ST:TNG 1.08 Justice ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

Images Source: TrekCore

The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 8

  • After helping with a planet colonization, The Enterprise scouts out shore leave on a nearby planet inhabited by free loving and pleasure-centric folk who have a simple, but brutal, crime & punishment system.
What it's really about:
  • We get to see the Prime Directive in action here, and actually in conflict with the sensibility of the crew vs the planet they are interfere. If you are new to Trek, the Prime Directive means not interfering with other cultures. I actually thought the Prime Directive was not to engage at all at pre-warp cultures, as oppose to not interfere. I wonder if it changes over the series & films.
  • It also says that simple doesn't mean there won't be a big affect.
  • It can't go without saying that this episode has been easily made fun of over the years, between the scantily clad folks, the simple law/punishment systems, the one of many legal-type cases in the series, an easy way to make fun of Wesley, as well as lots of fodder in there.
Character Focus:
  • This one is mostly about Wesley as he is the one who unknowingly commits the crime, for which the laws of the culture would have him be executed on the spot.
  • Picard also plays a huge role as it's up to him to decide whether to break the Prime Directive to save Wesley or not.
What I remembered about this episode:
  • This is the episode that when the series first came out had me totally rolling my eyes. I usually call it 'the one where they run' and it probably was the impetus to stop watching the show religiously on a weekly basis; although I did come back to it regular when it ran concurrently in syndication and new episodes.
What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
  • Like 1.07 Lonely Among Us we see the crew of The Enterprise in the middle of things in terms of a social/advancement structure they engage with a culture that is presented as simpler then themselves as well as an entity they barely can communicate with as it's so much more advanced as themselves. They almost become the middleman at odds, where neither side really wants to engage in or change their relationship with each other.
  • The 'simple' characteristics of the folks on the planet feels pretty weird, especially because they not it themselves by outright saying that The Enterprise has the power to not abide by their laws.
  • It has a 'follow the rules and you will be rewarded' kind of feel to it that's really weird.
  • Maybe more research should be done before taking an away team! We'll see if they get more cautious.
  • I did like the philosophical discussions near the end and that Picard does take a stance to break the Prime Directive as following it would result in an action that is not the intention of the Prime Directive. It's a great example on when to break the rules, and the power of doing so.
What feels different now, than then:
  • Not much, it's hard to distance it from the first impression it leaves.
What remained the same:
  • It really is as ridiculous as I remember. I do see how it could feel like a nod to the free spirited nature of some original series episodes, but I don't think that read as much in then-current culture of the 80's so it didn't fly then (or now).
What I see differently:
  • I again only remembered on part of the story (the running folk and the unintentional crime of Wesley), and forgot about the God-like or worshipped-as-a-God entity that's in orbit around the planet.
  • Again there is no tension that Wesley would die on the planet because I've seen it before, but I did kinda feel like hey... he did totally run into those flowers. He didn't have to chase the ball....
  • Yar does a review of the planet and says their culture is quite simple with laws as mostly common sense things (umm....), she corrects this later by indicating nothing of the punishment of breaking the laws was indicated (add that to the 'To do' list Yar!); but Geordi gives us an early yellow alert when he says "They're wild in some ways, actually puritanical in others. Neat as pins, ultra-lawful; and they make love at the drop of a hat."
Great Quotes:
  • "Let's just hope it's not too good to be true." - Picard
  • "Capital punishment in our world is no longer considered a justifiable deterrent." - Picard
  • "When has justice ever been as simple as a rulebook?" - Riker
Left off at:
Picard makes the decision to take Wesley from the planet even though the action breaks the Prime Directive. When the transporter fails to beam the away team away, Picard appeals vocally to the 'Gods' of the planet, saying that there is no justice when laws are absolute. The transporter then beams them to safety and Picard also offers to have the nearby colony moved, but is an indeterminate whether or not the 'sign' from the 'Gods' is an ask to take up that offer.

Images Source: TrekCore


Suzie Ridler said…
Oh yes, the "running" episode, how I rolled my eyes as well Shannon! A very prime-directive-intense episode indeed. How interesting to go back and look at it again.

"It really is as ridiculous as I remember." I bet it is!

Too funny that Wesley really is "guilty" of that crime, LOL.
Shannon said…
It's very easy to roll eyes on this one Suzie! In fact, if you are going to do it, this is the one to do.

It did surprized me that Wesley was guilty and not even that concerned that he crushed a bunch of flowers and destroyed the cover of what was protecting them - although that's doesn't mean it's time to bring on the capital punishment!

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