The Icarus Factor


The Icarus Factor

Riker is sad because his dad is on the Enterprise. Worf is sad because he has no dad to watch him get ritualistically beaten. Troi is sad because Riker is leaving the Enterprise. And Wesley… is just so Wesley. Promotions! Grudges! Old flames! TRON costumes! It’s a family affair when we put The Icarus Factor in the Mission Log.

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  • Wildride

    If Contagion is the “have you tried rebooting it?” episode, the this is the “just ignore the check engine light” episode.

  • CmdrR

    Tell the truth, do you guys look forward to doing the great episodes more… or the stinkers? This episode is kinda along the lines of my argument that Trek belongs in a 13 ep per year run on HBO, where you get some budget and characters (ex wives, fathers, etc.) who can walk in and out just a few times to flesh out relationships. HBO, not AMC, btw because I’m still hoping for Rand in the sonic shower. And one more thing: for all their goofiness, those martial arts costumes look useless. The helmets are so tight, the impact would seem to be directly transmitted to the brain. No padding. Maybe that explains the ep in the first place. Just a theory…

    • Hard to say – I think we’re both a little intimidated when it’s an episode that is so well known either for good reasons or terrible. It’s a pleasant surprise when we find something interesting to talk about even if the episode isn’t great. The great episodes have their own baggage – and they can present the problem of automatically agreeing with whatever is going on. We’ve tried to keep ourselves focused which is one of the reasons we don’t like to jump the timeline. It’s better to take a look at a show with fresh eyes and let it stand or fall on its own merits.

    • I agree!! Quality vs Quantity a la the Walking Dead , Game of Thrones model is the only way any future Trek should be done…man, I hope Starfleet Academy is the next show…on Netflix or youtube!

    • Honestly – I try to look at all the episodes as if they are “new.” It’s tough to do since we get a lot of comments leading into “this one is terrible…” or “this one is the best…” Each one presents its own challnege. I’m always pleasantly surprised when even a terrible episode can provide some interesting ideas to contemplate.
      I agree that I like the new kind of TV production where we get shorter seasons. All the creative stuff is being done on cable and in non-traditional channels, and I’d love to see Star Trek jump over to a platform where the storytelling is less limited.

  • Jenny Jackson-Smith

    This is one of the episodes I somehow missed, and never actually caught in syndication. I was so excited when I realized that… “New TNG!”. It was like a present.

    But then I watched it… two days ago. I barely remember it, it was so forgettable. All I remember is there was a weird scene that looked like something from Tron, and that I hated it.

  • Derwood

    Too bad the gymnasium didn’t have a Kosho ring… I think Number 6’s trampoline fracas was closer to an ultimate evolution of the martial arts than the Rikers’ barbaric ANBO-JITSU! thump-fest… at least Number 6 actually knocked his opponent into the dunk tank rather than hugging him bye-bye. They could have both ended up in the tank and had a special moment when the water mysteriously turned purple. Also the uniforms are better.

    • Durakken

      I think Anbo-Jitsu is a call back to the Vulcan ritual. The stick look very similar to the one that Kirk and Spock used during that fight.

  • Durakken

    1. Bechdel is pronounced “beckdel” not “beshdel”… Also it is a terrible standard if you go and figure out what actually passes that test.

    2. The talk with Picard, it can be taken 2 ways. The way you guys were talking OR Picard pretty much telling Riker this choice is a choice that will define you as a person going forward, because it is a choice between having an actually important position that is prestiguous where you have pretty much free reign to do as you please just without the label vs having the label and the absolute control but not being important and doing so on a dangerous mission. He pretty much asking do you want control and pomp or importance and duty… this also goes to Picard’s character because he indicates in that decision the type of person he is is to have the pomp and control… and not the importance and duty.

    3. The cheat to “win” thing. It’s perhaps not done the best of ways, but it is a good message. Because the reason he gives is not to win although other aspects of the script say it is. He directly says the reason I did that is to keep you interested. This is the same thing in Dragon Ball that Master Roshi does to his students. He enters the Martial Arts Tournament so that he can ensure that his students lose. This is so that they will learn that no matter how strong they get there is always someone stronger and always have something to reach for and keep their interest. Roshi executes it better, but it is the same concept.

    4. Riker is still mad for 30 years is kind sad as “the hardly knew her” line indicates his mother died when she was around 3 or 4

    5. The Polaski and Troi scene does a number on the entire episode, converting a episode about family to an episode about how stupid and violent men are. The comments are not just towards the Rikers but also the “violence” of Klingon culture.

