The Masterpiece Society

The colonists on Moab IV live in perfect balance with their world. They have to – they were genetically bred to do so. When a stellar core fragment threatens to upset that delicate ecosystem, the Enterprise offers to help, but will their presence do more harm than good? Geordi techs the tech while Deanna feels the feels all when we put The Masterpiece Society into the Mission Log.

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  1. CmdrR says:

    The Masterpiece Society does make me wonder about human nature. Can we build a domed city that’s stuffed with every pizza shop and cd’s of Chopin that we could ever want… and the right crowd to share it? And if we did, isn’t there something in human nature that almost instantly would make us want… more. How can you love music and not want new music. How can you do your job well and not want to innovate, which would (eventually) put you or your descendants out of that exact job? I think it would make a cool colony, but such a collection of people and goals would, because of human nature, change. Ah well!

    • deaddropsd says:

      I think there are some people who would be content w the plateau, but really, the dome seems like such a prison! Perhaps an entire planet would be enough, but I agree, the technology would eventually lead to something to go just a bit higher and higher…then you have a starship! the novel “Prime Directive” wrote of “reve de etoiles” DREAM OF STARS phenomenon that took place on many pre-warp civilizations to spur growth and development towards space travel….such a great concept. Looking at the stars would get curiosity fired up.

      • Dave Steph Taylor says:

        Everyone was fine until the Enterprise showed up and screwed up their society by saving it. 😉

        I think in this society the motivation would be to be the best in what ever you were born to be. That would be the way to excel.

    • deaddropsd says:

      Also, the desire to see your children exceed your goals and achievements would lead to change…I guess evolution…I think the “World in a Bottle” concept can only last so long….

  2. CmdrR says:

    Geordi: “You assume the transporter pose like a pro, Hannah.” // Hannah: “It’s the same pose I held before they took me out of the box.”


    • Earl Green says:

      The transporter must have some tolerance for movement among its subjects, because we’ve had it beam people aboard in mid-struggle – Riker and Worf trying to cover Riva in “Loud As A Whisper”, or Admiral Jameson having bodily tremors in “Too Short A Season” come to mind. So I wonder why – not the FX realities, but in-universe – one has to “assume the position”. I’m not recommending that everyone start to breakdance right before the annular confinement beam kicks in (see, that’s probably what happened to Commander Sonak in TMP), but it would seem that there’s no real need to stand stock still like that.

  3. regeekery - JD says:

    this episode was a tower of “meh” and it’s fine if I never watch it again

  4. deaddropsd says:

    I worked for Planned Parenthood for about 10 years and found it a very interesting experience. I was an obgyn NP and gained a lot of insight into reproductive choice women and men make, abortion, tubal ligation, vasectomies, birth control, abstinence…I am a strong believer that unchecked population growth and lack of abortion/birth control contributes to many of Earth’s political and climate problems. I don’t want to pick a fight w anyone and I sorta think most here will agree, but if you do not, I respect your opinion. The unstable developing 3rd world countries and regions like Latin/South America, Africa, Middle East and Southeast Asia general make abortion illegal. The industrialized countries where many seek to enter for a better life etc have it legal, safe, done by professionals. I think the key is choice, but definitely feels some regions and people need a reminder/incentive to calm down on the baby making. I think kids growing up in despair, w/o enough food, shelter, education, love, nurturing are just raw material for terrorist groups, drug cartels, human trafficking, slavery, child soldiers, cheap disposable manual labor. Moab IV, seems to have culturally succeeded but quietly disposes of the choice. If Hannah happened to get preganant, would she ever even be told the ultrasound or blood test revealed a possible birth defect? Would she have a chance to decide? Sadly no. I had many people argue w me at work or at family parties about my work. Filipinos and Mexicans in my family would pull the Catholic card and I would calmly tell them that Italy legalized abortion in 1980. Then I would show them the map…lol- Illuminating….Hot topic to be sure, but those against even the legal choice of abortion often change their mind w that one too many pregnancy especially at the wrong time w the wrong person. Sex makes people dumb- Riker? “The Game”- Troi “The Price” and this weeks episode… lol,

  5. deaddropsd says:

    Flashback to Season 3, “The Enemy”- John Snyder “Centurion Bokra”, this was a surprise to me when episode was reviewed a few months ago!

