"Symbiosis" aged remarkably well

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Charles Phipps, May 4, 2022.

  1. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    Back in the time it was aired, everyone sort of shrugged off the idea that the Brekkians were drug lords who had the Omarians addicted to their space smack. It wasn't really something that had a real life analog and more fans focused on Picard's use of the Prime Directive than the social satire.

    However, I'm from Kentucky and the opioid crisis is something that directly affected my community where companies massively oversold drug medication to the public while lying about the addictiveness as well as risk. So, instead of drug lords, the Brekkians work very well representing the Sackler family and other groups.

    Especially since the Omarians kind of give off that rural working class vibe.
     
  2. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2000
    Location:
    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    You know that the CIA was directly responsible for flooding black communities with crack cocaine in the 80s?

    https://oig.justice.gov/sites/default/files/archive/special/9712/ch01p1.htm
     
    McCoy's Disco Collar likes this.
  3. PicardHitbyTesla

    PicardHitbyTesla Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 4, 2022
    Guy Gardener likes this.
  4. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    It's a popular conspiracy theory but the CIA being involved in the drug trade was pretty limited to supporting militant groups that were involved in drug trafficking as part of their fundraising.
     
    PicardHitbyTesla likes this.
  5. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2000
    Location:
    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    I tend to exaggerate for effect.

    If the CIA was involved at any level, that's a reason to take a crow bar to the institution.

    That, and they killed Kennedy.
     
    Richard S. Ta likes this.
  6. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    I always found it bizarre that a communist Marine spider who outright claimed to have tried to have killed an American general a few days earlier is supposedly a CIA patsy.

    But I think we're off Symbiosis.

    Speaking of Symbiosis, I will say I don't get Picard's argument as to why they can't tell the locals they're cured of the plague. That's not interfering, that's just basic medical advice.
     
  7. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Really I never agreed with the way this episode is derided. Apart from the ending where Picard chooses the worst option possible, it's a pretty solid episode.
    And I even like Tasha's drug speech, this scene shows two parts of her character that aren't expressed much/anywhere else; it has to do with her background on Planet Mad Max, and it shows her supposed bond with Wesley. And really, it also makes sense that Wesley would be naive and sheltered given his upbringing.
    I think certain people just don't like the speech because they don't want to hear about the possible negative effects of recreational drugs.
     
    Richard S. Ta, Turbo, Vger23 and 2 others like this.
  8. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2000
    Location:
    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    The Prime Directive protects assholes too.

    If the Brekkians lose their slave race and endless pipeline of resources from the planet over yonder, their society is going to fall apart. Instability, mass chaos and the deaths of millions as they fail to keep their furnaces running during winter.
     
    Charles Phipps likes this.
  9. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    But that's exactly what happens by the end. The last space ship that the two planets had is destroyed, and the art of creating new ones has become lost technology over time as the two civilizations overspecialized.
    However, due to Picard not revealing the truth about the "meds" and allowing the Ornarans to leave with the last, what was it a couple million doses? He ensured that in additional to the Brekkian civilization falling due to them having nobody left to make their stuff for them, the Ornaran civilization would likely destroy itself in wars over the last doses of "medicine", mass panic, suicides etc. etc. etc. If he had revealed the truth at the very least the Ornarans would have been fine.
    And the prime directive was broken the moment the "meds" were on board the Enterprise, there was no way anymore to "let them develop without interference" since any action after that is interference.
     
    Gary7, Phoenix219 and Qonundrum like this.
  10. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sunshine cottage,Lollipop lane,Latveria
    I always believed that Picard was forcing the Ornarans into involuntary “cold turkey” and that their civilisation would gradually recover.
    As for the Brekkians well who cares? But they too would eventually relearn the skills needed to survive...or not.
    One of Picard’s more brutal but just solutions to a nasty problem.
     
    Farscape One likes this.
  11. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Confederation of Earth
    Picard had better hope that the Ornarans never find out about the Brekkians’ exploitation of them.

    If they do find out, and seek retribution…there’ll be blood on his hands.
     
  12. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    But again without telling them that they're going cold turkey and aren't dying a horrible death of sickness you get stuff like them fighting over the last few doses of "cure" or parents intentionally poisoning their own kids to save them from a more painful, drawn-out death.
     
