Episode #116: Ethics

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Episode #116: Ethics

Post  BoG on Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:04 pm

ETHICS - episode #16 of 5th season / Air Date: 3/2/92
written by Sara Charno, Stuart Charno, Ronald D. Moore; Directed by Chip Palmers

Worf gets seriously injured in this one; this episode actually sidelights what seems like serious safety concerns in the work areas of the Enterprise; they stack these really heavy containers really high, with no support or restraints; one of these falls on top of Worf. This breaks his back and he's (according to Dr. Crusher) permanently paralyzed from the waist down. As we know, Klingon culture is quite different from ours in some key areas; Worf wastes no time in summoning Riker. Riker, thinking he's walking in just to chat, is requested to help Worf in a Klingon-style hara-kiri ritual - using a big knife. Riker balks.
Enter: Dr. Russell, a female specialist who has been testing a new procedure for replacing an entire spinal column. She seems like Worf's best bet, but Crusher soon forbids this attempt when she determines that Russell uses people like Worf as guinea pigs for her swift medical advances. Instead, Crusher opts for more conventional means, like mechanical devices which would, in Worf's words, have him lurching through the corridors of the ship, the object of pity & revulsion. No way, says Worf - we expected this. Picard convinces Crusher to try Russell's method; looks like Crusher was the last one to grasp what being a Klingon means - maybe she's just as questionable as Russell in her stubborn ways.
Even with all the debate about medical ethics, the best scene is with Picard & Riker as they go over some ship's routines during Worf's surgery; they are merely going through the motions, their minds not on their work. Likewise, it's always tense when we aren't sure how an operation will go - as Worf's son (Brian Bonsal) and Troi wait - and the scene makes the most of it. However, this episode tries to have it all manner of ways: first it looks like Dr. Russell is terrific; then Crusher deems her a user & abuser; then the operation is given a go which seems great; then the operation seems to fail - so sad; then it's a success - hooray! And then, finally, Crusher gives Russell yet another lecture - it's bad. It made me dizzy. But, it's still smartly written. BoG's Score: 7 out of 10
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