Plot Synopsis: When Riker is charged with the murder of a prominent scientist, each side uses the holodeck to show their side of the story.
Plot A and B Analysis: The teaser begins with Picard painting a nude model along with an art class. He seems to be enjoying himself (heh) until Data comes by and tells him how much he sucks. It’s actually funny, and probably the only good scene in the episode. Meanwhile the Enterprise is returning to a research station, and when Riker beams off it the whole thing explodes! Plot A is Riker’s murder investigation, plot B involves some strange radiation on the Enterprise. The planetary government wants him extradited for trial but Picard smoothly intervenes and gets them to agree to present evidence on the ship, because the captain decides whether to let his officers be extradited or not. The plot is a boring re-creation of a potential murder in the holodeck as we see variations on events in the research station again and again. Plot B unsurprisingly is related, and the episode mercifully ends.
Favorite Scenes: The art school scene in the teaser is all I can think of. Also, what are the odds that a TV show in the year 1990 would show a nude model?
Use of Cast/Characters: Picard’s leadership here is on display as he keeps Riker from being extradited, and he’s shown as objective and sympathetic at the same time. He also gets some character development, as we see him delving into art for the first (and only) time. Riker is the accused, so this is more his episode than anyone else’s. Surprising then, that there’s not much character development for him even in his own episode! We see 44 minutes of him doing the same thing again and again. Data, Geordi and Wes all have about the same to do. They have a few lines and manage to solve the mystery of what occurred in about as boring a manner as I can imagine. Troi is actively involved in the plot, but like practically everyone else in this episode she really doesn’t have anything to do. Worf has seven lines, total. I counted. Gates McFadden is in this episode but you’d never know it, she has exactly one line. At least she got paid. The guest stars are okay, I suppose, but this stuff is just too bland to really matter.
Blu Ray Version: Crystal clear as usual. Even the planet is boring though.
Nitpicks: It’s a pretty big nitpick. So we don’t get to watch anyone actually solve the mystery of the murder investigation, it just happens off screen? Also, I’m not sure how the widow’s memory can be so screwy and yet there’s no deception sensed by Troi. No explanation was ever given.
Overall Impression: Ugh. This is an example of an episode that looked great on paper, but turned to crap on the screen. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who liked this episode, it’s some of the most boring drudgery of the third season. It’s a shame, because structurally this could have been a cool episode. The whole idea of using multiple perspectives of an event, none of which we are sure are correct is great. I first saw it in the Japanese classic Rashomon, and frankly it takes a lot to make something that interesting as boring as this tripe. Maybe I’ve got it backwards though, maybe it takes someone as great as Akira Kurosawa to make a masterpiece like Rashomon, and this is what happens when mere mortals try. I rate this episode 1 out of 5 stars.
Behind the Scenes/Trivia: According to Ron Moore, one of the great writers on the show, the entire writing staff was involved in rewriting this episode again and again, which would explain its general crappiness. The “Krieger Waves” of this episode were named after David Krieger, the scientific consultant for this episode. One interesting tidbit is from the teaser: this was the first time a model has ever appeared nude on television! So that’s something. Mark Margolis, playing Dr. Apgar, is also known as Mr. Shickadance, Ace Ventura’s landlord from the first movie, and Tio Salamanca from Breaking Bad.
Missable/Unmissable? Please, God, miss it. Don’t miss the next one though, it’s incredible.