Date: May 28, 2020
Season 7, Episodes 14 and 15
Musical Accompaniment: Ambient Worlds presents: Moria
Interstellar News: It was another day of rain. I feel like I’m in Rock-a-Doodle.
“Sub Rosa” begins on Caldos as Dr. Crusher’s grandmother has passed. Picard is talked into extending their stay just a bit to take a look at the planet’s systems as it was one of the first terraforming projects and was meant to replicate Scotland. As Crusher explores Nana’s house, a man named Ned leaves as fast as he comes talking about ghosts and haunted houses and “for God’s sake woman get rid of that candle”. Crusher reads Nana’s journals which reveal a much younger lover and then she herself has an erotic dream, giggity.
The weather system is borked and when Crusher returns to the house it is full of camellias, Nana’s favorite flower, and the dream dude is back. La Forge and Data are working on the system, which also effects the Enterprise, and are interrupted by Ned who winds up being killed by ghost lightning. Ronin, the ghost, has been the lover of every Howard woman for centuries as long as the candle is lit. Crusher races back to the Enterprise, lights the candle, and waits for Ronin like a druggie waiting for their high to hit and they start to become “one”. The next day Crusher resigns from Starfleet and Picard is… crushed (it had to be said). Data and La Forge find the source of the energy signature, in Nana’s coffin of all places, and Picard wants to meet Ronin. Crusher’s eyes begin to change from blue to green, Ronin appears and attacks Picard and then goes after the others. “Nana” wakes up (it’s really Ronin) and attacks La Forge and Data, but Crusher figures it out he’s just an alien, destroys the candle and Ronin, and is… crushed at losing her love (okay I’m done, promise).
You may have noticed I had no favorite quote from this episode because it was just that awful. Space ghosts, I mean come on! So there were some nice touches. The Disney villain evil green was a nice touch, the weather becoming more like what actual Scotland is like was fantastic, and Crusher remembering she’s a doctor and not just a pretty face was the best. I will say I was impressed with McFadden having to do her very own Sally impression, though it’s MUCH quieter… she’s obviously not a New Yorker. The rest of the story was… just bad. The fact that Crusher was so overwhelmed that she couldn’t think straight and didn’t come to her senses when his influence left her was ridiculous and equally ridiculous that she just happens to come to her senses because the episode was about to end. This is one of those episodes where I just want my 45 minutes back, please? This episode earns itself 3 bouquets of camellias for Crusher.
Favorite Quote from “Lower Decks”:
Troi: Didn’t you tell me that you took up poker so you could be in the officer’s game at the Potemkin?
Riker: I happen to like poker.
Troi: But your senior officers might have thought you were trying to ingratiate yourself. I guess it’s lucky that they realised you were young and inexperienced, and decided not to hold it against you.
Riker: Maybe I have been a little hard on Lavelle.Troi laying the smack down on Riker, as usual.
Worf’s One-Two Punch: “Perhaps next time you are judged unfairly, it will not take so many bruises for you protest.”
“Lower Decks” begins with Riker and Troi discussing crew evaluations in Ten-Forward while junior officers Lavelle, Ogawa, Sito, and Taurik sit and chat a few tables down. Lavelle and Sito participate in a simulation on the bridge while Taurik works with La Forge down in engineering when Picard calls the senior staff into a meeting to discuss their newest orders.
They arrive close to the Cardassian border and rescue someone in an escape pod, who is beamed directly to sick bay where Ogawa is asked to leave and Sito is in charge of the door. Picard asks Sito to follow him where he tears her a new one based on her involvement in “The First Duty”, Taurik (who is too smart for his own good) and La Forge are damaging a shuttle craft in the cargo bay, and Ogawa is asked to scrub in for surgery on the mystery passenger… a Cardassian named Jorel Dal. Worf makes up a Klingon test in order to teach Sito a lesson which allows her to stand up to Picard, and that was the point all along as he wanted to see if she was ready for a mission. The plan is for Joret Dal to “escape” in the damaged shuttle and take Sito as his prisoner so he can make it past the border and then he’ll send her back in the escape pod. The junior officers, who are mostly out of the loop, can’t really discuss the parts that they know and the senior staff waits on the bridge for 32 hours past the appointed time when the news comes that she didn’t make it. Worf sits with the kids and they grieve together.
I loved that we followed the junior officers around for a bit and weren’t brought in on what was going on until Ogawa was looped in. Yes, there were clues but you didn’t know for sure until that moment. The lives of the junior officers are different, they have to share a room and they have little idea what’s going on most of the time. I also loved that we got to meet a civilian contractor, Ben the Bartender, who bridged the gap between the senior and junior officers. We are told that not everyone aboard is in Starfleet, but it’s not something we’ve seen a lot of. I liked Taurik’s portrayal of a Vulcan, as we’ve unfortunately not had too many (aside from Dr. Selar) who were actually worth a damn. I also really liked the callback to “Encounter at Farpoint” when Sito was telling Picard to judge her on her current record, not her past, which was super close to what Picard asks Q to do for humanity during the trial. Everyone had their moment in this episode and I can see why, despite the ending, I would want to watch this one again. I think the only thing that could have been done better is if Sito wasn’t Bajoran but was instead altered to look like one. Was she offered the mission simply because she was Bajoran, because she had something to prove, or because she was a qualified pilot? This one gets a 9.9 on the warp drive from me.