Enlightenment > Star Trek > TNG
TNG 1-08

TNG 1x08

Original airdate: 11/9/1987
Rewatch date: 7/23/2011

During a visit to a pre-warp society, Wesley accidentally breaks a law punishable by death. The only way to save his life is to break the Prime Directive, and Captain Picard's choice is complicated by a godlike entity in orbit.

Spoiler-free notes:

Edo sounds an awful lot like Eloi. That's probably intentional.

There's got to be rules concerning not having indiscriminate sex with aliens on a first contact mission.

When I first saw this episode, I had just turned nine. Looking at all the half-naked women jogging around made me feel funny in ways I couldn't fully explain at the time.

I'm pretty sure that, when Picard explains that the Federation has "advanced" beyond capital punishment, he is violating the Prime Directive. Indeed, even visiting this pre-warp civilization is a violation of the Prime Directive. Then, in the end, when Picard takes Wesley back, he is again violating the Prime Directive. I get that this episode is trying to say something about the nature of zero tolerance, but it doesn't sit well with me at all. While Wesley's transgression is ridiculously minor, Picard's transgressions are extreme. Picard isn't just violating the Prime Directive all over the place, either; he's also putting his entire crew in jeopardy (more on that in the spoiler section).

Picard seems awfully untroubled by the fact that an unknown trans-dimensional alien species that spans over 3,000 planets has just downloaded everything that Data knows. This would no doubt include plenty of sensitive information, not the least of which would be information about the defensive systems of the Enterprise.

"Any sufficiently advanced life-form would appear to others to be [a god]." Hey, look, it's another variation of Clarke's Third Law. I guess there's at least one Sir Arthur C. Clarke fanboy in the writer's room.

This is at least the third time that the Enterprise-D has come across a lifeform significantly more advanced than humanity. There's been Q and the traveler, and arguably the T'Kon Portal as well.

Spoiler section:

The Edo God looks an awful lot like the Lysian Central Command in "Conundrum."

I get that Picard has already developed a special relationship with Wesley, but for a Starfleet captain, it's practically a no-brainer that he should be willing to sacrifice Wesley's life in order to protect the Enterprise. As we see when Troi takes the Bridge Officer test, in "Thine Own Self," it is a decision every officer should be ready to make without hesitation or remorse.

TNG 1x07
"Lonely Among Us"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
TNG 1x09
"The Battle"
Copyright 2011 e. magill. All rights reserved.