Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 2 Episode 5

Loud As A Whisper

Aired Unknown Jan 09, 1989 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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out of 10
235 votes
  • Half-baked, patronising and dull.

    I don't have an issue with 'issue shows' (sorry, bad choice of words), at least not when they're done well. Because at its best science fiction is ABOUT issues that affect our society today. But this is soooo not the way to do it. 'Loud As A Whisper' is poorly conceived, poorly scripted and an altogether failure both as an issue show and as entertainment.

    Again, one of the problems is bringing in a guest character and making the show about him. Last episode we had the tedious Okona and this week we have the equally charmless Riva. It's unfortunate that Riva is so wholly unlikable: he's rude, arrogant, sleazy and excessively self-pitying (and he manages all that without technically uttering a single word, which is quite a feat in itself).

    Exploring disabilities and how they can be turned into an advantage is a worthy theme, but it's utterly botched by this half-baked script and the fact that we simply don't care about Riva. The way he communicates via his 'chorus' is interesting for about two minutes until you start to question the rather dubious concept. Who are the people that comprise the chorus? Here, they're portrayed as being Riva's slaves without a mind or lives of their own. And why did he need three of them, couldnt he communicate all he needed to communicate with just one translator?

    Riva's flirting with Troi made me quite queasy, because he was clearly imposing himself on her and giving her little choice but to accept his advances. And the conclusion, where Riva decides that he will make peace between the two factions by teaching them sign language is just...stupid and completely unconvincing. Here the writers saw it more important to shoe-horn in their moral of the week (which was so patronisingly simple that it belonged in a Saturday morning kid's show)than to provide a plausible and dramatically satisfying resolution to the storyline and that is a mistake of the highest order.
  • Charming

    I actually liked this episode. So will you if you find self-examination of humanity a good thing! This example is really all about disability, our perceptions of it and overcoming the burden placed upon those with it, by the rest of society.

    In what is a brave try, the subject is too large to broach in 45mins. If you invest the time though we actually enjoy the way in which Riva brings about the discussion of each issue in a non-high brow way!

    The concept of Riva's choir was a good one, even if now its probably not a fresh idea now. A rather slow introduction as we meet Riva and he meets with the crew, is taken to the next level as a lone member of one of the warring parties kills the choir. Unable to rely on them he retreats into his shell until the crew mobilise to show him that the choir is essentially another limb. Given that, he can overcome the lost of it just like anyone can overcome the loss of a limb or sense - as he had to do with his inability to hear and speak.

    Not an exciting episode but one full that demonstrates our almost endless potential to overcome adversity. Worth a watch in my book, esp. for Howie Seago's excellent performance as Riva.
  • Good on-paper premise, poor on-screen production....

    The Enterprise plays neutral party as it carries the benevolent deaf/mute diplomat Riva to the peace talks on Solais V between factions who have been at war for centuries. "Loud As A Whisper" has some ideas that I find intriguing: the role of the Enterprise as a neutral party to intense diplomatic relations and the idea of a super diplomat of sorts. Unfortunately the Riva character is handled horribly: he looks like some sort of late-80s-style Germanic Jesus, his "chorus" of people who interpret for him are corny and weird, and his disability is used by the writers in a lame attempt to drive home the obvious idea that disabled people are as advantaged as anyone else. The episode gets to a boring and cheesy start but gets better once the episode hits its mid-runtime climax. The absolute highlight of the episode is Ron Jones' atmospheric score.
  • The Enterprise must escort and aid a deaf mute negotiator who is sent to negotiate peace on a feuding planet.

    This episode features a very unique plot, which was requested by actor/director/producer Howie Seago, a deaf person who was cast as the lead guest star. It's a middle of the road offering with some good and some bad. There are some nice twists and turns in the script, but diplomatic missions don't make for the most exciting television, and there are plenty of dull moments. This one does give Troi a meaty role, and Marina Sirtis takes the opportunity to strengthen the character, showing everyone how the character can be important to the show (and surely influencing the writing of future episodes.) Also of note, two changes in Geordi's eyes that would happen many years later in two separate Star Trek films are both foreshadowed here. All in all, a forgettable episode with some interesting tidbits.
  • Some promising material, but the "issue of the week" is so mercilessly bludgeoned into viewers' heads that it becomes painful to watch at times. A real shame.

    I think this is actually an intriguing storyline - a gifted-but-arrogant deaf and mute diplomat tries to bring peace to two long-warring tribes. Unlike another reviewer, I actually thought the Chorus concept was intriguing (if imperfectly executed). After the Chorus is destroyed, the diplomat has to rise above adversity and figure out how to accomplish his previous mission.

    That said, the writers just could not help themselves and wrote an extremely heavy-handed "moral lesson" episode about how handicapped people are not inferior but just as capable as you and me. Yes, we all know that - do the writers really need to pile it on so relentlessly, with little benefit to the story? The kicker is Geordi's visit to Dr. Pulaski's office, which has nothing to do with the story but is just one more opportunity for the writers to beat us over the head with their moral.
  • The “Enterprise” is transporting a famous mediator called Riva to a planet called Solais V. When Riva arrives on the “Enterprise” the crew soon learns that Riva is deaf. Riva has empaths who read his thoughts and speak for Riva.

    The “Enterprise” is transporting a famous mediator called Riva to a planet called Solais V. When Riva arrives on the “Enterprise” the crew soon learns that Riva is deaf. Riva has empaths who read his thoughts and speak for Riva. The group of translators is known as a Chorus. Riva’s Chorus consists of three empaths who represent a distinct aspect of Riva’s personality. Riva is notorious for bringing peace to two different cultures. On Solais V, Riva will be conducting peace talks. Riva beams down to the surface of Solais V and his Chorus is killed. Riva will bring peace.