Friday, August 14, 2020

Star Trek: Peak Performance

Episode: "Peak Performance"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 2, Episode 21
Original Air Date: July 10, 1989
Starfleet stages a war game exercise.  Riker and his select crew take over the ancient USS Hathaway to oppose Picard on the Enterprise.  Strategist Sirna Kolrami is aboard to advise - and snark.  Riker proves a more worth adversary than Kolrami anticipated and, of course, there's an unexpected external wrinkle as well...

I love this episode.  For starters it's one of the few Star Trek stories of any series that affords meaningful material to all of the principal characters.  Picard defends Riker to Kolrami - what could have been a simple "don't undermine my First Officer on the bridge" was a more interesting direct challenge to Kolrami's doubts.  The Riker-Worf bond is strengthened.  Wesley gets a shining moment when, as a member of Team Hathaway,  he sneaks dilithium off of the Enterprise - all is fair in love and war games.  We even see the growth in Pulaski's regard for Data, one of the more interesting sub-plots of Season 2.  As I near the end of the second year, "Peak Performance" has put itself in late contention for best episode.  I feel the series settling into itself.  The characters (and actors?) are more comfortable with each other now, making the audience more comfortable, too.

Board Game Notes

The game Stratagema makes its only canon appearance.  Kolrami is a "third level grandmaster" and he plays both Riker and Data over the course of the story.  For Data, his initial loss causes a self-confidence crisis, one that threatens to derail the war games.  This final scene is the rematch:

Acting Notes

Image result for roy brocksmith
via Wikipedia

Roy Brocksmith (Sirna Kolrami) was born September 15, 1945 in Quincy, Illinois.  After graduating from Quincy University, he embarked on a stage career.  Broadway credits include Louis XIII in The Three Musketeers and the balladeer in The Threepenny Opera.  Films include Total Recall, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey and Arachnophobia.

Brocksmith died December 16, 2001 due to complications from diabetes.


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  2. Great episode! My one question for the writers would be why didn't they just use a holodeck program for the wargame?

    Didn't know Roy Brocksmith had passed away. You still see him on so many different movies and rerun television shows I had no idea he's been gone for close to 20 years.

    1. Well sure, they could have done it on the holodeck. But it wouldn't have been as much fun to watch. Besides having to rebuild the old ship was clearly half the fun.

  3. I'm waiting for season three of Discovery, right now.
    I think I would go back and watch these if I could make the time for it, but I don't think that's going to happen.

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