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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old February 13 2013, 05:03 AM   #1
JediKnightButler
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First Contact (Ep) Discussion

What do people think about the Malcorians and whether or not they eventually joined the Federation- or likely will sometime in the future? I always thought it was an intriguing episode, both in learning how the Federation officially conducts "first contact" with another alien race, Picard's skillful diplomacy in getting Riker safely returned to the ENT and his and Troi's attempts to encourage the Malcorian President to consider joining the Federation. I also thought that the episode was pretty bold by having the Malcorian President ultimately decide NOT to proceed with their technological advances and refuse Picard's offer of Federation membership for the time being. It was a shortsighted decision IMHO but nevertheless one that we can understand and sympathize with to some degree and one that Picard (rightly) respects without recriminations. I did like how the President allowed his science advisor to leave with the Enterprise crew because, as he correctly believed, she would likely be unable to cope with the sudden deceleration in their technological advancement, particularly since they had just discovered that they weren't alone in the universe. Thoughts? Opinions?
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Old February 13 2013, 09:12 AM   #2
MikeS
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Re: First Contact (Ep) Discussion

A great episode. It was unusual in that it told the story from the aliens' perspective. I know that's quite common now but at the time it was groundbreaking.
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Old February 13 2013, 10:49 AM   #3
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Re: First Contact (Ep) Discussion

One wonders why the Federation was so surprised by the deep-rooted Malcorian fears of alien invasion or other major change. The infiltration missions should have highlighted that very thing, now shouldn't they?

We could always presume that Riker's mission was one of the first, and that the local atmosphere of paranoia was indeed revealed early on, but disastrously so. This seems a bit unlikely, though: why would the first officer of a roaming starship be involved in a long-term surveillance endeavor? Shouldn't these early phases be the job of dedicated specialists who have nothing better to do with their professional time?

The fact that we mainly observe the Malcorian side of things rather than the Federation one helps here, though. We don't learn everything about this infiltration program. How much did Riker's capture hasten the process? Was Picard ready to beam down to the presidential palace in a matter of days in any case? Were the preliminary studies careful but faulty? Or did the UFP recognize it would be taking a great risk when contacting the government (and also deciding that openly contacting the general population would lead to an unmitigated disaster), but proceeding anyway because of the time pressures from the Malcorian warp program? Many a thing is possible, and the complexity of the situation can be fully appreciated without our heroes spelling it out.

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Old February 13 2013, 01:44 PM   #4
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Re: First Contact (Ep) Discussion

When were they offered Federation membership? Making contact doesn't equate to an offer.
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Old February 13 2013, 05:24 PM   #5
Anwar
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Re: First Contact (Ep) Discussion

They weren't, it was simply diplomatic relations they were offered.

I want to know just what that Malcorian Internal Minister was so afraid of it they kept contact with them, was he just too afraid of aliens walking around his world? I know that was typical "Cold War" xenophobia mentality, and plenty of it is still around today but I'd like to have seen his viewpoint on this a bit more.
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Old February 14 2013, 05:35 AM   #6
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Re: First Contact (Ep) Discussion

Good premise, but I think it was undermined heavily by the Bebe Neuwirth character demanding sex to help Riker escape. It clashed with the rest of episode's serious tone.
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Old February 14 2013, 05:53 AM   #7
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Re: First Contact (Ep) Discussion

jimbotron wrote: View Post
Good premise, but I think it was undermined heavily by the Bebe Neuwirth character demanding sex to help Riker escape.
What are you talking about?

That was the most memorable part of the episode!
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Old February 14 2013, 06:13 AM   #8
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Re: First Contact (Ep) Discussion

Memorable yes, but it makes me roll my eyes. I guess I'm being too serious.
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Old February 14 2013, 06:33 AM   #9
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Re: First Contact (Ep) Discussion

One of my favorite episodes of TNG. Has been for a long time.

jimbotron wrote: View Post
Memorable yes, but it makes me roll my eyes. I guess I'm being too serious.
You are. It was a brilliant little bit and a lot of fun, and it was a nice wisp of old-school Shatner. It also has Dennis's name all over it. I know it was him.
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Old February 17 2013, 03:18 PM   #10
HaventGotALife
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Re: First Contact (Ep) Discussion

jimbotron wrote: View Post
Good premise, but I think it was undermined heavily by the Bebe Neuwirth character demanding sex to help Riker escape. It clashed with the rest of episode's serious tone.
I find that horrific as well. However, it does fit into the episode. In the various reactions to an alien landing here, this would be one of them. It also shows that there are "differences" in how they make love. Not fully fleshed out, as it were, but still we learn a little about the Malcorians. Honestly, I'm stretching a little. I have the episode on VHS tape, and I watch it quite often, and I simply fast-forward that part. It's one of the best episodes they ever did.

6th and 7th season Picard hates diplomacy. He makes fun of it, as does the rest of the characters. For instance, "Euchine Cha'for" in Star Trek: Insurrection. Picard becomes an archaeologist and historian, for some reason. And, in the movies, he becomes Star Trek's version of Bruce Willis. This is the episode that I absolutely love because it's showing not only how the Federation makes First Contact, but how talented Picard is at diplomacy.

I like the debate between the old values and the new. It's something we face every day and for Star Trek to put in an episode, it's great to see. It's a universal concern--Conservative versus Liberal, no matter the culture.
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Old February 17 2013, 03:44 PM   #11
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Re: First Contact (Ep) Discussion

jimbotron wrote: View Post
Good premise, but I think it was undermined heavily by the Bebe Neuwirth character demanding sex to help Riker escape. It clashed with the rest of episode's serious tone.
You're kidding!

I thought that was hilarious!

What's wrong with a little humor? The show's supposed to be entertaining.

And anyway, that there was a moment that poked fun at a sort of stereotype of UFO believers, as well as fanbois—and, by the way, no "serious" discussion of close encounters is complete without at least mentioning wackos—that in no way undermined anything.
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Old February 17 2013, 03:59 PM   #12
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Re: First Contact (Ep) Discussion

jimbotron wrote: View Post
Good premise, but I think it was undermined heavily by the Bebe Neuwirth character demanding sex to help Riker escape. It clashed with the rest of episode's serious tone.
She was pretty cute, for an alien.
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