let the officers of Starfleet's flagship walk around freely enabling them to devise a plan. And then there's the captain of the flagship, the same guy who challenged those three big aliens by himself and yet he gets whupped by one skinny human chick.
Anyway it was an entertaining story, Captain Picard became the fly in the ointment of an elaborate heist because he wanted his saddle . The best part though was Data's dabbling in the art of small talk. Quite hilarious.
William B
Thu, Sep 19, 2013, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
I like this episode, I think, though it suffers both from a lack of meaning (obviously) and that it's a little low-octane as an actioner. This time I caught what the arc of the episode is, which I hadn't really before: Picard starts off trying to keep all the terrorists/thieves alive, devising non-lethal traps, etc., and at the very end of the episode he brings out the big guns -- he uncaps the resin container knowing that the lead space-pirate's shuttle will blow up. This is a bit un-Trekkian, perhaps, but I think the idea that Picard recognizes as the episode goes on that lethal measures are the only way he can get off the ship and to prevent the trilithium resin from getting away, which is his highest priority, generally works. The episode relies, too, on the idea that Picard knows the ship very well, and I like some of the details on that level -- e.g. Picard going to Worf's quarters to grab some weapons, and I especially like that this point is not explained in dialogue. Reading up on the episode on Memory Alpha, apparently Morgan Gendel thought of this as a love letter from Picard to the Enterprise, and the rest of the writing staff didn't really buy it, thinking that it was more of a Kirk-Enterprise thing than a Picard-Enterprise one. I think I agree, ultimately; Picard loves his ship, but do we need a whole episode about it?

The small talk scenes are a lot of fun, and I generally liked Riker et al.'s plan to take back control; it's true that the aliens should really have not let them go around talking, but I think the episode did tackle this at least a bit by suggesting they were in over their heads and hadn't intended this to happen.

Overall, the episode is a high 2.5 from me.
Smith
Mon, Feb 17, 2014, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
Fun episode. Piller hated this episode (too violent...eg hitting women) and he/Berman heavily censored the story. Would have been fun to see the original. Moore was an uncredited writer and he made an interesting comment that Piller really constrained the staff to "character" stories and that this was an exception that got through (thankfully). Action up top and comedy on the planet. Makes one second guess Pillar's role as an executive and perhaps would explain why the writers would later revolt against him.
SkepticalMI
Sun, Aug 10, 2014, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
Poor Tuvok, he must be the unluckiest secret agent ever. I mean, we know his undercover op in the Maquis ended when his ship got transported halfway across the galaxy, which is rather unfortunate. But what about his mission before that? A highly sensitive, delicate operation to infiltrate a terrorist operation by posing as a trilithium smuggler. And at a critical juncture, the point where he could see who is interested in obtaining this trilithium resin... he gets a freaking saddle thrown at him by a starship captain. So close...

What? We don't see Tim Russ' character get killed. And sure, he looks human here, but we know cosmetic surgery exists. And it makes the episode I bit more fun. That's the way I choose to remember it. Too bad the Voyager writers didn't decide to make it canon.

As for the episode itself, it's good fun as long as you turn off your brain. If you turn on your brain, it ends up making no sense of course.

After all, look at Kelsey. She killed her nervous tech guy for... what? Being annoying? To cut down on the loot to share? Who knows? What we do know is that means she has no moral concern with killing, no concern in the slightest. So this story should have ended 5 minutes in. Picard brought in to Engineering as a prisoner. Kelsey kills him and gets back to work. Game over. Later, Picard gets captured again. Kelsey asks if he's alive, and is pleased when the answer is affirmative. Why? She's not going to take him with, and the Baryon sweep would eventually kill him anyway. So what difference does it make? Twice Picard should have just been killed if the smugglers were smart. Twice he was allowed to live. Kelsey deserved to lose just based on stupidity.

And, of course, there was Riker and company's brilliant subterfuge on the surface in clandestinely plotting their escape. Anyone else reminded of Monty Python and the Holy Grail? The scene where the kid in the tower who didn't want to marry the lass with huge tracts of land was "secretly" shooting his arrow asking for help while the guards just smiled? The difference, of course, is that in Python it was played as absurdist comedy, while here it was actually intended to be serious.

