Wed
Dec 5 2012 4:00pm
Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Suspicions”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Suspicions“Suspicions”
Written by Joe Menosky and Naren Shankar
Directed by Cliff Bole
Season 6, Episode 22
Production episode 40276-248
Original air date: May 10, 1993
Stardate: 46830.1

Captain’s Log: Crusher enters her quarters, looking cranky and apprehensive. As she’s removing her boots, the doorchime rings. It’s Guinan, claiming she has tennis elbow after La Forge beat her in straight sets. Crusher tells her to go to sickbay and see Dr. Selar, because Crusher isn’t a doctor on this ship anymore. She’s been relieved of duty and has to head back to Earth for a formal hearing. Guinan asks her what happened, and then it’s flashback time!

Crusher attended the Altine Conference, where a Ferengi scientist, Dr. Reyga, was booed off the stage for his unorthodox proposal for a metaphasic shield. Crusher, though, despite having no actual expertise in subspace technology, shield mechanics, or anything else related to this field of study, decided that she knew better than a conference filled with scientists, so she invited Reyga to the Enterprise. She then reached out to as many subspace experts as she could find, in order to show them that Reyga’s theories were sound. But only four responded: Kurak, a Klingon warp-field specialist; Dr. T’Pan, a Vulcan, and the director of the Vulcan Science Academy, who came with her husband, Dr. Christopher, a subspace expert; and a Takaran named Jo’Bril, about whom Crusher knew very little.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Suspicions

Reyga needs the resources to develop the shield, which can allow a ship to survive within a sun’s corona. Kurak is skeptical of its efficacy, and doesn’t trust Reyga’s simulated tests. The Ferengi offers to do a field test on an Enterprise shuttle that he’s outfitted with a metaphasic shield. (This, of course, implies that he already has developed it, so it’s unclear what he needs everyone else for.) He’ll take the shuttle into Vaytan, an unstable star with a dense corona. T’Pan and Christopher suggest a more stable star, but Reyga insists that Vaytan’s the perfect place to test it precisely because it is volatile. Jo’Bril volunteers to pilot the shuttle, after Kurak asks for a different pilot for a more objective viewpoint.

Everyone gathers on the bridge as Jo’Bril flies the shuttle into the corona. At first, everything goes well, but then the shuttle’s interior becomes flooded with baryons, which Reyga says shouldn’t have happened. Jo’Bril manages to pilot the shuttle out of the sun before collapsing, and Worf beams him to sickbay. Crusher and Ogawa try and fail to save him. The autopsy reveals a species that has very few discreet organs, with biological systems evenly distributed throughout the body—which should make him more resistant to injury. But there’s no apparent cause of death.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Suspicions

Even as Crusher is driving herself crazy to figure out why Jo’Bril died, Reyga, La Forge, and Data are examining the shuttle. They can’t find anything wrong. Reyga is frustrated, as he thought he’d accounted for every contingency.

Crusher thinks that the testing should cease. Reyga is frustrated, and storms out of the lab, after T’Pan states that the very concept of the metaphasic shield is flawed and after Kurak snarks Reyga regarding Jo’Bril’s death. Reyga volunteers to perform another test himself, but Crusher won’t authorize it.

The next day, Reyga’s found dead in the lab. Worf and Crusher investigate, and he’s holding the plasma infuser that killed him, but it’s unclear whether or not it was suicide or murder. Unfortunately, the best way to determine that is an autopsy, and Reyga’s family is insistent that there be no autopsy to spoil the Ferengi death ritual.

So Crusher must speak to the people who might have motive to kill Reyga. First she talks to T’Pan and Christopher. The former finds it illogical to believe that someone would kill Reyga out of jealousy for a metaphasic shield that didn’t actually work, while the latter finds Crusher’s inquiry distasteful. However, he does reluctantly admit that he heard Kurak and Reyga arguing. But when Crusher confronts Kurak, she throws Crusher into a wall.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Suspicions

Having made no real progress—unsurprising given that she has no experience as a death investigator and she rather confusingly didn’t read Worf in on this—Crusher decides to disobey the wishes of Regya’s family, toss medical ethics right out the window, and perform the autopsy. To make matters worse, the autopsy doesn’t reveal anything new.

