Sunday, November 12, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 166 (Sub Rosa)

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

I’m a big fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation. However, even The Next Generation had a few episodes that were so bad as to be totally beyond my understanding. “Sub Rosa” is just such an episode.

Dr. Crusher is attending the funeral of her grandmother on a planet with a Scottish feel to it. During the funeral, she sees a strange man place a flower on the coffin. This isn’t just any flower, though; it happens to be her grandmother’s favorite flower. Crusher finds out that the man’s name is Ronin and that he was her grandmother’s lover. She was 100 and he appears to be in his thirties. That’s not all. He appears to be interested in a candle that’s been passed down from generation to generation. Specifically, he wants to keep it lit, despite warnings from someone else.

You see, as long as the candle is lit, Ronin can take corporeal form. This is what allows him to have great sex with Dr. Crusher and, presumably, her late grandmother. Crusher has been manipulated by Ronin and is even willing to leave Starfleet to stay with him. Eventually, a rational explanation is figured out, but Dr. Crusher has to come to the realization on her own: Ronin is an anaphasic life form that’s been using the Howard women for many generations. Crusher is the first one to have the sense to overcome his manipulation and do something about it.

There are a lot of problems with this episode. First, the feel of the episode is different. I’m not just talking about the film quality, either. With the exception of Dr. Crusher, the main characters seem to be going through the motions. That leaves Gates McFadden to carry the story. She does have a few good episodes, but this isn’t one of them. There are several scenes that require a lot of her and she doesn’t seem to be able to pull it off well. It’s either too flat or too much.

Also, a few people have brought up the issue of the Howard name being passed down. I’m searching for an explanation, myself. It seems odd that the name would be passed down for whatever reason and then, Dr. Crusher would change her name, especially considering that most doctors keep their names if the maiden name is on their degrees.

Also, Dr. Crusher doesn’t have a daughter. Even if Ronin had managed to convince Crusher to stay, he’d have a lot of explaining to do when it came time to turn to Wesley. (I think at one point during the development of the show, Wesley was actually female. I wouldn’t have had this issue had that happened. However, Wesley does ‘ascend’ at one point, so Ronin would still be out of luck.)

This is a one-star episode if ever I saw one. The episode seems like a cross between a cheesy Halloween episode and amateur soft-core porn. The ‘sex’ scenes with Crusher and Ronin are so over the top, it’s almost ridiculous. I came away from this episode asking myself if this was really a Star Trek episode or if someone had put me on. Do not buy this episode. If it comes on TV, don’t watch it. If you have the season set, skip this episode. It’s that bad. 

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