TNG: The Power of Adversaries, Seasons 4-5

Continuing from where we left off talking about TNG: Seasons 1-3, here are the stats for the power levels of the crew’s adversaries in Seasons four and five.

As before, I defined ‘high-powered’ challenges as those where firing phasers would only make the problem worse, so the crew must needs turn to guile. ‘Equal-powered’ challenges are those situations where firing phasers would lead to a toss-up. ‘Low-powered’ challenges are those where phasers or transporters would solve the problem handily[3]. ‘Self-powered’ challenges are those where the conflict is inside the crew, or between crew members, or between all or part of the crew and Starfleet.

Seasons four and five seem to be exploring alternately how the crew deals with very strong external adversaries and wrestling with themselves.

Season Four (26 episodes): 2-120202-1221112022-122-10-11-12
High: 12
Equal: 4
Low: 4
Self: 6

The Best of Both Worlds (part II)” and “Family” are probably the best example of this.

Or you could look at “Night Terrors” (‘One moon circles.’, still the best metaphor for Hydrogen I’ve seen) and “The Drumhead” as (for me) two other good examples.

Another example which marries the two is “Remember Me“.

Season Five (26 episodes): 21122-1110-1-10002-102-1-1-12-12-12
High: 8
Equal: 4
Low: 5
Self: 9

Season five’s “The Game” is a good example of an episode which is difficult to categorize between ‘high-powered adversary’ and ‘self-adversary’. To me, the episode is really about the crew struggling with themselves and an addiction. Else, you could see it as them struggling against magic mind-controlling aliens.

However, changing this wouldn’t really change the overall stats for the season.

Conundrum” contains the line which was the inspiration for this series of posts: “One photon torpedo would have ended their war.” It had some excellent moments talking about the ethical use of power, I think a hallmark of TNG (and much of Star Trek).

Any conversation about season five would be incomplete without mentioning “The Inner Light“, perhaps discussing some similar issues to “Remember Me” above. For me, “The Inner Light” was the most poignant, for the way it portrayed memory and loss, nostalgia and time passing. May we all have an epitaph as powerful.

But for now, I will continue with analyzing TV from my childhood[1].

[1]And puns.

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