Picard is livid, and says he can’t protect her. She says she accepts the consequences and is relieved of duty—which brings us back to the present. Guinan wants to know why Crusher’s moping around her quarters if she thinks there’s a murderer on board, especially since the consequences of her investigating further would be to be relieved of duty—which has already happened. So she talks to Data about the possibility of sabotage. The shield could only be sabotaged while active, which was only when it was in the sun’s corona. Dismissing the notion of Jo’Bril sabotaging the shield himself, given that it killed him, Crusher asks Data if the shield could’ve been remotely sabotaged. The answer Data gives would result in a tetryon pulse in the shuttle, which would leave residual traces in Jo’Bril’s body.

Unfortunately, autopsy files can only be accessed by active medical personnel. Ogawa, however, comes to Crusher’s rescue and calls up the files. Sure enough, there are tetryon traces in his cells. Ogawa points out that it’s circumstantial evidence, and Crusher says there’s only one way to be sure.

So she steals a shuttle. Why not? If Q can do it....

Crusher says she’s testing a theory that Reyga’s shield works. Picard rightly points out that it’s a hypothesis, not a theory, and that she’s risking her life. But the test does actually work. The shield holds, and everything’s fine. Crusher is now convinced that T’Pan, Christopher, or Kurak is the murderer—but then communications are severed. Jo’Bril then crawls out of what looks like a roll-top desk that inexplicably is on the shuttle. He has somehow severed communications. He also has somehow gotten out of the morgue without anyone seeing him, put his clothes back on, got his hands on a phaser, and snuck onto the shuttle. Takarans, apparently, can control their bodies at the cellular level, including putting themselves into a kind of physiostasis that simulates death. All he wanted to do was discredit Reyga so no one would pursue his research, but now thanks to Crusher he has a prototype. He creates a subspace field that will (somehow) create the illusion that the shuttle has been destroyed. Once the Enterprise leaves the area, he can take the shield to Takara and develop it as a weapon. (Because, of course, he wouldn’t be properly evil unless he was developing it as a weapon.)

However, Crusher is able to attack him before he can fire, and they struggle for a few minutes before Crusher gets her hand on the phaser. She blows a hole in his stomach, which doesn’t even slow him down, then sets the phaser to disintegrate. After killing Jo’Bril, she pilots the shuttle back out.

Crusher is restored to duty, despite having violated whole bunches of medical ethics, and she gives Guinan a tennis racket as a thank-you gift. That’s when Guinan admits that she’s never played tennis....

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Suspicions

Can’t We Just Reverse the Polarity?: Metaphasic shields can apparently protect what’s inside it from the intense heat and radiation inside a sun’s corona.

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: Troi only has one scene, but she makes it clear that Crusher’s blowing her off when she tries to help. (We actually see Crusher blowing Riker off when he tries to help her out.)

If I Only Had a Brain...: Data’s entire function in the episode is to spew technobabble, even though he should be at the forefront of interest in the metaphasic shield, given his interest in scientific discovery.

There is No Honor in Being Pummeled: Worf serves even less function in an episode involving a murder investigation, which makes nothing like sense, since as security chief, he should be involved in all of it.

Syntheholics Anonymous: This is only Guinan’s third appearance in the sixth season after “Time’s Arrow, Part II” and “Rascals,” and also her final appearance on the television show. Amusingly, it’s one in which she barely appears in Ten-Forward. She’ll next be seen in Star Trek Generations. She also apparently has never played tennis—it’s unclear as to whether or not La Forge actually does.

I Believe I Said That: “I don’t want you involved in this!”

“Is that an order, Doctor?”

“Yes!”

“Too bad you’re not my boss anymore.”

Crusher trying to keep Ogawa out of trouble, and Ogawa insisting on helping her friend. (The smile she gives after that last line is great.)

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Suspicions

Welcome Aboard: James Horan, currently seen hawking energy drinks while wearing a cowboy hat, made his Trek debut here as Jo’Bril. He’ll return in “Descent, Part II” as Lieutenant Barnaby (an episode that will also involve Crusher and a metaphasic shield), on Voyager as Tosin in “Fair Trade,” on Deep Space Nine as the Jem’Hadar Ikat’ika in the “In Purgatory’s Shadow”/“By Inferno’s Light” two-parter, and in the recurring role of the infamous “future guy” on Enterprise. He also has lent his excellent voice to the Klingon Academy and Starfleet Command III videogames.

