Tue
Feb 19 2013 5:30pm
Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Sub Rosa”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Sub Rosa“Sub Rosa”
Written by Jeri Taylor and Brannon Braga
Directed by Jonthan Frakes
Season 7, Episode 14
Production episode 40276-266
Original air date: January 31, 1994
Stardate: unknown

Captain’s Log: We open on the funeral of Crusher’s grandmother Felisa Howard. Crusher is delivering a eulogy; Troi and Picard are alongside her. They’re all in dress uniforms, while everyone around them is in some manner of formal Scottish wear (sporrans and kilts and such). One person puts a camellia, her favorite flower, on the grave as he walks off, giving Crusher a significant look.

Picard talks with Governor Maturin, who gave the benediction at the funeral, asking if the Enterprise will stay a few days longer to look over their equipment. Caldos is an old colony, one of the earliest terraforming projects, designed to look like the Scottish highlands (each building’s cornerstone comes from Scotland) even though the inhabitants are not all Scottish—indeed, Maturin isn’t even human.

Crusher, accompanied by Troi, goes to Felisa’s house to go through stuff. After a bit, Troi leaves her alone to go through heirlooms and books—including Felisa’s journal. Wrapping herself in a blanket, Crusher goes upstairs—but comes back down when someone enters unannounced and tries to steal Felisa’s candleholder. The man is Ned Quint, he claims to have been the caretaker for Felisa’s house, though Crusher has no idea who he is, nor why he insists on using such an awful comedy Scottish accent. He insists on getting rid of the candle holder—which Crusher was going to take with her to the Enterprise—because it’s brought nothing but trouble.

Data and La Forge go over the colony’s systems, and La Forge finds a fluctuation in the weather control systems. There’s a storm building, which shouldn’t be happening at this time of year.

Crusher talks to Picard about what she read in Felisa’s journal. Apparently the century-old woman had a lover in his 30s named Ronin. He’s all over the journal, but she never mentioned him in her letters to Crusher—who suspects that the lover is the guy who threw the flower on Felisa’s grave.

That night, Crusher falls asleep having read the journals, and while she dozes, the candle lights on its own. Her nightgown comes off her shoulder, someone whispers her name—and then she wakes up. As she tells Troi later in Ten-Forward, she dreamt that there was a presence in her cabin, and felt a caress on her shoulder. It was a physical, erotic dream, which Troi figures was due to her reading Felisa’s very explicit descriptions of her young lover. Crusher wonders if she’ll have more dreams tonight, and Troi recommends reading two chapters of the diary before bed, just to be sure.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Sub Rosa

Later, Crusher beams down to put flowers on Felisa’s grave. The storm everyone was worried about is brewing. Quint is at the grave, and Crusher apologizes for their fight—the journal explained how important he was to Felisa. She also asks if he’ll stay on as caretaker, but he refuses. He’ll never set foot in that house again (except, apparently, to commit larceny) as he claims it’s haunted. He urges Crusher not to light the candle and not to set foot in the house, or they’ll be burying another Howard. He also blames the alleged ghost for the storm.

Just as Quint leaves, the storm gets nasty, despite the efforts of the Enterprise to fix the weather control. While La Forge activates a power transfer from the ship to weather control to boost their ability to get the storm under control, a soaking-wet Crusher goes back to her grandmother’s house to find the place covered in camellias.

A mirror rattles, Crusher straightens it, then sees a reflection of the man from the graveyard—but when she turns around (after dropping the mirror), there’s nobody there. But there is a voice, claiming to have visited her in the night, though Crusher insists it was a dream.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Sub Rosa

Then Crusher has what can only be described as an orgasm. The voice identifies himself as Ronin, Felisa’s young lover, and explains that he’s been around as a ghost since the 1600s in Scotland, apparently spending all that time having ectoplasmic sex with Crusher’s female ancestors. Ronin moved to Caldos with the family. Crusher has a few more orgasms as they talk.

The next morning, Troi goes to Crusher’s quarters to see if she’s going to mok’bara class, and Troi instantly recognizes Crusher’s “she just got laid” glow. Crusher admits that she met Ronin, though she leaves out the part about him being incorporeal.

