First Contact

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by hux, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. hux

    hux Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Just watched this again and a few queries

    1 - Why is it called Malcor 3 (i always assumed numbers were added to a planets name to show it was a colonized planet and not the original but this species appears to have only just developed space travel....i mean it's like calling Earth.....Earth 4....seemed odd)

    2 - Why is Riker (the flagships second in command) given a reconnaissance mission. Does that make sense.....why is a ship of exploration given this responsibility....surely there are federation scientists with greater experience who are specifically trained for these first contact jobs.....why must the Enterprise cover all bases...makes it feel like Starfleet is a tiny organisation always reliant on the Enterprise for every possible mission

    3 - Doesn't banging an alien contradict the prime directive

    4 - Was anyone else slightly disappointed that the Malcorians (Malcorian threes?) were too humanoid in appearance. For me, it kinda diluted the whole idea of discovering there are other species out there. When Picard & Troi beam in, the scientist is supposed to be stunned at the truth of an alien race.....but they're basically the same except for a slightly less bumpy forehead.....hardly a terrifying realisation of not being alone in the universe......i know that making every species in every episode look wildly alien compared to humans is difficult but surely this episode deserved an alien species that were totally unlike humans....genuinely alien to make the profound point of not being alone in the universe.....maybe lizard type people or something

    Good episode overall
     
  2. trekker670

    trekker670 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    1) Probably the third planet in the Malcor star system. UPDATE: Memory-Alpha confirms this.

    3) The PD was already violated with his alien-nature being exposed. Plus, desperate times call for desperate measures...
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
  3. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    1) As above.
    2) Perhaps Riker had first contact experience, though this is never explicitly stated. Also it's my recollection that the E was always intended to be a somewhat general-purpose ship, and lord knows it has the crew capacity for such, so why not? The galaxy's a huge place, there are likely dozens of other ships doing the same types of missions, if not hundreds.
    3) As above.
    4) The realities of television show budgets. (shrug) Plus it's established in TNG that an ancient race seeded multiple planets to develop humanoid life forms.
     
  4. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Well another name for Earth would be Sol 3.

    Go back throughout human history and you'll find people who were called heretics for believing things like the Earth went around the sun, the Earth wasn't the centre of the universe etc... The situation on Malcor was somewhat similiar to that.
     
  5. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the main goal was precisely to show a society pretty close to a western country at the end of 20th century. Krola represents these people destabilized by this lot of fast technological changes. Riker is a kind of Roswell phenomenon.

    Little cute moral of the story: Being technologically able to make the next step doesn't mean you're ready to do it.
     
  6. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    For 2, besides the fact that on a TV show all important things must be done by the main characters, I would say that Riker was specially trained for this and you can't use a low ranking officer because of the sensitive nature of the mission.

    For 3 I think his reasoning was a smaller violation to prevent a larger violation. A woman who already knows he was an alien versus a culture that could be horribly affected by finding out there are aliens.

    For 4, see "The Chase". ;)
     
  7. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If 3 was really important, there would not be 2. ;)
     
  8. Mojochi

    Mojochi Commodore Commodore

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    1. Yeah, 3rd planet in the system

    2. Actually, being an exploration ship such as Enterprise was would almost by definition be a ship that's geared for 1st contact, as opposed to all the other stuff she ended up doing, like being fleet leader in Redemption, & her crew would be experts in dealing with Alien cultures, Hence why Riker is sent on the Mintakan mission, & the ship is sent to greet the Tamarians. That's there job

    3. It's no more an interference in the development of the culture than what had already been done really. That they had compatible sex organs is a bigger question imho

    4. Is it any more of a let down than the fact that the 1st encounter with intelligent alien life that Humans have is humans that look like tall elves? That's just Star Trek
     
  9. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A great number of the evolving civilizations in Star Trek are humanoids, almost human in appearance. As much as I would have liked a better explanation than The Chase (e.g. enslaved early hominids), it is the way the universe works. So if I am watching Star Trek, meeting another humanlike species is always exciting, because I've gotten used to the fact that that's how they look. And that's especially true when the story was about them meeting us. If anything, I felt they were too distant from humans for me to empathize with them as I was thinking of them as aliens, and I would have enjoyed it more with people looking like those from ENT: Civilization. As mentioned above, the time when we were meeting the aliens, then it would have been the right place to put someone more... distinct than the Vulcans.

    That being said, there could have been more first contact stories in place of some of the weaker episodes, and different looking species (as far as budget allowed it), would have been nice to see. I'd have liked it if First Contact was part of a mini non-continuous arc, involving two or three first contact stories, perhaps linked with the other interactions that didn't go well.
     
  10. Finn

    Finn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I always got the impression that these away missions are perks for the senior staff, while the ensigns have to scrub holodecks and plasma whatever.
     
