Star Trek 145: The Royale

145. The Royale

FORMULA: A Piece of the Action + The Cage + Spectre of the Gun

WHY WE LIKE IT: "Baby needs a new pair of shoes!"

WHY WE DON'T: It's about as bad as the novel it's based on.

REVIEW: This is a holodeck malfunction episode without a holodeck in it, basically. I'm not sure if we're supposed to think the badly-written novel the Royale reality is based on is amusing, but it very rarely is. We just have to suffer through irrelevant scenes that don't interact with our characters at all (all the Mickey D. stuff). At least with the "Texas" subplot, you have an interaction with Data (though the characters are insufferably stupid), but the other stuff is just so much padding. A lot like the pointless Fermat subplot aboard the Enterprise.

Oh, it all starts off well enough, with the discovery of NASA debris, and the premise is an intriguing one, but once Colonel Ritchie is discovered, there's very little left to do. Riker's solution is fun, but I have to wonder what happened to the actual investors from the novel - they should have been in there somewhere, no? So it doesn't really work. Likewise, Data's winning at craps is very entertaining, but Data is out of character during those scenes.

In the end, the bad novel is just an excuse not to write interesting guest characters, and comes across as a cost-saving exercise, with part of the set a simple, black studio floor.

LESSON: Readers have rights. Among these, a reader has the right to skip ahead, or to stop reading entirely. Giving up those rights may lead to wasted time and finding no enjoyment in the act of reading. (Actually, I got this from Daniel Pennac's Comme un roman. I didn't really learn anything from The Royale.)

REWATCHABILITY - Low: I though I could enjoy it as a comedy, but aside from a few Data moments, I rather feel like Colonel Ritchie, waiting for the end.


Matthew Turnage said...

I'll admit this episode is a guilty pleasure for me. I really like the scenes with Data and Tex, and how Riker embraces his role as the wealthy foreign investor at the end.


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