The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: The High Ground

Whilst delivering medical supplies to the planet Rutia IV, an Enterprise away team is caught up in attack by Ansata separatists. After Dr Crusher is kidnapped by the separatists, the Enterprise cannot help but be caught up in the struggle – but are the Ansata vicious terrorists, or do they have a legitimate cause? And what do they want with Dr Crusher?

When I was growing up, this was the infamous episode of TNG, the one that the BBC wouldn’t air because it contained a reference to “The Irish Reunification of 2024” being achieved through terrorism. This lent the episode a reputation and mystique beyond its base quality. In some ways, it’s not a bad episode – Beverly gets to get out of sickbay for a bit, and it does try to start a debate about the morality and efficacy of terrorism. That being said, it’s all very standard fare, with everyone playing their assigned roles: Crusher wants to save lives; Picard is adamant that pacifism is the only way; Data questions human nature, and so forth. Ultimately, it’s not an episode that can really make its mark beyond being “the terrorist episode”.

Let’s do the DNA warp again

  • The Ansata have a dimensional shifter that enables them to teleport without being detected. Repeated use of this technology “warps” DNA, eventually killing the user. Although “warped DNA” sounds a bit silly, I guess it’s a vaguely plausible premise – whatever it is that distorts space and time to allow instantaneous travel between different points might also emit some kind of radiation or other effect that damages either the DNA itself or the replication process.
  • In Star Trek history, Ireland was reunified in 2024. I have an appointment for this in my Outlook calendar.
  • For some reason, the Ansata have studied Earth history extensively, and know about historical figures such as George Washington.
  • Even though Enterprise security is easily bypassed by the Ansata, perhaps I can forgive it this time – it’s a dangerous and unknown technology, so no one may have developed a defence against it yet. I hope security experts sit down to think about how to defend against dimensional shifting in future.

Summary – The High Ground: The infamous terrorism episode.

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