The Masterpiece Society (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 13) Space Thing Threatens Genetically Perfect Colony

Rewatching ST:TNG

When a Space Thing threatens a genetically perfect colony, the wary inhabitants resist Picard’s offer to evacuate.

Humans on Moab IV have for two centuries enjoyed a carefully designed society. The charismatic leader Conor speaks glowingly of fulfilling the role he was genetically engineered to hold, while the rigid traditionalist Martin undiplomatically scoffs at LaForge’s blindness.

Conor is taken with Troi, who seems charmed by his attention. LaForge and the engineer Hannah strike up a good working relationship, which gets a bit awkward when LaForge gives a disability-rights speech (“I guess if I’d been conceived on your world, I wouldn’t even be here, now would I? No, I’d have been terminated as a fertilized cell.”) This being Star Trek, of course the technology developed to help LaForge “see” is exactly the last missing piece that Hannah needs to save the colony.

She will need to leave the colony to finish the task on the Enterprise, and Conor consents over Martin’s objections. Meanwhile, Troi and Conor’s time together leads to a tentative kiss, which leads to a more passionate kiss, which leads to a fadeout, which leads to a “beam me up of shame” the next morning, which earns a facepalm because the whole relationship seems forced.

Laforge and Hannah soon announce they need to bring down a team of 50 from the Enterprise to do Technical Things off camera, and also because the script requires more colonists to be exposed to scary new outsider ideas (also off camera).

After Martin crabs at the careless behavior (careless and *reckless* behavior) that threatens the entire kingdom (I mean colony), we have more Enterprise-D scenes that involve looking at control panels and calling out readings. The Space Thing crisis resolves at about the end of act 3, with two more acts to go. The final act gets a little talky and claustrophobic, since we still only hear from the 3 guest stars with speaking parts. Lots of TELLING and not so much SHOWING, but it’s noteworthy that Picard’s attempts to mediate fail.

Despite his attraction to Troi and the new ides she represents, Conor remains devoted to his role as leader; however, Hannah reveals herself as more committed to her love of science than she is to the homeworld that created her to be their scientist. Poor judgment calls by genetically diplomatic Conor and genetically scientific Hannah end up proving that genetically crabby Martin was right, handing Picard a diplomatic Kobayashi Maru scenario.

The script earns another facepalm for establishing that the Enterprise was assigned to track this random Space Thing (a stellar core fragment) on the odd chance that maybe, just maybe, it might bother some planets, because it’s dramatic to have the Enterprise discover a hitherto unknown colony happens to be right in the way.

Of all the stellar core fragments from all the neutron stars in all the galaxy, she walks into mine.