Episode

251

The Pegasus

Riker gets a visit from his old commanding officer, the pugnacious Admiral Pressman, who has his sights set on retrieving their old ship, the USS Pegasus. Why? Because… reasons. Reasons he won’t share with Picard or anyone else which leaves Riker in a moral bind. Oh, and there’s an encounter with some seriously passive-aggressive Romulans. The Pegasus goes into this week’s Mission Log.

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Discussion

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    Another fantastic Season 7 episode.

    This episode reminds me a lot of the story line of Insurrection, just done better without the weird beauty salon.

    A simple solution would be not to call this technology Cloaking. After all it is much more than just a cloak. Just call it Phasing, all good 😉

    • Actually, hold that thought – Insurrection has a lot more in common with Homeward (i.e. transport the natives into a flying holodeck without their knowledge).

  • Muthsarah

    Awww yeah. So looking forward to hearing this one. This is the “A Fish Called Selma” of TNG: the last great episode of a beloved show from my childhood, and my #5. I will be surprised (and I will be back) if Ken and John have a single cross word to say about it.

    It’s surprising that Riker by this point had receded so much into the background of this show, considering that he started off better-formed than anyone. This episode shows there was so much more that could have been done, at least with Commander Riker, as opposed to the “Full Riker” we tend to think of him more as.

    • He shoulda been promoted off show in S4/5 after dealing w Borg.

  • CmdrR

    Friends are surprised how excited John gets whenever the Blue Apron meal arrives… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9e80c5f27bf3fcaad5a8f1863aee50118acdfffa971bdea07633d0b05187eef2.jpg

    • Pete2174

      Shame Blue Apron is only available in the USA. Some of the recipes sound fantastic!!!

  • CmdrR

    Now this feels like Trek, with a huge ethical dilemma sitting on Riker’s shoulders. Special kudos to Frakes if only for the expression on Riker’s face when Picard threatens to replace him as first officer — he looks like a 10-year-old boy who’s just been told he won’t get any Christmas presents. Quick question: Does Starfleet send its prototypes out for testing with the inventor and the only copies of any notes, journals, margin doodles all onboard said ship? Why wouldn’t Pressman have SOMETHING on file to try again? Ah well. Nice ‘Buckaroo Banzai’ callback! (The closing credits promise a sequel — you heard anything yet??)

    • Of course, perhaps something yet to be shown in Discovery will clear Burnham’s name in the history books, erasing that issue. Just a thought.

  • Burstingfoam

    An absolute cracker, and one of my two favourites of season 7 (the other one being one that is yet to come, and is a deeply unpopular episode…), not to say the whole series (and it sits right next to the worst crime in all 50 years of the show – gotta love season 7…). I love the fact that
    this undermines the ‘perfect future’ template of the Roddenberry version of Trek – I know that’s appalling blasphemy, but I like a little more nuance in my portrayal of human actions, and although we’re still a way off the full on conspiracy of Home Front/Paradise Lost, this is a step in the right direction.
    Plus it has Terry O’Quinn, about whom too many good things can never be said.

    Interestingly, this will have some degree of follow-up (for about a fortnight, anyway) in Deep Space Nine – an indication, perhaps, that the series is becoming a little more conscious of continuity in its storytelling?

    • Pete2174

      Agreed. I love this episode. One of the best of season seven (not saying much) but also the whole on TNG. I’ve often wondered why the federation doesn’t have cloaking technology. Shame that from now until All Good things the episodes range from poor to abysmal.
      I miss TNG a lot and wish there’d been a season 8 before the movies.

      • Section 31. Yeah TNG rushed it. Shoulda married/promoted Riker and Troi off the show. Killed someone and build anticipation. Sigh.

    • Section 31

  • Confusions Way

    Now if only there were some illegitimate off-the-books organization Starfleet Intelligence could pass this project off too and blame it on. Something sinister sounding… a section of some sort? Section 29. No, that’s no good, Section 30? Nah, to round a number, oh I know; Section 32! No that’s going too far. We’ll think of something I’m sure.

  • John Anderton

    Yes, good episode. But it is not in my top 10, since the conflict that is between Riker and Pressman is not particularly interesting. Riker good, Pressman bad. And Riker’s story is all in the past, all in exposition.

    Does Riker even have a character arch? I am not sure. It seems as if he has already made up his mind to see Pressman as a bad person some time ago, and it just revealing it now.

    • I wish BOBW was held back till S5. Let Picard recover x 10 episodes. Off ship. Riker captains 1701-D. Picard returns. Riker proposes…. to Troi. Cliffhanger wedding S6. Wait 3 years. REUNION in the MOVIE THEATERS!!!

  • @MLhostJohn:disqus ? – Did I hear Ken say

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    Starfleet is in an interesting spot. They claim that they honor the ideals of the Federation and claim they are not a military organization and yet they are powerful and one of the strongest military forces in the Galaxy.

