72: Encounter at Farpoint (1.01)

Synopsis: Q meets the crew of the Enterprise along with us, and correctly points out over and over again how dense they are.

Memory Alpha Summary:  And Data can’t whistle

Review:  Patrick Stewart and John DeLancie (as Q) notwithstanding, the acting is pretty terrible, and the dialogue often hokey.  The actors are obviously not comfortable in their roles yet.  Sirtis is especially irritating, overacting at every opportunity, leaving me in as much “Pain!” as she was.  But the plot is pretty cool (despite the fact that the audience knows way too much too soon), and it sets the stage for multiple appearances by one of the best villains in sci-fi history. There is a nice, albeit too short cameo appearance by DeForest Kelley as Bones McCoy. Finally, the episode did a good job at introducing the main cast and making them all interesting (with the exception of Beverly, who they didn’t make interesting until she came back in season three).

Observations

–Picard mentions that he is informed that there will be a highly experienced officer at Farpoint station waiting for him to fill the first officer position.  However, in Best of Both Worlds, Picard admonishes Riker when he criticizes Shelby’s risky behavior by saying, “Sounds like a young Lieutenant Commander I recruited as a first officer.”  It would seem to me more likely that Picard, captain of the flagship of the Federation, would be allowed to choose his first officer rather than have him be assigned; thus, Picard’s phrasing here seems off.

–Data seems bizarrely unable to understand the most basic human phrases in the first season.  Bad in social situations?  Absolutely.  But with his trillions of calculations per second and his ability to use reason, not understanding basic aspects of language doesn’t ring true.  However, they did get their money’s worth for quite a while with Data spewing laundry lists of synonyms.

–Picard gets angry a lot during the first season, as evidenced here by yelling at someone to shut off the audio alarm during Red Alert.  He is kind of a dick to Riker when he arrives on board, and he also overreacts to Wesley’s actions on the bridge when the perimeter alert occurs.  However, in the real world I have noticed new bosses often begin with a more labile mood as they are often nervous, unsure of how their subordinates will act and react.

–The fact that children are on board seems pretty ridiculous by our standards.  The Enterprise is not just a ship of exploration; it also serves as the flagship and is often the first called when there is a border situation with Federation enemies.  However, with how rarely these officers get back to Earth, I don’t believe it is entirely unethical to raise a family on such a ship.  Perhaps children that grow up in a situation like this could wind up being the most resilient and make the best future officers.

— In addition to constantly emoting, Troi is often useless throughout the series, only sensing the most blatantly obvious emotions from others.  However, she is actually useful in the pilot.  Without her sensing the alien’s emotions, it is well possible that the crew does not solve the mystery in time, if at all.

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8 thoughts on “72: Encounter at Farpoint (1.01)

    • that is a very common problem throughout season one. I remember moments where the soundtrack drowns out the captain log in some episodes. Plus, the music is too reminiscent of the original series. An homage or two is nice, but it wasn’t until season two that they felt comfortable going in a new direction

      • Yeah, I didn’t remember how long it was a problem, but I didn’t think it was annoying later in the run. It sure was noticeable to us when they ran the pilot for the first time.

  1. I’ve been waiting for this one. The fact that the audience knows too much, too soon is fatal to me. That alone would have made me bump this one lower. Yes, it does so many good things, but I can’t enjoy the episode for that one major problem.

    • The first time I made a list–albeit just a Top 20–I put this episode 17th. So, for me, I lowered it over 50 spots. I wonder if this weren’t the pilot if I would rank it as high; they did do a lot of awesome things that I have nostalgia for. Separating the saucer section was just sweet.

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