Friday, July 28, 2017

Episode Review - Aquiel (Next Generation, Season 6)

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

Overview – The Enterprise arrives at a distant communication relay station to find it deserted, with the sole exception of one of the officer’s pet dog being found alive on the station. One of the missing officers, Aquiel Uhnari, is eventually found, and she soon becomes romantically involved with Geordi La Forge. Unfortunately, she also become a prime suspect in a murder investigation.

Score: 4/10 – OK, this may not be a particularly bad episode, but it is definitely weak. Once again, the writers try to give La Forge someone to be in love with. The poor engineer has had less luck in love than the android, so another attempt is made. The problem is that his love interest, Lieutenant Uhnari, is not really a good match for him. The relationship seems to have been forced. The character herself is feisty and has some potential, and she is portrayed well Renee Jones. I just don’t see how the two can get together so quickly, especially given the circumstances and their conflicting personalities. Normally, a person like Aquiel would seem to irritate Geordi more than attract him. The chemistry between the two was lacking. What saves this episode is an interesting murder mystery. It seems that the obvious suspects, Aquiel and an overly nosey Klingon named Morag, are innocent. Doctor Crusher eventually discovers that there is a coalescent organism that can take the likeness of the lifeforms it feeds on. The twist at the end, the fact that it was (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) the dog was a bit of a surprise. The idea of the coalescent organism is neat, the execution of it (both literally and figuratively) however was lacking. Even in the 90s and TNG, special effects should have given us a better look to the ultimate body snatcher.

Is this a potential threat, or an ugly bean bag chair?

Relevance – 0 points. I watched this episode a few days before writing this review. I really cannot see anything that connects it to anything else in Star Trek. This is not a weakness to the story (as I already pointed out, there were plenty of those to go around), but rather it leaves the casual viewer with not much of a reason to watch this episode. It doesn’t give you much insight into anything that has happened before, and if you miss it you don’t miss out on anything else to come.

Continuity - 2 points. Here we can score some points for this episode. Nothing contradicts the establish Trek universe, nor do we see confliction within the telling of the story, so two points are scored here. I will deduct the point for character continuity. I get the Geordi is lonely, and he is always on the lookout for romance. He has a soft spot for the damsel in distress, but Aquiel just does not seem to be his type. I am not convinced that she would have been attracted to La Forge, and Geordi likely would have been long turned off by her attitude. I believe that they created the character of Aquiel with the intent to make her a recurring one if she and Geordi hit it off well. I don’t think they did, so we never saw her again.

Character Development – 1 point. Geordi gets some much-needed attention, but this does not do him much good. He gets the girl for a bit, just to find out she might be a killer. It is nice to see him in some action (not talking about the romance part, either) as he takes on the coalescent organism at the end, but there is really little that advances his character.

Social Commentary – 0 points. Scratching my head here. Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly? Don’t get involved with a murder suspect? Don’t turn your back on your girlfriend’s dog when there is a coalescent organism lurking around? Honestly, I cannot think of anything that really gives good commentary on today’s world.

Cool Stuff – 2 points. I will score a point for the idea of the coalescent organism. While the graphics left a lot to be desired, the concept was cool. It was neat seeing the remnants of the organism take the form of Crusher’s hand. I will also score a point for the Canar stones that telepathically link two people. Just don’t confuse your canar with your kanar.

Rank – Ensign (9 points). This episode was a swing and a miss for an otherwise great season of TNG. Geordi does deserve better, both in love and in stories.

Here's your killer!
If you would like to read other reviews from the Next Generation, click this link.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do. 

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