Star Trek: The Next Generation (1989) – Loud as a Whisper, and The Schizoid Man

Captain’s log: stardate 42477.2

Loud as a Whisper first aired on 9 January, 1989. Written by Jacqueline Zambrano, I’m sure there is a fairly solid tale in here somewhere, with a great message. But it gets a little lost along the way.

The story line revolves around a deaf mute diplomat and negotiator named Riva (Howie Seago – who is deaf in real life, and had lobbied the producers to do a story on the subject). He and his Chorus, a trio of interpreters who not only convey his word, but his mood, are being ferried to Solais V, via the Enterprise, to help mediate a seemingly endless civil war.

A relationship develops between Riva and Troi (Marina Sirtis), but disaster strikes when some of the warring factions kill his chorus (a rather violent death akin to the one shown in Conspiracy, though happening far quicker).

Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Troi have to reach Riva, as he deals with the loss of his Chorus, and convince him to find a way to use this negative, and turn it into a positive to help these people find peace.

I like Riva, I like the essence of the story, I just don’t feel it was as strong as it could be. In fact, I found myself hoping that we would check in with Riva again in the future. I like how he interacts with the crew, and the subsequent commentary not only on disability, but on the war that he is trying to mediate.

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Captain’s log: stardate 42437.5

Airing on 23 January, 1989, The Schizoid Man was a Data (Brent Spiner) teleplay written by Tracy Torme from a story by Richard Manning and Hans Beimler.

William Morgan Sheppard guest stars as Ira Graves, a brilliant doctor but is ill, and time is catching up to him. The Enterprise is summoned to Graves’ World by his young assistant, Kareen (Barbara Alyn Woods) who fears for her mentor.

Meeting Data, Graves reveals that he knew and taught Data’s creator, Soong, and consequently considers himself the android’s grandfather. But that isn’t going to dissuade him from his plan of implanting his memories, knowledge and intellect into Data’s programming.

Data’s personality shifts as Graves takes him over, and his focus shifts to Kareen, while being cruel and irritable, behaving oddly with the rest of the crew,

Taken over by Graves, the crew must find a way to restore Data, and put the doctor to his final rest.

Spiner gets to play a lot in this episode, and this is always good, because he’s great at what he does, and he knows his character. Having said that, however…

Data with a beard is rather ludicrous. Let’s just forget that image altogether, but let’s delight in the fact that this is Suzie Plakson’s first appearance in the series. She plays the Vulcan doctor Selar, but will return in the future as other memorable characters, and species.

The Human Adventure continues next week…

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