Friday, July 6, 2012


*** (3 stars out of 5)
You know about plasmonic reactions, right? Presumably caused by the Gizmonics Institute, they strike without warning and destroy planets by broadcasting appallingly bad movies.

You know about Worf's foster brother, right? Starfleet Academy drop-out and cultural anthropologist Dr. Nikolai Rozhenko, stationed on Boraalis II. He broke the Prime Directive, popped out of his duck blind in Boraalan guise, and led a single village to safety when their world died. They're hiding in a cavern, in a canyon, and their nose is number nine.

When Picard hears of it, he plays the closed-minded hard-ass and refuses to let Nikolai save any backward medieval bastards under a forcefield. (Too bad they weren't Crusher's son or Data's pen pal, but, hey, thems the breaks.) Nikolai defies Mighty Saint Picard with a damn clever trick: he re-creates the shelter caves on a holodeck, beaming up all the survivors while they sleep.

Now despite the shattered Prime Directive, the crew are forced to assist him in re-locating the tiny society to a similar world called Vacca VI. Nikolai tells the villagers that Shrunken Forehead Worf is their 'Space Moses'. They plan to make it look like they walked to Vacca by gradually modifying the holodeck terrain. Except the holodeck (surprise, surprise) is broken: showing glimpses of the grid beneath. It even accidentally lets the village chronicler, Vorin, wander out into the halls. Nice locks, Holodeck.

Vorin's bad luck continues: Dr. Crusher can't erase his memory of their traumatically alien vessel and they can't let him go back and tell the others. Especially since they (weirdly) told him the whole truth: his planet being utterly destroyed and all. If Vorin tells the others he'd either be thought a madman, or their beliefs might be ruined by too much knowledge.

Unlike the Mintakans the last time someone broke a duck blind, these people are apparently too delicate for the truth. Pessimism seems the primary trait of their culture. Pessimism and hoodies.

Nikolai's Boraalan baby-mama Dobarra says something telling: that most of them were resigned to death and Nikolai is the only reason they lived.  He's going to make his life with the transplanted villagers since apparently he doesn't need to account for his illegal heroism.

Speaking of irresponsible lack of accountability, Vorin committed suicide out of severe culture shock while nobody (including the ship's shrink) paid him the slightest attention. Nice save, Utopian Future.

Stunningly, Picard now takes credit for the day's partial success. "Our plan for them worked out well." OUR plan? Your plan was non-interference and hanging your head in sorrow! This was Rozhenko's plan and you just came along. Sorry, Cue Ball. (Sadly, according to biblical precedent, I am doomed to be eaten by bears for mocking the authority of a bald man.)

"Homeward" closes with Worf's statement that their parents will understand Nikolai's decision.  I'm not so sure. Raising their grand baby in the sticks? Without the medical skill to treat hybrid complications, or even simple cancer? Doubtful. Still, the kid's not going to be poor: lawyers like Paul Sorvino make a great living.

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