Star Trek: The Next Generation

"The High Ground"

3 stars

Air date: 1/29/1990
Written by Melinda M. Snodgrass
Directed by Gabrielle Beaumont

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

While on a mission of mercy delivering medical supplies to a war-torn world, Crusher is taken hostage into underground tunnels by Finn (Richard Cox), the leader of a terrorist group that commits frequent violence against the planet's functioning government and its civilians. With the kidnapping, Finn hopes to get the attention of the Federation and shine a spotlight on his cause, which he feels has long been ignored. Finn's methods start with kidnapping Crusher, and then he raises the stakes with an attempt to destroy the Enterprise by using untraceable (and fatal to its users, when used repeatedly) transporter technology to get aboard the ship and plant a bomb. When that fails, Finn kidnaps Picard.

"The High Ground" takes a surprisingly candid and surprisingly balanced look at the issue of terrorism from multiple points of view. Finn, while clearly taking violence to extremes that prove counter-productive even to his own cause, is not a cardboard madman. He wants his grievances heard; violence is merely his currency. At the same time, the episode does not condone or make excuses for his actions.

The episode also takes a hard look at those who attempt to fight terrorism — what they do and why. One key point of view is from the head of the counterterrorism force, Alexana Devos (Kerrie Keane), who has had to deal with Finn's daily violence for years. She's become a hardliner, and her stance is understandable; she's trying to minimize violence in a war zone where civilians have become routine terrorist targets. But, for that matter, the civilians have also become routine targets for arrest for being sympathetic to the separatists; one shot shows a 12-year-old kid being hauled away as a suspected terrorist. This is a police-state society.

Caught in the middle is the Enterprise. Finn has an attention-getting speech about the Federation's willingness to supply the government with medical supplies while turning a blind eye to the separatists. Is he right? Not really, but it demonstrates how appearing to choose sides gets the Federation pulled into an otherwise obscure struggle that does not concern them.

This is one of those rare episodes of TNG where, by the end, essentially nothing has been solved. Sure, Crusher and Picard have been rescued, but the cycle of violence will continue, and the episode doesn't pretend that the situation can be fixed simply because the Enterprise was here or Picard came in and made a pithy speech.

Previous episode: The Hunted
Next episode: Deja Q

Like this site? Support it by buying Jammer a coffee.

◄ Season Index

98 comments on this post

Bad Horse
Fri, Mar 26, 2010, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
The High Ground - "This is one of those rare episodes of TNG where, by the end, essentially nothing has been solved. Sure, Crusher and Picard have been rescued, but the cycle of violence will continue, and the episode doesn't pretend that the situation can be fixed simply because the Enterprise was here or Picard came in and made a pithy speech."

I didn't get that. IIRC, the ending has Crusher saying "No more killing" and the last kid with a gun slowly lays it down, for no reason other than she said so. If there was anything after that suggesting that the violence would go on, I sure don't remember it. I just remember that pitiful oversimplification.
Sun, Jul 8, 2012, 6:55am (UTC -5)
Really liked this one. Nicely handled, even to the charismatic but ruthless leader. Have to agree with the "nothing was solved" -summery. Even though the kid lowered his gun, what is that in the face of 70 years of conflict? I bet some kid in Israel/Palestine -conflict has lowered his gun as well. Saw it as a commentary on that and Riker's last words as a kind of wish for real world things to change somehow.
Sun, Jul 8, 2012, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
Bit of trivia for you American types, this episode was banned in the UK during the first S3 broadcasts, due to the sensitive content (we had been bombed by the IRA in similar ways for years) and the "Irish Reunification" line.

It has been shown since the bombings stopped though.
Sun, Dec 16, 2012, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
The Rutians could solve the conflict in five seconds by granting the independence the Ansata have wanted fro 70 years.. Their reasons not to were never given, so assumedly they can only be oppressive in nature.
Sun, Dec 16, 2012, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
And it was bizarre that Troi fretted about Geordi saying to transport the bomb at his signal...did she think he was going to ride the bomb into space?
William B
Mon, May 27, 2013, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
I agree with Jay that the lack of indication why the Rutians didn't just grant independence to the Ansata in the first place hurts the episode a little bit, if only because in order for the Rutians in general and Devos in particular should have a POV on why they have refused. It's not hard to imagine possible reasons -- not all Ansata actually want independence; the land is "owned" by all society and splitting it apart is difficult and there aren't sufficient resources; the reasons that apply in our world. There is a reason why Northern Ireland can't "just" split from the rest of the UK and why Palestine can't "just" declare its independence from Israel (or why the US couldn't "just" declare independence from England without a fight, for that matter). Still, it would be nice to have a character articulate why this fight exists at all. The other thing that might very well be happening is that the government, after terrorism has started, has entrenched in their position because it’s Wrong to negotiate with terrorists, which emphasizes how vicious the cycle of oppression/terrorism can become.

It's actually a little astonishing that this episode exists at all -- it's 1990, and Data says that the Irish Unification was achieved through terrorism. This is not "The Battle of Algiers," (the movie, not the...battle), but for a Star Trek episode it is fairly hard-hitting and generally doesn't pull punches about the brutality of either side, with a police state detaining anyone with some connection to terrorism and dehumanizing (...deperson-izing) the terrorists themselves on the one hand, and a terrorist outfit blowing up military targets and accidentally-or-not-accidentally blowing up schoolbuses of children and recruiting children into lives of violence from an early age. Both Finn and Devos are portrayed as right-and-wrong; justified to believe that they are in an unfair situation, mistaken to think that their situation gives them the rights to take the measures they are taking. Ultimately, the Enterprise sides with Devos, and her position is the stronger of the two: the police brutality does not seem to cross over into torture and the police are not killing. Riker is skeptical of Devos, but ultimately doesn’t rail against her.

Finn’s comparison of himself to George Washington, and Data’s speech to Picard on the role terrorism played in the Mexican independence and in the (!) Irish Reunification, show an attitude toward terrorism that would be difficult if not impossible to get on the air on a mainstream show today. The episode doesn’t justify or excuse or condone Finn’s actions, but neither does it pretend that terrorism (and guerrilla tactics similar to it) is something that has only sprung up suddenly and is not a part of human history. I am not convinced that Finn is wrong when he claims that the Federation chooses sides when it delivers medical supplies to the ruling party on the planet and not to the terrorist factions; trading is a choice, and trading with the dominant government is a choice to assign legitimacy to them, and violates the thread of non-interference. Insofar as this episode is partly a Northern Ireland metaphor (and can be applied, roughly, to aspects of the Israel/Palestine situation), the Federation’s role is akin to the United States and other superpowers outside the conflict, which can claim neutrality but whose weight can alter the balance of power even they only put their toes on the scale. Finn’s pointing out to Crusher that human history is full of violent revolt and that the current era of human peace is to some degree enjoyed because of those past conflicts is also a fantastic moment -- it doesn’t go into the depths or excesses (depending on your point of view) that Deep Space Nine would go to criticize the Federation POV as naïve, but it does suggest that on some level it is not possible for people from a culture which is no longer violent and in which freedom is not threatened (either by terrorism or by an oppressive government) to understand fully what they are fighting for, even if they can still hope to show a better way.

I do think that Crusher’s “no more killing!” and the child’s putting down the gun is cheesy as all heck and it was a little hard not to laugh at the execution of the moment. But I do think that, simplicity and execution problems aside, there had to be a moment like this at the episode’s end, to suggest Crusher’s humanism can provide at least in some instances an alternative to Finn’s violence and murder-suicide-for-the-cause bluster. I don’t think that the episode is saying that the problems will be over -- he’s one kid! -- but it does suggest the possibility that there can be some kind of reconciliation in the next generation (no pun intended). In some senses this is the reverse of “The Vengeance Factor,” where reconciliation requires the symbolic death of the last remnants of vengeance from the past as represented by Yuta; here reconciliation is not currently possible, but the possibility of a better future is represented by the child.

For me I think this is on the 3-3.5 star border, probably just tipping into 3.5 stars.
Mon, Jul 15, 2013, 8:03pm (UTC -5)
I would give this episode 3.5 stars. Cheesy ending aside, this episode is very balanced and thought provoking, and bold for 1990! I think of Isreal and Palestine when I watch this one, but it could be a metaphor for a lot of different things. Regardless of the conflict, Finn is right when he says the only difference between terrorists and generals is who is on the winning side. Barack Obama is murdering children in Pakistan daily with drone strikes, yet he has a nobel peace prize. Israel kills/tortures/detains Palestinians about 10x more than the other way around, and it doesn't even make the news. In response to a previous comment that they didn't torture detainees on the show, I think they just didn't show it because it's a family show. Lady Gestapo did say she could use more persuasive methods, and Finn's son died in detention. I think it was hinted at. The question remains, is terrorism an acceptable means to an end? To answer no, I think one must denounce every armed conflict in history, not just the losing ones. That includes fighting back, because every side thinks they're fighting back. I really can't answer if war is ever a valid means to achieve something, but I can say this much: As an American, I want my president to stop killing in my name, and as a Jew, I want Israel to do the same and grant the people of Palestine independence. Maybe in the year 2400 it could happen.
Nick P.
Mon, Oct 14, 2013, 11:24am (UTC -5)
I agree thatsome reason for not giving independence would have been nice, but probably not that important, there are a million reasons. We Americans LOVE giving independance, but in reality we really are not fans. Although not quite to the level of terrorism, anyone like me from Michigan can tell you the UP has a fairly strong separatist movement. Now if it ever got to the point of terrorism, who knows, because the problem is MOST in the UP do NOT support separation from the US. These issues are never that simple, and that is why I don't really care why the government of this planet didn't grant independance, they had a reason, enough for me. Look at the tibetans, it seems like an easy one for Liberals, but if you actually study the tibetan issue, it is WAY more complex than just giving some mountain guys some independance.
Tue, Jan 14, 2014, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
Huh. I must confess to being in error here. I was dreading this episode, as I do essentially any time Star Trek decides to jump into politics. But surprisingly, it still turned out to be a good show. And nowhere near as annoyingly preachy as I would have expected. This is especially true given how it was set up; we are quickly introduced to the soft spokenkind-hearted terrorist offering food and friendship to his prisoner, and then the harsh-spoken, no-nonsense police chief in her quasi-fascist uniform. The stage was set for a typical liberal terrorism apology.

And yet somewhere in there it changed. Did Dr. Crusher, the wide-eyed idealist bleeding heart start to argue in favor of this sweet gentleman of a terrorist? Yes, but only some. And Picard was having none of it. And she still seemed to hate him and consider his actions horrific. Did Riker start bad-mouthing the police chief's actions? Yes, but Riker's holier-than-thou approach turned out to bite him in the derriere, nearly destroying the Enterprise as a result. And while the police state certainly didn't look pleasant, the police chief was never portrayed as a one-dimensional villain who needed to be lectured by her moral superiors; and always had a legitiimate response.

