Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 139 (Aquiel)

Star Trek:  The Next Generation had 178 episodes over its 7-year run.  (This is assuming that you count the pilot and finale as two episodes each.)  It’s understandable that a few of these episodes wouldn’t be that good.  Some of the misfires were understandable.  There may have been a dispute behind the scenes.  The episode may have been massive editing or rewrites.  With Aquiel, I’m not really sure what happened.  Even those involved in the episode have nothing to offer.

The episode starts with the Enterprise on a supply run to a communications outpost.  The outpost isn’t responding to hails and is found abandoned when they get there.  There should be two officers: Lt. Keith Rocha and Lt. Aquiel Uhnari.  There is some residue presumed to be one of the officers, but the only life form on board is Aquiel’s dog, Maura.

Investigation reveals several things.  First, the two lieutenants didn’t get along.  Second, this was because Lt. Rocha was an exemplary officer and Lt. Uhnari wasn’t.  In fact, she was transferred there as punishment.  Also, there’s also Commander Morag, a Klingon officer patrolling the area.  The station is near the Klingon border and Morag saw fit to occasionally harass the two lieutenants.  He admits to stealing information, but he didn’t kill anyone.  Maura is the only witness and she’s not saying a word.

So, what happened?  It turns out the dog did it.  Well, not really the dog.  You see, Lt. Rocha wasn’t really Lt. Rocha.  He was some sort of DNA-stealing life form that took over Rocha before going on to the station.  He tried to take over Aquiel, but she managed to escape in a shuttlecraft.  She’s picked up by a Klingon ship and brought to the Enterprise.

And the Klingon Commander that was harassing them?  He didn’t kill Rocha.  So, it must be Aquiel.  Right?  Well, not necessarily.  She has memory loss, which makes her look guilty.  She tries to erase evidence, which makes her look guilty.  She hated the guy and tried to thwart his command, which makes her look like a bad officer and just a little guilty.  It turns out that the DNA thief of an alien, as Rocha, attacked her to gain her DNA.  When she escaped, the only other option was the dog.  This isn’t discovered until Maura starts pulling on Geordi’s pants.  It’s then that he discovers the truth:  The dog did it.

There are several other problems, like Geordi not getting the girl.  This isn’t even the first time that he’s fallen in someone through their logs only to lose her later on.  At least this time, she’s willing and able to get intimate with Geordi.  Poor Geordi, though.  Just as she’s starting foreplay, Riker walks in, phaser in hand, informing Geordi that she might not be what she seems.  Alas, the moment’s ruined and they ultimately go their separate ways.

Also, the Klingons seem rather antagonistic towards the Enterprise.  Commander Morag admits to stealing files, which is odd considering that the Klingon Empire and the Federation are supposed to be on good terms.  So, why would he want to steal codes?   And why would he delete the files when not deleting them would attract less attention?  I think that the writers just needed another suspect and Klingons were the most aggressive.  I suspect that the commander may have been Romulan, as he’s not addressed as captain.  Like Starfleet, the commanding officer of a Klingon ship is addressed as captain, with the executive officer usually addressed as commander.  Romulan ships usually have commander and subcommander, respectively.  This would also explain Worf’s hostility towards the Klingons.

It did strike me as odd that Geordi had a phaser hidden in his quarters.  I would think that a starship would keep its weapons locked up, at least during peacetime.  Geordi doesn’t strike me as the kind of chief engineer that would need to sleep with a weapon at the ready like that.  It’s also odd that he didn’t call for help at all.  Then again, he’s in panic mode.  He might not be thinking straight.

While the acting from the regular actors was good, the writing was flat.  This episode could easily be missed and it wouldn’t affect continuity.  No previous episodes are referenced and this episode has no bearing on future episodes, so it’s not really even necessary to watch.  If it comes on TV, don’t worry about watching it all the way through.

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