Warp Speed to Nonsense

Warp Speed to Nonsense

Monday, February 19, 2018

ST:TNG Season Three, Episode Twenty-Three "Sarek"

ST:TNG Season Three, Episode Twenty-Three "Sarek"
Production Order: 23
Air Order: 23
Stardate: 43917.4
Original Air Date: May 14, 1990



Picard's Log 43917.4: "So this mysterious race called the Lagarans are thinking of joining the Federation. The E has been chosen to host the first meeting. But first, we're going to Vulcan to pick up Ambassador Sarek and his wife Perrin."

Okay, so let's go over some shit before we get into it: Sarek is 202 years old in this episode, and humans don't live as long as Vulcans. Cool? Cool. So there's an issue with the fact that his wife Amanda is human and clearly not going to die after he does. Sarek is a widower here. But he's also remarried, to another human named Perrin. I have mixed feelings about Perrin, but we'll get to that later. Right now, you just need to know that Amanda's died, so Sarek is remarried. (It was possibly a question of Jane Wyatt being available - she died in 2006, but had a mild stroke in the 1990's. Nothing appears in her filmography on Wikipedia after 1989.)

Anyway, Picard and Riker are dressed to the nines in their dress uniforms, only this time, the tights have been ditched for a looser-fitting pant. Looks pretty good. Go with that in the future.



They're chatting about how awe-inspiring Sarek is, how Riker has read all about him at the Academy, and what kinds of rad things he's done for the Federation. Picard mentions Coridan joining the Federation after Sarek's intervention, a direct continuity of the TOS episode "Journey to Babel." (I know you were waiting with bated breath for 24 years to know how that situation was gonna turn out. Don't worry - those of you who wagered "join" have some money coming to them.) He also talks about having met Sarek once as a young lieutenant and being completely tongue-tied. Its a rather charming moment:
Picard: "Standing in the presence of such history. I remember he spoke to me and I just stood there, grinning like an idiot."
Riker: "You? Tongue-tied?"
Picard: "Indeed. How do you make small talk with someone who shaped the Federation?"
D'awwwww. Bb Picard.
They discuss the rumors that Sarek is doing this one last ambassador gig before retiring. Picard says it'll be an awesome end to his career, because being allied with the Legarans is super-beneficial to the Federation.
They hit the transporter room, and O'Brien beams up two dudes, one human and one Vulcan. The human introduces himself as Ki (Kee) Mendrossen, Sarek's chief of staff. The Vulcan is Sakkath, Sarek's personal assistant.



"So... we have some delicate stuff to go over before the ambassador comes aboard," says Mendrossen.
Picard and Riker exchange a look, because WTH?
"Okay?" says Picard.
"The ambassador isn't young," says Mendrossen. "This shit is important, and he needs to conserve his strength. So, no fun ambassadorial stuff. Like, cancel any plans you made."
"Well, crap," says Riker. "We planned a Mozart concert for tonight cuz we heard he liked Mozart."
"Yeah, not doing that," replies Mendrossen. He's not as friendly now. "When he beams aboard, he needs to go straight to his quarters, and then be left alone until we get to Legara."
Picard looks put out that they rained on his ambassador parade, but assures Mendrossen that no one will disturb Sarek.
"Awesome!" Mendrossen is friendly again.
Sarek and Perrin beam aboard, and there's a mirroring of "Journey to Babel" here: Sarek introduces Perrin as "she who is my wife," just as he introduced Amanda to Kirk. And much like Kirk, Picard attempts to greet her as Mrs Sarek, which is incorrect. Like Amanda, Perrin smiles and instructs him to simply address her by her first name.



"Let's go see the conference room," says Sarek.
The others in his party, including his wife, all try to convince him to settle into his quarters first, and that Sakkath and Mendrossen can check on the conference room for him, but he's pretty insistent, telling Picard good-naturedly that his entourage worries too much about his health.
Riker offers to take them, and they leave.
The camera zooms in on Picard's worried face.

Dramatic music! Opening credits break!



