Thursday, February 28, 2013

ST:TNG 5.16 Ethics ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

Worf gets crushed in the cargo bay in 5.16 Ethics.

Images Source: TrekCore

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

Ethics
Season 5, Episode 16

Story:
  • When Worf gets crushed by a containers in the cargo bay that result in paralysis. A neurological specialist comes aboard to assist, however her treatment is experimental and has low chance of success rate, but offers an option other than what Worf initial reaction which is requesting assistance in ending his life.
    Character Focus:
    • Worf is clearly the focus here. For almost the entire episode he is affected by the paralysis, and very quickly asked for Riker's assistance with the Hegh'bat (ritual suicide). He's rather withdrawn during the episode, keeping Alexander at a distance and not being open to conventional medicien.
    • Most of Worf's friends are closely involved in this episode, in particular Riker as Worf approaches his for teh Hegh'bat, Troi spends a lot of time with Alexander and Worf even asks her to take care of Alexander if anything happens to him. Picard is also indirectly a focus, as he is the sole person who 100% supports Worf's decision to commit Hegh'bat.
    • There is also a big Doctor battle going on between Dr. Crusher and and the neurological specialist Dr. Russell, who believes the benefits of her experimental treatment is worth the risks over more conventional treatment.


    Images Source: TrekCore

    What I remembered about this episode:
    • I remember not liking this episode, primarily because it's strongly and quickly presented that Worf will either be paralyzed for life or die by the end of it, however neither happens. It felt like a total cop out, especially as there aren't any lasting effects beyond this episode.
    What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
    • There are so many moral dilemmas and questions going on in this episode, from the medical ethics of experimental treatments to assisted suicide and also more lightly the rights or the patient. I don't think I saw any of that on first view.
    • I was impressed that Riker found an out tot he Klingon ceremony citing that a family member is the one responsible, which would mean Alexander and Worf could not ask his own son to kill him
    What feels different now, than then:
    • I'm actually glad this one has come and gone, it's one of the few of the series that I don't really like although this time around I did see more into in.
    • This feels like a rare episode where it feels like they show someone making the 'wrong' choices (saying yes to experimental surgery from a ethically questionable doctor) and ended up with the 'right' result (Worf survives and regains his mobility).
    • It was really touching to see Worf ask Troi to take care of Alexander if he passes away.
    What remained the same:
    • Although I get that multiple ethical questions were at play in this episode, it still feels like a cop out that it's a reset/Brady Bunch ending where in the end there was no lasting impact to the characters that had major things happen.
    What I see differently:
    • I was actually really impressed with Picard's stance on Worf and the Hegh'bat, he without question respects Worfs
      s decision.
    • There is a great scene with Picard and Riker doing regular ships business and going though files and such during the time that Worf is in surgery, and you can just feel the weight in the room of their concern for him.
    Great Quotes:
    • "This is part of that Klingon stuff, isn't it? My mother always said Klingons had a lot of dumb ideas about honor." - Alexander
    • "You and I could learn to live with a disability like that, but not Worf. His life ended when those containers fell on him. Now, we don't have to agree with it, we don't have to understand it. But we do have to respect his beliefs." - Picard
    • " I am delighted that Worf is going to recover. You gambled, he won. Not all of your patients are so lucky. You scare me, Doctor. You risk your patients' lives and justify it in the name of research." - Dr. Crusher
    Left off at:
    The experimental spinal replication surgery is performed on Worf, and initially it appears that he dies but due to redundant Klingon anatomy he actually not only survives but also regains his mobility.


    Images Source: TrekCore

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