  6. Dave Steph Taylor says:

    This episode had a big yawn fest from me. I just could not get into it.

    The ideas of a perfect society are interesting though. Seems like something the Vulcans would be into.

    • deaddropsd says:

      AGREED, but still funny how Vulcans are a bit condescending, yet are supposed to extoll the virtues of Infinite Diversity In Infinite Combinations….- Starfleet and the UFP have clearly many advantages over generally mono-cultural adversaries like the Romulans, Ferengi or Klingons imo.

  7. Earl Green says:

    What’s really interesting here is that the resolution of the “straight from the writers’ tech manual celestial bestiary” Plot Complication usually coincides with the end of the story. Here, we get that stuff out of the way early – because it was never the A-plot to begin with – and deal with the consequences. To be honest, the show fails to deal with the consequences so often that the TNG crew’s brand of “get in their pants diplomacy” is almost a metaphor for the show’s storytelling style – it’s a one night stand and the Enterprise is *outta there* the next morning, and leaves a note on the dresser that maybe it’ll call or text you later, but…probably not. It’s an interesting switch to have the Enterprise stick around, wake up next to Moab IV in the morning, and have this really awkward conversation about whether or not we’re moving in together now.

    Um…I probably need to find a less offensive metaphor for this.

    • deaddropsd says:

      “Angel One”, “The Vengeance Factor”, “The Price”, “Masterpiece Society” “First Contact”- Enterprise sticks around and we Troi’s “walk of shame”…lol, or piano playing….

  8. nathankc says:

    Regarding “Dont’ Fence Me In” being in the public domain. It was written after 1922 so copyright will apply. It was by written by Cole Porter in 1934. Porter died in 1964 so it is just 52 years after his death. Copyright for written music expires 50-75 years after death generally. Any recordings will also have copyright applied.*


    * I am not genetically pre-disposed to be a lawyer

  9. Wildride says:

    Moral of the story: Don’t put all your genes in one petri dish. Actually, stop putting your genes in a petri dish, you weir–Anyway.

  10. Wildride says:

    “There are no blind people in the colony.”
    “What, nobody ever puts an eye out with, like, a pellet gun, or something?!?”
    “Really? Not ever?”
    “They’re genetically programmed not to.”
    “I find that hard to believe.”
    “I find you hard to believe!”
    “Why does every discussion with you go this way?”

  11. Wildride says:

    “What happened to the colony?”
    “It collapsed when 23 colonists left.”
    “Wow! Just 23 and it collapsed?”
    “One of them was the telephone sanitiser.”
    “Say no more.”

  12. Wildride says:

    Omicron Ceti 3: Where the spores are happy and the people are slaves.

  13. Derek says:

    I noticed a parallel with “The Neutral Zone” and “Pen Pals” where Picard would have been happy to let these people die rather than interfere.
    Also, I feel a part of the episode was addressed oddly. Was the point of the colony to have a group of people who are happy and fulfilled or to create a society that creates great technological developments. Knowledge of an outside world that has progressed beyond the colony ruins the second one. If people are unhappy, how is it okay to hold people against their will to make the other colonists happy? After that bubble burst, I felt there was no reason to continue to hold people against their will to continue the colony and it seemed papered over in the episode and the podcast.

    • deaddropsd says:

      I think the purpose of the colony was to be self sufficient and free of history’s past ailments. Unit/colony cohesion seemed a bedrock of their society. Also, I don’t think Picard would have been “happy” in the previous examples, just coldly realistic and practical. Thinking of Syria and US intervention after the past debacles comes to mind…..there is a limit to what most of us are willing to tolerate/risk.

