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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 September 2 2013, 06:43 PM   #1
Jeyl
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Episode of the Week: 3x10 "The Defector"





It's always a risk that when new characters are introduced well into a series run that it can be a benefit or a hazard. Today's episode, "The Defector" introduces TNG to a new character that will continue to plague the series all the way to the series end. I am of course talking about the introduction to the now infamous 4-ft model of the Enterprise D.

The 4-foot model was made to fix a number of issues that the effects crew were having issues with. The 6-ft model had little to no detail, you weren't able to shoot further away from it and it was too large and heavy to work around in a timely manner. But instead of going to ILM, the effects crew at the studio decided to make the model themselves. The results are....well,

*

I think the guys behind the BluRay restoration said it best at Comic Con last year. You could easily distinguish these two models as you would distinguish two genders. The 6-ft model is sleeker, curvier, smoother and shapely, while the 4-ft is bulkier, thicker, more rounded and has a lot more muscle tone. Now I'm not trying to say that the 4-ft model itself was a mistake since there are some great visual moments where the model was used that are very well done. It's that the model itself doesn't hold up well to forward close ups due to the thicker saucer section edge and the completely different shape deflector dish. Some close up shots make the ship look like a toy rather than a filming model which is sad when you realize that A LOT OF NEW FOOTAGE focusing on close up shots of the Big D will be of the 4-ft model instead of the 6-ft one.

I know that has nothing to do with the context of the episode, but if character are important, their first impressions are too. And like a bad character, the 4-ft model was something we didn't want to see when there were other good characters to spend time with.

The episode itself is alright. You have a Romulan named Jarok who wants to defect to to the Federation because he believes that the Romulans are planning to attack Federation stations that will no doubt result in an all out war. The problem is that this whole scenario was a fluke instigated by the Romulan Empire to weed out potential traitors. It's an interesting idea but unfortunately never lives up to it's fullest potential since no one really follows up on what the Romulans did. It's all played out as though Jarok was fooled and that's that. What about the idea that what he did was less about betraying the Empire and more about preventing the Empire from engaging in a war that they could lose? It's an interest subject for debate that never gets brought up.

Also, is it really "impossible" to send his message to his family on Romulus? I know the Romulans don't want any Federation ships entering their space, but are they really into complete and total isolation that they don't allow ANY ship that isn't a part of the Romulan Star Empire permission to enter their space? Star Trek 2 established that border ships could come and go as they please, so why not just send the data that way? Or better yet, transmit the message to his family? If I knew I was never going to see my family again and I could only write them one letter, the first thing I would do is figure out a way for this letter to get to them before I bite the dust. The whole message at the end about how maybe when we're finally at peace with the Romulans just rings hollow since this series seems to have little interest in bringing about galaxy wide changes. Thankfully, there are other series that do just that.

CONCLUSION: With the introduction of the 4-ft, TNG just got a bit uglier. While the story of Jarok is a good one, it felt a bit stretched out in the middle with nothing really happening and the conclusion being handled a bit too quickly. In the end, the death of Jarok felt more like a tragedy in the writing sense than a story sense because it just felt like a quick way out when it could have been the start of a long running arc regarding the Federation/Romulan conflict, much like the Klingon Arc that we'll soon get into.

STINGER:


*You're goofy Drex
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Old September 2 2013, 09:29 PM   #2
The Old Mixer
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x10 "The Defector"

An early contribution by Ronald D. Moore and it shows in the episode's excellence. This was a favorite of mine from the first airing, when it literally had me on the edge of my seat. Watching the clock towards the climax, I thought that it might turn out to be a two-parter before the Klingon surprise was sprung. What's more, I've found that the episode holds up all these years later knowing how it will play out...the build-up of tension is that effectively executed.
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Old September 2 2013, 09:40 PM   #3
jimbotron
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x10 "The Defector"

The 4-footer was used fairly well (and sparingly) throughout season 3, IMO. Perhaps its best usage was in Deja Q. But later on with season 4 onward, with all those close-ups and beauty shots, the weakness of its shapes and textures stood out.

There's one aspect of this episode which doesn't seem to come up much - delayed messages from Starfleet. In this one, Picard receives two communiques from the Admiral, which were delayed by several hours. Does that happen anywhere else in the show?
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Old September 2 2013, 10:09 PM   #4
BillJ
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x10 "The Defector"

This is one that is beautifully acted yet still doesn't work for me. I never bought that the whole crew would be dumb enough to buy Jarok's story. The whole Warbird slowing down when the scout slowed down (three different times) and wasn't shooting to kill should've told Picard all he needed to know.
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Old September 2 2013, 10:43 PM   #5
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x10 "The Defector"

WOW...this great episode got short shrift. From the beautifully mirrored Henry V bit ("If the cause is just and honorable") to the excellent crowd-cheering moment of the three Klingon ships decloaking.
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Old September 3 2013, 03:22 AM   #6
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x10 "The Defector"

The Federation-Klingon alliance stretches belief when Picard can just make a call (to whom, Rent-a-Klingon?) and have three BOPs secretly follow him to the Neutral Zone. Then they stay completely hidden even as Warbirds descend on the Enterpise. They only appear only when Picard signals them to, and they never fire a shot.