When we return, Wes and Geordi are in the conference room setting up a vat of rainbow slime. Wes is in a hurry to get shit done, because he has a date with Ensign Dumont.
"Noice," says Geordi. "That takes guts."
Not sure if he means asking out Dumont in particular or dating in general, but he congratulates Wes on getting that date all the same.
The ambassadorial party arrives and Sarek is immediately annoyed. "You need to get rid of the furniture in here and take everything off the walls. I've been preparing for this meeting for 93 years! It has to be right!"
Picard is a bit taken aback, but he explains that Geordi and Wes aren't done. Mendrossen soothes Sarek, telling him that he's sure the E's crew will make everything up to spec before the meeting. Sakkath comes up behind Sarek and gently tells him that they should let Geordi and Wes continue their work.
"Okay," agrees Sarek. On his way out, he turns and tells them sharply that the walls are too bright.



Later on the bridge, Picard talks to Troi and Riker. Riker admits that with the way the entourage talked, he expected a frail old man, but Sarek is certainly not that.
Sassy Picard Moment: "I hope I'm that frail when I'm 202 years old."
They decide that maybe Mendrossen and Sakkath are kind of overprotective, and Picard admits that while he'll follow their instructions to leave Sarek alone, he was kind of hoping he could talk to the ambassador.
Troi asks if he is going to cancel the concert, and he says no, though he's disappointed that Sarek won't be there.
"You could ask if Perrin wants to go," she suggests.
"That's a good idea!"
Picard hops out of his chair to go call on Perrin.



Perrin is surprised when Picard turns up and says he's there to see her instead of Sarek. They exchange pleasantries, and she tells him that they were pleased to find out that the E would be hosting.
Perrin: "My husband has taken an interest in your career. He finds it to be... satisfactory."
Picard: "My word. High praise from a Vulcan."
Lol.
He invites her and Sarek to the Mozart concert, and she says she isn't sure if her husband can go, but maybe she will.
"Cool," he says, leaving. "Hope to see you there."
She looks concerned, and goes to find Sarek, who is in another room.
She guesses that he is having trouble meditating, as he has been for a few weeks.
He's irritated, and sends her away.



Geordi and Wes are still setting up the goo pool, only the lights are down and there's nothing on the walls.
"Can I fucking go?" demands Wes.
"Why? It's not like you're gonna get anywhere with Ensign Dumont," replies Geordi.
"At least I'm not spending the night with a good book, like some people."
"Fuck off, pissant. She's way out of your league."
And a heated argument almost comes to blows:
Wes: "Since when did you become such an expert on women?"
Geordi: "Compared to you, every male on this ship is an expert on women!"
Wes: "Well, at least I don't have to find my women on the holodeck!"




Daaaaamn, how'd he know about that?
Riker strides in and catches them shouting at one another, asking them if there's something going on. Wes asks to be excused, then stomps out without waiting for an answer.
"Everything okay?" Riker asks coldly.
"Yep," snaps Geordi.
Zoom-in on a concerned Riker!

Dramatic music! Commercial break!



We jump forward to the concert. Data and his musician friends are warming up while Riker and Picard take their seats. Picard tells Riker about Worf putting an ensign on report for insubordination, and Riker is surprised, because that ensign has been an awesome crew member thus far. Riker mentions the argument he broke up between Geordi and Wes.
The doors whoosh open, and Sarek and his party step in.
"Sweet, you came!" says Picard.
"Yeah, Perrin suggested it would be a good diversion. She can be quite... logical when she wants to be," says Sarek, with a small smile.
Not to be left out and wanting the others to think that he had some say in the matter, Mendrossen pipes up, "Looks like the ambassador had more free time than we thought!"
Picard introduces Data, who tells them that he's been programmed with the techniques of over 300 different violinists, and lists a few, asking if they have a preference. Perrin selects one, and I kind of like that in the future, people might have strong opinions on violinists.

The costumes for this episode are absolutely killing it.


The concert begins, and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. We skip to a new song, one that is dramatic and sad. Sakkath leans forward in his chair to stare at Sarek's profile.



Troi, sitting behind Sakkath, looks at Sarek as well. Sakkath whispers to Medrossen, who glances at Sarek. Troi looks between them. A few tears fall from Sarek's eyes, and when he turns to Perrin, she wipes them away.



