Episode of the Week: 2x15 "Pen Pals"

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by Jeyl, May 6, 2013.

  1. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    While we the audience appreciate the PD discussion...the idea of the senior staff having to have it is ludicrous. PRIME Directive. They probably take 40 hours of this in the Academy.
     
  2. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The main problem for the people of that planet was that the usual deflector operator died without instructing his replacement in the operation of the deflector.

    Spock spoke of a teaching or instructional mechanism in the deflector control room.

    The solution is fairly obvious.

    :)
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2013
  3. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Some would say that treating something of importance like the Prime Directive as an absolute rule is a bad idea. One big reason is that the Prime Directive is not some principle established by some perfect entity that knows everything and does all the right things. It was created by flawed, ignorant people. If you follow something that's created by such flawed people and use ignorance as a basis for your judgement (we don't know what the consequences will be), it's likely to result in flawed outcomes.

    Even Picard acknowledges this in a season one episode "Justice".

    It's a good speech, but one that no one, including himself would look back on.
     
  4. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    How many times have Kirk and Picard broken the PD and have never be punished for it? I consider it more of a suggestion than an absolute law.
     
  5. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    "Who are you?"
    Or, maybe the writers really did consult the writers guide:

     
  6. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I meant after the fact.
     
  7. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This is the episode I (unfairly) remembered as "the one I had to fast-forward through on the VHS to get to the good one". I wish I had given it more credit as it's very good.

    This is exactly what I thought on seeing that scene. how can Riker just dismiss Worf's input so easily. He later tells Wesley that command doesn't get any easier, it certainly doesn't if you treat your fellow professional's in this manner!

    Good Wesley development that didn't make me want to gouge out my eyes.

    One thing no-one appears to have pointed out in that "Prime Directive Meeting" is Picards strange line - "in a situation like this, we have to be cautious. What we do today, may profoundly affect the future. If we could see every possible outcome...". He's the Captain of a bloody starship and is probably changing the future on a daily basis. Is he this unsure about every command decision? Hardly the attitude you expect in a leader.

    I love the scene with Riker, O'Brien and Data in the transporter room
    "O'Brien, take a nap. You didn't see any of this. You're not involved."
    "Right, sir. I'll just be standing over here dozing off."
     
  8. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I didn't mention it, because it is precisely the textbook justification for the Prime Directive. I thought that was self-evident.

    Consider TOS: A Piece of the Action. One instance of cultural contamination, in the form of a single book, radically altered the development of the Iotians, in a way that was totally surprising to Kirk, Spock, and McCoy:

    Picard would have been taught this at the academy; in that context his statement there is perfectly reasonable, as a reflection of his training.
     
  9. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Than how come other Starfleet characters treat it like it's an absolute? When Janeway and Paris travelled back in time on a planet that was about to be completely destroyed with it's entire population, Tom has the idea of warning them which leads to this exchange.

    Janeway's stance on the Prime Directive certainly doesn't treat it like a "suggestion". She tells Paris that he doesn't know what the consequences would be if they got involved, and he refutes it by stating that if they do nothing, the entire planet (including themselves) would be destroyed. Instead of actually contemplating that notion, she instead enforcers her stance by just pulling rank. She doesn't use reason, she uses rank.
     
  10. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    Funny, she should have been the captain most likely to bend the rules since she was so far away from Federation space.

    "Q Who?" time!
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Bits and pieces:

    And Kirk and Spock should realize that this will happen again. It's a very probable failure mode in a system that is absolutely dependent on this failure never taking place.

    Besides, the heroes knew nothing about this when they launched on their fool's errand.

    And others might say that the PD is such a complex system of regulations that even when taken absolutely, it hinges on careful consideration, cross-referencing and establishing of relevant parameters and variables. You start with the default position of no interference whatsoever, and then work from that towards the solution that will add interference as prescribed.

    A computer might go through the parameters and spit out the solution that Picard must follow. But Starfleet probably believes Picard can do the job more or less equally well, and it feels better to have a man in the loop, so the computerized approach is shunned.

