‘Force of Nature’ (TNG) (TV)

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Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is a ‘Star Trek: TNG’ episode that’s pretty sciencey in its way. It’s not one of my favourite episodes from Season 7 of the series, but it’s decent enough and it has this intriguing concept about warp drive.

The episode begins with a subplot about Data attempting to train his cat, Spot. This starts when Geordi has trouble looking after the cat since she’s misbehaving and she’s smashed a few things in his quarters.

Geordi suggests that Data trains his cat Spot, but it’s a subplot that doesn’t go anywhere really. For one thing, Spot becomes very uncooperative when Data tries to train her and she goes on being like…a cat.

I admit it was funny to see Data training Spot in his quarters from jumping off his desk and getting down to the floor. He fails miserably. I still have trouble training my cuddly toy dog Cuddles at my home. 😀

But it ends with Data seemingly being well-trained by Spot when she wants cat food and to play with a ball of wool as Geordi notices. I suppose cats can’t be well-trained as dogs. Or Spot is just a weird cat.

Anyway that’s not the main part of the episode. What is the main part of the episode is the Enterprise being sent to the Hekaras Corridor, which is the only safe path through a sector of Federation space.

Apparently something’s wrong in the Hekaras Corridor as the Enterprise is investigating the disappearance of the medical ship, the Fleming. Oh by the way, we don’t see the Fleming and its crew.

This seems pointless especially in terms of telling a story. Wouldn’t it be better to show the Fleming ship in order for the Enterprise to know what they are looking for as well as seeing who’s on that ship?

Anyway, the Enterprise discovers a Ferengi ship which seems to be badly disabled. But it turns out to be a trap as the Ferengi ship was playing dead and it opens fire on the Enterprise ship when it comes closer.

Fortunately the Enterprise defends itself and Captain Picard speaks to the captain of the Ferengi ship, Lee Arenberg as DaiMon Prak. Prak is angry as he’s convinced a Federation buoy had disabled his ship.

Picard and Riker deny this to Prak when they meet him in the captain’s ready room. The Enterprise eventually investigates further and they discover a Hekaran brother and sister are responsible for this.

They are Michael Corbett as Rabal and Margaret Reed as Serova. Rabal is a patient man whilst Serova is an impatient woman. These two are scientists who have caused the disabling of ships by using mines.

They’ve done this by disabling mines disguised as signal buoys in order to ward off ships that have warp drive. They are convinced that warp drive is destroying the fabric of space near their homeworld.

They’re afraid their planet will be destroyed because of warp drive. This was interesting to discover in this episode as Federation starships have been dependent on using warp drive to travel across the galaxy.

Whilst Data determines that the research collected by Rabal and Serova has merit, he says it requires more study. Picard also suggests the Federation Science Council investigates this area more thoroughly.

However, Serova’s impatience gets the better of her as she decides to prove her theory by sacrificing herself. She causes a warp breach in her ship, killing herself in the process, to create some rift in space.

Once the rift is formed, the Fleming ship gets trapped in the damaged area of space. The Enterprise crew have to find a way to ‘surf’ through the rift in order to get to the Fleming ship and transport its crew off from it.

I liked that scene between Geordi and Rabal in Ten Forward where he apologises about the loss of his sister. I also liked Geordi and Data reflecting on how ignorant they’ve been on the dangers of warp drive.

The way the Enterprise get the crew of the Fleming off their ship and ride through disruption waves produced by the rift in space is pretty sciencey and complicated. I did get lost with some of those scenes.

The episode ends with the Federation Council deciding to initiate a new directive on limiting Federation ships using warp drive. There is uncertainty about whether other species will do the same.

‘Force of Nature’ isn’t a very good episode in ‘TNG’, but I appreciate it for doing an episode about the consideration that warp drive may be dangerous. It’s interesting in concept, but it made it slow-paced.

‘Force of Nature’ (TNG) rating – 5/10

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