Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 32 (Loud as a Whisper)

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

It seems like there is no shortage of disasters in the Star Trek universe for the Enterprise to have to help out with. In this case, the Enterprise is to deliver a mediator named Riva to a planet that’s been at war for 15 centuries. Both sides are nearly wiped out and willing to try setting up a truce. Riva is well known throughout the Federation as being the best. When the Enterprise arrives to get him, Riva and three other people greet the landing party. It’s then that everyone learns that he is deaf. The three people act as a chorus and speak for Riva.

The Enterprise takes him to the planet where he’s to be negotiating the treaty. Shortly after beaming down, Riva’s chorus is killed, presenting Riva with a problem. Yes, he’s empathic, but it takes a long time to develop that kind of a relationship with someone. Data is able to learn his sign language to help him communicate. Riva tells Picard through Data that he doesn’t want to go back. Without the chorus, there’s nothing that he can do. Eventually, Counselor Troi convinces Riva to try again. Riva decides to teach both sides sign language, thus giving them something in common. Riva beams down and asks to be left there.

The episode tries to send the message that something like deafness or blindness doesn’t make someone less of a person. It doesn’t come across as heavy-handed in that message, either. Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge has been blind since he was a child. He has a VISOR, which When Dr. Pulaski gives him options, La Forge decides against. Even though he’s in constant pain, he likes the way he is.

As for the actual writing, it looks like the series is finally beginning to find its mark. I really can’t find anything wrong with the story. As I said, it could have been a lot worse. The episode was also well acted. I think what makes a great episode is that it doesn’t try to be a great episode. In that respect, this is the point in the series where it finally tries to achieve greatness and almost pulls it off.

I’m going to give this episode four stars. I really liked it and I’ve always watched it when it came on TV. I’d recommend buying the episode.

IMDb page

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