Unfortunately, the power transfer beam is having the opposite effect. Instead of the Enterprise helping Caldos’s weather get under control, the ship’s environmental controls are wonky. A fog rolls onto the bridge, Ten-Forward’s temperature drops below freezing, and deck 13 loses gravity. Data can’t terminate the transfer beam thanks to a feedback loop. He and La Forge beam down to try to fix it at the weather station, where they find Quint performing sabotage. He tries to shut down the power grid for the station by ripping things out, and gets a plasma shock for his trouble. Quint is killed, but Crusher’s examination reveals that the plasma shock wasn’t what killed him.

Crusher sends the body back to the Enterprise, instructing the nurse to have Dr. Selar perform further examinations, so she can run back to the house and have more sex with Ronin—and also talk about Quint. Unwilling to discuss that, Ronin takes physical form—which he can’t do for very long and which is a great effort—in order to distract her and get her to light the candle, so he can stay with her. He disappears, promising to be with her always, and never actually answering any questions about Quint.

Beaming back to the ship, Crusher locks her cabin door and lights the candle, then starts acting like a junkie waiting for a fix, wondering where the heck he is. Then Ronin materializes and they have more sex, involving him turning into green smoke and enveloping her. It’s sufficiently awesome that Crusher resigns her commission and beams down to Caldos, ostensibly to take over Felisa’s job as healer, but truly to take over Felisa’s hobby of constant sex with Ronin.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Sub Rosa

Picard is livid, but can’t really do anything about it, though he does want to at least meet this Ronin that has convinced his CMO to bugger off. (In more ways than one.) Meanwhile, Data and La Forge have tracked the anaphasic energy that’s causing all the problems (it’s both in the power transfer beam and on Quint’s body) to the graveyard.

Crusher and Ronin have some more green-smoke sex, and then Picard knocks on the door, wanting to meet Ronin. Crusher—whose eyes have turned the same deep green as her grandmother’s—tries to get rid of him, but then Ronin walks down the stairs.

As they talk, and Ronin avoids answering any of the simple questions Picard asks him, like how long has he been on the colony, Data contacts Picard and identifies the source of the energy as Felisa Howard’s grave. Ronin is adamant that Picard not exhume her body, but the captain tells Data to get permission from the governor. Ronin insists he’ll petition the governor to refuse, but Picard doesn’t think that Maturin will even know who he is—and Ronin proves it by dematerializing. Picard then tries to get Crusher to leave, and is hit with a shock of green electricity. Crusher moves to treat him, but Ronin’s voice urges her to stop them from exhuming the body. Ultimately, Crusher’s oath as a doctor outweighs her desire for hot sex, and she stays to treat Picard while Ronin goes to stop Data and La Forge.

Transporters make the exhumation process remarkably orderly. Data and La Forge open the grave to find the anaphasic energy in Felisa’s corpse. Said corpse then sits up and shocks La Forge and Data with the same green energy—just as Crusher, who has saved Picard, runs into the graveyard and tells Ronin to stop. Ronin then leaves Felisa’s body and rematerializes. However, Ronin’s pleas for them to be together don’t take into account just how much of a turn-off animating the corpse of your lover’s grandmother is. Crusher uses La Forge’s phaser to destroy first the candle, and then Ronin himself, thus saving her from a horrible life of constant orgasms.

Can’t We Just Reverse the Polarity?: Anaphasic energy is unstable, but organic matter helps stabilize it. One of Crusher’s ancestors had a body chemistry that was compatible with the anaphasic energy creature that took on the name Ronin, and he used that woman and her descendents to stay stable in exchange for incredible sex.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Sub Rosa

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: Troi gives what probably would be good advice to Crusher about the dangers of two grieving people getting involved if Ronin were an actual lover as opposed to a horny immortal energy creature. Troi also tells Crusher that she can’t hide anything from the counselor, even though Crusher successfully hides the fact that Ronin is incorporeal from her.

