The High Ground (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season Three, Episode 12) Sensitive, Artistic Terrorist Is Also a Terrorist

(Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break)

Crusher finds herself sympathizing with the charming terrorist who kidnapped her.

After last week’s “The Hunted” and the week before’s “The Defector,” it seems the writers are very interested in humanizing perceived enemies.

An unusually exposition-heavy captain’s log establishes the Enterprise is visiting a non-aligned world shaken by terrorists.

We want to like the romantic separatist leader who mourns the death of his own son and gives Beverly his sketchbook, but the plot reminds us on several occasions that he’s brutal.

Riker is willing to listen to a cynical police officer’s personal story; we can see her motives are sincere and her bitterness is justified, but her police state commits atrocities of its own.

The production values are good. This is the first time I remember seeing TNG successfully pull off a crowd scene — with medium shots that are believably cluttered with people, and long shots that are at least dotted with extras. However, It’s as if the producers were so interested in creating a perfectly balanced allegory that they forgot this story was happening in a science fiction world with an established set of rules.

Why would saboteurs who possess the ability to slip between dimensions need to visit the Enterprise personally, in order to deliver a single bomb (complete with TV-friendly blinking red lights) and stick it on a piece of equipment, right at eye level?  Why didn’t they just stay in their secret lair, and teleport waves of less obvious-looking bombs, or maybe just a nice steady stream of a couple of tons of lava, or swarms of bees?

In the seconds after an attack, why would Crusher have to send Worf to look for bandages and “something with alcohol,” when the whole point of the mission to the planet was to deliver Federation medical supplies? Surely she would have brought her own skin-generation gizmo and heal-goo dispenser — and if not, she could just have asked the Enterprise to beam down more supplies.

After Picard and Crusher have a brief face-off, she sets up an “In case we don’t get out of this alive, there’s something I want to tell you” moment, which is immediately interrupted — leaving us wanting more. That was a good call; the character bits work well.