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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Too Short A Season

February 1, 2013

Originally aired February 8, 1988. Stardate 41309.5. The Enterprise is meeting with an Admiral Mark Jameson, a legendary (and now very, very old, and confined to a wheelchair) diplomat  who negotiated a ceasefire on Mordan IV 45 years ago. Now, a dissident group is stirring up trouble, and has abducted a Federation Ambassador and his staff, and Jameson is needed to resolve the situation. Jameson beams up with his wife, Anne.

After the credits, Karnas talks to Jameson briefly by viewer, and then they all talk in the Ready Room. Back in his quarters, Jameson stands up from his wheelchair himself, to the awe of his wife. Then he gets a sudden pain. His wife doesn’t believe his explanation. Crusher tells Picard that Jameson lied about the medical records he provided her. The next day, on the Bridge, Jameson again gets out of his chair to take the conn, amazing everyone.

Crusher is unhappy about it. She tells Picard that Jameson’s Iverson’s Disease should’ve prevented him from ever walking again. In his quarters, he starts kissing his wife, and when he’s seen in light, he looks much younger. Then he gets the pain again. Crusher spews some medical techno-babble, and Picard goes to see Jameson, who’s looking younger than ever. He explains that he’s using a herb and drug treatment from Cerberus II which is designed to rejuvenate a person. His wife is angry with him for risking his life like that. He also reveals he took an overdose of the treatment to deal with the hostage situation.

Jameson calls Karnas, and realizes that Karnas has the hostages, and wants to kill Jameson. Jameson goes to the Bridge, and announces he wants to lead an armed Away team to save the hostages. Anne talks to Crusher and Troi about Jameson, and Crusher tells her Jameson’s not stabilizing, and might die. Picard talks to Jameson, and demands to know why Jameson would risk his life in an armed raid. Jameson reveals that, 45 years ago, he armed both sides of the conflict on Mordan IV to save hostages at that time.

Jameson beams down with the Away team, joined by Picard. They’re attacked in the tunnels, and Jameson has the pains again. They beam back.  Karnas gives Picard 10 minutes to bring down Jameson before he starts killing hostages, but Jameson’s gotten even younger. Jameson goes down with Picard and Crusher. Picard eventually convinces Karnas that the young man is Jameson. Jameson gets a really nice final moment with Anne before he dies.

This is a good episode. Few members of the cast really get to do much, aside from Patrick Stewart and a bit from Gates McFadden. This episode belongs to Clayton Rohner as Jameson, and Marsha Hunt as Anne. Hunt is excellent. Rohner plays up his age a bit too much, but as he gets younger, he gets better. His final scene, shaking as he talks to Karnas, was very good. He really makes it believable that he’s dying of some weird space disease. He has some fantastic scenes with Stewart, and some wonderful scenes with Hunt. His last words to her are really sweet. Michael Pataki overacts as Karnas, but it’s not quite enough to drag the episode down.

This is a very dialogue-heavy episode, even for the first season. And it does take some time to get going. What’s surprising, though, is that it does get going, very well. The first half of the episode drags a bit, but once Jameson starts looking more middle-aged, things get really good. The action scene breaks it up a bit, though I never quite get a real sense of tension there.

The story’s solid. Everything in it is connected very well. Jameson’s de-aging is tied into the hostage situation, and his guilt over his past resolution of a similar hostage situation, and the present hostage situation ties into the past. Everything is part of the ‘A’-plot, and it works. This might be the best episode of the season to date, and it’s a great episode in general.

Overall, I think I’d give it 4/5. A bit overacted at times, and a little slow early on, but largely an excellent episode.

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