Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Next Generation 3x11 "The Hunted"


Like a lot of Next Generation episodes, Picard and his crew get to demonstrate their superiority over the alien culture of the week, only this time it's a story about war veterans and their inability to integrate back into society.

It's certainly a worthy and continually relevant story, but "The Hunted" is told in the wrong context for it to really matter, the wrong series and in the wrong way.  It's hard to truly care about the guy who's fighting for his rights when we don't know or care about his culture (it's James Cromwell in his first Star Trek appearance representing that culture, by the way), just more random aliens, which I know plenty of fans are perfectly fine with but others would prefer more continuity (which is what later series did on a regular basis).

Yet shockingly, "The Hunted" is still a pretty singular event in franchise lore.  Deep Space Nine told a lot of stories about war, but the Dominion War ended at the end of the series, so there was never a chance to tell the DS9 version of this one.  There were plenty of Bajoran episodes about the effects of the Occupation and holdouts from current political regimes, but nothing quite like this.  Voyager didn't do it, either, or Enterprise.  It's just so surprising.  If I had been in charge of any of these series, it would have been natural to revisit this episode, even if it was a MACO in the fourth season (which never happened) of Enterprise, following the Xindi conflict.

It's a missed opportunity.  "The Hunted" is a placeholder, a competent one, but not a tremendously memorable one.  One of the things that might've redeemed it would have been better casting for the soldier, but even there it's pretty generic, and by budget uninspiring in wardrobe, which was always a problem.

franchise * series * essential * character

Notable guest-stars:
Colm Meaney
James Cromwell

Memory Alpha summary.

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