Episode of the Week: 3x09 "The Vengeance Factor

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by Jeyl, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]*Chrissie's site is down*

    *Sigh*
    Here we go.

    "The Vengeance Factor" is another one of those episodes that has a large "b-plot" dedicated to a female guest star. This means the episode will usually follow one of the following three criteria.

    1. She develops a relationship with the male character, but it won't work because she's merely a one-shot character.
    2. She does something that is bad and everyone is disappointed that she ended up being a bad person.
    3. She dies, the male character(s) feel bad and after the episode is promptly forgotten.​

    Sure, this list may seem like exceptions to a lot of episodes, but after finishing Season 4 on BluRay, this kind of crap happens a lot. There really are three general conclusions that almost every episode that features a prominent female guest star ends with. Why I bring this up now instead of episodes that have done this before is because this is the first instance where an episode meets ALL THREE CRITERIA! She has a relationship with one of the male characters, she ends up being a bad person, and she dies. What makes this kind of thing irksome is not because it happens mostly to the female guest stars, but because they're written in such a way that they usually have more chemistry and depth to their character than any of the main female stars of the show. I actually kind of liked Yuta/Riker relationship a lot more than Riker/Troi's relationship because Riker actually sounds like he cares about how she feels about herself. What does freedom mean to you? Are you happy with your position? It's a character growth that is seldom ever touched upon with the main female characters. But like Rick Berman to Ron Jones, we don't want things that are actually nice and unique.

    The episode itself is, well. It's like they took the bad guys from Mad Max and every socially perfect civilization and decided they must co-exist with each other. Picard does his usual "lecturing" to the two races since only humanity is allowed to think of a peaceful solution and we get to a meeting where the two are about to seal the deal. Only problem is that a servant named Yuta wants a clan from one of the waste land baddies dead because they did bad things to her clan years ago. Since Yuta and Riker have been developing feelings for one another, this obviously means that Riker must kill her before she kills the Chorgan. This leads to a scene that is so face palmingly typical of TNG that I'm surprised it hit me the way it did. It's just lazy. Was there really no other alternative to stopping Yuta while she was heading towards Corgan? No transporter, no harmful setting aimed at her legs? No continuous stun to the head? How about getting in between Yuta and Corgan? And Picard, why are you just sitting there doing nothing? Aren't you supposed to be Mr. "Violence is not the way. We MUST SEEK PEACE!"? You spend most of the time lecturing to aliens who aren't open to peaceful talks when you think they should be, but when one of your own crewman vaporizes one of the aliens that you're trying to bring a peaceful resolution to, you just sit there watching like it's none of your business. You're a real man of action Picard.

    CONCLUSION:
    A rather boring, confusing and overall predictable episode that seems to limp towards it's conclusion in the most apathetic way possible. I think I should start a new category for female characters who fit into one of those conclusions I've listed above and call it "Bites the Dust". Because like the Queen song of the same name, I do find the lyrics "And another one gone, and another one gone. Another one bites the dust." quite fitting given how much this crap happens.

    "Bites The Dust"
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    STINGER:
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    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  2. Makarov

    Makarov Captain Captain

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    I think Picard just sitting there while she gets vaporized was due to a special effect which required it, but yeah that scene is strange. You'd think the phaser would have a setting that knocks you severely unconscious rather than instant vaporization. Or, you know, just keep firing stun shots until she stops getting up.

    Also think to myself, "why didn't he just tackle her after stunning?" Maybe the poison was so deadly he couldn't risk it but it still strikes me as an odd moment.

    This episode reminds me a lot of "Legacy", but that one is more memorable to me because of Riker's conversation with Data about betrayal.
     
  3. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    I usually try to forget about this episode, but it's great to see Nancy Parsons outside the Coach Balbricker character from the Porky's movies.
     
  4. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Oh gosh, that scene with Wesley. Look at the smugness.

    I think that scene was for an enlightened human to put him in his place, but Wesley just comes off as naive.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I don't fault Riker for seeking the long-term solution here, considering the problem itself is extremely long-term. "Stopping" Yuta is a lifelong endeavor, not a mere matter of preventing her latest attempt at killing. And the worst part of it is, "lifelong" is defined in her terms. She just. Won't. Stop. Not until all her designated victims are dead, or she is.

    The rant about Yuta being a less than endearing portrayal of a woman sounds awfully hollow, too, considering that her being a woman is not a plot point at all. She could and would be all she is if she were a he, too (although it would probably help if she were the sort of he that dirty old men enjoy having really close to them).

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    I didn't say she was less endearing because she was a woman. I was kind of saying the exact opposite actually. When you have a female guest star who interacts with the main characters, have one on one dialogue scenes with them and figure more into the story than the other female characters, they wind up being more interesting than the main cast even though they're only here for one single story/episode.

    The reason I specifically rant about guest star characters in TNG is because they tend to always be on the receiving end of the story, which usually serves to benefit the male dominant cast. Again, it's an issue I have that spans across TNG, not just this episode.
     
  7. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    One that I like.

    Plus, Riker didn't really have a choice. What would they do with her if she survived? Put her on a penal colony for centuries? I chalk it up as a mercy killing. The end of the Lornak clan is what defined her and would continue to define her until they were all dead.
     
  8. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What need to imprison her for centuries? Lock her up for the duration of a natural life span. Chorgan is the last of the Lornaks. He may yet reproduce, but as it stands now she would have no remaining targets by the time she's released.
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    So in addition to throwing the gal to jail for life, you condemn a bloodline to extinction as a safety precaution? :devil:

    There's no guarantee Yuta would ever stop being a murder machine even when running out of targets, mind you. If there were no pure Lornaks left, what would she strike at next?

    A more immediate concern would be that she would live in horrible agony for the next few hours, flinging herself against near-lethal phasers and forcefields and whatnot - and obviously, the already demonstrated inability to complete her mission would not be a factor there. When would that stop? When Chorgan was moved to safety? But Chorgan was already in safety, guaranteed by Riker's demonstrated firepower, when Yuta basically chose to commit suicide. Making her reverse that choice at a later date would seem to call for pretty extensive mind-wiping...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    I think the part about the blood line going extinct happened anyways, only more directly.
     
  11. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    I'm not going to get started on Riker killing Yuta.

    Not again...
     

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