Episode of the Week: 3x14 "A Matter of Perspective"

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by Jeyl, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Yep. Two episodes in a row where the episode's teaser features a naked person with only one single butt cheek showing and one of the main characters giving us a meme worthy face palm. Since this episode takes place after Deja Q, I wonder if Picard insisted on a naked woman to cleanse the memory of seeing Q naked on the bridge.

    *clears throat*

    Our episode opens with another clone of the orbital office complex where Riker and LaForge are meeting with a Doctor Apgar. When Riker very insistently asks to be beamed back to the Enterprise, the station explodes in a giant fireball! O'Brien manages to get Riker back onto the Enterprise before he was fully engulfed in the explosion, to which Riker is surprised that when he gets back that the station just exploded.

    Thus begins our trial episode of TNG where Riker is accused of murdering the good doctor Apgar and destroying the priceless model of the orbiting space office from TMP. Just kidding, it's just the murder. It turns out that our "Happy to flirt with any alien woman" Riker just somehow managed to get Apgar jealous when he started to have some alone time with Apgar's wife. What follows is one of the goofiest trials where the witnesses describe what they remember and it's recreated on the holodeck. Oh, yes. We get to see all sorts of depictions of the same event, and it's anything but dramatic. You would think that having Troi on the scene would help move things along by having her along would make things easier, but they don't. Forget about stating the obvious, she actually upfront says "It is the truth as each of you remembers it." I'm starting to think that the writers are just coming up with ways on making her more useless.

    The most memorable moment of the trial is when Agpar catches Riker and his wife having an intimate moment. The depictions goes from Apgar not being able to punch Riker and falling on the floor, Apgar getting punched in the stomach twice by Riker and than finally Apgar actually managing to beat the snot out of Riker with Riker shouting that Apgar is a dead man. The newly restored HD version of this episode makes the shot of Riker punching Apgar all the more hilarious because now we can clearly tell that it's not only a stunt guy playing Apgar, it's also a stunt guy playing Riker. It's astounding.

    We also get a funny scene where the prosecutors show Riker doing a quick 180º turn with his phaser drawn and shoots Apgar's experiment right as he's beaming away. Problem is that when we saw Riker beam back onto the Enterprise, he wasn't even holding his phaser. Does Riker or anyone bring up this little fact? Of course not. No one brings up the fact that Riker didn't even have his phaser out when he rematerialized back onto the Enterprise, or check the phaser if it had actually been fired. They just sit there like they just witnessed the most damning piece of evidence that might actually convict him.

    In the end, it turns out Apgar wanted to kill Riker the moment he started to beam out by using his experiment to shoot a beam of death at him. It reflects back on itself and thus everyone concludes that this is the cause of the explosion. The end.

    CONCLUSION:
    This episode is a great one and for all the wrong reasons. It's one of those rare TNG episodes that fits into the "So Bad it's Good" categories of entertainment due to the silly acting, silly make up and even sillier re-enactments of supposed events. It's not every day that you get to see poorly acted characters watch themselves acting poorly and acknowledging it. One last thing to note is that this is the last whole episode where the universe is still 'normal'. I'm so excited.

    STINGER:
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  2. Use of Time

    Use of Time Commodore Commodore

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    This episode is great. That scene where Apgar beats the shit of Riker is hilarious. Another cringe worthy scene is the one where "rapey" Riker slides the shoulder off of that woman's dress in what is an uncomfortable attempt at getting her to sleep with him. It is just such an awful scene.
     
  3. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What made me upset in this episode were the looks Riker was getting from the crew, most of them honestly acted like he was really guilty. Picard and Troi were the only ones who stuck by him!
     
  4. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This is nothing but a space opera version of the classic Japanese film "Rashomon" where the nature of truth is explored in ways that are engrossing and unsettling as opposed to silly here. In Rashomon, a couple of ordinary guys who witnessed a murder trial where the defendant (Toshiro Mifune), his lover(?) and her murdered (?) husband all have such differing versions of what happened that they can't be reconciled. In the original, a medium contacts the dead man after the judge hears the man and woman tell such different tales that he figures the only one with nothing to gain and no reason to lie is the dead man. That goes up in smoke when the dead man, speaking through the medium, tells a third version of the incident. Rashomon was a classic and even has given rise to what's called the "The Rashomon Effect". If you can find the original "Rashomon" pop it into your DVD and watch one of the great classics of 20th Century Cinema. If you stumble across "A Matter of Perspective" prepare for an hour's worth of mediocre, disposable distraction.
     
