Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Force of Nature"

**

Air date: 11/15/1993
Written by Naren Shankar
Directed by Robert Lederman

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The Enterprise ventures into a corridor of space in search of a missing Starfleet vessel but instead finds a disabled Ferengi ship, then later a debris field that's actually a trap used to disable the Enterprise. It was set by the inhabitants of a nearby planet used to raise awareness; two of their scientists, Rabal (Michael Corbett) and Serova (Margaret Reed), claim the cumulative use of warp drive in this narrow corridor is causing irreversible damage to their space and planet. Also, there's a lot of dialogue about Data's cat.

Structurally, "Force of Nature" is about as inelegant as it gets. For the first half of the episode we essentially have a B-story where Data and Geordi crawl around Jeffries tubes and talk about Spot the Goddamn Cat. This material is so clearly padded (and then abandoned) that I'm pretty convinced the writers realized they didn't have enough story to fill the hour and so they tried to turn what should've been the teaser (and absolutely nothing more) into 10 minutes of irrelevant subplot. Then we get the disabled Ferengi ship, which is ham-handed to say the least (the Ferengi captain is a hostile idiot who makes threats and wild accusations despite any evidence and his inferior position that's completely at Picard's mercy) — and again, is dropped so soon after it's introduced that it feels like filler.

Finally we get the meat of the story with the alien scientists, who are desperate to prove theories that have been skeptically received for years, which is that warp drive is damaging their space. When it doesn't look like Serova is getting the immediate response she wants from the Federation, she pilots her ship into the rift and breaches the warp core, killing herself in a radical demonstration that opens a spatial rift that (sort of) proves she was correct. Serova does this despite the fact that Picard was fully prepared to take her recommendation to Starfleet, whom we have no reason to believe won't take it seriously. Serova is, in short, the story's dramatic catalyst, but not a particularly believable one. There are some okay scenes in the wake of this, including Geordi navel-gazing and his conversations with the reasonable Rabal, brother of the late, radical Serova.

The last act, in which the Enterprise must enter and escape the rift to rescue the survivors of the missing ship, drowns in a morass of who-cares technobabble. It makes you realize just how bored this kind of rote recitation of jargon must make the actors. It's action of the most thankless kind, where the camera shakes while people urgently yell out jargony jargon words, and it's supposed to be exciting, but it really is not. Better, but not good, is the heavy-handed final scene in the conference room, where we get the fallout from the revelation that warp drive might actually be causing damage to some areas of space. (The story is sketchy on the details, so as to not lock Star Trek into a situation where one can't trek the stars.)

This is a Trekkian Message Show with themes delivered with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. The real-world corollaries might register as topically relevant if they weren't so laughably obvious in their delivery. To summarize: warp travel is equivalent to carbon emissions, which is causing damage to space, with the long-term devastating environmental effects being equivalent to global warming. I will say that this is not one of Trek's more enlightening or effective allegories. (The Federation's immediate short-term precautionary solution is to institute a speed limit of warp 5, which comes across as more silly than anything.) The one irony I will note, writing this 19 years after "Force of Nature" aired, is the sad state of where the issue of global warming has since ventured in America — with accepted science being pathetically reframed as debate by absurd and shortsighted economic/political denial.

Come to think of it, the fact that the Federation enacts a speed limit immediately after the events of this episode says something when you consider what we haven't done to address carbon emissions and other ecological problems in the 19 years since this episode aired. Perhaps this episode is the ultimate allegory of indictment, meant to be analyzed decades after it was made! Now there's a concept!

Okay, or not.

Previous episode: Attached
Next episode: Inheritance

◄ Season Index

38 comments on this review

grumpy_otter
Sat, Oct 27, 2012, 4:36pm (UTC -6)
I don't disagree with your overall review, just wanted to tell you not to call Spot a "Goddam Cat" again. If you do, I may have to enlist my fellow small mammals into teaching Jammer about proper small mammal address and protocol.

