Nearly the halfway mark and we have only stumbled a little this season. As we navigate the minefields of potential story bombs, we land on this episode that originally aired on January 29, 1990. This is The High Ground.
The Enterprise is assisting with humanitarian work on an allied planet when Doctor Crusher is kidnapped during a terrorist attack. Now the Ansata terrorists demand the Federation assist them in their revolution in order for them to release the Enterprises Chief Medical Officer.
After Beverley is kidnapped, Picard explains the situation to Wesley and asks him to assist in the search for his mother. Afterward he talks with the Rutian security commander Alexana Devos who explains that the Ansata are animals and have never taken a hostage implying that Crusher may already be dead.
On the planet Beverly is met by Finn, one of the lead Ansata terrorists. He tells her that he has people who need medical assistance and that she will be the one to help. He shows her the situation in their camp and, of course, Doctor Crusher is willing to assist. She asks to contact the ship for supplies but Finn has already procured what she needed from the supplies the Federation supplied to the Rutians.
As she works on the wounded she discovers that they have a damage in their DNA and Finn reveals that it is due to a device that they can transport themselves with called the Inverter. Although it is giving them an advantage in the war, the device itself is killing them off slowly. Finn explains that they are not unlike the freedom fighters of the American Revolution. He is only trying to fight for the freedom of his people and he calls Beverly out for her not understanding where her peaceful Federation came from. He tells her that by Earth’s History, he would be considered a hero as he is only trying to be free at any cost. He soon reveals that they plan to attack and destroy the Enterprise in order to get the Federation involved.
Soon the Terrorists attack the ship using their dimensional shift transporters and manage to take down several of the crew. Data works on finding a way to track them, but before he can they place an explosive device on the warp core. Geordi removes it and saves the ship at the last minute. Just as he saves the ship Finn transports onto the bridge and attacks Picard and Worf. Worf is wounded and Picard is captured when Finn teleports him out. (you would think Data would try to find a way to boost the shields to prevent them from beaming on board huh?) Wesley (with help from Data and Geordi) finds a way that they can locate them the next time one of the Ansata use the dimensional shifting device.
Picard and Beverly meet in the terrorists base and Beverly explains that the Ansata may be not completely in the wrong. She is torn but Picard explains that the Terrorists are not in any way defendable due to their ways. Finn arrives and explains that he wants to use Picard and Crusher as bargaining chips with the Federation. He transports aboard the Enterprise to give his demands and Wesley tracks him back to his base upon Finn’s departure.
Riker gets an away team together and sends a rescue party to save Picard and Crusher. During the raid, Devos kills Finn in cold blood forcing Riker to see how neither side is in the right. Just before they can escape a young child pulls a gun on them and Crusher talks him down.
They return to the ship and Beverly is reunited with his mother. All is right with the world again. ho hum.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
It has all the right elements but stumbles on the anti-terrorism message and has one of the most preachy and anticlimactic endings. It is clear from the start that this is a political statement against terrorism but the show somehow manages to show both sides of the coin. Not that this is a bad thing but it is clear that is not what the writers intended. Finn is a terrorist who has lost his heart and truly believes that he is a hero. For a little bit you get the notion that Finn could be in the right and the Ansata are really freedom fighters as well when he explains his reasonings. By the end of the episode the heavy handed ‘terrorism is bad’ is reinstated but not before it has left a little doubt in your head that maybe the means can justify the ends in some cases. In order to truly appreciate this episode you have to put yourself in a position of non-interference and that is really difficult to do. Picard and crew manage it well but Dr. Crusher, and in turn the viewers, begin to have doubts.
All in all it is a well made episode with a LOT of mixed signals. It wasn’t so bad an episode that I had to cut the review short and there have been far worse in the series than this one, so really, this one isn’t all that bad. Sadly this episode was a missed opportunity to allow for some serious character development for Doctor Crusher but it was a completely wasted oppertunity.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
We get more of Wesley’s usefulness on board the Enterprise and no one ever tells him to shut up so there is that.
I swear that the guns the Rutians use look a lot like the guns from the tv series ‘V’. They aren’t but they look really close.
Apparently all of the males on the planet have some sort of skunk stripe thing going on with their hair. Any species that hasn’t discovered grecian formula doesn’t deserve to be considered for Federation membership.
We also never hear from this planet again and so none of this really matters anyway. eh.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Deja Q
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Late To The Game 9/14/2019 (Originally published 5/16/2018)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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