Star Trek 159: Who Watches the Watchers

159. Who Watches the Watchers

FORMULA: A Private Little War + Justice + The Enterprise Incident + Pen Pals

WHY WE LIKE IT: Picard as a god. Certainly one of the better Prime Directive episodes.

WHY WE DON'T: Some may find distasteful the suggestion that religion is a superstition to be outgrown.

REVIEW: We return to Vasquez Rocks! Ok, once that euphoria wears off (I'm kidding), we actually get a very good episode dealing with the Prime Directive. In the past, these haven't been so strong, mostly because Picard hasn't really worked hard to obey it. In this case, while mistakes are made, the idea is to repair a series of accidents rather than deal with a crew member's screw-up, a better focus. While the Mintakans do come away changed and retaining knowledge of their encounter with the Enterprise, I think it all works better than the brainwashings that previously capped these episodes.

The best of the episode is seeing Picard try to squirm out of his godhood. His scenes with Nuria are excellent, almost a preview of First Contact, which owes a lot to Who Watches the Watchers. His final solution is in the spirit of the Prime Directive even if it does betray it in another way, but shows that he is willing to die for it after all. Troi does a good turn as a Mintakan too, acting intelligently under pressure.

I must say that though Liko is a little strident at times, I think we can see from what kind of trauma he's coming from, desperately wanting to believe his wife can be resurrected. It's through Nuria that this culture becomes an engaging one able to touch Picard's heart. They're certainly not your everyday primitives. I won't go into the episode's implication that religion is a primitive impulse, since that pretty much goes hand in hand with the characterization of the Federation throughout TNG's run (not until DS9 will we really see any main characters discuss their faiths). Let's just agree that having The Picard as your god would have been a bad thing and leave it at that.

LESSON: My ancestors would have worshipped me as a god. My kingdom for a time machine ;-).

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: But a high Medium. The Mintakans are a memorable people, coming off very sympathetically, and for once the Prime Directive drives the action rather than creates an obstacle to be talked around.



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Orville The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine