It is a long slow period of star charting for the Enterprise, and good thing too. The ship has picked up a potentially troubling alien. He seems nice enough, and he can heal people with a touch. There is just one problem: The government of his home world says he is dangerous and much be put to death. Also, he killed Worf, so maybe there are a couple of problems. Who or what is this being? Find out for yourself! Meet John Doe when we put Transfigurations in the Mission Log.
Tags: amnesia, Charles Dennis, Christy Henshaw, El-Baz, healing, John Doe, Julie Warner, Mark LaMura, Rene Echevarria, Sunad, The Next Generation, The Next Generation Season 3, TNG, Tom Benko, Transfigurations, Zalkonian
These Space Jesuses are everywhere!
Since you did want to bring up today’s politics. It’s a misrepresentation that people are just scared or bigoted about these concepts. The problem is that a lot of what is being pushed is that they’re just factually wrong and accepting more and more of this nonsense has lead into territory of reinforcing mental illnsesses. The other problem is that people that have the face of “equality” aren’t pushing equality, never have been, and never will. Instead what they are doing is pushing censorship and getting rid of things they don’t like while saying its wrong that the things they’re ok with are censored. In other words, the people who keep claiming and are promoted as this really “progressive” and open group, are regressive, closed minded, bigots and people are just fed up with it lies, discrimination, etc.
So in today’s politic you have…
People who are being demonized because they go off facts, not made up and purposefully twisted surveys.
There are people who think they’re good because they’ve been taught in such a twisted way that when they’re doing and saying things they think they’re doing good, but really they’re just hurting everyone. Both side have these people.
Then you got the people who are at the root of the problem who are crazy, on either side, that are horrible people purposefully hurting people, likely, because they think that in the end they’re doing what is best and if they have to do horrible things to get that good thing done they’ll do it.
And lastly you have people who have been lied to and been misinformed or something is just wrong with their logic circiut and they haven’t made the connection. Or don’t have the mental processing power to think it through.
If you ask people is racism wrong, more than likely they will say yes. Ask why and they’ll not have a clue, or give some canned answer that if you ask them to explain they can’t. The same applies to many of the things that we consider bad/good in the modern day and as result of pretty much just teaching people that x is bad and them not understanding why it’s bad, or in fact teaching them the wrong reason why its bad, we have people being that bad thing and not realizing they are, nor thinking they are the bad guy.
So if you want to compare and name… Sunad are the SJWs/Feminists/Marxists of the modern body politic. They think they’re doing right and good, but they’re clearly in the wrong. John Doe is more along the lines of MRA/MGTOW/GamerGate/ etc movements that are popping up because these Sunad is doing bad things thinking they are right. That’s if I’m forced into using the analogy of modern politics, gender politics.
The implied analogy to islam and muslims is wrong, because you’re proposing that problem there is oh this is just something new/different, when it’s not. The ideology/religion and the culture is not a matter of “difference”. There can be equally good cultures that are different and cultures that are different that are not equally good. In the case of the middle east, they are not equally good, but are different and have a history of tearing down not cultures in general, but invading and making better cultures disintegrate. Even if it wasn’t historically the case that the middle east has used immigration/colonization in the past there is still the recent past which shows that they are doing that as well as not integrating, even when all doors are open and just taking advantage of the good will of those nations, among other problems. So no, the comparison does not work here.
As to the Jesus comparison… I don’t see what reason there is to assume they weren’t doing that. Star Trek is full of that so it seems like they would do it.
I more question if they understand how evolution works ^.^
another detailed analysis! can you review the abbreviations though? SJW, MRA, MGTOW …ugh, let me google…hahaha
I think the biological changes in John Doe are fundamentally different than the ideological/theo viewpoints brought in w any analogy….
Social Justice Warrior
Meg Going Their Own Way
and Magnetic Resonance Angiogram….lol
Men’s Rights Activist
Rod was good enough to post this just a few days ago. I have to wonder whether GR would have gone the same route as this ep or what… There are just so many ways to go when you meet Space Jesus:
a) What if God was one of us…
b) Hey, it’s Space Jesus!
c) T’ain’t no big thang…
WOW, from such humble beginnings…..
I agree that what we are missing is the point of view of the average zalkonian. John doesn’t remember, and the ship full of Pharisees (sp?) seem to have a vested interest in stopping JD’s message from spreading, but what does John Q. Zalkonian think?
I had no problem seeing the Jesus parallel even when I saw it back in the day.
