‘Half a Life’ (TNG) (TV)

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‘HALF A LIFE’ (TNG)

Please feel free to comment on my review.

This ‘Star Trek’ episode features the fourth appearance of Majel Barrett as Lwaxana Troi in the ‘TNG’ series. This is another one of those strange ‘TNG’ episodes, but it puts Lwaxana in an intriguing light.

Beforehand in ‘Haven’, ‘Manhunt’ and ‘Ménage à Troi’, Lwaxana has been presented as a comic relief character. In this TV tale though, we take a look at a more serious side to Lwaxana’s character.

The episode has Lwaxana already aboard the Enterprise ship just when Captain Picard is about to welcome special guest star David Ogden Stiers as Dr. Timicin. Dr. Timicin is a scientist from Kaelon II.

Timicin is a rather shy, mild-mannered man who has come aboard the Enterprise to conduct an experiment to save his threatened home planet. Kaelon II’s sun is now in this state of near collapse.

The Enterprise on behalf of the Federation helps Timicin with his experiment by going to a sun that is in a similar state of decay. Lwaxana becomes Timicin’s unofficial host whilst he does his experiments.

Throughout the episode, Lwaxana seems romantically interested in Timicin whilst he’s aboard. Timicin’s taken by Lwaxana’s charms, finding her kind-hearted even though she can be quite vibrant.

It was nice to see the combination of gentle mild-mannered man in Timicin with vibrant and full-of-life woman Lwaxana. Lwaxana can be kind-hearted and serious and not be a nuisance to everybody.

The Enterprise eventually arrives at the destined sun where the crew help Timicin in modifying photo torpedoes to launch into it. The torpedoes are fired and the experiment seems to be working.

I was on tender-hooks when the experiment was going on, anticipating something bad might happen. Unfortunately it does, as the result is the sun exploding in space which saddens Dr. Timicin.

Now the episode itself is not about Timicin’s experiment to save his planet. What it is about is a morality play on ‘how society deals with the elderly’. The Enterprise escorts Timicin back to Kaelon II.

But apparently death waits for Timicin. He has to go through ‘the Resolution’, which is this ritual performed on his home world as people like him turn 60 years old. Essentially Timicin is about to die.

Lwaxana hears about this during a conversation she has with Timicin. She’s of course outraged and demands Picard to do something about this. But Picard can’t as this goes against the Prime Directive.

It’s very interesting how Lwaxana takes this situation on a personal level. She means business when she wants to go down to the planet Kaelon II and tell the people for such a ‘barbarous’ ritual as this.

There are some nice scenes between Lwaxana and her daughter Deanna who tries to comfort her through her anxiety and turmoil. There’s intriguing questions raised between them on this situation.

Eventually, Lwaxana and Timicin confess their love for each other and they even talk about this situation from their points of view. It does go on for a bit, but it does highlight intriguing arguments.

Timicin then comes up with new solutions following after what went wrong with his experiments. He eventually requests asylum from Picard on the Enterprise, knowing his Resolution is pretty soon due.

The Science Minister on Kaelon II, Terrence E. McNally as B’Tardat is outraged upon hearing this. Soon, two warships are sent to ensure the Enterprise doesn’t leave the system with Timicin onboard.

This episode is notable for featuring Michelle Forbes as Dara, Timicin’s daughter. Michelle Forbes would later go on to play Ensign Ro Laren, a recurring ‘Star Trek’ character for the rest of ‘TNG’ itself.

There’s also Colm Meaney as Chief O’Brien, who doesn’t send Lwaxana down to the planet Kaelon II when she demands it in anger. Carel Struycken also returns as Mr. Homn, Lwaxana Troi’s valet here.

The episode ends on a rather sad note. After much debate and turmoil, Timicin decides to go through with the Resolution. Lwaxana accompanies him to the planet, as she’s one of his loved ones.

‘Half a Life’ isn’t really one of my favourite ‘Star Trek’ episodes from ‘TNG’. But it did raise some interesting moral dilemmas that were intriguing to watch and I enjoyed Majel Barret’s performance.

‘Half a Life’ (TNG) rating – 6/10


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