Monday, March 13, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 62 (A Matter of Perspective)

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

You’d think that in the 24th century, we’d have it all figured out.  Apparently, there’s still room for improvement.  Dr. Nel Apgar is looking in to a new energy source called Krieger waves.  He’s doing his research on a station orbiting Tanuga.  Since the U.S.S. Enterprise is in the area, they decide to drop off Commander Riker and Chief Engineer La Forge for a few days.  The episode begins with Commander Riker being beamed back from the station where Dr. Apgar is doing his work.  The station explodes.  Fortunately, Riker makes it back ok, but Dr. Apgar dies in the explosion.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, an investigator beams over from the planet asking to extradite Riker…for murder.  You see, Dr. Apgar lived on the station with his wife, Manua, and assistant, Tayna.  Both were on the planet when the station exploded, which means that both can serve as witnesses.  They both say that Riker did it.

Riker maintains that Dr. Apgar was agitated about their arrival and that Mrs. Apgar was hitting on him.  Riker and La Forge had accommodations on the planet, but she insisted that they stay on the station.  Mrs. Apgar claims that he was hitting on her and it was Riker’s idea to stay on the station.  Tayna’s contribution is that Dr. Apgar got into a fight with Riker, then sent his wife and assistant down to the planet.  She offered to call the authorities, but Dr. Apgar said he’d take care of it.

Captain Picard doesn’t want to allow extradition of his first officer.  Since Commander Riker makes it to the end of the series, I think we can assume that it all works out for him.  This is one of the problems with American television.  There’s no real risk of someone leaving the show.

My mother and I both watch British shows and have commented on how characters keep dying off.  This is because British shows often have two- or three-year contracts.  If I recall, the initial contracts for The Next Generation were five years.  We know that Commander Riker isn’t going to be extradited.  (Yes, he’s lucky with the ladies, but he doesn’t seem like the kind to hit on a married woman.)

One thing I was wondering about was the use of the holodeck.  Holodecks strike me as the kind of thing that use a lot of power.  It was discovered that the holodeck was inadvertently converting energy from the planet into radiation that was harming the ship.  This would imply that they left the holodeck running, even when it wasn’t in use.  This seems kind of wasteful to me.

The episode ends up being one of those fluff episodes.  You know that someone’s going to figure it out at the last second, which is what happens.  We get to see all of these different perspectives.  In the end, we may never know exactly what happened.  It’s possible that Riker was flirting (or that Mrs. Apgar took it as such.)  It’s possible that she was the wife of a man who didn’t show her enough attention and read something into the situation.  In the end, it’s a watchable, yet skipable, episode. 

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