Saga of the Jasonite

The continuing adventures of that eternal man of mystery…

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Star Trek episode reviews: The Drumhead and Half a Life


The Drumhead

I’ve completed two more reviews, this time it’s episodes 21 and 22 of season four, The Drumhead and Half a Life. The second half of season four is turning out to be stronger than the first half, as I consider both of these to be good episodes.

The Drumhead involves an investigation into probable sabotage with a famous retired admiral. They find a traitor, but what starts with sabotage turns into a witch-hunt and before you know it Picard himself ends up being on trial. It’s a very well-written episode, with some wonderful social commentary, though some might find it slow-going at first.

Two cast members, Michael Dorn and Jonathan Frakes named Jean Simmons as their favorite guest star. It’s not hard to imagine why, she’s one of the more acclaimed actresses in the last century, and I personally own the 1948 Hamlet with her and Laurence Olivier (my favorite actor of all time). Her character, Admiral Satie, accuses of Picard of violating the Prime Directive nine times while in command of the Enterprise. Check out my full review as I try to break down which times these might be, along with other behind-the-scenes info.


Half a Life

The following episode, Half a Life, is in my estimation just about as good. This episode too, can act as social commentary. A scientist is trying to revitalize the dying sun of his world, and hopes are high until they accidentally make it supernova. Whoops! Having failed the scientist and his new girlfriend, Lwaxana Troi(!), can’t settle down together because on his planet people commit ritual euthanasia when they turn 60. There is a great discussion about the right to die with dignity versus living because the elderly can still contribute much to society.

For those M*A*S*H fans out there, this is your episode to see Major Charles Emerson Winchester III as an alien! If you’re not a Majel Barrett fan, she’s actually pretty good in this episode. Peter Allan Fields wrote this episode, and he’d go on to write my single favorite Star Trek episode ever, as well as probably the great DS9 episode ever. Blink and you’ll miss Beverly Crusher in this episode. She was visibly pregnant by this point and she literally has one line. Check out some snafus as well as other stuff you might not know in my full review.

Until next time! I also wanted to point out, if anyone has any requests for information or anything else, please let me know and I’ll do my best to oblige.