Saga of the Jasonite

The continuing adventures of that eternal man of mystery…

Review of Episode 16: When the Bough Breaks

Heh. Couldn’t resist.

Plot Synopsis:  Wesley Crusher must protect a group of kidnapped Enterprise children while Captain Picard fights for their release from a technologically superior civilization.

Plot A and B Analysis:  The teaser starts out with a kid running loose on the ship–quick, shoot him! Turns out he’s only running from his dad, understandable cuz the dude wants him to take calculus. I wonder if this seemingly purposeless shot of a kid who bumps into Riker will have some bearing later on? Hmm. Meanwhile Riker arrives at the bridge and Picard tells him they have entered an interesting star system, home to Aldea, which is basically the mythical home to the Star Trek version of Atlantis. Lo and behold within 60 seconds the planet, which was previously cloaked, reveals itself. Plot A has to do with the Aldeans and what they want, plot B–if you can call it that–is how Wes and the other kids deal with being on Aldea. The Aldeans are very friendly at first, but before long we learn their true intentions: they want some of the Enterprise children because they have become sterile. When Riker says no they kidnap them anyway and thus the plot for this episode is off and running. Picard tries to stall them while the crew comes up with a plan to get their kids back, and Wes does what he can to wrangle the other kids and defy the Aldeans. The plot proceeds on a logical progression, plot A is the stronger of the two, and is interesting enough. Plot B seems to be pretty predictable, with sad kids and even some passive resistance, but it’s not terrible. The cause of the Aldeans’ sterility is kind of lame, particularly in light of their supposedly superior technology. It’s also a little too pat. The last scene is kind of cute though, with the little girl and the captain who doesn’t really know how to relate to her.

Favorite Scenes:  I can’t say I have any favorite scenes in this episode. There are a couple of lines I found funny in the middle of the episode though:

Picard:  Data, find a way to defeat that shield.

Data:  That may be impossible sir.

Picard:  *frustrated* Things are only impossible until they’re not!

Data:  Yes, sir. *confused look*

We'd like to have some of your children...if that's cool?

We’d like to have some of your children…is that cool?

Use of Cast/Characters:  Wes and Dr. Crusher get the most out of this episode: Wes gets to lead and has a whole story line to himself and he doesn’t come across as annoying, meanwhile Dr. Crusher gets to go on the away team and solve the genetic problems of the Aldeans. Picard gets most of the other screen time, being the primary one dealing with the Aldeans, so I suppose his diplomacy skills are on display. Troi is marginally useful as she detects the planet before it reveals itself, but from then on doesn’t do much. Riker and Data have about the same exposure, they have some lines but not much else. Worf, Tasha and Geordi have nothing to do at all. The guest stars are fine, but nothing exceptional.

Blu Ray Version:  Another really beautiful planet. I really should stop saying that.

Nitpicks:  At about the 7 and 26:30 minute marks we see those lovely black cards at the back of the bridge again, it seems they’re in the majority of the episodes of the first season. Also in this season people just seem to be in places:  Dr Crusher is just hanging out on the bridge for no reason in the beginning. When the kids first get stolen why is Crusher comforting and working with the parents instead of Troi, the ship’s counselor? She’s sitting right there! And finally, I just find it hard to believe that a civilization as supposedly incredibly advanced as the Aldeans’ simply had no idea what the frickin’ Ozone layer did! It undercuts the legitimacy of the people and the ending, IMO.

Overall Impression:  This is an example of a perfectly average episode. There isn’t much wrong with the episode, but there really isn’t much that’s good about it either. It’s somewhat interesting, not boring but not compelling. Ultimately I wished they would’ve done more work and had some fabulous sets, or some really cool special effects. Maybe some better dramatic scenes as well. There is an environmental subtext in this episode, which is nice, but it was implemented in a clumsy way. I don’t really have a lot that’s good or bad to say about it. I rate this episode 2 out of 5 stars.

It may not look like much, but the Enterprise is about to have some smack laid down on it

It may not look like much, but the Enterprise is about to have some smack laid down on it

Behind the Scenes/Trivia:  This was the 16th episode aired, but the 17th one made. Does Rashella look familiar? If you’re a woman you were likely watching her play Mary Alice Young on Desperate Housewives, and she’s currently starring on Dallas. Yet another example of an actor who started here that went on to become famous. Jerry Hardin, who plays Radue somewhat boringly, later plays a really good Mark Twain in the Time’s Arrow episodes. Let’s see, what else: Aldea is Spanish for village; Wil Wheaton’s brother and sister appear in this episode, playing Tara and Mason; the melody Katie plays is the same one used in Where No One Has Gone Before.

Missable/Unmissable?  Missable. You won’t dislike spending the time to see it, but there’s nothing here that’s really worth stopping by for. Having said that, this episode is about a dozen times better than the next one.

Previous:  Too Short A Season                                        Season One Menu                                     Next:  Home Soil

3 thoughts on “Review of Episode 16: When the Bough Breaks

  1. As you said, for once, he’s not overly annoying. He’s still a bright kid, but he acts more like a _kid_ in this episode than in any other. His behavior seems more natural.

  2. I believe this is the one and only episode that I didn’t wish for Wesley to be transported back to Earth.

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