Tue
May 8 2012 3:00pm
Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Half a Life”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Half a Life“Half a Life”
Written by Ted Roberts and Peter Allan Fields
Directed by Les Landau
Season 4, Episode 22
Production episode 40274-196
Original air date: May 6, 1991
Stardate: 44805.3

Captain’s Log: The episode opens with Troi’s personal log stating four simple words: “My mother is here.” What more need be said?

Picard exits the turbolift, looking around fearfully, hoping not to bump into Lwaxana. This hope is in vain, as she pounces upon him, learning that they are about to take a scientist on board from Kaelon II, a reclusive world. Until this current project, they’d had very little contact with the Federation. Lwaxana inserts herself into the greeting party when Dr. Timicin beams aboard and immediately establishes herself as his “entertainment director.” (“He’s in a lot of trouble,” La Forge opines more prophetically than he realizes to O’Brien after they depart.)

Kaelon II’s sun is dying. Three years ago, Kaelon II contacted the Federation asking for help to find a sun similar to their own so they could test a possible solution. The Enterprise will modify their photon torpedoes in such a way as to basically reignite their sun. Timicin works with La Forge and Data to perform the modifications, but Lwaxana also insists on flirting with him — and he responds, finding her vibrant and delightful. Timicin has spent the past forty years working on the solution to their sun, and it’s obvious that his social life has been nonexistent. Lwaxana’s attentions serve to relax him — though when she invites him into her quarters for a nightcap, he politely declines.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Half a Life

The Enterprise arrives at a sun similar to Kaelon II’s and tests the torpedoes. The intent is to raise the core temperature of the sun to 220 million degrees Kelvin. Unfortunately, something goes wrong, and the sun’s temperature continues to increase past that, eventually going nova.

Timicin expresses his gratitude for the Enterprise’s help, but he is miserable. Lwaxana sees him drinking alone in Ten-Forward and endeavors to comfort him. Timicin says he wished he met her sooner because he’s about to reach the age of 60. On Kaelon II, when someone hits that age, they perform “the Resolution” where they have a big feast and then kill themselves. It’s their way of avoiding the ravages of old age.

Lwaxana is livid. She just met him, and he’s going to just die for no good reason (to her mind). She tries to get Picard to talk them out of it (which is not only against the Prime Directive, but utterly ridiculous on the face of it), and then tries to beam down herself (putting poor O’Brien in a difficult spot). After Troi talks her down off the metaphorical ledge, she visits Timicin, and winds up spending the night.

The next morning, Timicin talks about how things used to be on Kaelon II before the Resolution. As people grew older and more infirm, they were put in homes. Once their lives meant something, and they were forced to mean nothing, for years. It is better this way, one generation passing on the responsibilities to the next. Lwaxana counters that children should be responsible for caring for their parents as they grow older, but Timicin thinks that places a terrible burden on them.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Half a Life

They argue for quite some time — both making excellent points for and against. Lwaxana’s best argument is that he’s the expert on their sun, and their world might not survive long enough for the next scientist who takes over the problem to figure out the solution.

Going over the sensor data, Timicin realizes that there was unexpected neutron migration. He realizes that with a little time, he can figure out how to manage it — but he doesn’t have time, of course. So he requests asylum on the Enterprise, and begs Kaelon authorities to let him finish his work. The Kaelon response is to send two warships into orbit, making it clear that if they attempt to leave orbit with Timicin, they will open fire.

Kaelon II also refuses any contact with the Enterprise, not even to accept Timicin’s new data about the neutron migration. Timicin’s daughter Dara beams on board to talk him into coming home. She asks him where he’ll go — and where he’ll die. It saddens her greatly that he won’t be laid to rest on their world next to her mother, and that she can’t be laid to rest with him when her Resolution comes.

Lwaxana comes to realize just how important the Resolution is to Timicin and to the people of Kaelon II, and how selfish her own desire to keep Timicin alive is.

Timicin then comes to her, and says that he does love her, but that love is not enough to abandon everything his world holds dear. In return, she accompanies him to the surface, since a person’s loved ones are supposed to be present during the Resolution.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Half a Life

Can’t We Just Reverse the Polarity?: Timicin’s modifications are designed to increase the core temperature of the sun to 220 million degrees Kelvin, thus revitalizing it and allowing the sun to avoid collapsing longer. Neutron migration apparently causes the temperature to continue to rise beyond that.

