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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 October 28 2013, 03:45 PM   #1
Jeyl
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Episode of the Week: 3x18 "Allegiance"





Allegiance is one of those episodes that when taken solely on it's own, is a decent episodic outing. Things get weird, things go back to normal, the end. But when you look at it from the perspective of everything TNG has done as a whole, it actually sets up a pretty important moment that we won't see until the last season.

This episode could also be regarded as the first attempt to "appease" Patrick Stewart in his apparent disappointment with the series. Before Season 3's end, there was some serious talk about Patrick leaving the show and throughout the rest of this season, several attempts were be made to try and spice up Picard's role. Some worked (THIS ONE!), others didn't (NEXT WEEK!).

Our episode opens with Picard in his quarters sleeping on his very long chair when an energy beam transports him away and replaces him with a duplicate. The real Picard finds himself in a room with three other occupants who upon waking up, don't know why they're in this room either. Since this episode is one of the TNG episodes I never saw before the BluRay release, it felt weird watching this episode and not thinking about the "SAW" series.

While the real Picard is trying to piece together why they're trapped in this room, the fake Picard is doing all kinds of stuff that the crew fine awkward. What is he doing that has the crew suspicious? He's acting NICE! He not only wishes to join them in their poker game, he's overly complimentary, assuring and even starts singing "Heart of Oak". But things start to get really weird with fake Picard when he orders the Enterprise to look at a Pulsar. So weird that despite the dangers the Pulsar presents, he orders the ship to move in closer for what seems to be no reason at all. And when the crew finally disobey him, we get this little charm of a line.
Picard: You're destroying yourself and anyone who is foolish enough to listen to you.
I just love the complete disconnect of how Stewart delivers that line when put in context to what fake Picard wants the crew to actually do. And I wouldn't be surprised if this exact line is what everyone wanted to say to Gene Roddenberry when they left the show.

Back in the SAW room, the real Picard realizes that it was the starfleet cadet who was fooling everyone, and once he's back on the bridge and catches the aliens responsible, we have this scene.
ALIEN 1: We wanted to examine the nature of command.
ALIEN 2: Our replicas of Tholl and Esoqq explored this issue on Mizar Two and on Chalna, just as our Picard replica did on the Enterprise.
ALIEN 1: Your responses were most intriguing.
PICARD: You have no right to put us through this just to satisfy your curiosity.
ALIEN 2: Why not?
PICARD: Because kidnapping is an immoral assault. The rights of other races must be respected.
ALIEN 1: This concept of morality is a very interesting human characteristic. We shall have to study it sometime.
Am I the only one who thinks that Picard was being a little too pushy on these aliens? They are after all stating that these concepts are new to them and they wish to study it further. Instead of Picard offering a chance to teach these aliens what those concept are like, he has the aliens imprisoned by a force field against their will and starts lashing out at them like they should know better.
Picard: And now that you have had a taste of captivity, perhaps you will reconsider the morality of inflicting it upon others. In any event, we now know about your race and we know how to imprison you. Bear that in mind. Now get off my ship.
And that folks is the Federation's mission statement at work. To seek out new life and imprison them, threaten them, lecture them and tell them to fu** off. It's moments like this where I wonder if the writers didn't see any previous first contact episodes like "Who Watches the Watchers" where Picard treats ignorant aliens with some shred of dignity and understanding. Than I realized that this episode uses the events of "Who Watches the Watchers" as a plot point, so I got nothing.

CONCLUSION:
A nice episode that gives us a different take on Picard that, when taken in the context of the series as a whole, will actually have a very nice payoff in the series final. And it gets better. This isn't the last episode of TNG where the so called "fake" elements inadvertently foreshadows things that will soon come to pass. If it wasn't for the fact that Picard acts like a pushy jerk to the newly discovered aliens and that the writers made the only female captive in the room turn out to be the baddie, this would have been one of my favorite Season 3 episodes.

STINGER:


BONUS!!!
The Mirror Universe's take on Picard singing "Heart of Oak"
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Old October 28 2013, 06:01 PM   #2
jimbotron
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x18 "Allegiance"

Contrast Picard's reaction to that of season 7's Liaisons, where he is trapped again in the name of alien research. He takes it much much better that time, despite it being much more compromising. It took a while before we got the softer, gentler Picard.

