Star Trek The Next Generation: Violations

"No one can deny that the seed of violence remains within each of us. We must recognize that, because that violence is capable of consuming each of us."

While this was an interesting attempt to tackle a difficult issue, it wasn't done with quite enough subtlety.

A violation of another, either a physical, emotional, or in this case telepathic assault, is a very uncomfortable and rather primal thing to attempt to write about. It is a delicate task to balance this kind of plot, with so many potential entanglements that sometimes even broaching the subject can offend and alienate people. Using allegory and science fiction tropes here didn't really eliminate that feeling of discomfort, but it did soften it a bit.

The entire situation starting with an attack on Troi by a visiting alien would be clichéd and insensitive at best, but it was made worse because it had happened to her before in a different episode. Add to that the truly horrible idea that it was a pleasant memory with Riker perverted into a rape scene, something that tarnished their relationship, and to a small degree made the idea of the two of them getting together down the line a little icky.

I did like the idea that Riker was next, subverting the victim cliché on its head by having the most manly (except for maybe Worf) guy on the ship get attacked next. But the nature of Riker's nightmare called into question what exactly Jev was doing with the assaults. Is it a deep fear or a horrible situation? Was Troi worried about her relationship with Riker changing? Or was she actually frightened of the possibility of him hurting her? Because the latter is just unbelievable.

The final assault was on Beverly, which gave us the most interesting dream sequence: Picard escorting Beverly to Jack's body. It was surreal and effective, and I wonder if the weird patch on Picard's temple was a small nod to the fact he was a Borg at one point, and Beverly has never really gotten over that fact. Despite it being the most compelling of the sequences, it was also a little upsetting that both of our female leads were attacked. Geordi was investigating the situation too, and he was far closer to figuring out who did it than Beverly was.

The ultimate resolution was okay, Jev setting up his father to get punished worked within the character motivations. He had lived under an overbearing father who belittled his gifts for years, and it finally got to him. The tragedy that their relationship caused Jev to act out in such a horrible way was probably the best part of the episode because it was handled in a way that was never directly addressed. It was also telling that although Picard insisted that humanity had evolved past this kind of violence, it still existed within.

Bits:

According to Memory Alpha, this episode originated from the outline for "Night Terrors" (another episode featuring Troi getting mind-raped).

Riker mentioned that Troi had been there for him when he was in a coma, referring to the episode "Shades of Grey."

I'm pretty sure Troi was going to win that fight without Worf's help. She was kicking Jev's ass for most of it.

The costumes for the Ullians were pretty neat looking, even though those coats were kind of impractical.

This is the only time Keiko appears without Chief O'Brien also appearing in the same episode.

Quotes:

Troi: "I've learned to remind myself that my mother and I are two separate individuals."
Jev: "Mm-hmm. And have you enjoyed much success with this approach, Counselor?"
Troi: "No. But I do keep reminding myself."

Worf: "Klingons do not allow themselves to be... probed."

Geordi: "How about you, Commander? Got any memories you feel like digging up?"
Riker: "None that I'd care to share with an audience."

Maybe it was the subject matter, but I didn't like this episode at all.

1 out of 4 surreal dreams.

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.

2 comments:

Mallena said...

Not a fan of this one, just unwatchable for me. Glad I didn't have to review this episode.

Cat said...

But the nature of Riker's nightmare called into question what exactly Jev was doing with the assaults.

I always figured the first one was motivated by his inability to control his feelings toward Deanna, like he got off on twisting her nice memory. The other two were to cover his tracks, rather than for his own pleasure.