Sunday, December 28, 2008

Star Trek: TNG Season 1 – Code of Honor

Link to Episode Guide

I’m certain that this episode is one of those hot button ones that could be hotly debated for how it treats issues of culture.  The alien race they are negotiating with is quite stereotyped and they happened to use all black actors and compare them to some of Earth’s Ancient Asian races.  Hmmm, not going to touch that with a 10-foot pole. 

When these fictional races appear in Star Trek for just one episode, they are usually used as a foil for humanity, to highlight how we transcend above more backward or barbaric traditions.  In this episode they are highlighting gender equality (just in case you don’t catch any of the male extras that they put in mini-dress uniforms) and the ideals of a meritocracy.  They also bring up a few others in passing, once again highlighting that humanity is continually drawn to self-improvement along with an affection for imperfections.

A couple of other things also stood out for me in this episode.  The Prime Directive is one of the things that comes up again and again in this series and this episode shows one of the less dramatic attempts at applying it.  Even though they could simply impose their own will and values on the culture, the crew of the Enterprise does everything that they can to accommodate the culture that they are meeting.  They show that restraint and responsible use of power are more important than simply finding the easiest way to get what they want. 

We also get to see the very beginning’s of Data’s exploration of humour.

Cool Gadgets: Not much in this episode except for Geordie’s cool razor. 

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