Man of the People

Ambassador Alkar is a guest aboard the Enterprise while en route to negotiate a peace treaty. When he shows up, Deanna Troi starts doing things she doesn’t normally do: showing a bit more skin, lashing out in a jealous rage, and stabbing Captain Picard. Could this all be related? Man of the People joins us this week on Mission Log.

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  1. Spencer K says:

    Any one else notice in the prologue that Data’s pips are on in reverse order? The open pip should be toward the back, but it’s up front. Woops.

  2. CmdrR says:

    So if you live by the ocean, does Blue Apron bring you… Cake by the Ocean? (I’m sorry; do these things have to be 80’s songs??)

  3. Mark Rodriguez says:

    “New You?” A reference to Logan’s Run? Nice one, John!

    • Earl Green says:

      Riker should’ve run far away from the rest of this episode and made a break for Sanctuary. Or maybe he did, and he’s the old bearded guy with the cats.

  4. CmdrR says:

    You guys deserve a reward for sticking with eps that, at best, look like flawed gems and at worst just feel like 48 minutes of sludge. I’m a little surprised it took you so far into the podcast to discuss that this is yet another instance of Troi being mind raped, or whatever it is. Seasons 6 & 7 sputter badly in places, and imho this ep is one of those places. There’s really no point where I believed Troi would die or remain a granny, so it just presses on. The actors do great work salvaging the bits and pieces, but the whole simply falls flat. Anyway… for your reward, you get… SCOTTY! See ya next week.

  5. deaddropsd says:

    One of the WORST episodes of Star Trek TNG…really, I loved Troi’s cleavage as much as the next 19 year old guy, but really, it was inexcusable to crank out this steaming turd in season six…yuck. It took aspects from sooooOOooOO many episodes and mashed them together for this drek. handsome negotiator/ ambassador “Loud as a Whisper” “The Price”- psychic assault….”Violations” “The Survivors” – poor judgment Troi “The Masterpiece Society”- although in fairness, she didn’t know hanging out w Akar was a bad idea…- ennnh aaaannnyway. This title on my VHS collection of tv recorded TNG, pretty much never got replayed…unless it was on the way to the episode after it, in which class, I was tidying up the house using TNG as background noise….

  6. Wildride says:

    One of the negative emotions he’s obviously channeling is his vanity, so the apparent love they feel for him is his own love of self. And then he spurns that because he finds it repellent in himself.

    There’s a distinct performance enhancement aspect to his ability, in that he gets to do this high profile job that obviously strokes his ego, not because of hard work or innate ability, but through his cheating. Yes, it’s important work and it’s important that it be done, but it’s not important to anyone else but him that he be the one to do it. Plenty of others seem to be doing perfectly well as negotiators and peace makes without preying on others to do so.

    If it’s a tough job that takes a toll on him, has he considered anti depressants? I bet they’ve got some really good ones by the 24th century. Almost certainly better than drinking, taking it out on your kids or dumping your emotions on someone else with the help of magic rocks.

    Everybody seems to get victimized at one time or another on the show, but Deanna disproportionally so.

    So, not only was there a difference in how Deanna reverted versus his previous victim, but also in the amount of time between the severing of the link and him suffering ill effects. Or, at least as I recall.

    If the magic rocks get rid of his bad emotions, you’d think they’d get rid of his desire to prey on others. If he can inflict pain on others the way he does without apparently worrying about it, he’s pretty much a sociopath. Even assuming he rocks take away his feelings of guilt for what he does, intellectually he must be aware of awful of a person that makes him.

    • Earl Green says:

      “Yes, it’s important work and it’s important that it be done, but it’s not important to anyone else but him that he be the one to do it.”

      High five for making an excellent, excellent point. TNG and later Trek series ride the “only Nixon could go to China” horse really hard: great pains are taken to make sure everyone knows Riker is Odan in “The Host”. Sarek’s aide, Sakkath, can only very quietly ask about Picard’s diplomatic history with Data, but dares not speak openly about why he’s asking. And we can only assume that the various heads-up-their-own-backsides ambassadors and commissioners in TOS were keeping their jobs solely by virtue of the same tendency in thinking, because it definitely wasn’t on account of their sparkling personalities.

      Looks like Alkar just retired, though!

    • deaddropsd says:

      Is anyone else surprised he didn’t take advantage of her…? just sayin’….

  7. Dave Steph Taylor says:

    What a mix of a season.

    Another messing with Troi episode, ugh. Seriously, we need a counselor’s counselor.

    • Earl Green says:

      Kinda goes back to my earlier comments about whether Deanna is the only counselor on ship, or if she has staff under her the same way Beverly does. In real clinical psychological practice today, psychologists have to be examined and vetted by another psychologist at least once a year in order to keep their licenses. As often as the Enterprise crew have their heads turned inside out by Outside Influences, you’d think it’d probably be once a month. Or maybe she goes to the holodeck and checks herself against a holographic shrink… actually, that can’t be the case, because if the holodeck could do that, why is she there at all?

