Star Trek The Next Generation: The Hunted

The shot that launched a thousand memes. 
"Captain's log, Stardate 43489.2. We have arrived at Angosia Three, a planet that has expressed a strong desire for membership in the Federation. Prime Minister Nayrok has taken Commander Riker and me on a tour of the capital city."

This week Next Gen does Rambo. Or should that be First Blood, since Rambo is the title of the sequel? Well, technically the title of the sequel is Rambo: First Blood Part II. Rambo is the title of the fourth film, which should really be called Rambo III: First Blood Part IV but the Rambo titles never made sense. And neither does war - Abed Nadir, Facebook status update (sort of).

Say hello to Roga Danar. He was modified to be the perfect soldier and sent to fight in a bloody war. Just like John Rambo. He returned from that war only to face scorn from the very people he fought to protect. Just like John Rambo. He was sent to prison. Just like John Rambo. He was eventually released to single-handedly re-fight (and win) the Vietnam War and drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan. No wait, that was just John Rambo.

Like First Blood, 'The Hunted' is an analogy of the harsh treatment many Vietnam veterans faced when they returned home from the war. And, like First Blood, it doesn't really have anything substantial to say about the matter. Instead, like First Blood, it uses this simply as a springboard for extended action scenes. Were it not for a respite in act two to learn about Danar and his plight, 'The Hunted' would just be one long chase sequence. Danar escapes, the Enterprise chases after him, he eludes them, they chase after him some more, they catch him, he escapes again, they chase after him some more, before everything comes crashing to a sudden conclusion and nothing, and I mean nothing, is resolved.

This is one of those times that Picard can hide behind the Prime Suggestion and warp off to his next adventure, leaving the Angosians to sort out their own mess. Did they agree to Danar's terms? Did they refuse and get slaughtered? Did everyone just decide to put aside all their differences and sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' together? We'll never know.

I found it incredibly odd how unconcerned Picard was by all of this. I mean, I get why he left, Federation protocol an' all, and the Angosians were not exactly guilt free, but he just walked away from what could be a potential bloodbath. All it would take is one itchy trigger finger for everything to go Peckinpah. I get the sense that the writers had no idea how to wrap this one up and just decided to leave crew and hope for the best, leaving us with the jarring image of a jovial Picard walking away from a potential massacre.

Notes and Quotes

--This is the only TNG episode to feature a Jeffries tube which is large enough to walk upright in, as well as the first mention of them on the series.

"Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk, I'm a woman's man: no time to talk."

--The redesigned USS Enterprise-D brig appears for the first time.

--There was originally meant to be a big battle at the end that would've left both sides wiped out, but it was cut due to time and money.

--Why is it whenever the sensors go off line no one ever thinks to just look out of the window?

--When Data is in command at the beginning no one seems to be manning the operations post. That's a little careless, isn't it? Could they not get an extra?

--Prime Minister Nayrok is played by James Cromwell who has had many Trek roles over the years, the most famous of which being Zefram Cochrane in Star Trek: First Contact.


Danar: "I just killed three men to get out of there, counselor. And I'm fully capable of killing you as well. That's a terrifying thought, isn't it? Even to me."

Chief O'Brien: "More security, Transporter Room Four! More security! More security!"

Danar: "My improved reflexes have allowed me to kill eighty-four times. And my improved memory allows me to remember each of those eighty-four faces. Can you imagine what that feels like?"
Data: "I am incapable of any feeling."
Danar: "Well, then I envy you."

Two out of four confusingly titled action franchises.
--
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

1 comment:

Great PurpleRobe said...

I like this episode, though I agree not one of the Federation Flagship's finest moments. The whole "let's beam out of your way and you sort it out" thing seemed almost cowardly.

James Cromwell is just an awesome actor, be he Angosian, Human or Karemma (as he is in the DS9 Episode, Starship Down).

Like Symbiosis, this is one of those episodes where the Prime Directive cuts both ways. But, it begs the question -- if Angosia does become a member of the Federation, can the Prime Minister then not officially call on Starfleet to rid the planet of their programmed soldiers? What would be Starfleet's response?