Whilst evaluating the planet Angosia III for entry into the Federation, the Enterprise intercepts an escaped prisoner from their Lunar V penal colony. But the prisoner’s story reveals that all is not as idyllic on Angosia as it seems, for he is a discarded soldier who was chemically and mentally conditioned for war, and then abandoned to a life in prison.
Star Trek brings its morality A-game in this episode, as it examines a society which took normal people, turned them into ‘supersoldiers’, and then essentially couldn’t be bothered to deal with the fallout of reintegrating them back into society. It’s an interesting allegory for the fate of veterans who have to deal with PTSD and other problems, sometimes with limited support from the state.
That being said, apart from offering food for thought, this isn’t the greatest of episodes. Danar’s rampage across the Enterprise just calls into question the ship’s security procedures, which of course I’ll be picking apart below. The denoument echoes that of Symbiosis, with Picard deciding that he absolutely must not interfere – people say Riker is the poker player, but when the stakes are high, Picard is the expert at keeping his cool and gambling that everything will work out fine.
How to stop an intruder on the Enterprise
You may have heard some of these before.
- When beaming aboard a suspected criminal, either put up a forcefield around the transporter pad, or beam them directly to the brig or other holding area.
- Don’t just rely on forcefields to contain prisoners – use physical bars as well.
- Slow down escaped prisoners by increasing the artificial gravity.
- Trying to gas the prisoner was a good idea, but use it more often.
- Key phasers and communicators to the DNA of their owners, so randomers cannot use them.
- Don’t let random visitors log onto the Enterprise computers!
Other bits and pieces
- Picard accidentally pluralises a single deck and says “Decks 38”.
- The Angosian prime minister is played by James Cromwell, who would return in First Contact to play Zefram Cochrane, the inventor of warp drive.
- Is it even possible to break out of a transporter beam? What does it mean to do that, and doesn’t it make transporting much more dangerous?
- How are the Enterprise sensors not at all modifiable to detect Danar’s life signs? Presumably he has a pulse or other chemical processes that could be differentiated from the general atmosphere.
Summary – The Hunted: What happens to soldiers when their war is over?