In addition, Tricia O’Neil returns as Kurak, having played Captain Rachel Garrett in “Yesterday’s Enterprise”; she’ll return on DS9 as a Cardassian intelligence agent in the episode “Defiant.” Peter Slutsker is also back, playing the second of three Ferengi he’ll play on TNG, the others being the hard-luck Nibor in “Ménage à Troi” and Birta in “Bloodlines” in the seventh season. He’ll also appear without makeup on Voyager in the “Year of Hell” two-parter as a Krenim commandant. John S. Ragin and Joan Stuart Morris round out the cast by creating no impression whatsoever as the other two scientists.

Trivial Matters: This episode marks yet another reference to Dr. Selar, seen only in “The Schizoid Man,” but mentioned many more times, including here.

The character of Kurak returns in the various novels featuring the I.K.S. Gorkon by your humble rewatcher, as the very reluctant chief engineer of that ship, showing up in Diplomatic Implausibility, A Good Day to Die, Honor Bound, Enemy Territory, and A Burning House. Her attitude hasn’t really improved....

T'Pan makes a cameo in the Department of Temporal Investigations novel Watching the Clock by regular rewatch commenter Christopher L. Bennett.

The shuttlecraft was named the Justman, after the late Robert H. Justman, who was a producer on both the original series and TNG. The naming was apparently at the request of Rick Berman.

Crusher says that the Ferengi death ritual involves burial, though the DS9 episodes “The Nagus” and “Body Parts” will establish that Ferengi vaccum desiccate their remains and sell the powdered remains in discs. Of course, it makes sense that autopsies would spoil the value of such remains, and it’s possible that Crusher just assumed burial was involved. Or maybe Reyga’s family didn’t go for vacuum desiccation.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Suspicions

Though the Takarans are not seen again onscreen, Lonnoc Kedair, the security chief of the U.S.S. Aventine—introduced in the Star Trek: Destiny trilogy by David Mack, and seen again in your humble rewatcher’s A Singular Destiny, and the Typhon Pact novels Zero Sum Game by Mack and Brinkmanship by Una McCormack—is a Takaran. The unique physiology of Takarans comes in handy in her job, enabling her to resist Borg assimilation in Destiny: Lost Souls and take a kligat to the chest in A Singular Destiny.

Make it So: “I saw...the sun!” The Crusher-focused episodes have shown a downward trend. “The High Ground” and “Remember Me” were both excellent, “The Host” was more flawed, and then we have this mess before hitting bottom with “Sub Rosa” next season.

Nothing in this episode makes anything like sense, starting with the very premise that Crusher is playing “scientific diplomat.” Why her? This would have been a great showcase for Data, the creation of a scientist whom everyone dismissed and laughed at. His studying of the specs for the shield and going against conventional wisdom would have made far more sense than a medical doctor looking at them and deciding he was awesome.

He’s already constructed a prototype that works, so what does he need the other scientists for? Once it was tested and proved to work, what were the other four supposed to bring to the table, exactly?

Why does the test require somebody to be in the shuttle? Why not send in a remotely controlled shuttle, or one with a preprogrammed flight plan? Why risk sending a person into the corona of a star at all? If the shield failed during Jo’Bril’s flight, why didn’t the shuttle incinerate? If it was just an atmospheric problem, why not put someone in a space suit and try again? And even if a person can’t survive in the shuttle under the shield, it can still have tons of applications with drones and remote-controlled vehicles. Also, if the shuttle compartment was flooded with baryons, which we just were told a few weeks ago were fatal, why was there doubt as to how Jo’Bril died?

It’s bad enough that Crusher is the one spearheading this, but she’s also the only one who seems to care. Where’s the La Forge who was geeking out over soliton waves in “New Ground”? Where’s the Data who excitedly created a daughter after learning of a breakthrough in cybernetics in “The Offspring”? Where’s the Picard who has been an established mystery buff since “The Big Goodbye” and should, perhaps, maybe, y’know, take an interest in all the dead bodies piling up on his ship?

