Date: April 16, 2020
Season 4, Episodes 13 and 14
Musical Accompaniment: Ambient Worlds presents: Peter Pan
Interstellar News: I was able to see two of my favorite authors in a Zoom Q & A webinar tonight. If you need some hope in your life, pick up a copy of Fantastic Hope.
Favorite Quote from “Devil’s Due”:
Ardra: Please don’t take any offense at these questions, you know how fond I am of you.
Data: Sustained. The advocate will refrain from expressing personal affections for her opponent.The trial was mighty fun and Ardra did not hide her affection for Picard.
“Devil’s Due” has a wonky transmission from Ventax II as the science station is overrun with a mob of locals and all of the scientists are kidnapped, except for one who is transported onto the Enterprise. The people of Ventax II are worried that Ardra, “the devil”, is going to come and enslave the world because she’s collecting her end of the contract where she offered 1000 years of peace as long as they would serve her at the end of the term. She claims to have many names and have served many such contracts over the years, but Picard isn’t buying her magic tricks so he has Data pour over it to look for a loophole.
Picard is convinced she’s not the real Ardra and is just pulling a con job. Data finds a local law that is similar to that of the Sheliak conflict in “The Ensigns of Command” where a third party arbiter can be used and Ardra and Picard both settle on using Data as he can be impartial. Ardra proves she’s done everything on her end and it’s time for Ventax II to pay up. Picard disputes this saying she hasn’t really done anything, aside from kicking the butts of the locals to make their world a better place for themselves. a Forge, because he’s a badass, figures out she has a cloaked ship and he and Picard steals her “powers”, during which Data’s face is adorable with wonderment. The people are freed and Ardra is imprisoned.
There were some really funny moments… like when Picard was beamed down to the station in his pajamas and when Worf was trying to look horrified that Ardra could turn into a Klingon creature, but otherwise there wasn’t much here. Picard just knew she was a con artist and he proved it in traditional Enterprise fashion, though most of the “magic” happened off screen and they just told us what they did. It was silly, but fun, and an interesting way for a con artist to use their skills as long as they keep up with the technology. A lot of the scams are the same throughout history, but with a technology twist they can be harder to catch. I give a lecture on how technology has made scams not only more accessible to a wider audience, but also sometimes much more difficult to catch as well. This was a fun episode, but just a filler compared to all of the other nifty stories we’ve had in the past. That earns this episode a rating of 5, as “The Devil” is the 15th Major Arcana card in a Tarot deck and “tarot” has 5 letters in it.
Favorite Quote from “Clues”:
Dr. Crusher: Worf, you came in here for something?
Worf: A warrior does not complain about physical discomfort, but the Captain ordered us to report anything out of the ordinary.The fact that Worf went to sick bay on his own without a direct order from the captain, meant he was worried. You can even see him rubbing his wrist as soon as they get out of their “coma”.
“Clues” has the Enterprise finish one mission a little early so they have a little bit of down time before they have to go on their next one. Picard invites Guinan to the “Dixon Hill” program, Dr. Crusher sets up an experiment, and many of the bridge crew do something that looks like Tai Chi. They find a “Class M” planet where there shouldn’t be one and as they accidentally go through a wormhole in space everyone is passed out but Data, but only for 30 seconds. Turns out Picard has his own real life mystery to solve because things just aren’t adding up. Dr. Crusher’s experiment shows A DAY of growth, Worf’s wrist was broken and reset, the ship’s chronometer was tampered with, and Data is acting super shady.
They launch a second probe and head back whence they came because it’s clear Data messed with the first probe, and Troi is taken over by the inhabitants of the planet, the Paxans. Apparently they want to be left alone and for no one to know they are there and Picard himself ordered Data to lie to him and everyone else. Unfortunately, there were too many clues and curiosity got the best of the humans, so they decide to try one more time and to make sure there are NO CLUES this time. The second try works, Data almost manages a not creepy smile… well it’s more of a smirk, and away we go.
I have very fond memories of playing the board game ‘Clue’ and watching the Tim Curry movie “Clue” and there was no murder mystery here and I was very disappointed based on the title of this episode. It was a fun little mystery, much like the last episode, but it was very strange in some places. When Data is recalling the first time Picard just jumps to the solution of lying to everyone and it seems so unlike him. The second time, I can see the Paxan representative is intrigued by the humans and doesn’t really want to kill them, so they are willing to try again to avoid a galactic incident, lest their hiding place be found by others. Seeing the crew put all of the pieces together was fun but their treatment of Data made it seem like they still weren’t over what happened in “Brothers“. I was also hoping there would be a resolution to the “Dixon Hill” mystery and that Guinan had a bit more or a part to play. Oh well, it wasn’t a terrible episode and that earns it a 6-shooter.