That's not to stop them from throwing in a few eye-rolling lines. The old canard about George Washington being a terrorist in a different perspective was thrown in, as ridiculous as the statement might be. There's a difference between war, even a war for independence or civil war, and terrorism. Terrorism suscribes to the underpants gnome theory of war: 1) blow stuff up. 2) ??? 3) profit! There is no clear long term goal for terrorism besides fear. This isn't just about good guys and bad guys; Al Qaeda has engaged in both war and terrorism over the past decade or so. But they have to try to pretend they're equivalent, so whatever. And Data's questions was out of place and clearly intended to talk to the audience rather than just being part of the show. But really, only two cringeworthy scenes? I'll take it.

Because there was some subtlety there. For example, there was no preaching about whether or not one should negotiate with terrorists. Instead, they showed it. Whether intentional or not, it was Riker's willingness to negotiate that raised the stakes and gave the terrorists the idea to go after the Enterprise. Essentially, they showed the maxim that negotiating with terrorists only emboldens said terrorists. Given the intent was to provide a more balanced view, this is somewhat surprising. So instead of making a big deal about it, it was only shown and not stated out loud. Nice.

And regardless of the politics involved, it turned out to be a very engaging 45 minutes. It's nice to see Beverly get a show for herslf. We see her innocent "do no harm" persona that showed up in Symbiosis reinforced, and it's an aspect of her that gets repeated later. Unfortunately, her characterization was all over the place, seemingly wanting to destroy the terrorist one moment and wanting to kiss him the next. But since she was called out on it a few times, it seems like that was the intent. Not sure why; maybe to represent the balance the show tried to have... Also, Gates McFadden really can't act angry, at least not in this episode.

Great, now I'm complaining agin... Picard was great, as usual. The technology was a neat idea that added to the plot. The guest actors were pretty good. And the dialogue, the emotions, the atmosphere all portrayed the messed up situation that it really was. Like I said, I came in expecting the worst. And I came out being impressed. Well done.

Jay, it's rather premature to declare that the Rutians must be oppressing the other side since no reason was given. The episode was clearly intending to mirror the Irish situation. And the fact remained that not everyone in Northern Ireland, either then or now, wanted to secede. Declaring that one side is the oppressors with no evidence is probably just a projection.
Patrick D
Fri, Jan 24, 2014, 9:36pm (UTC -5)
Looking back, and re-watching TNG on Blu ray (btw: goddamn these episodes look GORGEOUS!), I'm presently watching "The High Ground" and its primary antagonist, Kyril Finn strikes me as the prototypical Deep Space Nine character. In fact, I'll go so far as to call Finn the *first* Deep Space Nine character; one who passionately dresses down Federation characters for perceived hypocrisies while justifying their own immoral behaviors. Seriously Finn sounds just like Kira, Quark, Garak, Dukat, Odo and a host of others throughout the seven years of DS9.
Patrick D
Sat, Jan 25, 2014, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
Addendum to previous post:

The difference in this episode is that the TNG Federation characters have some admonishments to dish out right back to their accusers ("Washington was a general not a terrorist), whereas the DS9 Federation characters usually had no real comeback (with the possible exception of Bashir) after being told how much the Federation and Starfleet suck.
Sat, Feb 1, 2014, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
So so episode. I didn't buy the premise as much as Jammer did, although I must recognize that guest actor(the guy that kidnaps Crusher) was good.

What I dont see mentioned yet is something I thought was slightly hinted at, and that is that Beverly developed a minor case of Stockholm syndrome.

At the beginning of the episode she was hostile towards the guy, and by the end she almost defended his actions. Sure, she's a humanist and a bleeding-heart and they talked enough to make their points clear (and boy, did they talk). But I think it's also interesting to consider the Stockholm syndrome side.

If we look at the episode as a whole, I think it's against Terrorism in general(in despite of what Data said about Human History) because the way the planet is dealing with the issue is a lose-lose for both parties. On one side, we have a totalitarian police state, on the other hand people that was born with a gun in their hands.

Now, that ending was very simplistic, but hey! They needed some sort of upbeat and hopeful finale or this wouldn't be TNG (post S1 TNG, at least, I'm thinking about the episode "Conspirancy", which's disturbing as hell).
Sat, Feb 1, 2014, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
I see William B point now, regarding this episode being Beverly Crusher's breakthrough. This is certainly a much better episode to show her personality than the one I mentioned ("Remember Me?").

But yeah, I liked the latter much more than the former :P
Sun, Apr 20, 2014, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
Pretty good episode. But let me make one thing clear here: Palestine's issue is not the same as this. The fact is, Palestine bombs Israel because the Koran and Hadith teach that Jews are "not to be taken as friends" among other evil verses.

The left wing media continually ignore the truth that ISLAM is the issue in the middle east. Until we confront Islam, there will never be any peace in that region.
Sat, Jun 28, 2014, 9:14am (UTC -5)
The execution and characterizations were pretty good but a lot of the initial premises were very strained-a two-continent planet (maybe) with the eastern one seemingly much more advanced but unwilling to grant independence and both seeming to have small populations (for there to be only an estimated 200 terrorists). It's also very inconsistent in how long the conflict had been violent-the episode suggests much of the 70 years since independence was not granted while the initial log entry suggests very recently (and it's a little hard to buy the Federation trading with a society that had had such intense conflict, especially if the non-independence was not justified, for decades/and not know of it).
Sat, Jun 28, 2014, 9:23am (UTC -5)
Another thing, I think they really should have had more background on the situation because of Data's question of whether terrorism was acceptable if all peaceful measures had been tried or forbidden as some evidence suggests that terrorists usually do have peaceful methods but don't bother with them. It appears that the dominant society did allow sympathy strikes and protest marches to occur albeit with suspicion and some harassment of many of the participants.
Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 10:14pm (UTC -5)
A great episode because of its balance. The key question being - as put by data, when attempts at peace have failed, is violence an option? Is violence an acceptable form of protest? I wish Picard, our philosophical hero, could have given us more guidance other than 'it's something humanity struggles with'. The French resistance would certainly think violence is an option. What about insurgence in Iraq attacking American and British soldiers? Or the people living in Giza? What about Saudis (most of the he 9/11 hijackers were Saudis and, many would argue its a controlled state kept in power by western countries), what about the Rodney King riots protesting unfair treatment within a democracy?

Trek is great because it puts us in a future witch gives us a chance to see and examine a conflict dispassionately. To pull something out that may be close to our hearts and examine it, and maybe see it from a different perspective. My list of examples above will likely elicit a clear yes violence is acceptable or no it is not and I provide this spectrum because the comments suggest that more people want more facts on the root of why independents was denied - but I feel like that misses the point. If we had more facts we could more easily take sides, and the whole point of the episode is to examine the legitimacy of the use of violence. When is it ok to put down a sign and start making bombs, that question is for the viewer and more facts would absolve us of asking the question of ourselves. What would it take for you to be willing to use violence? To kill, and to die?

Also, I think the line that this has been going on for 70 years and the this provided an 'excuse' may have been lost on some viewers. It doesn't take long for a conflict to become ingrained. To use a current example, does it matter if Hamas fired rockets first or if Israel bombed first? In 70 years of conflict it doesn't really matter who did what first in a given spark of violence - it's a chicken and egg debate where both end up roasted on the farmers dinner table.

I feel (and I welcome comments) this is about asking ourselves about the limits of the use of violence and about showing the consequences of terrorist tactics-the police state, children being put in prison and dying at the hands of the state which may fuel more terrorism
Fri, Sep 5, 2014, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
p.s. For another view of terrorism, one that shows it as the actions of those analogous to the kkk and actions that have a 100% failure rate see the west wing - a special post 9/11 episode called isaac and ishmael.
Thu, Oct 9, 2014, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
I believe this is the first time we see Picard full-on tackle someone. Considering that TNG doesn't really go for TOS-style knock-down-drag-outs *that* often, it was quite a surprise the first time.
Thu, Oct 9, 2014, 11:17pm (UTC -5)
Good point, Z. As the story goes, by the 3rd season Stewart was begging for more sex & violence. Looking back, Picard hardly does anything physical in Seasons 1 & 2, apart from firing a phaser in "Conspiracy" and dodging holo-bullets in "Manhunt." Finally, after the Christmas break, he got his wish. More so two months later with "Captain's Holiday." And then... not much more: wrestling with his brother, a little space-racquetball, but few good opportunities to rip his shirt, Shatner-style.
Thu, Oct 9, 2014, 11:20pm (UTC -5)
P.S. Being Worf's bodyguard in "Sins of the Father" also characterizes the new emphasis on action during this period.
Tue, Oct 14, 2014, 7:22am (UTC -5)
Another wooden perfomance for Dr. Crusher... By far the worst and most boring TNG character.
Tue, Oct 14, 2014, 8:32pm (UTC -5)
"By far the worst and most boring TNG character."

Worse than Troi? I dunno. Little hard to understand the Crusher hate... certainly a better doc than Pulaski... but I guess when compared to the other ST docs, she usually fails to match their quality.
Sat, Dec 6, 2014, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
"But let me make one thing clear here: Palestine's issue is not the same as this. The fact is, Palestine bombs Israel because the Koran and Hadith teach..."

Palestine bombs Israel because Israel is illegally occupying land, was illegally formed in violation of the UN Security Council in 1948, and refuses to return to UN242 borders, as mandated by the World Court, UN and virtually every country on the planet. Everything else is irrelevent.

As for this episode, its very daring, but mis-steps by not delving into why independence is not being granted, and why it should. The episode ultimately comes down on the side of the State, of the status quo, and is so less radical than it seems at first glance.

Also, I didn't see anyone talk about the teleportation device in the film. Seems to me, the device is a metaphor for suicide bombing. ie - the device slowly saps the lives of the rebel faction, but allows them to infiltrate everywhere. It's a kind of tactically useful death sentence.
Dave in NC
Tue, Dec 16, 2014, 11:59am (UTC -5)
I guess your Bible doesn't have Leviticus in it, dlpb.

There are numerous quotes supporting murder and violence in all of the holy books of the Abrahamaic religions. It's not really fair to single out the Quran.
Tue, Dec 16, 2014, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
Not to get into too heated a discussion over this, but...

DLPB, you aren't incorrect that Islamic texts support violence, but that in no way invalidates what Corey is saying about Israel being an illegal occupying force. It's not an either/or.

