Star Trek The Next Generation: The Chase

Galen: “Dream not of today, Mr. Picard.”

If you have ever heard the song "One Tin Soldier" then you know the plot of this episode.
Picard is tempted (again) by an alternative road. His old professor of archeology, Galen, shows up and offers Picard the chance to be part of the discovery of a lifetime. He only has to leave the Enterprise for three months to a year. I'm sure that starship captains can take leaves but the point here is that Picard is happy with the choice he made many years ago to choose space over the study of the past. He refuses to join the Professor and shortly thereafter the professor is killed by the Yridians who themselves are blasted to dust by the sneaky Romulans who are following the Professor under cloak.

Picard essentially commandeers the Enterprise to find out what the Professor was trying to discover. We visit a number of planets trying to replicate the Professor's trail while Picard and Crusher unlock the puzzle that the Professor left. The result is computer programmed DNA but the program is incomplete. At the final planet the Enterprise is joined by Cardassians and Klingons who are also trying to find the last piece of the puzzle. And of course, Picard suggests they work together. The Cardassians think it is an unlimited power source while the Klingons think it is a weapon. At the end it is only a message from the ancients who seeded all the planets of humanoids with a DNA code that would create beings like themselves. Their hope was that all their progeny would come together in peace to work out the puzzle they had left. The message falls on deaf ears for the most part but we are given some hope through the Romulan captain at the end.

The message is very Star Trek and as a bonus explains why so many 'aliens' are humanoid. It also ties into some of the theories out there about how we ourselves are the result of aliens. I think the more interesting bits of this episode were about Picard, his mentor and his many voices. Having a mentor like Professor Galen is a very powerful thing and it shows a lot about Picard's character and passion that he was able to walk away from not only being a star but also from a mentor he loved and who loved him. Although he says no to his mentor Professor Galen, he actually ends up doing exactly what the Professor wanted. As the Professor said if he had a starship (and diplomatic papers) he could solve the mystery in a few days which is what Picard does, although instead of diplomatic papers he takes on several enemies and frenemies face to face. Picard excels at being a captain because he follows his instincts despite the rules and again, this has led him to a ground-breaking discovery. In my opinion what he found was far more valuable, in the long run, than a power source or a weapon. I do wonder, though, how the story might have gone if the result was a dead end.

Bits and Pieces

It felt a bit arrogant that the ancients would try to replicate themselves instead of leaving things to develop as they might, but then again humans do try to replicate themselves by having children. However, it's a lot more imperfect than coded DNA.

The Kurlan concept of individuals being a community of individuals is very interesting. They would have no concept of dissociative personality commonly known as split personality.

The scenes with Crusher and Picard seem to indicate that they have a daily routine of tea in the morning and that they check in regularly with each other during the day.

One of my favourite scenes was Nu'Daq taking on Data, especially the head butt.

The cold open was quite creepy and I suspected something malicious.

Professor Galen can remember which questions Picard missed on his final exam. I doubt he missed many of them.

We heard about a lot of different planets. I wonder if they had a system for naming them or just came up with whatever was in their head that day.

The Yridians deal in knowledge but also have destroyers.

Quotes

Picard: “How can I accept this?”
Galen: “Graciously, Mr. Picard, you could accept it graciously.”

Picard: “I’ve never heard of anyone who didn’t love a good mystery.”
Galen: “The Satarran of Sothis III disdain them, but as a general idea your statement holds.”

Picard: “I had a father but he was like a father who understood me. And he had his own children but they didn’t follow in his footsteps. So, I was like the son who understood him.”

Gul Ocett: “As far as we know it might just be a recipe for biscuits.”

Nu’Daq: “You dishonorable toh’pah.” (I am going to use this one day.)

Nu’Daq: “That’s all? If she were not dead, I would kill her.”

2 comments:

tucsonbarbara said...

One of my favorite episodes.

Some related trivia - Salome Jens, who played the Ancient, went on to play the female Founder on DS9. The makeup for both parts was similar, but not exactly the same.

Also, Norman Lloyd, who played Galen, will turn 104 on November 8.

And, Linda Thorson, who played Gul Ocett, was the actress who replaced (or attempted to replace) Diana Rigg on The Avengers.

By the way, I never really liked the title of this episode. I'm not sure what I would have called it, though.

drnanamom said...

Okay if I'm going to give a shout out I should get the name right! (ie. the deleted comment) Thanks tucsonbarbara for the extra info. I'm not very good at trivia so your bits added to the fun. And I think it is impressive if anyone makes it to 104 let alone someone who was on one of my favourite shows.