I did not quite expect this to take so long, but periods of regular posting have been interspersed with major gaps. I plan to do the rest quicker, if only because I'd like to finish TNG before the new Trek show starts (or at least airs in the UK). Anyway on to the episode!
Episode: s4, ep 13
Data is playing Scrooge for Picard in the holodeck, the scene where Scrooge is first visited by Marley's ghost and Scrooge doubts his own senses in the face of the supernatural. Picard and Data discuss these acting sessions and Data talks about studying the Method, but instead of using emotions to develop his performance he wants to use performance to develop his emotions.
The Enterprise gets a distress call from a science station on a planet, there's a mob outside and things have gone badly wrong. When the ship arrives the lead scientist can be retrieved but the rest have been taken hostage and can't be beamed away (for some reason). The lead scientist explains that the planet used to have a science-based society (presumably they achieved warp, or else the Federation has no business being there), but a thousand years earlier they changed to being a peaceful, agrarian society uninterested in technological advances. Legend says that the millennium of peace happened because the planet made a contract selling themselves to Audra, a supernatural being that the lead scientist compares to the devil. The planet's leader firmly believes that Audra is about to return due to earthquakes and visions, and so social order has completely broken down.
Audra comes to Picard's quarters while he is sleeping and tries to seduce him with a variety of outfits, but he's just irritated by this. Then she transports him -in his pyjama-robe- to the lab on the planet where Geordi is working with the lead scientist. He can't be beamed back to the Enterprise, so Data is sent to collect him in a shuttle with a spare uniform (so funny!). On the way back Data explains that he has found a precedent for arbitration. As they approach it the Enterprise disappears. Back on the planet the Enterprise can't be found within a light year, but Geordi has noticed something odd on the scans and says if Audra does more magic tricks he might be able to pin down what's happening and find the ship.
Oh Captain My Captain
Picard commends Data's performance even while pointing out that Data can't experience fear (which I guess is a compliment). He's confused that Data is studying the method, which is outdated by the 24th Century (plus Sir PatStew is a British thesp and the Method comes from a very different, more American traditional).
Picard never wavers from his belief that "Audra" is a flim-flam artist (and he's apparently turned into a newspaper man from the 1920s), though his actions -or lack thereof- after the arbitration suggest that he became more interested in proving his point and winning than in protecting the people of the planet. Considering the danger than Audra and her unseen crew can pose you would think that Picard/Star Fleet/the Federation might want to do more than just best her legally. Picard's irritation with her flirting and seduction attempts is amusing, though the wider of trope of a man who manfully ignores the sexual advances of a beautiful femme fatale is not one I'm overly keen on.
Picard and Data chat about Audra and Data plays devil's advocate (see what I did there?) by speculating on whether "Audra" is actually a powerful, supernatural being. Picard speculates that the fundamental theology of the planet may have created a latent fear in the entire population, which is interesting. Picard references their scene from Scrooge and the previous discussion of fear, thus tying that all together in case we didn't get it.
Does Not Compute
Data tells Picard that he can't deceive and that he's a rules robot or something and so won't act outside of a load of laws he just found out about, even if it's in the best interests of others and the safety and freedom of a whole planet hangs in the balance. What I don't understand is why everyone knows that androids are all neutral and incapable of lying. There are only two androids out there (so far as we know, there's no reason another species shouldn't have come up with artificial versions of themselves), and the other one is Lore. Murderous liar Lore who, based on the last time we saw him, is probably less stable than ever. Even if he's keeping a low profile it seems like word could have got round that androids are creepy jerks, since everyone can always identify them from appearance alone.
As arbitrator Data gets the best lines:
"The advocate will refrain from expressing personal affection for her opponent."
"The advocate will refrain from making her opponent disappear."
No Magic Here
|Little Red Number|
Future Is Better
Having said that "Audra" is a bit stupid challenging Picard as she does. I mean targeting the planet Enterprise and further provoking Picard by getting into his quarters and then hiding his ship may have been in character but it made the whole thing a Federation matter.
when it had a Federation presence was a bit risky, but releasing the unseen scientists should have made the Federation leave. Maybe she thought seducing Picard would distract him, but when that seemed to rile him perhaps she shouldn't have pushed things. Claiming the
Staff Meetings: 2
1. Picard and senior crew discuss the situation on the planet with lead scientist, things are getting worse and they must secure the return of the hostage-scientists (whom we never see). Troi observes that levels of distress on the planet are approaching suicidal. Picard decides to go and see the leader himself.
2. Picard and senior crew discuss Audra. Pic believes she's flimflam artist. Rker and Crusher suggest she could be a Q, or even their Q, Picard dismisses the idea that she's their Q and focuses on her interest in financial matters. Troi says her mind is focused so she couldn't sense deception and Picard confusingly suggests this is due to some kind of sleight of hand. Picard sets crew to investigate.
"Audra" is proud in defeat and walks out of the room. It's not clear whether the guards who walk with her are taking her into custody or just following her out (they didn't come in until after she had been exposed). Happy to have been proven right Picard takes no further action and leaves with Data.
We don't hear anything about how this planet and its leader are presumably left to pick up the pieces of it's entire population being distressed and terrified to the point that the social order fell apart. Nor does anyone show concern about Audra being on a planet where most of the inhabitants believe she is their god. But who cares about all that?
|Star Trek Cosplay|