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Old April 4 2008, 11:18 PM   #1
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Who Watches the Watchers?

Plot Summary: The Enterprise receives a distress call from a group of Federation scientists observing the developing Mintakan civilization from an outpost hidden by holograms. An explosion injures everyone on the team and makes the observation window visible to the valley below. While LaForge struggles to repair the power systems and Crusher tends to the injured, a father and daughter spot the window and climb up to observe. Shocked by the sight of one of the injured anthropologists being beamed away, the man, Liko, slips and is gravely injured. Because she blames Starfleet's error for Liko's accident, Crusher has him beamed to the ship and saves his life, but she is unable to modify his memories. After Liko hears Picard telling expedition leader Barron that they will find his missing assistant, Palmer, Liko returns to the Mintakans and tells them about the godlike Caretaker who brought him back from the dead. Riker and Troi beam down in search of Palmer and learn that the Mintakans have begun to worship "the Picard." When the Mintakans find Palmer, Troi diverts them in a search for other Caretakers so that Riker can beam the injured man up to the ship. Once Riker and Palmer have vanished, Liko fears that the Picard will punish his people for allowing them to escape and suggests executing Troi in penance. Hoping to persuade the Mintakans that he is not a god, Picard has the leader Nuria beamed aboard the Enterprise and shows her that he cannot save the most injured member of the scientific team. Nuria returns with Picard to the planet, but they are unable to persuade Liko that Picard is not a god until Picard insists on taking the arrow intended to sacrifice Troi. When Liko sees that Picard bleeds, he apologizes for his error and Troi is freed. After Crusher treats Picard's wound, he returns to the planet to tell the Mintakans that they must progress on their own toward the technological abilities they have witnessed by the Starfleet officers.


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Old April 5 2008, 12:09 AM   #2
Jack Bauer
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Re: Who Watches the Watchers?

I always found this episode to be a big yawner. It's doesn't do much for me at all.
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Old April 5 2008, 12:27 AM   #3
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Re: Who Watches the Watchers?

"pressuring them to accept his own apparent agnosticism might be just as damaging as insisting that they should not revert to a theology of fear. Many of the greatest atrocities on our own planet were committed not in the name of faith, but in the name of pure science."

Excellent point. I always thought that how Picard and the crew dealt with the Mintakans' beliefs shed an interesting light on their own.
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Old April 5 2008, 12:29 AM   #4
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Re: Who Watches the Watchers?

One of my very favourite episodes and MEG gets it right for once. Good times all around. It's definitely one of the few sensible applications of the Prime Directive in Trek.
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Old April 5 2008, 01:46 AM   #5
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Re: Who Watches the Watchers?

Jack Bauer wrote: View Post
I always found this episode to be a big yawner. It's doesn't do much for me at all.
Well, I wouldn't go qiute as far as you did, but I agree, it wasn't one of my favorites either.
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Old April 5 2008, 03:03 AM   #6
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Re: Who Watches the Watchers?

Jack Bauer wrote: View Post
I always found this episode to be a big yawner. It's doesn't do much for me at all.
Me neither. I found it a bit 'skewed' and (ironically) preachy.
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Old April 5 2008, 05:36 AM   #7
Terra Pryme
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Re: Who Watches the Watchers?

RandyS wrote: View Post
Jack Bauer wrote: View Post
I always found this episode to be a big yawner. It's doesn't do much for me at all.
Well, I wouldn't go qiute as far as you did, but I agree, it wasn't one of my favorites either.
I did like this episode when it first aired, but over time it starts to lose its luster. First, there were the similarities to TOS's "The Paradise Syndrome", from Native American-type alien races revering the Enterprise captains as gods ("Kirok" and "The Picard"), to their seeing a miracle and expecting more, and eventually the revelation the captains aren't gods when they're seen bleeding from injuries. With the multi airing of "WWTW" though, it more looks like the crew is treating the natives so simple-mindedly. First, there's the scene Troi greets them ("I...am Troi. This...is Riker"). It's rather strange they'd use their real names. After all, wouldn't they be as strange to the natives as "The Picard"? Troi then tries to dismiss Liko's encounter as some sort of dream, but he quickly shoots her down and the natives more support him than her. Having Nuria beamed onboard the Enterprise was questionable at best. It's fortunate all she did was kneel down instead of going into massive shock from seeing what's really a whole new world to her. This eventually culminates to the scene where Picard is shot with the arrow. Did anyone else think the stunt scene was lame? The stuntman actually jolts backward like he's being shot with a whaling harpoon! There's no way an arrow would direct that much force no matter how fast it's shot. Like I said, this episode may have been above average from its first airing, but after repated showings, it's really under average as a result from such ridiculous factors mentioned above.
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Old April 5 2008, 11:23 PM   #8
JNG
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Re: Who Watches the Watchers?

I always found it tough to consider this kind of episode good science fiction, and by "this kind of episode" I mean adventures in which Our Heroes pass for aliens by putting on some makeup.

