Thursday, January 6, 2011

Star Trek: The Next Generation - "The Child"

Spoiler Level: High

With the second season of Next Gen, things started to fall into place, and the highlight of this episode is really introducing us to the changes made from the first season.  Worf was made permanent head of security and finally got a matching yellow uniform to go with it, and so did Geordi since he was made Chief Engineer, a move that felt odd to me at the time but feels much more fitting now.  And Wesley got a real uniform, something that looked like he actually was a part of Starfleet and not like he just picked out his favorite shirt that he liked to wear when he was pretending he was in Starfleet because it had stripes on the applets.  Actually, Wesley become a much better character overall from this point on.  And then of course there's Ten Forward and Guinan.  Guinan says here she "never knew the captain until [she] came on board," which is of course problematic since later episodes imply they go way back, but either (a) she met Picard before this but never really knew him before now, or (b) it's just one of those early inconsistencies.

The story itself is a decent one; due to the Writers Strike of '88, it was a rewrite of a script intended for the "Star Trek Phase II" TV series that became Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The concept of the little ball of light wandering into the Enterprise hadn't been done to death yet, and the effect is still quite nice to look at.  I especially like the little comet tail it has here and the way it leaves a little ripple as it passes through a wall or a floor.  And of course the small abortion debate that goes on once the crew learns Deanna is pregnant is just as relevant now as it was in 1988; nothing's really changed there.  And I do like that the moment Deanna says "I'm having this baby," everyone agrees that the discussion is over.

And then there's Pulaski.  I remember trying to approach her character with an open mind when she came on the show and just hating her, because I felt she was too much of a McCoy retread.  So I went into this one prepared to hate her, and I actually found her a little more sympathetic this time.  True, she doesn't treat Data any better than she would a tricorder, but going into it knowing she would be that way I found the bits where Data surprised her to be very good.  Had she stayed, I think watching her grow to understand Data and become his friend would have been enjoyable to watch.

Lastly, a version closer to the original script is being done by the Star Trek: Phase II fan film series, so I look forward to seeing the differences when that project is finished.

1 comment:

greatplaidmoose said...

I remember never liking this episode very much. I think it was partly Pulaski and partly that the story felt like it was meant for another group of characters than the Next Gen ones and of course it was.

Also applets is spelled epaulets. Don't worry though I had to look up the spelling myself before posting it here.