The Rewatch 85: Justice

Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation (Hereafter just TNG)
Episode: 1.08 Justice (11-9-87)
Rating: 3/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1

Notable Guest Stars:
Josh Clark – “Conn Officer”. He would later be Lt. Joe Carey on Voyager

Review:

This episode is not one of my favorites, but its an important episode in regard to the mythos in Star Trek. It deals with the Prime Directive, which is not to interfere with a less advanced civilization. Picard must decide whether the safety of his crew goes above that or not.

Wesley is finally given an age-appropriate job to do. He is to go down with a landing party and see if the planet they have come across will be a good place for relaxation for the younger set. Riker and the initial away team think it’s a paradise, and it does look like a beautiful planet. The people are happy, and a bit more socially free then our current social ways.

I’m not necessarily a big fan of this episode. Its not a horrible episode, although there are things that could have been improved on. The Edo don’t seem like a real people. They are all too joyful. Also perhaps its my inner introvert, but the touching seemed a bit much.

I did like that they were equal with showing the crew’s interests in the people of Edo. Troi and Yar are allowed to show their attraction to the men as much as Riker is allowed to show his appreciation. I do feel perhaps the conversation between Riker and Worf was a little early in their relationship to have, but *shrugs* again I’m judging using my own feelings about how long I need to know someone to discuss certain things. On the bright side, they come right out and say ‘sex’ rather then trying to use euphemisms like TOS had done.

None of the customes seem comfortable for every day wear. I understand they are to show a futuristic sense of style, while also emphasizing the free way the Edo people deal with their bodies, but still. I think a lot of fashion tape and dealing with wedges was had by the cast.

The main plot of the episode is that Wesley unknowingly crashes into a new plant garden, which is not allowed. Apparently its considered criminal (although Edo Entity knows why) and Wesley is condemded to death because the Edo have few laws, but if you break a law, its one punishment -death.

The children around Wesley try to defend him, reminding the mediators that Wesley is not from their planet, he didn’t know about the rules. The Mediators (and really most of the adults) don’t seem to care. They find it sad that it has to be done, but don’t have problems seeing it done.

Riker & the away team of course have a major problem with this, which sours relationships (and shore leave) with the Edo. He calls up to the Captain to tell him what has happened.

The Captain meanwhile has been dealing with the Edo’s god enity. Which is odd effect honestly. I think its meant to look like a ship, but one half in the demention and instead just looks like some strange unfinshed effect. This side of the plot doesn’t really impress me either just because it seems a bit unneeded when the whole situation down on the planet has more tension.

The climax of the episode is a bit of a let down, because Picard basically gets to monologue to the Enity for a few minutes before the Edo enity decides to allow them to allow to leave the planet.

I think the biggest problem in this episode is that they set it up to be about the Prime Directive, but they start it off violating it. The Edo appear to be advanced, but not aware of much space travel. When Riven is on board the enterprise she is surprised by it,and amazed they share the space with their god. Which begs the question – why did they stop at this planet to begin with? Aren’t they violating the Prime Directive already by interacting with the society? Or is there a criterion to be met?

Secondly, we never really hear from the Edo Enity again. I feel a follow up episode should have been made. Did the Edo enity give them a map of their territory? Did it allow the colony as long as the Edo people were left alone? For that matter, why did it allow them to land in the first place. They are apparently often there, I can’t imagine they go far.

Although an interesting note: Picard explains that the Federation no longer does capital punishment, as it is seen as a bad deterrent and unnecessary. This is something that has changed in the 100 years from Kirk’s tenure on the Enterprise, because there were still a few cases of the death penalty then.

I’m giving this episode a 3, because I believe it had promise, but wasn’t seen to its potential. So far its one of the better episodes of this season. This does not bode well for TNG Season 1.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Worley Thorne based on the story done by Worley Thorne and Ralph Wills (John D. F. Black)
  • Directed by James L. Conway.
  • Filmed mostly on location, the first episode to do so extensively (Encounter at Farpoint had one location scene)
  • Some of the outside shots were filmed at the Donald Tillman Water Reclamation Plant’s Japanese garden. This location would be used several times over the years. Frankly, I just think the place looks pretty neat considering it’s a waste processing plant.

Pros:

  • Introduction of a new species – The Edo
  • Seeing equality in the treatment of the genders

Cons:

  • I still can’t wait till they give Marina Sirtis a new costume.
  • Prime Directive theme doesn’t quite mesh with how the episode plays out

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