Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Episode Review - Clues (Next Generation, Season 4)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Picard passed out from the Paxan encounter

Overview – On their way to study a newly discovered M-class planet, the crew finds themselves completely incapacitated, with the sole exception of Data. Upon reviving the crew, Picard orders a probe to be launched to study the planet as they continue along their previous course. It does not take too long before the crew begin to suspect that a great deal more had occurred during the time they were supposedly unconscious. As the clues begin to amass, Picard begins to suspect that Data is hiding something from them.

Troi is surprised by what she sees in the mirror.

Score: 8/10 – This is quite a fun bottle episode that has viewers guessing again and again as to what exactly is happening. We start off with some more casual moments as the crew members spend some down time relaxing. When the crew is revived after their first encounter, they find themselves entangled in a web of mystery. To think that Data is either responsible or connected to this mystery adds intrigue. While Guinan is always a welcome character, her only appearance is in the Dixon Hill scene with Picard. Some may say that it is a trivial appearance, but I argue that nothing about Guinan is trivial, and it creates some great moments. While it would have been nice to have had more of her in the episode, especially since in “Yesterday’s Enterprise” she shows an aptitude of knowing when things aren’t quite right, it is always good to see her.

Gloria...from Clevland

Relevance - 3 points. A point is scored for revealing the first name of “Alyssa” to the nurse that has often been seen in sickbay. Later, in the episode “Cause and Effect”, she is given the last name of Ogawa. We also score a point for the first appearance of Worf’s Mok’bara class that we will see several more times in future episodes. We also score a point for another appearance of Dixon Hill, this time with Guinan as Picard’s special guest.

Geordi has trouble with the idea that Data is lying to them

Continuity - 2 points. Universe continuity is intact. Character continuity works. Of particular note is Data who, even at the risk of his being court martialed and possibly disassembled, strictly keeps the order Picard gave him to never reveal the existence of the Paxans. This fact, however, shows the flaw in the story continuity. Until Picard gives the order to Data, nobody had ever mentioned the name “Paxans”. A bit of a goof up, but enough to cost them this point.

Encountering the Paxons

Character Development – 2 points. I can score points for showing how far Data will go to obey orders, even at the cost of his career. I also give Picard some props for being able to convince the Paxans to spare them a second time. It was also nice to see Picard lighten up a bit on the holodeck at the beginning of the episode.

Yet another clue suggesting something is amiss

Social Commentary – 1 point. As enjoyable as this episode is, it says very little about our society. I guess the closest I can get is “Everybody loves a good mystery, so leave no loose ends when you are covering something up” is as good as a take away lesson here. While that seems a bit of a stretch to me, I’ll take it.

Worf's Mok'bara class

Cool Stuff – 3 points. As I said before, having Guinan with Picard in the Dixon Hill program was great. I particularly liked the end of the scene where, after ducking for cover Guinan asks him about this being fun. Picard shows the excitement of a school boy when he says “That is fun!” I also score a point for how the mystery unfolds. Plus, there is that moment when Troi, after being possessed by the Paxans, breaks Worf’s wrist. Poor Worf. Everyone seemed to beat him up on the Enterprise.

The crew tries to figure out what the Paxans want.

Rank – Captain (19 points). Enjoy this episode. Not much on action, but it will engage you the first time you watch it, and future viewings will have you looking for the clues themselves.

Data is surprised to see the crew incapacitated.

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