Friday, December 10, 2010

A Laboratory That Torments The Viewer: "Where Silence Has Lease"

The Good: The actors give it a good try
The Bad: Horrible script, Amazingly bad plot, Utter lack of character development
The Basics: In almost the worst episode of the series, the crew is put in a boring alien laboratory and threatened with death. The viewer wishes it would come.

It's amazing Star Trek The Next Generation didn't bite the dust early into its second season. Say what you want about the first season being pedantic, over philosophical and awkward, but at least it was going somewhere. The second season often seems more of a Journey Into Pointless as opposed to a Journey Into Unknown Philosophies. (The former title ends up going more appropriately to the third season of Star Trek Voyager.) "Where Silence Has Lease" is a prime example of what I am talking about. This is an episode that is so poorly constructed that a space battle with a Romulan warbird is thrown in to spice things up and it fails.

The Enterprise is observing a phenomenon when it engulfs them. The ship and crew find themselves in a strange dimension where space is limited and they encounter bizarre things, including an abandoned Galaxy Class ship and a phantom Romulan Warbird. The ship literally goes around in circles in this strange realm before an alien presence reveals itself. The enemy, in this particular instance, is called Naguilum and it's an ethereal scientist who wants to understand humanity better by killing half the crew.

Sound ridiculous? Well, it is. The entire episode is like that. If you ever want to mess with the head of a Trekker who is making any sort of argument (and they have a tendency to when it comes to Star Trek Generations and the whole Nexus Ribbon) that involves alternate realities or space time mix ups, just say, "It's because Naguilum never let the Enterprise go." You'll blow their mind. Seriously. The resolution to this episode is so awkwardly constructed that it's almost impossible to make the argument successfully that the Enterprise actually thwarts Naguilum.

"Where Silence Has Lease" is a fairly difficult episode to write more about. It is simple: half the episode is spent exploring a weird region of space and discovering it is an alien laboratory, the other half is spent resisting the imprisoning force. Beyond that, there is no challenge, there is no character development. In fact, the only note of character is done in the teaser wherein Worf and Riker have a romp on the holodeck together in one of Worf's Klingon exercise programs. Too bad that nets some of the episode's best effects.

The only aspect of the show that saves this episode from zero out of ten are the actors. They play along, though at moments, it seems they know this episode is just plain bad. The actors give it a fair shake, but they have little or nothing to work with. Fortunately, there's always next week on Star Trek The Next Generation. I doubt that if the show had had no other episodes in the can (that is already completed) any of the affiliates who kept this show on the air in syndication would have bought the next attempt.

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete Second Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the sophomore season by clicking here!


For other Star Trek episode, movie and DVD set reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2010, 2008, 2002 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

| | |

No comments:

Post a Comment