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Suspicions

The climax is a spectacular exercise in WTFery. We’ve covered before how absurdly easy it is to steal a shuttle from the Enterprise shuttle bay: teenagers can do it (“Coming of Age”), depowered entities with no standing on the ship and a security guard on him at all times can do it (“Déjà Q”), so why not a chief medical officer who’s been relieved of duty? And then Jo’Bril somehow gets out of the morgue (which, let’s face it, is not something that’s going to be designed to be opened from the inside), locates his clothes, and sneaks onto the shuttle without anyone noticing.

And then in the end, Crusher is reinstated because she found out who killed Reyga. I hope there are cameras on the shuttle, because that’s the only way to prove it, what with Crusher having disintegrated Jo’Bril and communications being cut off. But hey, let’s take her word for it. Thing is, she still violated medical ethics by performing the autopsy against Reyga’s family’s wishes, and she still violated Starfleet regulations by performing medicine after being relieved of duty (her re-examination of Jo’Bril, not to mention treating Guinan’s elbow). Yet somehow, there are no consequences for that. Then again, there are no consequences for completely taking over the ship, either....

This episode led to two interesting novel characters, as mentioned above in Trivial Matters, but that’s all this disaster has going for it.

 

Warp factor rating: 2


Keith R.A. DeCandido is going to be at Flora in Arlington, Massachusetts on Tuesday the 11th of December at 6pm for the east coast launch of Tales from the House Band Volume 2, an anthology from Plus One Press that includes his story “I Believe I’m Sinkin’ Down.” He’ll be joined by fellow contributors Clea Simon, Brett Milano, and Dave Brigham. Come check it out!

39 comments
Gerry__Quinn
1. Gerry__Quinn
Not to mention the silliness of scientists from somewhat hostile interstellar empires being allowed attend a conference on technology with such obvious military implications.
Gerry__Quinn
2. Kirshy
It's funny. I remember watching this episode and enjoying it for what it was at the time. It didn't bother me that Crusher was the one at the conference, maybe I assumed she was there for a medical seminar and decided to sit in on a different lecture out of curiosity, or that she was the one heading the investigation into Reyga's death since she probably felt responsible for bringing him aboard. But going over your review I can't see how I missed all of these GLARING plot holes. Oh well, I guess a 12 year old is better able to suspend their disbelief.
Alan Courchene
3. Majicou
I knew that guy in the energy drink commercial looked oddly familiar.

KRAD, that should probably be "discrete organs" in reference to Takarans. Most people's organs are discreet (except that never-seen guy from DS9 with the transparent skull.)

Flooded with baryons... my god, I'm breathing in baryons right now! Aaaaah! Okay, there's not much point in rehashing that nonsense, but the fact that they went back to it makes me a bit sad. Then again, if the shuttle were being bombarded with high-energy protons and neutrons, he could have, um, gotten cancer?
Rob Rater
4. Quasarmodo
I'm glad you left some room below the rating to fit "Sub Rosa" in. Now the only question is whether that gets a "1" or a "0". IIRC there has been only one episode to garner the "0" rating to date.
Gerry__Quinn
5. John R. Ellis
I tended to skip this one in reruns. It's just not very compelling. Even the performers seem bored!
Gerry__Quinn
6. Jaquandor
Oh Lord, someone mentioned "Sub Rosa". Thanks to that damnable episode, to this day when I light candles, more often than not I say to myself in a Scottish brogue that's no worse than the actor's in that episode, "Dinna light that CAHNNN-dle!"

As for the episode under discussion here...I have absolutely no memory of it at all. I wonder if it slipped through my cracks at some point!
Christopher Bennett
7. ChristopherLBennett
Keith: One more character from this episode has shown up in novels; Dr. T'Pan made a cameo in my Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock.

I'm not so bothered that Crusher was interested in a scientific/engineering matter rather than a medical one. Lots of people have personal interest in things beyond their professions, and Crusher lives her life surrounded by scientists of all stripes. I'm sure that most of the people aboard Starfleet vessels have a lively spirit of scientific curiosity, and I thought it helped broaden her character to show her trying to be a scientific diplomat. And I liked the idea of her looking beyond alien stereotypes and being willing to accept a Ferengi scientist when others wouldn't.