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: Troi talks Lwaxana through both her initial anger at the Resolution, and through her later self-doubts about convincing him to abandon the Resolution. It’s a nice balance of supportive daughter and counselor.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Half a Life

There is No Honor in Being Pummeled: This is the first (but not the last) time that Lwaxana refers to Worf as “Mr. Woof.”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Half a Life

If I Only Had a Brain...: When Lwaxana interrupts a meeting in engineering for a picnic break, Data actually bolsters Lwaxana’s argument that too long without food messes with the thought processes. La Forge angrily tells him not to start, and finally accedes to Lwaxana’s request.

No Sex, Please, We’re Starfleet: Two years after “Manhunt,” Lwaxana finally finds someone, only to have him taken away from her. Timicin, who has spent so long focusing only on work, finds Lwaxana’s enthusiasm for life and sense of humor intoxicating.

I Believe I Said That: “This is Mr. Homn. He doesn’t say much.”

“How can he?”

Lwaxana introducing her valet, and La Forge speaking truth.

Welcome Aboard: Majel Barrett and Carel Struycken are back as Lwaxana Troi and Mr. Homn (following “Haven,” “Manhunt,” and “Ménage à Troi”), while Michelle Forbes appears as Dara, which so impressed the producers that they would cast her in the recurring role of Ensign Ro Laren next season.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Half a Life

But the main guest is, of course, the great David Ogden Stiers — best known as Major Charles Emerson Winchester III on M*A*S*H — who gives a noble, nuanced performance as Timicin.

Trivial Matters: In tribute to Stiers’s best known role, the sensor log he examines where he discovers the neutron migration is sensor log #4077 (after the designation of the hospital unit where M*A*S*H took place).

This is the first Trek script by Peter Allan Fields, who would work on a couple of more scripts for TNG (most notably “The Inner Light,” with Morgan Gendel) before becoming a staff writer on Deep Space Nine, where he would write some of the show’s finest episodes.

Make it So: “Alive, I am a greater threat to my world than a dying sun.” The first Lwaxana Troi episode that doesn’t induce cringing, mainly because it treats her as a character rather than a caricature, without losing any of what made the character what she was in her previous three appearances. She’s still a force of nature, still cheerfully oblivious to her own ridiculousness, still uncaring about what other people think of her, but she is also passionate and caring.

Best of all is that the episode doesn’t take sides. There are a lot of things about the Resolution that are pretty icky, and Lwaxana lays out all of them — but there’s also something admirable about it, and Timicin and Dara’s defenses of it are eloquent and passionate and legitimate.

Amusingly, even though the Prime Directive itself is only mentioned once by Picard, this is one of the best PD episodes. Picard can’t interfere, and what’s more, he shouldn’t. Cultures don’t evolve overnight and they don’t do so capriciously — more to the point, they can’t change overnight, either. Lwaxana gives an example at one point of a tradition on Betazed that women would wear wigs with small animals in them, until one woman decided that it was ridiculous and stopped. But even that change didn’t happen right away. The Enterprise interfering would damage the culture, and even their offering asylum to Timicin causes major problems on the world.

This is a magnificent, tragic love story, one that takes a thin character and gives her depth, one that gives us a beautifully realized guest character in Timicin (casting Stiers was a masterstroke, as he always brings subtle nuance to his roles), and one that takes its issues seriously.

 

Warp factor rating: 8


Keith R.A. DeCandido wrote an award-winning story featuring Lwaxana Troi and the fall of Betazed during the Dominion War for the short story anthology Tales of the Dominion War called “The Ceremony of Innocence is Drowned.” In that story, she remembers her brief time with Timicin very fondly. Go to his web site and order his books, including the soon-to-be released novel Goblin Precinct and the Jonathan Maberry-edited shared-world anthology V-Wars.

