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Star Trek: The Next Generation – The High Ground (Review)

This January and February, we’ll be finishing up our look at the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and moving on to the third year of the show, both recently and lovingly remastered for high definition. Check back daily for the latest review.

The High Ground is a rather earnest issue-driven episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, dealing with one of the big issues of the day: international terrorism. However, the moral ambiguity of terrorism was a decidedly more contentious and controversial issue in early 1990 than the plight of Vietnam veterans explored in The Hunted or the Cold War politics of The Defector.

The High Ground is an allegory for the Troubles in Northern Ireland at a point in time where the Troubles were on-going. 1990 saw a number of high-profile terrorist actions conducted by the IRA. They bombed the London Stock Exchange in July. Using an explosive device, they murdered Sergeant Charles Chapman in May. Nobody has ever been prosecuted for his death. In February 1991, the IRA launched a mortar attack on 10 Downing Street. So this was the context in which The High Ground aired.

And, to be fair, there’s something admirable about the show’s willingness to engage with a controversial issue, even if the end result leaves a lot to be desired.

Holding hands around the universe...

Holding hands around the universe…

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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Who Watches the Watchers? (Review)

This January and February, we’ll be finishing up our look at the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and moving on to the third year of the show, both recently and lovingly remastered for high definition. Check back daily for the latest review.

Who Watches the Watchers? continues a strong start to the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It is the last episode of the third season produced by Michael Wagner. He would depart the show and leave Michael Piller in charge of the scripts for the rest of the season. It’s also the third-to-last credit for writers Hans Beimler and Richard Manning, who had both been around from the first season.

The writing duo would work on Yesterday’s Enterprise with Ira Steven Behr and Ronald D. Moore, but also finish Allegiance before departing the show at the end of the third season. (They were rather enraged by Piller’s tactless “writing 101” memo, sent later in the season.) Manning and Beimler would go on to write Paradise for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Behr would convince Beimler to return to the franchise for the fourth season of Deep Space Nine. Beimler would be Behr’s most faithful writing partner on that spin-off, teaming with Behr throughout the sixth and seventh seasons in particular.

In many ways, Who Watches the Watchers? returns to some of the themes that the duo had touched upon in their strongest script of the first season, Symbiosis. It’s a complicated morality tale about the ethics of Starfleet and the burden of the Prime Directive.

The answer, apparently, is Liko.

The answer, apparently, is Liko.

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