Still, it was an enjoyable action/comedy, a nice breather from more serious episodes. I don't mind a little ActionPicard; he is the main character of the show after all. It was still done in moderation (until the movies of course), so why not?
nothingoriginal 55
Sun, Apr 26, 2015, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
I have a few problems with this ep.
Troi never senses any hostile intent from anyone...would've been better had she not even be in the ep.
and, the ending was too light haerted. I know they didnt like him, but a starfleet commander was still killed in the line of duty...you'd think they'd talk about that instead of Picads frackin saddle.
Troy
Wed, Jul 29, 2015, 7:30am (UTC -5)
If you don't think about this episode it is very good, maybe up to 3-1/2 stars. This is probably nit-picky, and isn't meant as a serious criticism of the episode but if all the power was off on the ship and people weren't supposed to be on board, why is there still artificial gravity on board the Enterprise? The episode would have been super sweet if they lost gravity as well.
Yes and the aversion to killing main characters in this episode both on the ship and at the station is a bit unrealistic. I've never made any connection to this and Die Hard, though if you do and it bothers you what about Die Hard 2,3,etc? I'd much rather see Patrick Stewart than Bruce Willis fighting off terrorists.
Grumpy
Wed, Jul 29, 2015, 10:18am (UTC -5)
Troy: "...if all the power was off on the ship and people weren't supposed to be on board, why is there still artificial gravity on board the Enterprise?"

Ahem. According to Sternbach & Okuda's technical manual, the gravity generators take hours to spin down. Because of course they do.
Luke
Sun, Sep 27, 2015, 9:40am (UTC -5)
"Starship Mine," or as I think it could legitimately be called, "Captain's Holiday 2.0".

Given how much I've criticized Picard as a dull and non-dynamic character, I'm honest and truly amazed that this episode works as well as it does. This is exactly what "Captain's Holiday" should have been. There they tried to humanize Picard by giving him some action-oriented things to do. Here they do the same thing (only switching from an Indiana Jones style adventure to an almost direct clone of "Die Hard"). The big difference is that here the action set-pieces actually work! The action in "Captain's Holiday" was nothing if not bland and nondescript. Here there is an actual sense of urgency and excitement about the plot. And having Picard be the "action hero" of the story works as well, surprisingly. Granted, if we're going to compare "Starship Mine" to "Die Hard" (and how the hell can't we?), then Picard is still certainly no John McClane. He doesn't come anywhere near close to that level of "action hero," but this is a definite step in the right direction. They took Picard out of his bookish comfort-zone and actually had him do some Kirkian heroics (and didn't mess it up). Bravo!

(As an aside, I just have to point this out - Patrick Stewart had some tremendous biceps! Did you see them in the scene where Patricia Tallman had him held at gunpoint?! Those things were huge!)

The episode also works because, unlike "Captain's Holiday," it has a wonderful atmosphere. Jammer is 100% right that the abandoned (and darkened) Enterprise creates, quite unexpectedly, the perfect ambiance for this story. And there's also the use of the villain. It's always nice to see female villains and we get two main ones here. I love how the usual villain dynamics are reversed - with the women being the clearly more strong-willed and the men being rather sheepish. And, I'm going to give this episode a full extra point on the score simply for having the balls to have Picard flat out punch Kelsey in the face during their fight in Ten Forward. Damn, that took guts! Usually when you have female villains and male heroes you never see that. That's because it will often lead to morons crying "sexism!" or "violence against women!" or some other nonsense. And, apparently, that's exactly what happened here with Michael Pillar - who heavily re-worked the episode because that made it "too violent." Yeah, apparently one punch to the villain is too much but having Kesley punch/kick Picard no less than five times in that same fight isn't "too violent." Not to mention the fact that she straight up murders one of her lackeys in cold blood. But apparently that's not "too violent" either. Why treat women like equals when we could treat them like delicate little flowers who have to be shielded from the consequences of their actions? Seriously, fuck that and fuck you Pillar. If you do criminal things, steal explosive material, get into fist fights and murder people, expect to have a punch or two thrown your way. Because that's a little thing called "equality." And, despite all the re-working, "Starship Mine" still presents the female character that way. Again, bravo!