  8. Earl Green says:

    The morph at the end may be smooth, sure, but it’s an absolutely ridiculous way to back out of the corner they’d written themselves into. TNG is really bad, from here on out, about the Big Red Narrative Reset Button – solve the problem with 30 seconds of airtime to go, with few, if any, consequences for the regulars. They could’ve saved themselves a special effect by saying that Troi would de-age gradually over the next few days, and it would’ve covered their backsides just as well as the silly morph.

    I think this is why I very gladly transferred much of my Trek loyalty to Deep Space Nine when it started up. Don’t get me wrong, I loved, and still love, TNG, and followed it through to the end – I very happily watched both shows side by side (they aired in a block between 10:30pm-12:30am on Saturday nights here, and I always watched them, even with a 10-hour Sunday morning radio sign-on shift that meant I had to be up again at 4am). But in DS9, issues and conflicts sustained. They chase the Cardassians off in the pilot, but the Cardassians (one in particular) are a continual thorn in their side for the whole series. DS9 veers sharply away from “with one bound, jack was free” – and anytime DS9 *did* do a quick reset-button wrap-up, I’d invariably read later in Cinefantastique or a Starlog interview or something: the scripts that did that started as TNG pitches.

    That was the big frustration for years 6 and 7 of TNG: its sister was doing running arcs *so well* (and the new neighbor across the street, Babylon 5, was doing them even better)…and yet, over on TNG, nobody could remember what happened the week before, almost like a return to the continuity-free days of TOS. “Holy crap! Data went out of phase! And we can’t see him anymore! That’s NEVER happened to anybody on this ship…in…at least two weeks!”

    I’m gonna offer this nugget that’ll get me chased out of town with torches and pitchforks: Relics, by itself, is a very lightweight episode with bonk-bonk-on-the-head subtlety about its overly simple message. But coming as it did a week after Man of the People, Relics seemed like a delicious feast in comparison. Someone please get me a stiff shot of something green.

    • deaddropsd says:

      agreed VHS buddy! when I tell people how DS9 was so much better, I point out the scrapping the bottom of the barrel concept hunt that started occurring HERE! I guess w this episode! lol, perhaps back w “Cost of Living” Even character development in DS9…really fleshing out secondary characters like Keiko, Nog, Rom, Garak…not this infernal reset button.. .arrggGGhHH! the scrounging around for ways to make amends for Troi, Crusher and LaForge in the final year really will become apparent soon.

      • Judie Liri says:

        And yet, this was the most successful format. It allowed viewers who weren’t fans to watch almost any episode without the need to recap.

        • Muthsarah says:

          A good fit for the pre-anytime-streaming era, where viewers – new and old – were at the mercy of the programmers, but it’s getting more and more dated with each new technological generation (which is maybe every five years now). In this era of binge watching and whole seasons of a series released on the same day, I can’t help but think DS9’s looking better and better.

          I hope TNG will (continue to?) age well. I suspect, sadly, that for future generations raised with the freedom to watch any episode of any series in any order at any time, it will be the uncomfortable middle child between TOS and DS9’s extremes. Do you want all-out period style with a series of one-offs, a true anthology, or do you want Trek to tell serialized stories where continuity REALLY matters? Or do you want LIGHT continuity, and sorta-camp without much style, but a lot of idealism, delivered in a very laid-back style?

          Of course, the upcoming Trek series might muddy this metaphor, but I’ve already decided that it will be terrible, and it will have to prove itself otherwise.

          • Earl Green says:

            I hope Discovery knocks our socks off. We need Trek back, at its most Roddenberry-esque, stat. And it needs to be broadcast on-air, all of it, not just the pilot, if not on CBS then on CW. It’s not that I’m too cheap to do the All-Access thing, but I worry that some of the people who are most going to need a Trekkish beacon of hope in the coming year will be those least able to pay for that service. If Whoopi Goldberg’s family had been expected to pay $6+ a month to watch classic Trek in the 1960s rather than catching the over-the-air broadcasts, would she ever have seen Nichelle Nichols on the bridge?

            All things being equal, Discovery might suck, sure. But I’m hoping fervently that it doesn’t. I have faith in Bryan Fuller laying down a good blueprint before he left. And, hello, Nick Meyer. I’m hoping that CBS might see fit to let everyone, not just paying subscribers, see it. It’s already circulated in the trade magazines that the show’s entire production costs were paid for by Netflix’s license fee to carry it outside the States; whatever it makes from CBS All Access subscriptions is gravy.

