Mad Matt Watches A Star Trek STTNG:S3E04 Who Watches the Watchers

This is my series where I watch a random star trek episode, and write my thoughts as they occur. There are likely spoilers.

Our second random episode is still in Next Gen. So that answers the question if I’ll stay in the same series.

What is the standard cruising speed in a Prime Directive violating emergency? If the Enterprise had been at Warp 7 well, 24 minutes earlier or more, they would have been their already. We also don’t know their cruising speed before, but as soon as Picard sees the outpost blow up, its suddenly okay to pour on the gas? Why didn’t they do that before? Isn’t the Prime Directive worth a little rocket fuel?

It an emergency, men, so as soon as we beam in, move very slowly to assist these people who could be dying.

Okay, so their hologram failed and their outpost is exposed. This seems like a poor design. They should fail towards security instead. They should fabricate rocks and the like, so when the system goes down, its still a rock wall hiding their base. I mean, maybe initially you can use a hologram as a quick baffle, but for longterm?

Also: Do they make portable holograms? Ones you could, say, suddenly drop on an outpost to conceal it? I’ve not seen it before. Maybe by the time they get to Voyager? But you’d think they could have some back up plan, with how much time they have outside of combat.

Okay, let’s bring up languages. I didn’t want to, but this episode has persisted in everyone (aka, the natives and the Federation) somehow speaking the same language, which should not be a thing. I know its pointless work to add in languages, as it probably distracts from the short term story just to appease people like me who probably just ought to get over it.

Doctor Who, of course, cleverly got around it with the translator circuits, allowing them to hand wave that issue away until they wanted to deal with it.

Hold on, why is Councillor Troi wearing red?

Skipping forward a bit, because, honestly, I’m not a huge fan of the slow burn conflicting objectives. It is however, a great way to make something work in an RPG. I think the premise of this episode would make a pretty good session. It starts moderatly clear cut, but a complication arises. Each thing the crew tries sparks a new complication, after thier objective is achieved. The crew, aka the players, have to try and balance what their objectives are, from a mission statement of the whole ship, to the captain’s decree, to their personal outlook, and play that to the hilt. And if the DM was dangling two different carrots, one for following the Prime Directive, one for getting the people back okay, the players could very well jump through these same hoops.

Picard: “Feel the warmth of my hand, the beat of my pulse. I’m not a supreme being.”
Q: “Which is quite fortunate, because Jean-Luc would be BORING as a supreme being.”

While I didn’t like the meat of the episode, I did like the conclusion. I think it nicely summed up Picard’s personal belief in the Prime Directive, which is a strong part of his character.

This episode gets an 8 from me, even though I skipped bits. I think it was a solid episode, even it if it doesn’t fit what I like. The craft is much improved. Still no villain, though. I wonder how many episodes I can see before I find a villain? It would be an interesting statistic, to see what percentage of ST actually has a villain.

I identified 3 recurring thematics, two of which are likely related. Prime Directive episodes probably pair up with Dressing in a Costume. I’ve also identified Quick Assistance, where the Enterprise needs to hurry to help someone.


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