The Drumhead- best ST episode

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by gakelly, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. JaffreyPanthosa

    JaffreyPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    He was not inviting a 'potential spy' to his quarters. He was inviting a man who was only under suspicion due to his heritage to his quarters.

    "Isn't it true you are a quarter Romulan, that it is a ROMULAN heritage you honor!" Like those are equivalent statements. Even accusing Simon Tarses is the same as accusing some random person on the street of being a terrorist just for being Muslim.

    I agree they took Admiral Satie over the top, but her point stopped having any validity the moment they caught the original spy and started randomly accusing anyone with even any slight circumstantial reason.

    It's shown time and time in history, when you get hysterical about enemy spies to the point that you start accusing anyone without any concrete evidence, you objectively and inescapably start doing more harm than the enemy spies possibly could do on their own. There were Russian spies in America during the Cold War, and the McCarthy hearings caught 0 spies and destroyed hundreds of lives. Satie was doing exactly the same and Picard was unquestionably right.
     
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  2. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Drumhead reeks of Terran privilege, poor Simon surrounded by mainly humans ready to accuse him based on his DNA. Satie's Betazoid assistant should have known Tarses was innocent
     
  3. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    "Under Suspicion"..."potential spy"...
    I fail to see the distinction. And he wasn't under suspicion "only due to his heritage." He was under suspicion for 3 reasons. First, he was one of the few people who administered the hypospray injections to the Klingon. This Klingon admitted he was working for the Romulans.
    So he was one of the few people in sickbay who had the means.

    2nd, when he was questioned along with Dr. Crusher and the rest of the sickbay personnel, the Betazoid guy sensed he was lying, and hiding "something big." This is when he fell under suspicion, before they even knew his grandfather was Romulan.

    And finally, he was under suspicion because of his Romulan heritage, as this was a Romulan operation, where their operative had already admitted to stealing classified information about the ship for the Romulans.

    If you follow this line of inquiry, it naturally comes to some startling facts. Why was a Romulan living on Mars colony? They have closed borders and no contact with the Federation until season 1. Romulans don't seem to be allowed to leave. It's a total police state, as we learn in "Unification." Was he trying to escape his government, or was he a spy, or was there some other explanation. Unless it is specified in the episode, this grandfather would in all likelihood still be alive. Tuvok was a grandfather, like a hundred years old, and still totally fit to be a spy(not that youthfulness is required for the job)

    Either way, it is at the very least a great many coincidences associated with an actual incident of Romulans stealing important life and death information. Picard takes an equally extreme view in the opposite direction. The show does this with both characters so that the audience can make no mistake who the good guy is, and who the bad guy is, because the story itself necessitates much more ambiguity and uncertainty. A more natural version of events would have the Admiral more concerned over spies and conspiracies, and Picard concerned over both spies/conspiracies and overstepping the line or accidently damaging an innocent person's career.
     
  4. Spocktoberfest!

    Spocktoberfest! Commodore Commodore

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    Thank you Prax, you said what I was trying to say so much better than I did.


    I just want to add, I have a really really hard time even believing Simon even had a chance to lie about his heritage because I'd expect everyone's DNA is on record somewhere, either from transporter logs to medical records. So the "big secret" shouldn't even be possible.
     
  5. marlboro

    marlboro Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Some of you guys have terrible opinions. Instead of trying to talk you out of them, I'm just gonna mention a few good Jean Simmons movies:


    [​IMG]

    Angel Face
    Footsteps in the Fog
    Hamlet (1948)
    Spartacus
    Elmer Gantry


    Not exactly good but I liked it:

    Rough Night in Jericho
     
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  6. Armus

    Armus Commodore Commodore

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    Is there a remedy for terrible opinions? ;) Spartacus is one of my favorite Kubrick films, and Jean Simmons was wonderful in
    it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Commodore Commodore

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    There are many other possible perspectives and interpretations to that episode, which is well-cast and well-acted, with incidental music that sets the episode well above where it deserves to be.

    Were Romulans taking in Federation citizens the same way the Federation wouldn't take in Simon Tarses? (Not really, but the episode doesn't want to do anything except pay one-dimensional lip service that makes anything labeled "idealism" look - at best - incredibly shallow as a result. One hour timeslot aside, they could easily have fleshed out more instead of a red herring to waste time with. Even "The Neutral Zone" with Picard's up-nose attitude to the 20th century people isn't as incredible, incredibly enough. )

    "Drumhead" is also an episode that shows just how easy it is for Romulans to infiltrate the Federation with ease. Just as in "Data's Day" (with more Ron Jones goodness) and others, whenever the episode calls for it only to be forgotten. But TNG wasn't serialized, nor would it really address other empires taking in citizens as openly or other issues on anything approaching equal footing.