    I totally get the frustration of some in Starfleet at the limitations placed upon it

    • Konservenknilch

      I never bought into the whole “starfleet is not a military operation” thing. Sure, the 1701-D has kids on it and all that, it is however also heavily armed, bestet probably only by the D’Deridex in the alpha&beta quadrants..

      • Section 31 is everywhere.

        • You’re not kidding. They just opened a drive-thru-only branch office down the street next to CVS. Not even bothering to hide it now.

      • Dave Steph Taylor

        This idea of taking families with you is great and all but seeing the repeated life and death situations the Enterprise D faces puts a lot of innocents in harms way on a continual basis.

    • Section 31. I use that to explain shady dealings and jerk admirals.

      • Dave Steph Taylor

        Yup

  • @@MLhostJohn:disqus Mission Log – Correct me if I’m wrong- but ? did I hear Ken Say : https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2a5f557781311f05b150238aa5d6b685e7017a4650c0edc467844ffcad815345.jpg

    • Pete2174

      I believe he did! 😀

    • He also couldn’t get a “Locke” on who Terry O’Quinn reminded him of. Heh. Don’t tell him what he can’t do!

  • My problem is that Riker has been apparently complicit in covering up this treaty violation for 12 years. He didn’t develop a conscience until he had no choice. Otherwise he was apparently content to just sit on this.

    Also, second time he has been placed under arrest this season.

    • Thinking… oh yeah end of Gambit Part Deux. Lol

      • Well, and there was that unpaid parking orbit ticket…or…maybe that’s covered in the books or something.

    • This. So this. Maybe Riker thinks it’ll never come up again? Maybe his entire exemplary career was, in a manner of speaking, atoning for this first mission? That would have been an interesting wrinkle, but the character examination here seems to be approximately skin deep – and maybe just the top layer of the epidermis at that. This might’ve been a storyline best saved for the movies.

    • JasonCMcLean

      Maybe that has something to do with why he passed up the Captain’s chair twice. There’s probably a more stringent background check/vetting process once the candidate has been chosen than there is for First Officer.

  • Aaron

    Watching this with “These Are The Voyages” sandwiched in you get a sense of Riker’s dilemma. It damn near put 10 years on him – and Counselor Troi. Thankfully, watching the old crew in the holodeck really seemed to relieve the Commander and put him back to his normal self.

    • CmdrR

      Taking some cooking classes to become a great Chef also helped Riker relieve the stress.

      • Stress relief? Just kick back in Archer’s ready room, let the dog climb into your lap, and pet him for a few hours (Porthos, that is, not Archer). Well that’s my holo-headcanon anyway.

        • Well, someone might want to pet Archer. Just… lock the holodeck doors. I don’t wanna hear about it. Your simulation, your business.

  • wchmara

    The Treaty of Algeron just makes me scratch my head. In what context would the Federation agree not to develop cloaking tech, knowing that the Romulans have it, the Klingons, and who knows who else? What were the Romulans agreeing to give up in return? And knowing how suspicious the Romulans are, how was the Federation supposed to guarantee this to their satisfaction?
    I’ve always said, if you value the prime directive as much as you say, a cloak becomes essential equipment for any starship entering an uncharted system where any natives there could have invented telescopes.
    Sure, breaking treaties is a bad thing. How many times have the Romulans done it, tho? Do those incidents not count?
    Picard showing the Romulans that the Federation has violated the treaty may have been seen as a gesture of honesty by them. It could also have set relations back 100 years. Was it a wise risk?
    Also, imagine this story in the present day. A Navy captain decides to show an enemy power that his country has blatantly violated a treaty, in defiance of his own country’s secret services’ mission to covertly retrieve this forbidden tech. While some would say the captain had the moral right to do so, in doing so he put his own personal morals above his own nation’s security interests.

    • Konservenknilch

      I’m with you there, and it’s a pity that this never gets explored further. Considering that the Klingons declare war on the drop of a hat and the Romulans are hostile 99% of the time we meet them, the treaty only seems to have downsides. Especially since it’s not an offensive tech like nuclear weapons.

    • There have been treaties in which countries agree not to develop certain types of weapons.

      • Spike1138

        Well, this comes down the US-Soviet ABM Treaty and the Strategic Defense Initative (SDI) – the US undertook not to develop Anti-Balistic Missile technology, knowing that the Soviets already had it as an operational partial defence against a nuclear first strike.

        That’s very dangerous. And many Russians knew that at the time.

        However, there was a specific exemption written into the language of the ABM Treaty that allowed for the development and deployment of a defensive ABM technology if based upon “new physical principles” – an exemption the Soviet negotiators were eager to include because they were already well-advanced in development of the next generation ABM systems based around ground-based particle beam technology to neutralise in-bound ICBMs on an orbital trajectory using X-Ray lasers to knock out the warheads.

