Utterly Star Trek Review

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Star Trek: The Next Generation 1.11 (The Big Goodbye)

Cast:
Mike Genovese (Desk Sergeant)
Lawrence Tierney(Cyrus Redblock)
Harvey Jason (Felix Leech)
David Selburg(Whalen)
William Boyett (Dan Bell)
Gary Armagnal(Lt. McNary)
Rhonda Aldrich (Secretary)
Erik Cord (Thug)
Carolyn Allport (Jessica Bradley)
Dick Miller (Vendor)

Writer: Tracy Tormé

The Enterprise is about to meet up with a race that is so picky a simple mispronunciation of the greeting in their language could lead to war.  To relax, Picard plays a fictional 1940’s detective from San Fransisco(Dixon Hill) but when the alien race arrive early and probe the Enterprise, the probe causes the holodeck to malfunction trapping Picard, Beverly, Data and a historian crewmember (Whalen) on the holodeck with all safety settings turned off.  Whalen is shot, and the crew find they cannot leave the holodeck.  As gangster Cyrus Redblock holds them at gunpoint, Wesley and Geordi race to open the holodeck without it resetting and wiping every pattern inside it, including the crew!  Of course they succeed, get Whalen out in time and Picard strolls straight onto the bridge and delivers his greeting perfectly.

Malfunctioning holodecks become a bit of a cliche down the line – we get episodes based on that idea on all three Star Trek shows set in the 24th century.  This is the first one, and as such it stands up rather well.  Picard goes in for a few minutes to get a taster for it just before the staff meeting about the forthcoming rendez-vous, and his enthusiasm for the realism of the setting is quite infectious.  He is so fired up about it it is funny to watch.  Picard soon became the lynch-pin of the show – he was the reason that people tuned in every week, and I think this is the first time that it became clear why.  His performance in this episode is quite wonderful.

We get the usual Star Trek fair of people in a time they don’t understand, and most of that is done pretty well as well.  And the scene where they walk through the doors of the holodeckand onto a street complete with vendors and vehicles is done brilliantly.  Okay, so they probably built a small chunk of Enterprise corridor set on the location, but who cares how they did it: it works wonderfully.

The final comment I want to make on this episode is this shows the bond between Picard and Beverly more strongly than it has been shown before – we got hints in The Naked Now but here they plan to go back to Dixon Hills office by themselves – they are clearly put out by Data and Whalen’s insistence of going with them.

So, a well told story with some great acting.  Not a classic, but big step in the right direction.  This is the first time the series really started to come together for me – when we start to realise just how capable some of the leads are.  Long may it continue.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 1
Score: 7/10

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June 19, 2008 Posted by | dixon hill, holodeck malfunction | | Leave a comment