The crew of the Enterprise is struck with amnesia. Worf commands! Picard leads! Data makes drinks! And MacDuff sounds the charge to carry out their mission, and destroy the Lysian Central Command. But who are these Lysians? And – come to think of it – who is MacDuff? All of that plus movie time with Riker and Ro when we put Conundrum… somewhere.
Tags: amnesia, Barry Schkolnick, chess, Cirrus IV, Conundrum, Copernicus City, empathic, Erich Anderson, Erick Weiss, hippocampus, Hoagy Carmichael, Horga'hn, intuition, intuitive, Joe Menosky, John Keats, Kieran MacDuff, Kriskov Gambit, Kristin, Les Landau, Liz Vassey, Lysian, memory, Ode to Psyche, Paul Schiffer, Samarian sunset, Satarran, space station, swimming pool, The Nearness of You, The Next Generation, The Next Generation Season 5, three dimensional chess, TNG, trombone, war
Where to begin… Love this episode, but it makes NO sense. The Lysians can go through individual memories and computer functions like they’re sorting laundry, but their plan is to use every crew member to attack their enemy? Not… dunno… steal the Enterprise’s tech and make their own fleet? Also… it takes “more digging” to learn that the ship’s called “Enterprise” and is a member of The Federation? THERE’S A BIG BRONZE PLAQUE RIGHT ON THE BRIDGE that has that info!! Obviously, the whole pay-off is Riker-Ro-Troi, which is wonderful. Anyway, another great podcast!
Lol- big bronze plaque! -Yup, Why not just kill Picard, alter the records to have MacDuff in charge as CAPTAIN, and go get the enemies. Oh well, yeah, I know they need the episode go a certain way…lol, fun episode though!! This is another episode, where you gotta ask…WHERE WAS GUINAN!?!!? (haven’t heard podcast yet)
Also, aren’t the Satarrans still out there??
Alternate ending to “Conundrum”
Picard: Whew! That was close, Number One!
Riker: I’ll say! We came this close to blowing up 15,000 people and —
**FLASH OF GREEN LIGHT**
Picard: Who am I?
Riker: Who are you?
Unfamiliar Officer: The computer says I’m Commodore Falstaff, special liaison from Starfleet Command. blah blah blah… Looks like I’m in command. Now, start blowin’ up Lysian stuff!
Picard: (pauses to consider it for a second) OK. Worf, start shooting!
Ens. Ro: Commander, Riker, I would like a word —
Ens. Ro: In my cabin… now… a word! Troi’s waiting.
Riker: OH! Later, guys. Don’t forget to blow up the recycled space station.
**cue I Love Lucy ‘wa wa waaaaaa’ music stab // credits**
If you don’t think to deep it is a great plan that almost works. If you think to carefully the plan has SOOOO many holes.
And yes, that look that Riker gets when he sees Troi and Ro sitting together is priceless.
https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/63542c93d0f535da6a0c1eaa473ca93227aabc05345f9b0b7e9015eac054810b.jpg Right there. Eyes right! Riiiiiight theeeere!!!
At the end, Troi and Ro could have greeted Riker like “We’re into it.”
That’s the Trek I’ve been waiting for my whole life.
Jadzia would be down….
Anyone else keeping count? Riker has hooked up w Troi, Crusher (“The Host”) and now… Ensign Ro…
The only way he could be handing out more of the Full Riker to his crewmates would be if there was a second Riker somewhere…oh..heh, never mind, that’ll never happen.
“Commander McDuff” “First officer” – Erich Anderson
If I were to drink a shot every time Ken casually rattled off the name of the episode…well, I wouldn’t remember who I am, but I might still know how to do my job. Maybe. Or maybe I’d just be mixing Mesopotamian margaritas. Kinda bitter, you’re gonna need some slices of lime with that. Like, let’s say, enough slices to make up the whole lime.
There was an older episode, which one exactly I forget, where the study was brought up in which photos of a peaceful protest were altered and shown to people who were actually there, and suddenly they remembered it as being a violent protest (even though it wasn’t)…for some reason, that malleability of memory came to mind here with the slightly Orwellian “we have our orders, and we have always been at war with Eastasia!” thing going on.
I’m so glad that Dawn (of Buffy fame) was brought up; the basic plot outline of Conundrum has become its own trope of sorts. I recall that Torchwood did almost this exact same story in an episode called “Adam”, which was about – you guessed it – Adam is our buddy, and he’s always been here, and he’s the first one to get our memories back, lucky him, so he’s going to help us remember what questionable thing we must do, but hey, are we really the kind of people who would do something that questionable? It was one of those close-enough-to-1:1 plot lifts that just stunned me – doesn’t the BBC have to cut Paramount a check for that? Or at least buy Paramount a cheeseburger or something?