30 comments
Philippe13
1. Philippe13
There is so much to love about this one: Stiers, Forbes, Barrett, the PD treatment, the exploration of one culture's way to dealing with old age, the great acting etc.
I think this episode is even more interesting now that many societies are finally dealing with their aging populations. Here in Canada, many, many, MANY demographic studies have essentially said "You have deal with this because the system was set up to work when there are more young people than old people." (You could of course argue that they were not properly funded at the onset but I digress). In any event, this "aging population" (i.e. more old people that younger ones active in the workforce, is a temporary situation: when the baby-boom generation dies, assuming demographic and immigration trends continue, we will readjust (in Canada, at least).
This episode, which I love, is very hard to watch because I really felt the anguish of having to respect a culture's wishes that were totally alien and where the outcome is so sad. Of course, I would argue that the writers are not making a case for cultural relativism: killing people at a certain age – just because you believe that this will prevent them from being a burden and that their life will “still have meaning” (really, because they are all super intelligent scientists who can make such a meaningful contribution to their society) – is still wrong, it's just that they must figure this out on their own. I suppose that's why following the PD is so hard. Just look at your respective countries and see what great societal debates you’ve had to resolve certain issues and which ones are still not resolved. Of course, were this planet to apply to join the federation, they would have to have evolved beyond this “custom”.
Once again Keith, totally agree.

There is so much to love about this one: Stiers, Forbes, Barrett, the PD treatment, the exploration of one culture's way to dealing with old age, the great acting etc.
I think this episode is even more interesting now that many societies are finally dealing with their aging populations. Here in Canada, many, many, MANY demographic studies have essentially said "You have deal with this because the system was set up to work when there are more young people than old people." Of course, this is a temporary situation: when the baby-boom generation dies, assuming demographic and immigration trends continue, we will readjust (in Canada, at least).
This episode, which I love, is very hard to watch because I really felt the anguish of having to respect a culture's wishes that were totally alien and where the outcome is so sad. Of course, I would argue that the writers are not making a case for cultural relativism: killing people at a certain age – just because you believe that this will prevent them from being a burden and that their life will “still have meaning” (really, because they are all super intelligent scientists who can make such a meaningful contribution to their society) – is still wrong, it's just that they must figure this out on their own. I suppose that's why following the PD is so hard. Just look at your respective countries and see what great societal debates you’ve had to resolve certain issues and which ones are still not resolved. Of course, were this planet to apply to join the federation, they would have to have evolved beyond this “custom”.
Once again Keith, totally agree.
Philippe13
2. Philippe13
...and apologies for the double post, control-c issue I guess I missed...
:S
Philippe13
3. don3comp
Indeed, this is one of the most moving episodes. It's the anti-"Manhunt" in this way: in that episode, Lwaxana stopped an alien sabotage of the ship (that had eluded security) "all in a day's work." In this one, she can't use her talent or blarney to do anything but help Timicin enjoy the time he has left. This deepening of her character paved the way for "Dark Page."

Thematically, the concept of voluntarily ending one's life at 60 after being celebrated for all one has accomplished should make one think, "will I be able to say that I have made the most of my life by the time I turn 60?"

I agree that Stiers is masterful, as is Barett. Forbes does a good job, though I remember thinking, dialogue aside, that Dara's a bit too eager to see Papa bumped off..

This is the first appearance (that I remember) of a "Beauty and the Beast" performer on "Trek." The next would be Tony Jay (Mr. D'arque), who would play, amusingly enough, Lwaxana's mismatched fiance in her next, more comic episode. Brad Pierce, the voice of Chip, appeared in a Voyager episode.
j p
4. sps49
Barrett's character still makes me grind my teeth.

And the Kaelonian's (Kalonia?) blood vessel makeup squicked me out.

I can't rewatch this one.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
5. Lisamarie
I wanted to comment on this one before I read the reviews simply because I don't want to be unduly influenced ;)

I actually loved this one. I have a soft spot for the Lwaxana episodes, which is a little surprising. I normally am easily irritated by flamboyant, obviously intended for comedic affect characters. I can't put my finger on why I enjoy her character so much where in another setting I might be incredibly annoyed by her. But I find her episodes a lot of fun, and I actually really enjoy Majel Barrett in the role. Maybe I just get a kick out of watching her get a rise out of Picard.

So, I was excited when I saw this was one of her episodes, and then it ended up being more than I expected. I'm not terribly interested into getting into a huge debate, but suffice to say the 'sanctity of life' as she refers to it is one of those topics extremely near and dear to my heart, and I am opposed to any kind of mentality that attempts to reduce or devalue life based on 'usefulness', 'fitness', etc, not to mention the way language is often used to distort such things. So, I thought the episode was really interesting and thought provoking, and as I am also a person of....um...'extraordinary conviction'...I just really enjoyed her visceral reactions and they way she kind of saw through all the fancy words to what it really was. (And I kind of laughed when she was all, "Well it SHOULD be any reaasonable person's point of view!"...maybe hit a little too close to home).