I like Spot, and think discussions of him/her are some of the funniest bits on TNG. If this had appeared in a better episode, I don't think you'd have minded.
Jammer
Sat, Oct 27, 2012, 5:16pm (UTC -6)
I'm not anti-Spot, but the amount of Spot-related dialogue in this episode was really stretching it thin in a particularly obvious way. Definitely not "Spot on." (Har har! Groan.)
lvsxy808
Sun, Oct 28, 2012, 5:16am (UTC -6)
Dull dull dull dull dull. The most pointless, white-noise waste of an hour ever. I'd rather watch "Manhunt" or "Shades of Grey" than this.

The Spot business was indeed filler, written to replace what would have been a much more interesting sub-plot in which Geordi's sister comes aboard to try to help him through the loss of their mother. The story would have revealed Geordi as a bit of a control freak, refusing to accept that his precious technology could ever be the cause of environmental damage and concentrating on that issue precisely to avoid dealing with the lack of control implied by his mother's unexplained disappearance, and his sister would have helped him to face his issues. That story was dropped because it was yet another never-seen-before family member coming aboard in a season full of such stories, which is an understandable concern. But what they replaced it with was so much crap that I'd much rather have had another family story than How to Train a Cat Using Tuna in Your Bra.

And after all that, the warp speed limit was Never Heard From Again except for one off-hand reference in which it was specifically suspended for political reasons.
grumpy_otter
Sun, Oct 28, 2012, 3:51pm (UTC -6)
"I'm not anti-Spot, but the amount of Spot-related dialogue in this episode was really stretching it thin in a particularly obvious way. Definitely not "Spot on." (Har har! Groan.) "

Okay, you're forgiven. I will inform the irascible mustelidae community.
Jay
Sun, Oct 28, 2012, 7:53pm (UTC -6)
Yeah this was definitely a silly idea, and if high traffic causes rifts like this, it shouldn't have taken long before a huge one opened up next to the Bajoran wormhole...

And as far as that series goes, I suspect the Defiant rarely settled for Warp 5.
Paul
Mon, Oct 29, 2012, 9:13am (UTC -6)
Really terrible episode. I'm surprised it even got two stars, Jammer.

The first half is (as you said) all over the map. The tension-filled part of the episode is boring season 7 material -- lots of technobabble and boring music.

But the worst part is how significant the conclusion should be to everything later in Star Trek -- but it isn't. There's some talk of the Warp 5 speed limit for the rest of season 7 (in "Pegasus" and "All Good Things ..."). But after TNG goes off the air, there's no mention of the speed limit or the danger to space.

There is some sort of reference to how Voyager's engines were designed in a way to prevent this problem (maybe in one of the encyclopedias?). But nothing on air is mentioned, and none of the DS9 vessels appear different.

Season 7 is just such a waste. Other than the finale, "Parallels," "Pegasus", "Lower Decks" and "Preemptive Strike", we're lucky to get mediocrity.
Nic
Mon, Oct 29, 2012, 7:28pm (UTC -6)
The writers certainly had good intentions with this one, and I'll grant you it's not easy doing a show with an environmentally-conscious message without being obvious. But yeah, they could have done better.
Paul
Tue, Oct 30, 2012, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
Here's what they should have done with this episode that would have made it watchable:

1) Cut out the filler crap at the beginning.
2) Make the female scientist less whiny and the Ferengi less stupid.
3) With the time leftover from the beginning, go forward a few weeks where the Federation has more of a plan to combat the problem. A scene with Geordi and Picard talking about "promising results" with new technology designed to avoid the problem would have been huge.
Nick P.
Sun, Nov 4, 2012, 12:39am (UTC -6)
And we have it! the worst episode of the entire run. I could watch the Crusher masterbation one tens times in a row before I would watch this one.

But everyone is wrong, it is not direction, or message, or acting, or plot, or music, or writing.