No Sex, Please, We’re Starfleet: Ronin keeps going on about how he loves Crusher, but she never says she loves him back—she’s obviously just in it for the orgasms.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Sub Rosa

I Believe I Said That: “There appears to be a condensed suspension of water vapor approximately one degree Celsius.”

“Fog?”

“It just sort of rolled in on us, sir.”

Data providing details, Picard summing it up, and Riker unable to resist the obvious rejoinder.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Sub Rosa

Welcome Aboard: Longtime Canadian genre heartthrob Duncan Regehr—the villain in Wizards and Warriors, and who has played Count Dracula, Errol Flynn, and Zorro—plays Ronin. He’ll come back for a recurring role on Deep Space Nine as Kira’s former resistance cell leader and eventual First Minister of Bajor, Shakaar Edon. Michael Keenan plays Maturin; he’ll be back twice on DS9 as Patrick, one of the “Jack Pack” of genetically enhanced weirdos, and in Voyager’s “Heroes and Villains” as Hrothgar. A couple of veteran character actors round out the cast, with Shay Duffin as Quint and Ellen Albertini Dow as Felisa.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Sub Rosa

Trivial Matters: As with last week, we get to meet a family member mentioned in the first season and not seen until now, in this case the grandmother Crusher mentioned to Picard in “The Arsenal of Freedom.” Crusher alludes to the influence Felisa had on her decision to become a doctor in her eulogy, which included the experiences on the Arvada II colony mentioned in that episode, which were dramatized in Michael Jan Friedman’s novel Death in Winter.

Writers Taylor and Braga considered the episode an homage to The Innocents, a film that was an adaptation of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. To that end, the characters of Ned Quint and Jessel Howard were call-backs to the characters of Peter Quint and Miss Jessel in that film.

Felisa Howard was named after Braga’s grandmother, who had died shortly before the episode was written.

Make it So: “Dinna light that candle and dinna go into that hoose.” First of all, I gotta tell you that I was truly stunned to realize that this was an episode that was a) written entirely by staff writers (though it was loosely based on a teleplay sent in by a freelancer), and b) was directed by one of TNG’s two best directors in Frakes. I just assumed it was an all-freelancer one, with one of the B-list directors.

And yeah, it’s pretty horrible, but I found myself not hating it as much as I thought I would. I think the main reason for that is Gates McFadden, who spends the entire episode completely taking the entire notion of hot green smoke sex seriously. McFadden’s performance is subtle and nuanced, far more so than the script really deserves, and she totally sells it.

Of course, all McFadden’s efforts do is make the episode somewhat watchable, especially since none of the other actors seem interested in investing the same effort. Shay Duffin manages the impressive feat of supplanting James Doohan at the top of the Worst Scottish Accent In Star Trek list, Michael Keenen sleepwalks through his part, conveying none of the passion for the Highlands that the script insists he has, and the less said about Duncan Regehr’s don’t-hate-me-because-I’m-beautiful turn as Ronin, the better.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Sub Rosa

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Sub Rosa

The script also has an annoying refusal to come out and say what it’s actually about, especially since Ronin starts in with “I love you” pretty much from jump. (Honestly, that makes Ronin come across a lot more like Dug from Up: “I just met you, but I love you!”) But love has nothing to do with this story, it’s entirely about sex, and the script’s refusal to come out and say that is maddening, especially with Gates McFadden doing her best impersonation of Meg Ryan in Katz’s Deli.

Ultimately, this episode is probably as good as the one in which Crusher has green-smoke sex with a ghost possibly could have been.

 

Warp factor rating: 3


Keith R.A. DeCandido will be at MystiCon 2013 this weekend, starting with “A Break the Silence Event” at the Roanoke City Main Library Thursday the 21st of February, along with Strange Aeons Productions and Devo Spice. Then from Friday 22nd to Sunday the 24th, he’ll be an author guest at the convention itself. Other guests: Peter Davison, Orson Scott Card, Larry Elmore, Bella Morte, Rich Sigfrit, Tom Angleberger, Steve Long, and Mike Pederson, among many others. Keith’s schedule is here.

