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Recap / Star Trek: The Next Generation S1E15 "Too Short a Season"

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Boy, when Clayton Rohner reaches his late eighties, this make-up will look really, really awkward. (Not that it doesn't look awkward now, but still)

The Enterprise transports a legendary geriatric admiral who must once again negotiate a Hostage Situation involving a man from decades earlier in his career. While the Admiral is mysteriously growing younger by the day, a dark secret from his past threatens to not only kill him but potentially the hostages as well.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Absentee Actor: No Wesley this week.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: After Jameson dies, Karnas visibly deflates, quietly agreeing to release the hostages he took. He even permits Jameson to be buried on Mordan IV.
    Karnas: Rest, Jameson. Your long night... and mine, are over.
  • As You Know:
    Data: Their phasers, sir. Set on kill
  • Continuity Nod: Among Karnas's Wall of Weapons is a phaser from the original series.
  • Cruel Mercy: Karnas decides not to shoot Jameson, but instead lets him die from the drug he took as a better revenge.
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  • Death by De-aging: The strains of the changes Jameson suffers from being de-aged end up killing him.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Aside from the questionable wisdom of taking a double dose of a de-ageing drug that is established to have a high mortality rate at the best of times, Jameson evidently didn't consider that it might end up making him look so young that Karnas wouldn't even recognise him.
    • Jameson also failed to consider that the civil war he helped to set off would last for decades and cost millions of lives, instead of being a quick brush fire as he'd hoped.
  • Easily Forgiven: Zig-zagged; when Jameson admits how he actually rescued the hostages, Picard is momentarily shocked, but quickly lays the fault for the civil war firmly at Karnas' feet. Karnas himself has absolutely no intention of forgiving Jameson, however, and only holds off on blowing a hole in his torso as an act of Cruel Mercy so that he can suffer an even more agonizing death from his overdose of the de-ageing drug. Jameson's death in turns renders it academic as to how Starfleet would have dealt with his actions.
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  • Every Scar Has a Story: Jameson and Karnas cut themselves to seal their bargain. When Karnas is skeptical of the younger Jameson's identity, he demands to see the scar. Only once he sees that scar does he accept that the man standing before him is Jameson.
  • Fountain of Youth: A mysterious elixir from the planet Cerberus II that Admiral Jameson discovered during his career has anti-aging properties, but not without pain and risk of dying. Jameson planned to slowly restore his youth and that of his wife so they could have the life they missed while he was in the service, but when the opportunity to take the field again comes up, Jameson jumps at the chance and takes the full amount of both doses, which is too much for his body to handle.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The de-aging serum that Jameson takes succeeds in reverting him back to the age he wants...and then continues reverse-aging him until it reverts him back to a much younger man that Karnas doesn't recognize.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Jameson after OD'ing on the youth drug.
  • Home by Christmas: Jameson believed that the war would only last a year rather than four decades.
  • Immortality Seeker: Fatally Deconstructed for Jameson.
  • Insane Admiral: Jameson is the first (but certainly not last) to appear on TNG. While one could perhaps chalk down his decision to give weapons to both Karnas and his rivals as a poor decision made in a difficult situation, his belief that he needs to turn himself back into a young man for this mission to succeed (and doing so by OD'ing on a dangerous drug) is definitely some Grade-A insanity.
  • It's All My Fault: Despite his Insane Admiral tendencies, Jameson admits that the civil war on Mordan was largely his fault.
  • Karma Houdini: Karnas doesn't appear to face any consequences for helping to cause a civil war, taking the Federation ambassador and his staff hostage and then threatening to torture them to death, luring Jameson to the planet with the express intention of killing him, and only holding off on actually going through with it because it would be a Mercy Kill next to what the drug was doing to him. (Being a planetary head of state probably protects him from prosecution.) The only thing that happens is Picard briefly admonishing him for his role in causing the war, and even then Karnas blows it off.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: As usual, the assault team (save for Admiral Jameson) consists entirely of main characters, including The Captain himself, rather than a team of specialized Space Marines.
  • Perilous Old Fool: Admiral Jameson, feeble and wheelchair-bound, nevertheless is eager for the chance to command a mission again. He tries to avoid the perils of being old in the military by taking a Fountain of Youth drug, and instead falls victim to the drug's side-effects.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The "arms for hostages" element was inspired by the Iran-Contra scandal.
  • Two of Your Earth Minutes: Karnas claims that the terrorists have given Jameson six Earth days to respond.
  • Wall of Weapons: Behind Karnas's desk. Karnas goes to shoot Jameson with one (provided by Jameson years before), but changes his mind.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: 45 years earlier, Jameson gave in to Karnas and supplied him with weapons in exchange for the passengers of a starliner he had captured. Jameson then turned around and armed Karnas's enemies with the same weapons in an attempt to restore the Balance of Power, plunging Mordan IV into decades of civil war. This element could be seen as a Deconstruction of Kirk's actions in the TOS episode "A Private Little War".


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