Star Trek 273: Sub Rosa

273. Sub Rosa

FORMULA: Interface + Catspaw + Up the Long Ladder

WHY WE LIKE IT: There's a lot of hutzpah on screen.

WHY WE DON'T: It's all very Bronte sisters... and I never cared for the Bronte sisters.

REVIEW: Once again we have a returning family member (Crusher's grandmother mentioned in The Arsenal of Freedom, but alas she's dead) and a trip down memory lane for one of the characters. This season is replete with them! In this season alone, we've had Data's brother, mother and father, Geordi's parents (Force of Nature was supposed to feature his sister as well), Troi's mother, father and long-lost sister, Riker's surrogate father (his first captain), Worf's foster brother, and now Beverly's grandma. I don't begrudge these characters' their back stories, but it seems a little late to do all this character building. A lot of them needed it way before now.

Oh, and once again, there's a ghost who turns out to be an alien. Ronin (is that even a Scottish name?) as played by Duncan Regehr of Shakaar fame is a rather uncharismatic, breathy creep who has ensorceled Beverly into leaving Starfleet and living out the rest of her days on the Planet of the Scots (a well-explained transplant actually) in coital rapture. MacFadden gives it her all, but there's something a little embarrassing about Picard walking in on what must have looked like Beverly pleasuring herself.

Maybe I just can't get into the gothic romance of it all. It's well made, well acted and well directed, but there's a lot of tacked on mood, like the fog on the bridge, and something either silly or profoundly disturbing about Ronin using the grandmother's reanimated body. It wants to be an old-fashioned horror story. It wants to be an erotic romance. But it looks to me like the story of a junkie, and it's the juxtaposition of all this that doesn't quite work. Note also the obscure title which will become a Voyager tradition (yes, it's a Braga script and the first he vehemently defended against fan criticism... another Voyager tradition).

LESSON: By taking the Crusher name, Beverly broke with an 800-year-old tradition whereby the Howard women kept their matriarchal surname.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-Low: In the Medium range thanks to the acting (I can see why Gates MacFadden liked it), but it just doesn't fit the format very well at all.


The Mutt said...

The biggest problem I had with the episode was that it was totally ripped off from an Ann Rice novel. I mean, it was lawsuit worthy.

But I loved Beverly in the chair when she was... um.. well, whatever she was doing, I liked it.

De said...

I appreciate the attempt to cross genres but the execution was pretty ill-executed.

Siskoid said...

I've heard of the Anne Rice thing, but since I've never read her work (something about my finding vampires extremely lame, no doubt), I didn't want to mention it.

Jayunderscorezero said...

Anne Rice was actually credited for this episode (or rather, she was credited under her pseudonym, Jeanna F. Gallo), and hence no lawyers had to actually get involved.

LiamKav said...

Frankly for all the hate this episode gets I'm surprised more isn't made out of Picard asking someone if they are "Scotch". It's shocking they even continued to show Star Trek over the border after that.


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