Dave in NC, you are also correct, however, in 2014, the only sect of Abrahamic faiths which take their holy book seriously enough to commit violence in its name on a mass scale is Islam. The other two have (mostly) gotten to the point of ignoring their own religions enough to be past this stage, so it *is* fair to single Islam out in at least this respect.
Thu, Dec 18, 2014, 6:36am (UTC -5)
3 Quick Questions

1) Can we think of very many nations that aren't technically occupying land that isn't theirs? Does there ever come a point in which it's no longer fair game to attack someone forever over land that your grandfather owned?

2) Does anyone actually think that either side would agree to anything remotely reasonable to end the fighting?

3) If #2 happened, does anyone actually think the fighting would stop?
Mon, Dec 29, 2014, 3:13pm (UTC -5)
I guess your Bible doesn't have Leviticus in it, dlpb.

There are numerous quotes supporting murder and violence in all of the holy books of the Abrahamaic religions. It's not really fair to single out the Quran.


Not this old chestnut again. First, Christians live by the 4 Gospels. Not Leviticus. Second, the Bible is made up of over 60 books (I seem to recall 72). Third, Christians are not the overwhelming issue in today's world. Open your eyes. Every single country that even has a minority Muslim community has internal problems with their beliefs. Europe is already starting to push back. And where Muslims make a larger proportion? Oh, yeah, massive curtailment of freedoms. Sharia law. Need I go on? There is a reason that Christianity moved on, and Islam is stuck fast in 600 AD.

That reason is the doctrine of Islam and Chsitianity are very different. The Koran is not the same as the Bible... it's almost one complete work, said to be transcribed from Muhammad. He instructs his followers to do things, like Jesus. But unlike Jesus, Muhammad comes out with things like:

Qur'an (5:51) - "O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people."

You see, there is no comparable passage to this by Jesus singling out different religions or people and telling them not to be friends. And now you'll come back and say "Oh, but what about all the good verses?" Unfortunately, Muhammad and the Hadith dictate that the former passages (the peaceful ones before Muhammad created an army) are superseded by the latter (where he was conquering).

The media don't tell you this, but the internet is right there, so ignorance is no excuse for your total lack of understanding on this topic.
Mon, Dec 29, 2014, 5:26pm (UTC -5)
In fact, let someone who has studied it, and holds degree in it, to explain it to you.
Jonn Walsh
Fri, Feb 27, 2015, 9:18am (UTC -5)
And there's Corey ignoring the reasons why Israel's sovereignty was and still is necessary. Ongoing malignant world prejudices curry any need to consider Israel an illegally occupied land. Seems you may embrace some of them.
It's been over 60 years since Israel's formation- heck, even Great Britain acknowledged America's sovereignty sooner than that. The nation of Israel has been fighting a battle for survival against the horrors of genocide for thousands of years, the only difference today being that they can do so from within their own borders, supported by their allies, rather than as disjointed minority factions within others' borders against people like you.
Fri, Feb 27, 2015, 10:50am (UTC -5)
@Jonn Walsh

Well that's a specious argument--white British people accepted that other white (recently) British people claimed independence for land which they themselves recently stole from the brown people (not really considered people in the 18th century)? That's not analogous to a 20th century land-seizure and occupation which actively displaces one group of people for the benefit of another being *accepted* by the global community. The fact that Jews, Semites and Israeli nationals have faced (and do indeed still face) persecution immaterial to the fact that the so-called "solution" to that problem was to inflict others with a different problem. Realistically, there is no option which doesn't include maintaining a sovereign Israeli nationstate, but what irks me at least (and I would argue is anathema to a lasting peace) is the attitude which posits Israel's illegal existence as shamelessly necessary, the consequences to others be damned; that its presence is *more* justified that the presence of Palestine, simply because the Holocaust happened.
Sun, May 31, 2015, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
This is episode is a great idea because of its attempted balance. However, it ultimately fails in that attempt. The writers go to great lengths to show both sides positively and negatively, but they fail to answer one very important question - why are the separatists using terrorism in the first place?

We get the impression that the government is only cracking down because of the terrorism. There is no indication that there was oppression against the separatists before the terrorism began. Sure, they were denied independence, but that's a far cry away from mass arrests and a police surveillance state. By not giving us any reason why the separatists felt compelled to turn to terrorism, I'm forced to side with the Rutian government despite their harsh tactics because they seem to be up against an irrational and immoral enemy.

If "The High Ground" had offered us this explanation, I would gladly mark it much, much higher because there is a lot to like here. It's good to see Crusher finally get some time in spotlight (and Gates McFadden delivers an excellent performance) and it's really nice that Finn wasn't a cartoonish over-the-top villain. But this major problem and the rather trite ending (it's going to take more than one kid putting a weapon down to solve this problem) really drag it down.

Wed, Jun 3, 2015, 3:22am (UTC -5)
@ John Walsh, DLPB

These same haughty, accusatory cries for justice have been heard around the world before. The same howls of hysteria paved way for an Austrian painter and his band to cause havoc and calamity in the name of any vainglorious birthright. Whether you don a NSDAP armband or rally under an IDF flag remember that intolerance begets justified opposition, violence begets terror, and the loudest hatemongers always hang first.
Wed, Jun 3, 2015, 4:58am (UTC -5)
Oh, a new tag. Run out of other insults, have we? Tolerating bad people or criminals is exactly why we are in the predicament we are in. I remember your lot in 1930s, Leaflet... they were calling Churchill a warmonger for suggesting Hitler needed dealing with.

Same old rubbish. Some of us aren't blind to the world's problems and their causes, and we aren't trendy liberals who want to send roses to people who want to send a bomb to us. Wakey wakey!
Thu, Jun 4, 2015, 11:29am (UTC -5)

Perhaps it is difficult for you to accept that more than one person thinks you are wrong and dangerously so. Rest assured this is my second time posting on this site.

You remember my lot in the 1930s? May I ask how old you are? Be careful you are not taking offense on the behalf of others from another time.

Churchill was indeed a war-criminal, not for WWII in particular but perhaps if you care to educate yourself in the plight of the Afrikaners or Sudanese you would find it hard to dispute that notion.

It doesn't take a trendy liberal to understand that alienating about a sixth of the world's population on the basis of the religion they happen to follow is an extremely idiotic foreign policy doctrine....if peace and security is your goal.

You didn't single out religious flat out denounced "muslims"...I am not one myself but I have to wonder if you would have the courage to say such things in a market square in Mecca, Istanbul, or Cairo.

Of course peace and security for all is of no interest to you, your lot only has the courage and character to indiscriminately bomb whole peoples from the safety of a war room. So far the international community has done a poor job of getting in your way but trust me there will be a day when your brand of racist sadism will be a thing of history. Teachers in schools will point to the likes of Ariel Sharon and speak of him the way we speak of Hitler.

But for now the stage is yours oh brave radical! Send countless other men and women off to die in senseless war for profit, murder seas of unarmed citizens whose life worth to you is less than that of an animal. Wake us all up with the sounds of fighter jets and gunfire! Indeed!
Mon, Jun 8, 2015, 8:19pm (UTC -5)
Considering people like you were indirectly responsible for around 50 million deaths in the greatest war of all time, I will take no lessons from you. Your whole philosophy is one of inaction, appeasement and self hate.
Tue, Jun 9, 2015, 6:05am (UTC -5)
As opposed to those like you who are directly responsible? If you take no lessons from me then perhaps you will learn some shame and pick yourself out a nice tin-hat and go fight these wars against "muslims" or whoever else you deem to be the boogeyman of the age with the same vigor and sincerity you show here with a keyboard.

And be at ease. I have no reason to hate myself or anyone else. Even you and those like you I cannot bring myself to hate because that level of emotion is far beyond what you and your misguided vision of the world are worth, frankly.
Paul M.
Tue, Jun 9, 2015, 6:55am (UTC -5)
There's nothing worse than erroneous historical analogies. Should we conclude that because of 1938 Munich, we should never again seek to come to terms and understand our opponent or rival? Was 1970s Detente also badwrong appeasement?

Someone should come along and destroy, annihilate, and eradicate every single instance of the word 'appeasement' from all the dictionaries around the world. Maybe then we'll stop mentioning it every time someone proposes a course of action that doesn't involve bombs, tanks, cruise missiles, drones, coups, sanctions, and their like.
Tue, Jun 9, 2015, 10:54am (UTC -5)
@ Paul M.

Unfortunately such words and tactics are staples in the pseudo-intellectual arsenal of the bigoted zealot bent on "bringing peace to all" from his underground missile-control headquarters.

Straw men, false name it they commit it only to vindicate themselves in their sick quests for glorified violence and forced conflicts.

Bu what's astonishing to me is not that such people exist, even today, but that they appear to be viewers of Star Trek and yet every meaningful portent and caveat is completely lost on them. It goes right over their heads I guess. Maybe to them it's all about the phasers and photon torpedoes with some bothersome white noise about peace or tolerance or something or other mixed in.

I was going to suggest that perhaps such people draw inspiration from the Romulan or Ferengi episodes but on further reflection the former are far too courageous and the latter far too honest for me to see the likes of DLPB cheering them on.
Tue, Jun 9, 2015, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, removing words from the dictionary. Classic "sweep problem under the carpet" solution. Haha, hilarious!
Paul M.
Wed, Jun 10, 2015, 1:09am (UTC -5)
I know humor is hard to understand sometimes...
Diamond Dave
Fri, Sep 4, 2015, 2:54pm (UTC -5)
Last time out, an examination of the problems of reintegrating veterans. This time, an examination of the problems of terrorism. Last time, the oppressed were to be supported. This time, not. Last time, the leader was left to take charge when holding a gun on Picard. This time, he's gunned down when holding a gun on Picard. So what's the difference?

This purports to be a balanced and nuanced account of the motivations and drivers for terrorism, but it never makes up its mind what it wants to say. The cause is just, but the means wrong? The end justifies the means? As Finn says - "there’s a hint of moral cowardice in your dealings with nonaligned planets. You do business with a government that’s crushing us, and then you say you aren’t involved?"

To me, the episode suffers from not really taking a stand one way or the other. Everything else is competently handled enough, and for the second episode in a row we get shoot-outs and fist fights. 2.5 stars.
Fri, Sep 25, 2015, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
SkepticaMI said:

"Jay, it's rather premature to declare that the Rutians must be oppressing the other side since no reason was given. The episode was clearly intending to mirror the Irish situation. And the fact remained that not everyone in Northern Ireland, either then or now, wanted to secede. Declaring that one side is the oppressors with no evidence is probably just a projection."

