One of the plot lines of this episode involves the recurring theme that I consider the greatest weakness of TNG. The chief medical officer of the Enterprise, whether she be Crusher or Polaski, never seems able to handle medical problems quickly. When medical problems arise, in this case a dangerous viral infection spreading throughout the crew, Crusher's lines reduce to variations of "I don't know . . .". Considering that only the very best medical minds could be in Star Fleet and the Enterprise is the flagship of the Federation, it is absurd to believe that the only officer who can overrule the captain would appear to be so lacking in capability. Of course, she eventually stumbles on the solution and the crew is cured. The second major plot line involves the Enterprise searching for survivors of an accident involving another ship. When the ship was destroyed, the nearest planet is one where women are the dominant sex and the males are smaller and subservient. The Enterprise goes to the planet and establishes contact in an attempt to search for survivors. It turns out that there were survivors and they are the leaders of a mini-rebellion against the matriarchal hierarchy. While it is sensible that Riker would adopt the appropriate attire for a meeting with the headmistress of the planet, his interaction with her is absurd. At one point in Riker's conversation with her, when he is arguing against the death sentence pronounced against the rebels, the headmistress ends a line with , " . . . that attitude." Commander Riker is the second in command of the Federation flagship and a trained diplomat. The headmistress is of course the leader of a planet and also must be a diplomat. It is very hard to believe that they would engage in a conversation at the level of a lover's quarrel. People in their positions would not speak to each other that way. The premise of a female dominated society is an interesting one, worthy of being the major plot in an episode. However, the implementation leaves a lot to be desired and I consider this one of the weaker TNG episodes.
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Charles Ashbacher (CharlesAshbacher)
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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The Federation freighterOdinhas been disabled by an asteroid. There are no signs of life on the ship, but three escape pods are missing, so the crew of theEnterprisetake a trip to the nearest planet, Angel One, to see if they can locate any survivors. The civilization on Angel One is "similar to mid-20th-century Earth," except the gender roles are switched. Women are the hunters and natural leaders, while the men are treated as pretty ornaments and playthings. You can imagine how well that plays with Riker. But it's Riker who, in pure Shatner mode, nearly gets lucky with the leader of Angel One, Mistress Beata (Karen Montgomery). Well, it turns out the three survivors are fugitives from justice because they've been inspiring the men on the planet to campaign for equal rights, and the women just don't like that. Meanwhile, theEnterprisehas been incapacitated by a mysterious virus. The obvious politics of this episode are nicely balanced by the entertainingly "girlish" costumes worn by the men on the planet.--Andy Spletzer