Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Best of Star Trek TNG---The Ensigns of Command
“The Ensigns of Command” was another winner written by Snodgrass. It also features Commander Data, who shines in this episode by displaying an array of thought processes and expressions (hate to say emotions).
He is summoned to a planet that is heavily blanketed in radiation. The colonists have somehow managed to adapt and Data is sent down to the planet to start evacuation procedures to remove the colonists. The planet was given to an alien race called the Sheliak and they want the humanoids removed before they remove them (eliminate them) themselves.
Captain Picard has the task of bargaining with the Sheliak to give them more time to evacuate the colonists because there are so many of them and the radiation is interfering with their transporters.
Meanwhile, Data is trying to convince the colony leader to evacuate and has to come up with creative and innovative ways of doing this with the help of a female colonist who becomes infatuated with the android.
Like most ST TNG episodes, this one has two stories in one and they come together beautifully. There is a third part as well—-Geordi and Chief O’Brien are busy trying to reconfigure the transporters to work with those radiation levels. They ultimately fail after several attempts but in time for the Sheliak to agree to a longer period of time for the evacuation Picard was successful in using the treaty the Sheliak had with the federation to get them to agree. The agreement contained language that allowed third-party arbitration in a dispute. Picard chose "the Grizzellas." They would be glad to weigh the arguments once they came out of their six month's hibernation.
The highlight of the episode was when Data gave the colonists a demonstration of the destruction they face if the Sheliak are allowed to eradicate the colonists themselves by using a reconfigured phaser to stun some armed colonists and shoot some of their built structures. “These are just things” Data tells them, and convinces them they wouldn’t survive a fight with the Sheliak.