Second Chances

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Tribble Threat, Jan 2, 2021.

  1. Tribble Threat

    Tribble Threat Commander Red Shirt

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    I saw Second Chances recently. I was blown away by the story, and how well Jonathan Frakes portrayed Thomas Riker as a man who had an incredibly rough life, and is just trying to deal with a bizarre situation. Just like in Frame of Mind, I'm amazed at Frakes' ability to show distress in a complex way. And LeVar Burton deserves applause for directing this.

    I think that by the time we get the vaccine, many of us will look like Tom Riker.
     
  2. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Good episode.And a complete waste that the Tom character was mostly ignored thereafter.
    If the series had continued to focus on Riker as much as season one did (before the focus arguably shifted to Picard,Worf and Data)I wonder how the show would have progressed.
    Frakes is a good actor and director (and a terrific guy to meet).
     
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  3. JaxsBrokenHeart

    JaxsBrokenHeart Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Second Chances occurring in mid season 4 with Will getting his own ship, Data being bumped up to First Officer, and Thomas taking over at Ops could have really shaken up the series in an interesting way.

    Still a solid episode even though I do lament the kind of major changes it could have brought about.
     
  4. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Commodore Commodore

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    And Troi, inspired by Will Riker's career advancement takes the bridge officer test and becomes a Commander 3 seasons earlier (and changes into the standard uniform)
    And Troi and Thomas Riker start a serious relationship and marry in Season 5 or 6.

    And Captain Will Riker can make guest appearances, since they still have the actor haha.
     
  5. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Commodore Commodore

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    I read somewhere the episode was initially developed to shake up the Riker character because he was getting bland. The idea was to kill him off and the other Riker would replace him. I liked how the episode was done because finally I could visualize what Troi and Riker's relationship was and what was lost. I give credit to Frakes and Marina Sirtis for displaying a heartfelt performance; it was only time I was convince they were in love. I wasn't convinced in any of TNG movies where they eventually got married which I thought was a mistake and useless to the lore of TNG.

    This episode made Will look like the bad guy, and I can understand where he was coming from by contrast of him being what he was and knowing how he would've reacted towards Deanna. The element which was different Lt. Riker had a long time to think about his life and what was important to him, something Commander Riker never had to delve into. So Will became the big obstacle for this story, a senior officer who understands a cavalier attitude could risk lives and now thought of himself as a big brother to his doppelganger, also he was giving some insight to Deanna which didn't make her feel well.

    I agree with flandry84 about the new Riker character, in retrospect it probably would've been better to kill him or Commander Riker off because nothing fruitful happened after he moved on. "Defiant" The DS9 episode had moments which shined for the lead character Sisko, the enigma Gul Dukat, and Kira, but the now Thomas Riker didn't have much teeth. He's considered to be some dreamer who wants to be more than what he can be and saw the Maquis as a vessel to propel him to be some kind of hero. I would've loved to see something more to Riker than just becoming a hero... something where he had some beliefs I didn't know about William Riker which were sealed or contained because he channeled it in the right direction to make him an outstanding officer but what if Riker never had a focal point to channel? Thomas Riker is what I thought I would get... the yang to Wil Riker's ying; I'm not saying he had to be "The Enemy Within" kind of Riker but a person who's perspective became different because of the experiences he suffered and the pain he endured.

    I was hoping there would be more to Thomas Riker but... in retrospect the DS9 camp put him into a corner where I think he couldn't recover from.

    Besides that as for the episode of TNG it was a nice story and liked they could be some hope Deanna could find love other than Will Riker. This had me warm to her affection to Worf who I thought became a nice Beauty and the Beast element which was interesting until the last episode of the series.
     
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  6. Tribble Threat

    Tribble Threat Commander Red Shirt

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    Wow. I had no idea anyone planned for Tom Riker to be a regular character. He certainly is a more compelling character than Will Riker, and this episode made Will look like a real bad guy. Tom would have made the show more interesting. But it may have confused the casual fans.
     
  7. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It really is a wonderful performance from Frakes. It's one of the ones that sometimes makes me think he was maybe the 2nd best actor on the show, behind Stewart

    It certainly is an odd choice they made, that Will comes off so badly here. When you look at the original script, it doesn't read quite as conflictual as he played it. In fact...
    This was the directive of the senior officer. How well does it appear they followed that directive? Will shoves rank & priveledge in his face almost the whole time, & Deanna strings him along, only to let Will torpedo his chances by comparing him to himself & his own choices

    Frankly, I don't think anyone there made him feel especially comfortable or welcome at all. Quite the contrary. He got the usual bridge crew elitism, like he was Sam Lavelle or something
     
  8. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Commodore Commodore

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    At least Dr. Crusher was rooting for Deanna to at least explore her feelings for Lt. Riker, I thought those moments made the episode for me.
     
