The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Contagion

When the Enterprise is forced to enter the Neutral Zone to aid their stranded sister ship the Yamato, the stakes are high. Not only are the Romulans quick to respond, but it seems as if the Yamato has stumbled upon the remains of an ancient yet highly advanced civilisation. Now the Enterprise must hide the secret of the Iconians from the Romulans, whilst also dealing with potentially fatal computer problems.

I have to admit that I couldn’t really get into this episode. On paper, there’s nothing wrong with it, and it’s certainly not outright bad like some episodes this season (indeed, I’m hardly looking forward to The Royale, which is up next), but it just didn’t really add anything to the Star Trek experience. There are Romulans, yes, but they mostly just hang around in their warship making noises, whilst computer problems, ancient civilisations and magical gateways that can take you anywhere could have just been plucked from a round of Star Trek bingo. It’s what you might get if you wrote a bot to generate Star Trek plots. In fact, I think I’ll add that to my to do list.

Points of interest

  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is the first time we properly see Romulans in person in TNG, as opposed to just over the viewscreen.
  • This is the first time Picard asks for his iconic beverage of tea, earl grey, hot.
  • Riker’s back to making a fuss every time Picard goes on an away mission. Picard acts if it’s because away missions are secretly exciting, which he must surely already know, having gone on several in TNG alone, let alone during his earlier career.
  • The solution to the computer problem turns out to be “have you tried turning it off and on again?”.
  • Let’s take a moment to be amused at the fact that the Romulan uniforms are basically made from quilts.
  • The Iconian gateway is a lot like The Guardian of Forever, albeit not sentient in its own right.
  • Dr Pulaski espouses old-fashioned medical techniques to her more technically minded doctors. After all, she’s a good old country doctor.

Summary – Contagion: I wouldn’t be surprised if Geordi is now a bit wary of turbolifts.

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