Picard takes notice. The group gets up and leaves quietly. Troi glances at Picard. We zoom in on his face, worried.

Wes goes to see his mom in her office, as she's summoned him there.
"Hey, what's up?" he asks.
"You weren't at the concert," she says coldly.
He says lightly that he told her he might go, but his date wanted to go to the arboretum instead.
"Captain Picard asked where you were," she replies. "I don't like making excuses for you."
The argument gets heated on her end. Wes is baffled, because he didn't expect her to get angry over this. The concert wasn't an official function. He suggests that she might be overreacting and turns away.
She grabs his arm. "Where are you going?"
"Away from you!" he replies, alarmed.
And she fucking slaps him.
Damn, Beverly. I know he sometimes says asshole-ish things out of character, but this is not one of those times.



"I slapped him!" wails Crusher to Troi. "I've never hit my kid!"
She's in Troi's office.
Troi has some idea of what's going on. "What were you thinking when you hit him?'
"Nothing. I was just super pissed."
"Did he provoke you?"
"No. I was just suddenly enraged. For no reason."
"Yeah, I've heard that from ten different people over the last two days."



Data gives Sakkath a tour of the bridge. "The captain, Commander Riker, and Counselor Troi sit in these seats."
"Yeah, about that," says Sakkath. "Counselor Troi is a Betazoid?"
"Half," replies Data. "She's an empath rather than a telepath."
"Hmmm. And how good are Picard's diplomacy skills? Does he know the Legarans well? Could he take over if need be?"
"That's...a weird question," says Data. "Do you think the ambassador won't be able to do it?"
"No," says Sakkath quickly. "Just thinking about how we could fix things if something went awry. Anyway, thanks for the tour."
He high-tails it off the bridge, leaving a confused Data behind.



A bunch of people are down in Ten Forward. O'Brien and another Gold are leaving the bar to sit at a table, when a group of Blues sits down at that same table.
"Yo," says O'Brien. "That's our table."
"Don't see your name on it," sneers the Blue.
Sensing an issue arising, Geordi steps up to them. "Hey, plenty of tables here."
"That's true," admits O'Brien, his sails deflating somewhat.



In the corridor, Riker is talking to Worf about his accusations of insubordination.
"Is it just me," asks Riker, "or have tempers become a little frayed on the ship lately?"
"I hadn't noticed," says Worf in a clipped tone.
The door to Ten Forward opens in front of them.



Sassy Worf Moment: "I see what you mean."
He pages security to Ten Forward, then takes Geordi's place between two brawling Golds.
"Geordi, WTF?" demands Riker.
"Dunno!" calls Geordi, just before he gets punched.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!



In the aftermath of the Ten Forward brawl, wait staff pick up broken tables and Crusher checks for injuries.
"WTH?" demands Picard.
"There's a lot of this going around," says Troi. "All over the ship, people are just randomly getting violent."
"Like it's contagious?" asks an alarmed Picard.
"Yeah," says Crusher. "Only I've checked the water supply, the replicators, the air... all nothing."
"That's shit timing," says Picard. "I want the ambassador isolated from this."
Crusher and Troi look guilty.
"So... this stuff started pretty much when Sarek and his entourage beamed over," says Crusher.
The look Picard gives her says "you're shitting me."




Crusher and Troi take Picard back to Crusher's office to talk to him privately.
"Something happened at the concert," says Troi. "I sensed it."
"Yeah, he cried," nods Picard. "It's freaking weird for a Vulcan to cry."
"Eh," says Troi. "They have the same basic emotions as us, they just learned to repress them. But it felt like he's losing control over things."
"There's a rare thing that Vulcans can get when they're 200 or more years old," says Crusher. "It's called Bendii Syndrome. They have sudden bursts of emotion, mostly irrational anger. Eventually, they lose all control of their emotions."
Picard is horrified. "That sounds like it would be highly offensive to a Vulcan. Control of emotions is their thing." He turns to Troi. "How could he affect the crew?"
"Vulcans are telepathic," she replies. "I think he's projecting his emotional outbursts onto people unintentionally."
He asks about the Legarans, and Troi says that when they come onboard, they could also be affected. Frantic, he asks Crusher if there's a cure.
"No," she says. "I mean, I could test him, by growing a culture. But it would take a few days."
"Shit, I have 12 hours," he laments.



