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TNG 3-14

TNG 3x14
"A Matter of Perspective"

Original airdate: 2/12/1990
Rewatch date: 10/7/2011


Riker is accused of murder, and an alien investigator uses the holodeck to prove it.

Spoiler-free notes:

Two episodes in a row have nudity in the opening sequence.

Data claims that the holodeck simulations have an "8.7% margin of error." How can you possibly measure that, and what is that 8.7% relative to?

The screens and lights continue blinking and flashing, even when the program is frozen. This reminds me of the fire still flickering during a paused Henry V in "The Defector." Perhaps there are certain environmental effects that are just easier to keep moving. After all, the fire is essentially real, so there's no reason for it to stop flickering.

Krag posits that Riker fired a phaser during transport, but wouldn't O'Brien have noticed that there was a discharging phaser in the transporter beam, and wouldn't Riker have beamed in with the phaser pointed forward? They should have deposed O'Brien.

It's cool that Troi tells Riker that Mrs. Apgar's telling of the story is consistent with what she believes she remembers, because memory really is that fallible. I'm sure the "actual" story would be somewhere between Riker's telling and Mrs. Apgar's. It's not hard to see Riker leering at Mrs. Apgar, but we know he wouldn't try to rape her. Conversely, we know he would be totally professional, but he probably wouldn't have acted as prudish as he claims he did. Given the extreme fallibility of human memory, if an exact recreation of events could be shown, I'm sure both Riker and Mrs. Apgar would question its accuracy.

The Kreiger waves coming from the holodeck is a neat twist, but it hinges on the holodeck running during every interval. Would they leave the simulation running at all times?

This episode is Star Trek's attempt to put a sci-fi spin on a courtroom drama or crime-scene procedural. It's mostly successful in what it tries to do, but the ending is laughably convenient. Krag, after watching La Forge's recreation, withdraws his request for extradition without further comment, and neither Mrs. Apgar nor the assistant offer any sort of protest. In their society, a person is guilty until proven innocent, and I don't think that level of defense was offered to Krag's satisfaction; after all, the whole thing hinges on La Forge's defense, and La Forge has more than enough reason to be biased. The ending would have worked better if Picard had put his foot down and Krag had agreed with some reluctance, with Mrs. Apgar continuing to protest. It would have felt more real, and would thus have been more in the tone of the rest of the episode.





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