The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: The Masterpiece Society

Whilst tracking the course of a neutron star fragment, the Enterprise encounters a forgotten human colony right in its path. The Enterprise is keen to work with the colonists to find a way to save them. The colonists are the product of generations of selective breeding, but whilst some aren’t keen to open up their perfect society to outsiders, others are fascinated about the galaxy beyond their world.

I have to admit, this episode felt like it went on forever. It seemed like the kind of story that would normally end with the Enterprise saving the colony and flying off into the sunset, but instead, it continues – and this enhances the theme of the episode from “genetic engineering isn’t as good as all-natural humanity” into that of personal choice. The colonists who want to leave are surely perfectly within their rights to choose, but the consequence to their society is that there are now roles left unfilled. Is this the fault of the colonists for having such restricted and specific roles for everyone that they can’t handle big changes? Did those who left have a responsibility to the greater good that should have exceeded their personal wishes? Is Picard’s role to know best and guide them to the ‘right’ choice, or to help people make an informed decision by giving them all the facts? When do the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many?


  • Geordi claims that he can see the EM spectrum from 1 Hz to 100,000 THz. Let’s examine this for a moment:

For EM radiation, a frequency of 1Hz corresponds to a wavelength of ~3 million km. The entire VISOR is only about 20-30cm in length, so it can’t possibly detect any waves longer than half a metre.

100,000 THz is in the x-ray region of the EM spectrum, so Geordi can see ‘everything’ up to x-rays.

  • If the Enterprise had started work on pulling the fragment away sooner, it should have been easier to divert its course – yet there didn’t really seem to be any rush.

Sheer filth

“I wanted you to know before we went down.”

“Thousands will suffer if you agree to take them.”

“We were innocent, we can never be that way again.”

Summary – The Masterpiece Society: In which Troi tastes the forbidden fruit with full consent.

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