12/3/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Justice"

Vital Information
Series: The Next Generation
Episode: S01E08
Air Date: November 9, 1987
Written by: Ralph Wills and Worley Thorne
Directed by: James L. Conway

Premise
In the land of partial nudists, Wesley breaks the law. Unfortunately, he lives to tell the tale.

Review
After dropping off some colonists, Picard finds a nearby world with people on it and decides to introduce himself. Because that's not against the Prime Directive or anything. He sent an away team down and they reported back that the planet is lovely and so are the people, so he decides to send some people down to take a break and play with the people who Geordi says "make love at the drop of a hat." Which means it's a perfect place for children like Wesley to check out. So he's quite excited to be included.


When they get down, they quickly learn that the planet's inhabitants are affectionate and energetic, if a little on the dull side mentally. They're taken to the downtown area where the scantily clad aliens are all snuggled up on each other, giving each other massages, making out in the corner and whatnot. And then Wesley finds a few kids his own age and runs off to play with them.
You know she's gettin' it from the dude on the left.
Meanwhile, up on the ship, Picard spots a ship materializing in orbit. It appears translucent and it sends a small glowing ball into the Enterprise. After demanding to know why they've come, they give up talking to Picard and instead interface with Data by faith healing him to the ground. Data is incapacitated. Back down on the planet, the Edo are explaining that no one breaks any laws because no one wants to risk death. that's right, the penalty for all crimes is death. So what does Wesley do?

While playing catch with his new friends, he runs around in a field and tramples the sacred rose garden. A couple mediators find him, gather the evidence, the witnesses and sentence him to death. Then Riker, Worf and Tasha come along to say they can't do that. Some bickering ensues and then the mediators agree to let him live until sundown so they can get this all straightened out.
They clearly don't know Wesley.
Back on the ship, the God Ball has finished downloading information from Data and flies away. At the same time, communications are restored with the away team and they inform Picard of what's going on. Picard and Dr. Crusher immediately beam down to see what's up. Picard tries to pick up the pieces and learns they believe in a god who made all the rules and needs to be obeyed. On a hunch, Picard takes one of the females back up onto the ship to look at the other ship they found.

When the female Edo sees the translucent ship, she immediately bows before it and calls it god. Then the ship threatens to destroy the Enterprise unless they return his child. She's beamed back down immediately, and Picard conferences with Data who explains everything he learned from the God Ball. Turns out whoever's in charge of that translucent ship is an ancient race that has evolved beyond our dimension and is protecting the Edo. Maybe they'll understand if Picard takes Wesley without regard for their laws because they're so advanced.
Yeah, they look understanding enough.
So Picard beams down again with Crusher and demands Wesley back. There's a rumble in the sky and they are unable to beam back up, but Picard looks up toward their "god" and makes a speech about how laws will never be just unless they are open to be reinterpreted. After Picard makes his case, the transporters start working and they successfully are able to beam Wesley out of harms way. Turns out the race that had advanced beyond physical bodies needed a little help from the humans to sort these things out.

Overall Thoughts
Not a whole lot of things make sense about this episode. Near the end they start worrying about breaking the Prime Directive when contacting this pre-warp culture should have been a violation in the first place. The Edo simply accepting that death is the only punishment for even the most minor of crimes just does not ring true for me. There should be a rebellion of some sort going on. I do like the use of Geordi's VISOR in this episode. It gets us one step closer to him being a great engineer. Other than that, there's really only one reason to watch this episode: