Monday, April 15, 2013

Star Trek: The Next Generation 3x14 "A Matter of Perspective"


"A Matter of Perspective" is interesting, and yet it's not as memorable as the similar Voyager episode "Ex Post Facto."  Both are stories about a crewmember being accused of murder on an alien planet and being forced to clear their names by extraordinary means.  In Voyager's version it's Tom Paris, who has already been sentenced and punished by the time we catch up with him, forced to relive the murder he supposedly committed over and over again.

For The Next Generation, it's Riker.  The means by which his supposed crime is explored is more interesting than the crime itself.  (In Voyager's it's both, although fans of that series mostly criticize it for bringing out all the wrong elements of the character at an early stage of his and the show's development.)  Simply put, it's essentially a holodeck episode, but more importantly than saying that is that it's one of several episodes from the series to use it as much as a tool as a means of entertainment.  (Although no one's entertained with it this time, including the audience, relatively speaking.)

It's a devise that's used again in "Schisms" to much greater (and creepier) effect, not to mention "Identity Crisis" when Geordi is trying to figure out what's happening to some old colleagues of his (and because I love "Distant Origin" from Voyager, there's a memorable recreation sequence there, plus the whole completely inaccurate recreation from "Living Witness" from the same series).

Anyway, so this one seems to have bred an entire genre of Star Trek storytelling, one that begs the common belief that the holodeck was a terrible trope in franchise lore.  It just so happens that the first effort wasn't the best one.  They seldom are.

Actually, the most notable element for the characters in the whole episode is Data's barbed comments about Picard's artistic abilities.  Which may as well as be a metatextual comment about the episode itself.

franchise * series * essential * character

notable guest-stars:
Colm Meaney

Memory Alpha summary.

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