32 comments
Gilbetron
1. Gilbetron
I know this episode is really hated, and I also know that this hate is well-earned since the actual episode doesn't have much going for it. But I've always been a big Dr. Crusher enthusiast, so I agree with KRAD's remarks about McFadden's performance. It's not quite good enough to save an otherwise bad story, but she shows good range nonetheless.

On the other hand, I have to admit that I kind of admire the risk taken here, since this is as off-beat a premise as TNG ever tried. Sometimes big risks don't pay off, but I think the attempt should be applauded.
Gilbetron
2. RaySea
I like that the article is actually tagged under "orgasms". This likely takes the record for "Most Mentions of Orgasms in a TOR Blog Not About A Song of Ice and Fire."

Oh, and I have to admit, the idea of a Scotish colony is actually pretty cool. Just in general, the reminder that Earth has more than one culture is nice.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
3. Lisamarie
This made me laugh out loud a few times.

I was kind of looking forward to this episode after hearing how horrible it was. And as I was watching it, I actually didn't think it was that bad - I think this is the first of many season 7 episodes that started off with an interesting premise, but the twist/conclusion just falls flat. I kind of liked the idea of a ghost story type episode, trying something new, in a new setting.

But honestly, while maybe they were trying to go for a story about a woman embracing her sexuality, I was pretty squicked out by the whole thing, especially given that she (or the episode) never really seems to acknowledge that she was basically under this thing's control, regardless of how great the orgasms were. Not to mention that it is a bit irksome that she is this strong, competent character who pretty much chucks it all as soon as some handsome guy and great sex come along, and would be reduced to nothing more than some object/vessel for him. I was glad that in the end she does overcome that on her own and save Picard, but the last scene where she and Troi 'reminisce' about him, really bothered me.

Then again, maybe I am giving the writers too much credit by reading so much into it...
Mitch Ziegler
4. mziegler1
The most annoying thing about the episode is that it is quite the rip-off of The Witching Hour, by Anne Rice.
Gilbetron
5. Lsana
I agree with the praise of Gates Mcfadden; I just wish it had been in service of a better episode. Crusher was by far the most underused character in the series. There were loads of episodes about Riker, Worf, Data, and even Geordi. There were so many episodes about Troi, focusing on pretty much all aspects of her character, that the phrase "Good Troi Episode" was coined to distinguish the ones where they did something interesting with her character from the large number of boring ones.

Yet Dr. Crusher got hardly anything. There was the episode where she was in the shrinking subspace bubble. There was the one where she had to solve a murder mystery. And then there was this one, where they stuck her in a particularly bad Harlequin romance novel. I'm sure I'm missing some, but I suspect that you could still count them on one hand. No wonder Gates McFadden tried to find something else in the second season, and in some ways it's unfortunate that she never did (though perhaps not unfortunate for us, since that would probably have meant Pulaski would have stayed).

Back to the episode, I don't know if it quite deserves its reputation as one of Next Gen's worst, but it is pretty bad. As I said, it's like a bad supernatural romance novel: it's cheesy, it's nonsensical, it's cringeworthy in places, and above all, it's boring. I don't think I hate this in the same way I did Homeward, but I certainly wouldn't want to watch it again.
Benji Cat
6. benjicat
@4 That's the first thing I thought of when I saw this episode. Someone had read The Witching Hour and tried to shoehorn that story into a Star Trek script.
Christopher Bennett
7. ChristopherLBennett
I'm with Lisamarie in post #3 -- this isn't an episode about sex, but about coercive and controlling sex, if not outright rape. Ronin evidently has a hypnotic power over the women he preys on, using it to get them under his control and subordinate them to his will. I mean, the very first interaction he has with Beverly is to start to pull her nightgown off while she's asleep. And the second is to just show up and start stimulating her to orgasm. It doesn't matter if it feels good to her, it's still without her consent and leaves her with no control. Imagine some guy doing with his hands what Ronin did with his alien ghost magic and you'll see how creepy it really is.

