By this point in the series, we have seen numerous Warp Speeds be 'engaged'. This episode gives us a look into what those warps had been doing to space. A very good episode, but I took the score down because we never found out (at least not in this episode) if Data was successful in training. I recommed this episode to anyone who sees an intrest in Warp Speed. Anybody else think Spot is the cutest little thing you have ever seen? Great episode, great character plots, and an unfortunate, but necessary loss of a guest character. (Sister of another.) Enjoy!
The “Enterprise” crew tries to locate the “Fleming”. The “Fleming” is lost in a corridor of space where warp drive is capable in a space equivalent to a one lane road. While searching for the “Fleming” the crew find that another ship is motionless in this sector. Is is the Ferengi ship has been disabled by what? We find out the answer it is Rabal and Serova, a brother sister team native to this sector. Dr Servova tries to reveal that warp drive is harming the sector in which they live. Dr Servova will prove her point.
One of the criticisms leveled at TNG is excessive political correctness, and no episode is more worthy of the criticism than this one.
What's amazing is that we spend the first 15-20 minutes of the episode without this even being an issue - we just get Geordi and Data boring us to death with discussion of fixing the engine and training Data's cat.
But then, horror of horrors, it turns out that warp drive is the 24th century's version of the Ozone layer hole (or global warming). I guess this idea might have had potential, but the execution here is terrible. The aliens are totally unsympathetic and the less said about the idea of a speed limit in space, the better.
I guess the one scene in which Data trains spot is a dim star in a very dark galaxy of an episode.
This unfocused ensemble episode begins with an A story about Data training his cat and a B story about Geordi trying to best an engineer of another ship and then drops both stories about halfway through to meander into a heavy-handed environmental allegory. The problem with doing the sci fi equivalent of a hole in the ozone layer is that the science inevitably takes a backseat to the personal issues and viewpoints (which can be covered in a more dramatic way) and thus the episode becomes more about who's right than the more Star Trekish idea of "let's find out what the problem is and then see how we can solve it together."
And if that's not bad enough, to really send home the episode's message that technology has doomed us all, the episode ends with a directive that handcuffs future Star Trek episodes until a few months later when the writers decide to forget about "Force of Nature" and never reference it again.
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