See, like all entertainment, what makes people come watch it, is that they want to LIVE in this universe. they want to BE the heroes. No one wants to live in universe with a "warp speed limit" and the fucking horrible starfleet beurocracy that was surely created. that is similar to why the last Indiana Jones failed. the 1st three were fun because you want to BE Indiana jones, but no one wants to be the 68 year old professor. That is the secret to entertainment.

Star trek was at its best from the TOS to mid season 4 TNG. Starfleet and the enterprise stopped being the guys you wanted to be. Look at all the episodes with Ro laren, or Wesley, from the 5th season onwards. No one wants to be that starfleet. The boring beurocratic one. TOS was about not judging people by their gender or skin color. Now star trek is about NOT warping somewhere cool.

F-that.
Delkazyr
Mon, Nov 5, 2012, 4:19pm (UTC -6)
The real paradox in this episode is that the oh-so-brilliant Serova proved her theories the practical way. Using her as an allegory for present environmental problems, consider her an anti-nuclear activist causing a radioactive meltdown (in her vicinity) to prove lacking reactor safety. Yeah, brilliant indeed!

(I admit, I essentially quoted Phil Farrand here. But come to think about it, he does have a point.)
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, Nov 7, 2012, 6:01pm (UTC -6)
I'm glad Jammer brings up the ambiguity of just how far-reaching this damage is. I've watched this episode a few times (though I admit it's difficult to pay attention to as it's so plodding), but I've never noticed anything to suggest that this damage applies anywhere but in this one particular corridor of space. It's a problem for anyone going through that corridor sure, but does it affect anyone near Earth, or Bajor, or anywhere else of much importance?

On the other hand, the discussion about warp speed limits and Voyager's special nacelles would seem to suggest otherwise. I just always felt like people blew this issue way out of proportion because it seemed (at least to me) to be fairly minor. To use the pollution analogy, this would be more like a problem with smog or heavy metals in a river, local concerns, not something with global implications like carbon dioxide or CFCs.
Skeptic
Fri, Nov 16, 2012, 2:32am (UTC -6)
Ironic that since this Global Warming cautionary tale aired Earth's climate has not actually become significantly warmer. Maybe the warp 5 speed limit had unexpected benefits.
Eric
Sat, Feb 23, 2013, 12:56am (UTC -6)
@Skeptic: What's your definition of "significant"?


It has raised though. From this chart I found on the National climatic data centre, it looks to be about .2-.4 degrees (since the episode aired), I dunno, seems "significant" to me, considering its a global mean.

From what I've read/heard from scientists on GW, is that global average increase that they're predicting is actually slow - deceptively slow, because a global average increase of 1.2 degrees in 20 years actually carries a lot more punch than laymen tend to think, in the form of rising sea levels, increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events. Don't forget there's also feedback mechanisms, rising population levels, and a segment of Earth's population that is only now becoming heavily motorized/industrial.

Its baffling that anyone is skeptical of this, or that people think that there's a debate raging in scientific fields. There isn't. Go to skepticalscience.com if you want to see a list of all the scientific institutions that support the consensus. Or to desmogblog.org, to see all the great exposition done on the disinformation spread on GW (Probably why so many people think that there's no consensus - therefore its not that baffling, but anyway...). Desmogblog did a tally of how many peer-reviewed research papers denied GW vs how many did. Something like 3 to 2000. Unless most of the world's climate scientists are participating in the world's biggest, most elaborate conspiracy (to what end, I'm not sure), we have a real problem on our hands.
Formerly known as Artisan
Mon, Mar 11, 2013, 8:03am (UTC -6)
A couple of years before this aired, a young woman who I admired (but only knew via GEnie, an electronic forum of the 90s) privately shared with me a copy of a TNG script she had written. It would have been a great episode. When "Force of Nature" aired, I was amazed by the similarities, and terribly disappointed. Ellen's script was exactly the story this one should have been.

