Saturday, February 11, 2012

The High Ground

** (stars out of 5)
The non-aligned Federation trade partner Rutia IV has a history of violent insurrection. Beverly Crusher gets to see it up close when Ansata Separatists detonate a bomb near the cafe she is patronizing with Data and Worf. Just as the cops arrive, the doctor is abducted.

Her captor is a dark and charming bad boy (where have we seen that before this season?).
"If you need anything ask for me. My name is Kyril Finn. They know me." Really? Your underlings know you, huh? Imagine that.

The Ansata seek independence from the Rutians of the eastern continent.

"History has shown us that strength may be useless when faced with terrorism." The Rutian lady cop Riker consults with seems to agree: there's no negotiating with animals.

Beverly's son did a little better on his abduction hunger stike than Bev does today. All it takes is a whining 'Come on' from hand-wringing Finn. Om, nom, nom!

The Ansata consist of around 200 terrorists and perhaps 5,000 sympathizers. They use a dimensional shifter called the inverter which allows them to pop in and out of shielded areas. Inter-dimensional adaptive transport was abandoned in the mid-23rd century in the Federation because it's fatal.

"A dead martyr is worth ten posturing leaders," groans Finn of his therefore imminent death.

Geordi's adaptive subspace magnetosphere echogram might trace the inverter. Good thing! Could you repeat that into the replicator, please?

Beverly's ancestors were from North America. Luckily, Finn thinks of himself as George Washington. "I am willing to die for my freedom... and in the finest tradition of your own great civilization I am willing to kill for it, too." How delightful. Killing non-combatants for your freedom. Kind of like smashing a bread maker hoping donuts will fall out.

Riker tells one of the Ansata detainees that the Federation is willing to negotiate for Crusher's release, and over the cop's strident objections lets him go.

Data points out from his studies that terrorism works. Mexico gaining independence from Spain and "the Irish Unification of 2024" to name a couple. Picard doesn't believe "that political power flows from the barrel of a gun" but admits that humans have struggled with the morality of this issue for awhile now.

With the inverter, no one can stop them when they slap a bomb on the warp core. Geordi's quick thinking saves everyone, beaming the bomb into space tagged by his communicator.
When Finn hits the bridge, Picard slugs him and makes the jump back to his cave as a second prisoner. Bev is a little Stockholmed, taking Finn's side despite the fact that Finn just tried to explode her kid.

Finn tells Troi his demands: a Federation trade embargo/blockade against Rutia.

The Rutian alienness is subtle (and no doubt inexpensive): all the men have skunk stripes, and all the women seem to be red heads. Red-headed lady cop shoots Finn dead from behind as he threatens Picard, Bev talks a skunk-head boy out of killing Lady Cop.

"The High Ground" makes Dr. Crusher look weak-willed, and terrorism sound good. IS that a huge mistake? Star Trek is at its best when it asks us to consider all sides, so I have to give it a little credit. But it's one of the year's few flops, to my mind.

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