Sunday, May 14, 2017

Star Trek The Next Generation - Episode 104 (Silicon Avatar)

WARNING:  I’m going to give away major details, including the ending.

There were some episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation that made you wonder.  The story itself may have made sense, but may have been short on details.  Take Silicon Avatar.  It’s never explicitly stated where the title comes from.  I’ve always assumed it referred to the main antagonist which, in the episode, is always referred to as The Crystalline Entity.

For those that have been watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, this is the same Crystalline Entity seen in Datalore.  After being chased away by the Enterprise, it apparently wandered the galaxy and happed to wind up near a colony that the Enterprise was helping setting up.  It just so happens that the Enterprise isn’t arround when the Entity starts its attack.  We get the sense of urgency when the Entity’s energy beam turns grass and trees into dirt.  You see, it feeds on biological energy.

The few bridge officers on the planet are able to get most of the colonists to the safety of a cave.  (Only two die in the attack, including the love interest for Commander Riker.)  When the survivors emerge from the cave, they find that what was once a lovely planet is now a barren wasteland.  Every form of life has been sucked up, and I mean everything.

Enter Dr. Kila Marr.  She’s become the Federation’s expert on the Crystalline Entity.   She’s going to help The Enterprise find and, if necessary, destroy the creature before it can do more harm.  Oh, I should probably also mention that the Entity killed her son when it destroyed all life on Omicron Theta, Data’s home planet.  Minor detail.  Right?

The bridge crew is split on the issue of whether or not to destroy the Entity.  Commander Riker lost the woman he was flirting with, which makes him just a little bit vengeful.  Captain Picard, on the other hand, would like to communicate with the creature if possible.  Picard points out that whales often feed on large quantities of animals.   We can’t be mad at a creature, especially when we don’t know if it realizes what it’s doing.

When they do finally catch up with it, Dr. Marr is able to destroy the Crystalline Entity without much thought.  She’s certain that it’s the right thing to do.  It will never kill again.  She’s confined to quarters and we’re left to assume that some sort of action will be taken against her at a later date.

Upon rewatching the episode, I was left with a few questions.  First, why was it necessary to kill two of the colonists?  The only reason I can think of is to give Picard an opposing voice among his bridge officers.  We already know that the Crystalline Entity is capable of destroying whole worlds.  Either way, we do have the mother of someone killed by the Entity, so Riker’s objections are somewhat redundant.

Speaking of which, why would they give Dr. Marr access to weapons, knowing her connection to the Crystalline Entity?  It seemed odd that no one made much of an effort to restrain her or power down the graviton beam.  IT would have been so easy to prevent the death.

I would have like to learn more about it, even if it was a destroyer of worlds.  How does a being like that come in to existence?  Are there more of them?  Is this an experiment gone wrong?  How is it that it’s capable of warp speed on its own?  The episode is focused more on the vengeance angle.  The Entity is just a way to focus one woman’s obsession.

This is one of those episodes I’d consider skipable unless you’re dead set on watching all of the episodes.  It does rely on a first-season episode.  The writing assumes that you’ve seen it, but I don’t recall any future episodes relying on you having seen this one.  It’s not on my list of top episodes.

IMDb page

No comments :