Still, I hadn't really considered what a plot hole it is that nobody else took an interest when they logically would have. As far as Worf goes, though, it doesn't surprise me. TNG's writers never really seemed to think of security chiefs as anything more than bodyguards or fighters -- especially not once they stuck Worf into the role and spent most of the series stereotyping him as "The Klingon Warrior" as much as they possibly could. The DS9 writers treated Odo more as a cop and an investigator, but maybe they thought of him more as a civilian, and they weren't as blinded by facile species stereotypes as the TNG writers were with Worf, since Odo was the only one of his kind for a couple of seasons.

@3: Yes, exactly -- being flooded with high-energy baryons would be quite deadly. Most radiation is just normal particles moving really, really fast. The protons and electrons in the air you breathe won't hurt you, but being bombarded with high-energy protons and electrons from, say, the Van Allen radiation belts or cosmic rays could be very harmful, since the particles would have enough energy to knock particles out of your DNA and other tissues and mess you up inside. It's like the difference between picking up a bullet and being shot with one. It's not what it's made of that makes it dangerous, it's how fast it hits you.

As for the Takarans' organs, that Okudagram shown above has always bugged me, because it doesn't match the dialogue. It doesn't show a decentralized distribution of biosystems without discrete organs; it just shows multiple copies of the discrete heart and lungs and liver. So Crusher is basically saying the exact opposite of what the picture she's pointing at is showing.

The main thing that bugs me, though, is the ending, both here and in "Sub Rosa." Both stories end up with Doctor Crusher killing someone without remorse. Whatever happened to the Hippocratic Oath? Or the Leonard McCoy oath -- "I will not take a life, not even to save my own." (From "The Empath.") Sure, you could argue that in both situations she had no choice -- but as in "Starship Mine," the problem is that the writers deliberately set it up to end that way instead of giving her another option, and not only that, but completely failed to show her having any qualms or regrets about what she was forced to do.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
8. Lisamarie
OMG.

A FERENGI WHO DIDN'T SUCK.

Excuse me while I go hide in my room and rethink my view of reality.

I actually want to give this episode a higher rating simply for that reason, and for Crusher sticking up for him when others wanted to immediately discount him. When I saw there was a Ferengi in it on the DVD title menu I was prepared for something much, much worse. But I am totally with you about how this has a bunch of plot holes (like Crusher somehow knowing about metaphasic shielding and being able to attend conferences on it, etc, not to mention her vaporizing Jo'Bril basically means she has no evidence for what really happened, unless they were recording her). I can totally buy her being interested in other subjects, going to some lectures etc - but at least to me it seemed like she was reading the actual research and making judgment calls on it. Maybe in the 24th century scientists are super knowledgable, but I know that I would not be able to review papers and conference talks for validity (in a meaningful way - I might be able to get the gist of it) about physics despite having advanced degrees in other sciences. I suppose she could just be super smart, but it did seem like she was an odd choice, given the other characters on the show, to be so interested in this particular topic.

And hell to the YES about her doing something that should have been left to security, and the fact that her finding the murderer has nothing to do with the charges she was brought up on. And why were they doing testing on human subjects? I guess the ethics board is a thing of the past ;)

I was also very curious to know how Jo'Bril got out of the morgue, haha.

But...yay? A cool Ferengi. Who died :( I was actually pretty sad about that.
Gerry__Quinn
9. TBonz
Dull ep, but better than Sub Rosa.
Christopher Bennett
10. ChristopherLBennett
Oh yeah, as for the morgue: While it's true that morgue drawers wouldn't be designed to be opened from the inside, I doubt they'd be designed to guard against anyone opening them from the inside either. Maybe weird space diseases/phenomena that mimic death are common enough that Starfleet morgue drawers are designed to be openable from the inside, just in case? Although if that happened, I'm sure there'd be an alarm sounding somewhere, since the survivor might well need medical attention.
Gerry__Quinn
11. Seryddwr
Grim. As mentioned above, only 'Sub Rosa' is worse of the Crusher episodes. (Though - after several reviewings - I have come to develop something approaching a perverse liking for it.)
Jack Flynn
12. JackofMidworld
It sorta did seem like everybody who wasn't Crusher was on holiday, didn't it? The one thing that didn't bother me was her interest in the science itself, probably because Picard's always had his archaeological interests on the side.

