Monday, February 6, 2012

The Vengeance Factor

** (2 stars out of 5)

Title makes it sound like it features Jean-Claude Van Damme, doesn't it? Too bad, it doesn't.

An away team finds the Emerald City has been ransacked. No, sorry to mislead you, it's just a totally green room. Pretty odd lighting design for a human station. Unless you're trying to trap a villainous Yellow Lantern or something? Well, at least it makes the corpses look more lurid.

"Someone sure stripped this place," Riker observes. This man knows stripping when he sees it.

Dr. Crusher finds unique Acamarian blood. This suggests 'the Gatherers' (a bunch of local pirates) are to blame.

Sovereign Marouk of Acamar III describes her world's savage history of clan blood feuds, a problem which solved itself when The Gatherers split from society a century ago. Marouk's cook and food taster Yuta seems like exactly the kind of meek, withdrawn slave Riker would hit on.

Wait, WHAT? Slave? Sorry, do we LIKE these people? Seems as though their culture still has bigger problems than a bunch of stinky pirates.

And they ARE stinky. Mr. Worf even comments on it. The Gatherers suck at stealth, Worf says, because they don't bathe enough. This from a guy who two years back said Klingons don't like bathing.

Yuta's got a secret. She follows old man Volnath from Clan Lornack off alone, and he dies at her insidious touch.

The Gatherers aren't too particular what they loot, but still. I think it's probably inadvisable of Volnath to wear a Borg's old body stocking.

Riker tells Yuta he does not want a love slave, but an equal. Yuta cannot return his affection. Too bad, so sad, moving on.

Yuta's Clan Tralesta genetically modified her to live long and kill Lornacks with an artificial micro virus.

Just in time to save Gatherer Leader Chorgan, Data and Crusher discover a 53-year-old photo of ageless Yuta present at the heart-attack death of Lornack Penthor-Mul.

Riker tries to stun Yuta to stop her attack, but it doesn't work. He is forced to disintegrate her.

Or is he? She's not super-strong. The virus won't hurt Riker. Why doesn't he just stand between her and Never-Getzoffizass, I mean, Chorgan? Why did Riker beam over alone? Was Worf busy with his annual bath? Why even bring a phaser? Can the replicator not make a butterfly net for Buffy the Lornack Slayer?

"The Vengeance Factor" clearly has some issues. The murder 'mystery' is tepid, and the resolution is very contrived. I know, I know, I'm supposed to give a crap about Yuta's problems. I'm supposed to sympathize with Riker's moral dilemma. But when McCoy had to do this very thing in 'The Man Trap', his deadly dame was a threat to everyone she could reach. It was literally a spur of the moment choice between Kirk's life or Nancy's. Riker had prep time. He's got her talking. AND there are bunches of big beefy pirate thugs, slave owners, and Picard ALL just standing around with their thumbs in their bums.

Clearly when the Federation said there are no capital crimes anymore they meant unless you enjoy the noise a phaser makes.

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