Monday, May 7, 2012

Chain of Command, Part I

*** (3 stars out of 5)

A horrible transporter accident turns Captain Picard into that corporate sleaze-ball from Detroit's Omni Consumer Products, Ronny Cox.

I'm just funnin'. Obviously, it's lotsa laughs around here with Enterprise's new Captain Jellico.

In her first appearance, Vice-Admiral Alynna Nechayev forever endears herself by reassigning Picard and forcing Edward Jellico down everyone's gob.

If Picard was seeming too personable and kindly lately, Jellico is all business, a no-nonsense go-getter who changes things around to suit himself.

"Get it done." is his catch-phrase. He's switching the ship's focus from research to military preparedness. He's transferred a third of the engineering staff to security. Does this seem sensible? I shudder to think of Barclay toting a phaser rifle...

Ed tosses away Picard's fish and dusty old books. He even insists Troi wear a standard uniform, which many (including myself) consider his most heinous crime.

Jellico's assessment of Cardassian psyches is that they are like timber wolves, establishing dominance and bold in larger numbers. Possibly with less urinating on trees, I can't be sure. Also, they have better outfits these days. They're about to get their own show, so they darn well better stop wearing armour made from old brown car mats.

Metagenic toxins destroy everything with DNA in an entire biosphere. They were outlawed years ago and even the Romulans abide by this law. The Cardassians, however, may be creating a metagenic weapon on Celtris III. Bev, Worf, and Jean-Luc are assigned to covertly locate and destroy it.

I get that this story can't happen if Starfleet is reasonable, but missions like this are meant for expendable heroes. The mustard shirts of Sealoid Team Six, for example. Not the flagship's Captain and one of the most qualified physicians alive. Still, if you want to risk their lives on spelunking and looking bad-ass, this is how it's done.

Possibly predictably, Picard is captured and dragged before David Warner in chains.

"Chain of Command, Part I" is the harbinger of a new direction in Star Trek, and at the time I thought  it was an ill wind. They were throwing away the utopia I was enamoured of in favour of conflict and suffering. Who would send Jellico into delicate negotiations? He's blunt, combative, and compares his foes to animals. No wonder they're perched on the brink of war.

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