The only word for the first ten minutes of this episode is ‘gratuitous’. Scantily clad young men and women hugging each other and jogging around.
The fundamental idea of this episode comes down to an old law and economics idea – that is, you can have very high, randomly enforced penalties as an alternative to a system more like the conventional western system. Personally, I don’t think it would work. If there’s only one place per day where the rules are enforced, the chance of being caught will be just too low.
Personally, I blame Tasha – it was her job to research and brief the planet’s laws. She just failed to do her job properly.
More Prime Directive inconsistency: Picard says that it was never intended to apply to situations like Wesley. But Kirk once said that it was a sworn oath that the entire crew of a ship would die before they break it.
The shipboard side of this episode was pretty good. Beverley Crusher’s reaction was believable but restrained. And some of the bits with Data were quite good. But the planetside stuff undermines everything through the sheer silliness of the staging. Still, overall this is probably the second best episode so far.
113 down, 624 to go.