Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sacred Ground

** (2 stars out of 5)
Because Voyager has stopped even PRETENDING to go home, the crew is eagerly traipsing around planet Nechani in some holy shrine like tourists in Tibet. The glowing holy-of-holies even looks like the deadly de-rezzing Recognizers from my favorite religious movie, TRON... but I guess Kes never saw that movie. She strolls right into it and dies.

Captain Janeway begs, cajoles and pleads with the Mayor of Sunnydale to cure her adorable elf moppet, but to no avail. There ain't no cure... and there never will be! Neelix, somewhat more motivated, finds an old bible reference to a King who saved his Son by praying to the Ancestral Spirits.

So Janeway gets her church on. It's everything you'd expect: eerie priests touching your naked body with oil, a trio of crotchety geezers mouthing cliched platitudes, then fasting and worrying until you have visions. The patronizing mom from Freaks and Geeks even makes Katherine reach into a sack, Bene Gesserit-style (minus the gom jabbar). I tell a lie: the gom jabbar is in the sack. Or some monster: the bite-y little bastard had three fangs, and if everyone is to be believed, did not actually help in any way.

The result? Kes is cured. BY FAITH HEALING. Unless you want to believe that wacky computer doctor who has a whole bunch of science-sounding nonsense instead. NOPE! Healed by faith! That's the ticket!

"Sacred Ground" is Star Trek Magazine's third highest rating of the whole season and I just can't see it. All respect to actress Mulgrew, director McNeill, writer Klink, producer Taylor. Good job all around, but I just don't FEEL this one. Sure, it's easy to avoid being preachy if you have NOTHING TO SAY. Challenging the secular humanism which Trek characters virtually ALWAYS embrace, yes, it is, but to WHAT end? 'Science doesn't have all the answers?' Well, of course not! But science is a better tool than blind faith 99 times out of 100. Flu shots cure flu. Prayer does not. Warp engines do not run on Genie Blood. Sorry to get all Vulcan, but snake-handling and voodoo are not the number one approach anymore for a very good reason. Science WORKS. Leave pontificating about the good, non-specific lord to 'Touched By An Angel'.


  1. Something to ponder: Q tells Picard at the end of "All Good Things..." that there reason they are out there is "not mapping stars and charting nebulae, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence." If we already have it all figured out that secular humanism is all that awaits us, isn't that doing this exploration a disservice? All this episode is saying is that there are things out there that science can't explain, and that only faith can. Watch some of the episodes of Deep Space Nine that deal with Kira's faith, or better yet, check out the use of faith in the movie "Contact" with Jodi Foster. Maybe, just maybe, "charting the unknown possibilities of existence" is a search for God.
    I'm just sayin'. There's a reason Star Trek Magazine lists this one as number 3 for the season, and I, for one, was elated. It's not just another old tired retread of that same message that gets repeated over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over in the history of Roddenberry's Star Trek.
    Because these days, it is not the scientists who are persecuted, like the one in "Distant Origin". These days, it is, rather, the faithful.

    1. Thanks for that, Gary.
      You know, I actually hoped you'd chime in. You're not wrong, and I can be too strident sometimes. Faith is not my enemy, merely the choices people make that harm themselves and others in pursuit of faith. Because you've got a great point that cuts both ways- science does a heck of a lot of damage when misused, too.
      Keep the faith- Infinite Diversity and all that!

  2. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations! You know it brother!