The conceit of the Universal Translator is pretty thin but necessary, and Trek already depends on it for a lot. I can accept that it works when both parties are wearing interfacing devices or have implants in their ears or something, and if computers have communicated beforehand in mathematical code and sent one another full indices of languages, it becomes at least believable enough to continue enjoying the show.

But as hard as I rack my brain, I am unable to think of a way in which the Universal Translator could possibly enable Troi to pass as an alien because she has some makeup on, as she also does in "Face of the Enemy" and as Picard and Data do in "Unification" and as Riker does in the "First Contact" episode, and so forth. It is as if the writers take the conceit of everyone appearing to speak English for our benefit and pretend, for that week, that it is some kind of reality sensible enough to help the plotting along. It isn't, and writing that sort of occurrence is not really science fiction, any more than if Picard walked into his ready room and opened a window (sure, we could say there is some emergency mode where the structural integrity field quickly bridges the gap to limit decompression and the life support systems work overtime to immediately equalize the pressure and reheat the room and everything and it is so effective that it is invisible and silent and no one ever mentions it, but WHY are you making me jump through these hoops? Should stories rely on this?).
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Old April 6 2008, 11:59 AM   #9
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Re: Who Watches the Watchers?

You know, in universe I share your skepticism, but com'on, it's pretty hard making a sci-fi tv series in which each new alien you meet speaks a different language. Seriously, we'd all be lost as to what's going on and half of each episode would have to be spend on figuring out the language of the week. I have little issue with everyone seemingly speaking English and it being explained by the UT.

It doesn't deterr from the sci fi aspect either. Sci fi isn't about languages or rubber on faces (though it would've been nice to see a little more creativity in the latter), it's about the stories themselves.

I quite liked Who Watches the Watchers?, but I think they could've made it more interesting by giving Troi a more active role and more dramatic if they'd had Troi be shot and the Mintakens expecting Picard to heal her. Most of all, this is one of those episodes that are perfect to reference to later in the show. It would've been nice to see any of the senior staff tease "The Picard" about this later on.
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Old April 9 2008, 08:01 AM   #10
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Re: Who Watches the Watchers?

Sisko_is_my_captain wrote: View Post
"Many of the greatest atrocities on our own planet were committed not in the name of faith, but in the name of pure science."
In the name of "pure science"? Like what, pray tell?
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Old April 10 2008, 04:24 AM   #11
T.Geiger
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Re: Who Watches the Watchers?

In the name of "pure science"? Like what, pray tell?

Well, there was that doctor in Germany that created a man sown together from other corpses. What was his name? Victor.. or Henry maybe? Can't remember.

I really liked this episode the first couple of times I saw it because I didn't clue into the anti-religion message until later. Now I cannot watch it without seeing it from stem to stern. (Yeah, I know.. I'm oblivious. I missed the 'gay' message in The Outcast also.)

One thing that always bothered me about how humans were portrayed as being godless by the 24th century (there were a few references in TOS) is that its completely implausible. Last I saw the number was around 90% of the population believing in some sort of spirituality, and no great avalanche towards atheism had begun or even been indicated. So there's not one Christian or Hindu officer in all of Starfleet? Really? I think this episode could have been so much more interesting if there was even just one dissenter to counter-balance Picard.

I think that may be one of the reasons why I really liked DS9 so much. The Bajorans were not only religious, they were diehard ultra-religious. What does Kira do when they're in a bad situation and her commander is bleeding out on the ground? She prays over him. I'm a fairly religious man myself, but I'm not sure I'd have the stones to pray over my atheist CO.
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Old April 10 2008, 12:08 PM   #12
Lilith
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Re: Who Watches the Watchers?

Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there

To use a popular reason

I've never found WWTW? vindictive of religion or atheism either way. It merely states that in that particular case, where the Mintakens turn religious because of Starfleet's interference, shouldn't be allowed to continue. Not even because it's religion, but because of what caused the religion to develop.

Also, one messed up scientist does not "many of the greatest atrocities on our planet" make. Frankly, the more I think about it, the more ridiculous this statement because. Sure there have been some horrible events, but very, VERY few of them in the name of pure science
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Old April 10 2008, 12:23 PM   #13
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Re: Who Watches the Watchers?

"Well, there was that doctor in Germany that created a man sown together from other corpses. What was his name? Victor.. or Henry maybe? Can't remember. "

What the Nazi doctors did wasn't science. They were atrocities. True science respects human life.

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Old April 10 2008, 05:03 PM   #14
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Re: Who Watches the Watchers?

T.Geiger wrote: View Post

So there's not one Christian or Hindu officer in all of Starfleet?
The episode Data's Day takes place on Diwali. He says so in his log entry. Mind you in 400 years they may be celebrating the Hindu festival of lights without knowing what it means, just like Christmas nowadays.
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Old April 10 2008, 06:36 PM   #15
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Re: Who Watches the Watchers?

T.Geiger wrote: View Post
So there's not one Christian or Hindu officer in all of Starfleet? Really?
I'm sure there are. But it would be difficult to work that into an episode.
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