    After the fact, the civilization will have worked out new things all on their own - or learned that they will never have to work out anything on their own again, because space aliens are there to do it all for them. The former approach doesn't seem too disadvantageous to me...

    Why not, if he knows the answer to Worf's question? He's the XO - he is at the center of things, receiving more, and more varied, reports than the Chief of Security. Surely he would have the authority to declare "this is geology" when the Geology Department tells him so!

    He isn't even hurting Worf's feelings. The Klingon is probably more hurt because Riker didn't properly punch him in the face and kick him in the groin while delivering the negative feedback!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    That hardly gives Riker good cause to brush off Worf's speculation since, as you put it, Riker knows but the rest of the crew doesn't. Plus, what Riker says just after declaring this to be all about Geology is just stupid. Here's his refutal.

    If Riker and the Geology Department don't know why these planets are dying, how do they know with certainty that the cause is a geological phenomenon and not malevolence? Wouldn't a better response be something like this?

    With this, Riker fills Worf in on what he knows without coming off as condescending. And without making the conclusion that this is in fact a geological phenomenon, he's not outright dismissing the possibility that a malevolent force may be involved.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Riker has every right to be condescending to his underlings! He's the boss. Also, by this point, he's quite familiar with the Worf (née Tasha) routine of suggesting a needlessly violent scenario, and needs to nip it in the bud.

    Fundamentally, I'm far from convinced that a "why?" indicates Riker would be off base here. Even after completely ruling out foul play, the Geology Department would have a thousand "whys" left. Conversely, even if the events were simple geology by all known standards, there's no way to rule out that it was all set up by a mischievous god, from the divine family that likes to insert fake fossils on the planets it creates and holy messages in randomly selected oil stains and backward-played LP records. It's about percentages and practicalities, and Riker would be in a position to say "The chances of foul play are so low that using this sentence for saying so is a waste of breath", so he doesn't.

    It's fruitful communication at its best: Riker puts his underling on the right track with an injection of useful information and eliminates slack from his research machine.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Very probable? How often do asteroid impacts happen on this world?

    I get the feeling you didn't read my original post very well.

    These are the consequences of hiding the truth about the Enterprise's involvement. Do you really think that letting them know the truth will screw them up more than misleading them in this way?
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Judging by the dialogue from our heroes ("Meadows and not meteor craters?!") and our guest stars ("Our skies have darkened three times since the harvest"), apparently every few months...

    That is, they would happen every few months if not for the deflector. And the operator dying before educating his successor doesn't immediately mean that the next three asteroids would all crash through; apparently, the Medicine Man only needs to maintain the device, and lack of maintenance eventually allows an asteroid to hit the planet.

    Oh, absolutely. Misguided theories come and go; contact with space aliens remains regardless of whether one believes in it or not.

    Say, what if something like upper atmosphere ozone depletion here on Earth really were the doing of some alien species, and we completely misunderstood it? Our countermeasures have helped fight and perhaps even defeat the depletion, but the impact of this on human affairs in general has been virtually zero. Really, the extinction of the cuddly Tasmanian Devil is probably way more significant in terms of "promoting eco-thinking" or whatnot. If, however, the truth about alien intervention were revealed, Earth would be forever changed in ways nothing but the very extinction of our species could rival.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Only a very poor boss is condescending to people he calls "underlings". A good boss will listen to his staff and if he has the time (which Riker had in abundance), he may choose to share his reasoning to further enhance the trust they have in him.
     
  17. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I always fanwanked that as "Picard would have let almost anyone else die, but since he was responsible (? was he?) for Beverly's husbands death...he wasn't going to let her son die."

    And re: Janeway and the PD, I hated that the one time she was willing to bend the PD (some Kazon ep) It all blew up in their faces and she got to say "See! SEE!!!"
     
  18. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    How many times has Kirk violated the PD?
     
  19. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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  20. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    Will be Celebrating Spocktoberfest this year!