115 "Angel One"

(airdate: January 25, 1988)

Writer: Patrick Barry
Director: Michael Rhodes

Beata: Karen Montgomery
Ariel: Patricia McPherson

Ramsey: Sam Hennings
Trent: Leonard John Crofoot

Stardate: 41636.9

Captain's Log: The Enterprise is investigating the aftermath of a collision that occurred some time ago between an asteroid and a Federation freighter, the Odin, which leads them to the planet Angel I in search of survivors. Angel I is a society dominated by women, which consequently treats men as second-class citizens. The leader of Angel I, Beata, reveals that four survivors of the Odin did land on the planet seven years earlier, but that they started pushing back against the inferior status of men; consequently, Beata wants the Enterprise to remove the Odin survivors from Angel I. When the Enterprise locates the survivors, however, they refuse to leave. This causes Beata to sentence them to death, but shortly before sentence can be carried out, Riker makes a speech pointing out that the Odin survivors didn't cause the unrest present on Angel I but merely focused it, and that executing them may turn them into martyrs. Beata ultimately agrees and reduces their sentence to exile to a remote part of the planet.

Whoops!: So what actually is Yar and Troi's objection to Riker's wearing the local clothing? It seems like a surprisingly parochial attitude for a pair of Starfleet officers, and no actual explanation is ever given. If it's so important to get to this outpost near the Neutral Zone, why does Picard order only warp 6 at the end of the episode? And the turbolift door is stuck open in wide shots during the final scene.

Cringe Lines: Riker: "But will you still respect me in the morning?"

Casualty Report: Basically the entire Enterprise crew falls victim to a virus originating from Quazulu VIII, although no one seems to die. Meanwhile, Beata condemns eleven people to death, although Riker convinces her to reduce their sentence to exile instead.

Alien Love: Riker takes the Kirk role here, seducing Beata (though to his credit, he gets explicit consent first), although Jonathan Frakes seems a little less comfortable with this role than William Shatner did. The crew of the Federation freighter Odin have all taken wives on Angel I, and some have even had children.

Library Computer: Angel I is a class M planet, appearing from space to be green with white clouds, which supports carbon-based flora and fauna and is sparsely populated with intelligent, humanoid life, currently existing at a technological level equivalent to mid-20th century Earth. Angel I's humanoid species appears outwardly identical to humans, but here women are physically larger and stronger than men (with all the Angel I men we see much shorter than the women); as a result, women were the hunters and gatherers, which led to an inequal matriarchal society where men were deemed second-class citizens, intellectually inferior and incapable of true work or leadership. By the time of the Enterprise's visit, Angel I had become a constitutional oligarchy ruled by a parliamentary body consisting of six elected Mistresses, while the Elected One was the ultimate leader of the government. The women seen here are dressed in floor-length sleeveless dresses with large loose shoulders, while the men wear tight trousers with straps around each leg and open-chested tunics with the left side of the wearer's chest exposed. They also wear jewelry on their ear, and the Angel I men we see all have hairless chests. There don't appear to be chairs on Angel I; instead, people kneel on cushions on the floor. Although Angel I was not a member of the Federation, Starfleet was determined to maintain positive diplomatic relations with the planet, as it was thought its strategic placement in the quadrant may become vital. Despite this, it had been 62 years since the Federation last visited Angel I.
     Angel I's current Elected One is named Beata. She's relatively tall, with pale eyes and feathered blonde shoulder-length hair. Beata is a believer in the inferiority of men and is dismissive of any reforms gesturing toward equality, believing such things to be against the "natural order". She finds Riker attractive.
     One of the elected Mistresses is named Ariel. She's slightly shorter than Beata, with light brown eyes and dark brown feathered hair. She's secretly married to the leader of the Odin crewmen, Ramsey.
     The Odin was a Federation freighter. Seven years ago, it collided with an asteroid, forcing its crew to abandon the ship in escape pods. They traveled in those pods for five months before arriving on Angel I. These four men were initially pleased to be on Angel I, finding the planet nice and its women attractive, but they became dissatisfied with the way men were treated, noting how they weren't allowed to vote or even hold opinions. They began making demands that the elected officials found unreasonable, and they were ultimately declared fugitives. Consequently the four men hid out in the countryside, eluding capture - at least, until Beata became suspicious of Ariel and had her followed. [Probably because she objected at the meeting to decide whether or not to inform the Enterprise about the Odin's survivors.]
     The leader of the Odin crew, Ramsey, is a tall, thin white male with blue eyes, dirty blonde hair, and a five-o-clock shadow. He had made his home on Angel I, including secretly taking Ariel as his wife, and would rather die than leave. He has a pendant in the form of platinum wings that he wears around his neck as a keepsake.
     Angel I has a disintegrator that consists of a platform flanked on either side by large black slabs with several clear cylinders pointing inward. When the disintegrator is activated (by placing a hand on top of a clear snow-globe-like sphere), the slabs glow red and whatever is between the two slabs is disintegrated.
     There is no platinum on Angel I.
     Wesley and eleven other students went on a field trip to Quazulu VIII, where at least two of them contracted an unusual virus. It was airborne and gave off a pleasant scent (Worf described it as similar to night-blooming throgni, from "home" [presumably meant to be Qo'noS, given Crusher later describes the scent as Klingon]) that caused people nearby into inhale deeply; once it was inside their lungs it attacked the body. Dr. Crusher stated that the virus at one point was mutating "every twenty minutes", which made it difficult to create an inoculant to fight the virus. She was eventually able to do so, but not before almost the entire crew had fallen victim to it. [No fatalies are mentioned, so although lots of people got sick, it doesn't seem like anyone died.]
     Seven Romulan battlecruisers were detected near a Federation border outpost near the Neutral Zone. The U.S.S. Berlin was sent to respond to the outpost's distress call, with the Enterprise set to also head there as a show of strength. [This is the first mention of the Romulans on The Next Generation.]
     Starfleet policy is to not interfere in the domestic affairs of other societies, although interaction is permitted; however, non-Starfleet personnel, such as the crew of the Odin, aren't bound by such regulations. [That seems like a worrying loophole...] In fact, forcibly removing Federation citizens who've chosen to settle on another planet, however accidentally, is itself a violation of the Prime Directive (among other regulations).
     An Albeni meditation crystal is a roughly spherical, white translucent crystal with a different, yellow crystalline structure inside; this interior crystal glowed a pulsing yellow when the top of the crystal was activated, while producing an intermittent hum. (Riker uses a small rod to turn it on, but Beata turns it off with her hand.)
     Riker once had to wear furs on Kabatris in order to meet with their leadership council, while he had to wear feathers on Armus IX for a similar mission.
     Troi states that Angel I is similar to Betazed in terms of its system of government [so women elected to a parliamentary body, presumably].
     Worf says that Klingons appreciate strong women.
     Wesley is taking skiing lessons on the holodeck with some others. The holodeck was programmed for the Denubian Alps. Wesley and his friend were wearing hideous grey jumpsuits with ribbing and matching sweatbands for their ski trip.
     Lieutenant Wong is a female officer who knows the climate control system very well.

Final Analysis: "You can't rescue a man from a place that he calls his home." Presumably there was a reason at some point for making this society a matriarchal one, but that's missing from the final product, other than perhaps some gesture toward how women can be sexist too (not, it must be said, a great reason to make this). The problem of the Odin crew is a bit more interesting, but they don't spend any time examining the effect of their presence on Angel I, which means the A-plot ends up fairly shallow and uninvolving - while the B-plot about the virus also lacks any ambition or even a real sense of threat. With no insights and not much drama, "Angel One" just leaves you wondering why they bothered.

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