Star Trek: The Next Generation – Violations [5.12]

Visiting telepaths who make a habit of helping people recover lost memories are traveling on board the Enterprise.  One of them, Jev, begins to telepathically attack members of the crew, making them relive dark memories repeatedly until they fall into a coma.  Jev tries to pin the blame for his crimes on his overbearing father, also a member of the party, but Geordi and Data’s detective work, as well as his own compulsions, reveal the true culprit.

Teleplay by Pamela Gray & Jeri Taylor. Story by Shari Goodhartz & T. Michael and Pamela Gray. Directed by Robert Wiemer.

Previous Episode: Hero Worship • Next Episode: The Masterpiece Society

Comments:
And so the increasingly ho-hum fifth season of Star Trek:  The Next Generation continues.

Actually, Violations starts off well, with an interesting and well directed character bit featuring Keiko regaining a memory about her grandmother.  Then it moves into the initial attack on Troi which is quite intense and creepy.  But from, sadly, the story doesn’t have very far to go.  We know who is guilty, so there’s no mystery.  Jev is not a very interesting character (and nor or any of the other guest stars).  Jev’s actions are obviously meant to be the science fiction equivalent to rape – indeed, it is referred to as such, and even his attack on Troi basically is a dream-rape.  But neither the reasons for his attacks nor the consequences are ever explored.

Presumably Jev is just mentally deranged.  Presumably, this is why he proceeds to attack Troi again after he thinks he has managed to get away with things.  Perhaps there is no other meaningful motivation that we can give for someone choosing to rape someone else.  But it leaves the episode a bit cold and empty if one is looking for interesting drama or character work.

This leaves us with nothing really to watch except the novelty of each of the memory sequences, and though they are appropriately jarringly shot and edited, they can’t really hold up the episode.  By the time you get to Beverly’s nightmare about identifying Jack’s body, they’ve really become pretty tiresome – I’m grateful that was the last one.

It’s also hard to understand exactly what Jev is doing.  He is invading the characters memories, obviously, and making them relive them – eventually planting himself inside of them so they turn into nightmarish versions of what really happened.  But it seems inconsistent.  We’ve got to assume that Riker didn’t actually rape Troi, nor did Jack suddenly wake up in the morgue.  But with Riker’s memory, what did Jev change?  Did the other engineer not berate him?  Did he not order the door down?  It’s not clear.  It’s not a big point, but just another example of how the episode doesn’t really hold together.

Guest Cast:
• Eve Brenner played Inad.  Her first credited role (according to IMDB) was on an episode of The Adventures of Superman back in 1953.  Her second one was in the movie Rat Fink from 1965.  Her third was in a movie called March or Die from 1977.  Her fourth was in the TV show Hollywood Beat from 1985.  From then on, she had regular roles up until today.

• This episode features the 2nd of 3 appearances by Doug Wert as Jack Crusher.  He is on screen for about two seconds, maximum.

Shout Out to the Past
• There are references to Riker and Troi’s relationship, Lwaxana Troi, and also Shades of Gray, when Troi helped Riker through his strange budget limitations-induced coma.

• There is also that very brief appearance by Jack Crusher and the reference to his death.

Setting up the Future
Sadly, this is not the last time that Troi is mind-raped in the franchise.  Just watch Star Trek Nemesis. 

Observations:
• Interesting that Keiko appears but Miles doesn’t.  That’s the first and last time that ever happened.

• Well, I guess that guy Jev is creepy based on the way the camera zoomed in on him at the end of the teaser

• Sort of funny line from Worf:  Klingons do not allow themselves to be probed.

• The episode gives the impression that Deanna’s memory comes from before they were on the Enterprise.  At least, it’s hard to imagine Riker coming on to her like that since he became first officer.  But of course, Riker has a beard.  Now, it’s possible that he had a beard before he joined the Enterprise.  But I’d like to think it’s also possible that it’s just a trick of the memory – often when I remember people from the past, I picture them the way they are today.

•  Hey – there’s another Doctor on board the Enterprise!

• “I”ll contact you in the morning,” says Doctor Crusher.  Only if you’re not in a coma, Doctor!

• Sort of fun watching Geordi’s deductive process

• Picard’s implants are confusing in Beverly’s dream.  I guess they are supposed to be medical devices, but it’s hard not to be reminded of his time as the Borg.

•We haven’t looked into the comas that were explained.  “Why would we do that?”

• Troi puts up a good fight at the end, and Worf’s downing of Jev is elegant

• Nice speech at the end, Picard, I said sarcastically.  I’m sure Tarmin appreciates you moralizing about his son, who has just been discovered to be a mentally unbalanced rapist.  (Picard says, “Earth was once a violent planet, too. At times, the chaos threatened the very fabric of life, but, like you, we evolved. We found to find better ways to handle our conflicts. But I think no one can deny that the seed of violence remains within each of us. We must recognise that, because that violence is capable of consuming each of us. As it consumed your son.”)

Dialogue High Point
There’s nothing really standout, but I guess I like Data’s response to Geordi when he says that they haven’t looked into comas that were explained.

Why would we do that?

Previous Episode: Hero Worship • Next Episode: The Masterpiece Society

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