Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Next Generation 2x5 "Loud as a Whisper"

rating: **

Memory Alpha summary

via Trekcore
I really should ask Sarek if mind melds
can distribute hair follicles, too...
"Loud as a Whisper" is both hugely important and an artifact from the developing Next Generation as it was in its second season.

So let's explain that.  "Whisper" is basically the first time the series embraces what would later become one of its defining characteristics, the idea of Picard and his mission being more of diplomacy than action.  Yet the lead character is a guest character, making it a somewhat awkward note to start on.  That the character is deaf is almost the whole thrust of the story, but he needs the same kind of support Picard later amply demonstrates in the much more memorable "Sarek."

Technically, it's Troi who helps the guy, and in a general sense, you can think of "Whisper" as a Troi episode, but I don't think anyone would hold it against you if you didn't.  The third cast member with something notable to speak of is La Forge, who's informed by Dr. Pulaski that he can exchange his VISOR for ocular implants.  In that sense, "Whisper" is for La Forge in the movies what "Descent" is for Data in the movies, the seed of an idea later executed somewhat belatedly, the answer to a character feature that remained static in the series despite the occasional nod to how things could just as easily be different.  And this is actually a somewhat throwaway moment in the episode!

I hesitate to recommend the episode too strongly because although it's certainly notable for any number of reasons, what you feel about it ultimately depends on whether or not you sympathize with the guest character or end up annoyed with him.  Both are possible.  And the story, really, would have been so much more notable had it been the first time Picard dips his toes in diplomacy.

But this is very much a series in transition.

four quarter analysis
franchise * series * essential * character

notable guest-stars:
Colm Meaney
Diana Muldaur

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