Star Trek: TNG Season 4 “Remember Me” and “Suddenly Human”

You're crazy! Why would we not have at least 5 seats on the bridge for a crew of 2?

You’re crazy! Why would we not have at least 5 seats on the bridge for a crew of 2?

I’m going through “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and reviewing every episode, complete with commentary and a grade from A-F. I’ve also included a score and comment from my wife, who has never seen the show before. There are SPOILERS for each episode below.

“Remember Me”

Plot

A friend of Dr. Crusher’s comes aboard ship, but promptly disappears without a trace–even a paper trail. Wesley was apparently doing some warp field experiment around the time it happened. Time goes on and more and more crew members disappear, without anyone having any memory or any record of them ever existing. As the crew dwindles down more and more, Dr. Crusher races to figure out what’s happening. However, it turns out she’s actually the one trapped inside the warp field and Wesley and others are trying to rescue her. Finally, she manages to put her trust in the notion that “her” universe is not the “real” one and jump through a closing portal to safety.

Commentary

Once again, TNG proves it is capable of carrying episodes purely on individual character on the crew. Dr. Crusher is marvelous in this episode, as she deals with the sense of impending doom and possible insanity as people continue to disappear with only her realizing it. We as viewers know right away that it is almost certainly due to Wesley’s experiment (which, by the way, he never gets in trouble for–can we ever get some consequences for this guy’s mad scientist experiments?), but the twist of having Beverly being the one who is taken rather than the others is what makes the episode really hit home. She has to figure out what’s going on from the perspective not of preventing it–her instinct–but of being the one trapped. That’s what keeps “Remember Me” going throughout, and it’s a great ride.

The plot is really thin, but the mystery of it allows it to carry through the whole episode without ever feeling slow or boring. It’s a compelling episode that really only suffers from having perhaps too few elements. It’s great to finally have a really solid episode under the belt for Dr. Crusher. I enjoyed this episode immensely.

Grade: B+ “See? Dr. Crusher can totally carry an episode too!”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “While it didn’t really explain the situation, it was very interesting to see Dr. Crusher’s character respond over the course of the episode.”

“Suddenly Human”

Plot

The Enterprise comes upon a distress call from a Talarian ship. The Talarians are a warlike people, but Picard decides to mount a rescuing mission. One of the five people rescued, Jono, is a human and the grandson of a Starfleet Admiral.  The crew starts trying to integrate Jono into human life, but he is resistant and insists that he is the son of a Talarian leader, Captain Endar. Endar shows up and demands to have his son returned, threatening to escalate to violence if needed to recover him. Finally, Picard decides to peaceably return Jono because he clearly feels he is part of Talarian, not human, society.

Commentary

The moral question of what to do with a young man who was kidnapped at a young age and raised in a different society was one of great interest, I thought. The episode interestingly conveys several different aspects of the problem while never trying to browbeat a point into the viewers, which is appreciated.

It was great to watch Picard and Jono interact. Picard also hilariously said that people might not be aware that he’s uncomfortable around children. No, really? It probably won’t help that this child tried to stab him to death in his sleep.

There are some flaws in the episode, as it is hard to believe people like Picard, Troi, and Riker who are supposed to be great diplomats would be so ignorant when it comes to thinking that this boy, Jono, could just be immediately placed in a different context and succeed. The plot also suffers from either too few or too many elements. That doesn’t make sense? Well what I mean is that either they needed to up the suspense further and perhaps have the Admiral speaking to Jono or some other ways to build the interest or they needed to really hone in on some of the specifics of the plot more. Nonetheless, this was an episode with many areas of interest and it explored a serious moral question in such a way as to make readers think further, which is always a positive.

Grade: B “A solid premise with some minor flaws.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B “It presented an interesting dilemma for Picard and company.”

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Star Trek: TNG– For more episode reviews, follow this site and also click this link to read more (scroll down as needed)! Drop me a comment to let me know what you thought!

SDG.

Star Trek: TNG Season 4: “Brothers” and “Suddenly Human”

Contrast of two cultures... also notice how Picard is staying as far away from child as possible. Kids + Picard = sad.

Contrast of two cultures… also notice how Picard is staying as far away from child as possible. Kids + Picard = sad.

I’m going through “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and reviewing every episode, complete with commentary and a grade from A-F. I’ve also included a score and comment from my wife, who has never seen the show before. There are SPOILERS for each episode below.

“Brothers”

Plot

A young boy plays a prank that seriously injures his brother. The Enterprise tries to race home, but Noonian Soong, creator of Data (and other androids) summons Data to provide him with an emotion chip. Data hijacks the ship and uses it to get to Soong. Soong’s summons also called Lore, however, and Lore arrives bitter that there is nothing for him. He steals the emotion chip and fatally injures Soong. The crew of the Enterprise arrives to get Data and they get the boys to a space station to save him. Data sees their reconciliation as a sign of hope for himself and Lore.

Commentary

There is a lot of great story building for Data in this episode, as we find out more about his origins and the ways in which he and Lore are connected. It’s kind of an exciting premise too, as it makes us wonder what other “triggers” could be planted into Data, who really seems unstoppable when it comes down to it.

But this point leads to some of the difficulties with the episode as well. I think we as viewers have to wonder whether Starfleet would be even more worried about Data than they’ve shown so far. The interactions with Lore consistently portray him as crafty and evil (or mad?), but it is also hard to see him consistently making mistakes that undermine him later.

The juxtaposition of the two stories of two brothers is interesting, though I think it could have been used with even more effectiveness throughout. It was good plot device that wasn’t used as well as it could have been.

Grade: B “Great backstory building for Data, but some problems in the execution.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “It was interesting to see the development behind Data’s character and ‘family.'”

Guest Grade- J.W.’s Mom -and Comment: B+ “It seems that objectivity should be paramount in a scientist and Dr. Sung is shown to be lacking in it. He’s too emotional.”

“Suddenly Human”

Plot

The Enterprise rescues a human youth who was among a crew of Talarians–a warlike, xenophobic people. It turns out he was captured on a raid some time ago and a Starfleet Admiral is his grandmother. They decide they must return him to his human family, but Captain Endar, a leader among the Talarians views the boy, Jono, as his own son. The crew of the Enterprise tries to integrate Jono into human society with limited success as Endar threatens to escalate into war to retrieve his son. Picard finally decides that the boy’s choice to identify as Talarian and son of Endar must be respected.

Commentary

Honestly, on later reflection I think I liked the episode a little more than the grade I initially gave it (see below), but I have a policy of going with your initial gut feeling on such things (just like multiple choice tests–don’t second guess yourself!). Anyway, as Season 4 continues its focus on familial relations (what with “Family,” “Brothers,” etc.), we here have an episode dedicated to the drama of adoption, identity, etc. It raises numerous interesting questions of right and wrong regarding cultural norms and practices, and surprisingly has a satisfying feeling at the end (rather than a contrived one).

Picard’s interplay with Jono has moments of comedy, but sometimes feels a bit overdone. It was great to see much of the main cast talking with Jono and to see the escalation of the possible conflict. The pacing is a bit slow, and there seems to be some relative naivete regarding yanking Jono from his culture and slapping him into human society whence he came. Troi, thankfully, shows some awareness of this but doesn’t fully pursue it.

It’s a good episode that maybe just doesn’t shine as much as it could because of a few minor flaws.

Grade: B “A solid premise with some minor flaws.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B “It presented an interesting dilemma for Picard and company.”

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Star Trek: TNG– For more episode reviews, follow this site and also click this link to read more (scroll down as needed)! Drop me a comment to let me know what you thought!

SDG.