‘The Quality of Life’ (TNG) (TV)

    

‘THE QUALITY OF LIFE’ (TNG)

Please feel free to comment on my review.

This ‘TNG’ episode was directed by Jonathan Frakes. It’s a pretty decent ‘Star Trek’ episode in Season 6 of the ‘TNG’ series, but it’s nothing spectacular. I did enjoy it when I first saw it on DVD back in 2005.

Incidentally, we’ve had two ‘Star Trek’ actors directing ‘TNG’ episodes in a row. Patrick Stewart directed ‘A Fistful of Datas’ before Jonathan Frakes directed ‘The Quality of Life’ in transmission order.

I like how the episode begins with Riker, Geordi, Beverly and Worf playing a poker game. It doesn’t add anything to the episode’s plot, but it is a funny scene of character development between the four.

Geordi has been growing a beard lately since ‘A Fistful of Datas’. Beverly makes a bet with the men saying if she wins they shave their beards off. They of course get interrupted when Picard wants them.

Anyway, the episode has the Enterprise visiting the planet Tyrus 7A. Geordi meets Dr. Farallon. The Enterprise oversees a fledgling mining technology called the particle fountain, engineered by Farallon.

Ellen Bry guest stars as Dr. Farallon. She’s very keen for her particle fountain device to work and to sell it to the Federation. However there’ve been these setbacks to disrupt the progress on the project.

Farallon also uses these small machines called Exocomps which can analyse and repair an engineering problem with a replicated repair tool. These Exocomps are impressive as the Enterprise crew discover.

In the episode, Farallon meets Data aboard the Enterprise. She shows an interest in Data’s android circuity and they with Geordi analyse an Exocomp in engineering to see how effective it is in its tasking.

Farallon also sees Captain Picard to recommend the Exocomps as well as the particle fountain to sell to the Federation. Geordi is dubious whilst Data is supportive of Farallon’s claims before Picard agrees.

But when Farallon and Data send an Exocomp into a tunnel and it refuses to do the work it is tasked to do, a confined explosion occurs. All is well, but Data, Geordi and Farallon get very curious about it.

They discover that several more new electronic pathways are in the Exocomp’s circuits. Farallon considers this to be an error as she’s encountered this problem before. But Data isn’t convinced here.

After Data does some analysis on the Exocomp unit, he finds it deliberately damaged itself before repairing it later. This all leads him to be believe that the Exocomp has an artificial intelligence like his.

I liked the scenes Data has with Beverly when they about the Exocomps and the definition of life. Beverly shares Data’s interest in the Exocomps. Imagine how it would’ve been Spock and Bones in this.

Data asks Dr. Farallon to stop using the Exocomps as tools as he believes them to be intelligent and wishes to investigate further. Farallon is sceptical and dismissive of Data’s claims, but she soon agrees.

However when the Exocomps are tested aboard the Enterprise to repair a malfunction in a Jeffries tube, the tests don’t go according to Data’s plan. Data’s disappointed as he continues testing on them.

But then when Data and Beverly discover the Exocomp has been able to see the false alarm attached to the malfunction, Data’s theories seem to come true. It turns out the Exocomps do have intelligence.

Meanwhile at the particle fountain, Picard, Geordi and other crewmembers work on it before a malfunction occurs. All but Picard and Geordi are beamed over to the Enterprise as radiation’s leaked.

It’s suggested by Dr. Farallon to have the Exocomps beamed into the facility to save Picard and Geordi. Data objects to this, but Riker agrees to it. Data then locks out the transporter controls in the process.

I liked that argument scene where Riker orders Data to release the transporter controls and Data refuses. Riker negotiates about the Exocomps being given the choice to go over and Data agrees to it.

Thankfully the Exocomps come up with a better way to save Picard and Geordi. Picard and Geordi beamed back to the Enterprise as well as two Exocomps that get saved by one sacrificing itself at the fountain.

This episode has links to ‘The Measure of a Man’ from Season 2 of ‘TNG’ which get established by the end. Overall, ‘The Quality of Life’ has been enjoyable and insightful tale to watch from the ‘TNG’ series.

‘The Quality of Life’ (TNG) rating – 7/10


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