In her take on the subject, Picard had a difficult decision to make, and took responsibility for it. He could allow an alien civilization to die, if the Federation continued to use warp technology as before, or he could cripple the Federation to save them. He chose the Federation. There was real drama, and real tragedy, all of it rooted in people we care about, and true to their established character and motivation.

Having that spec script as a basis for comparison, this episode seemed even worse than it was. In the aftermath, it was no surprise that its speed limit was more thoroughly disregarded and unenforced than the 55 mph limit of today.

Grumpy
Mon, Apr 8, 2013, 9:02pm (UTC -6)
(A lot of my comments are of the "If only..." or "They could've" variety, even though they're 20 years too late. Well, here's another.)

Not much would've saved this snoozer, but one easy fix is to replace the nobody scientists with someone we care about, especially in the spirit of 7th season bookends. Leah Brahms is an obvious choice. Another option is Mirasta Yale. In "First Contact," she represented technological progress. Now she's thrust into the 24th century (she left her planet, remember) and she discovers the future's not so clean. The same theme would've been served by an encore appearance by, say, Berlinghoff Rasmussen. Or both. Or all three!
Jack
Sat, Sep 14, 2013, 11:05am (UTC -6)
Ferengi Council? We never see it, and by this time, DS9's "The Nagus" had already aired.
Reverend Spork
Mon, Sep 16, 2013, 7:43pm (UTC -6)
It's a middling episode, to be sure, but I enjoyed the Data / LaForge patter. I also like Spot the Damned Cat. However, the A-story boasted annoyingly hardheaded characters, and those characters are especially Annoying Trek Cliches [tm]. Two stars is an accurate assessment, IMHO.
William B
Fri, Oct 18, 2013, 9:25am (UTC -6)
I generally like the Data/La Forge patter and interaction enough to let the time spent on the Spot material slide, if this weren't an episode which obviously had more important things on its mind and didn't fail. The La Forge subplot in which he works hard at a competition he has with another chief engineer, on the other hand, has a clear story purpose which works well. "Booby Trap" more or less suggested that the Enterprise is his girlfriend, and this episode, in which Geordi moves immediately from seeing whether he's ready for cat ownership to, once that has fallen through, channeling his energies back into the warp engine, suggests that the Enterprise engines are also his pet. That Geordi has a personal connection to the ship is something that has been established over the years, and, as with "Interface," this episode does a bit to poke holes in Geordi's relationship to technology and show the weaknesses therein. Geordi is personally hurt that warp drive, which his identity is wrapped up in, could have devastating effects on the fabric of space, and that blow suggests that maybe the thing he values most is not a good thing after all. That's a potentially great story, and one I applaud in theory. In practice, though, while there's a good moment or two with this the emotional heft is lost.

Really, the episode is a mess, unable to stay focused, wasting time on irrelevant details so that the actual story doesn't begin until about halfway through the hour. Once then, it becomes a ponderous, preachy mess; some of these scenes work, but the idea that Serova, as Jammer points out, would react so strongly as to kill herself when people *were listening to her*, and, more to the point, would go as far as to do the damage of a *million ships* on her own space, which is surely more damage than would happen in a year, undermines her as a credible activist (unless, of course, there is a point here being made about activists sliding into extremism that is not only morally suspect because of the damage they do to themselves and others, but to the cause itself, in which, uh, maybe?, but there is no time to digest this). The performances of the guest cast are weak, and then the rescue mission in the last act is awful, with only *one* exterior shot to give us some dramatic idea of what's happening beyond Data and La Forge et al. shouting out what they are doing. The last scene in the conference room feels like a long, droning exposition scene about the new rules which are being put into place which are shortly being ignored.

