Episode of the Week: 2x12 "The Royale"

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by Jeyl, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Er, remember, the ep gave no indication that Ritchie played the part of any of The Royale's characters. Somehow, therefore, a Forum issue strikes me as even worse...
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I think this assumes that the aliens would be only just above our TNG heroes in terms of technology, and only just alien enough not to count as bumpheads. This "solid Neptune" probably offered them no greater challenge than some airless moon or lush jungle or Class Y hot hellhole, so they never "picked" a planet - they merely put Richey down on the planet that was already there. And if they were alien enough not to recognize the fundaments of Richey's existence (and, this given, not to hang around until they could interview the poor sap for better intel), they would not think in terms of fellow beings coming to rescue.

    The very fact that they departed without bothering to communicate with Richey suggests they came from the category of classic aliens somewhat underrepresented in Star Trek: those who consider humanlike creatures mere uninteresting animals. Richey was probably saved by exercising the same relative effort a human gives to a drying earthworm when lifting it off the sidewalk and dropping it on the grass on the divider, and forgotten in an eyeblink.

    My bet is that the setup allows anybody to leave as soon as he displays the intent to - that is, as soon as he figures out the way it is going to happen. Any and every way is possible and right, but you have to make the effort. Data chose an exit based on concluding the story; Riker could have chosen an exit based on seducing Rita, and Worf could have chosen an exit based on killing everybody twice and eating their hearts both times, and all of these would have worked. It's just that poor Richey never realized he had to have this sort of perverse faith on what he was doing.

    Again, the aliens would think of Richey as a worm: they leave the lid open, and don't stop to ponder whether the worm really can crawl up the steep sides of the jar.

    I think that's fair for the writers and the story - accepting that the aliens are alien, with alien motivations. They aren't slightly advanced and very snobby Metrons or Organians, but something that really will remain a mystery forever. And all because of an issue that was at the very heart of the story: they have a fundamental problem communicating with us, and we have a fundamental problem communicating with them, because some gaps are just too wide to bridge.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah. One has to wonder how such creative writing would lead to the writer of the said episode to say...

    Tracy Tormé was so disappointed in how this episode turned out that he demanded his own name not be used in the credits, so now the episode is written by Keith Mills. Kind of an appropriate course of action when the name Keith Mills only has one writing credit.... ever.

    And who do we have to thank for this re-write? I'll give you a hint. The worst of his Star Trek contributions this season is yet to come.
     
  4. Zippo and Flask

    Zippo and Flask Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I'm not sure where you get the over a thousand pages figure for Wiles' proof, as this is not accurate. The proof credited to Wiles (and a co-author) was published across two papers, "Modular elliptic curves and Fermat's Last Theorem" which is 109 pages and "Ring theoretic properties of certain Hecke algebras" which is 20 pages, for a total of 129 pages.

    Furthermore, neither paper was written for the purpose of attempting to provide a direct proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. The papers were written to provide a rigorous closed-form proof to previous conjectures which had, up until then, been supported only through numerical methods. One of the consequences of the proof was its application to solving Fermat's Last Theorem. So, solving FLT was only a small (albeit very interesting and noteworthy) component of the papers.

    I would also say it's a mischaracterization to state that the proof doesn't provide an understanding of the "why" involved. If the proof is valid, which it is, then both the how and the why have been rigorously and exhaustively explained. Granted the mathematics involved is not trivial, but I think it is unfair to characterize something as "unsatisfying" or incomplete simply because it is not easily accessible. Many things in science, mathematics, and everyday life are well-understood, despite being incredibly complicated to express in a closed form.

    On another note, one of my nit-picks about the episode is the gambling scenes. It is obvious the production team did not consult a casino/gaming expert in how to stage them. The dealing techniques, card handling, payouts, etc. were all very amateurish. Some of the wagers were illegal or nonsensical. And some of Data's strategy advice when it comes to blackjack was incorrect when it comes to maximizing the expected value of the hand. Surely a walking computer could calculate basic probabilities better than he did!

    But this episode will always hold a nostalgic place in my heart because it is the very first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that I ever saw.
     