On top of which, isn't it kind of creepy for her to get off on reading explicit accounts of her grandmother's sex life?

And as I said in the rewatch of "Suspicions," I don't like episodes that end with Crusher killing the bad guy. She's supposed to have sworn an oath to do no harm. Not that I can't understand her revulsion on realizing what Ronan did to her, but I don't like what it does to her character to have her kill and seemingly not be troubled by it in the least. Heck, I don't like what that does to anyone's character, but least of all a doctor.

There's also a credibility issue that's always bugged me and that I'm surprised you didn't mention, Keith. Namely, how in the world have multiple generations of women going back to the 17th century managed to pass down the Howard surname? Did every last one of them stay unmarried her whole life and have a daughter out of wedlock? I could certainly understand future generations of women choosing not to employ the practice of taking their husbands' surnames, but going back to the 1600s in Scotland? That just doesn't make any sense. And Crusher herself took her husband's name and passed it to her son. Why would she be the only one in her maternal lineage to have done so?
Gilbetron
8. treeandleaf
@7 - I completely agree on the rape aspect.

The surname thing is more complicated than that. The practice of taking the husband's name is originally English, and Scottish women commonly retained their maiden names well into the Nineteenth Century. So I suppose someone in the Twentieth Century might have gone back to Granny's name - but it seems a little bit unlikely.

And that's even before we mention the fact that Howard is not a typically Scottish name, and I somehow doubt that there were masses of Howards kicking around Scotland in the 17th century...
Christopher Bennett
9. ChristopherLBennett
@8: Interesting. I didn't know that. However: even if the women kept their maiden names, which name would their children use, the mother's or the father's?
Thomas Thatcher
10. StrongDreams
@Surnames,
On Earth today, if you say "the Howard women" you would be talking about the sisters, daughters and wives of "the Howard men." Why not, by the 23rd century, have a family that asserts their matriarchy and takes back the ancestral name? If Felisa loved Scotland enough to emigrate to colony after the "real" Scotland was gone (homogenized, from all evidence) then she might take lots of other traditions.

And individual "Howard women" might or might not take the name, depending on their life histories. If Bev had a daughter, she could have taken the name Howard to honor her tradition -- I assume changing names is trivial -- without threatening Jack's manhood.

But I don't think this was intentional. I think the writers goofed and stumbled into some 24th century progressivism by accident.
Gilbetron
11. Ashcom
I'd just like to state, as a Scotsman, that while I have SERIOUS issues with the idea that a Scottish based space colony would apparently model itself on the film Brigadoon, that Shay Duffin's accent was actually one of the better fake Scottish accents I've heard.
Sara H
12. LadyBelaine
Ah, yes, the rightfully dreaded and abhorred Sub Rosa.

Indeed, Keith I voice my full-throated astonishment in conjunction with mziergleri @ 4 and benjicat @ 6 that you didn't note the blatant theft from Anne Rice's The Witching Hour. While I can see the slight tinge of the homage to the Turn of the Screw (is she seeing sexy ghosts, or is she just crazy?), the real point of this story is that there is a family that tastes delicious (is it genetics? or do they just run towards paranormal abilities, that on second thought, might be genetic based... huh) to an ethereal, otherworldly being who then will visit a member of that family with fun sexy-times, picking one member per generation.

In fact, it just so happens that the family is Scottish in both stories. Gah, Anne Rice should have hit them with both barrels.

Gates Mcfadden does have gorgeous hair thoughout this episode. I will give it that.
Gilbetron
13. Bob Ahrens
I really thought somebody dug up a Harlequin Romance and used it for the script... Maybe they should have buried it too.
Thomas Thatcher
14. StrongDreams
Additional random thoughts (because I think too much)...

1. Didn't Robot Chicken doa a Scooby Do parody about a rape ghost?

2. If Ronin came from outer space in the 1700s, why doesn't he just go back? (Possibly he adapted to the Howard's biology so he can't live independently any more.)

