May 7, 2020
Star Trek: The Next Generation “Conspiracy” (part 2 of 4)
Back from break, Picard and Troi are discussing the matter, with Troi expressing concern. Picard goes to the bridge and asks Data to check out all Starfleet activities over the last six months.
While Data is setting some rather impressive speed reading records, Dr. Crusher comes on the bridge asking if Picard saw Walker. Picard tells her no (gotta keep them secrets, dontcha know!), but suddenly, they come across space debris that turns out to be what’s left of Walker’s ship.
Well, if we had a crappy script, there’d be time for pathos, but we don’t, so things move along briskly, as Picard tells Riker about the situation. Riker is skeptical, though Picard mentions one Admiral Quinn (he appeared a few episodes previous, along with another guy we’ll meet shortly) who also warned him of a conspiracy.
After a brief bit where Data realizes he’s talking to himself, we move onto actual plot-related stuff.
Amusingly enough, when Data begins to ramble about it (as tends to happen with the guy), the computer politely tells him put a sock in it. He then reports to Riker and the captain that he’s found some evidence: duty reassignments by some of the higher ups in Starfleet that were done subtly enough to stay under the radar.
Data speculates that it’s a clandestine power play, and a decision is made to go directly to Starfleet HQ and ask what’s going on. They get there, and after waiting for a bit, they’re hailed by three admirals: Savar, Aaron, and Quinn.
They begin to ask Picard why he’s there, when they’re interrupted by Lieutenant Commander Remmick, last seen with Quinn in the earlier episode “Coming of Age”, which mixed the hints of this episode’s plot with a plotline concerning everyone’s favorite punching bag, Wesley Crusher. Actually, it’s not that bad an episode. If nothing else, it sows the seed for this gem.
They cut off the transmission, and the bridge crew debates a bit, with Troi noting that someone is hiding something, and that’s all she can sense. The admirals come back on, interrupting Worf in the middle of a remark about trustworthiness, and Picard is invited to beam down with Riker for dinner. Quinn asks to see the ship, as he won’t be able to attend the meeting, and right now everybody’s spider-sense should be tingling…
Picard notes that since Quinn wants to see them alone, it must mean he’s still on their side. Ah, Jean-Luc, so naïve and trusting. Regardless, this takes us to Starfleet HG (represented by stock exterior footage from Star Trek IV), and we hear the Ominous Notes of Danger as Quinn slowly enters a transporter room and examines a really crappy looking (in an endearing ‘80s way) slug-thing in a small case. It’s not exactly convincing, but it makes up for it by being damned ugly. Remmick enters and beams Quinn over, and we go to commercial.
This is the small story aspect I mentioned that’s still pretty good, even if it does let the admiralty off the hook. In the early versions of the script, the conspiracy was supposed to be just your average military coup, but Gene Roddenberry, being not much for something that dark in his idealistic vision, changed things up so that the conspiracy revolved around an alien invasion. Hence the crappy yet endearing creature on display here.
Back from break, Quinn is welcomed onto the ship by Picard and Riker. Picard brings up the events of the previous episode, which saw Quinn warning him, and Quinn reassures him that he was simply exaggerating the difficulties of incorporating new groups into Starfleet.
Picard regards this with suspicion (as does the soundtrack), and he tells Riker to stay onboard and keep an eye on Quinn while he’s down with the admirals, also telling him to have Dr. Crusher find a reason to give him a physical.
I like Patrick Stewart here. Say what you will about the way Picard was written at times, but when the material is good, it’s helped enormously by Stewart’s talent. Jonathan Frakes is also solid as usual. It’s a pity these two didn’t get more chances to have nice dramatic scenes like this, especially in the films.
Picard beams down and is met by the other two admirals and Remmick. Picard notices the building is oddly quiet (to which the admirals make a point of stating that it’s just a quiet night), and we go back to the Enterprise as Riker walks in on Quinn as he examines the case he brought with him. Riker asks him about it, and he says it’s for Crusher, noting Riker might be interested as well.
Quinn suddenly gets menacing, and Riker tries to fight him, only to get his ass kicked. He calls for security while Quinn beats him up some more, finally tossing him through a table.
Back on Earth, the admirals offer Picard some tea while Remmick excuses himself. His suspicions are made just a little worse as he learns that Walker’s death is being labeled a result of his own negligence, and we go back to the ship for episode two of “How to Kick the Crap Out of a Guy Half Your Age Without Really Trying”.
We find Geordi and Worf running like hell down the corridor to assist Riker. I guess for the first season Geordi not only drove the ship, but was also on security.
Either way, the end result is Geordi getting thrown through some doors and Worf… Well, it wouldn’t be an episode of this show without the big, bad Klingon getting his ass handed to him a bit.