  5. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    So we're suppose to dislike the episode because Tracey Torme dislikes it? There's more to any given episode than the words on the page.

    Is The Royale a perfect episode? No. Is it entertaining? Yes.
     
  6. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    No. Just saying that giving the writer credit for something he didn't do is kind of silly. And if you think giving credit to Maurice Hurley for rewriting it is a good idea, know that he loathes the very next episode for the exact same reasons this episode doesn't work.

    So if you enjoy it, good. Even I called it watchable.

    As a general principle, nothing is perfect. But in terms of entertainment? Sure. I do find it funny how the director thought that having numerous scenes of our characters walking around confused would be entertaining.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So a centuries-old, presumably self-looping pulp casino on a hellish planet in the middle of nowhere, catering to the needs and comfort of a long-dead man who was horribly miserable in the later part of his life, isn't strange or surreal? :confused:

    Look, I'm all for thinking outside the box, and doing occasional goofy eps like "Qpid" and even "A Night in Sickbay", but if "The Royale" isn't "surreal" or "strange" by Trek standards... :borg:
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    What's there to wonder? Obviously, the writer(s) have poor judgement.

    It's just that we differ on the exact stage of the process where they demonstrate that. ;)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    That's an understatement for our good friend Maurice.
     
  10. JessDD

    JessDD Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Excellent point.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2013
  11. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Except if you were to apply the same logic with what went on with the aliens in this episode, it's picking up a worm off a street and putting it in a can of dirt and leaving it inside of a dark and freezing meat locker. There's help, and than there's that. Even as a kid still in his single digits I knew that a worm's place was in the dirt.
     
  12. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe they're going fishing.
     
  13. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    When Data is rolling his 19 straight passes he looks like he's having a lot of fun. Is he really enjoying himself or putting on an act?
     
  14. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    If he's enjoying himself, he knows how to act like a human.
    If he's putting on an act, he understands what he's doing enough to act like a human.

    However you spin it, Data has successfully become more human, but it will never be brought up again after this episode. Why? Well, like many questions this episode brings up, it's never answered.
     
  15. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    I just want to know which states are 51 and 52? :guffaw:
     
  16. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    One of those episodes where I can see and agree with every flaw but the childhood nostalgia is enough to carry me through it and I wind up enjoying it with a goofy grin on my face. Mainly because, despite the inherent stupidity of the situation there's enough good, albeit very silly, lines to keep it fun as well.

    A pity that this (with Manhunt as well IIRC) drove Trome away from the series, he had a nice ear for comedy the show would perhapds lack in later years. Though the set up of this and the Big Goodbye suggest he perhaps wasn't that interested in the regular format for Star Trek.

    A sign of how pissed he was at some of the people he worked with on the show is there's a minor recurring character in early Sliders who is a complete dick called Hurley who (according to the DVD commentary on the pilot) is named in honour of someone we all name and love that he considered had a similar personality.
     
  17. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Royale is one of the best comedy episodes in the series IMO.

    Yeah they messed up the science. But who cares? It's Star Trek. Most of the science is made up and nobody seems to complain that in NuTrek, creating a black hole increased the gravity at a fixed radius from the center of the planet without increasing the mass. (Unless that red bubbly stuff weighed about ten times the mass of Vulcan! Black holes are not magic supergravity damn it! They're just so dense that you can get magnitudes closer to the center of gravity than you can for normal objects!)

    I don't think the aliens' decision is that much of a stretch, by comedy episode standards. No more ridiculous, at least, than Samaritan Snare, which is forgiven because it is also a comedy episode.
     
  18. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We all know that only The Royale and Star Trek 2009 have bad science in the Star Trek franchise. :rofl:
     
  19. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Heck, Voyager escaped a black hole by using the ship's weapons to punch a hole in the event horizon. Star Trek has long since left behind the days when most of the fans actually cared about science.
     
  20. JessDD

    JessDD Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I don't think they realized that's what they were doing. They found Richey with a personal possession which contained a story. Obviously this book had personal importance to him, otherwise he wouldn't be carrying it with him.

    So they extrapolated that the story in the book may have been some sort of personal desire for him. They created the environment, and put him in it. For all they knew, they were putting him in a good place.