3. The only biological constant across 28 generations of genetic recombination would be the mitochondria, which are passed down the female line. That means the Howard sons would be compatible hosts too. I wonder if there were tales of Howard men who lived solitary unmarried lives, and I wonder if Ronin can change shape.

4. If all Ronin needs to stay alive is a candle and some Howard mitochondria, possibly they could have grown a batch of Beverly's cells in a lab dish for him to live in. They could have at least offered it as a possible way to stay alive once rape ghost was no longer an option. (Although I could see Ronin rejecting a life as a petri dish pet.)

5. The end (Bev kills instead of preserving life) harkens back to the orginal series where Kirk kills the salt vampire but later goes to extraordinary lengths to save the Horta. Here, though, they can't blame an unripened series format. I think someone figured that talking the ghost into a non-fatal outcome would be too boring.
Kristoff Bergenholm
15. Magentawolf
I thought I'd seen every episode of Star Trek.. but.. but.. this one, I don't remember in the slightest. I wish it had stayed unknown. :(
Gilbetron
16. Lance Sibley
I don't think I've ever seen this much snark in one TNG Rewatch post. I approve. :) So who's creepier - Stalker!Geordi, or RapeGhost!Ronin? I find myself spoiled for choice.

As for Shay Duffin's accent, he was actually Irish, so I suspect he was doing a reasonably accurate variant on a Scottish accent. Though it is hard not to giggle when he yells, "DINNA LIGHT THAT CANDLE!"

I think I first saw Duncan Regehr in the original "V", actually - he played Charles, the Supreme Leader, for four episodes.

I've found that I really enjoy scenes in which Crusher is paired with Troi. Maybe it's the lack of psychobabble, and seeing two medical colleagues just relaxing together, that makes those scenes more bearable than scenes involving either character with someone else. (They also tend to involve Troi teasing Crusher a lot...) Also, Gates McFadden does seem to give a better performance when the episode or scene is more theatrical in nature..
Gilbetron
17. RobinM
I heard this episode described as the Dark Shadows episode before and it fits. I agree this episode is cringe worthy but Duncan Regehr is still pretty to look at.
Jenny Thrash
18. Sihaya
Yeah, my original TV group also called this one "The Witching Hour" when it aired.

I actually thought that the broad, bad Scottish stereotyping was on purpose. The planet wasn't in Scotland, and it certainly wasn't in ancient Scotland. Rather, it was the original terraformers' fantasy ideal of Scotland. It's like a suburb with the name Scottish Meadows. Somewhere on that planet there's probably a mall and concert venue with the name Gathering at Caldos Pointe.
Mike Kelmachter
19. MikeKelm
I suppose the only way this could have been cheesier is if Connor McLeod of the Clan McLeod showed up swinging a claymore...

First off, there were some elements here that reminded me of an early season 1 episode more than anything else... There's an entire colony that has decided to set itself in 19th Century Scotland? It's like someone on staff, after having too much to drink, thought that having an episode in the Scottish Highlands would be a good idea...

I'm sort of glad that Dr. Crusher is embracing her mattress dancing side (usually it's only Troi and Riker that jump into everyone's beds) but I'm with everyone else that the nature of the relationship is creepy and borderline rape. This is another episode where a character gets sexually violated and doesn't seem to have any lasting impact.

Also, the technobabble side of things just makes no sense... once again, it's like someone on the staff got drunk and decided it would be cool to see fog and wind on the Enterprise. I'm sick of "power-transfer beams" that seem to be unable to shut off. Why not just, I don't know... cut the power to the projecter? For that matter, a power-transfer beam through space, through the atmosphere, at a fixed point on the ground has to be just about the worst way to give power somewhere. It would require the enterprise to enter a geosynchronus orbit and deal with transfer loss of the energy as it shoots through space. Why not just beam over a generator and power it that way? For that matter, did they ever bother to explain how a feedback loop in a power transfer beam (which presumably only would be dealing with the power flow) can screw up the environmental controls, which is a completley different system?