      • Derek says:

        While I agree on the Syria point, I feel like it doesn’t capture the isolation-ism of the society. I would say it’s more like attempting to relocate a tribe that would be wiped out by a volcano because we’re worried about letting them all die OR risk cultural impact. Which goes back to Picard risk letting them die. The happy part made it sound more flip than I meant it. But the planned society with a goal of avoiding disabilities almost sounds like a side-effect but you can do that in the federation by terminating pregnancies with detected problems. My problem with that is it is the founders impressing their values on all their descendants.
        I kind of wish there was a Bones or Pulaski to argue against the society as opposed to just Geordi arguing just a lil change.

  14. Troy Brooks says:

    Did anyone else feel like the Geordi “my visor has the answer” line was the “You see Timmy” moment?

  15. Troy Brooks says:

    This episode did remind me a little of the Spacers from the Asimov Robot novels. They also use eugenics and thought of themselves as superior.

  16. Cindy Tucker says:

    As someone who has a spinal cord injury as the result of an accident, and the aunt of a child with Down’s Syndrome, this was rather off- putting. It seems their rigid social structure caused them to be weak when a crisis ocurred. Also, what would they do with someone who became disabled? However, my disability is not genetic, so perhaps it wouldn’t matter.

    • Dave Steph Taylor says:

      Some of our greatest artist, composers, etc have been mentally or physically challenged. Our society would be very different had these individuals been removed before birth.

      Still, the option to remove defects before birth is tempting. Every parent want the best for their potential children.

      Being raised around a kid that was born with mental difficulties and a weak heart I can attest to the immense difficulty that this family had to deal with. He never developed beyond a 6 year old mentality and will need constant care for his entire life.

      • deaddropsd says:

        Again, I think the key factor is choice. But after time, if the ability to discern a handicap or disability w 99% accuracy and avoid/abort/correct that issue prenatally existed, in time, after decades or centuries, when that issue is pretty much gone, I think the societal/peer pressure to correct the issue just to avoid being so different will be the primary motivator.

      • deaddropsd says:

        The other side of this argument, is we would never know, so they could never be missed. I hear this argument regarding abortion, often. What if she is aborting the next Mozart?- But what if it’s the next Osama Bin Laden? It is a questionable but timeless argument. Given the choice and the means, I think most parents would choose the path that has the least defects/hurdles for life. No one should fault them for that imo. Thinking of some case/story/show? of 2 deaf parents having a child w hearing. If possible would they choose to keep their child deaf?

    • deaddropsd says:

      I think it would depend on their resources. The pic w the Romulan that actor John Snyder was previously in mentioned how the Romulans do not waste/devote resources to “defective” children such as a blind Geordi. Funny how in both episodes w John Snyder, Geordi’s handicap comes up, but eventually leads to solving the problem. When resources become low, those the leadership may deem as not worthwhile will get cut off first of course. Like triaging in a battle or budget cuts, sad reality.

  17. Stephen says:

    Just a random thought …. If Hannah Bates was in charge of the colony, would she then be referred to as Master Bates? 🙂

  18. deaddropsd says:

    The whole Troi hook up sequence just points to how rushed the storytelling has to be to fit into 44 minutes. Just minimal connectivity of episodes, so they gotta establish quickie relationships…well, quickly. Just the reality of storytelling in the 1990s/24th century. DS9’s build up of relationships like Kira w Bareil or Shakaar or Odo…lol, – quite a few, but no guilt trips here, they all had some build up…Kassidy Yates Benjamin as well.

  19. Kristy says:

    I know this show wasn’t really into continuity from one episode to another, but I always thought it was an insight into Troi’s state of mind after Violations that she was more inclined to seek out the relationship with Aaron. It seemed out of character and I always thought it was her way of taking back control of that aspect of her life.

  20. John Anderton says:

    Another tough slog of stilted dialog, bags of exposition, telegraphed meanings, and cringe inducing romance. And then, suddenly, Geordie’s plan works and there is 15 minutes of episode left. Suddenly we are neck deep in free will, genetic engineering, humanity, and a plea for the expansion of the prime directive.

    Is it worth it? I am not sure.