    Phoenix219 likes this.
  13. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sunshine cottage,Lollipop lane,Latveria
    Why?
    Picard decided by his inaction not to interfere in the situation.I know that inaction is in itself action but realistically he was right ..the situation was repellent and could not stand.Any vengeance exacted by the Ornarans would be carried out— by the Ornarans not by the Federation.
    Blame can only travel so far.
     
  14. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Confederation of Earth
    He could have stopped the situation. He failed to do so.
     
  15. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sunshine cottage,Lollipop lane,Latveria
    Sorry to double post.
    Sorry Orphalesion the post above is a reply to the previous post.

    Again,stuff like you are suggesting while all too horribly plausible cannot be legislated for.
    In all conscience Picard could not have acted otherwise.
     
  16. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sunshine cottage,Lollipop lane,Latveria
    Removing a drug dealer from your neighbourhood will cause suffering for the local unfortunates yes.But removing them (however that is achieved) is the thing to do yes?
    And what was he to do? Stick around the system handing out flyers on the perils of drug use?
     
    Qonundrum likes this.
  17. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Confederation of Earth
    The Ornarans and Brekkians asked for help from the Enterprise. Any action taken to further that end is not a violation of the Prime Directive, because the PD allows Starfleet to respond to requests for aid.

    Therefore, transporting the feliciium and passengers on board the ship, then letting them hash out their disagreements, is explicitly allowed.
     
    Qonundrum likes this.
  18. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    In a future where drug abuse was rendered the way of smallpox, it's not as difficult to see characters like Yar be so passionate to those as unaware as Wes.

    One difference is that opioids can be legal... other drugs, not so much, which was one reason I left my ex but that's a separate issue...

    Granted, TOS did the "drugs are bad, be yourself" routine 20 years before it hit the pop culture train too... It's not hard to see why "Symbiosis" tries to detach that issue from the rest and make it the center of a story... the story was tepid by the critics at the time and to this day a lot of people slag it off, but I disagree - if anything, it's a tad heavyhanded (but definitely not a misfire), but it can't hold a candle to some other issues to truly rail against it. (Though how many teens would tune in and say "Look at this TV show, let's not do drugs because it tells us not to"?)
     
    Charles Phipps likes this.
  19. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    An element they could have done more with was the fact that Tasha and her people are "fallen" humans who were part of the Federation then regressed back into all the bad habits of old.

    I also liked the implications that she may have been talking about herself to Wes.

    I'd also argue the Ornaran/Brekkan situation as depicted is unstable. The Brekkans have apparently been making their space smack purer and purer without noticing the negative consequences. The Ornarans are barely functional now despite being the people who produce everything.

    The Brekkans screwed themselves by making it so the Ornans can't repair their own starships.

    Except, well, they will once they detox.

    Which is very interesting because, again, the drug situation is purely legal here. Picard has no authority here and it's two legitimate governments doing a deal.
     
    Qonundrum likes this.
  20. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Tasha was from a devolved colony as I recall, with rape gangs and other nasty things. A shame "Legacy" didn't show more than just two groups of folks playing glorified laser tag (complete with enough plot holes for all of Starfleet to pass through without getting cramped...) Whether it was a Federation colony, or a splinter human group - it's a question best left open as it's more fun to think about that way. Granted, it might be closer to what you said because they allowed her into Starfleet, that makes more sense...

    Tasha being a survivor of drug user is even better, though just being a witness to it - and assuming anyone would believe her when she told her anecdotes - would still be enough.

    It's arguably why I'd side with Dr Crusher, et al, with "interfering". Kirk would too, though with the usual standby of prerecorded cliches and they'd turn the issue into the usual 60s litany of "'puters uhr bad, mkay?". Picard was having a stick up his ass that day, "WHen the bough Breaks" is a total 180 on the "Let's not interfere" routine... and the story "The Masterpiece Society" deliberately doubles down on the point Picard makes in "Symbiosis" too involving "how interfering is always a bad thing, mkay?" -- but by then, this was season 5 and for every "Ensign Ro" (Guinan at her best) or "The Next Phase" (Ro and Geordi at their best) there's a "Masterpiece Society" (Picard's a walking popsicle) or "Ethics" (Beverly's a walking popsicle), sadly... but plenty of people have the opposite view of the same stories so it's all good, especially when I overlook "The Next Phase"'s incongruities (because the rest of it makes up for the issues, it's so much easier to roll with...)
     
    Orphalesion likes this.