The Rewatch 116: The Icarus Factor

Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Episode: 2.14 The Icarus Factor (04-24-89)
Rating:  4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/.5/3.5

Notable Guest Stars:
 Mitchell Ryan – Kyle Riker.  I know him from Dharma & Greg, where he plays Greg’s father.

Review:

This episode is a character episode, dealing more with happenings on board the Enterprise then any external threat.  Riker and Worf are the focus of the two plots, and we get to learn some Kligon culture as well as Riker’s backstory.

For Riker, he is once again offered his own assignment as Captain.  Previously we were told that Will turned down a chance to be a Captain to take the position of First Officer under Picard.  Starfleet figures its its been a year, perhaps now he is interested.  And at first, he kind of is.  He is pleased by the idea that Starfleet and Picard both think he is up for the challenge.  The issue becomes the person in charge of briefing him for his new role is his own father, Kyle.  Kyle Riker is a civilian attaché to Starfleet, and has worked this job since Will was small.  However, their relationship is very poor.

Kyle also is a former flame of Katherine Pulanski.  She still loves him enough to be concerned about his relationship with Will as a friend.  About the only thing the two men have in common anymore is their respect for Kate.  Kyle however knows his son enough to know that Deanna is close to him.  He implies several times that she’s Will’s lover, although Deanna never confirms or denies the statement.

Worf meanwhile is also having issues with his past.  It’s the aniversery of his coming of age, and being the sole Klingon member of the ship has left the celebration of the event somewhat lacking.  It takes Wes being overly concerned to finally get what is bothering him out and together with Data and Geordi, he creates a holograph that helps Worf partispate in the Klingon ritual while his human companions look on.

So I suppose the episode is mainly about dealing with your past so you can move onto your future.

One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve been reading commentary about the production of these episode is that Gene Roddenberry had a very exact vision of the future.  People had issues with that vision, particularly with the idea that by the 24th century we would be beyond such things as anger, and the need of lawyers.  His utopian ideal doesn’t sound very human at all.  While I would like to see a time where Humans were beyond the need to be violent, I doubt we can ever eradicate the emotion of anger.  Showing people better handle their anger would be more likely. 

Also given some what what you hear in this episode, Will had a bit of child neglect in his past.  Whether it was to the level he remembers or not, that is something I would have found to be something that a 24th century community to frown on.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by David Assael and Rovert L. McCullogh
  • Directed by Robert Iscove
  •  There are Anime references within the game Anbo-jyutsu

Pros:

  •  Klingon Culture expansion
  • Backstory for several characters
  • We get to see Deanna’s office
  • Anbo-jitsu.
  • Imzadi moments

Cons:

  • I don’t think the episode plays out as well as they hoped.  Perhaps its Roddenberry’s desire to have a no-negative emotion future, or perhaps it was the timing, but I feel like the episode had too much going on to really have a good in depth plot about Riker’s relationship with his father.  I think perhaps Deanna suggesting therapy for Will to deal with his past might have been a good idea.  Or a at least a scene where they talk about it and she helps him reframe it to better understand Kyle. 

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