TNG: “The Survivors” and “Who Watches the Watchers”

Date: March 28, 2020

Season 3, Episodes 3 and 4

Musical Accompaniment: Ultimate Soundtrack Compilation Mix by Hans Zimmer

Interstellar News: Today was not a good day.

Favorite Quote from “The Survivors”:

Kevin: Is the love of a woman worth the destruction of an entire species? This is the sin I tried so hard to keep you from learning now. Why I wanted to chase you from Rana.

Picard: We’re not qualified to be your judges. We have no law to fit your crime.

*from Picard’s log* We leave behind a being of extraordinary power and conscience. I am not certain if he should be praised or condemned. Only that he should be left alone.

An absolute heartbreak, for all involved.

Worf’s One-Two Punch: “Sir. May I say your attempt to hold the away team at bay with a non-functioning weapon was an act of unmitigated gall.” “I admire gall.”

“The Survivors” starts with Troi in a swank new teal colored outfit and the Enterprise trying to respond to a distress signal that came from a now-barren planet aside from two lifeforms. The away team beams down and it’s just two old people, Kevin and Rishon Uxbridge, who are very much in love with each other. Data is entranced by a music box and Troi can hear it, in fact she can’t stop the waltz from playing in her head. The Uxbridge’s do not want to leave, however, and do not want any help.

An old woman looks at the computer and goes "tracking my cookies? They will never get my recipe!"
Better not tell Grandma what the “milkshake” song really means either…

There are a few battles with a spaceship of unknown origin, but Picard thinks there is some tomfoolery going on so he beams down with Worf. I think there’s something going on with the tea, but it turns out it’s Kevin who is to blame. After much back and forth, Kevin tells the truth of who he is and what happened and it’s damned heartbreaking. It gets worse the more I hear, but he eventually helps out Troi and beams back to live in solitude with the memory of his wife. The Enterprise departs and I’m left wondering if they’ve quarantined the planet based on his last line.

Tony Stark saying "I'm sorry, Earth is closed today" from Infinity War
Oh Tony, how on the nose you were. #covid19

This episode had me intrigued the whole time. Why is there just one tiny patch of green on the planet? What’s up with Rishon acting all weird? She’s super adamant about making tea for everyone. What’s up with Kevin being crotchety? I mean I get he’s old, but still. What’s up with that enemy vessel? Why is Troi hearing the music? I totally get why it’s driving her mad, I get that way when I can’t sleep. Each time I had a question, there was a bit of an answer but then that led to a new question. Picard had a hunch and it turned out to be right, but the answer was sobering. Kevin was the ultimate pacifist but even he, in a moment of grief, turned to violence with a mere thought. It’s a powerful reminder that there are some actions we cannot take back and it is prudent to think about things before we do them. Picard realizes there’s nothing he can do and that Kevin has suffered enough. I like this episode for very different reasons than I have previous episodes, it’s just good and I can’t quite put my finger on why Kevin’s truth makes me go from dislike to complete sympathy to absolute horror all in the span of five minutes. I rate this episode as “The Avengers #9“.

Favorite Quote from “Who Watches the Watchers”:

Picard: Look at me. Feel the warmth of my hand, the rhythm of my pulse. I’m not a supreme being. I’m flesh and blood, like you.

Nuria: Not like me.

Picard: Like you. Different in appearance, yes. But we are both living beings. We are born, we grow, we live and we die. In all the ways that matter, we are alike.

In all the ways that matter, we are alike. SAY IT LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK PICARD! Maybe sign it, make a meme out of it, have it translated by Data for all to see and hear and read and know.

“Who Watches the Watchers” starts off with the Enterprise en route to Mitaka III to assist three anthropologists who are blind observing a Vulcan-like culture when something in their reactor explodes, two are knocked out and one is tossed outside of the observation space. The away team beams down but not before a local father and daughter find the station and the father is hurt. As they were responsible and Dr. Crusher is, well, a doctor, she beams the father up to take care of him and tries to wipe his memory. Unfortunately he has seen Picard and thinks he is god.

C3PO being carried around by Ewoks.
Just like in “The Paradise Syndrome” where Kirk was believed to be a god, so now Picard follows in the steps of C3PO.

Troi and Riker beam down undercover, but I wonder why they aren’t searching where the third guy fell? They run into the villagers debating if “the Picard” is real, when two others have found Palmer. Troi tries to lure the villagers away but Riker is caught trying to escape so he runs, with Palmer on his back, to a safe space to beam them up. While Riker is able to get away Troi is captured and is in danger of being hurt.

A cat with something on its head and the caption reads "psst... it's me! I'm undercover!"
There are two excellent songs I recommend, both named “Undercover”. One is by Joey DeLuxe and was on the Godzilla soundtrack from the magnificent 1998 movie with Matthew Broderick. The other is by Pete Yorn and was off the Spider-Man soundtrack , ya know the one with Tobey Maguire (2002)?

Picard beams Nuria aboard to help her understand he is not a god. Picard gives an excellent example to Nuria but she still doesn’t understand until she sees one of the anthropologists die and realizes Picard has limits too. On the planet Troi is deemed responsible to the disappearance of Nuria, but Picard and Nuria help them to understand Picard is just a man and they have not totally busted the Prime Directive wide open.

Drew Carey saying "welcome to organized religion. where the gods are made up and the rules don't matter"

So I was not expecting the Trek writers to take such a hard stab at organized religion. There is one set of dialog in particular that really ripped into it:

Riker: And are you saying that this belief will eventually become a religion?

Barron: It’s inevitable. And without guidance, that religion could degenerate into inquisitions, holy wars, chaos.

Picard: Horrifying. Dr. Barron, your report describes how rational these people are. Millennia ago, they abandoned their belief in the supernatural. Now you are asking me to sabotage that achievement, to send them back into the Dark Ages of superstition and ignorance and fear? No! We will find some way to undo the damage we’ve caused.

Who gave Barron a job as an anthropologist?

I completely agree with Picard’s outrage at the suggestion he should issue a moral code for those on the planet, but I do not agree with his disdain, his shock, or Dr. Barron for that matter. My personal feelings on the matter aside, I’m not here to preach one way or another, but religion can be useful for those that believe in it and follow its tenets. Some need more guidance than others and having a higher power and set of rules to believe in are necessary for some. For others, it is not, but I cannot imagine there are no religions in the 24th century. We saw examples in the 23rd century, as I mentioned above, so did they just all of a sudden die out? I mean isn’t there a damn chapel on the ship?

Anyway, I didn’t expect to write a dissertation on organized religion just there, but I like that this episode highlights just what could go wrong. I think it was wrapped up a little too well and the suspense was artificial as I knew no one was going to die (well, poor Warren). There are better examples of how to deal with the Prime Directive and this just wasn’t up to snuff. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it which earns this episode Number 5 from The Umbrella Academy (the comic, not the TV series).

TA Out!

Published by njdevil12

I'm just a big city girl living in a not so big city with my fur children and partner.

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