I applaud the idea behind this episode quite a bit -- the thing about environmental damage is that to forestall it really does mean making compromises on things one had believed to be safe. For the Enterprise crew to learn that they have been unintentionally contributing to environmental damage is a great idea. Sadly the execution is terrible, aside from a few La Forge details. 1.5 stars.
mephyve
Wed, Jan 29, 2014, 10:27am (UTC -6)
I definitely enjoyed the running gag 'Spot the cat' throughout the seasons. I love the imagery elicited whenever someone suggests using a phaser against it. Equally hilarious was the look on Data's face as he considered the implications of the suggestion. "Geordi, I can't stun my cat.' Hilarious! Was it filler? Perhaps somewhat, but highly entertaining filler that dealt with an ongoing gag. Good stuff.
I think the Ferengi scene was used to show that this was a universal issue rather than one limited to the federation. A serious environmental problem was brought to light that would have had more impact if it had led to changes in the Trek verse.
I enjoyed the episode.
3 stars
Smith
Tue, Feb 25, 2014, 8:15am (UTC -6)
Thought the story was flawed, but execution and teleplay were strong. Gene specifically in his writing bible prohibiting making technology a villian. When do you do this lose some abstraction and the ability to tell stories in a more creative and spontaneous format. Story lines over whether you can break warp 5 become simplistic and tedious and compete with other more stronger story lines.

The concept of doing a global warming story was good...but it needed more abstraction. Gobal warming is about denial...and you can communicate this is a very science fiction indirect way. Perhaps the crew picks an alien parasite and those who have it deny they do. Or perhaps a new tech is hurting the crew in ways they can't realize and the engineers get in denial over it? Lot's of methods, without being too obvious.

I liked the non-linear format of the show in that it went from Spot to Geordi's competition to the rescue of the science ship to the "pirates" then to the global warming story. Too many modern stories are "too efficient" and become subconsciously predictable and boring.

Initially, there was going to be a subplot about Geordi's sister coming aboard to reminisce about their Mom...which Pillar thankfully nixed because he thought (correctly) it was too trite.
TS
Sun, Jun 22, 2014, 5:31am (UTC -6)
A sub-plot about Data training Spot. The cat. It's just further evidence that the writers were creatively out of gas at this point. Also didn't help that Michael Piller had moved on to DS9, but I digress.
SamSimon
Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 2:49pm (UTC -6)
While I do agree with Jammer on all the weaknesses of this episode (basically, the fact that there are a couple of subplots just to fill the hour), I do believe that the final message alone deserves a couple of stars on its own. Simply great. And 20 years later, we are still destroying the only Planet that we have using fossil fuels, and we are not going to do anything at all to stop this in the foreseeable future...
Samuel
Thu, Dec 18, 2014, 9:30pm (UTC -6)
Nick P is mr Plinkett.
Tim Rigney
Fri, Mar 6, 2015, 7:56am (UTC -6)
I actually liked this episode, but did anybody notice the glaring continuity error? In the middle of the episode, they encounter a debris field which closely-matches the field that would be expected from the missing ship - the "Fleming." Data even goes so far as to imply that it probably *is* the Fleming. Then at the end of the story, the Fleming is encountered and its crew is safely beamed on-board the Enterprise. The debris field is never mentioned again.
I suppose it could be argued that the warp rift problems caused by travel at warp speeds could cause time shifts, but if that's the case I think it should have been spelled out. I think it's *way* too vague to expect people to just infer it, if that's what they were expecting.
I also thought they were a bit too vague on what it means to "field saturate" the nacelles. Maybe "Trekkies" would get that but as others have mentioned, there was perhaps too much "techno-jargon" involved in this one - imo it's *bad* science fiction to be throwing technical terms around willy-nilly without explaining what they mean.
It's actually one of my favorite episodes overall but I would definitely agree that it needed a re-write. It was written by Naren Shankar who was perhaps high on the science knowledge, low on the writing experience.
Bick
Mon, Jun 15, 2015, 6:50am (UTC -6)
Ok I believe in global warming but that cocksucker Al Gore Promised us water levels way higher and a tropical California, I've been waiting for coconuts and mango trees in Laguna beach, but have yet to find a god damn one. Nor has the water level hit PCH. In fact, nothing has changed since Gore made that promise in 1990, not a god damn thing.. And that was originally supposed to go down in 08. It's 2015 and no coconuts, not a fucking thing.
Dave
Fri, Jul 10, 2015, 2:15pm (UTC -6)
^
Cool story, bro.
DLPB
Fri, Jul 10, 2015, 5:03pm (UTC -6)
If you're waiting for a democrat to be right about anything or see reality, you will have a loooong wait.
Troy
Mon, Aug 3, 2015, 10:15am (UTC -6)
I like this episode 2.75 stars, yes the analogy to global warming and other environmental issues makes it an issue episode. Yes the stuff about Spot the cat was ho-hum. I'd rather have had Geordi's sister as another poster suggested (maybe even make the debris field the Hera?)
True there isn't enough to weave a full 45 minutes out of an issue, so a parallel story was needed.
Another change I suppose I'd rather the sister tried to beam back aboard and then ended up in her own mess would have been a better ending for her (rather than being a pure martyr)
Dougie
Sat, Sep 19, 2015, 3:54pm (UTC -6)
I'm with Bick. Funny I live in Laguna Beach as well. Our high tides during this supermoon are no worse than before.