Plus, I liked seeing her in a relationship that was more or less reciprocoal, instead of her inflicting herself on somebody who wasn't really interested, or being sexually harassed by Ferengi (ew).

I liked (from a storytelling perspective, not a 'I think this is what should have happened' perspective) that in the end he did go throughh with it. I think that IS probably more realistic - he's not going to start the revolt, but perhaps a little seed here and there will be planted.

The daughter was a total brat - it's one thing for her to genuninely think it's the best thing for him and be sad about that, but then she pulls the 'I'm ashamed' bit. She lost my sympathy at that moment.

I'm curious how others will view it since generally, she doesn't seem to be the most popular of characters...
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
6. Lisamarie
krad, I mostly agree with your review, although I must quibble with this: "
"Lwaxana’s best argument is that he’s the expert on their sun, and their world might not survive long enough for the next scientist who takes over the problem to figure out the solution." - I would disagree that this is her best argument (although it is an important factor), since it kind of implies that, if he WEREN'T the expert on their sun, it would be more okay to kill him. But the point does still stand that it 60 is arbitrary and not an indicator that your life no longer has the potential for meaning, pleasure, benefit, etc.

I think this was a good PD episode too. As much as I wanted him to, I knew it was not right for Picard to try and convince them otherwise (except by example, as he pointed out). Although it does seem kind of weird that people aren't voluntarily allowed to leave that culture. If the point of the Resolution is to lift the burden on society, what difference does it make if the person just leaves/exiles themselves? Although that is ignoring the heavy cultural implications that the ritual probably amassed over the years. But any rate, the fact that they can force somebody to adhere to the culture, regardless of why, is kinda icky.
Philippe13
7. rowanblaze
I'm with Lisamarie. This episode has far more value as a deepening of Lwaxana's character, and a practical application of the PD than it is with the right-to-die issue (which seems to me to be the subtle push); because the right-to-die implies the right-to-live, which they have clearly abandoned on Kael0n II, since they feel it necessary to enforce their "tradition" with firepower. What exactly is the harm in leaving self-exile as opposed to ritual suicide?
Bethany Pratt
8. LiC
I remember when this episode aired - I was 6 years old hanging out with my brothers and our parents, and mom said "hey look it's Major Winchester." I didn't learn who that was for another 10 years or so.

A few months ago, Mr. Stiers (Sty-ers, as he corrected me) did a series of readings at a high school near me, and I attended. It was charming, and I greatly enjoyed it. The next day I saw him in downtown Portland - I wanted soooo badly to tell him that he may be Major Winchester to some, but to me he'll always be the guy who made out with Majel Barrett Roddenberry.
Rob Rater
9. Quasarmodo
It would be interesting to have more details on the culture and this law. I assume they keep track of everyone's age, and if they don't kill themselves within a specific time frame of turning 60, they'll come and get you. Would aliens also be subjected to this law? Would it only apply if they took up residence? (I could almost see them ambushing Lwaxana on the planet when she came down to observe Timicin perform the ritual) Would an alien with a longer lifespan who took up residence still be expected to kill themselves at 60, or would the government pro-rate the age as a percentage of his/her expected lifespan? I'm almost surpised they didn't send an armed escort with Timicin when he left with the Enterprise on his experiment mission in case he had other ideas about getting the hell out of dodge. Surely not everyone on the planet is 100% on board with the killing-themselves idea. There's got to be at least a few malcontents, though the episode doesn't seem to indicate there are any.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
10. Lisamarie
According to the episode they are a very isolationist planet, so there probably aren't other aliens on the planet. But my husband and I were joking that they might try to get Lwaxana!
Joseph Newton
11. crzydroid
I don't think I'd seen this one before, but I really liked it too. And doing the rewatch now, I would also say that this is probably the first Lwaxana episode that isn't cringe-inducing, the the very first one was probably more or less ok. And it was actually pretty good.

I really enjoy watching this type of thing the first time I see it, but I usually need enough time between viewings...sitting through a talky episode like this when I just want to watch something is not going to be as appealing as a quicker-paced episode. I still kind of wish there were more movies like this though...or at least a little bit more of an effort to interject heavy themes into otherwise faster-paced movies. I'm glad Keith rated this one high as well.

I haven't seen The Host (up next) but my understanding is that people generally like that one. Since I was one of the people who actually enjoyed The Drumhead, I feel like season 4 got some heavy hitters right near the end here.

