Thursday, September 3, 2009

Star Trek: The Next Generation--"Peak Performance"

Here is a bit of irony for you. In the previous episode, a group of klingons reasonably thought using a seventy year oldship could hold its own against contemporary enemy ships with all its advanced weaponry. As if to add further insult to that cunning Klingon plan, the main plot of this episode involves war games between the Enterprise and an eighty year old ship called the Hathaway of which is supposed to be made short work. All to remind us those silly aliens cannot come up with brilliant svhemes anywhere near as well as humans can.

What is worse, this yet another pitiful effort to make the Ferengi into worthy adversaries. It falls flat as the Ferengi are tricked into believing the Enterprise has destroyed theHathaway. The Ferengi run off in terror of those cah-razy hoomans who are killing each other for no apparent reason.

There is a side story here involving Sirna Kolrami, an alien from a race famous for its strategic acumen. He is an arrogant little jerk, so wen he defeats Riker in some sort of strategy game no one ever explained to the audience, Pulaski gets incensed and manipulates Data into challenging Kolrami. By manipulates, I mean she flat out lies. It doubly worse since she has been such a condescending old bitty to data from the beginning. Now she is using him to settle scores that do not personally involve her. Mercy, I despise that woman. Only one more episode with her to go.

Data is defeated and spirals into a funk. He assumes he madea mistake, which is impossible, and refuses to go back to duty until hefigures himself out. Losely translated, Data is depressed and does the equivalent of eating Chunky Munkey and watching soap operas all day while locked in his bedroom. The reaction cheapened his character. I would think Data would have refined his strategy after losing rather than have to have Picard pat him on the head and tell him the life lesson you do not have to make a mistake in order tolose.

Data beats Kolrami the second time around by passing up obvious moves of advancement. Kolrami quits the game in disgust Ugh. Pulaski got her way.

This is not a bad episode, but there is nothing to recommend it, either. A war games episode is just like one of those many holodeck episodes we are going to encounter for episode after episode to come. There is no real tension to it becauseweknow it isall fake. Heck, worf even says that to Riker when he explains how pointless the ’battle” is. Top that off with the only enemy being the Ferengi, and you have couple wasted opportunities.

I should mention the motivation for these war games is the coming Borg threat. I had forgotten just how tediously slow that plot went along. We will not hear another mention of theBorg foranother 27 episodes. Granted, their first attack on the Federation was worth the wait, but that wait was slow as molasses in January.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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