Will & Thomas

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by Third Nacelle, May 20, 2013.

  1. Third Nacelle

    Third Nacelle Captain Captain

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    I'm working my way through all of Star Trek (not for the first time) and just made it to Second Chances, and once again it strikes me that the hostility between the two Rikers seems completely forced and inauthentic. In fact, except for Deanna, everyone's treatment of Thomas seems completely... off.

    Maybe I'm over-thinking a mediocre episode, but would anybody really react that way upon meeting his double? Would you?
     
  2. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Ah, The Riker Within.

    Another one of those good-in-concept-bad-in-execution episodes.
     
  3. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Depends on how much you like yourself. We all have traits we dislike in ourselves, and tend to react poorly to the people who display those traits in ourselves that we dislike the most. I find it completely believable that Riker would not get along with himself. Thomas sees Will as a failure, not having achieved a captaincy yet. Will sees Thomas as a young, inexperienced officer chomping at the bit to climb the ranks, without regard for safety or politics. Naturally they wouldn't get along.
     
  4. Jimi_James

    Jimi_James Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    This episode has one of my favorite Riker quotes which I've taken as a sort of personal motto.
    It's Riker's line to Thomas during the poker game.
    "I know what I want and I know what I've got. And you'd be lucky to do so well, Lieutenant." I usually leave off that last part, but the beginning is a good message about taking stock of your life and identifying the things that are important to you, rather than holding onto the things that others expect of you.

    As for the story and character interaction, it's been a long time since I've seen that episode, but I don't remember it feeling all that forced. If anything, I thought Troi might have fell too easily for Thomas, though he was laying it on pretty thick. It sort of came off to me as trying to date twin siblings, or brothers, which I guess they were in a way. You've dated one and then the other becomes available and they're so much like the twin/brother you dated first, that you can't help but fall for them. I'm not sure I buy that logic and it made her seem a bit foolish to me. Perhaps it's one of those things that can be written off as, the heart wanting what the heart wants. I'm not sure really.

    I do think though had I been in Riker's place and seen my clone/twin, seducing the woman I still cared for, it would have definitely put a damper on my acceptance of Thomas. Perhaps that should have been the angle they played up more, though that's treading dangerously close to a soap opera style over triangle, and no body wants that.

    Which of course is the cue for at least one fan to comment, saying they would like to have seen that. lol
     
  5. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, I thought the episode hit upon the concept of looking at yourself and seeing the parts of you that you don't like. Riker by no means was a perfect character at all and it was easy for both of them to be critical of the other given how well they know each other.
     
  6. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The key thing is that Thomas reminds Will of himself as a younger man. Will has moved on, but Thomas is, despite being the same age, effectively a pre-season one Riker, a very different person. We all become different as we age and our priorities change, and that's really the theme of the episode. Will remembers "being" Thomas, but has grown out of some of Thomas's more foolish character traits. So seeing them all up-front rankles him a bit.

    The situation with Deanna is a prime example. Will never got over her, he always felt it had been a mistake to leave her and that if he'd had the maturity he does now back then he'd never have done it. Thomas lacks that maturity. Deanna is kind of flattered by Thomas because he reminds her of the Will Riker of old, but Will himself knows instinctively that his "younger self" is only going to run off and leave her again. And he can't bear to be reminded of that fact, especially the possibility it could break Deanna's heart.
     
  7. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    Riker didn't hesitate to kill the clone of himself. That was a different situation, but maybe he's has a deep seated distrust/hatred of any copy of himself. It would be doubled because it would be a trait of both of them.
     
  8. Third Nacelle

    Third Nacelle Captain Captain

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    I've never really liked Riker - either of them, so I can understand why they don't like each other. But if I met a person who had spent years alone on a planet trying to survive, even my worst enemy, I would never treat him the way Will treated Thomas. Or the way Picard or Worf treated Thomas. Even a total asshat deserves some compassion after going through an ordeal like that.
     
  9. Mojochi

    Mojochi Commodore Commodore

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    I too just chalk the animosity up to Riker being a douche, commander more so than lieutenant, but still
     
  10. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Realistically, if such a word can ever be applied to any Trek episode, the stranded Riker should not have been allowed to participate in any of the work, in fact, he should not have been on duty at all. Eight years stranded alone, and he's put back to work like he was just off for the weekend.
     
  11. Mojochi

    Mojochi Commodore Commodore

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    Meh, you gotta give them some leeway there. This is the same show that put Picard back to work after the Borg assimilation, and they even threw old ass Scotty a bone after being retired for god knows how long & living out of date in knowledge

    They seem to follow the logic of once an officer, always an officer, & let them work through it
     
  12. Ain Jalut

    Ain Jalut Lieutenant

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    Thomas was lucky, Riker killed his clones in the crazy Irish TNG episode.
     
