Thursday, November 10, 2016

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 12 (Too Short a Season)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Even in the 24th century, not everything is perfect. Time still takes its toll on the human body. Admiral Mark Jameson is in his 80s or 90s and showing his age. He’s got a terminal illness and is bound to the equivalent of a wheelchair. The Enterprise is to take Jameson to a planet where he once negotiated a treaty. A governor there, Karnas, requested him by name saying that hostages have been taken on his planet and that Jameson is the only one that he trusts to get the hostages back.

En route, strange things start happening to the admiral. At first, it’s simply bizarre. (He is able to walk when he shouldn’t be able to.) Then, he starts actually looking younger. He’s also experiencing pain. Eventually, he reveals that after conducting negotiations for a planet, he acquired two treatments of an anti-aging substance. (One was for him and the other was to be for his wife.) Rather than wait for it to take its full course, he took both of them. However, the effect was too much for one person to withstand.

By the time the Enterprise reaches its destination, Jameson is a young man again. It also turns out that Governor Karnas was lying. Karnas is the one that actually has the hostages and is trying to lure Jameson to the planet to exact revenge. Jameson ‘negotiated’ with Karnas by giving into Karnas’s demands for weapons. Jameson then gave weapons to the other sides, thus plunging the planet into 40 years of civil war. Karnas doesn’t get his revenge, though. Jameson dies as a result of the treatment; his body simply can’t take the strain of two treatments.

The episode comes across as a little too preachy, trying to tell the audience how a second chance at youth comes at too great a price. Simply put, taking both treatments was selfish and stupid. It was Jameson’s own shortsightedness that killed him. What did Jameson expect would happen? I’d also like to point out that the medicine was never followed up on. There was nothing ever said about the planet being quarantined or other people trying to get the drug.

Also, the older version of Jameson didn’t quite work well. The makeup looked just short of realistic and Clayton Rohner, who played Jameson, sounded like he was trying to impersonate Yoda. He didn’t quite pull it off.

The only real concern I had was when Picard insisted on beaming down with an away team. In the pilot episode, it was specifically said that Riker got the job of first officer because he wasn’t afraid to tell the Captain to stay on the Enterprise when an away mission might be dangerous and it definitely looked like Picard was walking into a dangerous situation.

Overall, it wasn’t a great episode. If you’re buying the VHS tapes, skip this one. In fact, if you’re watching the episodes on DVD, you might want to consider saving this episode for a slow night on TV. It was good, but not great. I give it three stars. 

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