I have discovered an episode of Next Gen that I had not previously watched before. I thought that was the case from early on, specially with the terrorism theme I reckoned I'd have remembered it. Then it referred to "The Irish Unification of 2024" in a list of times that terrorism worked, and as well as feeling rather sick I was pretty damn sure that hadn't been on TV when I was watching as a kid. According to Memory Alpha "it was only in 2007 (fifteen years after its first run, nine years after the conflict ended in a peaceful manner) that it was broadcast on BBC." Another wiki reckons it was banned at first broadcast for glorifying terrorism.
So I hit pause at the 2024 line and now I'm not sure I want to watch the rest of the episode. I'm trying to think of an ending that wouldn't be creepy and I'm coming up short.
But I know I'm going to watch it because otherwise I'll be stuck wondering.
I'm having this reaction partly from a feeling that people shouldn't talk about Ireland unless they're actually talking about Ireland, with the history left in and facts and stuff. I realise history and facts still involves a lot of big disagreeing about what counts, but whenever TV brings up Ireland it seems to flatten it out and make it 40 minutes shaped and it just goes horribly wrong. Except I worry about any reaction that starts with 'don't talk about'. I guess I mean 'talk about it BETTER'.
I'm also really uncomfortable with SF casually projecting a future like this. The passing references to world war three and a post atomic horror don't bother me, and referring to the European Hegemony was just a bunch of words, but this? This gets creepy. Hello buttons. Too specific, too close.
So, I watched.
The rest of the episode goes: Terrorists take hostages. Police arrest everyone in sight. Federation says they're not involved. Terrorists say they're involved because they're only dealing with the Police side. Federation and Police do a raid and rescue hostages. Police kill terrorist leader on purpose.
I think combined with the episode title the conclusion was nobody by the end has the moral high ground. Not sure, messy situation.
It was interesting in its place in the series in a couple of ways. The previous episode had a minority using force against the elected government and will of the majority. In that one we're meant to cheer them on and be happy when Picard goes smug about being neutral. In that one also the armed people don't attack random people, don't set out to create terror, they just go point guns at exactly the people that had them locked up. So, rebels, not terrorists? The fine line there gets brought up a few times in this episode.
The other thing was the terrorists are the ones who call the Federation's neutrality moral cowardice. And that makes me think we're supposed to be cheering on the Prime Directive. If it's only the bad guys that complain about it. But they were saying that saying they're neutral and then trading with one government isn't very neutral really, which has logic in it. But the Federation were saying actually they're bringing medical supplies, not trade as such, and they'd send more medical help for the other dudes if they let them. And then the terrorist was trying to get the Federation involved on purpose, to get louder, and to make more discussion, and make more sides at the table. So there was a complicated thing there about what neutrality and involvement mean. Once people know the Federation exist, they manuever with the Federation in mind. It's a more interesting take on the Prime Directive than any 'mistaken for gods' science fiction episode. Although it has some in common - trying to get the attention of the vastly more powerful and make them tip the world in your favour. One difference being the terrorists reckoned they could get what they wanted out of pissing off the power.
Messy muddy story about messy muddy situations.
But it eliminated all traces of what the fighting was actually about. It acted like they were fighting because they were fighting and that was because there had been fighting. Terrorist bombs and police round ups of suspects were the whole story. There isn't any room for compromise if those are the only two points around, you can't have any winners, there's just stopping or not stopping. If there was an actual issue they were fighting for then negotiation becomes possible. Like in all the other episodes.
I still rather wish they'd not gone here. I think I liked Star Trek better without this episode in it. The Ireland line especially and in particular.
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