Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 3 Episode 12

The High Ground

Aired Unknown Jan 29, 1990 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

Write A Review
out of 10
219 votes
  • . . .meh

    Apparently some people believe terrorism was invented in September 2001. It wasn't.

    Overall the episode is fine but my primary annoyance is Crusher and the Enterprise command staff.

    I love that Picard and Riker dismissed doing the most obviously correct thing (beaming the away team back) because Crusher (a subordinate) would be upset with them. . .for the flag ship of a supposedly professional military/diplomatic/exploration organization that's quite a high lvl of WTF-ery

    Crusher and the wounded could not be beamed to the ship or to a hospital. . .because?

    The cherry on top is that Crush a 'Commander' which means she trained and is expected to be able to actually 'take command' of the flag ship of the Federation if needed but she can't even not screw up being in charge of a 3 man away team.
  • Weirdly prescient and preachy, this episode plays better now than it did pre 9-11

    This is a very interesting case study of how context changes a message, if you're into that kind of thing. Oh, if only 1990 knew how poignant its platitudes about terrorism would become a decade later, right?

    But perhaps the most interesting aspect is that the platitudes have gone from bland and patronizing to eerily level-headed and profound, not the other way around. In the day, this episode would have conveyed a condescending, colonialist tone. "Oh these silly other places that can't figure their violent conflict out, if you'd only look at our nice, peaceful culture". Today, though, the level headed admittance that terrorists have goals and objectives that can often be legitimate, if self destructive, feels gracious and almost zen-like. It feels like an American show talking about its own country, not everyone else's. It feels less like telling others to stop and more like admitting some responsibility.

    And that, to its credit, would really not have worked if the platitudes in question hadn't been at least pretty decent ones. It's easy to joke about TNG punching so far above its weight with these dark, serious themes, but if it doesn't really screw anything up, does it really matter if the show is silly?

    The truth is that the points being made are fairly deep. The formerly moderate police chief being radicalized by the stress of being a target and the surrounding carnage rings true, no irony needed, even if the ruthless but handsome terrorist leader with an artistic streak is quite romanticised. There are even some subtler nuances thrown in for good measure. Crusher vehemently defends that Picard would never stoop to terrorist methods to snatch a military victory, but immediately after that scene he proposes an escape plan Crusher objects to morally.

    It's naive, it's cheesy and it's unnecessarily earnest, but considering how big of a flaming trainwreck this episode could --hell, SHOULD-- have been, I ended up being rather impressed by how well the neutral, idealistic tone survives in the harsher environment of the 21st century.
  • An episode ahead of its time. (But it's still not very good.)


    Eleven years before the September 11, 2001 attacks, Star Trek commented on terrorism with this dark episode. The mood is nicely laid out, and there are some interesting guest stars (Kerrie Keane and Richard Cox) and plot points, but the episode is hampered by the fact that Trek doesn't really have anything particularly interesting to say about the subject matter. Dr. Crusher is the featured character, and Gates McFadden is excellent with the subpar script. By the end, however, it's a relief to see the Enterprise leave the planet, never to return.

  • An intelligent "issue episode" dealing with terrorism. While the show was not quite ready to deal with this kind of subject matter, overall it is a success.

    One of the great successes of Deep Space Nine is that it presented not just villains with a good side (Dukat, Adami), but some "good guys" who had a genuine nasty streak. Major Kira is a hero, no doubt, but she's also a former terrorist who killed many people – not all of them combatants.

    In "The High Ground" we see the other side of Major Kira: a villain with a good side, Kyril Finn. The writer, Melinda Snodgrass, tests us; Finn is kindly to his captive, Dr. Crusher, and also a talented artist. And his adversaries, while probably well-intentioned, are carrying out an unpleasant (to say the least) law-and-order regime to deal with terrorists spurred on by a nationalist dream.

    The Federation is dragged into this conflict unwittingly, and once inside doesn't really know what to do. When Data confronts Picard with the unpleasant truth that, well, terrorism often achieves its goals, the goodie-two-shoes captain is (for once) at a loss for words. Beverly detests the terrorist's methods but can't reconcile his heartless fanaticism with a gift for art. And Finn's final death, killed without trial and with no end in sight for the terrorist campaign he led, eschews any sort of happy ending. (Though the Enterprise departs into its utopian bubble, never to be bothered with this troublesome planet again.)

    In a later season this episode could have been a classic; in this one, it's just a nice episode to watch.
  • Dr Crusher, Worf , and Data beam down to Rutia IV to deliver medical supplies. While there a terrorist attacks the are where the away team are. Dr Krusher insist on helping the injured despite the other away team warnings that they need to return to the s

    Dr Crusher, Worf , and Data beam down to Rutia IV to deliver medical supplies. While there a terrorist attacks the are where the away team are. Dr Krusher insist on helping the injured despite the other away team warnings that they need to return to the ship. She is kidnapped by a terrorist named Finn. Finn is wearing a interdimensional shift device on his arm. It is not a safe way to be transported. It cause peoples DNA to be scrambled. Hands up to Wesley for finding out where the terroists are hiding. I rate this one a 8.4.