A Matter of Perspective (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season Three, Episode 13) Multiple-POV Courtroom Drama

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break.

An agitated Riker, beamed off of a research station just before it explodes, finds himself charged with murder. Testimony from Riker, the victim’s widow, and (indirectly) the victim tell conflicting stories.

A solid storytelling concept, which somewhat freshens a mishmash of already-familiar TNG tropes: a brilliant male scientist, his attractive non-scientist wife, Riker’s libido, Picard’s hard-working noggin, and the Science Thing of the Week. They’re all handled fairly well, with some cringeworthy moments of over-acting justified by the fact that we’re seeing biased interpretations of events, not photorealistic recordings.

The cold open into an art class sets up Data’s amusing over-analysis of Picard’s painting. Various non-realistic interpretations of a nude model tease the idea that perception is complex and fluid, which kinda sorta ties into the mystery.

Once the tech-nerds solve the Space Problem of the Week, neatly disproving the murder charge, the commentary about subjective interpretations seems irrelevant. Rather than addressing the significant mission-related consequences of Commander Sexybeard’s attitude towards women, this episode instead settles for showing off the holodeck as a witness testimony flashback generator, treating the “he said” / “she said” conflict as a red herring.