The Rewatch 108: Loud as a Whisper

screencap of Loud as a Whisper

(Screencap credited to Cygnusx1.net

Series: Star Trek The Next Generation
Episode: 2.05 Loud as a Whisper (01-09-89)
Rating:   5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/0/3

Notable Guest Stars:
Howie Seago – Riva.  He was nominated for an award for his part in Beyond Silence, a 1996 German drama.
Marnie Mosiman – Harmony/Balance.  She stared as Tracy Peters on the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful for 11 episodes. She has also done voice acting and appeared as minor characters on several TV programs.  She is also the wife of John DeLancie and mother of Keegan DeLancie, both of which will appear on Star Trek as members of the Q.
Thomas “Randy” Oglesby – Scholar/Artist  He would appear on Star Trek several times as Degra in Enterprise.
Leo Damian
– Warrior/Adonis.  Unfortunately, he did not choose to act very long, and his credits are listed from 1988 to 1994.  His last film in 1994 he also wrote and produced.

Review:

This episode was quite good.  Its mostly about we look at ourselves.  In this episode we have Riva, who is a mediator who is deaf.  His culture has worked out that the ruling families don’t have the ability to hear.  They relate it to hemophilia in Hanovers (Queen Victoria’s family) which I just want to ask if they realize they just implied that Riva’s family has inbreeding?

To communicate, the members of this family have a chorus, or a few translators that receive their thoughts and translate it into tone and response.  Riva has three.  One for more intellectual thoughts, one for more lustful or angry thoughts, and one to bring balance to them all. None of these characters are given names or self-character except for one minor line through the entire episode.

Intellect talks the most as he discusses with the senior crew about his plans for the meditation.  Harmony talks quite a bit as well.  The Warrior/Lover one only talks when strategy is being planned or Deanna Troi is in the room.  I kind of felt weird about his attentions toward Deanna mostly because it just didn’t seem to work for me.  Perhaps because it happened so early in the episode.

Riva’s hearing loss becomes a problem when he looses his translators when the mediation goes badly.  He grieves their loss as his friends, but also looses his way of communicating with the world.  Data is able to learn the sign language he uses and communicate and Deanna actually gets to act as a counseler instead of a feel-oh-meter so we get to see her help Riva work through some of his issues.

On a side plot we also have Geordi and his acceptance of his blindness, which I liked because a lot of times in this series having something different about you means something that needs to be corrected.  Geordi has tools to give him sight but he also accepts that he can’t see the same as others.  I feel the scene where Geordi is given the choice to regenerate his eyes was offsetting to that.  I understand that they added that scene to possibly remove the visor eventually on the series because LaVar Burton wanted to be able to use his eyes in his acting.  I’m glad they waited till much later to do that. 

The basic theme of this episode, to me, is to accept your differences, and a disability isn’t always something you need to correct.  Sometimes it just is and it’s a part of who you are.  Not a label, but an element.

I believe I’m phrasing that badly.

I do find it slightly puzzling that other then Picard and Data none of the other officers seem familiar with the idea of sign language. 

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by  Jacqueline Zambrano
  • Directed by  Larry Shaw
  •  Howie Seago is deaf in real life and petitioned for a story to be made to help people dispel myths/prejudice against those who were deaf.  He also asked for alternations in the script in regard to the ending.  In the original Riva learns to speak after loosing his chorus, but he felt that would support the forcing of deaf children to speak.  The writers rewrote the ending after hearing his concerns.

Pros:

  •  Representation of those with disabilities.

Cons:

  • With the theme of accepting all parts of you, even that which is different and the theme of making your disadvantages your advantages, the idea that Geordi would get corrective eye surgery seems to not quite fit in.  Perhaps not the right episode to introduce the concept?

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