Gates McFadden does a very good job of basically getting herself off for an entire episode, but just can't overcome the rediculousness of the entire plot....
Gilbetron
20. Cargo Culture
@4, @6, @12, @18: Let's not forget that The Witching Hour by Anne Rice (and also this episode) drew more than a little from the 1947 Rex Harrison film The Ghost and Mrs Muir.
Christopher Bennett
21. ChristopherLBennett
@19: Power loss through space isn't a problem -- if you can concentrate the beam tightly enough, there'd be little spreading over the measly few hundred or thousand kilometers of the ship's orbital radius. The main thing you'd have to worry about is the atmosphere dissipating or absorbing the beam. Earth's atmosphere is our best defense against ionizing radiation from space. This is a problem with episodes like "Final Mission" where a ship in orbit creates a radiation hazard for the planet below -- actually it wouldn't, as long as there's an atmosphere. Or with episodes like "Inheritance" or "The Apple" where the ship fires phasers to bombard a surface target -- the beam would most likely expend its energy on heating the atmosphere and never reach the surface.

However-- the atmosphere's pretty transparent to some wavelengths of radiation, like radio and microwaves. It would be viable to use a microwave beam to transfer power to the surface from orbit; there are real-world proposals for doing this with solar-power satellites. So it's not unreasonable as a means for a starship to provide power to a planetary weather grid.
Gilbetron
22. Edgar Governo
Memory Alpha used to state that Jeanna F. Gallo (who gets story credit for this episode) was a pseudonym for Anne Rice, which is why I never questioned the plot similarities, but that has apparently since been disproven.

I'm surprised that the "McFly" and "Vader" tombstones didn't get a shout-out in Trivial Matters, though.
Joseph Newton
23. crzydroid
Ronin's manner of speaking, especially in the graveyard scene, remind me so much of Groppler Zorn that I thought it must have been the same actor. Guess I was wrong.

I think a three is fair for this episode...I kept seeing on the comments how much people hated this episode and thought it should get another 0, but I never thought it was one of the very worst. Then again, in my naivete, or perhaps my idealism, I don't think I ever really viewed the joinings as being physical sex. I thought he was just becoming energy and stimulating the pleasure centers of her brain directly. Now, I could probably get into a whole thing about what the true meaning of sex is and yada yada, and how these are connected, but the way I had been viewing it was not as uncomfortable to watch as just seeing it as an invisible ghost eating her out. And I think that really, this is the thing that brings it way down. I remember liking some of the other aspects of this episode, and I think if they would've changed the nature of their interactions somehow, and played it up more as this ghost mystery, it could've been a stronger episode.

@19: It's not borderline rape, it's rape. He was using his body to sustain herself, and she didn't know his true purpose, so she couldn't consent to it. Her desire to be in the relationship was entirely because of a chemical addiction, which he also forced on her.

@21: I don't wish to dispute your knowledge of physics, but Phaser is meant to stand for Phased Energy Rectification, which I take to be something entirely made up. Isn't it possible that phasers are another phenomenon--such as radio waves--which can penetrate atmospheres?
Gilbetron
24. tortillarat
Homeland gets a 1 but THIS gets a 3? Seriously?
Heather Dunham
25. tankgirl73
@7 - THANK YOU. The name thing has been driving me crazy for... well, close to 20 years now, innit? It's just impossible that you could have "Howard women" going back 700 years (or whatever). Might there be a period of matrilineal naming? Perhaps. But not for all 700 years. Heck, if Crusher is the heir apparent, and she had a daughter instead of a son, her daughter would be a Crusher like Wesley, since she did take her husband's name and also for her children. Her own daughter would not be a 'Howard woman'.

The only argument you could make would be that Ronin inspires the women (or their mothers) to change or take the matrilineal name. But after 700 years that would be something quite noticeable.

Not because it's somehow inherent to humanity that we SHOULD take a patrilineal name -- but just because that's what 99% of us DO (especially when you include in the millions of folks from 1700 until now).

