The Rewatch: 113: Contagion

Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Episode: 2.11 Contagion (03-20-89)
Rating:  4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/0/3

Notable Guest Stars:
Thalmus Rasulala – Captain Donald Varley.  He played Captain Bolz for a season in Dragnet
Carolyn Seymour – Taris.  She did voices for several Star Wars video games (as Mon Mothma), so she ties two “Star” franchises together.  She would also appear on Star Trek: Voyager
Dana Sparks – Williams.  She appeared as Grace Bennett on the soap opera Passions and as Lt. Commander Carolyn Imes on JAG

Review:

 This episode is actually pretty interesting if you think about it.  An ancient civilization, one that exists only in myth anymore.  The Captain of the Yamato has found evidence of the civilization existing on a planet within the neutral zone.  So this is essentially like if he had found the lost city of Atlantis on Earth.  People have been trying to find it for centuries, yet no one has (in both cases).

Picard arrives just in time to see the Yamoto blow up because of an anti-matter explosion.  They later learn that this was caused by a probe that downloaded an uncompatable software into the Yamoto’s computers, which then transferred to the Enterprise like a virus.

I’m always fascinated by the episodes where they really get to explore a culture.  Unfortunately not much time was spent exploring this one, but it does present a deeper storyline they could pick up later in the series.  What happened to the Iconians?  Did they just become new peoples, or did they start a new civilization somewhere else far away?

Who was their enemy?  Was it the Borg?  I imagine the probe would have driven the Borg a little nutty so it would be a fun scenario to see. It would also be interesting if this was tied into the borg, because that would mean the two times so far we have seen the Romulans have been Borg related.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Steve Gerber and Beth Woods
  • Directed by Joseph L. Scanlan
  • Introduction of Picard’s favorite Tea order.
  • The Yamato is named for a battleship in the Japanese Imperal Navy during WWII which was sunk in 1945.

Pros:

  • Archaeology nerd!Picard.
  • Learning about new cultures.  I like the idea of ships out there studing ancient cultures and not just advancing the future.  We need to learn from the past.  Plus I’m a history nerd myself. 

Cons:

  • Wesley gets to point out the obvious strange once again.  What is the point of making him a main character if you are only going to use him to show him as a wonderkid once and awhile and then have him sit and state the obvious for the rest of it.  No wonder people get annoyed at Wesley. 
  • Someone pointed out that if Starfleet has survival courses for its academy graduates, it makes sense for the Medical component to have survival medical training, learning how to do medicine without technology. I thought that was a good point.  On a alternative view, perhaps that was new to the Academy, as I believe the first to actually mention the course was Tom Paris, who should be in school right now.  Especially if he’s the same age as Nick, the other character that Robert Duncan McNeill plays with the same backstory.  I like Tom better though. Regardless, I find it odd that the young medical officer had no idea of what a splint was.

Screencap via CygusX1

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