Thursday, November 10, 2016

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 16 (11001001)

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

The Enterprise is docked for repairs. It’s a fairly simple procedure, so most of the people onboard have taken the opportunity to go to said starbase and relax, taking advantage of things that a starship can’t provide. Four Bynars, an alien race who are short and work in pairs, are taking care of the upgrades, starting with the holodeck. (The holodeck is capable of creating any three-dimensional representation that the user can think up.) Two of the Bynars decide to show it off to Commander Riker, who calls up a New Orleans jazz club. The only fictional people he conjures up are a band and a woman named Minuet. After a while, Captain Picard joins them. Minuet insists that he stays and Riker doesn’t seem to mind.

Meanwhile, everyone else is going about their business. The other two Bynars are working on the bridge, chattering in a high-speed chatter that is their native language. (When talking in English, they alternate every few words, which shows how dependent they are on each other.) When the space station observes a warp core breach, the ship is evacuated. Everyone except Picard, Riker and the Bynars get off the ship. Picard and Riker don’t seem to hear the sirens and the Bynars are the ones creating the diversion. It causes Data and La Forge to program to ship to go as far away from any inhabited planet as possible. (As soon as the ship is about to clear the station, the problem goes away.)

The Bynars program the ship to go to their home planet, Bynus, and to allow for all of the information in the Bynar’s central computer to be transferred into the Enterprise’s computers. The reason is that their sun is about to go nova and that will wipe out their memory banks. When Picard and Riker realize what’s going on, they leave the holodeck. When they figure out that no one is left on the ship, they try to make it to the bridge, but they find themselves locked out. They have to beam onto the bridge, where they find the four Bynars lying on the floor unconscious. Two of them manage to wake up just long enough to ask for the help of Riker and Picard. (Without their computer, they cannot function on their own.) The Captain and First Officer are able to figure out what to do and save the Bynars. When Commander Riker goes back to find Minuet, she’s gone.

This episode had potential. The Bynars weren’t really that well developed and never appeared in another Next Generation episode. (There was a reference in Star Trek: Enterprise, but that was about it.) I would have liked to learn more about this race. All we know is that they work in pairs and only think in terms of yes or no.

There’s also Minuet. I don’t see why she had to not be there when Riker came back. I think that she would have made for a nice recurring character. I suppose that since she was no longer necessary, the Bynars saw no point in keeping her around. (She did come back for another episode, Future Imperfect, but that’s another story.)

Also, the Bynars got really lucky when Picard decided to stop by the holodeck. Otherwise, Riker would have been the only one that could have saved the Bynars, and they needed two people to work the computers. (Minuet couldn’t leave the holodeck; being a computer-generated image, she had to stay within the holodeck’s confines.)

In terms of the characters, the only weak point was the Bynars. I think most of the problem was that they were supposed to be emotionless characters. What little emotion came through wasn’t enough to really like them. They were acted well, but stood out too much to make the episode truly seamless.

Overall, I give this episode three stars. (Or 11 stars, if you prefer binary.) 

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