But, the episode isn't perfect. The most noticeable blemish is the sub-plot on the planet with the rest of the senior staff. It's enjoyable enough for what it is and provides some good light-hearted comedy with Data's small talk. But once it turns into a hostage situation, it just feels completely unnecessary. All it achieved was to siphon off time that could have been spent with more cat-and-mouse games aboard the Enterprise. I think it would have worked much better if they had all been schmoozing at the reception the whole time and completely unaware that Picard was engaged in a life or death struggle. And there's the whole business about Picard's saddle. So he keeps a saddle on the ship; who cares?! Why is this such a big deal? I suppose this is as good a place as any to point out one of my HUGE pet peeves about Trek - the fact that everyone always dresses up for the holodeck. Why do we always see the characters leave the holodeck or enter it already dressed in period, or other appropriate, costume? The only reason I can think of is that the show-runners think it's funny to see the characters walk the hallways dressed in some silly outfit. It's not! It's annoying! Why aren't they just using holographic clothes?! And DS9 and VOY do this exact same thing all the time. It drives me crazy! Given all the ridiculous outfits these people clearly must be keeping on-board, a saddle seems rather mundane.

Now, granted, "Starship Mine" is a fluff piece. There's absolutely no doubt whatsoever about that. It's nothing more than an excuse to have some fun. Fluff pieces can be bad, like "A Matter of Time," or they can be enjoyable for what they are. This one is enjoyable.

7/10
romemmy
Mon, Sep 28, 2015, 1:59am (UTC -5)
Just one comment... if triithium resin is produced by all matter/antimatter warp engines (or at least all federation ones), as per Memory Alpha (en.memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Trilithium_resin), shouldn't that make it pretty easy to come by - in ANY federation warp ship?? What morons would decide they had to get it from the flagship of the federation?!
Diamond Dave
Wed, Oct 7, 2015, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
TNG does Die Hard. I suppose it had to happen. And I suppose it happens well enough, it trots along at a fairly fast pace and commences with an engaging look at Data's small talk routine. The scene where he and "call me Hutch" go at it is excellent - just a shame that Hutch meets such an unregarded end. Worf's smile as he evades the reception is a highlight of its own.

Picard is also fairly ruthless in this one - tricking a guy to his death with the baryon sweep, shooting a guy in a leg with a crossbow, punching a woman in the face, removing the safety so their ship explodes. I like this Picard!

It's not perfect by a long way, but as a big dumb action hour it's decent enough. 2.5 stars.
Diamond Dave
Wed, Oct 7, 2015, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
Oh, and I forgot to add this contained possibly my biggest laugh out loud moment so far in the rewatch - when Picard runs for the transporter against the countdown and the power shuts off BEFORE he can get away. Take that, all you artificial countdown moments!
RandomThoughts
Fri, Feb 12, 2016, 8:21am (UTC -5)
I liked it. Instead of a star rating, I'll go thumbs up/down, and I give this one a thumbs up.

I recognized Patricia Tallman as well in this episode. She was a guest a few times, playing a security officer once (in the background). If some don't know, she was the stunt double for Dr. Crusher, and also played Lyta Alexander on Babylon 5.

Not only did I like the smalltalk (Hutch and Data stopping to fake-laugh at the same time, in the same way, heheheheh), I thought the look on Riker's face was perfect. Mr Frakes can do the eyes wide, trying not to laugh face with the best of them.

