Episode of the Week: 2x07 "Unnatural Selection"

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by Jeyl, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Unnatural Selection

    The day has finally come. A day when a nameless background character who has been with us ever since the start of TNG finally breaks out of being a reoccurring extra and into a character with a name and a purpose. His career, his service and his shoulder would become legendary. His name is Miles O'Brien and he's here to stay!

    Unnatural Selection is an episode that sets out to do one thing. Further solidify Pulaski's role as a viable character on the Enterprise. Not a bad idea given my heavy dislike towards her character in the first few episodes of this season. Despite the pandering by the creative teams who try to give Diana Muldaur something to do that doesn't involve just uttering technobabble, this episode does a pretty decent job with her character.

    For example, in the first season episode Angel One, Beverly Crusher refused to allow anyone onboard the Enterprise, even when the people they were trying to save were facing execution because of an outbreak onboard the ship that only made you feel ill. She was willing to let people get executed over getting infected with something that isn't even fatal. Kind of stupid when you consider the fact that the Enterprise has cargo holds, shuttle crafts, environmental suits, and the transporter room which can be use for decontamination. Thankfully in Unnatural Selection, the writers know what Pulaski has at her disposal and they put them to good use. Pulaski takes a shuttle craft with Data in order to study a patient that could infect her with a deadly disease. Good job writers.

    In the grand scheme of Star Trek, this episode does prove a bit problematic due to the apparent openness to genetically enhancing humans, an action that will be depicted as strictly forbidden. I guess everyone in this episode didn't get the memo because even though everyone has been cured, they'll no doubt be sent away to a penal colony for two years.... four if the sentence is being carried out by the same admiral.

    Even though this episode isn't on any great episode list, it does an important service to Star Trek for not only having writers who are aware of what the crew have at their disposal, but finally upgrading Colm Meaney's extra status into a full fledged character. The character of Miles O'Brien would not only have some great stories in future TNG episodes, but also become a fantastic series regular for Deep Space Nine. And I cannot leave out the fact that having him be a family man is a big bonus too.

    STINGER:
    Riker: Looks like they had a battle with time.
    Worf: …and lost.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  2. Mott the barber

    Mott the barber Commodore Commodore

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    So true about O'Brien. He had a hell of a run beginning with his "Conn" character didn't he?

    I am also thankful for this episode for giving us one of the best bloopers from S2 ("marker beacons"). That one always has me in stitches.
     
  3. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I forget, did O'Brien finally get a name in this episode? Was that his first role as transporter chief?
     
  4. Danny99

    Danny99 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I always enjoyed the first half of this one and the final scene, where they destroy the Lantree.

    But that Doctor Kingsley makes me cringe and I don't think Diana Muldaur gives us anything us exciting.
     
  5. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Aren't these threads supposed to start on Tuesdays?
     
  6. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    My thoughts:

    - The destruction of the Lantree was a fine sequence.

    - It was fitting that Dr. Kingsley was annoyingly arrogant. Picard should have ordered Data to smack her.

    - The method of saving Pulaski was on first viewing immediately obvious to me as essentially the same method used to save the main characters in TAS: The Lorelei Signal, and for the same reason. The irony was therefore that TNG was still striving to surpass both TOS and TAS, at this point in its run.

    - Nevertheless, Unnatural Selection was a definite step up from the last episode, and a welcome indication that the show was, overall, improving.

    - Fans (especially, it seems, those preferring DS9) like to say that TNG had no character arcs whatsoever, but this episode depicted a transformation in the relationship between Pulaski and Data.
     
  7. Orac

    Orac Admiral Admiral

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    It is Tuesday.
     
  8. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    That's what I said, than the posters would say "But it is Tuesday my time." Plus the past four EOTW I've been posting have been on Monday, so where the devil have you been?
     
  9. JoeD80

    JoeD80 Captain Captain

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    I think his name comes next episode (A Matter of Honor). He was first seen as transporter chief in "The Child."
     
  10. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Fair enough, I guess. When you posted the thread, it was Tuesday (technically two minutes to Tuesday, close enough) in Sydney and Melbourne. For that matter, it was 2AM Tuesday in New Zealand and 3AM in Kiribati.

    Back in the [thread=201859]season premiere[/thread], I toyed with the idea of putting links to a transcript and Memory Alpha article for the episode at the top of the first post. A little extra effort for the person who makes the post, but perhaps a convenience for others. Should we make it a regular practice?

    Also, everybody please try to remember the tng episode of the week tag. If you start the thread please include the tag, and if the thread is started without the tag please add it.
     