@8 - I'm not familiar with that notion of Scottish women keeping their maiden name until the 19th century. Family names are a relatively recent invention anyway, and were unique from father to son with each generation. MacDonald means "son of Donald". So when you go back far enough, a guy named Gregor MacDonald would have a son named Duff MacGregor. I would suspect that Scotland was one of the earlier European countries to 'standardize' family names as something passed on throughout the generations rather than only father to son, becoming clan markers rather than mere indicators of "which James are you talking about? Oh, James son of Donald, gotcha."

Anyway, that was a looong time ago. Getting back to the women taking their husband's name, or not, we have our family records traced back to the 1700s in Scotland, and to the best of my knowledge the women all have their husband's names. We are the Fyffes, of the Clan MacDuff. Yeah, *that* MacDuff. But I can't claim a lineage of "Fyffe women". The "Fyffe women" are my aunts (who lost that name if they married), not my direct ancestors. My matrilineal ancestors are Hickses, Smiths, MacNeills, Campbells, and Kerrs.

At any rate, I looked it up and you're right about the women keeping their maiden names in older generations, although in census records the women were often included under the husband's name anyway (and thus, our family records would likely draw from that). And more to the point, the children took the husband's name, so the Howard problem remains.

@22 -- I too was waiting for the McFly comment! That was the best part of the episode IMO...
Gilbetron
26. Ashcom
Regardless of the naming thing (which I think is just an attempt to hark back to a "never actually existed at all" romantic image of 18th Century Scotland) there is a deeper problem. If Ronin "inhabits" Beverley, that's quite possibly the end of the line for him. Beverley has no daughters, just one son. Once he has inhabited her and she gets to spend the rest of her life having multiple orgasms all over her quaint cottage, it's unlikely she will procreate with anyone ever again. Of course, it is possible that Wesley will have daughters, but it's equally possible he will not. Hence, no Howard women. Clearly there will be women out there with Howard DNA, but none likely to find a reason to come to Brigadoon colony.

Admittedly, I suppose that his existence in the colony has only lasted a few generations and prior to that he had the whole of Scotland in which to find a suitable new host. However, it's a pretty precarious existence, and you'd think that Ronin himself would be actively seeking a better solution.
Gilbetron
27. Sypher
I remember being very very disturbed when I first saw the episode. It was creepy, but... not in a good way. The whole thing just seemed inappropriate and out of place. I'm glad to know, with others looking back on it, that I wasn't alone in that assessment.
Gilbetron
28. NullNix
treeandleaf@8, Howard *is* a Northern name. However, and his hugely influential descendants were very definitely *English*, not Scottish, and were... not exactly much loved by the Scots of the time, one might say.
Gilbetron
29. NullNix
Argh. Bloody previews that don't preview. That was meant to be a link to the Wikipedia article for Charles Howard, 3rd Earl of Carlisle.
Joseph Newton
30. crzydroid
@26: You're assuming Beverly has no cousins or anything that Ronin just hasn't found yet, and who will continue to have children.
Gilbetron
31. JLPSA
Why don't we just say what this is......The TNG version of Spocks Brain.

Look, the reason Gates was underused is because she really isn't that good. I love her like th rest of you, but I can't keep lying to myself. she is better than Troi, and in that sense, she is under-used, but she couldn't act her way out of a paper bag.

As for this episode, what a joke. All of you that "kind of like" this garbage..what is wrong with you? This is ST at its worst. I will admit that I do agree with some posters that I like that they were at least TRYING to do something new and different, the problem is that at this point the case just didn't care. I think Rikers line about the fog rolling in was the only interesting part of this entire flop of an episode. I honestly remember laughing out loud when Crushers Grandmas corpse sprand out and electrocuted Data and Geordi!!! I will say it again....Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was more enjoyable than season 7 TNG.
Gilbetron
32. RTD
McFly and vader... expect those to be changed when season 7 gets to Blu-Ray...

I'm sure the writer got off on Crusher having orgasms, but given this was the early-1990s and numerous other TV shows featured characters getting the big-O (most notably Marcie Rhoades in (more than one) episode of "Married with Children", it was pretty much vogue to have a woman perform a big-O scene on television...

Easily 1/10... season 7 was trying new ideas, but Sub Soap Opera is not the way to go...

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