As work on Moon Devils progresses, I am now somewhere in season three of Star Trek: The Next Generation (thanks Netflix). While initially excited by my own continuing mission to produce a ton of art for the game, the novelty of this show is wearing a bit thin. It is also very very long. Apparently TV shows had 26 episodes a season in those days.
While no one can deny the writers’ capacity for volume, they have definitely gone back to the same well a couple of times by now, most notably in the abrupt plot twists that awkwardly conclude an adventure run long. So in honor of all of us staying up late and looking to clock out, I present this list of Star Trek quick n’ easy endings.
It turns out he was a god – Some innocuous person who has been kicking around the Enterprise is revealed to be an all powerful space god. With a wave of his hands, the damage vanishes and he goes back to whatever space heaven he came from.
It turns out she wasn’t real - An inversion of the space god wrap-up, the featured character turns out to be a ghost, hologram, or figment of the imagination. A few episodes back they served up a double whammy featuring a man who turned out to be a god and his wife who turned out to be a ghost created by his powers.
A teenager fixes everything - The Enterprise crew really comes off badly in these ones. As they are soberly shaking hands and preparing for a fiery death, underaged and unqualified teen dream Wesley Crusher has a brainstorm that solves everything. The crew should have died of embarrassment.
“By Federation law ..” – If people want help from the Federation of Planets, they have to abide by Federation law. This means they basically do whatever hare-brained scheme that pops into Captain Picard’s head. In one notably bizarre invocation, Picard commanded a race of spacefaring Irish people to live with a race of clones under a martial law that dictates that everyone must have unprotected sex with at least three different partners and not get married. Otherwise, tough titties and you’re stranded in space. Is this the future of democracy?
“Fuck Federation law ..” – If the ironclad authority granted by Federation law doesn’t get the job done, fuck it. According to the Federation’s Prime Directive, the Enterprise crew is not allowed to interfere with less developed cultures. There’s always some dithering about this, but they disobey the Prime Directive in every episode where the subject is broached. This presumably generates a mountain of paperwork for some red shirt back at Starfleet HQ.
Speech! Speech! - This is my favorite of the quickie wrap ups. When all else fails, Picard or one of his trusty officers turns a dime and delivers an eloquent, off the cuff speech. These sonorous words have defused armed standoffs, ship battles, angry gods and even bottomless voids. One time Picard even gave a speech in a buzzy bee language, tapping into Patrick Stewart’s deep reserves of gravitas.
So if you’re stuck in a sci-fi story you can’t finish, reach for one of these time tested solutions. I wish I come up with a more poignant wrap up for this little spiel, but you know what? It turns out I’m a ghost.