Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 37 (Contagion)

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

Warning: I am going to give out major details about this episode, including the ending. If you were planning on watching the episode and don’t want the ending given away, you might want to hold off on reading this review.

Between the United Federation of Planets and the Romulan Empire is the Neutral Zone. This is an area of space that neither government is allowed to enter. To do so might be considered an act of war by the other side. When the U.S.S. Yamato is found to be there, the Enterprise is sent it to help them. They seem to be facing severe system problems that are affecting the entire ship.

Captain Picard wants to know what the Yamato’s captain is doing in the Neutral Zone. Captain Varley says that he may have found the Iconian home world. The Iconians are mythical, perhaps somewhat like Atlantis. If Iconian technology were to fall into the hands of the Romulans, it would give them a big advantage. Unfortunately, the Enterprise is too late to help the Yamato; shortly after they arrive, the Yamato explodes.

Judging by Varley’s log entries, which the Enterprise was able to download, Varley was able to find an Iconian planet. Varley stated that he was going to ask Picard to continue with the mission, but he never got the chance. Picard decides to go further into the Neutral Zone, but soon starts experiencing problems similar to the ones that the Yamato was facing. They eventually find the planet, but after Picard, Worf and Data beam down, a Romulan ship appears. It would seem that they are also affected by the same problem.

The same program that infected all three ships also infects Data. It’s because of this that Geordi La Forge, the chief engineer, is able to figure out how to purge the program from the system. Amazingly, it’s something that any 20th-century computer geek would have thought of. Picard has to destroy what’s left of the Iconian settlement. (It’s a shame that scientists can’t study what was left if the Iconian civilization. I suppose that it’s for the best, though.) The Enterprise shares with the Romulan ship the method of purging the program. Fortunately, everyone leaves alive.

There was something about the episode that was lacking. Actually, there were a few things that were lacking. I just can’t figure out what many of them were. Part of it was the writing. It was an interesting story that probably should have been stretched out a little more. To put the whole thing in one episode left a lot to be desired. It was too much to learn about Iconians, find one of their planets and have to blow up what little there was on the planet in one episode. It probably would have been more meaningful to learn a lot about them in the first season, have clues about the location early in the second season, then finally find the planet and have to deal with it in this episode.

Even though the episode wasn’t great, there was one great scene with Wesley. He asks Picard how Starfleet officers deal with death, especially on the scale of a ship being destroyed. Picard responds that anyone who’s got feelings doesn’t learn to deal with it. Even though Starfleet officers accept the risk, it’s not supposed to be easy.

I’d have to give it two stars. I really think that this story could have been done a lot better.

IMDb page

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