Star Trek: The Next Generation (1992) – Man of the People, and Relics

Captain’s log: stardate 46071.6

Frank Abatemarco wrote this rather lacklustre episode that should have allowed Marina Sirtis a chance to shine a bit, but instead we’re given another episode that is not only recognisable, but also incredibly predictable. First airing on 3 October, 1992, all this episode did for me was make me want to get onto the next one.

The Enterprise rescues Ambassador Ves Alkar (Charles Lucia) after his transport ship is attacked. Alkar come aboard with a woman that he says his mother, Sev Maylor (Susan French). When Alkar seems attracted to Troi (Sirtis), Sev is vicious, and angry towards her.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why, in fact most of it sounds like it has been done before.

Surprise, surprise, Sev ends up dead, and now, it seems Troi has begun to suffer from accelerated ageing. I wonder what could be going on?

Yup, Alkar drains these women, moving onto the next beautiful woman he wants. He also uses them as a receptacle for his less tasteful emotions, so that he can perform his duties as a diplomat and negotiator unfettered.

Riker (Jonathan Frakes) is right in the firing line when Troi is rebuffed by Alkar, and Picard (Patrick Stewart) allows an autopsy on Sev to discover what is really going on.

This story has been done a number of times, and sadly, the Trek version adds nothing new to it.  It’s a very basic story.

It’s rather sad that six seasons in, the series still can’t write strong stories for Troi or Crusher (Gates McFadden).

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Captain’s log: stardate 46125.3

Airing just before my birthday on 10 October, 1992, Relics, written by Ronald D. Moore is an important episode to me. I can still remember the first time I saw it, and it stays with me because of it.

When the Enterprise comes across a Dyson Sphere they are awed by the discovery. But things get even more amazing when a crashed ship is found on its outer surface. When an away team beams aboard they discover an energy pattern trapped in the transporter buffers which is set in an unusual diagnostic mode, when Geordi (LeVar Burton) reactivates it out comes Captain Montgomery Scott (James Doohan).

When he first confers with Geordi, Scotty still believes he can be useful, but when he realises how many things have changed, he begins to think it’s time to retire.

However, after the Enterprise is stuck inside the Dyson Sphere with an impending solar flare to occur within it, Scotty may be part of the solution.

I love Doohan in this episode, and it’s a great sendoff to the character, despite the fact that he would make one more appearance on the big screen in a truncated role. Watching him take a tour around the old Enterprise bridge is poignant, and shows another solid passing of the torch to the Next Generation.

I remember this episode not only for Scotty’s appearance, and not because it was such a good story, but it allowed me to throw itself into it, ignoring, for that hour while it was broadcast to forget the problems in my house. My parents were deep in an argument, and I just wanted to watch the episode, and lose myself in the world.

This is a great episode, with some callbacks to classic stories, and definitely makes one forget the preceding episode.

The Human Adventure continues Thursday…

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