I'd love to see the next conversation between Picard and Crusher.

Too bad we didn't see more of the Chalnoth. If it's one thing Trek needs more of, it's warrior races. They easily could have made him a Nausicaan.

Last edited by jimbotron; October 28 2013 at 06:11 PM.
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Old October 28 2013, 07:01 PM   #3
BillJ
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x18 "Allegiance"

jimbotron wrote: View Post

Too bad we didn't see more of the Chalnoth. If it's one thing Trek needs more of, it's warrior races. They easily could have made him a Nausicaan.
Did we have a description or see a Nausicaan by that point in the series?
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Old October 28 2013, 08:33 PM   #4
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x18 "Allegiance"

An enjoyable romp!
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Old October 28 2013, 09:49 PM   #5
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x18 "Allegiance"

MikeS wrote: View Post
An enjoyable romp!
Pretty much how I feel about the episode. Not TNG's best, not its worst.
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Old October 28 2013, 11:07 PM   #6
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x18 "Allegiance"

I would disagree with the assessment that Picard's treatment of the aliens is unethical, especially considering he let them go right after. You don't gain somebody's respect by letting them walk all over you with impunity then begging them not to, you have to defend yourself and show them that there are limits to what you will accept. That way they'll see you more as equals and interact with you in a more mutual manner.

Tolerating other's beliefs does not mean ignoring it when their actions infringe on your rights.
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Old October 28 2013, 11:27 PM   #7
jimbotron
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x18 "Allegiance"

BillJ wrote: View Post
Did we have a description or see a Nausicaan by that point in the series?
No, but they were implied to be some big dudes you wouldn't want to mess with, like these Chalnoth guys.

I wonder if in the script for this episode, it just said "a warrior race that looks like Beast-Man", and Michael Westmore went to town.
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Old October 28 2013, 11:30 PM   #8
jimbotron
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x18 "Allegiance"

The episode didn't explicitly say it, but the drama around Esoqq not being able to eat the "food", and only being able to go 3-4 days without food. Was that implying that he would inevitably turn on the rest of them and eat them?
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Old October 28 2013, 11:38 PM   #9
R. Star
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x18 "Allegiance"

jimbotron wrote: View Post
The episode didn't explicitly say it, but the drama around Esoqq not being able to eat the "food", and only being able to go 3-4 days without food. Was that implying that he would inevitably turn on the rest of them and eat them?
Esoqq sure didn't seem to have a problem with the concept and I don't think he'd be squeamish about it if it came to that. Heck, it's not even cannibalism if you want to split hairs. I mean Klingons dined on the hearts of their enemies and from what we sall of Esoqq the Chalna weren't even that "cultured."

Picard called it pretty accurately, they manufactured the situation to create conflict among them. I really didn't get why they mimicked the Bolian girl though. It just increases the chances of them being found out, which is what happened.
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Old October 29 2013, 12:11 AM   #10
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x18 "Allegiance"

I know we're talking about a different species but only being able to go three days without food seems like a huge handicap, on an evolutionary scale it seems like something that shouldn't have survived. Consider that a human can go more than a week before succumbing to hunger. The evolutionary idea being that it'd be a while between meals. To go without food and to burn through stored fat and even muscles in 3 or 4 days seems pretty shitty.
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Old October 29 2013, 12:33 AM   #11
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x18 "Allegiance"

Or there's the possibility Esoqq just figured that's how long his self control will hold out.
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Old October 29 2013, 02:37 AM   #12
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x18 "Allegiance"

It's also possible that 3 days was the longest he would be willing to go without food. Esoqq clearly did not place a large amount of value on the lives of other people, he spoke regularly of slaughtering his enemies.
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Old October 29 2013, 02:41 AM   #13
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x18 "Allegiance"

I dunno, someone asks me how long I can go without food I'd probably have an answer like "a couple of weeks" meaning thats how long I can live before I die without eating. Not something like "a couple of days" before my hunger pangs are so severe that I'd be willing to eat anything at all even if means slaughtering people.
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Old October 29 2013, 07:23 AM   #14
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x18 "Allegiance"

Did Esoqq really look like he was a contemplative fellow?
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Old October 29 2013, 08:27 AM   #15
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x18 "Allegiance"

Esoqq obviously had Kova Tholl selected as the first course.
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