For a race that hates Romulans so much, what if the Klingons had decided to open fire on their own?
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Old September 3 2013, 06:58 PM   #7
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x10 "The Defector"

jimbotron wrote: View Post
The Federation-Klingon alliance stretches belief when Picard can just make a call (to whom, Rent-a-Klingon?) and have three BOPs secretly follow him to the Neutral Zone. Then they stay completely hidden even as Warbirds descend on the Enterpise. They only appear only when Picard signals them to, and they never fire a shot.

For a race that hates Romulans so much, what if the Klingons had decided to open fire on their own?
Maybe there weren't Klingons on board the BoPs? Picard went to Enterprise Rent-A-Ship and rented 3 BoPs for the day. Crewed 'em with his own guys?
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Old September 3 2013, 07:20 PM   #8
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x10 "The Defector"

Kevman7987 wrote: View Post
Maybe there weren't Klingons on board the BoPs? Picard went to Enterprise Rent-A-Ship and rented 3 BoPs for the day. Crewed 'em with his own guys?
Hmm. Wonder where that service went when Picard needed only one Bird of Prey for "Unification".
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Old September 3 2013, 08:11 PM   #9
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x10 "The Defector"

In Unification, Picard was able to leverage his relationship with Gowron to get a ship, because at first he was told to take a hike. That made sense. It makes little sense here.
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Old September 3 2013, 08:56 PM   #10
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x10 "The Defector"

jimbotron wrote: View Post
In Unification, Picard was able to leverage his relationship with Gowron to get a ship, because at first he was told to take a hike. That made sense. It makes little sense here.
I think it makes sense.

The Federation and Klingons are allies and may have a mutual defense pack. Plus, it's not like the Klingons to turn down the opportunity to mix it up with someone, especially the Romulans.
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Old September 6 2013, 06:31 AM   #11
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x10 "The Defector"

This is a great episode, one that I still rewatch. The acting is excellent. My favorite scenes are the confrontations between Jarok and Picard and between Tomalak and Picard.

I thought the set up of the secret Klingon back-up was very well done as well. We get only a few off-hand mentions of communications between the Klingons and the Enterprise until Picard reveals them to the Romulans.
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Old September 6 2013, 04:50 PM   #12
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x10 "The Defector"

PhoenixClass wrote: View Post
This is a great episode, one that I still rewatch. The acting is excellent. My favorite scenes are the confrontations between Jarok and Picard and between Tomalak and Picard.

I thought the set up of the secret Klingon back-up was very well done as well. We get only a few off-hand mentions of communications between the Klingons and the Enterprise until Picard reveals them to the Romulans.
I thought it was nicely done as well. It was one of those WOW moments for me when the reveal was made.
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Old September 6 2013, 06:29 PM   #13
Makarov
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x10 "The Defector"

Really like this episode. I'm growing to appreciate these episodes where there's a lot of build up to a possible war.

The one thing that bugs me is Jarok's death. I'd like to think Picard wouldn't just let the guy go kill himself alone his quarters, especially since Jarok sacrificed everything trying to keep the peace. Surely they could have helped him out somehow.

And wouldn't Troi be able to sense his suicidal intentions?
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Old September 7 2013, 04:25 AM   #14
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x10 "The Defector"

Pffft. Something I'm noticing in my current rewatch is that whenever they're in a situation in which Troi's abilities ought to be really useful, like somebody's out and out deceiving them, she always comes up with some lame excuse like "He's very focused" or "His mind is closed".
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Old September 9 2013, 01:27 AM   #15
Captrek
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x10 "The Defector"

I think Geordi does a poor job of explaining gut feelings to Data. Here's how I might have tried to explain it (assuming my goal is to help Data understand, and not necessarily to create compelling television).

The humanoid brain is a remarkable piece of equipment. It processes far more information than it makes available to the conscious mind, often providing the conscious mind with its conclusions but not its reasons.

Imagine an experiment in which each subject interviews a series of people about a personal experience. Half of the interviewees are telling the truth and half are lying. There is no obviously compelling evidence indicating which are which.

Your subconscious can pick up on non-obvious clues. Little things in the interviewees' voice, expression or body language. Guessing blindly pre-interview, you'd correctly identify the liars 50% of the time. If you interview them and listen to that little voice in your head called intuition, maybe you'll have a success rate somewhere from 55 to 70%. Some people are natural lie detectors and will have a success rate of 80 to 90%.

Here's the catch: that little voice in your head tends to be overconfident. People who can identify the liars with 55 to 70% accuracy may think they can do it with 80% accuracy or better.

The trick is to be aware of that voice and give it consideration, but not more consideration than it is due. Use it, but don't be controlled by it.

I don't know enough about the functioning of Data's positronic brain to say whether this advice is applicable to him, but this is how it works for humans.
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