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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 August 12 2013, 04:45 PM   #1
Jeyl
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Episode of the Week: 3x07 "The Enemy"


Memory Alpha Entry
Chrissie's Transcript

At the start of Season 2, Geordi was been promoted off the bridge to the lower decks as chief of Engineering. Pretty important for the ship, but not so much for the show or his character since a majority of his role will be spouting technobabble and being Data's buddy. Thankfully with an episode like "The Enemy", we get to see Geordi dealing with a situation without the direct guidance of the other characters.

I think one of the more crucial points that this episode further solidifies is the complete and utter change in the Romulan culture. They may have been like this in previous TNG episodes, but I think this episode all but confirms that these selfish, arrogant and heavily ego driven Romulans reflect their entire species. They don't carry the same weight as their TOS counterparts who had some semblance of honesty and self-awareness of their actions. These Romulans seem like the type who wouldn't admit that half of their ship is missing even if their lives depended on it. I guess this was the writers' idea of trying to make humanity look more glorified and saint like in comparison, since Picard spends a lot of time talking about how he will be the one to take the first steps towards a peaceful resolution.

But by far the most controversial part of this whole entire episode is dealing with Worf choosing to let an injured Romulan simply die because, well, Worf don't like Romulans because Romulans killed his parents. A lot of points are brought up from both Riker and Picard in how important it is that this Romulan remain alive as to show the Romulans that they don't want a conflict. Michael Dorn was against the idea of Worf just choosing to let the Romulan die because he thought that, since Worf was all about honor, he would do the honrable thing for the greater benefit of the mission. Unfortunately the folks in charge during this episode was Rick Berman and Michael Piller and judging by Piller's quotes,

Michael Piller wrote:
"Rick Berman knew instantly it was the right thing to do. Once he was behind me, it was a race to the finish line. And it was absolutely the right thing to do. You knew the audience was waiting for Worf to come around, because they always do that in television. But the character wouldn't do that and I think we made a really good decision."
This decision, according to Dorn, was based around the fact that they felt Worf giving the Romulan blood was making him "too human", and given how these two gentlemen were behind Gene's vision 110%, I wouldn't be surprised that was the actual reason. Don't get me wrong. I'm all in favor of having an character act more "alien" around the crew, but was this the only real way to do it? It sounds like the producers and writers idea of what makes characters human is their ability to actually get stuff done. If your characters makes a situation worse or doesn't the right thing, that character is not human. Now that's obviously bullcrap since we know that personal grudges against a whole race have a strong presence in human culture. Barely a year ago, a woman literally pushed a man into an incoming train, killing him. Her reason behind it? He looked Muslim. So the idea that this helps separate Worf from the human race is kind of, well, rubish.

What also bugs me about this decision is that outside of "The Defector" episode, no one seems to really care about Worf's decision at all. He literally almost turned a critical situation into an armed conflict simply because he was prejudice on a massive scale. When your chief of security won't even abide to the crew's wishes, especially when it will help stem the tide of conflict, what real good is he?

CONCLUSION:
An ok episode if you don't mind the "Humanity is awesome and aliens are inferior" trope that fills this episode in more than one area of the story. What should have been the next big step in Worf's character Arc involving his past with the Romulans is really wasted by having his decision here have no real significant follow-up. It's also a great pity that the one 'thing' that showed Worf putting aside his differences of the Romulans wouldn't come until Star Trek: Nemesis. Yay......

STINGER:
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Old August 12 2013, 05:57 PM   #2
BillJ
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x07 "The Enemy"

Great episode and now we can see what's going on, on the surface thanks to the HD treatment. Easily in my TNG top-20.
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Old August 12 2013, 06:12 PM   #3
jimbotron
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x07 "The Enemy"

And notice how Picard refuses to order Worf to donate the blood. He "respects" Worf's decision, so he leaves it to Worf. I guess that's the writers passing the buck to Worf.

I liked the episode because of Tomalak (sigh, so underused) and Geordi having some stuff to do without being foolish around women. But then, the episode was hurt by a Wesley ex Machina at the end.

I don't mind the new direction of Romulans. Heck, EVERY Trek alien species is a caricature/stereotype at this point, so why single out the Romulans? We never see TNG Romulans fall for such an obvious ploy like the commander in TOS' The Enterprise Incident ... well, Sela in Unification 2 was close.

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Old August 12 2013, 06:34 PM   #4
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x07 "The Enemy"

I disagree with your assessment of 'Aliens are inferior' in this episode. At this point in TNG the Romulans are basically the USSR. I don't see the Romulans' actions as being selfish and ego driven, I see them as being secretive and loyal to the state. It's not the same as the way the Ferengi are portrayed in TNG. There are several Romulans who are portrayed as individually decent, and it's just the political culture of Romulus that's the bad guy.

Also remember Worf gave the Romulan an opportunity to ask for his blood, and he replied 'I would rather die than pollute my body with Klingon filth'. If the Romulan had said 'Please give me blood I don't want to die', it seemed like Worf would have given it to him.