I do have to take exception to when Ken said that Jesus wasn’t asking folks to follow him, I seem to remember that he was keen on saying that there was no path to the father except thru him.
He just wasn’t pushy about it
ship full of “Pharisees”-? what is this reference? the ship of Zalkonians? or a bible thing….?
yes, I was making a biblical parallel that the authorities were acting like the Pharisees in Jesus’ time trying to stop him from opposing their power and position as the religious authority
I get it…yeah, listening to podcast now.. and back in 1990, the Jesus thing never occurred to me. Healing, bringing back the dead..seems pretty obvious to me….
One interesting thing is that the beginning reminded me of the discovery of Count Iblis in the original Battlestar Galactica. The difference being a space Jesus(John Doe) instead of a space devil(Iblis).
Also, quick comparison: Both Geordi and Barkley have fallen in love on the holodeck and also, after being hopeless with women, later become awesome with them after an alien interaction (tbd for Barkley).
that was a creepy episode! I recall getting weirded out when Starbuck shoots Count Iblis and his creepy self is revealed….
Another quick note: This episode and the next are a good juxtaposition regarding time, speed and distance in Trek. In this one they try to stick to the tech manual speeds, and thus it takes awhile to get anywhere, even at high speeds. But in the next, they seem to go from the edge of federation space back to earth in what seems like less then a day.
yup. Especially considering that the Borg were hinted at attacking outlying worlds….sigh…the limits of the 44 minute show…
Also in “Conspiracy” -what a quick trip back to Earth!!!
I never got the Jesus message from this episode. I got the evolutionary tadpole to frog message or X-Men type vibe. Well the things I noticed…were
1. now that I am a medical professional, the medical technobabble really sounds awful!! sigh…oh well
2. Nurse Temple..hahaha, I watched w closed captions and it is just funny how the writers decide to let some people talk and others NEVER!! even recurring extras…not a peep!! darn you royalties!!
3. John Doe’s crotch bulge..haha these costumers…..
4. Force choke did seem impressive, but Data should have been launching some torpedoes!! Fire some phasers Data!!! mouth to mouth ain’t gonna help!!
5. Zalkonians…never heard from them again…well I guess that’s what they wanted…..
6. The opening crash scene…brain matter exposed…so graphic! and 80’s…haha
7. Christie Henshaw…makes you wonder what jobs other people have on board. The bartenders at Ten Forward, Keiko the botanist…pretty sweet gig to get a civilian job on a starship. They have jobs like this on some US Navy ships….cool/crazy at the same time!
8. Worf’s death…love how w transporter technology we still like to run a trauma team to the cargo bay instead of beaming the patient straight to sickbay….ok..now onto other comments!!/finish podcast….
I was inspired by your debate about whether or not this was a Jesus allegory or just a story about an alien species about to take a radical new step in its evolution. It brought up some interesting ideas about “Transfigurations” that I had never considered before. I always kind of wrote off this episode because I found it boring and the guest character unappealing. But your debate also frustrated me a bit, because I kept thinking (and at one point, said out loud — thank goodness I was alone) “Argh, you’re both right!”
In my opinion, both interpretations are valid simultaneously, depending on who you consider to be the main character(s).
On the one hand, this is a story about our Enterprise crew discovering and rescuing an alien who is about to be the first of his kind to evolve to a new level of existence. John Doe’s people, especially those in power, are threatened by this, and are willing to antagonize the Enterprise to take him back for execution. Thankfully, the Enterprise has helped John Doe survive long enough to make his transformation, so that he can return to his homeworld and take part in the transformation of many more of his people.
On the other hand, this is John Doe’s story. He escapes his homeworld, crashes on a planet, near death, and is rescued by a group of aliens who help him recover. He spends time with them and is mostly a positive influence (especially on Geordi). Eventually, his people catch up to him, but by then he has remembered his purpose and become too powerful for them to capture. He has transformed and transcended their small-mindedness, fear, and hate, and now he offers that same transcendence to them. They reject him, but he can still return home to be a part of others finding that same higher level of existence.
The first narrative is a fairly standard Star Trek story, and kind of blah. The second narrative is very much a Jesus story, or a Buddha story, or any number of other inspirational (not necessarily spiritual) stories. In fact, we are only ever given a scientific explanation for John’s transformation, so it’s arguably a secular story. That doesn’t mean it can’t still be a Jesus/Buddha/whoever allegory. Who’s to say when John gets back to his world that some people won’t consider him divine and start a religion in his name? But there’s nothing in the episode to suggest he would want that.
