Wednesday, October 26, 2011

TNG Ep. 50: The Ensigns of Command

Hey, the name for this episode comes from a line in a John Quincy Adams poem. So says Wikipedia.

The Enterprise rushes to rescue a lost human colony from the cold-blooded Sheliak. Data, the only one of the crew who can withstand the planet's atmosphere, is tasked with convincing the colonists to leave. His efforts are met with opposition as the leaders of the colony argue for staying and fighting the Sheliak. Data does make one friend, Ard'rian, who attempts to help him. Meanwhile, Picard stalls the Sheliak until he finds a loophole in their treaty with the Federation. The loophole allows the colonists the time needed to evacuate. Data finally convinces the colonists by showing them how powerless they are against advanced technology. Facing certain death as the only alternative, they agree to leave the planet.

As far as episodes staring Data go, this one was not one of the best. Perhaps its the well-intentioned woman following him around like a little puppy. Perhaps its because we're a little too sure that Picard will succeed in getting more time from the Sheliak. Perhaps it was just too predictable. Seriously, they get to save every one? No one is stubborn enough to be left behind, just for the principal of the matter? These colonists aren't nearly as difficult as some of the other people that the Enterprise has tried to help.

I do like the idea that the Federation has a treaty with aliens that can barely stand their existence. I also liked the role reversal - that Data would have been the best person to quibble contracts with the Sheliak, and Picard would have been the best person to convince the colonists that they should leave (or perhaps Riker) but because of the poisonous atmosphere, both must try to do the job that they are less suited for. It's kind of like handing Picard an iron bar to bend in half, and handing Data a puppy to pet and play with - oh, wait, Data did get a sort of puppy. Only, if she had been a real puppy, he might have known what do to with her like he knew what to do with the kid in "Pen Pals" back in episode 41.

So, Picard finds the loophole and Data blows up an aqueduct to show the colonists how pathetic they are. Next.

No comments:

Post a Comment