April 21, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Weekend Trek “Symbiosis”

The Enterprise crew finds a planet that didn't learn to just say "no".

Jimmy Impossible is a real pro when it comes to these rewatches.  Why say that?  Because for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to focus on this episode on my own rewatch for this episode.  We still had a good chat, and I can say with a high degree of confidence it won’t happen again, but for now, a very 80s episode Star Trek the Next Generation.


It’s a Very Special Episode of Star Trek the Next Generation.


tomk:  You know, I put this episode on, and at some point I lost some focus, and then I looked up and it was almost over. I remember the rough plot and all, but I didn’t really remember much about the episode itself. It was…very forgettable.

jimmy:  And very…not subtle.  I mean, there is a 5 minute conversation between Wesley and Tasha about what drugs are, why people do them, how they make you feel, how you end up selling your body for the next fix, etc.

tomk:  I asked myself if I should rewatch it again. I decided not to.

jimmy:  I think you got the gist of it.  The couple in the bad jumpsuits were drug dealers.  The pair in the bad overalls were junkies.  Crusher wants to help them.  Picard uses the Prime Directive to first help them (give them the drugs) and then not help them (no coils for you!).  Sandwiched in there is the Wesley/Tasha afterschool special and clues up with a weird, “Geordi, we need to fill about 2 minutes” sequence about where we’re going to next.

tomk:  Also, there was an impressive star to look at and the aliens had lightning hands.

jimmy:  Right.  Meant to mention the lightning hands.  And I found it hard to believe that whole star phenomenon hadn’t been witnessed or investigated before.

tomk:  And it was so important to the plot!

But between that and the Geordi thing you mentioned, it’s another episode with pacing problems.

jimmy:  I’m sure you’ve got a story as to why!

tomk:  Not this time.

jimmy:  No wacky Roddenberry and Nancy Regan used to play cribbage or other such inspiration?

tomk:  Roddenberry probably wouldn’t be the ideal messenger for saying no to drugs.

jimmy:  You don’t think Roddenberry did the drugs, do you?

tomk:  I’m pretty sure his drug use affected his health enough to keep him from being more of a guiding presence than he was by the time Next Gen started.

jimmy:  Wesley wouldn’t get it.

tomk:  Wesley is supposed to be the character kids identified with. Instead, he’s a NARC.

jimmy:  It was probably the Rastafarian hat that gave him away.

tomk:  He really shouldn’t perpetuate those hate crimes on those stoners.

jimmy:  But that scene went on way too long, and then at the end Wesley is just like “I don’t get it.”  Some genius. Just with the book smarts I guess, not so much the street smarts.

tomk:  Or the basic understanding of how people work.

Then again, Roddenberry said humans in the 24th century didn’t mourn dead loved ones because humanity evolved past that.

jimmy:  Don’t tell Worf.

tomk:  Worf was raised partially by humans. He’s honorary.

jimmy:  TOS crew seemed pretty upset when Spock died.

tomk:  People evolved since then apparently.

Also, Roddenberry didn’t have much to do with the movies after the first one.

jimmy:  Just seems like a silly thought to “evolve” past caring that someone died.

tomk:  Yeah, well, there’s worse to it if you think about it.  All drama comes from conflict.  If humanity evolved past conflict, how does a TV show create drama?

jimmy:  Exactly.

tomk:  Roddenberry’s death probably really helped this show and DS9.

jimmy:  At what point in the run did he die?

tomk:  After the second or third year.

jimmy:  That said, at his age, was he really very hands on, even in this first year?

tomk:  His health was bad, so apparently he would come and go as his health would permit.  But he always had veto power, and the ever-present Maurice Hurley was basically there because of Roddenberry.

jimmy:  Speaking of evolving…having lightning powers is a different one.  Maybe those pills were suppressing the dark side of the Force.

tomk:  Well, the pills were probably meant to stand in for crack because the episode came out in 1988 and every show in the 80s did an anti-drug episode.  And we all know what crack can do:

jimmy:  It’s a hell of a drug.

tomk:  Meanwhile, I’m sitting there thinking the way this “plague” broke out sounds closer to the current opium epidemic.

Starts off as legit medicine, and then people get hooked.

jimmy:  Sounds about right.

tomk:  And then Picard remembered the Prime Director and so our troubles began.

jimmy:  They really hit us over the head with the Prime Directive in this one.

tomk:  It’s important.  That’s why it’s the Prime Directive and not the Secondary Directive.

And don’t you know who wrote the Prime Directive?

jimmy:  Optimus?

Beat me to it.  lol

tomk:  And everyone knows the Autobots were all about not interfering with other civilizations.

jimmy:  Even the Dinobots?

tomk:  Especially Lisa…I mean the Dinobots!

jimmy:  Funny, I just watched that episode the other day and that was exactly the response I was looking for.  :slightly_smiling_face:

tomk:  I do what I can.  What other option did I have?  Rewatch “Symbiosis” a second time?  Nah!

jimmy:  You really weren’t impressed.  Not even to the point of paying attention the first time around.

tomk:  I did like how Picard used the Prime Directive to fix things by doing nothing.

jimmy:  It’s called strategery.

tomk:  Pull that word out of a lock box?

jimmy:  It seemed like as good a time as any.

tomk:  Well, at least you didn’t lecture your manshed’s medical officer on how the law works when your last adventure ended.

jimmy:  More after school special antics.

tomk:  It’s a good thing Roddenberry wouldn’t let Hurley’s plan for Bev to admit feelings for Jean-Luc by then or I know one captain of the Enterprise who would have been sleeping on the couch that night.

jimmy:  LOL

tomk:  He stopped a turbolift to mansplain the Prime Directive rather than, I dunno, make the two sides do lightning hands arm wrestling to see who wanted something more.

jimmy:  Now I want to see that!

Though they kinda got into that after beaming aboard until Tasha threw hot water on them to get them apart.

tomk:  Unless you are an amorphous blob of indeterminate power, you shouldn’t mess with Tasha.

jimmy:  Well, she did have that terrible upbringing that we’ll really not find out about.

tomk:  Yeah.  That too.

jimmy:  I feel like I stepped on your segue?

tomk:  Nah.

It’s just this is your standard 80s “just say no” episode. We needed more lightning hands and less Prime Directive lectures.

jimmy:  There’s been a lot of lightning based powers/creatures in season 1 so far.  They must have had that effect nailed and told the writers to use it.

Speaking of, for some reason I found it hilarious watching Frakes pretend to be electrified.  I just kept thinking “how long did he have to stand there all awkward with that look on his face while the rest of the cast continued the scene?”

tomk:  Maybe someone had a pool running.

jimmy:  I’m sure these things happen all the time, but this one just struck me as funny.

tomk:  It is a funny look on his face.


tomk:  Yeah. That one. “Show us where the lightning hands touched you on the doll, Commander.”

jimmy:  lol

tomk:  Well, we can keep making jokes or move on to a potentially better episode. What say you, Captain Jimmy-Luc Impicard?

jimmy:  Let’s move on to one you will (probably) pay attention to.

tomk:  I did my best!

Or not. Moving on to the Last Tasha Episode.


Next:  “Skin of Evil”