(airdate: February 8, 1988)
Story: Michael Michaelian
Teleplay: Michael Michaelian and D.C. Fontana
Director: Rob Bowman
Admiral Mark Jameson: Clayton Rohner
Anne Jameson: Marsha Hunt
Karnas: Michael Pataki
Captain's Log: A group of dissidents on the planet Mordan IV have taken hostages, including the Federation Ambassador, and are demanding to negotiate not with the Mordanite leader, Karnas, but instead with Mark Jameson, an ailing 85-year-old Starfleet Admiral who once negotiated a settlement on the planet. Jameson agrees to help, but on the Enterprise he becomes stronger and seemingly younger. Jameson reveals that he took an alien drug designed to rejuvenate him; he'd been taking it slowly over the past two years, but when the Mordan IV situation arose he took a significantly larger dose. Jameson wants to be strong because, when he negotiated the hostage situation 45 years ago he secretly gave Karnas the weapons he demanded - but he also provided weapons to the other side, thus inadvertently plunging Mordan IV into four decades of civil war. Consequently, he felt he needed to be at his peak to deal with the situation. While negotiating with Karnas, Jameson learns that there are no dissidents; when Karnas discovered Jameson was still alive, he engineered the situation in order to bring Jameson back to Mordan IV, so that Karnas could get revenge on the man he blamed for instigating their war. Jameson beams down to Karnas's office to exchange his life for the hostages; however, the rejuvenating drug that Jameson took puts too much stress on his body, and he dies. With Jameson dead, Karnas releases the hostages.
Whoops!: In the cold open, as Picard and Riker enter the turbolift, you can see Patrick Stewart open his mouth and eyes wide as if something went wrong with the take.
Casualty Report: Admiral Jameson dies from overdosing on the rejuvenation treatment provided by the people of Cerberus II, causing his organs to fail from the strain of such rapid de-aging.
Alien Love: Admiral Jameson and his wife clearly love each other very much.
Library Computer: Mordan IV is an orange-brown planet; the parts of the surface we see appear to be a bit mountainous and quite arid, with a dusty brown color over everything, including the buildings. The symbol of Mordan IV looks like a thick red vertical pillar with what appears to be a 7-like character superimposed over it, with a smaller inverted 7 above the main 7. The governor of Mordan IV is named Karnas; he's an older, slightly heavy-set humanoid with pink skin, brown eyes, and receding greying brown hair. Karnas is dressed in military fatigues with a camouflage pattern of various shades of grey - the same as the other Mordanites we see, although Karnas also has some small gold pins [military awards, probably] on the center of his shirt just below the neckline. Mordan IV has had peace for the last five years, following a 40-year-long civil war, and Karnas was largely responsible of this peace, following a unification of the planet. Mordan IV has now reached a state of productivity that meets their planetary needs, though no more than that.
Karnas claims that a group of dissidents has taken the Federation Ambassador to Mordan IV, Hawkins, and his staff hostage, but this is a ruse to lure Admiral Mark Jameson back to Mordan IV; while the hostage situation is real, it's Karnas himself who's taken them hostage. Forty-five years ago, Mordan IV was still ruled by tribal family units, with each led by a Peretor. Karnas's father was one such Peretor, but another Peretor, Sain, from a rival tribe ordered his assassination. This enraged Karnas, so he seized the passengers of a starliner and demanded that Starfleet supply him with weapons in exchange for the hostages. Two mediators were killed trying to negotiate with Karnas, so Mark Jameson [then presumably a commander, based on how Karnas first refers to him] went in to bargain. Officially, Jameson safely negotiated the release of 63 hostages; in truth, Jameson gave in to Karnas's demands and supplied him with weapons. However, in order to maintain balance on the planet, he also secretly supplied weapons to Karnas's rivals, wagering that the result would be a short skirmish; instead, this led to a civil war that lasted forty years, with millions of Mordanites killed in the conflict. Karnas blamed Jameson for the war, and when he learned Jameson was still alive, lured him back to Mordan IV in order to gain revenge.