It can actually, because when an ethnic groups's homeland is under the control of an occupying ethnic group, population adjustment tend to occur. In the Soviet era, Russians moved into all the other republics, to the extent that at the breakup of the USSR, Russians were huge pluralities in nations like Estonia, Latvia, and Kazakhstan. It's no surprise that the ethnic groups would want to stay under that jurisdiction. If 45% of Rutia's population is transpalnted Ansatans, the presence of those 45% don't make the Rutians any less entitled to want a nation of their own.
Wed, Dec 2, 2015, 1:30am (UTC -5)
I'm curious about the transporter tech: are we ever given an in-universe explanation for why everyday transporters can't be used to accomplish the same thing? Some sort of shielding or something? Of course, the Enterprise with shields up is impenetrable by transporters, but what about everyday places?

I ask because I wonder how the whole Star Trek galaxy hasn't devolved into terrorism and assassination. A transporter and a phaser in the hands of one person (native or alien) with a Cause to fight for seems like enough to create utter chaos. Political leaders should be paranoid, never going out in public or even leaving whatever shielding is in place, because at any moment someone can show up next to you, shoot you, and beam away.

Anyway, maybe Undiscovered Country had something to say about this? Or Into Darkness?
Ross TW
Tue, Mar 29, 2016, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
I've seen this episode countless times, but this is the first time I consciously realized they didn't bother to make the aliens look alien at all. They're perfectly human in appearance. I assume this was on purpose, to make the allegory more hard-hitting, especially at the time.

But the message is something that still has relevance today. It's also interesting to compare the takes on terrorism here vs. Deep Space Nine (with Kira, especially).

Ron Jones with another memorable score, too.
Wed, Apr 20, 2016, 2:01am (UTC -5)
I think this episodes highlights the most dreadful thing about terrorism: You can not reason with terrorists. To make the comparison with northern Ireland: Only after seventy years (Or threehundred, depending on your point of view) was peace achieved, when the terrorists lost the support of the population. I doubt that had the UK given into the demands, that that would have stopped the violence. Either it would have continued at the peace talks, or the remaining englishmen in Northern Ireland would have been persecuted.

But anyway, my point is: I don't want a situation that has to endure for 70 or 100 or 1000 years before it is finally resolved, without the option to change anything. Terrorists are absolutists: Every compromise has to fail by default. And since terrorist groups are not monolithic organisations, you can never negotiate successfully. The only way for terrorism to end is if the people doing the terrorising grow tired of it, or change their mind. But I can not think of a way to change a mind that is so fanatic it does not even fear death.

Actually, I do know a way. You kill the terrorists. All of them, at once. Scary thought, I know. Of course, that is not practical. You can't track down every single one. But what else is there? If you can't reason and can't negotiate, you either give in, or you kill them all. Take Israel as an example. Even if they make concessions, return to their rightfull borders, pay reparations etc, somebody will still lay claim to the rest of their land (which was also taken by force). So, even if there is some kind of peace and Israel backs down, you still have to eliminate all the splinter groups, or wait till they subside, but how many innocents are you willing to sacrifice for that?

As scary as it is, now we have the technology to may be able to force terrorists to concede defeat. Not by attacking them directly, but by robbing them of support. Unfortunately that necessitates a genocide. First you warn the terrorist: Back down, or we will drop a nuclear bomb on one of your cities. If they don't listen, you warn them again. if they still don't listen, you drop a bomb. And then one next week. And then after three days. Then every day. You drop nukes so long that the people that the terrorists are fighting for have enough and don't support them anymore. If they still don't listen, you drop your bombs on until their sacred ground, or whatever they were fighting for, are uninhabitable for 1000 years. To beat terrorism, you have to be a better terrorist. You have to totally defeat your enemy. Why do you think that there are no german or japanese terrorists today? Because both nations were so utterly crushed that no one dreams of trying to get back what they lost. And those that do want to know that they have no support.

Or let me put it this way: For every conflict there are two options that bring a lasting peace. You can either find common ground, and both adopt basically the same set of values. Not in all regards, but in the important ones: Peace, Prosperity, Progress. Or you eliminate the opposition so that only your set of values remains. This is true for countries als well as groups or single persons. It is the only logical conclusion. Of course, there is the third case, where both parties agree to disagree and stay well clear of each other. But that does not work for nationalistic or religious conflicts, because both accept no compromise. Ireland is case one. Or was, until 2011, when the terrorists resumed hostilities. Germany and Japan after WW2 are case two. The Federation acts to achieve case one, the Borg to achieve case two. Europe is on its way to way one, the muslims are on the way to way two. And before you say "not all of them!!!11!!", yes, sure, but enough of them to, as George Carlin would have said, provide us with a lot of entertainment in the future. And in this case, the future can be anything from 20 to 400 years. I guess it is the latter case. You just have to look at people who watch Star Trek, yet get angry when it dares to declare their Religion fiction. Now mulitply that by 10 and you are on the level of the average muslim in the middle east. Try to reason a Star Trek viewer out of his position, and now try to imagine doing the same with a muslim. And even if that conflict is resolved, the next one waits right behind it: Money. As long as it exists, it will always favour the rich, who control everything that matters, and I am glad that I will not be around when we fight out that fight. In Star Trek it took a Global Nuclear Holocaust, and humanity sure was lucky to survive that.

So, I think this was a good episode. It got me thinking. And I did not find the ending cheesy at all. After all, this is not the leader of the terrorists laying down his gun, and all his followers follow suit, and everyone lives happily ever after. This is a young boy that just saw his great leader killed, will sit in prison for a long time, and will continue to spread the hate. And when the right moment comes, he will be the first one to shoot. He will forever feel ashamed of not having shot the police woman when he had the chance. At least that's what I got from that episode.
Fri, Apr 22, 2016, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
To add my own two cents on the whole "Israel vs. Palestine" debate here, I find myself frustrated with both sides. I agree with the pro-Palestinian argument that Israel should not have been formed in the first place. It was an attempt by the Western powers to right a horrific wrong - the Holocaust - but they did that by carving up the Palestinian territory (which had already experienced years of colonization by the British Empire) and giving the Jews a piece of it. While I am sympathetic to the Jews for wanting a land they could call home (especially considering that the Holocaust was really just the culmination of generations of anti-Semitism), I can't imagine that I would be all that thrilled if I were a Palestinian in the late 40s about the prospect of my homeland being taken over by people who mostly hadn't lived their for generations. Plus, the Zionist movement largely originated from a religious belief that the Jews had a right to that land because God said so - which is patently absurd. The UN should have sought a better solution, like liberating the Palestinian territories from the British and helping to form a secular government run by both Israelis and Palestinians... but that probably isn't a great solution either. That's part of my point, though: this is a problem with no easy solution, and the Western powers chose to take the most hamfisted, clumsy approach.
However... the fact of the matter is, that Israel exists. Whether the formation of Israel was right or wrong may be important, but it has no real bearing on the conflict at this point. It's been many decades since it was formed - it's long past the point where it would be fair to undo it. The Israelis are there now. They've lived their for several generations, and have managed to survive and thrive. Taking away the entirety of Israel and giving it to the Palestinians again is, at this point, unfair to the Israelis who inhabit it. Saying it has no right to exist is both pointless and wrong, because the Israelis are, at this point, firmly rooted in the territory.
And yet, the same must also be said for the Palestinians. The land they occupy is theirs. Israel has no right to take it from them. The whole "settlement" nonsense is wrong, and is illegal under international law. Further, the Netanyahu government's refusal to try and stop these settlers (many of whom also use the nonsensical idea that the Palestinian land is "theirs" because God said so to justify it as well) is a show of just how little Netanyahu really cares about finally coming to a solution. As of this moment, the Israelis have at least one group that is at least sane enough to negotiate with - Fatah. Despite their flaws, they at least show some willingness to negotiate with Israel. Israel is obviously stronger than Fatah, and they know it - they wouldn't ever win in an actual war against the Israeli state, so they have seemed to have accepted the basic fact that they'll have to negotiate. At the moment, however, the Netanyahu government seems like it thinks that, since they're so much stronger than the Palestinians, and so successful at repelling their attacks (though they still remain dangerous and deadly to Israeli civilians), that there is no reason to bother with diplomacy. Instead, they'll simply maintain the current status quo of a never-ending simmering conflict, which occasionally boils over into another pointless war, despite the fact that this merely kicks the can down the road.
None of this justifies terrorism. Of course, it also doesn't justify reckless bombing in Gaza, one of the world's most densely populated areas (especially since it doesn't seem to actually solve much of anything for either side). Mind you, it also doesn't justify rocket attacks into Israeli territory. The current state of affairs has lasted for a long time, but never-ending wars are bad for societies - both Israeli and Palestinian citizens suffer from this. The two sides need to grow up and get to the table. While it will be very difficult to find a solution, it's much better than what we have now.
Sun, Jun 26, 2016, 4:11pm (UTC -5)

If you are going to lament Israel's existence be consistent and realize that Muslims have conquered numerous countries that were once Christian or secular or another religion. They aren't apologizing - and the leftists don't take issue with that.
Sun, Jun 26, 2016, 9:36pm (UTC -5)
For those wondering why the Rutians wouldn't grant the Ansatans In independence I have a theory.

Considering that they already have a long trade agreement Federation The Rutians were planning on eventually applying for membership? And the Federation has that arbitrary rule where a planet needs to have a single united government in order to be accepted. Its obvious the Rutians and Ansatans wouldn't get along so the main governments only option was to hold on to the other continent no matter what.

The last part with the kid was cheesy the music certainly doesn't help it.