So, I think it works on all those levels, and your discussion led me to that idea. I appreciate the episode much more now, in terms of meanings, even I still think it’s kind of boring. 🙂
the biggest difference imo is that many more of the Zalkonians are expected to become just like John Doe. To have those same powers and abilities. None of the followers of Christ would be able to claim they were also the son of God, w special abilities. Just thinking… I think if he were promoting a certain thought process or way of thinking I would have made the connection back then in 1990.
Valid point, but I realized I wasn’t clear on this. I meant that John Doe’s powers were an allegory for Jesus’ messages of peace, tolerance, love,etc., therefore the John Doe story is symbolic of someone going to “convert” his people — not in a religious but a philosophical sense– to this more enlightened way of thinking. In the episode, that means literally gaining the same godlike powers, but as an allegory for persuading people to “give peace a chance,” it doesn’t even require that the Jesus figure be divine. Just a man who brings enlightenment.
Such an interesting discussion. I really overlooked the Jesus analogy in 1990. Now it’s superceding my previous X-Men mutant perspective!!
Nice! The X-Men thing is a whole other analogy that works, too!
Woulda been cool, if a “team” of survivors had unique abilities and were being hunted by their govt. I think there was actually an X-Men Star Trek crossover…hmmm let me google…
woW. lol, they really went out there…there’s a Green Lantern Trek crossover as well…talk about Geek porn
Ha! I think I kinda remember this… yeah, geek porn for sure!
Not true. In the gnostic tradition which was much larger and older Jesus was not some unique being in the terms of God-Man. In fact it’s not correct to say that Jesus is the “Son of God” but rather the “Son of Man” where as regular people are the “Son of God”, but that’s pedantry… the point is that in the gnostic tradition Jesus is only unique in that he is a messenger sent from the supreme god (not the god of the old testament) to inform and teach people that the world is an illusion and that we are god and god is us, we simply have to work breaking our minds out of the habbit of believing the world is real.
So if the Jesus story were real, then it would have been expected that there would be many more Jesus-like characters arising.
Ooh, wow… I like that as applied to the episode, as well.
Mark La Mura- “John Doe”
Julie Warner “Christy Henshaw”
My Nephew and I were watching this together. He seemed bored until the end when he saw the Morph-suit and cracked up. I told him next convention I go to im going to dress up as John Doe. More like John Dough…
I wasnt getting much of the Jesus stuff till the end with the whole Asension deal. I was getting much more of an Xmen vibe with the next step of evolution though.
yeah, me too, until the podcast analysis, then the other viewpoint came in. Good stuff, food for thought!
Agreed. Defiantly an X-Men vibe
Just did the calculation for the fun of it. Assuming the Enterprise is standing still… A warp factor of 9.74 is 924.0104240000002 times the speed of light.
10 hours away is 9240 Light hours away which equates 385 light days, or just over 1 light year.
This distance isn’t really all that surpising. since it is roughly the size of a solar system. You’d want sensors to be able to stretch that far out. If I remember right this was long range sensors… That’s actually very short range compared to what we have had implied previously and later.
Sensors are writers’ magic dust. One week they can scan a planet, the next they can scan the whole flippin’ quadrant. In the gawdawful Nemesis, they can spot a positronic brain from lightyears away and still have enough juice left to precisely pinpoint every vessel in Starfleet.
Sensors also work on magic too… because they look at sub-space rather than light speed.
Also this is before the net and really understanding how the internet works even in Voyager’s time frame so they don’t have the obvious way to fulfill that issue which is that you put a beacon/sensors about at lightyear intervals and you can just ping one of them and get all positions and such in the range of the network.
The network in star trek however works off a few relay stations and takes some amount of time to reach between point A and point B, though fairly small considering the distances involved… the point is they work off a single or very few hubs rather than an inegrated web network which makes them vastly more vulnerable and less efficient and why they can’t explain more or less limitless sensors in an easy way that any modern person would think of rather than the magic that is the sensors.
flashing back to “The Offspring” ; I didn’t get the feel that Riker was coming onto her. Likewise I didn’t think Riker had previously hooked up w Christy Henshaw. I think he was happy and proud of Geordi and Christy was kinda blushing at being caught kissing. I guess I kept it rated G. lol.
Ministry reference by the computer at the end of the podcast? If so… nice.
Anyone else thinks that John Doe evolves like a pokemon? Haha!
Ed Wood. #Preach
Any hope of a Season Three retrospective? Even as a pre-“Family” retrospective? It’s the season that made modern Trek, after all. Seasons One and Two having…issues. Even John said Two was overall more disappointing than One. Coming off of that, just how does Three feel to you guys, in retrospect? Even compared with TOS?
