This is Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Star Trek, plus or minus a few features and points. Friends of Picard think Starfleet officers are being replaced by people that look just like the people they are replacing. But is that hapeneing? And for what reason? Find out when we put Conspiracy in the Mission Log.
Tags: Admiral Quinn, Cliff Bole, code 47, Conspiracy, Dytallix, head debris, Remmick, The Next Generation, The Next Generation Season 1, TNG, Tracy Torme, USS Horatio, Walker Keel
I remembered this wasn’t brought up in the episode and I wanted to share but this episode actually comes with a warning in Canada! http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Conspiracy_(episode)#Reception
The BIGGEST letdown of the series in my opinion in terms of follow up. They could have done so much more w/ this…oh well, here is LCDR Remmick
Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwright, Robert Schenkkan. Or, as I remember saying when we read The Kentucky Cycle back in my college Script Analysis class, “Hang on, the dude whose head asploded on Star Trek wrote a play?”
they could have done another Code 47 too! it was a cool spy effect…the body snatcher effect could have been done so much better and easier w just light effects or worse yet..maybe no effect…! even harder to detect!! Light effect a la “The Hidden” w Kyle Maclachlan
Invasion of the Body Snatchers was indeed a brilliant and subtle movie, though the storyline of this episode has more comparisons with Heinlein’s 1951 novel The Puppet Masters, which was made into a superlative and underrated sci-fi thriller in 1994 starring Donald Sutherland.
But as to this – what the hell? Had Trek been doing a parody of bad scifi/horror, I could understand…
USS Horatio could also be named after a number of HMS Horatio’s. Original HMS Horatio was named for Nelson. (Lauched less than 2 years after his death at Trafalgar.)
I remember that the graphic scenes of the creature being exposed in Remmick’s stomach, and then his head being phasered into oblivion, were cut out when the BBC broadcast it – but the identical scenes were left in when they broadcast the subsequent episode Shades of Grey…
So much potential for coolness when Picard comes to the super-secret captains’ club – Michael Berryman in great make-up, a neat female hotshot – and then it is just wasted. The horror elements (The Hidden, Lost Boys, They Live, Shivers) were enough compensation for the teenaged me but not the adult.
These slugs are supposed to be some shadowy illumanti but they send an energetic John McCain double to kick-box the Enterprise crew into submission?! The dinner reveal is a kid’s logic of ‘bugs that make you eat more bugs – gross!’. Would mammal flesh be better? Good practice for Riker’s Klingon exchange but it leads to a final xenophobic orgy of phasering that is so non-Star Trek that Picard feels the need to justify it. Disgust is not a sufficient argument, and it is lazy writing.
The expansion of this disgust to Remmick is really bad taste. Remmick is already suspect because he is this strange secretary to old men, who is lightly balding and slightly built, when he reveals himself as a full-blown queen alien and slowly deep-throats a slug, it only confirms what some may have already suspected. The whole character of Lt. Barclay seems like an apology for this sequence.
This episode was so messy, the conspiracy so vague, the threat so comical (and off-screen), that I actually began to wonder if Remmick wasn’t telling the truth about being peaceful! It feels more like a drolly botched First Contact than a Federation coup. Hard to believe that a script based on the (far too rarely discussed) Iran-Contra affair became just another bug hunt.
Finally what are supposed to make of that Okudagram of a harpy-like Gene Roddenberry. I realize it is based off a painting of Roddenberry as the ‘Great Bird’ given to him as a birthday present, but seeing it flip by as Data is analyzing the rot at the core of the Federation gives me an strange feeling.
“Finally what are supposed to make of that Okudagram of a harpy-like Gene Roddenberry. I realize it is based off a painting of Roddenberry as the ‘Great Bird’ given to him as a birthday present, but seeing it flip by as Data is analyzing the rot at the core of the Federation gives me an strange feeling.”
A – Science Officer Jones, this is Captain Smith.
B – Go ahead, Captain.
A – Lieutenant, I’m sending Ensign Farkus down to the lab. Do you happen to have a parrot handy?
B – Yes, Captain, but I don’t understand-
A – Great. I’m gonna need you to try and graft Farkus’s head onto that bird’s body.
B – Sir?
A – You heard me, Lieutenant.
B – That’s highly unethical, sir.
A – WHO’S GIVING THE ORDERS HERE, JONES?
B – Sorry, sir. May I speak freely?
A – If you must.
B – Sir… if you were actually a creepy purple bug from an uncharted planet wearing the Captain like a skinsuit, you’d tell me, right?
A – …
B – Sir?
A – Anyway, I’m gonna need that man-parrot on my desk by Friday.
I can’t really refute any of the criticisms in this podcasts, but I can’t help loving this episode. It was entertaining and it had me hooked!
Now that I think about it, this episode is more in keeping with an episode of Doctor Who. Besides the literal similarity to the alien baddie Mr. Sweetums, the tone is more Doctor Who-esque. The mystery aspect. The horror injection. The clandestine alien takeover. The “everything is dramatically at stake but then saved” arc in one episode. Even some of the theatricality – alien in a briefcase, people getting thrown around, the bug food.
Again, I can’t deny the terrible aspects of this episode but it had my interest more than any episode yet.