I like this episode even if Finn conveniently knew about George Washington and the United states.(Isn't Dr Crusher Scottish?) 3 Stars
Paul M.
Sat, Oct 8, 2016, 3:28am (UTC -5)
Eh, let's not go so far and proclaim Israel to be a democracy. They are an apartheid state, pure and simple. Doesn't mean they deserve to be wiped off the face of the Earth, but c'mon. They are as far from liberal and human rights-loving as you can get.
Thu, Oct 27, 2016, 6:03am (UTC -5)
I still felt the ending was a wee bit lackluster. it felt as if they got o the ship and that was it. Perhaps that was the point. Btw I think this was banned because with Data's comment it comes off as Pro North Ireland. Which as I listen to Back Home In Derry wth tears in my eyes madr me happy. The episode itslef...very confusing. Confusing in was balanced. You could definitely feel a bit on the rebel side of the writers as they showed veryclear problems with the state.However, the terrorists had disturbing methods even if they weren't clearly in the wrong. This was a very proto ds9 episode in many ways and it made meremember my Norther roots and it gave me a smile to hear of a United Eire in 2024. Also, eveb though the bbc banned it there were a lot of people who would like to hear about a united ireland in those..."troubled " times. I may not have liked the ending but for something to have me flooded with my strong rebel views and post "Back Home In Derry" on FB and declaring I'm a rebel til I die....well. Good TV makes us feel. makes us think.
Thu, Oct 27, 2016, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
There is too much poor acting in this episode. And what about the hair of these Kajagoogoo rebels? "I want to kill everybody but I'm nog all bad because I draw pictures." Idea might be nice but execution is afwul.
Thu, Jan 26, 2017, 9:54am (UTC -5)
This single episode made me forever contemptuous of Crusher as a sanctimonious twit. First she pooh poohs her security officers’ warnings to beam back to the ship so she can play doctor, so that when she’s kidnapped, she ultimately ends up responsible for the deaths of several people and the near death of her son, not to mention the near destruction of the Enterprise itself. Then she throws a little temper tantrum and refuses to eat or speak with her captor for all of like.... 5 whole minutes, before he begins the process of easily converting her to sympathize with the murder of innocents to make a political point. (Yes, I'm not a big fan of DS9's Kira for the same reason. When you intentionally kill innocent people to get the attention of guilty people, you're dead to me.)

I was very disappointed when Crusher sees the captive Picard, and all he does is ask how she’s doing. He should have dressed her down and demoted her on the spot – and a few seconds later she has the unmitigated gall to scream at him about how she’s only going to follow orders “if they make sense”. That her insubordination caused more deaths than she saved registered not in the least with her. She has no business in any sort of leadership role. The less autonomy she has, the better.

In the meantime, although generally speaking I admire any syndicated television show that attempts to tackle the nuances of this kind of political struggle in the course of what amounts to about 45 minutes, I thought it was hamfisted in the way the writers attempted to generate sympathy for what amounts to a murderous child-killing terrorist bastard by making him really good at doodling hands and faces, and telling Crusher that he doesn’t want her to fear him. Nope. Not buying it. This is a rare case where the plot is so infuriating to me that I can't objectively look at the quality of the acting etc. to try to redeem it. Zero stars from me. I'd rather pick up dog poop and clap than watch this one again.
Thu, Jan 26, 2017, 11:42am (UTC -5)
"Yes, I'm not a big fan of DS9's Kira for the same reason. When you intentionally kill innocent people to get the attention of guilty people, you're dead to me."

Although some Cardassians did bring/have families on Bajor, and I'm sure some of the resistance did kill them... it is arguable that any Cardassian on Bajor was truly innocent any more than a Nazi in Paris was.
Thu, Feb 9, 2017, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
Lots of odd comments about Israel/Palestine. I shouldn't dip my toe in this acid pool, but.... aw hell, I'm gonna.

First, as to the Palestinians being rooted out of their 'homeland'. It wasn't exactly their homeland, any more than, say, Chicago can be said to be the homeland of Chicagoans. It was a stretch of land administered by the Brits, and "Palestinians" weren't a discrete ethnic denomination; they were simply the Arabs who owned homes and land on that stretch of territory. Certainly it meant as much to them as your home, neighborhood, region, and olive grove does to you, but it wasn't 'their homeland' in the way that say, Armenia is the homeland of Armenians or Kurdistan is the homeland of the Kurds or Japan is the homeland of the Japanese.

The Arab people started off in Arabia (now Saudi Arabia) and spread themselves by military conquest over the next five centuries. That's why they lived in 'palestine' and that's why they possess 99 percent of the Middle East and North Africa: They moved in and took over all that rich land because, while the humble Jews were studying Torah and counting coins and generally minding their own business, the Arabs were out with their horses and scimitars killing for their beautiful Allah. (Damn, if only the Jews had been out killing for Yahweh, they'd be widespread and have thirty or forty countries too. What a shame they weren't into that kind of thing. To the killers and conquistadors go all the spoils.)

So you could say the whole of the middle east (ie, all the lands conquered by Mohammed's Arabs) is the homeland of hte Palestinian Arabs, . Or you could stretch a point and say that Arabia proper (their land of origin circa the seventh century) is their homeland. But you really can't draw a circle around the particular Arabs who happened to be living on the British mandate in 1948 and say, "They lost their homeland," any more than you can say that American blacks "lost their homeland" when they migrated from the violently racist south to the somewhat friendlier north to escape lynchings. They lost their homes, yes. Not their homeland. All America is their homeland. They may rightly be embittered that violent racism forced them out of Georgia or Mississippi, but that's a bit different.

Next point: The main reason the locals were displaced in the naqba is that they were losing a war that THEIR OWN SIDE started. Originally they were offered land of their own, to administer on their own - something they'd never had before, something that would have been a huge step toward self-determination for them. They said no. Or rather, their cousin Arabs in the surrounding countries, standing pat on their own land, said no on their behalf. "No, we don't want our cousin Arabs to have a country of their own where British land once was. Not if it means we'll be legitimizing the claim of dirty Jews to a piece of land next door."

(Side note about Arab anti-semitism predating the formation of Israel. Mohammed, after making nice wiht the Jews, later came to blows with them, defeated and exiled them, and told his followers that they had tried to assassinate him much as they had assassinated Isa (Jesus, a prophet of Islam. In the British Mandate, Jews were emigrating to live alongside their Arab neighbors for a while before WW2. Once they moved in, it was just as much "their land" as it was the Palestinian Arab's land. (Just like your immigrant neighbor gets to call America "her land" after she leaves her previous land to make a new life here. ) The Palestinians responded to their new Jewish neighbors with hostility. This reached its nadir in a vicious massacre that featured rape, scalping, burnings, and the mass murder of Jewish schoolchildren. This occurred during a several-day riot that took place - I think in 1932 - in multiple cities at the same time. The attacks in the various cities were coordinated, so it wasn't just a few thugs in one place with a grudge against Jews. Anti-semitism was in fact so entrenched among the local Arabs that in WW2 the Palestinian religious leader backed Hitler. I give these historical facts as background to what happened next.)

What happened next was that the surrounding Arab countries forbad their stateless Palestinian neighbors from saying yes to a country of their own. The Jews said yes, however. So Israel was created while the local Arabs stood around, looking to their powerful Arab neighbors for help. The help they got, was that their powerful Arab neighbors decided to solve the problem by declaring war on the Jews of Israel - Jews who had just limped into the region, fresh from their holocaust experience, and would presumably be easy to massacre down to the last man woman and schoolchild. No problem!

The Arab countries were greatly surprised when the tide of battle eventually turned against them.

They lost the war. Several hundred thoussand of the local Arabs ran from their homes during and after the war due to fear that the Jews - who were now their enemies and who no longer trusted them, due to the war their cousin Arabs had started - would massacre them. They ran from their homes. They became refugees. Just like hundreds of thousands of people had run from their homes during WW2 and in the breakup of India and elsewhere, hundreds of times in recent centuries. An upheaval, but not a shocking one in the view of history.

The Arab governments - who had started the war and caused all the trouble - then DENIED their Palestinian-Arab cousins the right to resettle freely in the Arab world.

Compare this to the separation of India/Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands died in the Muslim-Hindu riots. There was the same religious hatred between the two groups, the same blood-feud feeling, and an even larger mass migration that involved MILLIONS of people losing their homes due to religious violence and riots and persecution. Yet today the descendants of that mass migration all have their own homeland. None of them are called "refugees." And while there's strife and competition between India and Pakistan, the situation is far calmer than the situation between Israel and the Arab world. The Muslims who ran for their lives from India, homeless and persecuted, were welcomed into the new Pakistan. The Hindus who ran from the recently-invented Pakistan were welcomed into India's new borders.

The Palestianians - displaced in a war the Arab side started - could have and should have been welcomed as settlers into the other 99 percent of the ME that was owned/run by their cousin Arabs. (Who, I say again, had STARTED the war in the first place.) Then they would have had a Pakistan/India situation with Israel. There would be an uneasy peace and skirmishes, but no stateless refugees.

So: Why were the Arab countries so heartless to the Palestinian Arabs who (I repeat) lost their homes in a war ARABS started? Why do nations like Syria and Lebanon to this day llock up the descendants of Palestinian Arabs inside refugee camps, refuse them equal rights, and generally treat them like shit? Why are the great grandchildren of Palestinians who fled their homes in 1948 STILL called 'refugees' and discriminated against by their Arab governments, while those same governments make speeches at the UN about how awful it is that Israel is mean to Palestinians?

The Arab countries did this with cynical intelligence. They wanted to keep their displaced Arab cousins miserable and homeless and violent and desperate, so that Israel could always be accused of being Evil, and so it would remain an ever-threatened, never-accepted pariah state. Remember, the Jews had just defeated their antisemitic asses in a war they started. The best strategy they could come up with was to use their displaced Arab cousins as pawns and weapons.

This is not a secret. I married a Muslim guy, a Syrian Arab. He is quite frank that this is the reason Palestinian Arabs are not welcomed into other Arab countries.

The difference between him and me is, he thinks this is all quite reasonable. He states quite calmly that this is a good thing: Generation after generation of Palestinian Arabs should remain homeless and rejected and discriminated against within Arab lands, so that Evil Israel and the Evil Jews remain hated by the 1.7 billion Muslims who vastly outnumber them in population, land, countries, and wealth. Because if Palestinian Arabs were ever allowed to settle down and live good lives in Arab lands, well then, Israel would be getting off scot-free with its Evilness! He has no guilt over this. Who does he blame for the crappy conditions of Palestinians - in Syria, in Lebanon, in the west Bank?

Jews, of course. It's all the fault of the Jews.

Imagine if Pakistan's government in 1947-48, in order to stick it to India's government, decided to close their border against a million displaced, harassed Muslims from India who'd just lost their home villages in the Hindu-Muslim riots. Turning them back at the border, the Pakistan government would say to them, "It's awful what those Hindus have done to you. Simply terrible. Well, no, we won't give you a home or any kindness or hospitality. We'll send you back to your burnt villages to sicken and starve and suffer in perpetuity. But look! We'll give you weapons to kill as many Hindus as you can. We'll make grand speeches to our citizens about how the Hindus are enemies of Allah. We'll stand up in the UN and vote, all us forty or so Muslim countries together, to censure the one Hindu country endlessly. We will force you to huddle in the mud rather than giving you a home, but hey, it's for a good cause! We're going to use your misery as a dagger against the Hindus so that they can never know peace."

The analogy is weaker than it should be, becuase the Hindus number many hundred million. They have a big ol' home country with largely protected borders (ocean). They had never been persecuted all over the world. They hadn't just survived a holocaust. And they held dominion over a lot more land than a little crust on the edge of the Med. Perhaps that's why the Pakistan government didn't try this cynical strategy on the fleeing Muslims of India.