I remember thinking, at the time this aired, that – speaking of Conspiracy – this totally could’ve been a follow-up to Conspiracy. MacDuff could’ve had one of those things sticking out of his neck, but because everyone would’ve forgotten Conspiracy, no one would have thought to look for that. And in the meantime, since those critters have invented MacDuff’s Memory Cuisinart (TM, pat. pend.), there’s no need to hand out worms and grubs to the entire crew and say “Try a bowl full of them! They stay crunchy even in milk!” And then when Worf and Riker lay [the phaser smackdown] on MacDuff, they could’ve blown his head up, just like Remmick. I’ll bet TNG’s splodey-head FX would’ve been on a whole different level by this point in the show’s history.
Luckily, MacDuff’s Memory Cuisinart is derived from Nomad, so it handily leaves you with a firm command of your native language.
“Lay on MacDuff, and damned be he who cries, ‘Wait — Who are all you people again?!?'”
Troi beating Data at chess. I just can’t even.
Troi beat Data by using an unknown move
I get the idea behind what the writers were trying to do, but it’s insanely unbelievable. If you threw an unexpected move at Deep Blue it would still crush you, as would Data.
Better if it had been blackjack or some game involving bluffing/theatrics.
I’ve always just gone with what Phil Farrand proposed in the “Nitpicker’s Guide” books – that Troi had Data on a very low setting of difficulty when the game began!
After all, there’s no such thing as an unexpected move in chess – every move is patently predictable!
All through the episode, I thought “this feels so TOS”. And then you guys mentioned it! So gratified.
Anyway, a good episode. I really like that there is an obviously wrong character on the bridge, and only the audience is in on it.
Finally, thanks for shining a light on the Riker storyline. I didn’t notice anything back then, but now, this is a pretty good example of slut-shaming. Not cool.
Ro: “Care to — LCARSFlix and chill?”
Riker: “That’s not an expression.”
Ro: “Does it matter?”
Riker: “Not particularly.”
“We have all this ability to manipulate storage of androids, computers and people’s brains, but we can’t make weapons.”
“Really?!? Because it seems like you could just use the technology you have to easily steal weapon technology. It sure seems to me that the way you went about this was way harder than it had to be.”
“Look, if we did things logically, we wouldn’t have an episode.”
An interesting Liz Vassey credit is Pig Sty, a sitcom that launched with the UPN network, alongside their flagship series being Voyager.
A bit of timeline crossing, but Picard doesn’t remember his Nausicaan run in, so maybe he’s more like Lieutenant Picard of the alternate timeline where he didn’t get stabbed.
maybe, yeah more passive then we’d expect
So much ado about trying to make an anagram of a nine letter word. #Countdown #8OutOf10CatsDoesCountdown
“So much amnesia in this episode, you’d think it was an episode of All My Circuits.”
“What does that mean? I’ve never heard of All My Circuits.”
“That’s because you have — Amnesia!”
I’m going to throw something out there.
Are we sure MacDuff was a bad guy?
I believe that his ship has either no or very few weapons. Maybe his race never developed them but did have ways to alter memories and were computer experts.
Along comes this other race who is aggressive, and MacDuff’s people figure the only chance they have is to find a more powerful people to fight for them.
Well that’s a good question. All we know about the Satarrans is that they are scary looking. Could very well be that they were the innocent ones in the whole mess with the Lysians. Guess we’ll have to wait for all those follow-up episodes about this story.
lol, “Wreck it Ralph”- Just because you are bad guy, does not mean you are BAD GUY. HAHAHa, I think MacDuff is bad because he is manipulating others w/o their consent. If you are in trouble in war you ask for help. Awww man, thinking of Benjamin Sisko as I type this…doh
“Together – Not Sleeping-” –
might? have been a better title for this episode.
and no need to worry “Troy – The Barfly” will happen, given time.
Oh just you wait !
You hit the question right on the head John.
I just didn’t buy the “Scanning Beam” that could wipe out selected memories of everyone on the ship – Including Data’s – and then was able to erase the files and personal logs of the entire ships crew.
How long would that have taken? The entire time I’m thing –
where’s the Data Backup Drive 3000 where which our beloved Android
can remove his head and Interface w? –I mean – we have
“I-Cloud 9” today – and yet this type of shit is going down
in the 24th Century? That’s one heck of a Hack having Data
Believe he’s nothing more than a Bartender!
Is this guy from Russia?
Like you said – then why can’t they do this to their enemy? –
who has so little defenses! Give me a break !