  11. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    From this episode.

    O'BRIEN: This is Chief O'Brien, sir. Almost ready.
     
  12. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Ok..... how? I can't edit my first post anymore.
     
  13. Mutai Sho-Rin

    Mutai Sho-Rin Crusty Old Bastard Moderator

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    I was able to edit and add "TNG" to the title but couldn't find a way to add the tag. Any suggestions???
     
  14. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: TNG Episode of the Week: 2x07 "Unnatural Selection"

    A good episode other than the STAR-TREK-SAY-GENETIC-RESEARCH-IS-BAD vibe that all of Star Trek is guilty of. Even the technobabble solution seemed original at the time (pre-Voyager). Troi seems to have plenty to say and do in this episode, nice to see her (and as previously mentioned, O'Brien's) character(s) developing.

    Who is the "bakharov" that the shuttle is named after? A quick google search throws no light on an answer.

    Any further mention of the genetically superior children in Trek-lit? Seems like there are plenty of unanswered questions... They are just going to allow them to grow old and die, supressing the natural urge to procreate?
     
  15. Use of Time

    Use of Time Commodore Commodore

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    Re: TNG Episode of the Week: 2x07 "Unnatural Selection"

    This is a good episode with regards to the Data - Pulaski relationship. I always enjoyed the way they gradually had to feel each other out.
     
  16. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Ack! We don't want TNG in the thread title, just the tag. When reading the thread, look for the "Edit Tags" link near the bottom of the page. (I have already done it for this thread. Any member can add tags to an existing thread.) There is also an option to add the tag when you post the new thread.
     
  17. Mutai Sho-Rin

    Mutai Sho-Rin Crusty Old Bastard Moderator

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    ^ ^ ^ ^
    TNG removed from the title; I didn't clearly understand the request. I have never monkeyed with tags but I now see the button and I get the idea. Thanks for the explanation.
     
  18. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    An episode with great bookends, the opening with the discovery of the ship and the ending with its destruction are both nice and atmospheric and very well done (even if Picard's final log feels like it was left from an earlier draft and makes it sound like the Starship crew were lost as part of an intended experiment rather than a freak accident... maybe that's how Starfleet are spinning it?).

    The stuff in-between though is a bit dull and obvious and very much not helped by the fact we're not really given much reason to care about the science station personnel or "Children". Even Picard doesn't seem that bothered, very quickly deciding Pulalski is their main and only priority.

    Having the transporter being formally established as that powerful was a mistake as well, if it can rework your body to that extent there's really not a single space illness or Braga created freak genetic mutation across all the 24th century series that couldn't have been fixed in exactly the same way.

    It oddly feels like a second intro episode for the new Doctor as well, as if the writers had realised she hadn't gone down too well and were therefore keen to try and represent her to the audience.
     
  19. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Always thought this episode was odd. The experiment was probably illegal but no one on the E-D flinched.

    This episode also did something that was supposedly banned by the producers, healing/changing someone using the transporter. I actually thought it made some sense, but it becomes problematic when you can always heal people by using untainted DNA.

    I loved the scene when they scanned the Lantree, one of my favorites of the season.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Governments in general are entitled to do things they forbid their subjects from doing. Gathering taxes, jailing or shooting people who don't behave, performing genetic experiments...

    Police forces today dabble a lot in small scale drug manufacturing, for purposes of developing their methods of detecting the forbidden substances. Doesn't mean that they would be pro-recreational-but-lethal-drug-use, or acting behind the backs of their superiors.

    Darwin is officially named a Genetic Research Station, so secrecy apparently isn't an issue. Picard is filled with "apprehension" when considering possible ties between the Lantree deaths and genetic research, but similarly Kirk is filled with apprehension when thinking about penal colonies in "Dagger of the Mind". Both may be thinking of bad old days there, even if only Kirk is corrected on this by McCoy; Picard may well be capable of doing his own correcting, even if he enters his reactionary thoughts into his log as an act of personal defiance.

    Also, Picard is apprehensive about a connection with "a" genetic research facility, suggesting the Federation has plenty of those...

    Also, they blew it by having Pulaski come out of the transporter treatment fully up to speed. Had there been more cuts in the scene, we could at least pretend that the treatment "reset" Pulaski so that she would remember nothing between now and the day she last brushed her hair. As matters stand, the only cut where Picard could brief her on what just happened would require the two to stop in the transporter room doorway for a couple of unfilmed minutes...

    Timo Saloniemi