Friday, November 8, 2019

Star Trek: Justice

Episode: "Justice"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 1, Episode 8
Original Air Date: November 9, 1987
This week, the Enterprise visit Rubicun III, evaluating its potential as a suitable shore leave planet.  All of the inhabitants, the Edo, are young, fit and clothed in the typical Bill Theiss costumes which seem practically designed for "wardrobe malfunction."  They are also eager and willing to have sex with pretty much anyone who happens by including, of course, our lucky heroes.  In temperament, the Edo remind me of the Eloi from H.G. Wells's classic The Time Machine.

Naturally, it's all too good to be true.  The lovefest society is marred by a brutal and essentially arbitrary penal system.  Anyone caught breaking any law is immediately put to death.  Wouldn't you know, practically the instant the away team learns of this, silly ol' Wesley goes and crosses a fence he shouldn't have.

While the story is both hokey and predictable, it presents a good Prime Directive dilemma.  How does Picard weigh obeying policy against protecting his crew?  He also has to manage the obvious and understandable anxieties of the boy's mother, Dr. Crusher, his friend and colleague.

There's also some good development between Picard and Data.  The relevant exchange:

Data: It was probably unwise of us to attempt to place a Human colony in this area. Of course, there are three thousand four other planets in this star cluster in which we could have colonized. The largest – and closest –
Picard: Data! Don't babble.
D: Babble, sir? I'm not aware that I ever "babble", sir. It may be that from time to time I have considerable information to communicate, and you may question the way in which I organize it –
P: Please – organize it into brief answers to my questions. We have very little time. Do they... accept our presence at their planet?
D: Undecided, sir.
P: ...
D: ...
P: Data... please... feel free to volunteer any important information.


D: You sent for me, sir?
P: Let's have more talk, Data.
D: Yes, sir.
P: Sit down.
D: What level of communication, sir?
P: Any. My apologies for saying that you babbled.
D: But I do, sir.
P: You also see things in a way we do not, but as they truly are. I need help, my friend. 

That, my friends, is strengths-based leadership (see here) and that is how Jean-Luc Picard, at his best, leads the Enterprise.  It is a theme I'll come back to a lot in this exploration of the series: whereas TOS emphasized a more enlightened approach to engaging with the unknown, TNG expands upon that idea with a more enlightened approach to working with each other.  As we shall see, Picard's Enterprise is a great place to work and it all starts with the guy at the top.

Acting Notes

Image result for young marina sirtis
via Wikipedia

Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) was born March 29, 1955 in London.  While in secondary school, she secretly auditioned for drama school against her parents' wishes.  Luckily for her, and for us, she was accepted to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.  After a reasonably successful early career in Britain on stage and television, she dipped her toes in the Hollywood film waters, finding small roles on The Wicked Lady, Death Wish 3 and Blind Date.  She emigrated to the US in 1986 at age 31 and would eventually become a naturalized citizen.

The offer for Star Trek came just in time.  Her visa had run out and she was already packing for a return to the UK.  Roddenberry had asked Sirtis to audition, inspired by the Vasquez character in Aliens to create a Latina character for TNG - apparently undeterred by the fact that Sirtis is Greek, not Latina.  As noted in this post, Sirtis and Denise Crosby initially auditioned for what would be each other's parts.  Macha Hernandez became Tasha Yar and the actresses were switched.

I trust Sirtis's parents are satisfied with the success of her career by now.  


  1. I should watch it, have a lovely weekend ☺

  2. You never can tell with parents. I don't remember, now, who it was being interviewed (on Fresh Air, I recently) recently, but she said her dad never accepted that she became an actress and never watched a single thing she was ever in.

    1. So sad. I can't imagine it. But then, my parents were always supportive of my artistic endeavors - envious at times, even.

  3. I just realized that this was probably another blatant attempt by Roddenberry to revisit familiar TOS ground, right down to the costuming of the aliens. And it's one of the worst Star Trek episodes ever. Picard's leadership skills notwithstanding, of course.

    1. No argument here. Quite a lot of TNG's first season would go on that list. It's rather amazing the series survived.

  4. seem interesting custom....I should watch this episode