On the plus side, though, "spectacular exercise in WTFery" made me literally LOL!
Gerry__Quinn
13. RobinM
I did find it weird that Crusher was the Science Officer for this episode. She didn't seem to be a logical choice but I just went along with the idea, and why for the love of little tribbles was she investigating the Murder alone? Neither the the Security Chief or the two amature detectives she know could help out?
Gerry__Quinn
14. Scavenger
For me, it's Geordie's general missingness that bugs me, what with him being a subspace field expert and all. I disagree this would be a great showcase for Data. He's never shown a kinship for any other misunderstood scientist that's come on board.

But Crusher's interest in the subject isn't really a problem for me. Something no one's mentioned is that her son is the once in a millenium prodigy in subspace fields and treknobabble pseudo-science. It's easy to imagine she took up an interest to share his interests/better understand him, and perhaps the topic facinated her enough to attend confrences or such.....it's not like she might have gotten stuck inside a warp bubble at some point and become interested in the topic or anything.
Joseph Newton
15. crzydroid
The phrase that actually got me laughing was the one about the roll-top desk.

Not much to say...I remember liking this when I first saw it, but watching it now, I have the same questions about why Crusher is spear-heading everything in this episode and how Jo'Bril got out of the morgue.

I do kind of want to make a "Crusher with a phaser" montage video though.
Lee VanDyke
16. Cloric
I've never thought about it until rewatching this, but Picard giving her the "You get used to (sending people into situaitons in which they die)" speech made me wonder if this isn't what started her down the track to commanding the ship we see in "All Good Things..." I've totally forgotten the name of it now. This, and "Descent, Part II" are the first time, I think, that we really see her making "command decisions."
Christopher Bennett
17. ChristopherLBennett
@16: The ship Beverly commands in the "All Good Things" future is the medical vessel Pasteur.
Mike Kelmachter
18. MikeKelm
This seems to me like someone said "Lets write a Crusher episode, we haven't done one in a while. But lets make sure that it has nothing to do with medicine!"

First, I'm not sure why Beverly Crusher is at the shield meeting in the first place- I get that she has other interests, but having worked at the National Science Foundation I can tell you that at serious academic conferences, unless you know the material forward and backwards, you are going to get lost fast. It's at such a high level, and the people who know the material *know* the material, that you simply won't understand it.

Second, I'm not sure why or how she decided to schedule a conference on board a starship. It's not like the Enterprise has a regular schedule. "Okay everyone, come to my starship... assuming we aren't being attacked by the Borg, or saving a planet, or anything else that week," isn't really a viable scheduling option. And then Starfleet doesn't even send any of it's own personnel to come to this impromptu conference, which has the worst scientific testing ever. There is no way that credible researchers wouldn't send an unmanned ship into the corona at least a few times before putting an actual manned vessel in (and why does Beverly get to just loan out Starfleet vessels to non-Federation people?)

And then after all of this, LaForge and his engineering team, Data and his science department, Worf and his security department and her good friends Picard, Troi and Riker don't DO anything to help solve the mystery?

The whole thing is just way too forced, with way to many holes in it to even begin to enjoy.
Rob Rater
19. Quasarmodo
There was obviously a cut scene at the beginning of the episode where Crusher falls back into the warp bubble, which naturally explains why no one else on the Enterprise gets involved at any point.
Gerry__Quinn
20. Edgar Governo
On a syntheholic note, Guinan also appears in "Rascals" this season.
Bastiaan Stapel
21. Stapel
A big meh to this episode. As with most poorer episodes, also a missed opportunity. Several interstellar scientists trying to find out a new whatever, could work out, I guess.
Keith DeCandido
22. krad
Thanks to notes in the comments from Christopher L. Bennett and Edgar Governo, the Syntheholics Anonymous and Trivial Matters sections have been updated. :)

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Gerry__Quinn
23. NullNix
A minor point: we weren't told a few weeks ago that baryons were fatal. The sweep to *remove* the baryons is fatal. (I agree that this must be the *new* subatomic particles called baryons, since one would indeed assume that the atmosphere of the shuttle was composed of our sort of baryons already: if more of those were coming in they'd probably talk about a simple hull breach rather than talking about the arrival of deadly baryons. I find it odder yet that the inside of the shuttle shows no sign of heat damage. I know coronas are thin, but come on...)

