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Old 05-16-2018, 01:35 PM
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May 16th, 1988, "The Neutral Zone"

Fiver (by Marc)
Transcript
Memory Alpha

The Episode

I found plenty to riff on with practically every line, so I'll have to go with highlights:

* Riker should've done a full analysis of what the sleeper ship was before deciding its fate.
* The pods were independent of the ship except for power, and the ship wasn't broadcasting any identifying information. This didn't accomplish anything except provide opportunities for Riker and Picard to be grumpy and to pad out the episode. An episode that didn't need padding because the padding was stealing screentime from the Romulans.
* When the people were found they should've been kept in stasis until they could awaken surrounded by counselors, etc.
* This "the people were frozen after death" thing seems to exist only so Riker and Picard can argue that they could've left the dead people alone. Is this supposed to make them look good?
* Okay, so Offenhouse could afford to set up a fund to support this sleeper ship, but what about the others? It seems like Claire's husband and Sonny did a one-time payment.
* It doesn't occur to anyone to keep the ancient humans away from aliens until they could cope with being in the future. And wouldn't this be Troi's job?
* Our heroes look down on these humans, why? Just looking at the other first season races, the Ligonians and the Angel Oneians seem much worse. Furthermore, aren't Starfleet officers trained to deal with races that have barely invented warp and would have such limitations?
* The Romulan plot steals too much from "Balance of Terror". Maybe having two neighbors not know much about each other works in the more frontier-like 23rd century, but these days the Federation would insist on continual diplomatic contact.
* The problem with the frozen people is that, like many other plots in the first two seasons, the writers have to make our heroes look good by making the guest stars look bad. Instead of, y'know, doing their jobs and writing the main cast correctly the first time.
* The frozen people are mainly left alone until our heroes want to spend time with them. Really, there aren't any junior officers around to keep them company? A schoolteacher or two to catch them up on recent events and technological advances?
* Offenhouse is simply let onto the bridge by the computer. Huh? Couldn't the computer be programmed to recognize authorized users and not let anyone else on unless accompanied by an authorized user? Or at least trigger an alert on Worf's board so he'll be prepared for the unauthorized user?
* The Romulans were squeezed into one scene. Absurd. There were plenty of scenes with the frozen people that could've been cut.
* The question of the missing colonies and the Romulans wasn't followed up on early in Season Two. Big mistake.

The Fiver

Ralph Offenhouse: Could I see today's issue of the Wall Street Journal?
Riker: I'm afraid that we don't carry it.
Offenhouse: Well get a copy somewhere! I want to find out how my Enron stock's been doing since 1999.

Wow, topical joke. As I've said before, these things are time capsules...

Data: Would you care for some replicated pecan pie?
L.Q. "Sonny" Clemonds: Gee, I dunno -- this here hunk o' pie looks like resequenced protein. Don't y'all have a chef on board?

Is this just an Enterprise joke, or were you tying this into Janeway in "Prime Factors", too?

Sonny: I need some uppers for the morning and some downers for the evening.
Crusher: Here's a prescription for ice-cold showers and steamed milk with nutmeg.
Sonny: I had something stronger in mind, if ya catch my drift.
Crusher: Sorry, but "Janeway Blend" coffee and Data's poetry are both controlled substances.

Hehe. I suppose you could've thrown in a request for references before giving Sonny a license for such things, but it would've been overkill.

Memory Alpha

* The script couldn't be revised much because of the Writer's Strike. I call this a poor excuse. Furthermore, the industry should have contingencies for such things, among which should be that the writers can only go on strike between seasons (with perhaps another opportunity at the midseason break).
* An extra wore Troi's skant from "Encounter at Farpoint."
* The display of Claire's family tree originally had many pop culture references, but these had to be replaced for the remastered version.
* First of three times when a character welcomes someone from the past to the twenty-fourth century.

Memory Beta

* Offenhouse made the most appearances in the novels, most notably appearing as the Federation Ambassador to the Ferengi Alliance.
* Sonny returned to music and eventually cleaned up his act.
* Claire helped to counsel the similarly time-displaced Bozeman crew.

Nitpicker's Guide

* The Enterprise is sitting around doing nothing while our crew waits for Picard's shuttle to arrive so they can head for the Neutral Zone. Why not just warp over to where Picard is and save time?
* If the commpanels are only for ship's business, how do the civilians on board talk to each other if they don't have commbadges?
* Phil points out that this is yet another situation where the saucer should be left behind because it's known ahead of time that battle is possible.
* Spock's been talking to Pardek for decades, but there's no data more recent than the Tomed Incident for Troi to research?
* It's said that the Romulans have been in hiding for fifty years and nobody's heard from them, yet they attacked Narendra Three twenty years ago! Or are you going to tell me that this is like their attack on Khitomer or the Ferengi's attack at Maxima, where the details aren't known until much later?
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Last edited by Nate the Great; 05-30-2018 at 12:48 AM.
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