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TNG: Pen Pals - abates
Brilliant but slightly odd but very nice

Alden Bates
Date: 2007-02-25 11:56
Subject: TNG: Pen Pals
Security: Public
Tags:next generation
Pen Pals: Data becomes pen pals with a girl on a doomed planet, while Wesley has a taste of command.

Picard is going horse riding on the Holodeck. Troi seems over pleased at her theory the holodeck's made the Arabian myth about Allah creating the horse from wind true. She doesn't get out much. Hey, look, location shooting! Picard is interrupted by Riker calling him to the bridge to stargaze before he can so much as get on a horse. There's enough time for him to change back into uniform on the way though.

Riker puts Wesley in charge of a geological survey team, resulting in a long discussion about whether he's ready. Sorry, not caring. Get on with the plot, people! Hmm, Wesley looks like he's just been called to his own execution. While Wesley's getting his assignment, Data is fiddling with the Enterprise's sensors to scan long-range. Worf actually seems mildly impressed.

Wesley asks Riker and Troi for advice on handling his team, one of whom offers to take over if he finds the job too much work.

Meanwhile, Data gets a signal (somebody set him up the bomb!), but that's not important, because WESLEY is getting anxious about his assigned task. He wants to run a thorough test, but the rest of his team talk him out of it. Wes, you big pussy. BTW, is it really logical to name the episode after the B-plot? I smell false advertising!

Data finds Picard riding a horse on the holodeck. Wait, did Data just say he got the first episode eight weeks ago? Wesley's been working with his team two months and he's still letting them push him around?? Data says he's been communicating with a young girl named Sarjenka on one of the geologically unstable planets and wonders if there's anything they can do to help her civilisation. Picard tells Data they'll see what they can do, but he's not allowed to talk to the girl any more. This is generally a good idea, because most small girls you encounter online are actually FBI agents.

Riker gets a sinking feeling when he spots Wesley coming towards him in Ten Forward. Wesley says the other team members are being mean to him, and Riker tells him to grow some balls. "Ask yourself one question: What would Picard do?" Get assimilated and destroy most of the ships in Starfleet? Sorry, I'm jumping ahead. Having grown some balls, Wesley goes back and gives his order to his team.

The command crew discuss whether they can save the civilisation on the doomed planet, and whether they should under the Prime Directive. Picard makes the fallacious parallel with a civilisation embroiled in war. A doomed planet is a natural phenomenon, not a bunch of people being crappy to each other. This continues until Data performs emotional blackmail by piping Sarjenka's plaintive transmission to the meeting room. Picard INSTANTLY FOLDS!

Fortunately, Wesley's team (thanks to the test he requested) have worked out why the planets are unstable. They come up with a plan to break up the crystals which are causing the problem. Data asks to beam down because he can't contact Sarjenka. Data finds the planet on the verge of collapse and encounters Sarjenka. Since she can't survive outside long enough to join her family, she and Data beam up. O'Brien observes that Picard is going to be pissed. So naturally the first thing Data does is take her up to the bridge. Picard is pissed.

Fortunately their plan to shoot torpedoes into the planet works, and it stabilises. Picard asks Pulaski about wiping Sarjenka's memory of the Enterprise, because messing around with the brain of a child from a race you're unfamiliar with is completely safe. Yes. And they let these people look after children on a day-to-day basis. Data returns mind-wiped Sarjenka back to her now-safe planet, leaving her a gift of a singing stone. They didn't even check to make sure anyone else on the planet was left alive! Her parents could be dead!

Wesley and Data do separate plot wrap-up conversations with Picard. The end.

That plot was full of holes and only mildly entertaining. Bah!
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spooforbrains
User: spooforbrains
Date: 2007-02-25 00:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Wow, weird. They showed this exact same episode today on Sky:One. I, too, thought it was spectacularly shit.
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