Star Trek 195: Clues

195. Clues

FORMULA: Manhunt + The Lights of Zetar + Time Squared

WHY WE LIKE IT: An interesting mystery (though suffers badly on multiple viewings).

WHY WE DON'T: The Dixon Hill teaser. The narration in the last act.

REVIEW: Clues hinges rather strongly on keeping its air of mystery, so if you've never seen it, you might want to skip this review (I'll still try to be vague). If you HAVE seen it, then you might agree with me that the episode suffers once you do know the solution. Data is far less untrustworthy when you know what's going on. On first viewing, this seemed much creepier, and you didn't know where it was going, only guessing, just as the crew does. Some mind-benders are fun upon re-watching, as you can spot the clues more knowingly. I don't get that vibe as strongly with Clues, though Data's outlandish justifications can be fun. The crew is very competent at uncovering the mystery, and the final reveal isn't some kind of cop-out.

I suppose I was still relatively happy with this story until the last act. This is the one in which Data reveals all, and it's dreadfully talky. In real life, I'm heavily involved in improv games, and one thing I teach the younger generation of players is about the dangers of narration. Dramatically, there's little I find more boring than being told something happened, and then almost simultaneously being shown that event happening. In the case of Clues, if you add the various revelations indicated by the clues, you get served the same information too many times. Throw in some dreadful fight choreography for Worf and the further mystery of how the "Troi clue" was finally handled, and I'm less and less satisfied with the episode.

Once again, the teaser has nothing to do with the plot, but gives us a "clue" about the show's theme. They're starting to stretch that idea a bit far for my tastes, and it comes packaged in a terrible Dixon Hill sequence with Picard and Guinan hamming it up with Bogey impressions. Is it me, or does this seem woefully out of character for Guinan? The whole skit seems to star Whoopi Goldberg instead.

LESSON: You miss a day, you miss a lot.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: On first viewing, a Medium-High, but every subsequent time, seems more and more average. It didn't have much more than the mystery going for it.


Alain Degrace said...

Either I never saw this episode before, or my mind was erased after seeing it. Enjoyed it a great deal but must agree that this show wouldn't be that good after multiple viewings.

Siskoid said...

Then you're one of the lucky ones seeing it fresh.


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