Recap / Star Trek The Next Generation S 3 E 14 A Matter Of Perspective

When the research station Riker is beamed away from suddenly explodes, the commander finds himself accused of murder.

Tropes featured in "A Matter of Perspective":

  • Anti-Villain: Krag isn't a bad guy, just a detective doing his job. He even apologizes to Riker after viewing the exonerating evidence.
  • Attempted Rape: According to Mrs. Apgar, Riker tried to force himself on her until her husband intervened. Riker denies it and claims that he instead declined her advances, while Dr. Apgar's second-hand account claims that it was mutually consensual.
  • Badass Boast: Apgar in the "beat up" scenario.
    "I'm not the fool you take me for."
  • Chekhov's Gun: The recurring radiation bursts turn out to be Krieger waves, which Apgar claims he hasn't yet created.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Apgar's version of events has him effortlessly beat up Riker. His wife's version, on the other hand, has Riker beat up Apgar, which is much more plausible. Riker's version has no battle, with him trying (and failing) to calm Apgar down.
  • Face Palm: Riker facepalms during a holorecreation of the murder. Some have photoshopped Picard's facepalm from "Deja Q" into this episode to create a "Double Facepalm". There's even one out there that has photoshopped a Worf facepalm into this shot to create the vaunted "Triple Facepalm."
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Picard and La Forge are able to demonstrate that Apgar attempted to fire a Krieger wave beam at Riker while he was transporting. However, the beam bounced off the transporter beam that Riker used and hit the reactor, destroying the station and killing Apgar.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Two out of three recreations show Mrs. Apgar wearing a pink underdress while trying to seduce Riker. The exception is her own, in which she's a blameless and victimized Woman in White.
  • Posthumous Character: Dr. Apgar is never seen while he's alive, only as a holographic recreation.
  • "Rashomon"-Style
    Riker: We can't both be telling the truth.
    Troi: It is the truth... as you each remember it.
    Riker: Yes, but her version puts a noose around my neck.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: This episode shows the downside of it for the protagonists. Picard is absolutely certain of Riker's innocence, but the evidence just isn't in his favor, and he's prepared to grant extradition. It takes Data, Geordi, and Wesley uncovering new information to save Riker at the last minute.
  • Recycled In Space: Rashomon IN SPACE!
  • Riddle for the Ages: We never know whether Riker really had an affair with Apgar's wife.
  • Say My Name: A purposefully over-the-top example.
    "You're a dead man, Apgar!"
  • Shifting the Burden of Proof: This appears to be Tanuga 4's Planetary Hat; in their justice system, criminal suspects are "guilty until proven innocent". Taken even further when they allow a "witness" to testify to events she did not witness (Picard even calls this out as hearsay, but their rationale is that she's describing events the victim told her about, since he's not around to testify for himself), and it's up to Riker to prove her story false — which, since he wasn't there at the time, he can't do.
  • Take Our Word for It: Picard's painting is, to paraphrase Data, an ugly mishmash of different artistic styles including Picasso, Leger, and proto-Vulcan. Too bad we never get to see it, unlike Picard's fellow artist's paintings, which Data compliments.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's probably safe to assume that Riker didn't actually try to rape Mrs. Apgar, but we get no explanation of why she would genuinely remember it that way (or maybe Troi's just being even more useless than usual).
    • It could be that a combination of grief over her husband's death and guilt over trying to cheat on him has caused her to reinvent the events in her recollection.