ST:TNG 3.02 The Ensigns of Command ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

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The Ensigns of Command
Season 3, Episode 2

  • The Enterprise receives a communication from the Sheliac, who break a near-100-year silence with the Federations, to inform them that there is an unexpected human presence on one of their planets and will be eradicated is not removed.
    Character Focus:
    • Data is clearly the focus here, as he is the one who is sent down to the planet with the mission to prepare the inhabitants for evacuation, and has to deal with the (surprize, surprize) that they don't want to leave.  It's also a 'Data made a friend!' episode (see also 2.15 Pen Pals), as one of the colonists is super-keen on computers and therefore is fascinated by Data.
    • Picard and Deanna also has some focus here as they are dealing with The Sheliac on the ship while Data is on the planet; and they have a really interesting conversation about language and understanding as they have a challenge connecting to The Sheliac on any way.
    • The Sheliac as a race, this is the first and possibly only time, we see them and I loved how weird and different they feel with completely different priorities and energy.  It's one of the few alien races I've seen on the show that feels so extremely alien.
    What I remembered about this episode:
    • I remember the Sheliac the most in this episode, their odd alien-ness, as well as Picard's creative solution to deal with them.
    What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
    • The entire theme of this episode is about creativity and creative solutions, both in how Picard solves getting more time with The Sheliac and with Data trying to convince the colonists, and with Data playing the violin.  
    • The other theme of the episode is leadership, when too much honesty can have others lose confidence in you, and trying to solve a seemingly impossible task especially when dealing with another party who is completely adamant in not cooperating.
    What feels different now, than then:
    • Although I thought the 'oddity of having to come up with creative solutions' was an interesting challenge for Data, I found it odd that this was the first time we are seeing something like this, something where he alone has to convince and possibly lead a group of people.  He's a pretty high ranking officer to not have these kind of experience with soft skills, and I only really point this out as we saw Wesley deal with this last season in 2.15 Pen Pals.
    • It was pretty shocking that one of the colonists just SHOOTS Data. S eriously, that's not cool.
    • I can empathize with the colonists, they survived through amazing challenges of being on a planet with radiation and built up quite an impressive society, that would be a lot to leave behind. 
    What remained the same:
    • I still love the interaction and discussions with The Sheliac, Picard finding a loophole of requesting a third-party to mediate their conflict and then choosing a race that's currently in hibernation.  Too funny.
    • I thought it was brilliant that they run into a brick wall when they try to reason with them, so they switch gears and look to where the other party will respect the argument, and then place that argument.
    What I see differently:
    • I saw that there was a ricochet effect here with an 'it's your problem to solve' ripples through the levels of command with The Federation --> The Enterprise and then to both --> Geordi & O'Brien as well as Data.  The all encompassing 'solve the problem, we can't help you at the moment' pass of the buck was not very inline with what we normally see.
    • It's odd to hear Data use the argument that 'Things can be replaced; People can not' as a similar argument of which of those two things is he was made last season in 2.09 The Measure of a Man.  Way to think outside your own experience, Data!
    Great Quotes:
    • "Do you believe my suggested course of action should be followed" - Data
    • "Captain, when the treaty was first negotiated, the Federation sent 372 legal experts. What do we have?" - Troi
    • "Intelligent converse is impossible. You do not discuss, you gibber." - The Sheliac
    • "Is there nothing of Data in what I'm hearing? You see, you chose the violinist. Heifetz and Bron-Ken have radically different styles, different techniques, and yet... you combined them, successfully."- Picard
    Left off at:
    Data finds a creative way to convince the colonists that they will not survive an attack from The Sheliac and  Picard presents the argument to the Sheliac requesting a mediator that is in hibernation, they agree to give The Federation for 3 weeks to evacuate the colonists.

    Images Source: TrekCore


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