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Too Short a Season

Review

Series : The Next Generation Rating : 3
Disc No : 1.4 Episode : 15
First Aired : 8 Feb 1988 Stardate : 41309.5
Director : Robert Bowman Year : 2364
Writers : Michael Michaelian Season : 1
Guest Cast :
Clayton Rohner as Admiral Mark Jameson
Guy Vardaman as Darien Wallace
Marsha Hunt as Anne Jameson
Michael Pataki as Karnas
Moral :
Terrorism : Even in the 24th century, there are no easy answers
YATI : When Yar and Worf cut through the steel door, you can see the outline of the stuff that is actually burning the hole.

At one point Admiral Jameson confesses that he has committed a major violation of the Prime Directive. He then confesses that he falsified his reports to Starfleet. Surely Picard is obligated to place him under arrest for these crimes, yet not only does he not throw Jameson in the brig, he lets him continue in command of the mission!
Great Moment : Clayton Rohner does a pretty convincing job as an old man, with lots of help from good makeup.
Body Count : One - Mark Jameson.
Factoid : Michael Pataki, who played Karnas in this episode, also played Korax, the Klingon officer who insulted the Enterprise crew in TOS's "The Trouble With Tribbles".

The original plan for this episode was that Kirk would be the aged admiral, returning to the planet Neural whose natives he armed in "A Private Little War" (though Kirk only armed one side). The script was changed when Shatner declined to do the role.
Quote : Picard : "The quest for youth, number one; so futile. Age and wisdom have their graces too."
Riker : "I wonder if one doesn't have to have age and wisdom to appreciate that, sir?"

Plotline

The Enterprise is arriving at Persephone V to meet Admiral Mark Jameson. Starfleet has received a message from Karnas, governor of the planet Mordan IV, which says that a terrorist group has taken the Federation Ambassador hostage. They insist on talking to a Federation negotiator, and Karnas insists that Admiral Jameson is the only one qualified. Picard talks to the aged Jameson about the situation, wondering why Karnas can't deal with a threat like this since he settled the civil war on the planet five years ago. Jameson points out that he negotiated a release of hostages on Mordan forty five years ago, giving him the needed experience.

Jameson boards the Enterprise with his wife, Anne. He points out that Starfleet has designated him as the senior mission officer, so he will be in charge of the mission although Picard remains in command of the ship. On the bridge, Karnas contacts them again and tells Jameson that the terrorists will only negotiate with the Federation negotiator and only face to face on the planet itself. Jameson agrees; after the call ends Troi says that Karnas is being honest, but not giving them all the information he has. Jameson wonders if this is a reluctance to admit his inability to resolve the situation alone.

Karnas reluctantly goes down to sickbay for the standard physical required of all crewmembers. Later on he surprises his wife by managing to climb out of his wheelchair, though he gets a pain in his chest. He refuses to allow her to call sickbay, and the pain passes. Meanwhile Crusher informs Picard that the medical records Jameson submitted were months old, not days as he claimed. Picard wonders if he didn't simply forget, but Jameson is suffering from Iverson's Disease, a condition which affects the body but leaves the mind intact. They agree that Crusher will stay on the bridge for the duration of the mission.

As they approach the planet, Jameson seems to be regaining his strength; he is able to stand and walk on the bridge, claiming that a new therapy is working well for him. Later Crusher refuses to believe this, as there is simply no known cure for Iverson's disease nor does it ever go into remission. It is a medical impossibility for Jameson to be able to walk after four years in a wheelchair.

Anne is also amazed at her husband's continued improvement, commenting that he looks twenty years younger and is walking more and more. He again suffers from chest pains, and this time is rushed to sickbay. Crusher finds some unknown chemicals in his blood, but finds no sign that he has Iverson's disease - another impossibility.

Picard goes to Jameson’s quarters, finding him looking even younger. Jameson admits the truth; he obtained two courses of a rejuvanating drug on Cerberus II, one for him and one for his wife, a reward for negotiating a treaty for the inhabitants. The drug was to be administered over a two year period, but when he found that Starfleet wanted him on another mission he took the entire two courses. He is getting younger at a rapid rate.

Jameson goes to the observation lounge and contacts Karnas, demanding to know who is behind the kidnapping. Karnas is sarcastic about his return, and Jameson comments that Karnas never did forgive him. He realises that Karnas is the one holding the hostages, which Karnas admits.

Jameson demands an increase in speed, planning to arrive early and launch a surprise rescue operation; no negotiations. On arrival he leads an away team himself, by now apparently in his thirties - though Crusher says his body is not stabilising. Jameson admits the truth to picard; he managed to get the release of the hostages last time only by trading advanced weapons for them, a direct violation of the Prime Directive. Hoping to restore the status quo, Jameson gave equal weapons to the other side; the result was a massive civil war which lasted forty years.

Jameson beams his team down to the tunnel system which runs under the city since this is where Karnas held the hostages last time. The away team is quickly detected and engaged by soldiers, resulting in a phaser battle. They are forced to retreat back to the ship as Jameson collapses in pain again. Karnas calls and gives Jameson ten minutes to beam down, refusing to believe that he is ill. Jameson agrees and beams down with Picard and Crusher. At first karns doesn't recognise the youthful Jameson, but is convinced eventually. Karnas almost shoots Jameson with one of the weapons he gave traded for hostages, but then decides that seeing him suffering from the effects of the drug is a better fate. Jameson dies moments later, and Karnas lets the hostages go. Jameson is buried on Mordan, and the Enterprise departs.

Analysis

Strictly an average episode, there's nothing really wrong with this one but nothing really good about it either. About the best thing is Clayton Rohner's performance, which is convincing as both old and young versions of Jameson. Beyond that, I don't know exactly... I can't put my finger on it, but there's just something about it that didn't gel for me.


Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 3,615 Last updated : 6 Aug 2006