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  9. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Part of me wishes that in DS9's seventh season, when Kira was behind enemy lines to encounter Tom Riker, who'd managed to break out of his prison camp with a few others and were carrying out guerilla hit and runs against the Dominion. He could've gone down in a blaze of glory or been smuggled back to Federation space or had his fate be left a mystery.
     
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  10. amp

    amp Commander Red Shirt

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    I've probably written this before, but Will Riker was promoted to Lt. Commander because of his actions while evacuating the research station. Yet Tom Riker was never granted the same promotion since he's still a Lieutenant when we see him in "Defiant". No wonder the poor guy was so bitter.
     
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  11. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Commodore Commodore

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    How about Starfleet giving Riker and company a full pardon to start strike attacks on Cardassia, that would've been a huge shake up or Bashir discovers Sloane was replaced by Riker?
     
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  12. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The problem with the episode IMO is that they had to squeeze in the planetside shenanigans to appease some sort of required action quotient.
    The Riker/Riker character deserved a quiet episode to properly process what had happened to them.Hell they would have done it for Data or transfusion boy.
     
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  13. amp

    amp Commander Red Shirt

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    Although there was some actual suspense at the end of the episode as they could have just hit the reset button and had Tom nobly sacrifice himself so we were left with just the original Riker (see Voyager's "Deadlock" for an example).

    I did wonder a bit that Tom Riker immediately got a posting on another ship. He should have been sent to a medical facility for extensive recuperation and R&R time.
     
  14. somebuddyx

    somebuddyx Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In my half-assed head canon Tom, Ro, Nick Locarno, Ben Maxwell, Eric Pressman and whatever Maquis were left did something like that.
     
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  15. Discofan

    Discofan Admiral Admiral

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    Well, he's supposed to be serving a life sentence in a Cardassian jail.
     
  16. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I know I've said something like this before lol, but love to chat about it ;)

    Will likely got promoted internally, via a citation from his CO, who was probably in no position to offer the same to Tom similarly, as neither are serving under him/her anymore. The abandoned Riker essentially becomes the "other", 2nd Class Riker thereafter, in just about every way, as wrong as it is.

    Additionally, when we get back to him in "Defiant", it's after the events of the Pegasus scandal, which Picard admits is going to damage Will's reputation some, but that Will had years of excellent service to help him weather through.

    Tom, at that point on the Gandhi, has no such service record of saving Earth from Borg etc... to support him, only one act of forgotten valor, lost years of falling behind his class, & an unearthed mutiny scandal, which probably stymied his career prospects even more than just being the "lesser" Riker. If anything, Tom is the Riker who didn't voluntarily come forward about it, sullying him more than Will.

    So not only did Will steal his identity & life & all manner of prosperity, like an improved relationship with his dad, he also somehow managed to unwittingly keep torpedoing him. He even marries Troi eventually, probably while Tom's in prison

    It's not just sad, it's bloody supervillain birthing tragic. Kirk did less to Khan to inspire wrath lol, & Khan kind of deserved it. I might not go so far as to want to murder Will, if I were Tom, but I couldn't help but imagine how better my life would be if he were dead :whistle:
     
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  17. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Commodore Commodore

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    And that would have meant absolutely nothing if the writers had wanted to use him again afterwards.
     
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  18. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Pros and cons of established viewers vs the more casual ones. Especially when deep into a series rather than just starting out. Plus the risk of alienating established fans... it's a tough balancing act. (Note that Voyager had an episode too early on where one of the crew dies but the duplicated copy of him takes his place... Harry, was it? )

    Frakes would have nailed the character changes either way... but at the same time, not just casual fans may have enjoyed such a change. Looking back, I'm not sure how I would have taken it if they went that route. The duplicate Harry change felt flat and gimmicky, but Voyager was a new show. If anything, Tom being another byproduct of the then-overused "transporter malfunction" trope would have annoyed some viewers but the change in personality might have made it work. Like that tootsie pop question that licks me all the time, we may never know...
     
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  19. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yup. Especially if there's a top notch resolution to a loved character, dragging them out to extend (or relive) the plot doesn't always work. Contriving to get him out would be monumental enough to do convincingly...
     
  20. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's the thing. You're right that a gimmick like that would've play a bit cheap (and probably would've annoyed me). You're also right that a change in personality & character dynamic could've been useful despite the annoyance risk. In fact I'd agree now that is was actually sorely needed, because post-BoBW Riker is downright neutered from what had been initially intended

    However, that's my perspective in hindsight. At the time, it might not have been possible for me to see it objectively enough to understand the merit of such a change. I'd have probably been more prone to just think they should "fix" Riker as is, rather than just cop out on him altogether, for Riker 2.0

    & that notion might not have been all that off, because what they finally do with him in The Pegasus was in fact one of his best stories, & left a lot to unpack on a new way of looking at Riker, the Riker someone like Jellico doesn't like, or that the initial Riker wasn't everything he seemed to be

    To be fair, Tom may be more interesting than Will at face value, but Will wasn't impossible to just make more interesting in his own right, & that got proved