The Rewatch 81: Code of Honor

Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Episode: 1.04 Code of Honor (10-12-87)
Rating: 1/5
Redshirt Status:  0/0

Notable Guest Stars:
Jesse Lawrence Ferguson – Lutan.  Appeared in the film Boyz n The Hood.  He also appeared in a movie called The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh which sounds ridiculous, but I love Pittsburgh movies.  Might have to watch it.
Karole Selmon – Yareena.  She does not have many credits, but is still active.
James Louis Watkins – Hogan.  He had a minor role in X-men the Last Stand.

Review:

Apparently its been so long since I watched this show, that when I saw the title I thought it was going to be a Worf episode where we learn more about the Klingon Culture (something TNG was good at) but no, instead we get what I call ‘the racist episode’.

You know an episode isn’t good when even the cast is pretty much “oh, yeah that one.  It sucks.”  Or when you learn the that the director got fired during the middle of production.  It was that director who made the decision to make the aliens more like tribal Africa then the reptilian aliens in the original story idea.  There were also rumors about him being racist to the guest stars but I only found one mention of that, so I’m hoping that wasn’t the case.  But it does suggest that the director’s vision was racist and therefore it casts a shadow on the episode whether you believe the writing was or not.

That is not the only reason this episode is bad.  It has some sexist undertones as well.  Any one who starts referring to a woman as ‘the female’ usually is not seeing them on equal terms.  Its also a cheap writing trick to add tension.  We know that no one thinks oddly of Tasha as security officer, yet the aliens find it odd.  I also didn’t like it when Troi calls them ‘the males’.  It makes it sound more like a zoological study then an interaction with another species.  I find it degrading to everyone.

I feel Lutan also might be modeled after Yul Brynner in The King and I because his speech patterns and hand movements remind me of that.  It also might allude to the original idea of the culture being based on the samurai.

Another note I have about this episode is the vaccine.  Vaccines are created by using dead/deactivated viruses to create antibodies in the body so it can fight the disease.  Essentially giving your body a way of preventing an infection.  They should need the particular virus from the other planet, not a random vaccine from Ligon.  This doesn’t make much scientific sense for them to have it if it did not affect their own people.  Even then it would be a different mutation of the virius.

I also am starting to have a problem with Beverly being pushy about Wesley’s desire to be on the bridge. I’m pretty sure any captain would say no children on the bridge.  And yes, Wesley is smart and knows how to learn things, but he is not an officer/crewperson.  She doesn’t seem to understand that distinction.  Also this is right after Wesley took over Engineering.  Shouldn’t he still be grounded for that?  Perhaps not because of the virius, but it makes it clearer that Wesley could do a lot of damage being able to learn as he does without the proper training to go with it.

The more I watch this show, the less I’m annoyed with Wesley Crusher, and the more I am annoyed with the adults around him.  Beverly pushed for him to be on the brige, and Picard allowed it, when you know full well if that Science officer from the first episode with son asked for the same he wouldn’t get it, no matter how smart his kid was.

Wesley, because of his intelligence, isn’t given a lot of boundaries that perhaps he should have.

The one element of this episode that is good is it shows that the crew is more aware of diplomatic relations, something the TOS crew wasn’t always the best with.  Not that they were undiplomatic, but the TNG crew has more of a through approach to the matter.

“Basic male image.”  I’m not a big fan of Troi in this episode.  Which is odd for me because usually Deanna is one of my favorites.  But not this episode.  Even Picard thinks she’s out of character.  I’m also not sure how the prime directive really effects

WHY IS WESLEY ON THE BRIDGE?

Interesting Notes:

  •  Written by Katharyn Powers and Michael Baron.  According to Wikipedia she also wrote one of my least favorite episodes of Season one of Stargate, Emancipation.  She needs to seek out new ideas.
  • Directed by Russ Mayberry who was fired.  Then directed by Les Landau.
  • I get the strong impression that this episode was not really the original idea made.  It certainly is not well received by the cast and crew, which you would expect would like it better then the general audience.

Pros:

  •  I wonder if Patrick Stewart has done audio books.  He has the voice for it.
  • Geordi & Data friendship

Cons:

  •  I’m not sure this is how vaccines work.  Why would one planet have the vaccine for an illness that only effects another planet?  I’m going to pretend they meant some component of a medication.  That makes much more sense.
  • Wesley Crusher is given too much leeway.  There is no reason a 15 year old boy should be on the bridge without proper supervision. I think It makes more sense later on when he’s in Starfleet academy preparations. But right now its like they put the kid who just got his lerner’s permit in an airplane.

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