There was no reason for the terrorists at the reception to do ANYTHING, or have any weapons at all. If they had left the guns at home, there would have been nothing for Geordi to notice. The bad guys on the ship would have gotten their resin, left, and no one would be the wiser that they were in on it. And if something goes wrong on the ship with getting the resin, they still have no reason to take hostages. The folks at the reception had no idea what was going on up there. Some did mention they weren't very smart, letting the good guys get together to talk, but I figure they were amateurs. They worked at the place, maybe for years, and may have never had to point a gun at another sentient. It was also mentioned, why do this to the Flagship? I figure this isn't the first time a resin theft has gone on (it sure seems pretty easy, all things considered), and the Enterprise was just the next ship to come along. Maybe. :)

Heh, Picard falling all over himself trying to get out of the room was great. *Bounce* into the wall, missing the door, heh, trying to explain why he needs to leave right then, to get his saddle in time. Really liked that.

Upon first viewing, I and my friends figured he was going non-lethal because he figured he'd make it out long before the sweep was close to finishing, and they could be picked up. But when they were incapacitated, he had to leave them Somewhere, and could not drag them all to 10-Forward. I don't quite get the 'weapons' the baddies had though. It looked like a little welder to me, and was explained as some sort of torch. After Picard threatens a baddie with one (close up), they suddenly seem to be long-range torches. They are many feet away from Picard, he has a crossbow, but surrenders to a tool with a flame that might have been a couple of inches at best. At least that is how it came across to me. After the first encounter with one, they suddenly become a laser/phaser or some such thing.

I did like Picard having a plan. We were wondering how he would get out of this, and that he'd find a club or something, but he sneaks around and finds weapons at Worf's (we went *of course!*) and finds drugs in sickbay. That worked for us, at the time.

Thanks and Have Fun! RT
Stig
Sat, May 14, 2016, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
One of my favorite tidbits was when Riker was introducing Hutchison to Data, and Riker finishes Hutchison's "You can call me Hutch" line and then does the fake laugh... good little moment there :)
LCARS
Tue, Oct 11, 2016, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
Actually, I really enjoy this episode. My favorite parts:

- Picard taking down someone with a Vulcan nerve pinch. And that person happened to be someone who would play a Vulcan later on in Star Trek Voyager. Irony abounds.

- The whole opening scene was ridiculous. Picard walking down the same hallways with the same labels twice, going straight in the a turbo lift once, then avoiding it the second time in order to get onto a different turbo lift, when all of them are supposed to be able to take you anywhere in the ship at any time. Still, it was fun to watch Picard 'putting out fires' left and right.

- The most glaring plot hole in the entire episode - Why the hell can't Picard simply turn the ship back on? He's the one who shut it down in the first place, and so his command codes would surely be able to turn any part of the ship on at any time, including the transporter. If he was worried about the baryon sweep doing damage, he could simply turn on one section of the ship in order to transport out. Of course, since he was willing to destroy the ship to keep the resin from falling into the wrong hands, it should have been a no brainer to turn the entire ship on and risk doing electrical damage. And hey, wouldn't you think there would be SOME kind of safety for even a low-level officer to stop the process in case he somehow got trapped on board?

- You would think there would be major safeties in place to keep the transporter from transporting someone without power......I love how the transporter cycle almost starts, only to be shut off immediately. Imagine it he was mid-transport when this happened? You would think there would be major back-up power safeties to complete the transport once started to prevent this from happening.

- So basically, the same phaser that only stunned Geordi, ended up killing Hutchison? I think the bean counters really couldn't figure out a way to keep from paying the guest actor for the entire show, so they simply had him finished off early on. While the character was annoying, the actor certainly gave a strong performance for the time he was on camera.

- I always like how Troi rests her head against Riker....What? This was very unprofessional of her to do as a Starleet officer in a dangerous situation. And second, she's acting like they are a couple, which they supposedly are not.

- So......Data can move his hands faster than the human eye can see (from the Episode "The Offspring"), yet he's helpless when someone has a weapon pointed at him one foot away? Funny how he has extraordinary abilities in one episode, but not in another. This goes for "A Matter of Time" as well. Anytime he has a phaser pointed at him within arm's reach, he should be able to disable it faster than the blink of an eye, right?

There are my observations. Definitely an episode I enjoy watching again and again.

Outsider65
Wed, Apr 12, 2017, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
I could pick at all the holes (why didn't Data jump the other goon when he had his back turned dealing with Riker?) but I was mildly entertained so I feel forgiving of this episode.