        The Soviet negotiating stance was essentially “We can defend ourselves against your missiles by shooting them down, but don’t you dare try to develop a way to shoot our missiles down, we regard that as an aggressive act.”

        The reason why the announcement of SDI (aka “Star Wars”) in 1983 cause those in the Kremlin to completely lose their sh*t is because a network of orbital particle beam weapon platforms, as proposed, was NOT a violation of the ABM Treaty, and, if successfully developed and deployed, it would be 100 times more reliable and effective than any ground-based system the Soviet military had in service or development, with which they could not match, since it leapfrogged two generations of technology and required a level of investment and technical sophistication they simply did not have.

  • The Romulan is just delightful, and I always thought the actor threw just the right amount of smarminess at the role. As much as I love the late, great Andreas Katsulas for everything he did in Babylon 5, perhaps Sirol should have been the Romulan barring entry to the Neutral Zone later in “All Good Things…” with this same bucket of attitude. Andreas made Tomalok just a little bit “too G’Kar” in his last appearance, sadly.

    • Dave Steph Taylor

      I loved the interaction between the two.

  • JasonCMcLean

    I like how you mentioned what you guys peeling potatoes were thinking when the Enterprise passed through solid rock. Every time I watch this episode (which is one of the best in TNG IMHO) I can’t help but wonder what the kids whom we had just heard about participating in Captain Picard Day thought about passing through solid rock. They just reminded us there were kids on board and then they risk everyone with experimental technology that had already failed once.

    • Dave Steph Taylor

      This is another in the long line of reasons why there should not be kids and families aboard

  • Matt Bell

    Great discussion – this episode is actually better than I remember. Still can’t figure where the sequences from TATV fit into it though. Was it supposed to be right before the scene in Picard’s quarters? Because Riker doesn’t come clean there until AFTER he gets caught!
    No matter, I have my own theory about how TATV fits into the continuity…

  • Spike1138

    Ah – well, you see, the defence Pressman would have here is clearly most likely the same one that the US Government has had formally regarding Chemical and Biological Weapons since 1971, and unofficially since 1945 – “It is not our policy to use such weaponry and we undertake never to develop it or keep stockpiles of munitions in inventory of it – but we need to know about it and conduct ongoing research on it so we can develop a defence against it.”

    And since this was indeed a PHASED Cloak they were developing and experimenting on, and since the Romulans were indeed later caught developing a phased cloak, Pressman’s reason was shown to be vindicated.

    The same excuse was used after the Korean War to justify the development of Mind Control techniques, means and methods under MK-ULTRA : “The Communists can brainwash our troops and our citizens, we have to learn how to do it so we can protect against it and undo it.”

    So the question comes down to : What did Pressman tell the chain of command within Starfleet Intelligence he was doing ?

    Because the implication of the Need-to-know requirement suggests that many, if not most of the Pegasus crew did not know, or fully understand, what the purpose or function of “the experiment” was for or how it worked – which probably was one major contributing factor to causing the mutiny to occur to begin with.

  • Spike1138

    Let’s also note, though – the manner in which Picard handled himself in dealing with the matter and bringing the incident to a resolution, by decloaking right in front of the Warbird before just signalling them to say “Yeah, we will contact you officially to tell you EVERYTHING we did wrong….”

    … apparently *really* impressed the Romulan Senate, since the next time we hear anything of this, approximately 6 months later in-universe on DS9 during “The Search”, the Romulans by that point could NOT be more open and accommodating when it came to their sharing of their cloaking technology.

    And so the Treaty of Algeron is about to be rendered formally moot and obsolete as it argueably is already, considering the events of episodes like The Defector and Reunification.

  • Spike1138

    Also Picard has NO RIGHT to express moral approbation at Pressman for technical violations of a Treaty he himself has trampled all over the spirit of himself on at least two occasions, I.e. :

    “We agree to never develop or have cloaking technology on our ships – but it’s perfectly okay to charge across the neutral zone with a squadron of cloaked Klingon Birds of Prey that you don’t know about, just in case of ambush;

    And, it’s perfectly okay to make an incursion into your territory to make contact with a seditious underground movement on Romulus, provided we use a borrowed Klingon vessel to do it.

    Who, by the way, will have complete access, through intelligence sharing, to any and all strategic military signals traffic we are able to collect from your secure comms traffic while we are there, after we have hacked into it.”

    This is clearly not the intent of the Treaty!

  • Spike1138

    If it was ever to be revealed that the Romulans had put a cloaked Warbird into Earth orbit and had been sending people down to the surface, disguised as humans, all hell would have broken loose, it would have probably resulted in a declaration of war.

    But Picard thinks it’s perfectly okay to go to Romulus with a ship full of restless Klingons because it is not a technical violation of the Treaty.

    That’s damn foolish.