            Anyway, I’ve kind burst through the safety rails and kept running, I’ll stop my rant there. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • wchmara says:

      British SF series tend to follow cause and effect better. Major characters, even those played by popular actors who, if given the choice, would choose to stay with the show, are often killed-off to more serve the purposes of the story than what that actor or the viewers want.
      This is what makes British shows more realistic. Tragedies happen. Resurrections, rarely, if ever.
      Star Trek as a franchise has killed off and brought back characters so often that only the actual death of the actor brings any finality to it.
      I believe that Blake’s 7 was the first SF series to wake up American audiences to the idea that anyone could die at any time. And stay dead. A more recent example would be Primeval.

      • Earl Green says:

        If you go look at some of my comments on earlier TNG episodes covered by Mission Log, I’ve mentioned Blake’s 7…a lot. I’m one of about two or three people who is not mourning the death of the 22-26-episode-long American TV “season” in favor of shorter runs: I think the shorter 10-12 episode runs that we’re seeing today with shows like The Expanse force the producers and writers to tighten their storytelling and turn out something that’s all killer and no filler. Television has been a writer’s medium in the UK for more than half a century; performances had to rise to the level of the writing. I would argue strongly that we’ve only just been getting to that point in the States over the past 10-20 years (at least in genre terms, I’d say the sharp uptick began with Straczynski and Whedon – Babylon 5 and Buffy are to modern SF TV what classic Star Trek and Twilight Zone were to TV well into the 80s and 90s, and I’d argue very strongly that you can see the fingerprints of Buffy all over 21st century Doctor Who, so we now have intercontinental cross-pollination going on.).

        In the meantime…TNG is what it is, and at the time it was great. I’m sorry if it seems like I’m crapping all over the show. I loved it then and still love it, even if some episodes are slipping rapidly into “guilty pleasure” territory. If I didn’t love it, I doubt I’d be listening to a podcast about it every week. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • wchmara says:

          Let’s not forget the new X-Files adopting the short run format, too. And like Doctor Who, they are also skipping a year before continuing.
          Some would say tho that clunker episodes still happen.

          • Earl Green says:

            It’s inevitable. When something as simple as an actor’s availability can force a whole script to be scrapped or delayed…it’s amazing that as many shows are as good as they are, as often as they are, honestly.

          • Earl Green says:

            Oh, and speaking of…what’s the plotline of the first episode of Blake’s 7’s fourth and final season? You guessed it…a sci-fi retelling of Dorian Gray! They even named the character Dorian, just to point up how clever and literary they would being. Pretty Wilde stuff for 1981…

        • deaddropsd says:

          I am ok w shorter, higher quality fx/writing and sets for a show… like Westworld, but yeah, its hard sometimes. How do you like “The Expanse”- I have heard good things about it, but life, bills, sleep, this dang podcast…lol, finding TNG guest star pics….Uncharted 4, Hitman..etc oh yeah and kids…..lol. I really think TNG could have been more like DS9 w/ just a few minor tweaks…ugh…that reset button was brutal.

          • Earl Green says:

            The Expanse is pretty good, though I’d like it better if they emphasized the awe and wonder of space more often rather than leaning toward the grimdark end of the spectrum. They do get their science right at least, and there’s a lot of continuity. And even though they just started season 2, there’s not an overwhelming amount of show to have to catch up on.

          • deaddropsd says:

            cool. I am planning to give it a go. Just eyeballing it, it looks good…but very dark. I always find it hard to believe that no matter how far humanity’s tech gets, that we will ever be very comfortable in space…just walking around in a ship w reliable atmosphere and artificial gravity seems so far out! I hope so!

          • Earl Green says:

            Yeah, if only we had so few cares that we could sit around like Riker watching holo-harp-ladies.

  9. Roberto says:

    “Loud as a Whisper”

  10. Danny-wa says:

    I’m sorry, I really dislike this episode and the one last season, “Violations,” I think. Let’s start with Troi’s hair – when did she get so much of it? And next week, she won’t have that much again. And when did it go from science fiction to fantasy? It’s all magic mumbo jumbo . . . just dreadful. But fun analysis, as always, than you!

  11. mc900 says:

    Ken referenced Amok Time and Buffy again- DRINK!

  12. wchmara says:

    Speaking of actor’s resemblances, I remember finding out online that the late William Windom (“The Doomsday Machine”) had a namesake ancestor who lived during the early days of the United States. His portrait shows quite an astonishing resemblance to his actor descendant.

  13. Earl Green says:

    Wild thought: maybe it’s okay for crewmembers to be notified of a change in their counseling appointment by the computer voice, because maybe mental health issues and treatment are less stigmatized in the 24th century.

    Hey, one can live in hope.

  14. Konservenknilch says:

    OK, so he is ambitious but emotionally so unstable that he can only perform by literally killing other people, in a rather cruel way as well. My question: why the hell would be choose a career in diplomacy of all things?

  15. deaddropsd says:

    For a show that promoted diversity, in retrospect the casting seemed a bit homogenous….compare and contrast…. bad guy in “Man of the People”

  16. John Anderton says:

    Not repulsive, sort of dull, melodramatic. Sitris was fine. Maybe if we experienced the negotiations, instead of it being told to us.