Picard, Geordi et al should be interested in this anyway, because, y'know, a much better shield might just possibly have applications within Starfleet. A flipping doctor has nothing to do here at all, except an autopsy she cocks up so badly that she can't tell that the autopsied person is still alive. (It's curious that the autopsy does sufficiently little damage that Jo'Bril can still walk around. Obviously it wasn't a very thorough autopsy.)
Rob Rater
24. Quasarmodo
Crusher zapping Jo'Bril with the phaser, having no effect, then having to increase the power to disintegrate her foe while at the same time eliminating major evidence for a murder she was investigating reminds me of a few episodes ago when Geordi did the same thing with the shape-changing dog. And that episode sucked too!
Gerry__Quinn
25. DianeB
I have nothing of import to add, except to say I love reading these re-watches, and I love even more reading all the comments after.

I'm a little disappointed that everyone hates "Sub Rosa." C'mon, Crusher has (what appears to be pretty satisfying) sex with a ghost - doesn't that count for something? Har!
Mike Kelmachter
26. MikeKelm
@ DianeB 25...

I don't hate Sub Rosa... yet. When I rewatch it in time with this rewatch, then I'll hate it. But until then I just remember that it is just about the only time since Naked Time in Episode 1 that anyone not named Riker or Troi got lucky... and it required a ghost to do it...
Christopher Hatton
27. Xopher
The worst thing about this episode isn't that it makes no sense, or that Crusher is the wrong one to do just about everything she does, or even that she commits a massive breach of ethics with no consequences (though that one comes close). It's that it's boring.
Keith DeCandido
28. krad
MikeKelm: it doesn't even have that going for it. Worf got lucky in "The Emissary," and Picard got lucky in "Captain's Holiday," "Lessons," and (after a fashion) "The Inner Light" and "Tapestry." Plus there's Crusher herself in "The Host," La Forge in "Transfigurations," and I doubt the O'Briens took a vow of chastity....
Gerry__Quinn
29. dejadrew
Belated comment, but I just wanted to say the one thing I really liked about this episode, that still keeps me from hating it: I loved that it had a ferengi scientist. Star Trek was wonderful and progressive in a lot of ways, but it was also backwards and creepy in some subtle ways. And one of those ways was the way alien races tended to be monolithic entities; there's a klingon personality, a vulcan personality, a ferengi personality...

Trek was totally down with racism and racial stereotyping being bad. But it unconsciously undermined itself by having everyone within any given alien race BEING all alike. One race, one culture, one religion. And saying "all ferengi are greedy" or "all klingons are aggressive" was a true thing, instead of the wrong thing they were trying to teach us it was when it was applied to human races. Plus, the physical traits assigned to the alien races often creepily lined up with human racial stereotypes (aggressive brown Klingons, scholarly straight black haired Vulcans...)

Trek learned, though, and started to fix itself. One of those ways was by having other races finally start showing up on other planets. On DS9, if you pay attention, the Bajoran extras and bit parts are multiracial. There are Asian Bajorans, Indian Bajorans. On Voyager, of course, we had the first black Vulcan, Tuvok.

The other way was by having more stories about individuals who didn't fit into their planet's cultural norms. And the Ferengi was the race they chose to do this most with. You had Rom, who was a romantic with all the business sense of a wet noodle. His son Nog, who grew up to be very ambitious along very non-traditional lines, wanting to be successful and prove himself in Starfleet, since he knew he didn't have the knack for capitalism. And you had Dr. Reyga, a brilliant Ferengi scientist trying to prove to everyone that Ferengi CAN be brilliant scientists, when his own people and everyone else considers him a joke. I loved Reyga. I loved the idea of him. I was sad that he died and glad he was vindicated after his death. Which is why I remember really really liking this episode, even though the plot made no damn sense.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
30. Lisamarie
@29, thank you! I was hoping there would be more discussion on this topic because I historically have hated the Ferengi centered episodes (this is my first time watching most of these episodes and have not seen any of the DS9 Ferengi episodes)...so it was really exciting to see a Ferengi who was not a caricature. I really liked the character and the idea that he was trying to overcome the stereotype or cultural expectations for his race (although the fact that it seems to be such a TRUE and non-nuanced stereotype is another issue - it's one thing for there to be very strong cultural conditioning and values, but another for it to be so one dimensional and apply to an ENTIRE species. It seems to me that here on Earth we are moving away from that as we progress - there are many different cultures - rather than towards this completely homogenous 'Earth culture') and was sad that he died without really knowing that his work had been vindicated.