    And, yes, Picard and Worf were both right in their beliefs. Except the script makes Worf to look pigheaded, and Picard didn't offer any actual solutions or ideas or brainstorming all that much via his grandstanding victory speech to Worf. Indeed, Season 5 takes the one-sided preachfesting to new and equally impressive levels, no matter how correct they might or might not be and I am not suggesting the episode's not got any worthwhile points. But Season 5 gets to the point I'd rather go watch "The Star Wars Holiday Special" a dozen times in a row by comparison, as the only thing going on there is a lot of cocaine use freshly wiped off. And it has the wonderfulness of Bea Arthur, who easily could have carried her own Star Wars TV spinoff. Did more for Star Wars than Faulty Towers...

    In the end, it's a TV show that, just like The Brady Bunch, wraps up big big issues by the end of the episode neatly and perfectly. That doesn't mean "Drumhead" not an enjoyable episode to watch, and it is, but it is still somewhat contrived and it's not like scripts are incapable of doing narratives with more nuance and facets and played out to be even more compelling and encompassing.

    But the ending ends on the best quote of them all. As Picard clothes himself in good deeds all the time, episode after episode, but isn't a villain? Consider he spent the hour going on about generalizations... then makes one at the end.
     
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  8. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Commodore Commodore

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    Consider that the next episode to really do so might be "Tapestry"... Where Picard is now, in this alternate timeline due to Q, in the role of a Tarses-like character and all the writers do is to throw dirt on him because only real people were like the original Picard. (Drumhead>Tapestry in my opinion and your main points are great, as I'm also a fan of "Lessons" and "Lower Decks" as we see more than bridge crew contributing to the ship's successes. But it also crossed my mind what transpired in "Tapestry" to Picard for a 1D plot point -- at least in terms of TNG's own (unintentional) inconsistencies.)
     
  9. Makarov

    Makarov Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Picard was great in the episode, he starts being onboard with the investigation, then it just keeps going and he's like hoold on a minute, then finally the line must be drawn here. That scene where Picard/Satie finally turn on each other was so good.

    Picard inviting the "spy" to his quarters, falls in line with him not wanting to blow up the crystalline entity before talking to it, and offering lowered shields in dangerous situations all the time. He sticks to his morals even if it's the riskier thing to do & why he's the best captain
     
  10. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Kodos managed to hide his real identity in the 23rd century so maybe the Federation or Earth have sloppy record keeping.
    Based on season 1 - 3 he is the worst captain, with dodgy morals, his definition of the Prime Directive includes leaving people to die even when it is Federation personnel who causes injuries to the natives. TNG Who watches the watchers
     
  11. Caeruleus

    Caeruleus Ensign Newbie

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    One of the best, yes.
     
  12. Makarov

    Makarov Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    He was willing to take an arrow to the chest in that ep for the natives
     
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  13. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe privacy rights took an extreme turn.

    Kor
     
  14. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Kodos wasn't in Starfleet.
     
  15. trekshark

    trekshark Commander Red Shirt

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    Are romulans and vulcans that different genetically though? Especially at only 1/4 of the person's whole makeup?
     
  16. Nakita Akita

    Nakita Akita Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As someone who was kicked off of an Army base by the adjunct General, I can assure you, her "hissy" fit seemed very realistic.
    Some of the "weakest" people are in positions of great power, seemly with nothing more going for them than a title.
     
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  17. NigellaDeanna20

    NigellaDeanna20 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    this is a fantastic episode and one of my absolute faves. I just love how the whole episode gradually unfolds. I really like how Admiral Sati tries to bring down picard but how he ends up turning the tables on her and ultimately manages to break her.
     
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  18. NigellaDeanna20

    NigellaDeanna20 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Excellent episode. One of my favourites and definately one of TNG's best. This would be in my top 5 TNG Episodes. I just love how Admiral Sattie tries to bring picard down but he ends up turning the tables on her using a quote from her own father. Brilliant stuff. Solid episodes as already mentioned but Best of Both Worlds, Yesterday's Enterprise and The Inner Light just nudge this one out of the top three For me.
     
  19. cgervasi

    cgervasi Commander Red Shirt

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    Part of this is the nature of TV when this aired in 1991. Shows had to be able to get your attention and be picked up in the middle. Most shows had to be understandable even to kids. Shows with a nuanced take on a complex issue were a rare exception.
     
  20. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Romulans and Vulcans are the same race.