Wouldn’t they have some sort of “Deep Space Cloud 9” by this episode? They might could get away w/ this during TOS –
thinking about Uhura here –
( in this case that ship out there in this episode of TNG possess a “Scanning Beam” that IS More Powerful than a Pre-IG88 era Nomad –
which I guess is a Good thing when or if you want to commit Genocide) –
but I really didn’t buy it then either, and THAT was at least more believable- if Nomad hit her w/ say, a equal of a 50,000 volt Teaser Beam in the head – then, yep – ok -her mind might (?) get scrambled –
and at least in that episode she had to re-learn, & be re-educated how to do things due to Little Bad Space Probe wiping out ALL of her memories. She didn’t just simply “get” all her memories
back at the end of the episode because McCoy hit her w/ a hypo.
No, this was just yet another example of a really BAD, poorly explained – I don’t buy it for a second – Plot DEVICE – https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fd2294e6450dfee83fc680ee0031ef3ab5a8ddad17b5a4778ed8bc3ca0e12c12.jpg
and you know just how much I hate those !
I think the speed of the mind/computer wipe was the problem. “Clues” episode w the Paxans and Data helping seemed to indicate it took a few days to stage the crime. I think a general confusion effect that made the crew a bit crazy, would have been just as effective…. also if the mind wipe happened mid pitched battle w smoke, fire and explosions would have been awesome!
While I agree w/ you – I just don’t buy as selective mind wipe. NOw a total erase – like a magnet to a cassette – sure. But you are right – that would have been cool .
My few thoughts:
– Who did not like the twist of Captain Worf. Captain Worf was pretty descent for the short time he was in command.
– Riker getting action from Ro and Troi was entertaining and of course the scene at the end was charming.
– In the podcast you guys said MacDuff had some tech to all the switchero. I thought that it was a biological feature of the species.
– MacDuff sure had a lot of data on the Enterprise and human biology.
– It is a good thing that the Federation was not actually at war. If they were actually at war, Picard’s hesitation could have brought about defeat.
– I LOVED that at the end even Worf did not fire on the Lysians.
Worf got punked by MacDuff…geez, letting him get so close and bitch slap or chest thump him across the room..crazy…
Poor Worf, always getting slapped about.
yeah, I remember thinking that back in the 90s…Roga Danar, this MacDuff guy, next week O’Brien?!!?!? lol, even Troi gets in on the Worf abuse!!
This is why I love this podcast. Gets me to review, re-watch this show I love so much and look at it from a different perspective. We are quick to condemn “MacDuff” for manipulating, lying and deceiving the Enterprise crew to fight his war. Here is a picture of another man who really could be tried for war crimes after the end of the Federation Dominion War, for fabricating evidence to convince the Romulans to enter the war against the Dominion…I had such an a-ha moment just a few minutes ago. Thanks to all who comment and make my work day more enjoyable/tolerable…lol
Yeah, but the difference between Sisko and Macduff is… Macduff is not *the man*.
Sorry, jumping the timeline a bit.
very hard to avoid!!
Since phasers and photon torpedoes are energy based weapons, they fizzle out. Like how eventually the jet spray water from the garden hose is not as intense at the 20 yards point.
“Cliff diving crewman in sick bay”- Liz Vassey https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/495307c53abe6ad25f6a7dc65ad5326426a88627b6de89c1aac53d88b66082eb.jpg
She was in CSI Space Oddity as a spoof on both an Orion dancer and the green haired lady from Gamemsters. My favorite CSI ep.
Finally got around to some LOOOOONG overdue scanning. This is the Conundrum synopsis that was sent to affiliate stations carrying TNG; gives you a pretty good idea of how much you had stuff spoiled for you if you were a fan who happened to be working in the promo department. 🙂
It was suggested in the podcast that the initial scan literally was just a scan which also knocked everyone out. I tend to agree, its the only thing that makes the whole Evil Plan remotely plausible McDuff (and his offscreen cronies) could then have spent anywhere from hours to days to weeks erasing memories and computer records before waking everyone up and setting them off on their new mission.
There was a similar overly elaborate plan in the 1960s series “The Prisoner”, where no.6 was brainwashed continually for months to turn him into a left-hander who preferred pancakes for breakfast (and yes, they WERE pancakes and not flap-jacks, this is Britain dammit!)
Sounds too similar to the plot of “Clues” http://www.missionlogpodcast.com/clues/
The problem with that plan was that things kept coming up as “That’s not right.” Plants growing to fast, beards growing out, biological clocks being off, etc.
Lessons learned from this episode:
1) Be yourself
2) Don’t be yourself
3) Have sex with Troi and Ro
4) Don’t have sex with Troi and Ro
5) Keep your shields up
6) Keep your shields down
7) Obey orders
8) Don’t obey orders
9) Keep yourself armed
10) Don’t keep yourself armed
11) Keep your mind open to every point of view
12) Don’t keep your mind open to ever point of view