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Old 09-28-2017, 02:34 PM
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September 28th, 1987, "Encounter at Farpoint"

This one is so long it'll have to be two posts

Fiver (by Zeke)
Memory Alpha
Transcript

Introduction

First are a few quotes from The Nitpicker's Guide, for a soon-to-be-obvious reason...

In the original The Nitpicker's Guide Phil says "My fellow nitpicker Cliff Cerce suggested I treat this episode lightly. He said that the pilot is always different from the actual series. His point is well taken. A lot of time can elapse between the completion of the pilot and the production of the series. Things change. That's understandable."

In Volume II he follows up "While I usually try to treat premieres gently, many members of the Nitpicker's Guild saw no reason for such a practice. I will leave it up to you to decide which of the following nits should be considered legitimate and which should fall into the "give them a little grace because it's their first time around the block" category.

Postscript: At the time only a few of the TNG staffers were TOS veterans. Even if none of the staff in today's productions are veterans *cough hire the Okudas cough*, Memory Alpha and the Star Trek Encylopedia exist now, you can't get away with that anymore.

The Episode:

PICARD: Our destination is planet Deneb Four, beyond which lies the great unexplored mass of the galaxy.

Too bad we're hardly ever going to explore previously unknown space. And in fact too bad we're hardly ever going to leave the known Federation.

TROI: Farpoint Station. Even the name sounds mysterious.

Yeah, who named it Farpoint anyway? *cough Deep Space Nine cough*

DATA: Inquiry. The word snoop?
PICARD: Data, how can you be programmed as a virtual encyclopedia of human information without knowing a simple word like snoop?
DATA: Possibility, a kind of human behaviour I was not designed to emulate.

I'm not going to beat this dead horse, but seriously Data should have every encyclopedia, cultural guide, etc. from every known world memorized, especially everything about Earth culture! I will try not to bring this point up again, but I had to mention it once.

Q: Knowing humans as thou dost, Captain, wouldst thou be captured helpless by them?

Yeah, I doubt the phaser has been invented that could hurt Q. Furthermore, even if pretending to be vulnerable to a phaser was part of his mind game: why? If you want to portray yourself as a supreme being worthy of passing judgement on these guys, don't say anything that would suggest that they can hurt you!

Q: But you can't deny that you're still a dangerous, savage child race.

One of the most infamous Q lines. You could argue that at least for spacefaring cultures "dangerous" is pointless, as anyone who can harness warp drive could be dangerous under the right circumstances even if all they do is use their ships in kamikaze runs. "Savage" is more complicated. According to Wiktionary there are two main categories of savage: barbaric/uncivilized and vicious/merciless/ferocious. The first one is probably true relative to the Q (at least according to Q arrogance), if a little meaningless since it would be just as applicable to all spacefaring races under the "dangerous" argument I just made. Vicious is where we could get into some interesting discussions. The two main categories are violent and immoral. Both of these are too complicated to discuss at the moment, so I'll move on...

PICARD: Records search, Data. Results of detaching saucer section at high warp velocity.
DATA: Inadvisable at any warp speed, sir.
PICARD: Search theoretical.
DATA: It is possible, sir. But absolutely no margin for error.

Either the saucer has warp sustainer engines similar to the torpedos that allow for it to coast to a stop or it doesn't. If it does I don't see a problem, if it doesn't the saucer will be destroyed as it leaves the stardrive's warp field. This is a binary question, "margin for error" really doesn't exist.

TROI: It it felt like something beyond what we'd consider a life form.
PICARD: Beyond?
TROI: Very, very advanced, sir, or certainly very, very different.

This is funny looking back at the development of the Q throughout episodes and series to come. We'll find that the Q have hobbies, mates, children, wars, differing philosopies, incarceration, etc.

PICARD: Can we assume you mean this will be a fair trial?
Q: Yes, absolutely equitable.

Join me in a laugh at Q's hypocrisy, then we'll move on.

TASHA: I grew up on a world that allowed things like this court. And it was people like these that saved me from it. This so-called court should get down on its knees to what Starfleet is, what it represents.

I do wish that Tasha hadn't left, she represented the rare human who didn't grow up with the freedom of the Federation. Compare her to Neelix (there's a rare sentence) as they fit the "complete outside" role. In both cases there was a lot more that could've been done with them, plotwise.

Q: Soldiers, you will press those triggers if this criminal answers with any word other than guilty. Criminal, how plead you?

I refer you to SF Debris's reply to this line. Ugh.

O'BRIEN: Know anything about Farpoint Station, sir? Sounds like a fairly dull place.
PICARD: We've heard that we may find it rather interesting.

Ah yes, the fan-made transcript. O'Brien didn't exist at this point as a named character, just as "Conn".

CRUSHER: Thank you. I'll take the entire bolt. Send it to our starship when it arrives. Charge to Doctor Crusher.

Can you imagine Beverly working at a sewing machine? It does make one wonder if there are properties of "real" cloth that can't be replicated perfectly, just like food and drink.

PICARD: I'm not a family man, Riker, and yet, Starfleet has given me a ship with children aboard.
RIKER: Yes, sir.
PICARD: And I don't feel comfortable with children.

And this is supposed to be a multiyear mission outside the Federation, right? I think Gene didn't think this through. If Picard accepts command of a ship full of children, I expect him to deal with children. Otherwise I'd have him reject the post in favor of someone who can deal with children.

CRUSHER: You've been blind all your life?
LAFORGE: I was born this way.
CRUSHER: And you've felt pain all the years that you've used this?

Couldn't they have had the infodump be with someone other than the ship's doctor? Beverly should already know all of this stuff! Have a scene where Wesley gushes over the things the VISOR can do, and Geordi responds that the price to pay is constant pain. Characterization for Wesley and no one looks like an idiot!

RIKER: Why a shuttlecraft? Why wouldn't he just beam over?
WORF: I suppose he could, sir, but the Admiral's a rather remarkable man.

Indeed he is, Worf. Indeed he is. I'll be covering the McCoy scene in the YouTube clips, let's move on.


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