Rick rewatches TNG season 3: The Survivors

I’ll be honest… I wasn’t expecting much of this episode, my memories of it were basically that an old couple were the only survivors of an attack and it turns out the old man was a bit like a Q and wiped out the whole race that attacked when his wife was killed.

I don’t think I’ve rewatched it much since first seeing it as a kid and clearly child Rick was not impressed.

Turns out child Rick is a flipping idiot! This episode is brilliant! Even knowing the twist I was so drawn into this and the absolute heartbreak of seeing Kevin have to watch his wife interact with everyone, not understanding why she was spared when he knows she wasn’t and she’s the best recreation he can manage. And these guys keep asking questions, they won’t leave them alone… if they would just go, he could lose himself in his own pretend life and forgot this wasn’t his wife, forget he’d committed genocide…

And it’s so well done. You can see this guy, he’s being crotetchety old man but the anguish is there and you have to feel for this guy.

But then also, he killed a whole race with a thought. As Picard notes at the end… . We have nothing we can do, no way to judge or punish a being like this.

Getting ahead of myself here, but that’s the enthusiasm! So the episode opens in a fairly standard way and we’re on our way to the attacked colony. The mystery of the perfectly preserved property in the middle of the devastation is far more engaging than I remembered and I know the outcome. And it’s always a nice bit of physical comedy to see Riker caught dangling upside down in the Uxbridge’s garden trap. But also a nice point that for all our vaunted technology and advanced society, sometimes our crew are victims of their own hubris… nobody scanned for that and Riker confidently strides right into the trap.

gettingKevin and Rishon are particular highlights, they’re both played so well and Rishon is such a likeable person, being a pleasant host and scolding her grumpy husband it’s actually quite sad to realise she’s dead before we encountered her.

If I have a complaint about this episode, it’s about the Troi element of the story. It’s a great clue and an interesting use of Troi’s empathic abilities, but I feel it is a misses chance for Troi to save the day and figure this out. Instead she ends up incapacitated and relying on Picard’s suspicions being proved. It’s not the worst, but it did stick out to me that Deanna deserved better.

That niggle aside, this is truly brilliant. The idea is great and you’re left wondering, what do you do with this guy? What can you do? Thankfully they pulled in some great actors for this, giving the guest stars the impact and gravitas that was missing from Ensigns of Command. If we get a couple more episodes in this rewatch that I enjoy more than I remember like I did this one, I’ll be very happy!