Star Trek 162: The Enemy

162. The Enemy

FORMULA: The Neutral Zone + Balance of Terror + The Undiscovered Country + Enemy Mine

WHY WE LIKE IT: Tomalak's first appearance. Worf's hate of the Romulans. The ideals of Romulan purity.

WHY WE DON'T: Cheesy Geordi.

REVIEW: A second Geordi episode in a row, this one side-steps his rather pathetic personal life and puts him in a proper adventure. He comes out of it looking highly competent, but the script is very transparent about what it's trying to do, and anything it builds, it demolishes by too obviously manipulating the characters, events and audience. In Geordi's case, I would believe a Starfleet engineer would be able to safely get himself off a place like Galorndon Core, but having Geordi create climbing pitons from raw ore stretches credibility (how about just handholds instead?). It also quickly becomes obvious that Bochra and Geordi should collaborate, but they become friends much too quickly. It's the old Enemy Mine formula, but in that movie, the two characters are together for a much longer time. Here, it just seems to happen because the script says it should, and the final scene is cheesy in the extreme.

Back on the ship, we're doing a little better, but the script decides only a Klignon can donate the injured Romulan the vital component he needs to survive. Why? Biologically-speaking, this flies in the face of all Star Trek canon before it. The reason is to put Worf in an awkward position and have him revisit his parents' death. I'm not complaining too hard, since this produces some of the better scenes in The Enemy: Worf's talk with Riker, Picard refusing to order Worf to donate his ribosomes, and ultimately, the non-PC choice Worf makes. However, we're in that situation a little artificially, aren't we?

And then there's the Romulans themselves. We haven't really had a Romulan counterpart for Picard since the Romulans came back on the scene in The Neutral Zone until Tomalak. And he's a good one. A kind of sly diplomacy, a lot of posturing, working on the basis that he can always make someone refer to the transcript of any communication to show he never compromised, a great onscreen presence even if we never see him off that screen. The idea of Romulan purity comes across in scenes with both of the Pi's survivors - they don't let handicapped children live, they would rather die than pollute their blood with "Klingon filth" - giving us more of an idea of this race. Unfortunate that we never learn what they were doing at Galorndon Core though.

A very brief side-note: I thought Beverly's shorter hairstyle was really quite cute, and am sorry to see it go. The longer "lion's mane" is what we became used to, but... is it a wig here? Makes her look very severe and ashen in this particular adventure.

LESSON: Next time I'm out sifting through the wreckage of a Romulan ship on an inhospitable planet, I'm keeping the group together.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: The Romulans make their strongest TNG appearance yet, but the script is very manipulative and turns to cheese every time we get back to Geordi.


LiamKav said...

I've just mentioned this in the comments for "Evolution", but since you bring it up here... apparently Gates McFadden wore a wig throughout TNG. It gets mentioned (I think) in one of the commentaries on either the DVD or Blu-ray sets.

(Also, this is another episode that's drastically improved by the HD transfer. Not because of new SFX or anything like that, but because the dark scenes on the planet are so much clearer, while staying dark.)


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