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Lower Decks

Review

Series : The Next Generation Rating : 5
Disc No : 7.4 Episode : 166
First Aired : 7 Feb 1994 Stardate : 47566.7
Director : Gabrielle Beaumont Year : 2370
Writers : Jean Louise Matthias, Ronald Wilkerson Season : 7
Guest Cast :
Alexander Enberg as Ensign Taurik
Bruce Beatty as Ben
Carl David Burks as Russell
Dan Gauthier as Sam Lavelle
Don Reilly as Joret Dal
Joyce Robinson as Ensign Gates
Patti Yasutake as Nurse Alyssa Ogawa
Shannon Fill as Ensign Sito Jaxa
Tracee Lee Cocco as Lieutenant Jae
YATI : Do Troi and Riker really have to do evaluations on the entire crew? I mean, they know each of the several hundred officers on the ship well enough to judge them? Surely it would be more sensible for each officer's direct superior to evaluate them? This is how it's done where I work, and I'm told it's what happens in the present day military. And even if we assume that they actually do the evaluations, surely the department heads should at least have input? They spend a chunk of the episode trying to pick a new night watch operations manager, but at no point does anybody ask Data - the Chief of Operations - for any input into this decision.

Ben sure is an incredible bluffer. In the junior officer's poker game he has a king, jack, ten and eight. Lavelle has two sixes and two sevens. It is impossible for Ben to win, no matter what his hole card is. Yet Lavelle folds in the face of Ben's self confidence.

Riker suggests to Sito that she let the phaser locking relay "float" whilst the ship maneuvers so that she doesn't have to re-lock them after the maneuver. He notes that they don't teach that trick at the academy, "but it works". So... if it works, why don't they teach it at the academy?

Sito says that the events she was involved in at the academy, as seen in "The First Duty", took place three years ago. In actuality, it was two years ago.

A stellar display of phaser safety here - Geordi asks Taurik to fire a phaser rifle on the shuttle - on a setting high enough to significantly damage the metal skin, no less - whilst Geordi himself stands almost directly in front of the phaser, perhaps four feet to one side of the aim point. Yikes!

On that subject, Geordi claims that they are firing phasers at the shuttle to evaluating "hull resiliency". In other words, to see how much damage the phaser does to the hull. Taurik then suggests that he could reconfigure the phaser to fire a low intensity burst that would not harm the shuttle's hull... and states that the test procedure would not be affected. If the point of the test is to establish how well the shuttle hull resists phaser damage, how can it possibly be true that turning the phaser setting down to the point where it won't damage it will not affect the test?! That's like having a test to see how well a car door panel resists a hammer, then claiming that if you use a foam hammer instead it will not affect the test!

Okay, not to harp on about this test, but... Geordi asks Taurik to fire a burst of "about four seconds". Yet when Taurik actually fires, the burst he fires is maybe half a second to a second at most.
Great Moment : Worf teaching Sito to stand up for her self.
Body Count : One, Sito, at the hands of the Cardassians.
Factoid : Alexander Enberg would also play another Vulcan, Vorik on Star Trek : Voyager. Producer Jeri Taylor, who is Enberg's mother, has suggested that Taurik and Vorik are twin brothers.

Originally Sito's death was left somewhat ambiguous. Michael Pillar argued that this would harm the episode and insisted that she definitely be killed. Once the episode aired, Pillar found himself wishing Sito could return because he liked the character so much.

On the TVTropes website, which catalogues examples of common tropes in film, TV and literature, examples of an episode which focuses on the non-main characters are called "Lower Decks Episodes".

Taurik was originally named "Sorik", since all Vulcan males to this point had names beginning with S. The name was changed to reflect the fact that Tuvok on Star Trek : Voyager had a name beginning with T.

Serious thought was given to making Taurik a recurring character, had the series continued.

On Deep Space Nine a story idea was floated in which Sito would turn out to have survived this episode, having spent the time since in a Cardassian prison. Although the episode was never made, the basic idea of dealing with the aftermath of a long spell in a harsh prison was turned into the O'Brien episode "Hard Time".

This episode is a nominee for the DITL "Best of Trek" award.


Plotline

A look at life among the junior officers of the Enterprise-D.

Analysis

Great characters and acting and a very moving ending make this another high point.
Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 10,766 Last updated : 24 Dec 2016