Friday, March 24, 2017

Star Trek The Next Generation - Episode 79 (Remember Me)

It was odd how many things failed on the Enterprise.  If it wasn’t the holodeck trapping someone inside and possibly killing them, the ship’s main computer was on the fritz threatening to blow up the entire ship.  Sometimes, that wasn’t enough.  Sometimes, you needed a problem so big that a particular boy genius had to create them.  Enter Wesley Crusher.  Here’s a teenager that’s allowed to run an experiment on the warp drive of Starfleet’s flagship.  Said flagship is about to leave a starbase, so it would be nice to have the engines back.

Wesley’s mother, Dr. Beverly Crusher stops by after showing mentor and good friend Dr. Dalen Quaice to his quarters.  He’s so busy with his experiment and so distracted by La Forge’s requests to end the experiment that Wesley barely notices that his mother disappears in a flash of light.  Wesley takes that as his cue to get lost.

The next morning, Dr. Crusher decides to visit Dr. Quaice only to find that he’s not there.  When she reports him missing, Worf doesn’t recall hearing of him.  Since Worf is the chief of security, it would have been nice if someone had told him about a passenger.  Funny thing, though.  Captain Picard doesn’t recall approving the request that Dr. Crusher sent in weeks ago.  Not only that, but there’s no record of anyone with a similar sounding name anywhere in Starfleet’s database.  (Yes, it’s an unusual name, but really?  Isn‘t the Federation’s population in the trillions or something?)

Slowly, the rest of the ship disappears.  It starts with her staff.  Eventually, even Captain Picard disappears, leaving her alone on a ship that she’s unqualified to operate by herself.  It doesn’t stop there.  The entire universe is reduced to a sphere several hundred meters in diameter.  She eventually realizes that she’s not broken.  Maybe the universe is.  She eventually realizes that she’s trapped in Wesley’s experiment and is able to get out.

This was one of those episodes that never sat well with me.  You know when someone tells you a story that makes no sense and as you think about it, the story makes less sense than it did before?  This is one of those stories.  First, consider that Wesley Crusher notices a flash of light, despite being distracted by his experiment.  What would this have looked like to Dr. Crusher?  She makes no mention of being surrounded by a ball of light.

Not only that, it takes her almost the entire episode to realize that it’s her that was affected by the experiment.  She and everyone else in her pocket universe blame the experiment early on.  At first, she thinks it was Dr. Quaice.  As more people disappear, it becomes less likely that it’s the warp bubble picking people off one by one.  That would have been a great moment for Dr. Crusher to realize what was going on.  Instead, we get this realization that seemed forced.  I know it’s not an easy thing to pull off, but it could have been handled much better.

Eventually she does figure it out and decides to run back to Engineering, thinking that being where she was when the experiment went haywire will help.  At this point, two apertures have opened up near her.  There’s no reason to think that engineering is special, but there’s an aperture waiting for her when she gets there.  She makes it out just as her pocket universe collapses in on itself.

Another thing:  If the entire universe has collapsed in on itself and there’s just a blue energy field several hundred meters in diameter, where did Dr. Crusher and The Enterprise come from?  There should have been no place to build the ship.  Both of Dr. Crusher’s parents would have disappeared.  Everything is gone except for her?  I know it’s supposed to be a metaphor for losing everything, but that’s something I keep getting hung up on whenever I watch the episode.

There’s also something I’d have to go back and check on.  The warp field equations Wesley was using for his experiment were based on Kosinski’s work.  You may remember him from the first-season episode, Where No One Has Gone Before.  At first, he seemed like a genius until it was discovered that his companion was doing all the heavy lifting.  If so, why would the equations be of any value.  For that matter, how would they create a pocket universe based on what Dr. Crusher was thinking?  It wasn’t until the ship got to the edge of the universe that thought mattered.  It seems like a bit of a stretch to me.

The entire episode seemed forced.  If you’re watching the episodes straight through, either on Netflix or DVD, it’s at least somewhat entertaining on the first view.  It’s also easy to skip.  You’re not missing much in terms of continuity if you don’t watch it.  The only thing that was memorable about the episode was how bad it was.

IMDb page

No comments :