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Star Trek The Next Generation: Aquiel

"I think you've let your personal feelings cloud your judgment."

Crusher, Riker Worf and Geordi discover what appears to be a murder scene at a relay station almost as empty as the Marie Celeste.

By season six, Geordi has a well established pattern of falling in love with impossibly unsuitable women – a hologram, the real woman who's thoroughly creeped out by the existence of the hologram, women about to transform into monsters, and so on. But he hits new heights of unsuitability when he appears, tragically, to be falling in love with a murder victim – only for this to turn out to be one of his better romances.

This is an entertaining enough entry into the 'Geordi-has-a-slightly-dodgy-romance' sub-category of Next Generation episodes. Granted, it involves Geordi entering into a romantic relationship with a prime suspect in a murder case he is in the middle of investigating but since nothing will ever be as inappropriate as his behaviour towards poor Dr Leah Brahms, we'll let that go. The episode has some fun twists and turns, and while it's obvious the dog will be significant in some way, it's not entirely obvious how (albeit not exactly surprising either).

One of the episode's flaws is that it's so busy setting out its twisty-turny plot, there's no room for anything else besides Geordi's romance, and it's hard to get behind that story. At first it all looks rather tragic (though he is making free with Aquiel's stuff in a way he shouldn't even if she was dead!), then when she appears alive it's incredibly inappropriate and seems surely doomed. By the time we reach the end and discover things have actually turned out okay after all, we've got too much whiplash from the plot twists to take it in.

The biggest flaw, though, is that the episode sets itself up as a murder mystery, but it isn't. It's just some bog standard alien weirdness. Aquiel's problems with her co-worker don't come to anything and there's no real humanoid drama here, beyond the central rather by the numbers romance. Anything set up as a mystery in the teaser needs to have a satisfying resolution, and this episode lacks that.

All in all, this is a pretty medicore outing. It's fine – there's a bit of a mystery, Picard gets to say 'Ka'plah!' to some Klingons, there's a cute dog. But, coming in the middle of great episodes like 'Schisms', 'Relics' and 'Chain of Command', this one is pretty forgettable.

Bits and pieces

 - Harry Kim took over Geordi's role as instigator of doomed romances in Voyager, and managed to romance a crew-mate who was actually dead, in a great example of Trek one-up-man-ship.


Geordi: I can see you! Oh, and I can feel you. Luckily for family audiences, Riker bursts in at that point.

Meh. Two out of four cute dogs who may or may not be aliens in disguise.

Juliette Harrisson is a freelance writer, classicist and ancient historian who blogs about Greek and Roman Things in Stuff at Pop Classics.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah. "Meh" is correct. I honestly didn't remember this one except it was so obvious that it was all about the dog.


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