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Old January 23 2013, 03:36 AM   #21
Jeyl's Avatar
Location: Asheville, NC
Re: Episode of the Week: The Neutral Zone

The Neutral Zone

Oh, Maurice Hurley. You have once again blessed us with your divine work for The Next Generation's first season finale, The Neutral Zone. An episode who's synopsis is full of dramatic potential but is smothered by the efforts of making it preach Gene's vision of a perfect humanity and spending too much time with one-shot characters who nobody should give a crap about. It's almost baffling how anyone thought Maurice's writing on this episode was good material when our heroes are so arrogant and so clueless about what humanity was like back in the 20th century that they would honestly look at these three people and use them as a means of describing how we ever survived as a race.

Our episode opens with a nice visual effect shot of a satellite drifting in front of the Enterprise. What is this satellite? Why is it all the way out here? even Geordi asks "I wonder how it got out here". Riker's reaction?

Riker: It's just a piece of space debris. If we hadn't sitting here waiting for the Captain, we wouldn't have noticed it. Leave it be. Let nature take its course.

Wait, what? Maurice, you were tasked with writing a show about explorers who seek out the wonders of the universe, and when they find something that even leaves even Geordie curious, you have the one person in charge not give a crap about it. No scientific or historical curiosity at all. Even when Data wishes to explore the satellite, you have Riker respond with-

Riker: Why, Data? It's just a derelict.

If Maurice wrote an episode for a firefighter series, he'd have the lead character question his fellow firefighters on why they would want to put out a house fire simply by saying "Why? The house is obviously ruined." without any regards as to actually saving the house or whether there might still be people inside. And if you think that's bad, just wait until you see what Maurice does in the very next episode with the Enterprise's new doctor.

Turns out that Data's suggestion paid off since he and Worf discover dead people inside the satellite who can be revived. You would think that Riker's blatant misbehavior towards this satellite would lead to a potential character development moment for him since if he had more of an adventurous spirit, he probably could have done more good in the past. But no. Not only will Riker be be doing the exact opposite, his drinking buddy Picard will also be bit***ing about this whole situation to.

CRUSHER: they were frozen. I thawed them.
PICARD: You what?

DATA: I could not leave them there, Captain. The condition of their vehicle was deteriorating.
PICARD: But Data, they were already dead. I mean, what more could have happened to them?

....Not be brought back to life? Look, I don't know how well Maurice's knowledge of medical history is, but there have been cases where patients have actually died in the hospital and were successfully revived. But the fact that Picard is appalled by the concept of bringing humans back to life using only their modern medical expertise (and not Q powers), one has to wonder if Maurice has any care for human life period. Now, if their brains had deteriorated over the centuries, than yes. It would be a bad idea to bring them back to life because they'll be nothing but mindless vegetables. But that's not the case with these three.

That's all I got for today. Tune in for tomorrow where we learn that despite our heroes working onboard a starship with families and children, there is not one single genuine baby sitter who can be tasked with taking care of our very 'infantile' guests.
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