Sunday, May 14, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 114 (Conundrum)

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

The episode starts with the Enterprise encountering a strange ship. Everyone on the Enterprise loses their memories shortly after the mystery ship scans them. All of a sudden, there’s also this new guy that wasn’t there a moment ago -- and he's wearing a Starfleet uniform. The crew tries to look in the Enterprise’s computer for answers, but finds that the ship has been damaged and any information is irretrievable at the moment.

When they do get the computers up and running, the first thing they do is retrieve personnel records. The new guy is Commander Keiran MacDuff. (Long-time viewers know that Commander William Riker is the first officer, but the records have been altered to make it look like Riker is really the second officer.)

From what the bridge crew can gather, they’re on a mission to destroy the central command of a race that they’ve been at war with for the past few years. They know that there’s wreckage from the aforementioned mystery ship, which they assume to be a failed attempt to stop them.

On the way, the crew of the Enterprise begins to suspect that something is up. They encounter a ship sent to stop them, but it’s too easy to destroy them. Also, when they get to the enemy’s central command, the technology is a century behind what the Enterprise has at its disposal. Plus, MacDuff keeps goading them on. When MacDuff tries to take over the ship, several people fire phasers on him and reveal him as an imposter.

I have to admit that loss of memory is more creative than a hijacking. Having one guy to push the crew in the ‘right’ direction is a lot better than a few crazed lunatics with guns. However, if one guy with one small ship could infiltrate the Enterprise that easily, wouldn’t it have been better to use this technology to infiltrate the enemy’s central command? Granted, they would have had a harder time getting through defenses and it would have been on a larger scale, but it might have worked. (Then again, maybe they tried and it didn’t work.)
After watching the episode, I went to TV tome, which I sometimes do first so I can catch the errors they point out. The only note that they had was that Commander Riker played part of the Battlestar Gallactica theme in the episode. Fortunately, I had recorded the episode to watch later, so I had the opportunity to go back. It does sound similar to the first part, but I’m not sure that the Battlestar Gallactica theme was what that had in mind.

The episode was very original. The episode was very well acted, also. Very little of it seemed weak. It was interesting to see the characters put into an unusual and difficult situation. The idea of wiping memory to use an advanced ship was definitely creative. This was a four-star episode. Those that haven’t seen the series up to this point won’t be lost and those that are fans of the show will enjoy it all the more to see how the characters react to each other having had their memories wiped. 

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