The only thing that is a little strange about this episode is that he is the ONLY scientist who could possibly fix this problem on the entire planet, and that the junior scientists on the project would take too long to figure out the solution. Really? There aren't even a few more PhDs working closely on this project that are at least as qualified as him? Are there just too many competing theories on how to save the planet? One would think that with a problem of this magnitude, the government would have some sort of giant collabrative project with all the most brilliant minds, and someone else could easily take over for him quickly once he says there was neutrino migration. Then again, I think there's room for pondering what kind of society this planet might have, and thinking of them as truly alien, instead of another planet with people just like humans.
Joseph Newton
12. crzydroid
Ha! I also joked that maybe at the end it was a ruse by Lwaxana and her case was full of phasers to lead the revolt.
Keith DeCandido
13. krad
Several people defended "The Drumhead" because of some variant on "Star Trek isn't really good at nuance or subtle, anyhow." To quote a co-star of David Ogden Stiers: "Horse hockey!" And this episode -- a friggin Lwaxana Troi episode! -- proves it.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Ian Gazzotti
14. Atrus
In reply to don3comp@3, I'm actually surprised if an age limit would make people want to make the most of their life, at least in the way society intends. If anything it would be even more like it is now: people working to pay the bills and hating it, trying to cram as many hobbies and pleasures as possible in their spare time, opening mortgages for everything since there is no point in actually saving money for the future, and becoming more and more depressed with every tick of the clock.

Now, being allowed to die with dignity when you decide it's time, that would be a very different thing.
Philippe13
15. Bruuuuce
I love this episode more or less for the reasons you do, Keith. Very glad that Lwaxana was brought out of caricature into character, and a highly sympathetic one, at that. And, well, David Ogden Stiers.

I am a bit surprised, though, that you don't see (or didn't see fit to mention) that this comes across strongly as a response to ST:TOS' "The Mark of Gideon" and perhaps a shade less strongly as a response to Logan's Run. "...Gideon" strikes me as almost the reverse case of what we see here: a planet that needs to learn to manage its population, and a government that's working to do so regardless of the wishes of the people, with a volunteer whom the Enterprise captain saves, as opposed to here, where the system is in place, and the government supports the status quo, regardless of whether it or individuals see reason to change. (The Logan's Run comparison is blatant, though I think this ep is both more mature and more nuanced about handling life as a fixed term.)

In any event, a quick standing ovation for Lwaxana beaming down at the end. My, how she has grown (and it suits her).
Philippe13
16. DrMaturin
I just discovered this site and have really enjoyed your posts. I agree with your assessment of this episode and don't have much to add to what has already been said. I'd just like to point out that this episode is pretty obvious homage to Isaac Asimov. Asimov's novel Pebble in the Sky is set on a future earth where everyone is forced to kill themselves when they reach sixty. It's pretty clear that the idea of this episode came from that novel.
Philippe13
17. Philippe13
@ 14. Atrus
Agreed on the last point. As for people mortgaging to buy things to fill the void etc..., have you been reading Chuck Lorre's vanity cards per chance?
Joseph Newton
18. crzydroid
@14 Artus: This sort of goes with my musings that we don't know what this alien society is really like, though I didn't articulate it very well. The planet instituted this ritual because the old people no longer had any meaning in their lives, when once they did. This is a society that as a whole places meaning on the contributions one can make to society, or at least the amount of autonomy a person can have. If this is a contribution centered society, than mayber there would be a lot of people who try to do something great in their first 60 years. Granted, the government is willing to risk the destruction of the planet just to deny any recognition of Timicin for going against the status quo. So I don't know what's going on there.