Picard asks Mendrossen into the ready room to ask him to delay the conference.
"Fuck off," replies Mendrossen. "The ambassador is perfectly healthy."
And ugh, he tries to gaslight Picard. Why is everybody in the future such a fucking asshole?
"You're crazy, Picard. If this is true, why are Perrin and I not affected?"
"Dunno," says Picard. "Some people on board haven't been affected, either. But it's random. And you don't have to be standing right next to him."
Mendrossen decides to threaten Picard and gaslight him some more for good measure, saying that he won't tell the ambassador that Picard suspects him of losing his mind. "...for now," he adds, implying that he'll probably say something later, and also that accusing a powerful man of such a thing on the eve of his last triumph and retirement is dangerous, and that Picard should consider his career.
Mendrossen leaves.
"Oh, fuck me," sighs Picard. He hits his comm badge. "Data, can you come here?"



Data goes to the conference room, where Sakkath is staring into the vat of rainbow sludge. Data gets right to the point.
"Okay, brosef: the captain doesn't think that Sarek is well enough to do this mission. Do you?"
"Why would you think I doubt the ambassador's abilities?" Sakkath deflects.
"Because you indirectly asked me about the diplomatic abilities of Picard and Troi."
Sakkath considers this, then pleads whatever the Vulcans have that's similar to the fifth. "I'm honor-bound to help Sarek complete this mission."
That's not an answer, and they both know it. "Uh-huh. But along with your honor to Sarek, you also have a duty to the Federation. And is it logical to continue the mission at this point?"
Ah, there we go. Appeal to logic.
Sakkath pauses. "Yeaaahh, tell the captain that this mission has gone sideways."



On the bridge, Data tells Picard and Riker that thus far, Sakkath has been using his telepathic abilities to shore up Sarek's emotional control. But there's been a lot of stress around this conference, making it harder. Picard laments that, even with all of this technology they have, they're still susceptible to the affects of old age.
Data admits confusion that Sarek, a logical man, cannot see the symptoms of Bendii Syndrome.
"He probably doesn't want to," says Picard quietly. "And the people closest to him are shielding him from it, thinking they're protecting him."
"Somebody has to tell him," says Riker.
"Ugh, what a shitty job," laments Picard. "I guess I gotta do it. Don't want to, though."
Riker gets irrationally angry. "Why the hell is everyone protecting this guy? Even you!"
"You want me to go down there and destroy him?"
And suddenly, they're screaming at each other.
"Whoa, slow your roll!" says Data.
They calm down. Picard says he'll go right away.



Picard goes to Sarek's quarters, where he tries to break the news to Perrin. She's pretty pissed off, and declares that Bendii Syndrome is more myth than fact, and that there hasn't really been a case of it in her husband's lifetime.
"He's sick," says Picard. "Sakkath has been helping him, holding his mind together during this mission and maybe longer."
"Sakkath is a dumb child," she says dismissively.
"I need to talk to Sarek," he insists.
Her tune changes from angry denial to panic. "Please don't do this to him."
But too late. Sarek, Mendrossen and Sakkath have come into the room behind her.
"Do what to me?"
She looks away.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!



But Sarek has caught more of their conversation than they thought. He knows that Picard thinks he has Bendii Syndrome.
"I've been accused of a lot of things in my life," muses Sarek. "An excess of emotion is not one of them."
His entourage tries to deflect the discussion. Mendrossen asks to talk to Picard alone. Perrin insists that this conversation is nonsense.
"Nope, I want Captain Picard to have faith in my abilities," says Sarek. "I'll take the test for Bendii Syndrome."
"Yeah, we wouldn't get the results from that test for a few days," says Picard. "We need to postpone the conference."
"NO!" says Sarek. Everybody jumps. Realizing that he needs to simmer down, Sarek continues calmly. "My health is perfect."
"Um, then why is Sakkath bolstering your ability to control your emotions? He's propping you up."
"Is that true?" asks Sarek.
"Hell no!" says Mendrossen.
Sarek suspects that Mendrossen has gone Yes Man on him, and he asks if Perrin knew about this.
She falters, says nothing.
"Well?" he asks Sakkath.
Sakkath admits to using his "limited abilities" to help Sarek remain in control.
"That's no longer necessary," says Sarek.
Sakkath pauses. "That would not be wise," he says evenly.
Shit, dude. Imagine telling Sarek - Sarek, FFS! - that his choice of action would not be wise.
"Maybe not," says Sarek. "But you're gonna knock it off, all the same."
Sakkath leaves, and Sarek requests that the others go as well, so that he can talk to Picard alone.

