Episode of the Week: 2x21 "Peak Performance"

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Jeyl, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    [​IMG]
    Memory Alpha Entry
    Chrissie's Transcript

    This episode, despite the glaring attempt at making Wesley the clever one again, is a lot of fun. I know it's cliché elements bring it down hard, but the premise is well thought out and the execution is moderately done. splitting the crew up into teams and having them work against each other with two different ships is something that TNG really needed at this point.

    Our episode opens with the appearance of Sirna Kolrami walking through the bridge to the conference room while giving everyone a judgmental look. Sirna is played by the late Roy Brocksmith, who many will probably remember from Total Recall. He's brought in to help the Enterprise and it's crew better prepare for the potential Borg threat (Continuity! YES!). Unfortunately where this episode gets predictable is how Sirna and his race are described as being total geniuses when it comes to strategy and tactics. Anyone care to guess how this bit of information is going to payoff?

    And I know I harp on Wesley a lot, but I think this episode out of all the other episodes is where the "Mary Sue" enters the "text book" example on how Wesley is the idolized character to the real main characters. Wesley does something clever, and when Riker sees how they're going to have an advantage, he calls the whole thing "brilliant". Grr!

    I also have to make a bit of a correction I made in an earlier episode review. I made the point that the Ferengi were such failures that I stated that they weren't shown in Season 2 at all. My apologies for forgetting about their appearance here. Not that the Ferengi being in this episode redeems it, but it's always good to see future DS9 regular Armin Shimerman. Funny how he goes through two different Ferengi characters before settling in with Quark.

    So our episode ends with a goofy game with Data playing against Sirna that ends as well as you might expect. Data victorious and giving out a catch phrase.

    CONCLUSION: The good parts certainly outweigh the bad parts in this one, and thankfully the good parts can be a lot of fun. Seeing newly created effects is nice because everything we've seen previously has either been stock footage with little to no newly created footage. It's nice seeing the crew preparing themselves for a possible Borg invasion while at the same time seeming to have fun with it. A stark contrast to what the real invasion will actually bring.

    STINGER:
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  2. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    "What's the Zakdorn word for mis-match?"
    "Challenge."

    I love this one, this should have been the season finalé. Brocksmith is excellent. It is also something of a prequel to BOBW with Captain Riker facing off against an unbeatable enemy.

    One thing I spotted in HD. In Worf's quater's there is a picture of the moon on the wall, could the colourful patches on it represent Tycho City?
     
  3. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    I confess, watching Data beaten was an interesting experience. It showed that he wasn't perfect.
     
  4. Trek Survivor

    Trek Survivor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Another great season 2 episode.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Of course, the fun thing is that Data doesn't really win - and that nevertheless he has obviously carefully studied this very stereotype, and educated himself to play the role, however reluctantly, to the hilt. ;) The very fact that it's predictable is funny because it's completely uncharacteristic of Data, yet at the same time what one should always expect of Data.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Not saying it was a bad moment. I do like moments where Data can act like this. Unfortunately there are other predictable elements that span the series that I'm a little less forgiving of. This moment was a pretty emotional scene for everyone involved, including Data, and whenever a future episode brings up the fact that Data has no emotions, moments like this are never brought up because Data will be depicted as being incapable of doing that very thing.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Dunno about that... Data is always capable of emoting, in the sense of playing a role. He fakes it with the best of them in, say, "In Theory". He might draw a really sharp line between emoting and having genuine emotions for this very reason: he knows he can fool anybody, but he has his own obscure criteria for what "genuine" emotions should feel like, and he can't be convinced he's meeting those criteria.

    OTOH, there are moments where Data is deeply upset, particularly whenever his pal Geordi is in jeopardy. But in those cases, it would be natural for any character to act emotionless - the more so, the more deeply the character feels (c.f. Spock and other Vulcans).

    I thus can't quite agree that Data ever gets depicted as being incapable of doing what he does here - emoting as per stereotype - because he actually does that quite a lot. And I don't think this is a particularly good basis for arguing that Data's emotion issues are unconvincingly portrayed.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I never understood how that game works. If it was a game of chance, then Data had as many chances to win as anyone else could. If it was a strategy game where there was an element of chance anywhere along the line, then it didn't matter if Data played the game perfectly, he could still have lost, and it wouldn't have been computer error.

    If the game was strictly a mathematically rigid battle of strategy, without any chance involved in the game, then Data failing to win both time, is in fact a computer error, and makes his hardware or programming faulty somewhere along the line.
     
  9. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Than how was this exchange even possible if he cannot convince himself that his deep emotions are genuine?

    He seems pretty convinced to me, unlike later in Season 3,

    Some writers give Data genuine emotion, some writers say he never had them. Some writers say he is capable of feeling deep emotions towards someone special on his own, others say he needs an emotion chip in order to experience those emotions.
     
  10. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    I got the impression it was the starship equivalent to Risk. Not quite mathmatically perfect as Chess and requiring a great deal more judging your opponent's decisions and how to deal with them.

    Which, having no emotions, Data would SUCK at.
     
  11. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed this would have been a much stronger season finalé rather than "Shades of Grey" wwhich has to rank as one of TNG's worst and perhaps as one the entrie franchises worst.
     
  12. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I love this episode. My #2 of the season behind Q Who. Ignoring the clip show, it's quite the strong conclusion. Good episode for Riker, Worf, and Data. Wesley was a git with his cheating though. :lol:

    It was nice seeing the Constellation-class model again. I love the kitbash history behind it. It has parts from Enterprise, Gundam and Battleship Yamato models. I wish they used that model more often. I think it was used a total of 4 times in TNG. I saw the model at a recent Star Trek exhibit, and the Hathaway name is still visible underneath the Valkyrie (an injoke) name it has now.

    I like the two Strategema games. The ultimate conclusion is a nice parallel to Wargames - "the only winning move is not to play." In this case, the way to "win" is not to play to win.