    6. I think the writer or writers of this episode were largely confused due to many of the elements subverted other elements. For example the Polaski/Troi are all about “can’t we get over violence to solve our issues” where as the Rikers scene shows that no, sometimes putting out there like that is the only way to do it…

    7. For all the talk of violence being so retrograde behavior… I find what Troi and Polaski did to Kyle Riker…and what Troi has done to Worf and other in the past to be incredibly “violent” on a mental and emotional level. If I were Picard I’d have shipped her home long ago for such behavior.

    8. I have to correct you on the Picard saying sorry to riker thing. He actually is saying “Sorry I didn’t praise you then. It was an oversight”, not “sorry for being a jerk and making you do it.” He still thinks it was a good thing to do, just that he should have said “Great work will”

    9. As the the person without a messed up family… Geordie is the only one that might not have a messed up family as far as we know because we know nothing of his familly.

    • Endocrom .

      3. I thought of Dragonball as well, too bad Kyle Riker didn’t have the sense to teach his son that lesson in disguise.

  • Saskia Avalon

    I feel like I’m going to take a lot of hate for this, but I kind of feel like I need to say this. With regard to that sexist scene between Pulaski and Troi, I found it quite amusing. I’m a girl, and its scenes like that that make watching the original series difficult for me. After putting up with all of those scenes in TOS, I found this scene to be quite interesting in the fact that it’s doing the reverse. Don’t get me wrong, I think the scene is stupid and sexist, but I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t thinking “finally it’s your turn!” for that whole scene.

    • Chuckt43

      I agree with everything you said. It’s not right done either way and TOS had a lot of it toward women.

    • Durakken

      And that feeling, my friend, is the source of so many problems. You shouldn’t have positive feelings towards any type of bigotry or vengeance and when you do you should recognize that as being shameful and wrong. When we don’t we give opportunity for those to prey upon those feelings and those desires for revenge, usually by turning those small feeling into dehumanizing and unfactual views.

      Personally, there are many more issues with this episode than the overt pointed out sexism, which in this case isn’t altogether wrong. We have instincts and those instincts vary based on sex. The problem here, like much of the ideology promoted here, is the ignorance and nuance with which one must express the situation accurately.

      Violence, simplified, is doing harm when it is unecessary. Not all hitting, for example, is violent.
      Men tend to express themselves physically and people classify this as violent.
      Women tend to express themselves verbally and emotively and people classify this as non-violent.

      Troi and Polaski view the men who are expressing themselves physically as violent and claiming that men are in general violent…because they are saying physical expression is violence, essentially saying that all normal expression by men is violent. However, both expression lead to resolution of the problems and were in actually non-violent as they were necessary and non-harmful.

      On the other hand both Troi and Polaski express themselves emotively and verbally which ended up at every turn doing harm to all parties and not only that but it was completely unecessary as nothing that they did was in any way helpful to the situation nor could they have been in the manner that they could have done it…in fact Troi and Polaski as medical professions should know that what they did actually drove a wedge between the Rikers further.

      So in terms of “who” is being a violent savage that we should have grown out of are the people who people aren’t considering violent which leads to further violence through accepting of bad behavior and the motion itself of men are violent for expressing themselves physically is a further reinforcement of sexism and demonization of men… which is the real issue and which leads to really bad things because it allows you to to say “well that group is just evil”

      As to the “sexism” in TOS… It’s actually a lot less than people think, largely due to misinterpreting what is meant or being thought or the attitudes being expressed at the time. I’m not saying that those things aren’t there, but that modern culture interprets them wrongly due to a lot of what they were taught is wrong.

      Also… sexism is the wrong term… Sexism is treating someone different on the basis of sex. This is something we all do, because there are legitimate difference, otherwise the term sex wouldn’t exist in the first place. And it is perfectly alright to treat someone as where they are different. I would expect to be treated differently based on any characteristic i have where those characteristics are pertinent. Pinning down where those pertinent differences are and are often mistaken, but the problem isn’t even prejudice as people think these terms are synonymous. The problem is bigotry. That is to say you believe something about a something and then refuse to change your beliefs when presented with information that is contradictory to those beliefs. In other words, the problem is faith or dogma. A willingness to continue to use bad information to make decisions even when knowing that information is bad…

      Ultimately, that is the crux of what ST seems to overall speak on. We are who we choose to be and if we choose to be dogmatic fools that is who we’ll be. If we choose to be timid that is what we will ultimately be. And when we choose not to act on something wrong we open the door to that wrongness. And likewise when we have feelings that we can be happy about, knowing they’re wrong, that too opens the door to those feelings and desires growing in us.

      But long rant over >.> Few people actually care to really talk and think about these things and if they do, most only want agreement with their views rather than descent…so I’ll end it there.