Admiral Mark Jameson was a Starfleet negotiator stationed on Persephone V (a green, cloudy planet) with his wife, Anne. Jameson was 85 years old and suffering from Iverson's disease, an incurable degenerative disease that affects the body, eventually leaving them unable to walk; Jameson consequently had been confined to a [rather bulky] wheelchair for the last four years. He was pretty heavily wrinkled, with white hair and a tendency to squint at everything. Jameson was a well-regarded officer: in addition to his "success" on Mordan IV (since he falsified the official records to remove any mention of weapons delivery), he'd negotiated several treaties on other planets and had most recently been in command of the Gettysburg. Consequently, on any given assigment, Jameson was designated senior mission officer by Starfleet putting him in full control of the mission and any away teams associated with it. He also briefed Ambassador Hawkins about the situation on Mordan IV prior to Hawkins's assumption of that post. Jameson remarked that he could never sleep before a mission, preferring to look out at the stars from in the observation lounge instead.
One of the treaties Jameson negotiated was on Cerberus II, a planet where, according to legend, the natives had a process that could rejuvenate the body. Jameson learned that this legend was in fact true, and since he had negotiated that treaty some years prior, the inhabitants felt compelled to agree to his request for the treatment, which he hoped would not only cure his Iverson's disease but also extend his lifespan. The treatment was reportedly very dangerous and quite painful (as well as reacting differently to each recipient, depending on their DNA) but Jameson decided to go through with it, requesting enough for both himself and his wife. It was a combination of drugs and herbs (chemicals that weren't in the Federation pharmacopeia), designed to be administered over two years. As Jameson started taking it, he began to notice small improvements; when the Mordan IV situation came up, he believed he needed to be in top condition to deal with Karnas, so he took not only the remainder of his dose but also his wife's dose as well. This caused a huge increase in his red blood cell count and radical changes to his cellular structure, as well as alterations to his DNA, which all led to rapid de-aging and the elimination of Iverson's disease from his body. Jameson eventually looked like he did when he was 30, with brown hair and clear blue eyes; however, his organs were attempting to become even younger, and his body couldn't take the stress, which led to his death while negotiating with Karnas on Mordan IV. At the request of his widow and with Karnas's permission, Jameson was buried on Mordan IV.
Mordan's principal city was largely destroyed during the Mordan civil war; what was left was primarily a large network of tunnels that the rebuilt city was constructed on top of after the war ended. Karnas once kept Federation hostages in these tunnels.
Two of Karnas's old rivals were named Ardan and Gilnor, but they have since passed away.
The Mordanites sealed agreements with a blood cut, which involved a deep cut to the right wrist administered by the opposing party.
Anne Jameson is a tall, slender older woman with pink skin, greying golden hair, and blue eyes. She was married to Mark Jameson for almost fifty years - their anniversary was only a week before he died. Due to Mark's Starfleet career, they spent much of their marriage apart; Anne remarks that if his ships had had family quarters twenty or thirty years ago, they could have been physically together for nearly his entire career. Interestingly, she refers to a digital recording as a "tape".
A Starfleet admiral's uniform jacket looks broadly the same as a standard command uniform top, albeit with one significant difference: a large strip of black starts at the right shoulder and swoops down across the front of the tunic to the bottom of the jacket, which has a cut-out resembling the shape as the black part of a standard uniform. This panel appears to be where the jacket comes together, and is lined with gold trim on the edge; in addition, the black shoulder piece is also lined with gold trim, while another piece runs from the neckline (where the seam is) all the way down the arm to almost the cuff, where it splits, outlining a black fabric triangle at the end of the sleeve (the impression is of a red sleeve with an open cuff revealing a black undershirt, though in this case it's all one piece). The rank insignia is a long trapezoidal patch, wider closer to the neck, with seven gold crosses inside the patch. (It's a fabric patch, as opposed to the standard metal pips.)
Enterprise regulations require routine medical checkups for new arrivals.
The file coder on Starfleet medical records always includes the date as part of the file number.
Phasers set to kill make a different sound from those set to stun - a sound that both Data and Picard recognize.
The Idini star cluster is located somewhere between Persephone V and Mordan IV.
Isis III is the Enterprise's destination after Mordan IV.
Final Analysis: "Captain, no one recovers from Iverson's Disease. There is no known cure, and there are no cases where it has gone into remission. I have never heard of any therapy that would produce results like that." The regular cast take a backseat as "Too Short a Season" focuses primarily on the guest star. Admiral Jameson is given all the agency, and while people like Picard and Crusher report on his actions and wellbeing, they ultimately have no impact on the direction of the plot itself. There's nothing wrong with the story, and Clayton Rohner does an excellent job as Jameson, but there's a lingering sense that there's something slightly askew about this episode.
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Page originally created: June 30, 2022
Page last updated: June 30, 2022