  11. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Some of these people probably signed up for the away missions. Can you imagine visiting a strange new world, and having to sit in the bus waiting while the away team is out there checking it? It would suck if going up in rank stopped them from going out on the thrilling missions. Being on reconnaissance on a foreign world that is on its way to its first contact with aliens has to be the most awesome job that you can have in Starfleet, and I don't say that because of the men and women who would like to make alien love with you. If you can't use your rank to get the job, I'd rather stay in the lower ranks.

    By the way, Neil Armstrong should have sent Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon first, as the senior officer aboard the Eagle he should not have risked going out there on his own.
     
  12. hux

    hux Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    1 - I guess it makes sense if it's the third planet in the system but wouldn't most planets develop a name long before people know where they are in their system....didn't we call it Earth long before we knew anything about space...surely most planets would actually be called Earth or similar (ground, soil etc) in that cultures language....for example, in vulcan, does Vulcan mean earth...does Qo'noS mean earth?

    2 - It still seems odd to me that Starfleets flagship is dealing with first contact to this extent. I get that they might have an initial role but then surely others would take over. Like in Insurrection where the Ba'ku are being monitored by teams of scientists. That felt more convincing (admittedly it had a bigger budget)

    3 - What if he gets her pregnant?

    4 - The chase doesn't mean all species are humanoid. There are still countless aliens that are wildly different and non-humanoid...i just think it would have been nice to really see that..."you are not alone in the universe"...message hit home

    But you could still tell that story (and i agree that's what they're aiming for) with aliens that are totally and utterly alien in their physicality (highlighting that there truly are alien beings out there....as opposed to...there are Malcorians out there but with slightly less bumby heads and a few extra fingers)
     
  13. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    To be fair, they did have those very differently shaped hands.

    But yeah, do you want to make your entire episode CGI Probably not. Unless you want to explain to the producers that this is the greatest episode of the season and it's worth the budget.

    If Riker got her pregnant? Then there's be just one more in an army of halfbreed Rikers roaming around the galaxy. ;)
     
  14. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    I think a name like Malcor 3 makes more sense then a planet called Earth.

    I might really dislike Transformers 2, but it has one of the best lines ever:
    Earth? What kind of a name is that for a planet? Might as well name it planet Dirt!
     
  15. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's true, they could have made a little more effort to cheaply make aliens look less human. Give more pronounced and varied facial structures that look a little less beautiful to the human eye. More skin tones, so aliens don't look 90% caucasian. Aliens from another planet should look about as caucasian as pictures of Jesus should. More unusual appendages, differently placed orifices. I get that they want their teenage fan base to have wet dreams about the main cast, so fine, make the main cast human only with spots or something. But more of the aliens should look like monsters to humans, or at least not clearly just a bunch of white guys. And they certainly could have done that with similar makeup budget.
     
  16. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think they got the aliens just right: they were so similar in looks and intelligence (even in ethics when the Dr. refused to harm Riker because of his oath as a doctor. They really sucked me into believing they were going to take the easy way out and have them join the Federation. Instead, the great Enterprise and crew failed and had to walk away with a "don't call us, we'll call you".
     
  17. Hazel

    Hazel Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I have no idea why I thought this, but my memory of the scene with Riker and the alien woman was that he fooled her into thinking a handshake was the way his species had sex. Reading the synopsis now, there's nothing to indicate that at all though! Am now confused :(
     
  18. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It sucks that in the end, the close-minded conservative fellow won, and everyone followed him. This is not a critique of the episode. But I would have liked a follow-up episode a season later, where the conservative path would have backfired. The public realises that the evidence adds up to an actual alien visitation – which is deliberately contrasted with fake UFO sightings on Earth, realise that there is an actual cover-up, and demand their government to be transparent about them and give them the choice about continuing the contact.

    Then the actual post-first contact world could have been explored, as it is an interesting (and probably difficult) theme, including opposition to joining the Federation and things like that.

    Of course, since it was a one-off episode without any prelude in previous ones and not even a mention of this type of missions earlier in TNG, it might not have worked. But neither did some of the episodes we actually got. :)
     
  19. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In Who Watches The Watchers, they're helping a similar monitoring team.

    Picard has clearly enough diplomatic skills to lead a mission like this. I thinks i'ts appropriate to get a starship crew directly involved in this kind of jobs and not simply calling the Captain to do a taxi job for an ambassador between two gaseous planetary anomalies.

    In the 23rd century, Cowboy Kirk had to negotiates with some alien governments, despite he was a soldier, not a diplomat. So, why 24th century's tasks of a First officier should only be having the bridge when the Captain is sleeping or dead (or Borg), leading some starship fights and procrastinating the captaincy? ;)
     
  20. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I wouldn't say the closed minded conservative won, so much as he managed to delay the confrontation between progressive and conservative to a time when it might be less violent.

    I don't think it's weird for the flagship to be on first contact duty, considering that outside of DS9 the Federation's primary mission is to seek out new life and new civilizations. In fact the Enterprise is specifically tasked to explore unexplored regions of space.