Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ST:TNG 4.15 First Contact ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

Riker goes missing on an alien world where *he* is seen as the alien in 4.15 First Contact.

Images Source: TrekCore

Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch continues with ...

First Contact
Season 4, Episode 15

  • Riker ends up in a medical facility on a planet just on the verge of warp capability, but it gets all the more tricky when the Malcorians discover Riker's 'abnormalities' and are worried news of a possible 'alien' on their planet will cause public chaos.
    Character Focus:
    • The Malcorian race is the real focus of the episode, being on the verge of warp capabilities. Specifically the scientist Marista Yale and political leader Chancellor Avel Durken and security minister Krola, all of who have different takes on the reality of and effect of other civilizations out there.
    • Riker plays an important role being the root of the reveal, or at least the suspicion, of the Malcorians being worried about aliens. I was very impressed that even in a post surgery/conscious mode he was able to remember and articulate a specific and even flexing cover story.
    What I remembered about this episode:
    • I remember this one as a 'Riker's been abducted!' episode, which happens a fair amount and we've already had one of them this season with 4.08 Future Imperfect. It really *is* a good thing that The Captain doesn't go on too many away missions!
    What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
    • Almost the entire episode is centred on the Malcorians and their conversations with each other. This one easily was the least amount of face time for the regular crew of any that I can remember so far in the re-watch.
    • I really thought this was a Riker one, but in actuality he's barely in it and isn't even conscious for a lot of the time that he is in it. Although he does have time for an alien 'encounter'; I can't believe one of the Malcorians's propositioned him, and he appeared to take her up on it in exchange for her help on his (attempted) escape.
    What feels different now, than then:
    • It's interested to see such a self-centred/conceited race be approached by The Federation, and choose that their societal ego can't handle the concept that they aren't the centre of the universe.
    What remained the same:
    • I was, and am, really impressed with the character of Mirasta Yale, she's so forward-thinking, it was nice to see a woman scientist and she really adapted quickly after 1 tour of The Enterprise. I didn't remember until the very end that she ended up staying aboard, and she gives a great mini-speech about being ready for this moment that is wonderful. Carolyn Seymour who portrays her, as such a beautiful voice, I recognized it the moment she spoke. She pops up now and again in the Star Trek Universe, so we should be seeing more of her.
    What I see differently:
    • We get a lot of specific information on how first contact works and also that it's usually 'highly trained individuals' that involved whereas for this encounter The Enterprise crew had to step in when Riker went missing. Plus, we get a tour guide trip around the bridge, which is awesome because some of those stations I didn't even know what they were called! How is that for continual learning?
    • I started howling when one of the guys in the medical centre says something to the effect of that all their exploratory space flights are getting noticed by ALIENS....because... that sounds so 'conspiracy theory', but in this case it's 100% true. In fact there is tons of conspiracy theory stuff in this one, which adds a whole other layer to it that we don't often see in Trek.
    • The costume folks were pretty forward thinking on those glasses for the Malcorians!

    Images Source: TrekCore

    Great Quotes:
    • "We are not here as conquerors, Chancellor." - Picard
    • "You speak the language of diplomacy very well, Captain. It's a language I appreciate and understand. But I have learned to not always trust it."- Chancellor Durken
    • "Our ideology is based on the assumption that the Malcorian is a supreme life form, and our world is the center of the universe. Your arrival will change our entire understanding of life. And some will not want it to change." - Mirasta Yale
    Left off at:
    After it's revealed that security minister Krola attempted martyr-suicide at the hands on a near-incapacitated Riker, Chancellor Avel Durken makes the call that the Malcorians are not yet ready to exist in a world with other alien races so he will slow the warp drive program, increase education and ask Picard to have The Enterprise leave. They do, but at her request they leave with scientist Mirasta Yale who looks forward to this newly expanded universe before her.

    Images Source: TrekCore

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