Mendrossen looks like he hopes to catch Sakkath in a dark alley later.


Picard expresses the concern that he has embarrassed Sarek, who declares that that emotion doesn't affect him.
"I think it does," says Picard quietly.
"Okay, give me your arguments," says Sarek calmly. "I'll consider them."
Picard tells him about the rash of angry outbursts on the ship, and that they think it is caused by Sarek's Bendii Syndrome. Sarek counters with the idea that sometimes a ship will encounter unexplained phenomena. Picard concedes that it could be that, and says that Crusher is continuing to look at other causes.
"But this shit started when you guys came on board."
"Coincidence."
"Your wife and chief of staff are isolating you from everyone else."
"You're just reacting to their molly-coddling me."
"Okay, but is Sakkath being lead by emotion, too?"
"He is young! An inexperienced child!" Sarek is getting a bit hot under the collar now. "I don't need his help. He was wrong about that."
"Then why did you need it at the concert? You were crying."
"You're exaggerating," accuses Sarek. "There was only one tear!"
"Dude. You were still emotional over the music. Is it logical for a Vulcan to cry?"
Sarek starts spewing excuses as fast as he can think of them... it was late, he was tired, this mission is stressful, the Legarans only trust him to do this mission...


Unfortunately, Picard realizes that the only way to solve this is to push Sarek over the edge, so that he realizes exactly what is happening. He has to goad him into realizing the truth.
"Sarek of Vulcan would never shy away from the truth! Is that anger in your voice?"
"It is illogical for a Vulcan to feel anger!" Sarek yells. "ILLOGICAL! ILLOGICAL! ILLOGICAL! ILLOGICAL!"
I'd make a joke about how similar this is to Kirk giving a computer an existential crisis, but this shit is not funny. It's devastating. Picard must make an important, dignified man come to grips with the reality that age has caused him to lose his mind, little by little. And that it will not improve as time goes on. It will most likely get worse.

Dramatic music. Commercial break.



Picard's Log, supplemental: "We're three hours out from Legara, and we have no one to run our negotiations."

Picard stares forlornly out the window in his ready room. Riker comes in to ask if he wants Worf to contact the Legaran ambassador, but Picard says no. He will have to do it himself, and make sure they know exactly why the conference is being canceled.
"You did the right thing," Riker tells him.
Picard looks like he wants to crawl in a hole to die.
Perrin comes in and asks to speak to Picard alone. Riker leaves. As soon as the door closes, she begs Picard to reconsider, to say that Sarek is well enough to run the conference, and to let him have this one last great mission before retiring. To save face.
"He doesn't have to save face," argues Picard. "He's a great man, and he remains a great man."
Perrin admits that she and Mendrossen weren't looking to lie to anyone. Sarek's condition started gradually, so they covered it up gradually. And they convinced themselves that he could do this one last thing and then retire and no one would be the wiser.
"I want to say yes, but I can't."
Perrin has an idea.



Picard meets with Sarek in the conference room to discuss Perrin's idea: a mind-meld between the two of them. Sarek would gain the emotional stability of Picard, finish the treaty with the Legarans, complete the mission, and retire with no one being the wiser. Picard, on the other hand, would take over Sarek's emotions for a few hours.
"Vulcan emotions are fierce," Sarek protests. "They'll overwhelm you."
"It's the only logical solution," says Picard quietly.
Sarek nods. "Your courage honors me."

