Date: May 25, 2020
Season 7, Episodes 8 and 9
Musical Accompaniment: Moonglow Woods
Interstellar News: Walmart is a lawless place and I hate people. As today is Memorial Day, I choose to remember those who served and are no longer with us. I am sorry for what others do in the name of freedom that does not live up to your sacrifice.
Favorite Quote from “Attached”:
Picard: You’re staring at me.
Crusher: I was just thinking about how to get out of here.
Picard: There may be a structural flaw that would allow us to escape.
Picard: Beverly, the important thing during any confinement is to think positively and not give up hope. There is a way out of every box, there is a solution to every puzzle. It’s just a matter of finding it.I am 100000% with Picard on this.
“Attached” begins with the Enterprise arriving at Kesprytt III for the evaluation of part of the planet that has petitioned for membership into the Federation. The Kes are those interested in membership and the Prytt are not interested in talking to anyone, least of all the Kes. Picard and Dr. Crusher discuss this request over their usual breakfast and then beam down together, only to be subverted to a Prytt prison and implanted with devices in their brain stem. One of the Prytt, however, deliver them a way to escape.
The Kes set up a communications room on the Enterprise and it’s clear they are paranoid and believe in conspiracies. The Prytt, it is revealed, believe the Federation is there to team up with the Kes to destroy them. The device has some interesting side effects, like Picard and Crusher brain-sharing and also having to be physically close to one another. This ultimately leads them to share their feelings and some deep emotions. Meanwhile, Riker uses some “cowboy diplomacy” and gets the Kes and Prytt together and are finally able to retrieve Picard and Crusher, who had made it to the border unscathed. The return and, over dinner, decide to remain friends who are quite fond of each other.
Here’s the thing that gets me about this episode, and yes it’s only the one thing. Crusher has, at least twice, been in a position where she has had to tell Picard something before it was too late, and she’s the one to walk away? What the fuck? I mean we all know how “Lessons” turned out and it’s absolutely never a good idea to get involved with someone you have supervisory power over, unless one person is willing to change their career. I absolutely love that a show did the “will they, won’t they” and the answer wasn’t “they will”, but the fact that it was Crusher who walked away was a bit mind boggling. It’s also interesting that Picard, the hormonal mess we saw in “Tapestry“, would go on to be such a model best friend. I never understood why people liked the dude in Love Actually who was a total dick to his best friend’s wife, mostly because he was in love with her, and then he shows up and tells her and she thinks it’s the sweetest thing.
It’s one thing if Jack and Beverly were polyamorous and Picard was able to talk to them both about it, but methinks they were a monogamous couple and Picard chose the correct path of not making advances on his best friend’s wife. After Jack died, Picard was again ever the model of tact and didn’t want to take advantage of Beverly in a time of grief, plus he was grieving on his own. Years later when she’s about to come on the Enterprise, in the end, he doesn’t let his emotions get the best of him and wants the right person for the job. I still think it would have been stronger to see that Picard had learned from “Lessons”, but all’s well that ends well. Also, they totally mess with Riker before their implants are removed and it adds a little lightheartedness to all the deep emotional sharing . In fact, all of the ridiculousness of the Kes and Prytt on board the Enterprise was fantastic, especially because Riker is soooooooo not the diplomat that Picard is. This was a very cute and adorable episode to put to rest that age old question, “can a heterosexual man and a heterosexual woman be just friends?”. 6 “yeses” from me.
Favorite Quote from “Force of Nature”:
Rabal: I don’t think we can look at space travel the same way anymore. We’re going to have to change.
La Forge: I’ve been in Starfleet for a long time. We depend on warp drive. I just don’t know how easy it’s going to be to change.
Rabal: It won’t be easy at all.Change is always hard, but we are always able to adapt.
Data’s Not Really An Android: “I cannot stun my cat.”
“Force of Nature” opens with Data coming to collect Spot from La Forge, who was thinking about being a cat-dad, and La Forge insisting that Spot needs training. The Enterprise is investigating the missing Fleming and comes across a downed Ferengi vessel. The DaiMon explains that they were attacked and the Enterprise offers to help speed up the repair process. While in a debris field they are disabled by a verteron pulse and two aliens beam aboard accusing the Federation of killing their planet.
Rabal and Serova explain that their research shows certain places in space could form a rift after too much exposure to warp drive. Picard agrees to review the research and make a recommendation if they can speed up the repairs. Serova helps the repairs along but is dismayed when Picard offers only to contact the Science Office to do more research, while Rabal is simply grateful someone is actually listening. Serova decides to take their ship and overload it to prove the rift can be created, which is does and kills her in the process. The Fleming is stuck in the rift, the Enterprise goes in after it, but they activate their warp drive making it impossible to escape. La Forge, however, creates a plan and it works. The Federation council restricts warp to a top speed of 5 and hopes others will follow.
There were too many things going on in this episode. There’s the whole training Spot thing, the missing ship, the Ferengi, the verteron fields, La Forge’s competition with Kaplan, and the actual plot of “are warp drives harmful?”. That’s a lot for one damn episode, especially since their primary mission was to find the Fleming. Looking at just the warp drive plot, which at the time I am sure was a veil for global warming, I am seeing a lot of parallels with TOS and today’s Covid-19 pandemic. TOS had quite a few episodes that always were making some sort of political commentary in their own way; think of “LTBYLB” or “The Voyage Home“. What hit me the most was when they were all sitting around the table at the end discussing the pros and cons of warp drive and hoping that others will follow their lead. As I have been separated from some of my loved ones for 75 days now, I have complied with social distancing and protecting myself (and others) while out in public. I see others who are complying and others who are not, and it drives me insane. If everyone who could just stayed home for a month, we would have been fine, but people think they can do what they want and aren’t always prepared to deal with the consequences.
In the end, Serova doesn’t actually prove anything about use over time… just what happens if you blow shit up in the right place. Still, it gets the attention of the people in charge and hopefully everyone learned a lesson. As someone who has very little patience, I feel like a hypocrite thinking that Serova should have given them more time and went through the bureaucracy and proper channels… but to be honest she really should have exhausted every option before resorting to suicide to prove her point. If you take away everything else and just focus on Data/Spot and the wonder twins, this wasn’t a terrible episode. We see how well trained Data is, good girl Spot! We also get an episode that has some good environmental commentary and is relevant even 20+ years later during this worldwide pandemic. However, all of the other stuff is still in there and I can’t go above warp 3 for this.