All The [Trek] 98 – A Matter of Perspective
This week Data drags the hell out of Captain Picard’s painting.
Episode 62: A Matter of Perspective
February 12th, 1990
The episode opens with Data fetching Picard from a group painting session. Picard invites Data to observe the paintings and, well…
I love this scene. I love every scene that involves Data taking Picard down a notch or two. Data and Picard move on to the real business of welcoming back the away team, who have completed a survey on some sort of important research on energy or something. SPACE THINGS. The important bit is this: just as Riker transports away from the science station it blows up! There is only one person remaining on the station while it blows up, the lead scientists. Based on claims made by Manua, the scientists’ wife, authorities suspect foul play and attempt to arrest Riker. The crew pulls together and insists that Riker be tried on the Enterprise with the Holodeck acting out the evidence based on testimony of each living person who was on the station before it blew up.
What follows is a pretty rad acting exercise for the cast of Star Trek. The same handful of scenes are acted out several times, and each time the actor’s motivation is changed. In one version Manua is the lonely and predatory wife seeking an affair. In another version Riker is a brutish lout who attempts to rape Manua. In yet another version the scientist is the hero who has been betrayed by both Riker and Manua (according to his assistant, who only heard her story second hand from the scientist). Ultimately Riker is exonerated of the murder bit of the accusations…
Overall Rating: (3/5)
BUT WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?! I can only assume something between the three versions of this story occurred…but the whole situation calls into question Riker’s character. Manua is entirely convinced that she was going to be raped and Riker is entirely convinced she was making overt advances at him (which he rejected). Troi even confirms that both parties are telling the truth, or at least what they see as the truth. It muddies the waters in a way that leaves me wholly unsatisfied. Either Riker is some sort of “she deserves it” date rape apologist or he isn’t. Just tell us he isn’t. This isn’t the type of story line you want to leave ambiguous for a lead character. Now I’m icked out, and I have to subtract a star from what would have otherwise been a four star episode.