mythology · Rewatch · Star Trek · Television shows · tv reviews

The Rewatch 217: The Chase

Series: Star Trek: TNG

Episode: 6.? The Chase (04/26/1993)
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/19/54
Notable Guest Stars:

Salome Jens (Progenitor) – Salome Jens is probably best known in Star Trek for her role as The Female Changeling who acts as the head of the Changelings and the Dominion.  She’s an essential character to DS9 and Odo’s story arc.

John Cothran, Jr (NuDaq)– Another long term Star Trek Alum, Cothran will continue to play various guest characters in DS9 and Enterprise.

Maurice Roeves (Romulan Commander) – Roeves guest starred in several TV programs, but one of notable credits include Ulysses (1967), The Last of the Mohicans, and Beautiful Creatures (2000)

Linda Thorson (Gul Ocett) – Thorson is a well known Canadian actress, having starred in the 1960s series The Avengers.  She has a bountiful theater career as well.  More recently she played a recurring character on the Hulu series The Hardy Boys.

Norman Lloyd (Professor Galen) – Lloyd was a well known actor, director, and producer over the long span of his career.  He began as a child and continued to work up till he was past 100 years old. A notable credit is He Ran All The Way, which he performed with John Garfield, one of the more visible victims of the Hollywood Blacklist.  One of his more recent credits before his death was a 2017 appearance on Modern Family.

Review:

I really enjoyed this episode for several reasons.  The story is strong, it opens up the universe a bit by including more than one alternative species, and it ties in Original Series mythos.

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At the start of the episode, it looks like it’s going to be a Picard-centered episode once again, but it does not stay that way though he holds the acts together.  Picard’s university Mentor, Dr. Richard Galen, has come to gift Picard an artifact from an ancient culture, for which Picard is most grateful.  You all know I enjoy episodes where the crew gets to be geeky.  But Galan had an agenda – he had discovered something and wanted Picard to come with him. Picard is too much of an adult to leave his commitments behind, so he declines much to Galen’s disappointment.  

Shortly after he leaves however, he is attacked and killed. Picard, while grieving, is also concerned as to why the Yridians, who are information gatherers and sellers, would be interested in Galan’s research.  So despite Will & Deanna’s concern he is doing this out of misassigned guilt over Galan’s death, he takes the Enterprise on a fact finding tour.

This episode includes a Cardassian (female, which honestly seems a little rare at times), a Klingon, and a Romulan, bringing the current big four species (Ferengi were once considered as well) to the table.  Nothing goes smoothly because the Ocett keeps trying to fight everyone, and Klingons rarely give up that challenge.

This episode works at giving a reason why the dominant style of being in the Star Trek Universe is humanoid (for lack of a better term).  This is not the first time Trek has attempted this.  The first time might be in the TOS episode “Return to Tomorrow” where the crew encounters Sargon and his companions who claim to have colonized Earth and other planets throughout the galaxy.  Later in the series, in the episode “Paradise Syndrome” Spock finds ancient technology left behind by a Progenitor race known as the Preservers.  The writers have connected this episode to The Chase in interviews.

Important to note however, is that you may recognize that the Progenitor looks vaguely familiar.  The make-up is that of a changeling, perhaps a different sect of the same species.  The actress who plays her also brings some familiarity.  In future episodes of DS9 where Odo meets his people, he meets the Female Changling who is the same actress.

I wonder if this concept inspired the idea behind Farscape’s, where a  more advanced race manipulated the human DNA when we were just starting. In their case, they took the Neanderthals that disappeared from the historical record and made them into the peacekeeping force.

Interesting Notes:

  • Directed by JOnathan Frakes (who does an awesome job with the camera shots in this episode)
  • Written by Joe Menoksy and Ronald Moore
  • The script had a scene where Mot, the barber, was tested by Dr. Crusher imply that the Bolians were not Federation
  • Ocett is the first female Cardassian seen with the rank of Gul.  She is also one of only a few ranked women in the Cardassian military forces. According to some of the novels written with her as a character, she may have been the one to find Odo.
  • This episode implies that Picard at one point considered not continuing with Starfleet and becoming an archaeologist instead.
  • This episode was inspired by Carl Sagan’s Contact.

Pros

  • A strong storyline
  • The crew gets to be nerdy
  • Showcasing more then one outside race.
  • The idea that there are crew members outside the Federation that joined Starfleet. 
  • Deanna Troi in a uniform.  The uniform really suits her, and so does the more relaxed hairstyle she is allowed to wear.  It looks more functional for her duties then previous styles.
  • Foreshadowing the peace between Romulus and the Federation in future times.

Cons:

  • Nothing really stands out.

Screencap via CygnusX1.net