What made Three work better than One or Two? What just kinda came together? Make a best-of list. Something. What day do you even record these episodes? Am I already too late to appeal? I said before it’s my favorite season of any Trek. I want you guys to single it out for praise, so I can bask in it. By proxy. Sorta.
As the season started, one of you mentioned something like “we’re gonna being saying a lot: ‘this is our favorite episode, this is our new favorite episode'”. And then you didn’t. You just commented on our comments on “The Defector” being our favorites (which I appreciated, since I was one of those few), and then floated on….
I was promised superlatives, is what I’m saying. I hope you deliver.
At least until DS9 Season Three. Which is eerily similar, as it turns out. But who knows if any of us will even be alive when that time comes. This is a wonderful time to take a step back and look at the franchise as a whole. You gave TOS a huge send-off of supplementals and comments on seasonal ratings and stuff (Two being worse than reputed, Three being better). And even though we’re not yet halfway through TNG, I do, 100%, believe we are at the series’ halfway mark, creatively speaking. Everything from here on is coasting on what Season Three did right. Just…well…I’d love to hear some acknowledgment of that. Or at least a few minutes of end-of-the-episode conversation. TNG Season Three is super-ultra-meaningful to me, as the birth of modern Trek as a fully-formed thing. And so I rant. With love.
You want superlatives? How about “this comment is my FAVORITE comment EVER! Five stars!”
Just kidding. Like I said, we might. We haven’t discussed it in detail, but we are working up some interviews and other Supplemental plans.
I don’t think it is vital to the story but I expected the story to have a connection to the Bible. The Transfiguration (Jesus meets Moses and Elijah on a mountain and is seen to be glowing.) is part of the New Testament of the Bible and a passage that is read every year in the Catholic Church. (The Gospels are rotated on a three year cycle, but some stories are included every year). As such, just reading the episode title invokes religious metaphor in any overly indoctrinated Catholic. Much like “The Apple” the episode title gives us a clear religious reference to make towards the episode.
Is this the only message of the episode? No, of course not, Jesus stories are probably overdone in literature and movies. But maybe it is meant to get at people who are religious, to remind them that Jesus was rebellious but with love and tolerance and not hate.
As a science fiction fan this reminds me of the book (haven’t watched the miniseries yet) Childhood’s End, which also invoked a ton of religious imagery and led to the same result. I don’t think we can get to into this idea of evolving out of our physical bodies without addressing our religious notions.
Stargate tried, but was massively hampered as production had some sort of rule against touching on the majority religions even though it was fairly clear what the allusions were to.
Facinating discussion, I’m going to have to go back and watch this again. I, too, thought X-Men at the time but now…
John, gotta wonder though (Since I’m listening to Next Gen and TOS podcasts concurrently), do you think this was more of the same from TOS where it was making a statement about the need for god(s)? TOS went out of its way a number of times to strongly hint that humanity, at last by the 23rd C was over with it, could this have been, well, what IF Jesus was just… and a more futuristic look at the same story from a more modern perspective?
I don’t think this one was a statement about religion or religion’s place in the world in the way “Who Mourns…” or later “Who Watches the Watchers” tried to do. Those were really the classic Star Trek “statement” pieces. I think this one is more of a literary parallel, and that’s kind of how I thought the discussion was going on the show. If there was any religious/supernatural implication to John Doe’s story, then that’s a separate story. In this case, if we think about Jesus as a literary character, then there are parallels to be drawn in “Transfigurations.”
Snorefest. Sorry this one bored me.
The two thoughts I had were:
1- Geordi needs to get on Match.com
2- Wesley was very calm about his Mom and John.
3- That white jumpsuit and his man bulge. Ugh.
4- Please keep the anti religion talk out of the podcast.
5- Hockey rules.
Decided to watch this the other day since I finally got netflix back… The talk between Beverly and Wes was terribly inappropriately done. That is not how a mother and child talk to each other. That is how 2 girlfriends talk to each other. I wonder who wrote that bit and why no one picked that up and said that it should either be between Beverly and Troi, changed to fit a mother/son talk, or gotten rid of.
The whole Christy Henshaw thing didn’t make sens to me either, the only way it can kinda make sense to me is if I switch the order of Booby Trap and Transfigurations..
I think they could have stood to ADR John’s lines at the end there, he sounded like he was talking through a ski-mask. He kind of was.
I now know of the “Vancouver green men” thanks to Ken.