  • So, I have a thought regarding the discussion about “why can’t they just do this in the holodeck?” The same argument was made for the “shooting range” in the episode where Riker was transferred to the Klingon ship.

    It’s really quite simple … there’s about 1000 crew members on board and only 4 holodecks. The sign-up sheets for holodeck time are just too filled up. Unless of course Captain Picard wants to have a Dixon Hill romp or Data wants to do Sherlock Holmes again, in which case the standard crewman gets bumped off the sign-up sheet (OK, maybe Picard and Data really signed up for that time already).

    So, they need other places where you don’t need the high-tech holo stuff to have some exercise or fun (I assume that equipment is EXPENSIVE! And, as we’ve seen, not 100% reliable either). So there are a bunch of standard gymnasia, shooting ranges, fencing rooms, basketball courts (or whatever passes for such in the future), etc. Probably movie theaters and performance stages too (we saw one on the OLD Enterprise in “The Conscience of the King”, remember? OK, it was just the rec room being re-used, I think.) But COULDN’T Picard use the holodeck for shooting practice? Sure he could, but he’s nice enough to practice in a low-tech range room without pulling rank and bumping someone out of the holodeck queue.

    Doesn’t that make sense?

    • New idea for a starship: instead of crew quarters, everyone gets a small holodeck. You want a quiet bedroom with a starfield view? Done. Want a shooting range? Done. How about an expansive beach with ocean life and a cooler full of premium beer? Done and done.

      • Starfleet beancounters are all having a heart attack now. They think it’s cheaper if everyone gets a pod like the ones in The Matrix where crew members can virtually be anywhere they want doing anything they want.

        Oh wait, that’s The Borg …

      • I know … we’ll call it “Star Trek: The Matrix Generation”.

    • Durakken

      1000 men on 8 hour shifts and 3 shifts. This is standard for navy That means 333 are at their station, 333 is in their bed, and 333 are off duty at any given time.

      Assuming 4 holodecks and 1 hour sessions. That gives us 360 hours available in a holo deck per month per shift. It seems reasonable to assume there is, if there is no other restrictions as we can figure there not being due to other episodes, 1 hour alotted junior and non-com officers with the other 27 hours divied between officers, held in reserve for special events, or for maintenance/reboot/change over time.

      Obviously the crew is going to need/want some more time to exorcise than that and there is no reason to have that many holodecks just for exorcise on board.

      I would also point out a more realistic portrayal of excorcize facilities would be the Voyager episodes where Tuvok trains the maquis. When you realize this you realize that a more realistic portrayal of the ship would have many more crewmen jogging around the corridors or doing chin lifts or whatever in the various tubes.

      I would suspect that specialized rooms are for training a specific skill that should be available all the time to train in and so that you can instruct people in something regularly. Shooting ranges and a martial arts that is the pinnacle of martial arts would definitely be something you’d want to be trained in all the time…

      Another interesting thing is… do ever wonder if they mess with the gravity of the decks or wear training weights? That’s how i’d exercize of offered. Just up the gravity in my room a small bit and do a moderate work out. Get much more out of lower amount of repititions and all that jazz.

  • Bruce Aguilar

    OK, the comment about “swinging blindly” really surprised me because somehow I had never before noticed the glaringly obvious metaphor. It was yet another moment when you got me to notice something I had missed and to look at the show with a fresh perspective.

  • Endocrom .

    The “Ultimate evolution of Martial Arts” apparently involves tapestries on the wall referencing the anime “Urusei Yatsura” and “Dirty Pair”. Guess the prop masters were fans.

    • You would be correct! There were specific references in there because of the anime fans on the production design team of TNG.

  • backtracking……Soooo…I always get annoyed with the utterly implausible concept of a career officer TURNING DOWN a promotion!! it DOES NOT happen!! The only chances of this happening are when a promotion is at the end of a career and require an extension of duty or really bad duty station & separation from family..ok, so it does happen.hahaha, but not realistic given Riker’s position and previous passion for command. I always wished they had let the Borg finale be at end of S4 or 5 and give Riker command of Enterprise x 1 year while Picard convalesces. This would have been realistic, then promote Riker off the show and mayyyyyybe a spin off? or guest appearances… Pulaski and Riker’s dad…..hmmmm, forced. But oh well……CHEESY martial arts bo staff fighting. yaaawwwwNNN. I should make a video of this fight using the classic TOS fight music from the Gamesters of Triskelion…Would have been nice to have other characters fathers hinted at. Geordi did not have a Dad until the end of the show…lol

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  • Scrappy

    Good to see chief O’brian being involved in both plots