Written by Khalid Mokhtarzada
Anybody who knows me well can attest that I love Star Trek. In fact, I call it my religion; and in my religious dogma, I genuinely believe that any intelligent person who gives Star Trek a chance will fall head-over-heals in love. Star Trek episodes, from TOS (The original series) to the Enterprise series has covered almost every subject known to Vulcan. So, when I engage someone on this subject anti-matter, I like to test a little theory: Name me a theme, and I’ll find you the episode(s) that tackle that subject-matter. Below are a few episodes chosen specifically for my main man, Sachin Monga. His themes:
- Inter species diplomacy
- Choosing one path VS another
- Humans as inherently good or savage
One note before you start Sachin: Some of these episodes are very character driven. Knowing more about the character’s history can make the episode so much more rich. I’m hoping that after you’re hooked, you’ll re-watch them all in sequential order. Until then, give me a call on my cell right before you watch the episode for a personal verbal trailer. 🙂
Enjoy the episodes my friend, and live long and prosper!
Inter species diplomacy
This was a hard one to find for, as there’s just so many episodes that deal with diplomacy. Both Captain Janeway and Captain Picard are constantly faced with scenarios where diplomacy is the only strategy. A few of the episodes I’ve chosen aren’t necessarily focused on diplomacy, but definitely do have some diplomatic themes within them.
- TNG – The Survivors, S03-E03 (inability to judge)
- TNG – Darmok, S05-E02 (real communication, at any costs)
- STV – Blink of an Eye, S06-E12 (less about diplomacy, but does illustrates the profound affects of interference)
- STV – Ashes to Ashes, S06-E18 (challenging belief systems)
Choosing one path VS another
The numerous time travel and quantum realities made this an easy theme to pick for. However, I didn’t want to just go for the obvious this-or-that type episode, but ones that provided some moral point at the end.
- TNG – The Outcast, S05-E17 (Not having a choice equals only one path)
- TNG – Parallels, S07-E11 (infinite possibilities, infinite paths)
- TNG – Tapestry, S06-E15 (To change one’s past path)
- DS9 – The Visitor, S04-E03 (The terrible options we face in choosing a path)
Another tricky one, not that there weren’t episodes dealing with the subject matter, but that there were so many. Regardless, I’ve found three episodes dealing with law, justice, and judgment of the court.
- TNG – Justice, S01-E08 (what is the purpose of law?)
- TNG – The Measure of a Man, S02-E09 (to be a person)
- TNG – A Matter of Perspective, S03-E14 (It’s easy to see your own perspective)
- STV – Random Thoughts, S04-E10 (decriminalization)
It was really hard staying away from DS9, considering the heavy religious context within the series.
- TNG – Who Watches the Watchers, S03-E04 (faith in superstition)
- TNG – Ethics, S05-S16 (religion, culture, and shame)
- STV – Mortal Coil, S04-E12 (Death, and the shattered belief of religion)
Humans as inherently good or savage
Deep Space Nine, also known as DS9, was rich with tough moral questions. Unlike TNG, the characters of DS9 were not examples of perfect members of a family, but rather dysfunctional unhappy people with a lot of baggage, who couldn’t get along. I think that’s what’s most endearing about DS9: that it is a closer portrayal of the difficulties and hardships we face in the worst of times, and how we genuinely want and need to persevere. Watch this 7 minute video first: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG1pEF1Z3as
- DS9 – Duet, S01-E19 (genocide: just a day’s work)
- DS9 – Hard Time, S04-E19 (hating yourself)
- DS9 – In the Cards, S05-E25 (do means justify ends?)
- DS9 – In the Pale Moonlight, S06-E19 (paying with your conscious)