I was a little impressed with Picard. None of the bad guys made it off alive. And poor Hutch shouldn't have been killed off. Also, someone needs to teach Data the concept of personal space. Standing right up against Picard in the elevator scene was kind of strange behavior even in the context of his experiment.
LP30
Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 12:33pm (UTC -5)
Good points, Outsider65.

One more issue: This gang spent a long time preparing for this mission and they don't even know what the captain of the ship looks like? Very unlikely.
Chrome
Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
"One more issue: This gang spent a long time preparing for this mission and they don't even know what the captain of the ship looks like? Very unlikely."

It sounds like Kelsey and her group were just hired by outsiders, though.

KELSEY: I'm not a terrorist Captain, and I don't have a political agenda...But I know some people who do have agendas... and who are very interested in this little container.

So for all we know, Kelsey was tipped off about the Enterprise being vulnerable and unmanned and decided to capitalize on this. What would be the purpose of her looking up the crew registry be if there was zero need for her to ever interact with the crew? Do bank robbers need to know who the bank manager is in order to rob a bank?
LP30
Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
While I do see your point Chrome, I think planning an infiltration into a starship is markedly different than a bank robbery.

Kelsey said they had been planning the mission for a long time, and I've no doubt that this would include having a good handle on the crew manifest, specifically the commanding officers on board.

You're right that the mission itself had little to nothing to do with the crew, however it still seems likely they would have studied the chain of command in case they accidentally ran into one of them. Don't forget that they were already on board before the baryon sweep and before the ship was officially shut down. We get the nostalgic scene of Picard on the bridge just before Kelsey's gang comes on deck to start making modifications.

Wouldn't they want to be well versed with the commanding officers in case they needed to explain themselves?
Chrome
Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
"Wouldn't they want to be well versed with the commanding officers in case they needed to explain themselves?"

The point I was trying to make with the quote above is that robbery of trilithium resin was more of a clandestine effort than you seem to think. Breaking into something mechanical like an engine to get trilithium takes a different skillset than hacking into a Starfleet crew manifest to find out who does what. What if they only had a vague idea of who commands the ship from Starfleet press releases and simply didn't recognize Picard without his uniform?

And there is evidence that the group was technologically limited throughout the heist. Only Picard had those nifty skeleton keys that could access restricted areas. In fact, the whole premise of the episode relies on the audience accepting that Kelsey's group had inadequate knowledge of the ship, which gave Picard an advantage.
LP30
Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
Actually, Kelsey seemed to have intimate knowledge of the ship, so much so that she knew every path available to get to ten-forward from her present location.

We'll just have to agree to disagree. I just find it hard to believe that none of her entire gang would know who the captain is and what he looked like.

But that's just my opinion. You do bring up very valid points.
Chrome
Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
"We'll just have to agree to disagree. I just find it hard to believe that none of her entire gang would know who the captain is and what he looked like."

That's fine, though you still haven't established why they need to know who the crew members are. You brought up a scene where Picard bumped into them earlier, but there wasn't any direct interaction between the two because it wasn't necessary. When Picard was caught, he was treated as a prisoner who needed to be kept under supervision regardless of who the group *thought* he might have been, so it's a moot point to begin with.
LP30
Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
Honestly, had to watch the episode again just now before responding to your post.

Let's take Kelsey's banter with Picard for example: "Lieutenant, Lieutenant commander perhaps?". It gives the impression that she is fully versed in federation command structure and is very astute to the rank of individuals she encounters.

I would say personality wise, it's a direct sell as to her need to know and understand the rank structure of the ship.

In regard to the actual script of the episode, there's no reason for her to know anything about the crew, other than the fact that the ship will be vulnerable at a given period of time. In that regard, I agree with you.

However, if you were preparing to take over the highest vessel that a country had to offer as a successful CIA infiltrator, would you not become very educated as to the individuals you might encounter during that time?
LP30
Sat, May 6, 2017, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
Not to beat this particular topic into the ground, but I just watched this episode again and realized I missed the following dialogue starting at about 39:00 into the show:

Kelsey: You're the only one who needs a deal Mott.