Trek preacher shows are garbage, and watching this one today makes me sad to think how gullible trekkies are. I thought we might be an intelligent group, but nope. Just 'issue consumers' of the same hogwash as the ordinary people that the average trekkie thinks is an unevolved troglodyte, but with a dash of pretentiousness previously reserved for the Q.

So for you bro types out there, get over yourselves.
Luke
Thu, Oct 15, 2015, 10:27pm (UTC -6)
ROTFLMAO!!!!! What the hell did I just watch? No, seriously, what was that? I don't think I've ever seen a television show, or film for that matter, so laughably bad in all my life. And I've seen a lot of Adam Sandler movies, so that's really saying something. I mean, I'm not even mad - usually when a Trek episode is this bad it's because it has enraged me in some fashion, but this.... this is just.... LOL!!!!!

I barely know where even to start with this train-wreck. From the completely unrepentant, unabashed filler of the "let's train Spot" sub-plot (for crying out loud, they devoted the entire teaser to set up the god-damn filler!), to the equally unrepentant filler of LaForge in competition with another ship's Chief Engineer, to yet another asinine use of the Ferengi (they actually had the Ferengi DaiMon manipulate Picard into aiding in his repairs yet had Riker stand there with a shit-eating grin on his face looking like "we sure pulled one over on this pathetic Ferengi, eh Captain?"), to the absolutely god-awful atrocious acting from the guy playing Rabal, to the completely unsubtle delivery of "The Message" (my favorite metaphor for Trek Message Shows is usually "the trusty Trek 2x4 to the face" - but Jammer is right, this isn't a 2x4, this a sledgehammer to the face!), to the moronic and sophormically absurd attempt at world-building with the Warp Five Speed Limit (yeah, because that's what people watch Trek for - to see people not warping off into the unknown)(damn - I don't even much care for the whole "where no one has gone before" and "seek out new life and new civilizations" aspect of the franchise, but even I think this is quite possibly the downright stupidest idea Trek has ever come up with - yes, stupider than the lizard sex from VOY: "Threshold"!), to the fact that the Federation Council inexplicably decides that because this one area of space, which is directly stated to be highly unique, is vulnerable to warp effects that it therefore means that all space (everywhere!) is also vulnerable, to the.... well, shit, do I even have to go on? Seriously, I can't stop laughing even now while writing this review! I suppose I could get into the absolute bullshit that is the modern climate change narrative (early incarnations of which this "story" is obviously based on), but I'm not going to bother. That's trivial, absolutely trivial, in this stew of crap!