They meet up in the office part of Picard's quarters, just before the conference begins. Picard will hide out here, monitored by Dr Crusher. She's not thrilled about this idea, but recognizes that it's going to happen whether she likes it or not. Before Sarek showed up, Picard admitted to her that he was nervous about doing this, and thanked her for being there.
Sarek comes in and performs the mind-meld.



The E arrives at Legara, and a composed Sarek exits the lift to the bridge, addressing Riker as Number One, and asking him to let the Legarans know he is ready to meet with them.
In the next small scene, Riker walks Sarek to the conference room.
"Is Picard okay?" he asks.
"Don't worry, Number One."
"And the ambassador?"
"I am myself again. It has been a long time."
Sarek disappears through the door.



Picard is less composed. He's running the full spectrum of intense emotion, anger and despair and frustration, about aging, about losing control, about wanting to lose that control so he can just feel things, about the struggle to gain a handle over the desire to feel. He sobs about being old, about dead friends, about studying for so long to keep his emotions in check, and to have it all washed away.



Crusher slaps the table to bring him back to the present, but it only lasts a moment.
He begins sobbing, telling his wives how much he loves them and his son, how much he's always wanted to let them know, how he could not, because that is not the Vulcan way.
Crusher touches his shoulder, and he tells her how difficult this is.
"The anguish of the man... the regrets. I can't hold it in."



Riker's Log 43920.7: "The negotiations have been successfully completed."

Picard and Riker go to the transporter room. Another Federation ship has arrived to take Sarek and his group back to Vulcan.
Mendrossen and Sakkath thank the others for their hospitality and help. Sakkath says that now that the conference has passed, it'll be easier for him to help Sarek hold things together until they get home.
"What will happen to Sarek once you get back?" asks Riker.
"Bendii Syndrome is irreversible, but the research always continues," says Mendrossen.
Basically... he'll just continue to get worse.
They get on the transporter pad. Picard approaches Perrin, and she thanks him as well, but he's a bit tongue-tied here. He just spent several hours experiencing the depths of emotion that this woman's husband has for her, and it's obvious that he's not only struggling with whether or not he should tell her, but if he does, how much? How can he even express that? He was privy to all of Sarek's secrets, and wonders what to reveal.
Picard finds his voice. "He loves you... very much."
She smiles. "I know."



Sarek enters. He formally announces his intentions to leave, and adds that he doesn't think he and Picard will meet again. Picard replies that he hopes that that isn't true.
"We'll always carry the best parts of each other inside of us," says Sarek.
"I think I got the better deal there," Picard smiles.
And because this show isn't satisfied that I've felt enough devastation watching Picard trying to keep Sarek's emotions in check -





