Spoilers S2, Ep. 15 - "Pen Pals" - ending was sad

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by spinagogue, Jun 19, 2021.

  1. spinagogue

    spinagogue Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I can understand Picard's decision to perform an engramatic purge on the girl Data saved so that she would not remember anything vis a vis The Enterprise. But I found it to be sad that she would have no memory of being saved by Data, whom she regarded as her hero and with whom she had formed an emotional bond.
    Also, practically, could there not be some benefit to the inhabitants of that world of having some idea of how they were saved, in case the problem reoccurs?
    To be clear, I'm not complaining about the writing or the episode or anything like that. Picard's decision was believable. It was just sad. Good episode.
     
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  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Picard often wanted problems with ignorant natives solved via memory wipe. Unfortunately, it seems that only Dr. Pulaski could get it right - all of Dr. Crusher's attempts in the later episodes ended in failure, sometimes tragically so.

    Perhaps this is just observer bias, and Sarjenka, too, eventually regained her memories?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  3. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In a charming display of empathy, Data appropriates and leaves the singing conch to the same Sarjenka that adored it strongly earlier, then had her memory wiped. That's a boatload of "dumb" for numerous reasons, but it'd be too obvious - and not wrongly so - to say she did recover her memories thanks to seeing that shell stone thing, told other people about it, and went crazy as a result. :( The Federation would not return there, certainly not to vindicate Sarjenka.

    Or even if her memories did not return, which is not likely because Dr Pulaski stated this might not be fully effective due to not knowing enough of her brain structure (after a span of hour many hours?), this magic woozywutzit that came from nowhere would have more and more people wondering where it came from and why.

    What if the conch was part of a galactic power system and now aliens are looking for it? There's an old episode of Doctor Who where the Doctor nicked a blue crystal and, in a later story it was revealed the crystal was one of many that had power amplification abilities... So the same thing happens in Trekville and, oops, thanks to Data - who surely did not consciously know all that, but Lore certainly would and he's the legitimately evil one - now condemn a whole species to extermination when the invading aliens wipe them all out...

    But until the ending, one could sympathize and agree with Data bending the rules. That last moment seemed out of character, for both character and story narrative.

    Is Data really acting "more human", in his own warped sort of way?
     
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  4. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

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    It might have been a bit sad, but it was happy on its own way. Sarjenka was safe, her world was saved, life there would return to normal, Data grew a little as a person, and maybe the rest of the crew understood a little better that people matter more than rules.
     
  5. Gingerbread Demon

    Gingerbread Demon Admiral Premium Member

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    Yeah one of my favourite episodes and yet one that pissed me off the first few times I had watched it. They would happily let a planet of millions die rather then try and save them until Data appeals to people's humanity. Who was more human in this episode I wonder?
     
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  6. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

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    That's a recurring theme, actually... most of the characters act like pricks and invoke the Prime Directive to allow some horrible thing to happen, and one person (Data, Nikolai) opposes it.
     
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  7. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Worse, three seasons later and "The Masterpiece Society" does a number one all over the same concept, with Picard whining ever so maudlin at the end about how they should not have gotten involved in an over-contrived colony that can't be taken seriously because there was a boo-boo that they overlooked, of the sort they've never overlooked before in 100+ episodes... On top of a colony where they keep all eggs in one basket with no redundancy or other measures. Granted, some scenes helped the episode from being a truly atrocious stinker...
     
  8. Mrs. Silvercrest

    Mrs. Silvercrest Captain Captain

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    I really hate it when someone goes thru a life changing thing and then does not recall it. But for such a little girl it was for the best. Though, I always wondered what she thought of the singing rock? How did she explain that?
     
  9. Gingerbread Demon

    Gingerbread Demon Admiral Premium Member

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    I remember that episode too and it also peed me off a bit. Either follow the Prime Directive or not, the writers seemed to not know what to do sometimes.

    She must have woken up confused holding that rock, and wondering where it came from. Either that or somehow it triggered the old memories to come back and then her society called her nuts
     
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  10. Jack Wolfe

    Jack Wolfe Commander Red Shirt

    I half expected Data's private chat with Picard end with Picard saying, "We have a gas for just such occasions. It smells like applesauce. They won't feel a thing."
     
  11. dupersuper

    dupersuper Commodore Commodore

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    Not as sad as it would have been if Riker and Worf had gotten their way... :crazy:

    "All of"? When else does she try?
     
  12. Gingerbread Demon

    Gingerbread Demon Admiral Premium Member

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    He would never in a million years say that, but then maybe the Picard from the Picard series would say that on rare occasions /s
     
  13. Zameaze

    Zameaze Commodore Commodore

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    One of my favorite episodes, also. Data is, in truth, my favorite character. He's like Heinlein's Valentine Michael Smith in "Stranger in a Strange Land" looking at humankind from the outside, shining a light on our inconsistencies. Like you implied, Data is often more compassionate than the humans he interacts with. And in this episode, his interaction (I dare not use the word 'feelings') with Sarjenka was just heartwarming.
     
  14. dupersuper

    dupersuper Commodore Commodore

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    Not as sad as it would've been if Riker and Worf had had their way...
     
  15. Gingerbread Demon

    Gingerbread Demon Admiral Premium Member

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    What, why? All they'd to was turn the ship around and watch the planet go boom in the ship's rearview camera.
     
  16. dupersuper

    dupersuper Commodore Commodore

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    I haven't read them, but she apparently shows up in later novels.
     
  17. Gingerbread Demon

    Gingerbread Demon Admiral Premium Member

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    That is interesting. Any reason why she shows up again?
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Oops, forgot to answer this one. Crusher wipes memories in "Who Watches the Watchers?" and "Homeward", catastrophically failing in both. Bashir's wipe of Kurn and Pulaski's wipe of Serjanka seem to take (unless one counts the novels), but Bashir refuses to attempt selectively wiping O'Brien in "Hard Time". With such a spotty record, why is the technique even contemplated? After all, the dramatic purpose of amnesia always is its reversal...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

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    My head canon is that Bashir was able to reduce the intensity of O'Brien's prison sentence, reduce the memories to a blur. That's why he's not screwed up for years afterward. You don't throw off 20 years of hell in the time between episodes unless you've gotten outside help.
     
  20. dupersuper

    dupersuper Commodore Commodore

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    Ah, right. I try to forget Homeward...
     
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