Even having a Klingon scientist was kind of cool (although, again, you get the impression that even among Klingons she's seen as some kind of abnormality).
Gerry__Quinn
31. Tesh
Funny thing about the abnormality of scientists among Klingons and Ferengi... they kinda *need* to exist, or else they wouldn't be the spacefaring people they are. I really wish we'd seen more of the infrastructure of those people, rather than the broad stroke stereotypes. I loved DS9 when it made the Ferengi far more than the stupid gibbering idiots we were introduced to in "The Last Outpost", and this episode's Reyga was great.
Christopher Bennett
32. ChristopherLBennett
The problem is that when you only have 42 minutes to tell a story, stereotypes can be a useful tool for establishing certain ideas efficiently. It was easier for a show like DS9, that examined alien cultures on a weekly, ongoing basis, or for novels that have hundreds of pages to flesh them out, to portray aliens in a non-stereotypical way. But if a race only showed up once or twice a season in an episodic show, it was hard to make them more than a Planet of Hats.

I agree, though, that the portrayal of Dr. Reyga is the greatest strength of the episode and the reason I remember it relatively fondly despite its many problems.
Chris Lough
33. TorChris
A quick update for those wondering on the next TNG recap. We weren't able to format "Rightful Heir" in time on Friday, so it will be up today, with "Second Chances" coming tomorrow and "Timescape" on Friday. Bonus rewatch! It's a TNG kinda Christmas/Hanukkah/Krampusmare!
Steve Nicholson
34. SSteve
@30 Lisamarie, after seeing your response to this episode, I'm willing to wager that if you watch all of DS9 Rom and Nog will wind up being two of your favorite characters.
Gerry__Quinn
35. Heather Dunham
"As for the Takarans' organs, that Okudagram shown above has always bugged me, because it doesn't match the dialogue. It doesn't show a decentralized distribution of biosystems without discrete organs; it just shows multiple copies of the discrete heart and lungs and liver. So Crusher is basically saying the exact opposite of what the picture she's pointing at is showing."

Yes! Thank you. And it should indeed be "discrete", not "discreet" in the recap. The former means "separate, individual," the latter means "hidden, secret". The concept of 'no discrete organs' is fascinating. But the picture shows *redundant* organs. A whole slew of multiple, discrete organs. Hardly anything she'd never seen before.

I loved so many things about the concept of this episode... the Ferengi and Klingon scientists chief among them. I also loved Jo'Bril's makeup. Far from looking like yet another forehead alien, the colour scheme used on his skin and hair was truly intriguing, he looked like a fully-fledged species rather than a human with some latex and too much cake paint on their fact. Like the Vulcan in this ep... something about her face seemed really, really weird.

But for all the good concepts, this episode just sucked in execution, for all the reasons already mentioned. And also, for Crusher's voice-over narration, which just sounded stilted and sing-songy and terrible. It was trying to be too 'cute' with having the story told in the past tense as though she were telling Guinan.
Gerry__Quinn
36. Roger Dalton
I am in the middle of watching all of the Star Trek episodes, starting with TOS and going forward. The vast majority I had never seen before (just some random episodes of TNG, none of TOS). So far, this is the worst episode I've seen. It was worse than the episode of TOS And the Children Shall Lead, the current low-water mark. Just, truly incomprehinsible and awful at every step. And I'll take space hippies over this episode any day of the week. The only things I liked were Ogawa's one line and the Ferengi scientist. The fact that there is a WORSE Crusher episode coming up chills me to the bone.

(Not that anyone will ever see this comment)
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
37. Lisamarie
I saw it :)

Also, fwiw, I found Sub Rosa kind of campy and fun in an atmospheric sort of way. Although I still wouldn't call it a 'good episode'.

I'm guessing you won't see this comment though, as you haven't taken the black...
Keith DeCandido
38. krad
Roger: I always keep tabs on the rewatch posts to see if anything new is posted, so I did see your comment, so there, nyah, nyah. :)

And I hope you're enjoying this rewatch to go along with your rewatch!

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Roger Dalton
39. RogerDalton
Ha, jokes on you guys, I did see it.

And thanks Keith, I am very much enjoying your rewatches (mostly complaining to my girlfriend about how much I disagree with your ratings!).

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