Israel, on the other hand: looked and continues to look like a small and vulnerable target. Those Jews - who unlike Muslims and Christians were never bright enough to go out conquering and murdering for their God - number just a few million and have only one tiny country to their name. They'll be easily destroyed one of these days. And when that day comes, most Muslims of the world will say, allahu akbar.

Then they'll be left with governments just as screwy and violent and corrupt as they are now. And one less scapegoat to blame it on.
Thu, Mar 16, 2017, 10:40pm (UTC -5)
"All America is their homeland. " To say this with a straight face referring to slaves forcibly relocated from various locations in Africa (and then at that point only between a couple centuries and a couple years before the time period you are addressing!) really damages any other point you think you may have been making. Though, to be honest, your clearly anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias really detracts from any credibility you might have when trying to speak objectively about history, anyway.

If you want to be taken seriously as a credible source on history, drop the biased language and opinionated editorials, and try to think of a situation from the minds and eyes of the people you are speaking of, rather than casting them into a mold created by a Euro-American-centric bias.
Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 8:28am (UTC -5)
To clarify: (thought it was clear but okay): When I referred to black Americans migrating from south to north to escape Jim Crow and rural poverty, I was not speaking of escaping slaves but their descendants who had been Americans for generations and called Ameroca, not Africa, their home and homeland.

Most of us have very recent ancestors who were chased off their land by war, cruelty, discrimination - don't we? (I surely do.) it's happening today all over the world. Whether you're a Christian from Mosul or a south Sudanese running from war, you're losing your land and it isn't fair.

What makes the Palestinian situation unique is that they wee forbidden by the surrounding Arabs to start over like normal refugees and migrants. The other thing that makes them unique is that - due to the political machinations of the surrounding Arab nations - they have been manipulated to still seek Israel's destruction. Obviously this prevents peace. Israel could wipe out GaZa in five minutes but doesn't. GaA's government would wipe it Israel in five minutes if they ever found the means. They are quite up front about it! The regular folk just want decent lives but are constantly trained to see Israel and Jews as the problem . It's a useful tactic for Arab governments, including Hamas, but it hasn't helped anyone except the Arab dictator-class and imam-class at the top of the food chain.
Fri, May 12, 2017, 1:49am (UTC -5)
I'm not a fan of this one. It's a super-serious message episode that isn't really saying anything worth its seriousness, like a bad Battlestar Galactica episode. Context matters, but this episode seems to suppose that it's not worth the time. Instead, Finn is given lines like he's supposed to represent all terrorists everywhere, and so the arguments are similarly vague. It's the sort of political discussion that happens between people who never read the news.

When The High Ground 'is' actually saying something rather than merely shrugging into the void, it's horribly trite. "History has shown us that strength may be useless when faced with terrorism." Eesh.
Tue, Jun 13, 2017, 5:38pm (UTC -5)
Another good TNG episode that attempts to address a real-world societal issue - this time terrorism. It takes a balanced approach and it's fine that nothing is accomplished in the end. Good arguments are made on both sides from the police and the terrorist. Data and Picard have a good philosophical debate about when violence should be used and how history regards winners/losers.

The terrorist Finn is a compelling character. This episode pulls no punches and shows what a police state / terrorism is like. With the Enterprise being targeted it takes it to a higher level (some crew are killed).

The episode also gives a good chance to see what McFadden can do as an actress -- she does ok here. It's a bit hard to understand how she can start off as (understandably) very cold to the terrorists but then warms up to Finn somewhat. I'd have to agree strongly with Picard that he should override Crusher's judgment on healing people and just order her to be beamed out. This is responsible for a (obviously) the whole episode and a number of deaths on the Enterprise.

What I don't get is the dimensional shift being deadly yet Finn does it all the time and he seems fine while a whole bunch of others are needing treatment.

The ending with the boy putting down his gun is symbolic but of course we can't believe that anything will seriously change. The usual battle rescue scene is ho-hum -- the kind of thing you see on Trek all the time.

A very credible episode on terrorism, 3 stars out of 4 for me - interesting watching it throughout - no real down time in the episode.
Wed, Sep 6, 2017, 2:39pm (UTC -5)
3 stars

Interesting episode.
The attack on the enterprise was exciting
Nice showcase for Beverly
Finn was an interesting player
All sides of the situation were mentioned
Wed, Sep 13, 2017, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
More evidence for Crusher's court martial.
Her unrestrained hippocratic oath observance and ,more to the point, disobedience, results in her capture by terrorists and the deaths of several anonymous shipmates.
Bones would have had more sense.
The discussion of terrorism and all that was unengaging for me.
'No more killing'-one imagines as soon as the kid lowered his weapon the trigger happy nazis running the planet would have dropped him
Fri, Sep 22, 2017, 10:00pm (UTC -5)
Hello Everyone!


Hmm... That sort of scenario didn't happen during TOS, as I recall, but while I think Bones might have had more sense, he'd have gone to the person that was hurt the most and made them beam them both up to sickbay. Even if they said "NO", he'd grab the arm of the injured person, since we've seen that makes the whole party of two beam up. He'd certainly have been doing triage as Crusher was. IMHO of course.

I figure Crusher was with the most injured person, so they should have just beamed them both aboard. It wasn't as if they were new to beaming or more advanced races.

Eh, we can pick it apart, but in my humble opinion again, it was a fairly decent story and I liked it. Even if Crusher had beamed aboard, they could have kidnapped her from there with the technology they were using, as it seemed they staged the entire event to find their Doctor. I believe Crusher would have been taken no matter what they did, once she was on the planet to begin with.

There was never a time I and my friends (and there were many who watched Trek), when watching the shows during their original runs, ever said we didn't like so-and-so, or hoped a character would be gone. We just accepted them as they were and as they were written. *shrugs*. So it's hard for me to look at a character and deem them unworthy. If they have a fault it is the writers. I believe all the characters played them as they were intended to.

Just my random thoughts on the episode... RT
Tue, Mar 20, 2018, 2:22am (UTC -5)
One of my favorites. Rings louder as time goes by. Similar to "who watches the watchers" as it allows the audience to take an objective look through the lens of the future to examine current events and issues.
Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 6:18pm (UTC -5)
Jeeze, a lot Arab and Palestinian bashing in this thread.

Tara, the Palestinians are not some psychotic species distinct from what you call "humble, peaceful Jews". They were the ancient Jews, who switched to Islam to avoid persecution during the Ottoman Empire. Genetically, their lineage is far closer to ancient Jews than the Zionist settlers. And of course they had a longer unbroken connection to the land they lived in, prior to being forcibly removed.

Anyway, I thought "High Ground" was very interesting, as most of Melinda Snodgrass' scripts are. Finn is very much the dashing, countercultural terrorist hero that was popular in the 1960s (William B mentions the masterpiece, The Battle of Algiers, a film Finn seems to have stepped right out of), but the episode never lets him off the hook. The Federation also gets taken down a peg ("Maybe we should examine our complicity in all of this").

Some have criticized Crusher for disobeying orders, but I liked that. Bones would have done the same. It also leads to a nice argument scene, where she and Picard chew one another out.

I thought the episode's action scenes and climax were hokey, but what really lets it down is that it ignores issues of governance, nationalism, land rights and property. You'd think an enlightened guy like Picard would drop some wisdom on this planet and teach them how to share territory, the silliness of nationalism, and how to create some kind of fancy democratic, inclusive cybernetic government run by all. We shouldn't portray terrorism as something intractable (we have a commenter above shockingly advocating "killing all terrorists because that is the only way to end the problem"), but as something caused by forms of exclusion that can easily be solved if you move beyond primitive governing models and modes of demarcating land and people.

It's also telling that most commenters see it as the duty of terrorists to compromise, give in or bow down to larger states. Afterall, they can't win. Give up. Might makes right. But this defacto legitimizes the powerful nations, and absolves them of having to give up anything. The issue is not that "the terrorist" should stop being naive, petulant and idealistic, it's that not enough is demanded of and from the powerful.
Peter G.
Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
@ Trent,

I agree with most of what you said, however I will note that your description of "terrorists" is an extraordinarily charitable one, where you are framing them as being underdogs with a legitimate grievance. While I think this can really happen, and in the case of The High Ground it's what we see, it's worth considering that many terrorists are really just a shell game for larger powers to engage in proxy actions. So from that standpoint I don't think it's reasonable to assume on its face that an arbitrary terrorist group has a legitimate position representing an aggrieved minority. But in such cases where it does have that position I agree with you that being called "terrorists" shouldn't be enough to dismiss the claims out of hand. This is something that I suppose DS9 covered to a far greater extent than The High Ground could have.
Wed, Mar 28, 2018, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
What surprised me about "High Ground" is that this was an Earth colony populated by humans in this much balley-hooed "utopian" future that had all the same problems that the Federation claims have been purged from Earth itself. In other words, the former gave the lie to the latter. It's astonishing that this script was allowed to make the airwaves given that Gene Roddenberry was still living at the time. Perhaps his health had already begun deteriorating at that point to let this nod to reality slip by him.
William B
Wed, Mar 28, 2018, 1:37pm (UTC -5)
Unless I missed something, this isn't an Earth colony and the inhabitants are not humans, but are just one of the many human-looking aliens that we get in TOS and early-ish TNG. It's a non-aligned, non-Federation planet for which the Prime Directive applies.

Turkana IV, Tasha Yar's home planet, is a failed Earth colony, though, and there are a few others here and there that pop up.
Peter Swinkels
Thu, Mar 29, 2018, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
To me there is no logical reason why that dimensional shifting thing the terrorists use only causes internal damage to a body. And it doesn’t affect inorganic stuff?? It also seems like a convenient bit of tech invented to suit the story and be quickly forgotten. Otherwise fine episode.
Sarjenka's Little Brother
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 6:22pm (UTC -5)
The intensity factor of Season 3 is off the scale. Love it. "Vengeance Factor" / "The Defector" / "The Hunted" / "High Ground"

That's quite a quartet and far, far cry from the scattered silliness and omnipotent beings of the week in Season 1.

I think "High Ground" is a very good episode. It was more meaningful to me today than it was back in the 20th century. It has the tone of a DS9 episode (that's a compliment).
Thu, Jun 14, 2018, 5:53am (UTC -5)
Didn't get the point of this one. Was it that terrorism is bad? Already knew that. Was it that the Federation should choose a side or stay out of it altogether? Or was it just an episode made for chills, spills and thrills with no real point? I'll go with that. Nothing wrong with a little action for action's sake every now and then.
Finn wasn't very smart to turn the force of the Federation completely against him. Maybe the point is that terrorists are stupid and irrational. duh
Tue, Jun 26, 2018, 4:43am (UTC -5)

It was more thought provoking than you give it credit for. Terrorism has worked throughout history. It s also only seen as "terrorism" by the faction that's being attacked by it. One side is the "good guys" while the other side are "terrorists."