  13. Takeru

    Takeru Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I really didn't like Will Riker giving Thomas Riker the trombone, that was so condescending. Will gets the life, the career, the girl (although he dumped her) and the name while Tom gets the psychological damage and the friggin trombone that he presumably already owned before the split? Gee, thanks Will.:rolleyes:
     
  14. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    There's a case to be made in arguing that Tom Riker really is just an accident and has no claim on the William Riker persona. The accident was caused by a freak interaction of a force field with a double-encased transportee. The one that got through was William Riker; the one that was reflected back to the planet was just an accident, a freak, unpredictable, unreproducible occurrence that shouldn't be considered a person anymore than a mirror image should be considered a person, and should have all the same rights any mirror image possesses.

    ;)
     
  15. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So you're really arguing that because someone is different than everyone else, they have no fundamental rights to be alive, to have an identity and personal freedoms? It doesn't matter if he was born out of a womb, in a testtube or a transporter accident. Once he's alive, he's a person. May as well say he's less of a person because of the color of his skin.
     
  16. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Taking the topic a bit too seriously, R. Star. It's an idle thought.

    Would a transporter duplicate have the legal right to claim the William Riker persona? Or would he be considered an accident, and be legally summarily corrected (i.e., executed)?

    Obviously, the humane thing to do would be what was done - get him back on his feet and send him on his way. I'm just wondering what his legal status would be. With all the weird technologies and demi-god aliens in Trek, would the judicial and legislative systems of the Federation have some kind of precedents to refer to in the case of duplicate beings, at least those that aren't clones? What kind of weird laws might be on the books in the Federation, where transporters can either split a person into "good" and "evil" beings, or duplicate them wholesale? With all the presumably millions of people transporting every day (it really is the safest way to travel, Reg), there must be a few similar accidents occurring yearly, or at least every decade. What would happen legally to these "people"?

    Just an idle thought that crossed my mind. Don't assume I'm some racist douchebag because of it.
     
  17. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Even if there were laws covering duplicate people, I think first you'd have to prove which one was the duplicate.

    Just because one Riker made it back to the ship doesn't automatically make him the original. I haven't seen the episode in a while, but I don't recall that it makes that point explicit. The only reason they treated Will as the original is that he had a history with Starfleet during that time, and Tom didn't.

    Unless there's some other way of proving it, then I'd say, yes, Tom had as much legal right to claim the persona as Will did. At least until someone wrote a new law to cover it.

    Is there a way of proving that someone's not the original? If there is, then Harry Kim would be in for a hard time when Voyager got back.
     
  18. Mutai Sho-Rin

    Mutai Sho-Rin Crusty Old Bastard Moderator

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    OK, enough of the extreme over-reacting. This is beyond silly.
     
  19. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    ^I think that's his stock answer for transporter accidents, he said about the same thing in the Tuvix threads.


    I think the one that returned to the ship was considered the "original" because whenever someone, anyone, beams up the others don't all say, " are you the original or is that copy on the surface the original" In other less silly words, you beam up, it's you. There's no doubt, it's still you. Also, when Thomas materialized, the people on the ship didn't know. So they were both the original at that time. But then one continued on like normal and the other live a lonely and harsh time just trying to survive. To the prospective of his peers, Riker was just Riker, then the other Riker was discovered much later. Will never left and Thomas was marooned, except for the duplication, it isn't much different than if just another officer was marooned, no one would come back the same from that ordeal. So Will gets back first, therefore in the logic of this episode, he is the "original" although I reject that myself because by the same logic if both materialised on the pad, then they would both be original.

    You really have to wonder about the transporter with episodes like this, Tuvix, Unatural Selection, and some others.

    Some of the posts in the Tuvix thread implied that everytime the transporter beams someone it actually kills them and creates a copy.

    Then in Unatural Selection they take a page out of the animated series book (Counter Clock Incident) and use it to fix everyone.

    But, in it's basic function, the transporter is a disintegrator. But it does it carefully and with the intent to reintegrate the person at another destination. So the person is matter and is converted to energy to "beam" them to the destination. The transporter carefully stores a pattern to put the person back together from the energy of the original disintigration. What if you just keep adding energy? You could make copies of everyone. Need security? Beam up 7 Worfs, and they can all get knocked on their asses. I think there is a saftey of a sort to prevent that, but we all know computer programs can be modified. It's quite a subject, really.
     
  20. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, that's what I mean. There's no particular reason Will should be considered the original except from the perspective of his peers. If there were still people on the ground when Tom rematerialized there, he'd have witnesses and people ready to argue that he was the original.

    And after all, what if the entire beam was reflected and just one Riker materialized on the ground? If getting through to the ship is what defines the original, does that mean he's not? I doubt he would be considered a copy merely because he didn't make it to the ship. (That is: any more than anyone else is considered a copy by screwy transporter logic.)