Scriptwise, this medical drama is weak, being overly preachy and concluding with a terrible, dues ex machina ending. However, Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher), unwilling to let a Crusher episode go to waste, elevates the writing with an amazing performance. Michael Dorn (Worf) and guest star Caroline Kava (Dr. Russell) assist McFadden with excellent performances of their own, making the episode interesting and watchable.
Where do I begin to describe this dross? The "argument of the week" revolves around assisted suicide, living handicapped, and going gun-ho medical research. Okay, some of the ideas have merit, not forgetting "Unnatural Selection" delved into research, albeit on a different tangent.
The guest star of the week seizes an opportunity to go beyond simulated operations when Word is paralyzed in an accident. Worf's culture has Worf wanting death rather than perceived dishonor, his friends say "No, because my culture forbids euthanasia", and here comes the galloping guest doctor with a possible cure. Worf wants to try it, Crusher says "No, we need more time".
Eventually, Worf and guest star have their way and he is operated on. The operation fails, but because Klingons have multiple redundant organs, his life is saved by his own anatomy -- a redundant brain and neural functions are what saves him. Of course, who didn't see that one coming because it's so outrageously stupid an idea to begin with!
Crusher whines in the end that "real research takes time". Something everybody already knows. After all, simulations can only go so far. Real life can do what no amount of pretending can. Far more important, people have volunteered for risky or trial procedures before; either for their own hope of recovery, and/or for hope that what they do can benefit others. This is the final proof why the episode is nothing more than one-sided preachy fodder.
This episode is appropriately titled "Ethics" because there are two ethical dilemmas here - assisted suicide and the doctor's first duty.
The first is frankly not that interesting. We have lots of sentimental junk with Alexander, the kid who ruined Worf. Picard gives some pompous speeches about Klingon culture to Riker.
The second is better, perhaps because Beverly Crusher was among the most underutilized characters on the show. This story isn't just about using risky procedures on desperate patients; it's about what a doctor's first duty is, and what to do when that duty appears to conflict with a patient's desperate desire. Gates McFadden carries an episode that could have been much worse.
A good plot that takes the premise of medical ethics as its main theme. Centring the story around Worf was an excellent decision as he is probably the only character that could keep this from being run-of-the-mill. The conflict between Worf and his Klingon conscious allows the viewer to sympathise with the modern day plight of euthanasia and assisted suicide. Ryker actually does something I approve of and doesnt aid his friend giving him the chance to grasp an experimental treatment. This treatment is also another source of conflict better Dr. Bev and the specialist brought to help. I love it when Bev gets all ginger on someones ass! Just wish theyd had given her more storylines of that nature.
To summarise there are no battles in this episode, but Worf struggle to find come to terms with his illness allows another look at the relationship between himself and Alexander - another dynamic theyd should have used more.
Anyways, well worth a look for something that doesnt have any battle action.
Worf is conducting inspection of round barrel-like containers when one of the containers falls. It lands on Worf fracturing his spine. Worf now feels worthless. According to Klingon tradition, life ends when a Klingon cannot stand on his own two feet.
Worf is conducting inspection of round barrel-like containers when one of the containers falls. It lands on Worf fracturing his spine. Worf now feels worthless. According to Klingon tradition, life ends when a Klingon cannot stand on his own two feet. Worf asks Riker to help him perform the Klingon death ritual. Riker refuses because it is a family member who is suppose to help. Dr Russell, a spinal doctor comes aboard the “Enterprise”. Dr Russell has a plan. A experimental treatment may save Worf’s life, but he has a 50/50 chance of living. Will Worf’s life be saved?
Worf has always been one of my most favourite TNG characters and this episode shows how talented Michael Dorn is. A real tearjerker, the episode shows the conflict between a paralysed Klingon wanting to live for the sake of his son and the ritual suicide ceremony he must go through. The rest of the crew must also decide whether to stop Worf from taking his own life or instead respect his wishes and help him to die. There is also a medical ethics angle to the story - a doctor arrives on the Enterprise with a miracle cure for Worf's paralysis but Dr Crusher is convinced the untested experimental medical procedure is highly reckless and dangerous. She is eventually over-ruled and she begins to fear for Worf's life.
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