But let's leave all of that aside. Because all of it, as bad as it all is, absolutely pales in comparison to the main problem with "Force of Nature" - the character of Serova. Could somebody please explain to me what in the actual fuck the writers/show-runners were trying to do with this character? So, let me see if I have this straight.... she's insanely concerned with the effect warp drive is having on her area of space and particularly on her planet. So, what does she do in order to protect her beloved space and planet? She deliberately drop kicks it all into the tenth level of Hell. To say that this makes absolutely no sense what-so-ever is an understatement. That's like someone saying "I'm massively concerned about the environmental impact of you pouring that one gallon of toxic waste into the local river so I'm going to dump one billion metric tons of toxic waste into it to show you that the river needs protecting!" Do you see the problem here? She just literally destroyed the entire climate of her own beloved planet and demolished the entire area of space surrounding it. That, on it's own, would be laughable enough, but it gets worse! After she has committed her act of eco-terrorism (which she did because Picard was giving her exactly what she wanted - umm, what?!!) the episode then decides that she is the moral center for the story! LaForge starts navel-gazing and asking things like "why didn't I just listen to her?". What?! He was listening to her! They were all giving her every, single benefit of the doubt! Even though she (and her brother) have, up to this point - (let's tally this up, shall we) 1.) mined the only area of this region where ships travel, 2.) disabled a Ferengi ship (thereby endangering the lives of 450 people - if the Enterprise hadn't come along they would probably have died adrift in space), 3.) disabled a Federation vessel (thereby endangering the lives of that crew), 4.) attacked the Enterprise (attempting to endanger another 1000+ people) and 5.) completely destroyed the lives of God knows how many people on their planet - she is considered to occupy the moral high ground here? Seriously, if I didn't laugh I'd cry, this is so abominably bad. The level of cognitive dissonance it must have taken to write this stuff must have been something to behold - one for the record books! But what really stands out is this line of dialogue from her brother - "I'm trying to tell myself that she died for what she believed in, but somehow that isn't much comfort." Oh. My. Holy. God! She didn't die for what she believed in; she died for the exact opposite of what she believed in! Let me use another analogy. Suppose Person A comes up to Person B and says... "You see Person C here? I love him and I don't ever want him to be harmed." Person A the proceeds to pull out a .44 Magnum and blow Person C's brains all over the nearest wall. Person B then says "I guess Person A really did want to keep him from harm." Seriously, was this a joke?!

Wow, it had been quite a while since TNG delivered an episode this bad (almost two and a half seasons). I've actually given eleven other episodes a zero rating, but this one may end up in the running for the worst in the entire series. A lot of people have episodes that they would like to pretend aren't canon. Well, this might very well me mine.

0/10
Robert
Fri, Oct 16, 2015, 6:33am (UTC -6)
Actually LaForge's "why didn't I just listen to her" makes plenty of sense. She just sacrificed her planet to save the rest of the galaxy. It's the equivalent of someone protesting nuclear power detonated a reactor city to show how dangerous it is. Seeing the devastation could easily cause someone to say "Hey, she was right, that IS bad". That said, Serova's actions were preposterous, because nobody is so noble as to be more concerned about the galaxy than their home.
Luke
Fri, Oct 16, 2015, 9:22am (UTC -6)
Except she wasn't out to save the galaxy. She was only trying to save her local region of space. The episode goes out of its way to let us know that this region is susceptible to the damage because of the high levels of technobabble radiation (or whatever field it was). It's only after her she destroys everything that it suddenly becomes "everywhere is capable of being damaged." Just like so many things, the episode promptly drops and forgets about what was said earlier.
Diamond Dave
Mon, Nov 2, 2015, 12:32pm (UTC -6)
This is indeed something of a mess in conception. It's clear the A-story didn't have enough meat to sustain the whole episode - I was surprised the teaser contained nothing more than a Spot story, and even more surprised to find that carried on for the first 10 minutes, fun though it is! The Ferengi plot element also arrives and disappears. The we get a fairly heavy handed allegory for environmental damage - and it's difficult to get too engaged given the bizarre behaviour of Serova. Given something as far reaching as the war speed limit being introduced you'd expect it to be a big thing, and yet that disappears as well.