  5. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, this was an interesting episode. Just all the different views. Rape Riker was creepy and Rambo Apgar was hilarious. For some reason that scene where Riker fires the phaser as he beams out struck me as cool also.
     
  6. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    I like this one. It's fun to watch.
     
  7. Makarov

    Makarov Captain Captain

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    I actually think it's good, rather than so bad it's good. The plot is a nice rashomon story that uses the holodeck in one of the best ways we've seen it.

    It also shows a self awareness towards Riker's over the top flirting with everyone. Finally it blows up in his face and the crew probably doesn't know who to believe. I also like how what really went down isn't 100% explained.

    I'd put it on my list of favorite Riker episodes
     
  8. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have to agree with what the reviewer for Cinefantastique said ages ago...this one feels like a leftover from Season 2.

    FWIW, I always got the impression that Riker's POV wasn't completely reliable. He seemed to come off as a little too chaste in his version of events.

    Indeed, having recently rewatched seasons 4 and 5, one thing that leapt out at me was how they'd make the lamest excuses in exactly the situations where Troi should have been most useful. Somebody's out and out lying / pulling a con? "He's very focused" or "His mind is closed".... :rolleyes:
     
  9. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, she's an Empath not a Telepath. She can't read minds, just moods. If someone has good self-control over their feelings then her powers would be neutralized.
     
  10. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Riker may have a bit of a roving eye but I don't see him resorting to flat-out rape, like Mrs. Apgar accused him of. She must have been lying, probably to protect her husband's reputation.
     
  11. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^I didn't say that her account was reliable. The truth was probably somewhere in between the two extremes...he probably was flirting and things went too far.

    Everyone's account was unreliable...even Riker's.

    At the very least, empathy should be as good as a polygraph. What they're basically saying in situations like that is that she can only read obvious emotions...just like anybody else.
     
  12. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This is one of my favorite season 3 episodes. Watching the same scenes over again with differences was neat. I enjoy Kurosawa, so a Rashomon ripoff was welcomed by me.

    Frakes' sleight of hand routine with the phaser prop was neat, but why was it necessary? Why wasn't there just a phaser clipped to his belt to begin with? The investigator thinks that not only did Riker have and use a phaser, but he also had it in his hand all along, and only pretended to unholster it?

    Another thought - if Apgar's wife was totally making up her side of the story about Riker going too far, doesn't it seem odd that an alien would drop a Rapunzel reference? Either the writers missed it, or Riker isn't as innocent as he would have us believe.

    "YOU'RE A DEAD MAN, APGAR! A DEAD MAN!" That's always good for a laugh.

    Another top notch score by Ron Jones as well.
     
  13. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I was going to bring this up. Could Frakes not throw a simple punch? :lol:

    On the subject of the HD transfer - were they unable to find a few seconds in this episode? The bit where Riker gets up and circles the facsimilie of himself looks suspiciously SD.

    It's like you're reading my mind.

    Do you not believe that Sela is present during the events of this and previous episodes?.. That the timeline as is, is the one reset to after the events of Yesterdays Enterprise?
     
  14. Strange Citizen

    Strange Citizen Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    An interesting episode. Underrated, methinks. Also, I think that the three "interpretations" of what happened between Riker, Mrs. Apgar and Mr. Apgar are all very amusing, disturbing and bizarre...at the same time, in their own unique ways.

    First off: Riker's interpretation. Is it believable that he would simply turn her down politely, like a true gentleman would under the same circumstances (that she's married)? Personally, I would say it's certainly possible. However, doesn't Riker seem a little too, well, 'innocent of guilt' in his interpretation? It's interesting...but then again, all three versions are so over the top that it's ridiculous, and this leads me to believe that, as Troi said, stupid as it might have sounded: "It is the truth as each of you remembers it". This must have been pretty much accurate because, let's just look at all three:

    1. Mrs. Apgar comes on to Riker aggressively and seductively. He turns her down. Mr. Apgar barges in, attempts to punch Riker and falls on the floor. Seriously...that is what happened?