And yes even General Washington was seen as a terrorist by the Brits because he refused to engage in traditional military tactics. To Americans he is seen as a liberator of evil. Even today, ISIS has been very successful turning many countries into an Islamic state by the use of violence... and political action (or inaction).
Prince of Space
Sun, Jul 15, 2018, 3:37am (UTC -5)
All I can say is... I hope Jammer gets full credit for having managed the website that solved the Jewish-Palestinian issue.
George Monet
Thu, Feb 7, 2019, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
The very first I thought of when watching this episode was: "Beam the fing survivors to sickbay instead of treating them on the dirty street." Like fing duh.

The next thing I thought was how much I did not like the episode. Anyone who engages in terrorism is an immoral extremist whose arguments no longer have any validity. You cannot claim to be a man for the people when you are a murderer of the people. Why would anyone want to let you be a part of their country when you have done nothing but target and kill innocent people? You gave up your arguments and cause when you chose to be a mass murderer and that is all you are now. I have no sympathy for people who choose evil.

Finn is absolutely wrong and the claim that he is like George Washington is stupid. Washington obeyed the rules of war. George Washington was not running around London killing every innocent citizen in sight. George Washington was engaging British soldiers. King George sent British soldiers to fight the American army. There are very specific rules of war. There is an entire system of ethics and morality governing how and when was is allowed to engage in war and how they can morally engage in war. These rules arose to protect civilians. Let's suppose George Washington did attack civilians in London. Would the war have ended when it did? Would Washington have been supported in the Americas as he was if the colonists viewed Washington and the army as terrorists instead of soldiers? You must remember that there were still many colonists who supported Britain and if Washington lost support in the Americas then America would return to being a British colony. Washington engaged in a just war and followed the rules of war. He didn't engage in a terrorist campaign targeting innocent civilians.

Finn's side lost and they have to accept to accept that loss. The needs of the many, the winners, outweigh the needs of the few, the losers. And if their situation is so horrible then they should stop breeding and the situation will resolve itself in a single generation. This might seem callous and cruel but this really is the optimal resolution which is certainly a more moral approach than targeting and killing innocent people.

It's too bad for the people of the Gaza strip that they lost. But they did lose. Instead of trying to spend all their effort to get back what is no longer theirs and what they lost the rights to, they should try to make what they can of what they have now. The Israelis would be harmed by letting them back in as the interests of the two peoples stand in direct opposition. The Palestinians want back the property and political power they had before, but that property and political power now belongs to the Israelis.
bobbington mcbob
Fri, Feb 15, 2019, 4:17pm (UTC -5)
Totally thought Finn was Jerry Seinfeld for a bit
Sat, Mar 23, 2019, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
ha! 9/10 for introducing shades of grey into TNG. Especially the lecture to Beverly on the violence in her past leading to the peace she now enjoys. And the lecture on how the Federation does business with one side without getting its hands dirty.

minus one for any nitpicks. I haven't read Jammer's review or the comments yet and it will be fun to see how many insights I have missed. But the overall view into the never ending retaliation and how the insurgents almost drew the Federation into the conflict was outstanding.
Mon, Oct 7, 2019, 11:20pm (UTC -5)

Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.

This is the third time in very recent memory that we're looking at an ep about rebels/outsiders fighting the good fight (or is it good?) against evil oppressors (or are they evil?).

We had the older lady with the pretty young servant (being hit on by Riker), negotiating with wayward outsiders; We had the last ep, with the no longer useful soldiers escaping their bonds; and now we have this.

Boring, talky, talky, talky.

Please Beverly, don't develop Stockholm Syndrome. Hmm. Looks like Finn has developed reverse-Stockholm Syndrome. He's been drawing The Bev with a great deal of thoughtfulness and tenderness.

Music overdone.

Hokey scene where Crusher tells Picard that there are things she's always wanted to tell him, and she wants to say them now, since they may not survive. With the subtly and sophistication of an episode of "Saved By The Bell," this ep then gives us an immediate, amazingly-timed intrusion, and the moment is entirely lost.

I just want this to be over.

I do like the mother and child reunion.

Average ep, brought down to below average by my weariness with this theme and approach. I get it. People mistreat people in this imperfect galaxy and The Enterprise is a force for goodness in same. Let's move on.
Wed, Nov 6, 2019, 8:57pm (UTC -5)
Too bad the Enterprise doesn't have the capability to beam Crusher and her patients right to the sick bay.

Oh wait, they do.
Mon, Nov 25, 2019, 4:49pm (UTC -5)
Yeesh. Don't know how to feel about this one, honestly. Last episode's ending was easy, black-and-white. Here we've got ourselves dark grey versus dark grey! That has its upsides and downsides, because while it gives a hell of a lot more nuance to the situation, it doesn't do many favours for audience investment.

It was interesting to see the ways in which the Enterprise's crew was split, though. These are the characters we have established empathy with, that the episode's darkness can't detract from. There's the parallel scenes of Crusher and Riker seeing different sides of it down on the surface. And then Picard joins Crusher in Insata captivity, and we get the fascinating juxtaposition of Picard's firm-hearted opposition to what he sees terrorism versus Crusher's conflicted personal connection (which may or may not involve a bit of Stockholm Syndrome, and then there's the Wesley element complicating things even further for her). A clash between these two! It comes to naught when their rescuers charge in, but it's still a sight to see. Good Crusher episode, no doubt.

At the end of the day, this episode feels like an insight into a situation. Not much change, just one martyr made... and one gun put down (among hundreds). The Enterprise drops into this deadlock, gets a full blast of it right to the face, and basically flies right back out of it as soon as they can. And meanwhile, the Insata and the Rutians are going on just as they were. We're presented this slice of life, and with it, food for thought. That appears to be the main goal of the episode, really -- I don't see much cause to feel much other than grimness regarding either of the main sides, but we can still think. I guess TNG is a very thinky show, but most of what I've seen is a lot more optimistic than this episode's tiny glimmer at the end.

(Funny we've got "bobbington mcbob" in this comments section saying Finn looked like Jerry Seinfeld, because I personally couldn't stop seeing Bob Geldof.)
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
The Ansata are seriously underutilizing their tech. They can apparently defeat any physical security and reach any point on the planet, so why do they choose to attack only civilian or weak and marginal military targets until the Enterprise shows up? Why do they teleport humans and not just the bombs themselves? Why didn't they just teleport the bomb into the ship's antimatter storage (or just teleport a pile of bricks there and let physics do the rest?)
James G
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
Not a big fan of this one but I do like it. Thematically quite similar to 'The Hunted' which precedes it and quite a lot less silly in some ways. It works on a crude level to explore the old "one man's terrorist" chestnut.

I smiled at the notion of a united Ireland by 2024, about four years from now as I type, as casually mentioned by Data. In the Star Trek universe the republican terrorist campaign ultimately won peace and unification in Ireland apparently. That's not what happened in the real world where it set those causes back at least a generation.

I quite like the way that it's a bit dark. People get killed and ultimately there's no happy ending, despite Riker's optimistic parting shot. Kirk would have solved all of that society's problems in half an hour.
Gaius Maximus
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 3:01am (UTC -5)
I want to add a bit to the discussion about terrorist merely being a label applied to people who lose a war. This is one of those platitudes that sounds good to people who don't know a lot about the subject, but is blatantly false when you actually do know something about it. Terrorism is not just 'violence by people we don't like.' It is a specific strategy, that of deliberately inflicting violence on a civilian population, generally with the goal of forcing the government of those civilians to change its political policies. No serious historian, professional or amateur just labels losing generals as terrorists. No one even calls Nazi German or Imperial Japanese generals terrorists. Same goes for Imperial German generals, US Civil War Confederate generals, and Napoleonic French generals. George Washington was never called a terrorist by the British. For one thing, the word 'terrorist' was not even invented until after the American Revolution. I'm not sure where this idea came from, but it seems to be an article of faith these days among the many who see the US as an evil empire and assume it must have been completely rotten from the start. Washington was not a terrorist because he did not target civilian populations. It's not even true that he used unorthodox tactics. In fact he lost a lot of battles early in the war because he was using standard tactics with an army that wasn't trained in them against an army that was trained in them. Washington was, in fact, generally respected by his British counterparts, and even George III called him 'the greatest man in the world,' albeit a decade after the Revolution ended.

There's also a general conflation of terrorism with guerrilla warfare. The tactics are similar, but the targets are different. Suicide bombing a nightclub is an act of terrorism. Blowing up a Humvee with an IED is guerrilla warfare. On DS9, Kira frequently calls herself a former terrorist, but what we hear about the Bajoran Resistance makes them sound much more like guerrilla fighters. It's difficult to believe that there was much in the way of Cardassian civilians on Bajor for a terrorist to target. They could have targeted Bajoran civilian collaborators, but we don't hear much about that. We do hear a lot about them fighting the Cardassian military, which is not terrorism.
Peter G.
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 10:54am (UTC -5)
@ Gaius Maximum,

Some very interesting points about terrorism vs guerilla war, and how it might apply here and to DS9. In the case of DS9 I think the reason "terrorism" might apply is specifically because the Bajorans were seeking to drive the Cardassians out through attrition finally making it more trouble than it was worth. In fact this is what happened, as the Occupation ended due to political, and not military, considerations. Contrast with guerilla war, where I think the intent is actually to defeat the enemy outright, through means of non-direct confrontation. Presumably at a certain point guerilla fighters would have to make a final consolidated attack to secure their victory and drive out the occupying force. The Bajorans, by contrast, were never ever going to drive the Cardassians off by defeating them outright.

This point may go in parallel with your good point about it being about civilian versus military targets. However that said I do think targetting even military targets is terrorism is the primary intent of those actions is fear or intimidation. Basically the clearest way to define terrorism is that the goal is to create terror. A guerilla war may or may not create terror, but that is not its primary purpose; the reason to wage guerrilla war is purely tactical and due to having a weaker or different type of fighting force (like commandos). If your aim is the force the government to change its policies due to scaring either them or the population, and for your victory to come through that, then that would be terrorism (for better or worse). You could even scare them in non-violent ways, or by threatening violence without actually following through with it, whereas guerilla war obviously needs to be an actual hot zone with combat or at least maneuvers.
Matt B
Sat, May 9, 2020, 11:29am (UTC -5)
This wasn't the greatest episode, but was a bit engrossing. The terrorism angle was handled well - no preaching but not afraid to discuss both sides.