With this episode I focus on the way Geordi had to cooperate with the Romulan in order for them both to survive and Picard's handling of being in the position to possibly reside over the beginning of a war.
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Old August 12 2013, 06:59 PM   #5
jimbotron
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x07 "The Enemy"

Good point. If the Romulan REFUSES to accept the donor blood, then what's the issue? People refuse treatment all the time.
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Old August 12 2013, 08:41 PM   #6
Captrek
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x07 "The Enemy"

I like LeVar Burton’s performance in this episode. He can be a really good actor when he has good material like this.

jimbotron wrote: View Post
And notice how Picard refuses to order Worf to donate the blood. He "respects" Worf's decision, so he leaves it to Worf. I guess that's the writers passing the buck to Worf.
Why does Picard even have discretion in this case? I’d think regulations would be pretty clear on whether Picard has the authority to give this order. If he doesn’t, that’s that. If he does have the authority to give such an order and the order could have such great implications for the safety of the ship, then I think he has an obligation to give the order whether he feels good about it or not.
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Old August 12 2013, 09:52 PM   #7
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x07 "The Enemy"

jimbotron wrote: View Post
Good point. If the Romulan REFUSES to accept the donor blood, then what's the issue? People refuse treatment all the time.
Well, Bochra didn't want Geordi's help either and spent most of his time pointing his disrupter at him. Turned out all right for him in the end when he and Goerdi ended up working together. I guess the real lesson here is that perspectives change once you get to know the other side a bit. Geordi and Bochra had that priviledge, Worf and the other Romulan did not. The refusal was just one meeting between the two, and Worf decided to just let that be the deciding factor. Picard should have been begging both of them.
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Old August 13 2013, 12:21 AM   #8
Makarov
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x07 "The Enemy"

I think they made the absolute right choice on Worf refusing to give blood. Actually, in my mind, it's one of the times that Worf actually lives up to his reputation. Worf refusing to do it and Picard refusing to order him says a lot about both characters.

The thing that kind of gets me in this ep is that the Romulan is a total douche to Geordie, yet Geordie is friendly from the get-go. If I was him I would probably still be pissed off about that.

Captrek wrote: View Post
If he does have the authority to give such an order and the order could have such great implications for the safety of the ship, then I think he has an obligation to give the order whether he feels good about it or not.
Well I think if Picard ignored his morality and focused on safety it would be a completely different show. It'd be more like if Worf was the captain: putting up the Shields any time they encounter anything new, continuing the drumhead trials in order to feel safer, exterminate any threat no matter the cost.
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Old August 13 2013, 11:00 AM   #9
Timo
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x07 "The Enemy"

Also, having the nameless Romulan die doesn't sound like much of a problem for Starfleet. He's a despicable enemy on an immoral mission, and letting him live would be a display of weakness! Dragging his corpse behind a shuttlecraft around and around Tomalak's Warbird is what the Romulan commander would actually expect, and there isn't a damn thing he could do about it...

It's only crucial for the characters themselves, not for the organization that they serve, whether the Romulan lives or dies. And Worf and Picard deal with the matter in a way that strengthens their standing in the show... But Beverly Crusher could probably brush up on her delivering-of-vital-information-in-time skills. Or is it just an unfortunate coincidence that Picard phones her to say "I have just spent five minutes groveling and pleading and losing my dignity over the issue of the prisoner's survival, now please let him die" at the exact moment when the Romulan actually crocks it?

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Old August 14 2013, 03:47 AM   #10
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x07 "The Enemy"

If Geordi hadn't saved the Romulan from the surface, the other Romulan's death would have given the Romulans the excuse for war they wanted.

Picard's decision not to order Worf was an example of principle over pragmatism, which is correct for Picard's character.

And Starfleet certainly does not consider protecting the lives of enemies as a display of weakness.
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Old August 14 2013, 05:29 AM   #11
Captrek
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x07 "The Enemy"

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
If Geordi hadn't saved the Romulan from the surface, the other Romulan's death would have given the Romulans the excuse for war they wanted.
If they wanted war, all they had to do was shoot when the Enterprise lowered its shields.
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Old August 14 2013, 01:19 PM   #12
Timo
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x07 "The Enemy"

Exactly. Romulans never really demonstrated any wish to actually have war - they only sought local victories and propaganda triumphs even with elaborate setups like "The Defector" or "Unification". Picard drawing, quartering and then eating both the Romulan infiltrators would not have been a propaganda triumph for Romulus; the sort of people the Romulans want to impress would not be impressed, except perhaps by Federation resolve.

OTOH, a display of weakness is something for the observer to decide; Starfleet would have no say on whether its actions contributed to one.

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Old August 14 2013, 03:40 PM   #13
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x07 "The Enemy"

I always saw the Romulans as a race that thrives on having a powerful enemy so they could keep on themselves focused on ways to make themselves 'better' than their enemy. If they didn't have an enemy that could rival them, how can they seem glorious?
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