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

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Old April 21 2010, 12:55 AM   #1
Joshua Howard
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Up The Long Ladder

I'm talking about the episode where a bunch of old fashioned Irish folks are found, saved, and living on the Enterprise with their animals, and then their previous shipmates are found on another planet cloning themselves.

I reckon that it isn't the most unusual Star Trek episode, but I couldn't help noticing that the emphasis of the show is a little bit diabolical.

Think about this. On one hand you have Irish farmers. On the other hand you have people cloning each other. The Irish farmers get 30 minutes of screen time. The cloners get only 15. If any rational person were telling the story, it seems to me that the emphasis would have been the other way around.

Only in Star Trek could the discovery of people cloning themselves be treated as a secondary plot.
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Old April 21 2010, 01:06 AM   #2
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Re: Up The Long Ladder

As far as I understand it this is not an episodes many people like. That said, if true, I will say that I'm one of the minority. I see this as mostly a lighter episode where we get a rare case of humour working in TNG. I rather like this episode in similar vein as I can enjoy TOS' "Shore Leave," "The Trouble With Tribbles," "A Piece Of The Action" and "I, Mudd."
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Old April 21 2010, 01:36 AM   #3
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Re: Up The Long Ladder

I like the episode...for the wrong reasons.

It shows what bullying thugs Starfleet's finest are, motivated by self-righteousness and prejudices when faced with a society they disapprove of.

Which of course, is the cloning one, not the cutesy luddite Irish.

Also, Riker totally murders 2 people, or things close enough to people.

Plus Laforge's line "Everywhere I went some clone lied to me." Burton doesn't get enough credit for making utter nonsense sound credible.
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Old April 21 2010, 01:47 AM   #4
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Re: Up The Long Ladder

Provided the clones weren't self-aware yet...and I'd assume they weren't...it would seem to be more akin to abortion than murder.

Just saying.
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Old April 21 2010, 03:12 AM   #5
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Re: Up The Long Ladder

DonIago wrote: View Post
Provided the clones weren't self-aware yet...and I'd assume they weren't...it would seem to be more akin to abortion than murder.

Just saying.
That can be argued, but...there was no risk to Riker or Pulaski (beyond their egos)...nothing physically required of them. Sure, they were violated, but that doesn't really justify terminating a developing human lives at what looked like a very late stage in development, ableit an unnatural development.

Those weren't sinister "alien pod people" forming; they were humans. Terminating them based on emotional reaction doesn't seem like enlightened human behaviour. (Remember, Picard seemed regretful to have to destroy the Conspiracy parasite mother alien...after the fact, anyway.)
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Old April 21 2010, 03:24 AM   #6
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Re: Up The Long Ladder

^^ I dunno. Those clones were the product of theft. I don't feel all that bad over what Riker and Pulaski did. Call me callous, but that's how I feel. They denied the thieves the ability to profit from their theft.
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Old April 21 2010, 03:33 AM   #7
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Re: Up The Long Ladder

Odo: "Killing your own clone is still murder!"

This to me is one of the weird episodes of season 2, along with stuff like The Outrageous Okana, The Royale, or The Dauphin. I grew up watching TNG but I was young enough in the early seasons that I had to go back and watch again to really follow them. They don't feel quite as cheesy as the early season 1 episodes but neither do they feel as complete as they did starting in season 3.

Although the Irish stereotype isn't as bad as some people think, it's still pretty odd.
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Old April 21 2010, 05:52 AM   #8
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Re: Up The Long Ladder

^Though the clone that the murderer killed -was- self-aware at the time.
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Old April 21 2010, 07:16 AM   #9
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Re: Up The Long Ladder

I think it was one of the odd examples of reverse racism that Trek was prone to. I am sure the creators thought they were being diverse and inclusive, but I don't now why every time they presented a non-American culture on Trek they had to present it as something out of the 16th century. The Irish, the Sottish, the Indians. I simply find it difficult to believe that in a global 24th century civilization people held on so firmly to hammy stereotypes.
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Old April 21 2010, 09:50 AM   #10
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Re: Up The Long Ladder

So the clones were in a late stage of development and not yet self-aware? What difference does that make? It wasn't their fault that their existence was based on theft.

Riker: We have the right to determine what happens to our own bodies!

Ummmm, didn't those clones also have that right?
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Old April 21 2010, 10:49 AM   #11
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Re: Up The Long Ladder

This argument treads very closely to the one that would prohibit pregnancy termination for rape victims. Awkwardly & poorly developed though this episode may be, there was never any indication that those cellular conglomerations were anywhere near full maturation, & deserving of the rights of a sentient life form, outside of the offended attitudes of the criminals who made them, & visual similarities to a Human

Without greater detail, I'll just choose to look upon their action as though they were destroying a criminally executed, organic laboratory experiment, which could have resulted in the creation of a life form, just as a rape can result in the same



To the original point, this episode was an early & not so well achieved attempt at TNG's style, which was to push the envelope where formula was concerned. So we didn't get a very serious episode, which included comedic elements, like "Schisms", for example, which was about abductions, & yet started with Data's poetry recital, or "The Pegasus", which started with Captain Picard Day, & ended with possible court martial proceedings for Riker

We were instead given a generally lighthearted & comedic episode, wherein a bit of serious subject matter is incorporated. The subject here being what constitutes life, where that begins, & what control someone has over their persons, where victimization is concerned.

All this was orchestrated around the cloning plot device, which was a hot topic of the times. However, none of these topics were likely to be addressed, in a fully serous nature, on a family show like TNG, due to how hotly contested they were then, & even still are

I like the episode. It's not one of their best results, even for season 2, but it did take on some challenges, not the least of which was to impose a bit of sober significance into one of their more lighthearted stories, which isn't something they did often
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Old April 21 2010, 01:28 PM   #12
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Re: Up The Long Ladder

I love Michael Dorn's delivery when Worf explains to one of the Irish guys what would've happened if he'd been caught inside the fire-suppression field. "You would have suffocated and died."
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Old April 21 2010, 05:33 PM   #13
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Re: Up The Long Ladder

This is one of those episodes that, while I didn't love it, or even particularly like it, I didn't hate it either. I guess that for me, this is one of those "In-between" episodes.

After all....sometimes, you just have to.....bow to the absurd.
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Old April 22 2010, 01:03 AM   #14
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Re: Up The Long Ladder

A BIG problem with the clone aspect of this episode is the BAD science. Even then it was understood that clones don't develop that way. Clones are simply twins conceived and brought to term a different way, but it still takes nine months. Granted you could argue that advanced techniques might accelerate that to some degree, but no way is it credible as shown in the episode.

But the whole point to have them so advanced in development was to raise the question over eliminating them and making it have more impact. If Riker had phasered a few cells in a vial or petri dish it wouldn't have had the same dramatic impact.
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Old April 22 2010, 01:14 AM   #15
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Re: Up The Long Ladder

Isn't it kind of dangerous to make assumptions as to how technology will work in the future?

Anyway, no matter how developed the clones were, I don't believe we were supposed to think they'd developed consciousness yet, which to my mind technically makes what Riker does no worse than phasering a few cells in a petri dish...just more graphic.
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