    2. Riker comes on to Mrs. Apgar aggressively and even tries to remove her dress...forcibly! And then Mr. Apgar enters, tries to defend his wife and Riker punches him in the stomach and gloats...evilly? :lol: I think not! That simply isn't the Riker we know, no matter how much of an eye for the ladies he may have. In fact, it's important to mention that having an eye for the ladies does not in any way make someone necessarily a pervert or an attempted rapist.

    3. Riker and Mrs. Apgar are making out and possibly about to do the nasty as well, although we don't know for sure. Mr. Apgar barges in, accuses both of them and then beats up Riker, leading to "You're a dead man, Apgar! A dead man!" :guffaw: Again, my response is... :wtf:

    Did any of these really happen exactly as was remembered? We already know that Riker would never have attempted to assault Mrs. Apgar, so the second one is a no-no. I also can't imagine Riker getting it on with Mrs. Apgar and then also getting annoyed enough at being punched by Mr. Apgar to yell the hilariously over the top "dead man!" line...what's the chances of that actually having happened?

    From that perspective, the first option seems the most likely. Riker doesn't usually seem like quite as much of a perfect gentleman as he portrays himself here, and Mrs. Apgar does seem unrealistically sexually aggressive considering how her character is portrayed in the trial scenes. Then again, that could just be Riker's recollection being a little faulty. So what really happened?

    It's also interesting that the question of 'which interpretation is actually the truth', or at least 'which interpretation is closest to the truth' is never fully answered. What really did happen in that room? Any ideas? It doesn't make sense that none of them were really right, and why would Mrs. Apgar have tried to seduce Riker and then lied about it and ended up believing, however incorrectly, that Riker attempted to assault her? It's pretty absurd, isn't it? That part of the plot didn't make any real sense to me. The third option was even more ridiculous. If anyone has any thoughts on what might have actually happened and why everyone remembered things incorrectly (presumably), I think it'd be worth talking about. :)
     
  15. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    I'll go into depth more in next week's episode, but from my point of view Sela currently does not exist. I know this introduces some plot holes like how the Enterprice C would go through the rift if everything was as it should be. The moment the Enterprice C goes through the rift, it not only alters history, we actually get to see the present change as a result. No "alternate reality" here. So I see "A Matter of Perspective" (How appropriate) as the last episode that's set in the lass Sela-less universe.
     
  16. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    It's a mixed bag when it comes to what her powers can really do. She's able to communicate to Riker's mind in the pilot and with her mother numerous times. Even that one Betazoid stated that Ferengi have "minds we can't read".

    I think when the creators gave Troi these powers for the purpose of making her useful in a unique way, they realized that having such such a useful ability would render most situations resolved. So after the pilot episode, her powers were toned down significantly and any situation that the writers didn't want resolved, they just threw in some techbabble like jargon that renders her powers useless.
     
  17. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Reminds of one of the pre-production memos from "The Making of Star Trek": originally GR proposed that landing parties have some sort of combadge that would allow them to remotely trigger the transporter when the shit hit the fan. To paraphrase one of the responders: you take the hazard out of the situation and you take the fun out!

    I see the same problem with Q.
     
  18. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This last version is second hand. It’s not what was remembered by an eyewitness to the event, but what Tayna remembers being told by Apgar.
     
  19. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Dr. Apgar's "testimony" reeks of embarrassment and cuckoldry. He exaggerates just how far Riker and his wife went, and then embellishes his response to Riker, knocking him to the ground (yeah right) as if it were a kid fantasizing about beating a bully. Riker and the wife come off as horny children, and Apgar comes off like a guy who's not taking this crap. His version of Riker went down faster and easier than Worf. Nah.

    One other thing - if Riker says the wife invited him to stay onboard, but the wife says Riker demanded to stay aboard, what did Geordi hear? He was there too, but his version of events don't seem to be used here.

    What I think happened - Riker and the wife exchanged subtle glances back and forth, which Apgar picked up on. The wife invited Riker to stay aboard, and things got a little cozy in the quarters. They kiss. Apgar barges in, grabs his wife, Riker intervenes, and Apgar ends up on the floor. Riker tries to defuse it, but to no avail. The wife is in denial about the whole thing, because that's not something a respectable woman does.
     
  20. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Most likely it didn't strike him as significant at the time, and afterwards he couldn't remember who had first suggested it.
     

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