Monday, February 13, 2012

A Matter of Perspective

** (2 stars out of 5)
Picard takes a painting class. Data's review of Picard's painting is not positive. "Unsettling", 'semi-fauvist', not quite right in the cubist department, inappropriately Vulcan-ish. He could go on.

Dropping off dicosilium at Dr. Apgar's research station orbiting Tanuga IV, Riker transports out just as the station goes ka-blooey.

Tanugan cop Krag arrests Riker on suspicion of murder. Apgar was the only one aboard, and two witnesses say Riker threatened the man. Under Tanugan law, Riker is guilty until proven innocent. And Tanugan law is like Tanugan love: sloppy and ill-considered. Picard exercises his right to hold an extradition hearing. Data assists Krag in designing a holodeck simulation of the events leading to the explosion.

In Riker's deposition, he was all business, only assessing Apgar's development of a Kreiger-wave converter. In his version, Apgar is weirdly defensive and his wife is visibly randy. When Apgar catches his missus throwing herself at Riker, Apgar slaps her and flails a missed punch at Riker, too.

In Krag's hypothesis, somewhat corroborated by the energy scans of the ground computer, Riker whipped out his phaser and shot the reactor just as he beamed out.

The widow Manua Apgar's testimony lays emphasis on Riker hitting on her, inviting himself to stay overnight, forcing himself on her, and gut-punching her husband.

Will objects, but Troi senses no deception from either of them.

Meanwhile, two weird radiation events sizzle the walls of the ship like Jiffypop at a regular intervals after the explosion.

Apgar's assistant Tayna (secretly Hearsay Girl of the Legion of Rumor-Mongers) relays Apgar's description of Apgar's beat-down of Riker, and Riker's direct threat against the scientist.

Picard constructs a composite picture which ends up scientifically proving Apgar used his working converter to shoot at Riker during transport- reflecting the beam back. Apgar blew himself up. Their holographic recreation of the converter has been randomly blasting the ship whenever it orbits into range of the surface generator- because Apgar never turned it off.

"A Matter of Perspective" is no comedy, but it's a little farcical, and I doubt it was meant to be. Using the holodeck for a murder mystery trial is cool and all, but everything seems a bit trumped-up. (That word means what I think it means, right? Phony with bad hair, like Donald Trump?)

For example, O'Brien did the beaming. He saw Riker had no phaser in his hand during transport. In a hearing conducted on opinion and hearsay, shouldn't O'Brien have some input?

And I don't want to keep harping on this forever, but 'Wolf in the Fold' mentioned a little something called a psychotricorder. Does this technology still exist or not? Scan Riker for guilt and break for lunch already.

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