BUT the one thing nobody mentioned is that Picard was ready to initiate saucer separation when the terrorists came on board! He didn't execute it but interesting the writers didn't actual forget about that possibility.
Thu, Oct 8, 2020, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Data’s exchange with Picard on the efficacy of terrorism really annoys me. He asks, why not be a terrorist if it achieves your goal? He SHOULD know better than to say that, because we see in other episodes that he fully recognizes that the nature of the means to achieve an end very much factors into the question of whether achieving that end justifies them. He’d hardly argue, to example, that the means Kivas uses to achieve his ends in The Most Toys are in any way justified by those ends.
Tue, Nov 10, 2020, 7:22pm (UTC -5)
Well, this is a hairy one, isn’t it? Obviously it’s The Troubles in space.

It is fascinating in large part for not only naming “North America”, but a shout-out to George Freaking Washington himself.

Some slight comedy: “people don’t just appear and disappear”... lol, ok...

Aside from all that, for whatever reason, during the assault on the bridge, Troi runs up the starboard bridge ramp. Let’s just say, I’m not watching this show for the ladies, but her blue dress flowing with her in an assertive role under combat is a very striking image.
Mon, Mar 8, 2021, 7:10am (UTC -5)
Very good episode. Intresting how they managed to deal with this very complex theme. It came out very well.

I saw that a the Stockholm syndrome was mentioned.

It is a very good tool when you do not agree with the background or reason for the conflict.

Finn had a good and loving side, he had an objective which , even if it was not cleary explained, probably was a valid political opinion and he used avful terror methods.

For those who not know, Stockholm Syndrome comes from a hosatge situation during sever days in a Bank in, yes, Stockholm. The hostages where more afraid for the police than the hostage taker and they did in fact develop a understanding for him. So actually it is not really applicabale here.

So anyone intelligent without prior knowledge, like Dr Crusher, who gets in this situation and accepts the the two first positions and decline the third can with help of this syndrome easily be denunced on the two first by anyone who does not agree.

Even if I appreciate that there is a psycholgical process betwen the hostage and the taker I try to take a step back and think twice when I see it used.
Sat, Mar 13, 2021, 5:11pm (UTC -5)
This is as good a Bev heavy episode as I can recall. It raised a bunch of geniunely interesting conversation points that could only have been had in the late 80s/early 90s before 9/11 made everyone lose their goddamn minds and would have gotten you canceled by people who complain about cancel culture.

Did Bev have Stockholm Syndrome or did her kidnapper change her mind? Her back and forth with Picard after he's kidnapped where he tries to chalk up her willingness to view her captors as something other than mindless bloodthirsty terrorists was fantastic and the more of the type of disagreements between recurring cast we needed. It was a Pulaski moment but from the Bevster.

A top episode for me at least in terms of what it tried to discuss and I like that it ends on something of a bummer note with no end to the violence in sight.

Bonus calling out the Federation for it's bullshit - a diplomatic mission where they only provide aid to one side of a conflict is perfectly fine if you don't go around pretending you are majestically above the fray.
Sun, Mar 14, 2021, 12:29am (UTC -5)
A good episode. In terms of the ethical/political discussion, I would say it was pretty standard fare for Star Trek in that it allowed one side to air controversial views about what terrorism is and whether it's justified - but then failed to offer much of a counter-argument.

The trope that one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter is not exactly original to Star Trek, and has a lot of thoughtful responses. One would be considering the difference between attacking civilians and military targets. Another would be whether there are peaceful and democratic means available to achieve change (e.g. in Northern Ireland there were, whereas in apartheid South Africa there weren't, so to my mind the ANC was in a completely different situation from the IRA - they were fighting for majority rule and the IRA against it). Instead of addressing his rather basic points, Beverly just seemed floored by them, which I think is a failing of the writers.
Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, the real implications of the Stockholm Syndrome were later disputed by some of the actual hostages. They thought the police were reckless and endangering their lives.

There is a funny line in this one from Picard: "I have never subscribed to the theory that political power flows from the barrel of a gun."

Except Picard zips around the galaxy in a very well armed ship that can literally lay waste to entire planets.
Sun, Jul 25, 2021, 9:49pm (UTC -5)
Someone said "Troi reacts with fear when Geordi calls for his coordinates to be beamed out. Did she think he was going to ride the bomb into outer space?"

It is kind of silly, but in the heat of the moment, maybe she just didn't think that he just put his communicator on it. I'm also having flashbacks to Slim Pickins at the end of "Dr. Strangelove" that are giving me the giggles. xD

Another thing worth mentioning is that SOCKO Picard gives Finn. I had thought that was the first time Picard ever hits anyone in the series, and someone else mentioned the same thing. TNG had had a reputation for being the "kinder, gentler" Trek compared with TOS back then, so that had to be kind of a shock to a first-time viewer. But, it is, of course, totally understandable. "Try to blow up MY ship, will you!?"
Sun, Aug 1, 2021, 10:20am (UTC -5)
This would have been a fairly routine and not particularly engaging action adventure, but for two other factors:
1. the deep political context
2. the first episode that truly involves Beverly Crusher in a lead role

There's no need to discuss 2. any further except to say "It's about time!"

As for the politics, the first question is, what prompted this in-depth look at terrorism / revolution from both sides - El Salvador? Nicaragua? Oklahoma? Further afield, e.g. Northern Ireland? It has the feel of a reflection or comment on the issues of the day when it was made. Certainly the treatment is more subtle than simply taking the side of the ruling authorities; Picard and most of the ship's crew do, but Crusher - after exposure to Finn's persuasive if domineering arguments - does not. She sees the folly involved on both sides and tries to put the medical position at the forefront at all times. Her ability to see Finn's position is made easier by his being an artist - it's quite clear we are not meant to condemn outright a 'terrorist' (revolutionary?) who can draw the good doctor with such talent and feeling.

I guess the planet was settled from Earth? The inhabitants are clearly familiar with the Federation and Earth history, and the origin of the continental strife goes back "generations" we are told. That could place it in the 22nd Century and the colonisation to the late 21st Century, i.e. within believeable bounds.

I don't remember seeing this episode before. It's possible it was aired in the UK in the late 80s, but I reckon it may have been omitted from re-runs?

There's some technobabble in there, but for its intelligent and subtle examination of war, revolution, violence, I'm happy to give it 3 stars, but only just.
Sun, Aug 1, 2021, 10:42am (UTC -5)

" The fact is, Palestine bombs Israel because the Koran and Hadith teach that Jews are "not to be taken as friends" among other evil verses. "

I've rarely seen such ill-educated nonsense. Just to give one outright refutation (there are many):
In Mummahad's social contract, aka the Constitution of Medina, he says in Paragraph 37 'To the Jews their own expenses and to the Muslims theirs. They shall help one another in the event of any attack on the people covered by this document. There shall be sincere friendship, exchange of good counsel, fair conduct and no treachery between them.'

As for modern times, go back to the late 1940s and the rushed settlement of Palestine and the establishment of the state of Israel under the influence of Zionists. The UK was a bad actor in all this, not for creating the Israeli state (which was inevitable), but for the permanent displacement of Palestinian Arabs who - like native Israelis - are racially Semites.

This is not a forum for extensive posts about Islam versus Judaism, but please try and read up about the history and context before making hasty and inaccurate political posts.
Mon, Aug 16, 2021, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
Interesting to look back on this episode in light of the Falcon and the Winter Soldier climax, in which the new Captain America makes some of the same points this episode makes: who is the terrorist and who is the freedom fighter often depends on your point of view. Some of the Enterprise's crew virtually function as mouthpieces for the US State Department, some take a nuanced view, some struggle with the issues and come to no conclusion.

I also hear distant echoes of Noam Chomsky, in regard to what is terrorism. The terrorism of the state versus the terrorism of the independents, and all that. The boy lowering his weapon exemplifies Chomsky's first step toward ending terrorism: stop participating in it. Of course, Chomsky's words were aimed more at the state than the opposition, but they're relevant, nevertheless.
Wed, Oct 27, 2021, 6:31pm (UTC -5)

According to Memory Alpha, the episode was not aired in the UK or the Republic of Ireland when it was released in 1990. Perhaps not surprising considering Data flatly states that terrorism was successful in reuniting Ireland, and that was well back during the Troubles. It says the BBC didn't air it until 2007.

It's also interesting that the parallel was intended to be the American Revolution but the writer was forced to change it to Ireland. A bit of that is intact when Finn brought up Washington.

They should have kept it, because that would have been more intriguing. I would bet the vast majority of American viewers at the time were dimly aware of the Troubles. I personally had never heard of it, and it wasn't easily Googleable
at the time.
Tue, Feb 22, 2022, 9:49am (UTC -5)
Picard is often described — or derided — as the opposite of Kirk, who was more like an Action Hero. It was kind of cool to see Picard punch a guy and then tackle him.
Mon, Apr 18, 2022, 11:44am (UTC -5)
The "one man's terrorist..." canard is one of those things that sound real profound and insightful on first blush but a closer inspection exposes it for the nonsense it is.

"Terrorist" and "freedom fighter" are mere labels, which distract from what really matters: the substance of the act perpetrated by the subject. Surely we as a society, perhaps even at the global level, can arrive at the lowest common denominator whereby we declare that doing X is unacceptable/illegal/criminal/amoral/immoral/bad, no matter what, no matter how, no matter why, no matter the circumstances, always, whatever your cause, no exceptions, period. Blowing up a schoolbus or shooting up a school (q.v. Beslan) are, surely!, two such examples.

"One man's terrorist..." was cooked up by those seeking to relativize the substance of an act by relativizing the label used to describe the perpetrator of said act. They do it because they know that if we focus on the perpetrator's act, we will find it to be inexcusable and unjustifiable.

I'm 2/3 in and I sure hope Finn and his scumbag bandits get obliterated.
SpaceTime Hole
Sun, May 21, 2023, 12:17am (UTC -5)
Great episode for McFadden - full on display of Crusher’s quiet, deep strength and almost rebellious compassion. The moment with her & Picard just before the lights cut..

The ambiguity of the struggle between the terrorists & the police-state was excellent writing too.
SpaceTime Hole
Sun, May 21, 2023, 12:19am (UTC -5)
And the inclusion of children in the cycle of violence - the handcuffed kid; the school-bus; the boy with the gun at the end… powerful.

Submit a comment

I agree to the terms of use

◄ Season Index

▲Top of Page | Menu | Copyright © 1994-2023 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. Terms of use.