01. Encounter at Farpoint

Hey everyone the captain is bald!

That’s the first thing that hit me when I started watching Encounter at Farpoint. Not to put too fine a point on this, the captain is bald, and I feel like there was a time during my childhood when being bald was bad. Then it became not so bad. Captain Picard had something to do with that. I’m not dismissing Kojak or Michael Jordan, but they were all a part of a movement that led to a greater acceptance in society of different types of people. Star Trek led that movement.

Now seeing him during my rewatch, it felt like something I forgot. My starting this the way I did sounds ridiculous because who would make fun of someone just for being bald?

Now I live in Japan, where there has never been a Picard in the sense that the society has never elevated someone who is bald to the cultural iconic level that Patrick Stewart was elevated. Boy are bald people made fun of. People laugh. Lots and lots of laughs.

What Japan needs is a Picard.

I’m not bald. (by the way).

Anyway, nice one Captain Picard. Way to step out of the shadows and announce to everyone that this new Star Trek is different. That this would be a show for everyone, and stupid, petty things would be forgotten in the future.

I thought it was particularly interesting since the other captain, that Kirk guy, went through such great lengths to hide his baldness.

Moving on…

 

Morals Messages and Meanings

The messages I took out of Encounter at Farpoint were that we have to treat others justly, be true to ourselves, and strive to be better.

What’s Q really on about? He’s not concerned for the lives of the aliens that Starfleet might encounter.  He’s too snarky to be noble. The only thing we can say for sure is that he doesn’t want to share the rest of the galaxy with Starfleet. So essentially he is not putting them on trial so much as fighting with them for the resources of the galaxy.

He tips his hand when he’s all dressed up like an American soldier and he mentions fighting for resources.

Picard sees through that from the beginning. He criticizes Q for being self-righteous, and that’s the central point. It’s wrong to think yourself or your group superior to another person or group.

That’s what Q is doing to Star Fleet by putting them on trial, and that is what the Bandi on Deneb IV are doing to the giant Cocoon alien by torturing and controlling it instead of just sharing energy resources.

But Starfleet is still pretty far off the mark. After all, they’re going to Farpoint to pass judgement on the Bandi. Is their new station adequate? Snoop around and discover the truth about them. Those are orders from Star Fleet.

The officers aren’t that much better. Let’s look at Tasha Yar who says that Starfleet and what it represents is so great that Q should kneel to them. Talk about self-righteous.

Wesley and Riker explaining the holodeck essentially say humans are superior to rocks and vegetation when they say that humans and human-like beings are much more complicated.

Then Data bluntly says he’s superior to humans in many ways. It’s one thing to state that you’re stronger than a human, but it’s a whole other thing to say you’re superior in strength to a human. There’s judgement in them there hills.

Then it gets creepy when he says he’d give up all his superiority to be human. While that’s suppose to make him seem less arrogant, I think it’s also supposed to make us feel sorry for him. After all, he’s not happy with who he is.

Ouch. Talk about carbon chauvinism.

Where did that idea come from, I wonder. He is preprogramed with self-loathing. I have a feeling Starfleet is judging others left and right.

Data’s comment links to the second message: we have to be true to ourselves. Picard says, If we’re going to be damned, let’s be damned for what we really are. Both Picard and Q mentioned the importance of living up to your own standards. If you don’t  face your past and rise above it, if you don’t see yourself for who you really are, you can’t be just to those you define as the other.

If you can’t accept yourself, how can you accept others?

If you can’t take a good look at yourself, how can you know if your way of thinking about an other is wrong?

Picard represents Starfleet struggling to be good. His crew is imperfect, but he leads them to be better.

That’s why he says, it’s the unknown that brings us out here. We try to accept ourselves as best we can, we try to live by our own rules, and as we journey out into the galaxy and meet new life and civilizations, we journey also into ourselves. There we find the ways we don’t live up to our own rules, and the best of us correct ourselves.

That’s what Picard does in this episode, and it’s what he is going to lead his people to do from this Farpoint on.

 

02. The Naked Now >>