Friday, November 17, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 171 (Genesis)

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

Those that have watched Star Trek: The Next Generation are familiar with Lieutenant Reginald Barclay. He’s recurring character that’s a hypochondriac who usually assumes the worst. He reports to sickbay reporting symptoms of yet another deadly disease. Dr. Crusher gives him a shot to activate some sort of latent RNA. Meanwhile, Spot is expecting kittens and soon. (Spot is Data’s cat.) It turns out that Nurse Ogawa is also expecting.

On the bridge, the crew is testing out upgrades to the weapons systems. Captain Picard and Data have to take a shuttlecraft to retrieve an errant photon torpedo. When they return, they find that the ship has gone to the animals – literally. It seems that something about the shot that Dr. Crusher gave to Barclay did more than she expected. It spread to the entire crew, causing them to turn into less-evolved creatures. Even spot has turned into an iguana.

Data is immune to it, but Picard soon realizes that the same fate will eventually befall him. When Data notices that Spot’s kittens have not been affected, he realizes that Nurse Ogawa might provide a solution for the rest of the crew. Unfortunately, they have to deal with a de-evolved Worf, who’s hot for Counselor Troi and is willing and able to pound his way through anything that stands between them. Fortunately, Data saves the day, finding a cure that can be spread through the air. Everyone returns to normal and Barclay even gets a disease named after him.

There are a few minor problems. First, it looked like Spot’s kittens, while unharmed, hadn’t been fed for a while. It would have been nice, at the end of the episode, to see Data holding a litter of kittens saying how everything worked out. I realize that it’s a minor point, but a lot of people seem to bring this up. However, Spot’s gender is firmly established. In previous episodes, Data had referred to her as either her or him.

Also, how is it that Spot turned into an iguana? Supposedly, the disease affected parts of human (and non-human) DNA that held the genetic codes that we had accumulated over eons of evolution. Even if cats and iguanas do have a common ancestry at some point, I don’t think that Spot would have access to the genetic code for iguanas. Theoretically, Spot should have turned into a less-evolved feline. (On that note, Troi should have had access to two sets of species to de-evolve into since she’s half Betzoid.)

One thing that caught my attention was that Nurse Ogawa was pregnant. Granted, it was necessary to give Data something to work with, but how is it that she goes from being uncertain about her boyfriend a few episodes ago to having his child? There are over a thousand crewmembers, presumably half of which are female. Out of 500 women, Nurse Ogawa is the only one that’s pregnant?

It’s a great episode that’s hampered by a few too many mistakes. If you can get past these things, it’s an enjoyable episode. I’d say that regular viewer and new viewer alike could watch this episode. As much as I liked it, though, I can’t give it more than three stars. There are just too many gaps in the story.

IMDb page

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