Still, the run up to the end is exciting enough, and there's some fun interplay earlier. "Geordi, I cannot stun my cat" indeed. 2 stars.
Chrome
Wed, Nov 4, 2015, 5:56pm (UTC -6)
"Come to think of it, the fact that the Federation enacts a speed limit immediately after the events of this episode says something when you consider what we haven't done to address carbon emissions and other ecological problems in the 19 years since this episode aired."

Don't get me wrong, I liked your review, but what's up with the inaccurate political jab in your conclusion? Many states, particularly California, have enormously heightened their emissions restrictions on vehicles. Congress also has enacted federally mandated carbon emissions (which Volkswagon has infamously tried to circumvent). Less Star Trek, more newspapers for you, Jammer!
Skywalker
Sun, Apr 17, 2016, 2:36am (UTC -6)
A note on the intro with Data, Geordi, and Spot.

I have a theory to why Spot often changes genders and appearance — Data keeps killing them by accident with his android strength and then gets new ones and uses the same name. I laugh imagining it like Mice of Men, with Geordi as George talking to Data as Lenny:

"That kitty ain't fresh, Data. When I find another that's fresh I'll let ya keep 'im a little while. You was always killin' 'em by pettin' 'em too hard. First chance I get, I'll get ya a puppy. You can pet 'em harder."
IIII
Fri, Apr 22, 2016, 5:10am (UTC -6)
During the the mid and late 90s, just about every series (live action and animated) in those days needed some type of environmental friendly message crap shoved down out throats. The plot to this episode, that wrap speed is damaging space, was ignored because it made no sense. it was there own global warming bullshit... wake-up people!

Scientific Consensus on Climate Change
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM4CnKk_83Q

Green Tyranny: The Propaganda Machine
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NryBx2hP8o
Trekker
Sun, Sep 4, 2016, 9:15pm (UTC -6)
Agree too heavy handed, it's like watching n episode of Captain Planet (I am a 90's kid).

TNG had two major topical issue problems in the late 80's and 90's:

1. Environmental stories- flat and too obvious or too utopian/clean answers that can never happen. There are no simple answers to climate change either for believers or deniers.

a. If it is real you can't mandate the world to work together.

b. If it is not really human driven, then how can we control the weather to not drop tornadoes in our towns where they haven't happened in over 100 years. Personally, I belong to class b argument, I don't doubt issues with climate probably natural. My inclination is not to "Go Green", but to advance science and change weather patterns to suit Human life, which both Liberals and Conservatives lack in their extreme stances.

c. If you are a super-denier in climate pattern change, not just a scientific challenger on facts but a religious zealot believer in God's will (I argue more along the line that there isn't enough data to support human driven pattern, but there is enough to show periodic issues), how do you explain the European Ice age of the 19th century, which cause the Great Potato Famine among other historical events?

2. LGBT storylines- "The Host" and "Outcast" just made Star Trek out to be homophobic, while other TV shows were rising to the challenge like Alien Nation and later on Babylon 5 and even Gene Roddenberry's forgotten classic Earth Final Conflict.
Greg
Thu, Oct 27, 2016, 11:56pm (UTC -6)
I have to agree with Jammer on this one. Only I would give it less than two stars. A bunch of filler about Data's damn cat that was pointless as well as Geordi's efforts to get the efficiency of the engines up to snuff. Then there is the Frengi vessel whose only reason for existence is to inform us of booby traps. And finally after blundering into said bobby trap we are confronted by two aliens that tell us warp drive is screwing up the environment. This entire episode was rather heavy handed allegory filled with enough techno babble to fill a Voyager episode. And the short term solution is to drive 55 through this region of space. God it was awful and about as subtle as the old Star Trek episode about the two aliens that were black and white but on different sides of their bodies. I've seen better stories on the back of cereal boxes. The actors must cringe when ever they see this one. I'd give it one star.

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 © 1994-2016 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.