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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Star Trek: The Next Generation season 1 episode 3 The Naked Now

Episode 3: The Naked Now
Stardate 41209.2
Teleplay by J Michael Bingham, story by John D F Black & J Michael Bingham

An intriguing communication received from the USS Tsiolkovsky ends with the sound of an emergency hatch being blown. Data thinks this is impossible. Gotta ask the question: if it's an emergency hatch, wouldn't blowing it be a good way to get it open? So why does Data think it impossible?

Riker leads and Away Team and Geordi - the guy with the visor - discovers a room populated by frozen corpses, one of which was fully-clothed in a shower. As the search widens, Riker reports that the entire ship's complement - 80 people - are all dead...

Back on the Enterprise, Dr Crusher examines the Away Team. Geordi breaks out into a sweat and gets a bit grumpy. Riker recalls something about somebody taking a shower fully clothed before and asks Data, who seems to have no emotions apart from smugness, sets about looking.

Geordi's on the run! So he goes to see Wesley who has invented a device to recreate Picard's voice. Geordi thinks it's lucky Wes is on the captain's side. I feel a plot device coming on. There's a lovely little scene between Tasha and Geordi about him wanting normal vision.

Bearing in mind this is the first full episode after the pilot, we're still witnessing a crew who don't know each other very well, and that makes for interesting character dynamics. Data and Riker seem to be developing a bond and Picard, naturally, stays aloof.

Gasp! Picard has just said "Constitution class Starship Enterprise, Captain James T Kirk commanding." The second direct link to the original series already - and it appears that this episode is the sequel to The Naked Time, hence Riker's shower recall. But wait. The screen graphic displaying Kirk's ship's schematics is the wrong Enterprise!

The Away Team have brought back some form of disease that lowers inhibitions or alters personalities. Worse still, it seems also to enhance certain attributes: Wesley wanting to be captain; Geordi's longing for sight; Tasha becoming a vixen... The fact that Data is an android doesn't seem to matter to the disease, but then if I had Tasha seducing me, I think I'd forget I wasn't a real live boy!

Soon Deanna Troi succumbs and her feelings for Riker come back to the fore. The disease, then, is transferred by touch.

Riker wades in to sickbay and passes the infection on to the one person in a position to find a cure. Crusher is aware of this now. So how long will she last?

Meanwhile, the Enterprise is in orbit around a sun about to go supernova and an asteroid is headed for them. But with Wesley in control of Engineering, Picard is helpless. Then Crusher appears and attempts to rationally explain to the captain what's happening. Then she tries her best to not want to shag Picard!

A nice moment next with Worf. So far, he's kept himself to himself and calls Riker to the bridge, aware that Picard is now also infected. Oddly, Riker seems immune, even though he was touched by Deanna and, in turn, spread the disease to Crusher. Is he the cure?

No. But there's no explanation why he's not as affected as the others. Worf, on the other hand, is not infected at all. Is he the cure?

No. Crusher finds it by looking through Dr McCoy's old logs. Is it only me that's wondering why she didn't think of it sooner?

So, just as the Enterprise is about to be struck by the asteroid, the cure is administered to the main crew and the day is saved by using the Tsiolkovsky (in fact, the same model used as the Grissom from Star Trek III: The Search For Spock) as a springboard from which to break away.

And everyone's back to normal.

To write a direct sequel to an old series episode is nothing new (‘Khaaaaaaaan!' anybody?), but in this context, I'm not sure it works. We're expected to witness severe changes in character traits when we don't actually know the characters well enough yet to understand how far they wouldn't normally go (but that said, The Naked Time was a very early episode, too!)

Admittedly, the newest crew of the Enterprise are as wooden as Pinocchio's pride so, perhaps, in contradiction, it's nice to see them out of control. But, however they're viewed, The Naked Now is a very light episode and in the main played for laughs.

"I put it to you all: I think we should end up with a fine crew...if we avoid temptation," says Picard. The series is still acknowledging it's fledging status, almost as if it's apologising for the fact that viewers might not be warming to it as they did to Kirk's series.

I think TNG should forget about the past and forge ahead, cementing its own legacy...

Shall we keep going and see if they do?


http://www.denofgeek.com/television/421583/star_trek_the_next_generation_season_1_episode_3_the_naked_now.html

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