Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 148 (Suspicions)

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

The episode begins with Dr. Crusher packing. Guinan comes in, asking for some medical assistance. (For those that don’t watch regularly, Guinan runs a lounge called Ten Forward.) Unfortunately, Dr. Crusher has been relieved of duty and is on her way to a starbase for a hearing.

The first two thirds of the episode is spent in retrospect as Dr. Crusher tells Guinan what happened. The story begins with Dr. Reyga, a Ferengi scientist, wanting to test something called metaphasic shielding. It’s supposed to let a ship fly into a corona of a star. Others have tried and failed, but Dr. Reyga believes that he’s done it. Dr. Crusher invites several others, all experts in the field, to meet Dr. Reyga and to witness a test. One of the other scientists volunteers to fly the shuttle.

All goes well until the scientist appears to collapse. Fortunately, the shuttle is able to make it out, but the scientist is dead. A study of the body reveals that there wasn’t possibly enough radiation to kill someone, but she’s never actually met the pilot’s race before. After studying the ship, no one can figure out what went wrong. Dr. Reyga is insistent that the shielding must have worked. He’s can’t understand what could have happened.

Then, Dr. Reyga turns up dead. Dr. Crusher doesn’t think that it’s suicide. After asking around, she can’t figure out who did it. She wants to do an autopsy, but the family won’t allow it. Seeing no alternative, Crusher performs the autopsy anyway and finds nothing; that’s what gets her dismissed.

Guinan pushes Dr. Crusher to go a little further. Dr. Crusher eventually figures out that there is sabotage involved and that the shielding does work. To prove it, she takes the shuttle into the sun and succeeds. That’s when the real killer is revealed. There’s no real point in spoiling it for you. You’ll have to watch it to see who it is.

I have only one major question: What is it about Dr. Crusher’s personality that wouldn’t let her let Worf handle the investigation? I realize that Dr. Reyga was her friend, but medical doctors don’t normally go around asking questions about a murder. Also, Dr. Crusher shouldn’t have been performing an autopsy on a friend. Even if the family did allow it, she should have gotten someone more detached from the situation to do it. The fact that she couldn’t ask anyone should have told her not to do it.

I also tend not to like episodes or movies that are told in retrospect. I don’t think that it’s necessary in most cases and uses the storytelling scenes as filler. In many cases, it also tends to ruin the story. You spend the entire time wondering how a character got where they are and if the next mistake is the one that derailed them. Since there is more of a story after Guinan’s visit to Dr. Crusher, nothing is spoiled. It also is important to the storyline. Dr. Crusher needs to tell the story to someone so that they can give her the necessary push to get things going. Granted, Dr. Crusher could have gotten a visit from Guinan in the middle of the episode, but why have her in just one scene? It would have robbed the viewer of Whoopi Goldberg’s performance as Guinan.

Overall, I give this episode three stars. It’s a good story, even if it’s not a great one.

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