Thursday, March 12, 2009

TNG 1x08 Justice

This is more like it, this is not the greatest of Treks, to be sure, but there’s some neat ideas, a lot of skimpy outfits and superior being No #3.

Just a short rant – the Prime Directive is supposed to prevent interference in Less Developed cultures and worlds. It is later established that there is a golden rule that the Feds will not contact a world until they have the means to venture out into space at warp speed, that’s a pretty reasonable rule. So why the hell are we on this Edo planet huh? I don’t see any spaceships zipping around. All the people there seem a bit simple yet they’re not bothered in the slightest by Aliens coming down to visit, until one of them gets to go up in the spaceship, then they’re a bit freaked out. The fact that this thorny conundrum even arises is proof that this script was developed very early in the piece. Even as a 15 year old I knew something was up with Captain Picard invoking the Prime Directive as his reason not to save Wesley, they should’ve invoked it not to go down there in the first place!

Once we overlook that though – we get a good episode. Easily the most sexed up episode of Trek that I can recall the crew beams down to the 24th century equivalent of a Hedonism tour – except there’s no naked old people – which is a definite plus. Tasha, Riker & Worf beam down and they take Wesley too in order to morally corrupt the young man, who seems impervious to moral corruption “I’m with Starfleet… we don’t lie!”

While Riker grills Worf on his sex life (one of the funniest scenes of season 1) Wesley plays ball with some other teens (whatever happened to problem teenagers, these kids are the kind that go to Christian Studies camp!) anyway – he trips over some flowers and bam! In run the cops.

About the same time, Yar has learned about their hosts’ justice system, one punishment for any crime – death! Any crime, felony, misdemeanour or trespass and it’s death row for you.

And it’s death row for Wes too, as he trampled new plants, that not even a crime in most places I know, but on the Edo world that’s an instant jab with a sharp needle. This marks the second time in 4 weeks that someone is trying to euthanize Wesley Crusher!

The rest of the episode ponders the question of capital punishment complicated by the fact that a ghost like machine thing appears in orbit of the planet and starts messing with the Enterprises communications. It is left to Picard to plead to the god thing to let them bend the rules and leave without punishing Wesley.

Yes, it’s a good episode, it’s a tad ham-fisted in it’s approach (ie: making it’s point by illustrating an extreme) but it has an actual allegorical message, a first for the new show and although they do ‘interfere’ with the Edo society they do so in a pretty benign way, leaving them with an impression on how things can be different rather than forcing change upon them.

The only detractors here are the God Machine which isn’t fully developed and no explanation given as to why they can visit this ‘primitive’ planet in the first place.

3 Stars, not quite great, but quite good nonetheless.

1 comment:

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