Fucking ninjas.
*sniffle*


*******

This episode is amazing. Hard to watch and horrific to imagine the endgame, but amazing all the same. It started out with the idea that an important official or Starfleet dignitary would have a brush with mental health during some kind of negotiation, and gradually the thought that a Vulcan would be hit hardest by this kind of illness was proposed. They finally decided that the decline of Sarek would have the most impact. The idea then seems to have been tabled for a bit. Michael Piller recalled that by the time Gene Rod came around to the story and gave his blessing for the filming of it. there were two write-ups, one with Sarek and one with another Vulcan. Gene told them to go with Sarek, and Piller recalls feeling that Gene also seemed to be traveling down a similar path as Sarek at that point, getting on in years, not being able to accomplish what he had previously, feeling his age in that way that we all get to feeling from time to time.
Here, we see part of what makes Star Trek and science-fiction so relatable: the tie-into something that occurs now, occurring in the future. A great person going into decline can make for a good story overall, but they purposefully selected someone from a race that values control and composure, and made his experience about the loss of those things, as well as dignity. We have all seen this before, either in ourselves or in loved ones. It is never easy to watch. And we have old, familiar ties to Sarek, making it that much harder to deal with. 
The side-plot of Sarek's entourage holding him together and keeping it secret from even himself is not new or unexpected. It is dangerous though, as when life imitates art, and a politician's staff keep the secret from the politician himself and his voters from hearing the truth. On some level they felt like they were doing Sarek a kindness by keeping their suspicions to themselves, but what if early intervention might have eased his journey going forward, and they were all stuck in denial mode? Picard's remark to Data that people will sometimes ignore obvious clues to bad stuff in their own lives also rings true. We've all ignored the warning signs that we were getting sick, but went to work anyway, thinking it was just a cold and we could power through, but then you end up barfing on the person sitting next to you in some inane meeting. It seems like the worse an outcome the illness may have, the more we'll deny it, like it's hardwired in us. "Can't have a serious, spreading cancer. I have shit to do." Sarek's situation was bad enough that Picard ended up having to goad him into believing it.
As horrible as it is, I'm glad they didn't take the easy way out and have Sarek head back to Vulcan for some kind of easy treatment and cure. Real life is messier than that. I dislike that when Riker asks Mendrossen what will happen to Sarek when the reach Vulcan and all he can say is that research is ongoing, but what are you going to do? When the odds of getting better are very much against, about the best one can say is "research is ongoing." They've stopped lying to themselves and to Sarek, so why sugarcoat it?
Outside of the next TOS movie, we'll see Sarek just once more, and it won't be fun. But aging is a part of life. One that sucks sometimes, but if we're lucky, we'll get to experience it.
A quick note here about Perrin: I'm on the fence about her. She seems to really love Sarek, and vice-versa, but I have a tough time accepting her because my Star Trek OTP is Sarek + Amanda. I dislike seeing him with someone else, even if that person was written to be a sympathetic character. Shielding one's loved ones from harm or emotional turmoil is a pretty human thing to do, even if it was a bad idea, and I don't fault her for that. In fact, the next time we see her, she'll have an opinion that I don't agree with at all, but I really can't fault her for that, either. I want Amanda back, but I can't have her, so I guess I'll take Perrin instead.
In all, I don't really have any criticism of this episode. The acting by Mark Lenard and Patrick Stewart is amazing, the costumes fantastic, and the story one that is tough but well-handled.




Fun Facts:
- Writer Ira Steven Behr wanted to include more references to Spock, but at the time there was a kind of moratorium against talking about TOS characters on TNG. They wanted TNG to stand on it's own, which I get, but man, TOS is the Federation's history, and you can only get away with that so much. Behr broke the rules a bit by mentioning Spock and Amanda near the end of this episode. Apparently, he had to argue for days to get that mention.

- There's a weird ambiguity at the beginning of this episode where Picard and Riker are talking about how Picard at met Sarek "at his son's wedding." What... what wedding? Sarek had two sons, Spock and Fucking Sybok (yep, gonna start referring to him as Fucking Sybok, cuz that's what I think of that shit). He could not have met Sarek at Fucking Sybok's wedding because Picard had said that he was a lieutenant at the time, making the window for said wedding fall within a very specific time frame. Fucking Sybok died unmarried about 50 years prior to that time frame. Leaving Spock. Whom Memory Alpha also lists as unmarried. It's possible that this episode was referring to that ditched side plot in the fourth movie, where a tryst between teenage Spock and Saavik left her pregnant with his kid, and they were supposed to get married at some point, but again, that plot was ditched during the filming of movie four. The filming of movie four occurred a full four years before the filming of this episode, so why even mention it? Did they leave it open so TOS could fill in the blanks later with some random wedding between Spock and Kirk or some shit? Did they plan on introducing a new son of Sarek besides the other two? Like they did with movie five when they were all "Spock has a half-brother, lol"? I mean, they kind of made that shit so later in Discovery, but spoilers, and it also doesn't make that line in this episode true.

