This whole episode is tonally different from everything else this season, but that tonal change comes with the Code 47 communique. Before that, there was some stuff. Stuff I want to mention/talk about/complain about etc.
1) Starting with Data. Funny Data was back for the first time since I don’t know when. He wasn’t the butt of the joke either. He was the kid learning about life. I’m talking about his over explaining Geordi’s joke. It and the laugh that followed were so funny that I have to quote him. I just have to:
“So the difficulty in attaining such a complex position in zero gravity environment coupled with the adverse effects it would have on the psychological well-being of the average human male is what makes this anecdote so amusing.”
What a line! What a delivery!
Then it goes south. Because, next we cut to Riker and Deanna, and they’re laughing at Data. So it turns out he is the butt of the joke.
Then he says the all time worst Data-is-stupid line yet: “You can swim in moonlight?”
Give me a break.
2) Next the holodeck. I love the holodeck. I love thinking about it, and even the slightest mention of it can get me excited.
Here Data tells Deanna she doesn’t have to go all the way to Pacifica to enjoy swimming in the ocean. (how lame is an ocean planet called Pacifica, tad on the nose?) She could always swim on the holodeck, and Deanna counters it’s not the same. Asking, “Have you ever been for a real moonlight swim?”
It’s not clear what exactly the difference is because on the holodeck, it would feel as real as it would on Pacifica. So what’s different? Perhaps the chances of sea creatures attacking and killing her. Perhaps she’s talking about skinny dipping and getting caught.
Could it be that the holodeck is too safe? People need danger to feel reality.
Does this mean the threat of death is what makes something real?
3) Code 47 – I was surprised to learn that Starfleet has such a thing. It’s pretty dark, and it’s easy to abuse. Once a Code 47 message is sent, all computer records stop. No one mentions it in logs, and there are no recordings. Sounds like it could cause a lot of trouble.
If you want to create distrust among people, Code 47 seems the way to go because once you stop doing everything in the open, conspiracy theories can get a foothold.
It sounds nothing like the Starfleet I know and love.
That’s just act one, so now for the rest of the Star Trek
Which is basically what Conspiracy is. Picard gets an ominous summons, learns of a vague threat, and then finds his friend’s ship destroyed.
That left me with a few questions. Why would the USS Horatio just be destroyed? I mean aren’t the first officer and the ship’s doctor implanted with those little claymation bugs? Where are all the bodies? Worf says there aren’t any in the flotsam.
In any event, Picard hurries home to confront the threat and what follows are tension building sequences. Who’s a good guy and who’s a bad guy? What’s in the case? Is the aperitief poisoned? Why does Remmick seem so likable? What’s Geordi doing on a security detail?
Then it just gets creepy. Riker is out of bed and grabs Dr. C’s shoulder. Gasp. Worms for dinner. Disgusting! Oh no, Riker’s going to eat it too, and he handles it and it’s making squishy noises. Can it get more disgusting? Yes, it can get downright gory.
A surviving claymation bug runs up Remmick’s calm collected body and right into his open mouth. Riker explodes Remmick’s head. An Alien alien climbs out of Remmick’s open body cavity. They blow that up too. Let’s do a long shot on the mess with lots of little dead claymation bugs.
Isn’t that convenient? All the other bugs just die. This is a SF staple (See the endings of Star Wars Phantom Menace and Avengers.)
In the last sequence, Data tells us Remmick got off a beacon call to other aliens. I, however, am not too worried, as we’ve already learned that Remmick’s Alien alien’s death has killed all the other creatures.
I don’t like horror movies.
If you want to laugh,
though, I recommend watching the Admiral Quinn fights in slow motion. The stunt people look nothing like the actors, and it’s a lot of fun watching the cuts between them.
I did notice
One Cool Thing
in the episode. After Picard learns of the destruction of the Horatio, he stops being secretive about what’s going on. He immediately makes a captain’s log entry. He tells the whole bridge crew.
The secrecy involved in using a Code 47 communique not only creates distrust in Picard’s crew and in Picard. It provides grounds for action against people who seem to be conspiring. Plus, it keeps the real bad guys cloaked, which is what allowed them to blow up the Horatio.
So Picard brings it all to the surface. He has Data investigate in the open. He discusses it with everyone, and most importantly he goes straight to the source for a confrontation.
Being open and honest prevents the admirals from doing to the Enterprise what they did to the Horatio. If they want to deal with him, they’re going to have to expose themselves.
Openness and honesty is how the Enterprise crew defeats the claymation bugs.
Morals, messages, and meanings
- Be open and honest
- Never explain a joke
- Insidious aliens are trying to tear us apart – just look at the claymation bugs did and then remember what one of them said when controlling Quinn:
“I was only referring to the problems involved in assimilating new races into the Federation. It’s an ongoing tumultuous process that can involve stress and strain on every aspect of our alliance.”
Does it hold up?
No. From a production standpoint the special effects which must’ve been something else back then, are way out of date now.
From a story point of view, it’s not bad. I think it needs to be told in more than one episode.
From a me point of view, I don’t like all the silly gory stuff.
It’s Star Trek trying to do Aliens and/or Body Snatchers. It doesn’t feel like Star Trek. It definitely doesn’t feel like any other episode in the first season.
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