Star Trek 148: Pen Pals

148. Pen Pals

WHY WE LIKE IT: Worf has a funny bit or two. Picard's horse-riding.

WHY WE DON'T: It's just supposed to be soooooooooooooo cute, isn't it?

REVIEW: Pen Pals continues the laterly tradition of adding character details to the main cast, like Picard's fondness for riding, Data's CETI-inspired hobby, and Worf's deadpan "angry" humor, and that's a good thing. But the buck stops there. If you're going to buy this story, you have to suspend disbelief in the worst possible way. By now, we know these characters too well to believe they would act this way. Data, the emotionless android with a spotless record has his heart touched by a little girl's plight and goes on to knowingly break the Prime Directive over and over again. Ridiculous, and by the end, I was exasperated as he left her a singing stone.

Picard isn't much better. Although he acts angry and scores some major points when discussing the Prime Directive, he lets it all happen! He folds when he hears Sarjenka's voice! He lets Data walk all over him! (As Riker glares at them both, might I add.) It just doesn't work. Not at all. We're meant to think it's all so very cute, but Sarjenka's make-up does NOT make her look cute. Nothing about that plot makes sense. Except maybe O' Brien's quips.

Actually, it makes the B-plot concerning Wesley's first command the more watcheable element of Pen Pals! Wow, that's a scary thought. And it's merely ok, with the highlight being some of the advice he gets from Riker. No Guinan? Seems like she would have been a key player here (in The Icarus Factor too). In any case, this is played well enough by all involved, and without malice on the ensign's part. All the talk about leadership and decision-making just underscores Picard's lack of such in this episode though.

LESSON: If at first you don't get court-martialed, try, try, try, try, try again.

REWATCHABILITY - Low: When a Wesley subplot is the best thing about an episode, you know you're in trouble. Picard and Data are woefully out of character - inexcusable at this point.

Edit: Sarjenka today...
Ok... NOW she's cute.


Anonymous said...

And for other fun trivia.

The actress was Nikki Cox. Who later played the sex bomb daughter in Unhappily Ever After.


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