- Speaking of the unsolved mysteries of Memory Alpha, they can't seem to get their shit together concerning Amanda Grayson. The basic things we can piece together are that she was born in the early 2200's, met and married Sarek in the late 2220's, and had Spock in 2230. Good to go there. But they're adding to her story on Discovery, and new stuff has shown up on the wiki concerning those storylines. Her death date has been set as 2366, which... has got to be a typo of some kind. When you click on that year, it doesn't even list her death. Also, she's 160+ years old? I mean, McCoy toured the Enterprise-D at 137 years old, but he was a good 20-30 years younger than Amanda. Apocrypha places McCoy as still being alive at 180+ due to transplants and health treatments, so we know it's oddly possible for Amanda to continue to live until this age, but as the story goes, she had died quite a few years before this episode takes place... in 2366. So she died a few years earlier, and Spock and Perrin have been married for a while, but she's also alive until this same year? Part of me is like, "That's definitely a typo," but the other part of me is like, "Yeah, but I skipped over all of that new Discovery stuff, and who knows what they put in there, and also, Kirk's death date is super fucked-up because this is Star Trek, Spock has four fucking death dates listed on his wiki page. If 2366 is a typo, I could never pin down the actual year. If that is the right year, then... just STAHP, Star Trek.

 

- This is the first time that a Vulcan mind-meld occurs on TNG.
- The music that starts out the concert is Mozart, but the song playing when Sarek begins crying is Sextet #1 in B-Flat Minor by Johannes Brahms.
- The decoration on Picard's chair is the tapestry given to him by the Mintakans in "Who watches the Watchers."
- The scene where Picard experiences Sarek's emotions mirrors Spock's breakdown in "The Naked Time." Both scenes were done in one take.

Red deaths: 0
To date: 1
Gold deaths: 0
To date: 1
Blue deaths: 0
To date: 1
Unnamed color crew deaths: 0
To date: 127
Obnoxious Wes moments: 0
To date: 1
Legitimate Wes moments when he should have told someone to go fuck themselves: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Geordi moments: 0
To date: 11
Sassy Wes Moments: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Worf Moment: 1
To date: 8
Sassy Riker Moments: 0
To date: 13
Sassy Picard Moments: 1
To date: 12
Sassy NPC Moments: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Data Moments: 0
To date: 6
Sassy O'Brien Moments: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Crusher Moments: 0
To date: 2
Sassy Troi Moments: 0
To date: 5
Sassy Guest Star Moments: 0
To date: 1
Number of times that it is mentioned that Data is an android: 0
To date: 28
Number of times that Troi reacts to someone else's feelings: 1
To date: 26
Number of times that Geordi "looks at something" with his VISOR: 0
To date: 5
Number of times when Data gives too much info and has to be told to shut up: 0
To date: 3
Picard maneuvers: 3
To date: 34
Tea, Earl Grey:
To date: 4


Heated throw is life

4 comments:

  1. They wanted TNG to stand on it's own

    It was the end of the third season! TNG had, by this point, lasted as long as TOS, in seasons if not quite in number of episodes. I can understand and even applaud their position, but it seems strange to stick too closely to it at this point, especially after they lifted a TOS plot wholesale in the show's second episode and featured a cameo by Doctor McCoy himself in the pilot. (And, of course, built an entire episode around Sarek just now.)

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  2. Re: the "wedding" line. I think it's perfectly reasonable to assume Perrin and Sarek had one or more children who were old enough to marry before the time of this episode.

    Re: 2366. The person who added that must have been confused. This episode takes place in 2366. Memory Beta (the wiki that covers non-canon, licensed tie-in material) handles it better, mentioning that she must have died sometime prior to 2366, and listing the actual year as either 2293 or 2311, depending on which novel you read. Amanda's death has not been detailed in canon, however, at least not in the Prime universe.

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    Replies
    1. I didn't mean to imply you weren't aware this episode takes place in 2366. I was just emphasizing it as my guess why the Memory Alpha editor used that as the year. (I.e. her death was established as of 2366.) They should have just left it blank.

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    2. No, I spent an annoyingly long time looking this stuff up, mostly trying to figure out how long Perrin and Sarek had been married. I ran stardates through stardate calculators, and double and triple-checked stuff. There's almost certainly a typo there, but because I don't know where they're taking the Amanda plots on Discovery, I can't say for certain that it is a typo. It's interesting that Beta does a better job of nailing it down, but Star Trek likes to argue what is and is not canon all the time. (Case in point: Amanda's last name is Grayson, something established in TAS, but many people consider TAS to be non-canonical. However, everyone falls in line with "Grayson" being canonical. *pinches bridge of nose and squeezes eyes shut*)

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