Enlightenment > Star Trek > TNG
TNG 3-12

TNG 3x12
"The High Ground"

Original airdate: 1/29/1990
Rewatch date: 10/6/2011


Dr. Crusher is kidnapped by terrorists who have access to extremely advanced and dangerous transporter technology.

Spoiler-free notes:

There's a terrorist bombing within the first few seconds. It's gonna be a heavy episode.

It's good drama to have Picard (along with everybody else) argue that Dr. Crusher is putting her life and the away team in danger by treating the wounded, but how many times has Picard put the entire ship in danger in order to help the needy? You'd think he'd be a little more sympathetic.

This episode is a natural extension of the previous one, "The Hunted." In that episode, Roga Danar leads a group of fugitives on an attack on his government, resorting to violence for political gain. Even though Danar killed three people to escape Lunar V, he and his group don't kill anybody in the end. In this episode, you have Kyril Finn, who even looks a little like Danar, leading a group of terrorists who use violence for political gain. Finn's group does a lot more killing and are facing a much more intransigent government as a result, but the situations are very similar. Both episodes even include people setting explosive devices on the Enterprise.

The Elway theorem and the inter-dimensional transport devices are the only things that make this episode Star Trek. Otherwise, it might as well be set in Israel, Northern Ireland, or Afghanistan.

Is it just my imagination, or does the Rutian lobby, where we see children being detained by soldiers, look a lot like an airport terminal?

"I have been studying the history of armed rebellion and it appears that terrorism is and effective way to promote political change." In an episode that asks so many uncomfortable questions, this is the most unnerving point being made.

Picard lands a nice punch on Finn.

There's some awkwardness between Picard and Crusher that has a lot to do with her being absent for the entirety of the second season. I feel like their relationship would have come a lot further had she been around, following the early path laid out by episodes like "The Arsenal of Freedom." In fact, this episode seems to be retreading the exact same ground as "The Arsenal of Freedom," with Crusher and Picard trapped together, and with Crusher about to confess how she feels right when something interrupts her.

The ending is unsatisfying, because there is ultimately no resolution or overarching point being made. The episode is like a nice overview of terrorism as a subject matter, but it doesn't take it anywhere new or interesting, even by pre-9/11 standards. I like how the episode is able to take a stab at a really difficult and timely topic--and there are some memorable lines--but I feel like it could have done more.



Spoiler section:

ENT handles terrorism in much better ways, but that's in large part because ENT was on the air when 9/11 happened.





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