Why Star Trek made me angry

Apparently, it’s important to update your website with regular content, news and commentary. However, I find that whenever I have something important to say, I’ll just record a song about it – that’s my chosen way of expressing my views.

Last night, though, I was watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, entitled “Clues”, and unlike most Star Trek episodes, it upset me on a conscientious level, so much that I simply had to vent this immediately. The episode involved the Enterprise encountering a xenophobic alien race called the Paxons, who wished for their existence to remain a secret from the galaxy. They threatened (without any evidence to back up the threat) to destroy the Enterprise and its crew.

This is where things get WTF. On receiving this threat, the normally courageous Captain Picard, rather than standing off against them or negotiating, simply agrees immediately for the entire crew to be brainwashed into forgetting the Paxons, and to have the computer’s memory banks tampered with so that no record of this truculent species remains.

Why the hell was Picard so eager and enthusiastic to agree to the aggressive demands of the Paxans? He seemed positively delighted to be manipulating the minds and memories of his crew, his ship’s memory banks, and lying to both himself and Starfleet. Picard’s self-proclaimed mission is to seek out new life and new civilizations, yet upon finding it here, he is determined, with no provocation other than a Klingon’s broken wrist, to look for a way to un-find it.

Furthermore, before having his memory wiped, Picard has learnt that the Paxons are a danger to anybody that comes into contact with them. Rather than dealing with this danger by either neutralising it or warning Starfleet to steer clear in future, he has simply walked away from the situation, allowing it to happen again another day.

Star Trek is meant to be all about seeking the truth and expanding humanity’s knowledge; however, this episode comes across as a strange allegory promoting the exact opposite.

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7 Responses

  1. Quinn Wood says:

    Cool concept for an episode. But I agree with your post haha.

  2. Drew says:

    Hey, at least that episode wasn’t as bad as Sub Rosa.

    Seriously what were the writers on when they decided a story about Crusher falling in love with an alien candle ghost thingy would be a good idea?

  3. deuce says:

    If I recall correctly, the only reason there was a real hazard to the Enterprise-D crew was because of Data. The Paxans, for whatever reason, do not have the ability to wipe Data’s memories, so when the rest of the crew “went through the wormhole” and was knocked unconscious, Data remained awake and then he woke the crew, fucking the whole “make them think they went through a wormhole” thing up. Data’s uniqueness as a sentient android is made a point of at various times in the series so, for all we know, they’ve never had a problem with their method of dealing with someone discovering them. They don’t specifically go into that if I remember, though. For all we know they blow up a ship a week when their “memory wipe” doesn’t work but I don’t think that was the intended implication by whoever wrote the episode.

    I’ll grant that Picard seems to be pretty quick to throw in the towel and plead with the Paxans to try the procedure again, but then again, if they have the capability to knock out the entire crew in the blink of an eye, I would think it would be reasonable to take their threat at face value and try to come up with a peaceful solution. They don’t even really need advanced weapons, all they’d have to do is knock them out and they could carve the ship up like a turkey without any resistance save Data, and he’d be easy to neutralize being just one person. That’s a lot more dangerous an adversary than even the Borg are.

    Just my thoughts. I actually consider this episode one of my favorites…it’s interesting to see a main character be “the villain” of the story, even if it turns out he is acting in the best interests of the crew in the end. The episode “Brothers” is another favorite of mine for similar reasons (Data takes over the ship by imitating Picard, hilarity ensues as they realize they can’t do a damn thing about it LOL).

    Oh, and Drew, totally agree about Sub Rosa. That episode blows.

  4. MG says:

    He did say there would be a warning Buoy deployed to warn Future Fed Ships to stay away.

  5. LG says:

    I agree with deuce..the fact that the aliens can penetrate the shields, despite counter-measures, take over the body and mind of lifeforms, and deliver a ship-wide knockout at once is all the evidence you need of a threat. you are correct, picard usually doesnt back down from threats..but this situation is almost like trying to fight with Q head to head–you cant win..these aliens simply have them outmatched. even as captain, you have to know when to hold them and when to fold them. MG is also right about the bouy

  6. jules says:

    I’m also annoyed that Picard knew the names of the Paxons upon meeting them, even though they never introduced themselves by name while they were possessing Troi.

  7. jules says:

    Also where did Troi get super human strength? Also she was possessed a second time while she was in bed, all PJed up, yet she is back in uniform to visit Data. Why would she change? I get that maybe the aliens wouldn’t want to draw attention to her… Then why not just summon Data to her quarters?

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