Also, I suppose there is the possibility that many people DO just try to fill their life up with pleasures. But there would be some people, as there would be on Earth, who would really want to make some grand contribution.
Philippe13
19. Christopher L. Bennett
A fantastic episode. I have my quibbles with the contrivance of the Kaelons' system and its enforcement, but the drama is very powerful and well-handled. This episode was the first to show what a fine actress Majel Barrett Roddenberry could be, and Stiers is always superb. And what an exceptional thing it was for an entire act of an episode to be devoted to a single long conversation between two guest stars, without a regular cast member in sight.
Philippe13
20. Mike Kelm
@13 Krad... Keith, I agree with you. After the drumhead beat into our heads, well like a drum, that witch hunts are bad, the next week we get nuance and a truly spectacular performance by both major guest stars. This was the first of several Lwaxana Troi episodes (in both TNG and DS9) when she went beyond grating and into a much more deep character. If the writers had wanted to, they could have had one of the characters make an impassioned speech about how the golden years are still good ones, but instead, they chose not to come to a conclusion, which was the right card to play. Instead of judgement, we get acceptance.
Alyssa Tuma
21. AlyssaT
There are some extremely exceptional shows that somehow manage to effectively deliver a subtle, complex, and near life-changing product week after week -- Mad Men springs to mind. I don't think it's fair to compare TNG to Mad Men; and I don't think TNG needs to provide thought-provoking, soul-stirring nuance every time (sometimes we just want battles or dance lessons with Dr. Crusher or a romp in Sherwood Forest). But it's quite satisfying when they hit the mark (and not in a clumsy, unsatisfying way, e.g., The Drumhead). My favorite episodes of this series are those that take a sticky situation, explore it in an interesting way, and maybe don't resolve anything. It's a big reason why like Worf's refusal to donate blood to the Romulan in The Enemy. I still remember watching that episode for the first time and it blew me away that they didn't end up having Worf donate the blood! It took every preconceived notion of television plot I had as a 13 year old and turned it on end!

Half a Life is a superb example of this as well. Probably helps that I am also a closet Lwaxana fan (even though I love them, it's great seeing the Enterprise crew get affably jerked around every once in a while). She's "a hoot," as my grandmother would say. But I think past annoyances with Lwaxana just deepened the impact of this episode. And yes, the David Ogden Stiers casting was perfect.

Although I immensely enjoy ALL of these reviews, I really liked this one! A treat to read -- thanks!
Philippe13
22. tottman
This is one of my favorite episodes, right after "The Inner Light". I didn't know they were written by the same person so that makes so much more sense now.

This is also the episode where I stopped hating Majel Barett's character. The writing and David Ogden Stiers performance really elevated the show here. Great review.
Justin Devlin
23. EnsignJayburd
This is one of those episodes that didn't really stick out to me when I first saw it, but has improved with age. In this case, it would be MY age. I was 20 or so when this aired. Now I'm in my 40s and I can see 60 almost on the horizon...
Philippe13
24. John R. Ellis
This was a very important episode. Before, Lwaxana was funny.

After this, Lwaxana was someone who mattered.

I think it was Fred Rogers who said something to the effect that there's nobody you can't learn to love just a little, once you know their story.

I started to love Lwaxana after this. Whereas before, I had only liked getting to see Majel ham it up.
Philippe13
25. General Vagueness
There's a typo in the third paragraph (apparently, since all the other appearances are the same): Kelon.
Philippe13
26. NullNix
Is it churlish of me to point out that the episode opens with *five* simple words, not four? "My mother is on board."

--- yes, it probably is.
NICKOLAS POLISKEY
27. jlpsquared
Krad, I am glad you gave this an 8, I would go with a 10, but I am glad this is an appreciated episode.

This is probably my 3rd or 4th favourite episode. The acting is 1st rate, the plot moves, and it is clever. Just a clever, clever episode. It is definately one of those eps you watch when you are 11 and forget, and than watch 20 years later and realize what an amazing episode it is.

Further, I don't think there is an episode I get in more arguments with people than this one. I am solidly on the side of the Euthanasia people. I have known too many people in my family who have just wasted away, to not see value in the this planet-culture decided to do.

Alot of people say something to the effect that no culture would ever actually decide to do this, it is silly. I believe Krad at least hinted at this. But I think that is forgetting human history. Look at how long infanticide took to leave western culture, and is still practiced in many sub-saharan african cultures. Look at our current health care debate, and the changing demographics of our western populations. We are going to have huge amount of ailing senior citizens being paid for by dwindling numbers of younger workers. I don't know how anyone can look at this situation and not even entertain that some politician at some point will make a suggestion resembling this.
F Shelley
28. FSS
And at the end, Luxanna grew to appreciate this planet's customs...

...can we do this with the Baby Boomers? Just asking...
Philippe13
29. Etherbeard
Geat epsiode. Just one thing really niggled at me: why would they call their own world Kaelon II?
Philippe13
30. 1337Dude
I am watching this episode for the first time, and for the first time in Star Trek history am I annoyed by the acting. The acting is bad. I'm only 10 minutes in, but I must admit I can't remember the lasting time I've encountered so much bad acting.

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