Wednesday, January 30, 2013

ST:TNG 4.21 The Drumhead ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

It's time for an ethical question masked as a mystery in 4.21 The Drumhead.

Images Source: TrekCore

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

The Drumhead
Season 4, Episode 21

    An investigation of a security breach and sabotage on The Enterprise of suspected leaking of information to The Romulans lead to interrogations, proceedings and hearings that become run by Admiral Norah Satie, who is hell bent on uncovering, exposing and prosecuting anyone and everyone who *may* be involved.
    Character Focus:
    • Picard is the focus here, as he is the one who stands up against the witch-trail furor that comes with Admiral Satie's investigation.
    • Admiral Norah Satie, who comes out of retirement to take on the investigation and is reknowned herself as is her father, who's judgements were required reading at the academy when Picard was studying.
    • Crewman Simon Tarses is the cause for the big turn of events in this episode. Tarses is interrogated by Satie and her Betazoid assistant who indicates Tarses is s lying and it's then uncovered that Tarses is from Romulan, as opposed to Vulcan descent, and then begins the spiral of the witch-hunt. Picard remains true to not infringing Tarses' rights and that and extensive investigation is ethically wrong, especially when it's cleared the cause of both the security breach and sabotage are explained. I don't know if we see him again, or find out if The Federation will let him continue after he's admitted to falsifying his entrance information.
    • Worf gets an impressive amount of screen time in this one, and it showcases how rare an actual investigation happens on the ship, which is something that definitely be his world to play in. It's saddening that Worf quickly falls into the glamour of the investigation and need to find a culprit and seeing suspicion everywhere.
    What I remembered about this episode:
    • I actually do not remember this episode very well at all. I remember Crewman Tarses, and I knew he was lying, but that was pretty much it.

    Images Source: TrekCore

    What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
    • It seems like the regular interrogation team of the crew is Riker and Troi, which I was very surprized at to see back in 3.10 The Defector (mostly because Troi was so forceful), but it actually makes a lot of sense for them to be the ones to lead here.
    • I keep forgetting how much The Romulans were in The Next Generation, or rather the threat of The Romulans. I've always been a fan of those Romulans.
    • Admiral Satie and Worf shake hands.... and I almost jumped back seeing this! It's so rare on the show! And she didn't even stand up. I know she's and Admiral, but really... shaking hands with 1 person sitting down is very strange.
    What feels different now, than then:
    • Just when I was feeling very comfortable in knowing Season 4 very well, I get hit with this episode that was barely even vaguely familiar until well into the episode when we see Crewman Simon Tarses and then I knew exactly which one it was. It's amazing how much the fun of rewatching is testing my episode-recognition skills.
    • It feels pretty hypocritical (and out of character) of Worf to make comments about someone who if they do not answer it infers their guilt. Does he not remember his OWN bout with remaining quiet in 3.17 Sins of the Father? That's one of the few times I've notice character incongruity in the main cast. We also see it with Admiral Norah Satie who first indicates that Worf will be key in the investigation, and then questions him to be a possible security weakness.
    What remained the same:
    • I don't what the title reference, even though Picard explains it.
    • I love how Picard questions the ethics of having a Betazoid interrogator, and notes the difference between interrogation and counseling positions in this episode and context.
    What I see differently:
    • I felt the resolve on this one was pretty weak, or maybe I didn't understand it. Although I think it's an extremely important issue, I didn't understand how Picard quoting back to Satie the words of her father which made her emotional demonstrated that what was going on was wrong. Maybe that her judgment was off, but not that it was wrong.
    • This is a really heavy episode. It has some niceties, particularly of the excitement of Picard meeting Satie , but for the most part you can really feel the weight of the issue in the entire episode. That's quite unusual not to have any relief.
    Great Quotes:
    • "Spies and saboteurs don't like the bright lights of an open inquiry. They're like roaches scurrying for the dark corner." - Admiral Satie
    • "That's how it starts. But the road from legitimate suspicion to rampant paranoia is very much shorter than we think. Something is wrong here, Mr. Worf; I don't like what we have become." - Picard
    • "I believed her. I, I helped her. I did not see what she was." - Worf
    Left off at:
    When Picard is called out on his own actions by Admiral Satie, he quotes that when the freedom are trodden on, all are damaged which sends Satie on a tirade and accuses Picard of consorting with the Romulans himself. Admiral Henry leaves, and puts a stop to the hearings.

    Images Source: TrekCore

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