ST:TNG 5.13 The Masterpiece Society ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

Things get messed up for a society of too perfect humans in 5.13 The Masterpiece Society.

Images Source: TrekCore

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

The Masterpiece Society
Season 5, Episode 13

  • While The Enterprise is observing the movement of a stellar core fragment through space, they discover a colony of genetically engineered humans living in isolation on a planet that will be severely impacted by the passing of the fragment.
    Character Focus:
    • From the genetically engineered human colony living on Moab IV we have administrator Aaron Conor who becomes involved with Troi, and scientist Hannah who teams up with Geordi to solve the problem of being destroyed but then wants to leave the planet and explore the universe.
    • From the regular crew Troi is a focus as she is one of the few people that goes down to the planet and becomes involved with Aaron, and we also have Geordi whose VISOR technology discussion with Hannah leads to the solution to the problem of the stellar core fragment.
    What I remembered about this episode:
    • I remember this one in a very general sense, I definitely recognized Aaron Conor and remembered the stay vs go argument although we had that back in 3.02 The Ensigns of Command and I don't distinctly remember this one from that one too much.
    What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
    • It's a pretty clear message that genetically engineered societies aren't a good idea, although they can be 'perfect'. It was quite clear that Picard is against them, and I would go as far to say offended but the lack of choice it gives people in their lives.
    What feels different now, than then:
    • I feel like I should have understood the whole 'genetically intergrated society' bit, I could understand how the people were engineered but how there they interdependent on their environment. It's odd that something so 'perfect' could also be so 'fragile'.
    • I did find the idea of everyone knowing exactly what they would be perfect at doing, was compelling. I wonder if they all felt as confident as Aaron did in their work. But what work did they do? They they grow, as well as 'evolve'?
    • This is an interesting take on a 'how what you do effects people' exploration, without falling back to the principles of the prime directive because the colonists are human. Riker and Picard even discuss this particular point.
    • It's also an interesting perspective that they have a pretty strong mandate to follow the intention of their ancestors, and they seemed to want them to strive for success but how do you grow if there is no change? Is no one ever bored? Or creative?
    What remained the same:
    • I never, and still don't, understood Troi's very emotional reaction to being upset with becoming involved with Aaron, and the tumultuous reveal of such to Picard in the turbolift. I also didn't understand it as a choice in the show, we didn't see Riker upset after becoming involved in 1.14 Angel One or 2.18 Up the Long Ladder? I think not! Perhaps because this episode in sequence is right after 5.12 Violations that if feels even more weird. It never sat well with me, and even on the re-watch I couldn't pick up on anything to clarify or explain what weirdness.
    What I see differently:
    • After playing DAoC, now when I hear the term 'Masterpiece' I hear a ding sound and see a little kobold dancing.
    • It's interesting to see another example of an isolated group with the strong belief in there superiority, which is quashed by The Enterprise. We last saw this in 4.15 First Contact, in which The Prime Directive was in effect.
    • I loved Hannah's argument that the people who wanted to leave, shouldn't have to stay 6 months because that would just give the people there time to badger them not to go. When the decisions made, it's made. Why wait?
    Great Quotes:
    • "So - guess if I had been conceived on your world, I wouldn't even be here now, would I?" - Geordi
    • "All of us in this colony have been living in the dark ages. It's like we're victims of a 200-year-old joke." - Hannah
    • "They've given away their humanity with this... genetic manipulation. Many of the qualities that they breed out, the... the uncertainty, self-discovery, the unknown - these are many of the qualities that make life worth living. Well, at least to me." - Picard
    Left off at:
    • Geordi and Hannah's plan to avert colony destruction from the stellar core fragment, but many of the people want to request asylum which would severely effect the integrated genetically engineered environment. In the end, Picard agrees to let anyone who wants to leave, leave; as to do otherwise would infringe their human rights.
    Images Source: TrekCore


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