Picard: My name isn't Mott, it's Jean-Luc Picard.

Kelsey: Captain Picard? This is all beginning to make sense.

All Picard did is say his name, it was KELSEY who immediately identified his rank. So you're telling me she knew exactly who the captain of the Enterprise's name was, but had no idea what he looked like?

I don't think so....
Chrome
Sat, May 6, 2017, 4:50pm (UTC -5)
That changes nothing. I'm aware that John Richardson is the head of the US Navy, but I could never pick him out in a room.
LP30
Sat, May 6, 2017, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
Oh come now. Are you planning on secretly boarding a Naval vessel?

I would have believed you up until I heard that Kelsey knew exactly the name of the captain, then it was all over from there. This is the 24th century....you don't think that an immediate inquiry of Captain Picard on any computer wouldn't bring up a current photograph? That is common place even now in the 21st century via the internet.

I knew what the Commandant of the Marine Corps looked like during my service and got to shake his hand over in Iraq during my enlistment. There was no doubt it was him even though he was surrounded by other officers.
RandomThoughts
Sun, May 7, 2017, 12:58am (UTC -5)
Hello Everyone!

Maybe Kelsey was truly confused. Both Mott and Picard are bald after all...

Some never look past the hair... *sigh*

On a totally unrelated note from baldness, of course a mercenary team heading toward the Flagship of the entirety of Starfleet should/would have been shown some photos of the command staff, or would have known what the Captain of said starship looked like. These weren't rank amateurs looting a freighter, they were professionals with their own area of expertise in a carefully selected group, or they wouldn't have gotten in to begin with. In the Today of this episode, they don't have to know what the top Admiral looks like, just the Flagship Captain of this ship.

On the other hand, if the Commandant of the Marine Corps had been holding a saddle...

Just a bit of levity and whatnot, where needed, hopefully taken as intended... RT
LP30
Sun, May 7, 2017, 11:00am (UTC -5)
Thanks, RandomThoughts.

Also, it seems that even random ships from other species (especially Romulans) know Captain Picard immediately simply because of his fame throughout the quadrant. There's no doubt that a specialized infiltration group would know everything about Picard and the command structure on board.

I do understand Chrome's points, which are that the onboard mission itself did not necessarily rely on interacting with the crew, but if they had been 'planning this for a long time' it seems very natural they would have at least a basic understanding of the crew manifest.

One other point that's yet to be brought up (in the last few posts) is that they were supposedly working in tandem with the group that was holding Riker and his team hostage. That would almost certainly indicate that the entire team (including Kelsey) would have intimate knowledge of the entire command structure, ESPECIALLY Picard.
Chrome
Sun, May 7, 2017, 11:41am (UTC -5)
I don't know, you're both pointing out great failures of Kelsey's operation, but I think it was written that way to show you that this group bit off more than it could chew. Being able to board the ship without knowing much protocol may have been what made the heist seem like a golden opportunity at first, only to proven dreadfully wrong. I mean, you guys tout this group's sophistication, but Kelsey also lacked basic knowledge vital to the mission like "the proper handling of trilithium".

It's an interesting question, one I might like to hear the writers address, but I don't think it would've changed the direction of the plot whatsoever, just a few dialogue changes.
LP30
Sun, May 7, 2017, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
Thanks Chrome.

Remember that the reason for the mishandling of trilithium was because Picard screwed up their operation and sabotaged the device that would have protected them from the Baryon sweep. That's why she rushed her team to dump the trilithium as fast as possible and carry it with them. I think their original plan (although never stated) was to beam directly from engineering onto their ship without having to transport their stolen material to Ten Forward.

Things would have gone very smoothly for Kesley if Picard had not been onboard. There would have been no reason for things to go 'dreadfully wrong' otherwise.

Submit a comment





Notify me about new comments on this page
Hide my e-mail on my post

◄ Season Index

▲Top of Page | Menu | Copyright © 1994-2017 Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication or distribution of any content is prohibited. This site is an independent publication and is not affiliated with or authorized by any entity or company referenced herein. See site policies.