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Star Trek TNG - Season 2 - Episode 05

Star Trek TNG - 2x05 - Loud as a Whisper

Originally Aired: 1989-1-9

A deaf mediator communicates through a Chorus. [DVD]

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 4.44

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- Why can't Riva talk? Many deaf lip readers, who are exactly like Riva, have no problem with it.
- Why was Data signing to Riva? Riva lip reads! Also in a few spots, Data was only signing some of the time.

- Before Riva, there was no Klingon word for "peacemaker."
- The female on Riva's chorus (Marnie Mosiman) is the wife of John de Lancie, who plays Q.

Remarkable Scenes
- Picard so easily dismisses Riker's objections with Picard leading the away team now. :)
- Riva's overconfident behavior.
- The death of Riva's chorus. Some neat special effects.
- The murderer of Riva's chorus being killed by his superior officer.
- The away team beaming back up to the Enterprise in desperation, leaving the superior officer of Riva's chorus' murderer in horror yelling "we need you!"
- The pain in Riva's face in the scenes after the death of the chorus and the sympathy of Picard et al is wonderfully done.
- Picard: "Data, he knows some kind of gestural language. Find out which one and learn it!"
- I love how Picard tries to reassure Riva that they're all in this together. So sad. :(
- Data's brief but impressive signing demonstration and Picard's reaction.
- Geordi considering surgery to fix his vision. I love Pulaski in that scene. "I can fix your vision." Geordi: "What? I was told that was impossible." Pulaski: "I've done it twice." Way to go arrogant Pulaski!
- The counselor forcing Riva to see the solution.

My Review
Another exactly like humans race! Riva's race. Despite this, Riva, his race, and his chorus were fascinating. The tragedy that was the death of his chorus was exciting, sad, and a powerful motivator for the wonderful ending. Also, adding the tiny tiny B plot of Geordi confronting his blindness due to learning of Riva's deafness was appropriate and interesting. It is regrettable that we're not informed of Geordi's decision. We must assume he decided to keep everything as is because nothing became of his visit with Pulaski.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-17 at 2:07am:
    - When the Enterprise reaches Solari V, Worf reports laser activity. Picard immediately tells the inhabitants of the planet that they must stop fighting or the Enterprise will leave. He says that he will not endanger his ship. Evidently Picard is simply bluffing because, in the episode just before this one, he and the bridge crew were joking about spaceships attacking them with only lasers ("The Outrageous Okona").
    - Riva's chorus' death is very spectacular but not expected for a laser weapon. Normally lasers only burn holes in stuff. Do the inhabitants of Solari V have some sort of special laser? If they do, maybe that is why Picard was worried about his ship ;)
    - After the death of Riva's chorus, Picard meets with Riva in the observation lounge. During their conversation, Picard tries to convince Riva to help the factions on Solari V. Riva refuses and storms out of the room. The observation lounge is on deck 1, just behind the main bridge. The only way to his quarters is via turbolift. Because riders must speak their destination on a turbolift, Riva isn't exactly equipped to wander around the Enterprise by himself!
    - Both times, just before they beam down to Solari V, Riker sets his phaser on stun by pointing the phaser directly at his stomach and then manipulating the control. Doesn't this seem like an unsafe practice?
  • From thaibites on 2010-01-20 at 11:10am:
    Another touchy-feely, 2nd season episode designed to get those ladies watching. YUCK!
    Does season 2 ever get good?
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-23 at 10:16am:
    A good episode, the idea of the chorus was pretty cool.

    In response to previous points:
    - While it may be possible Riva could have learned how to speak, using the chorus is so much more effective that he probably never learned how to do so.
    - Lipreading is difficult and inaccurate compared to sign language. Data was being helpful by signing to Riva.
    New points:
    - Adding to the points about the phasers, it is interesting how each time they beam down, they set the phasers on stun, put them in their holsters, beam down, then immediately draw their phasers. Maybe they want to look nonthreatening during the beam down process?
    - A convention of Star Trek is that language barriers are ignored, everyone can speak English. Occasional references are made to the universal translator being somehow responsible for this. This episode sort of breaks that convention, suddenly Picard actually has to deal with the concept of being unable to understand Riva's language. Apparently the universal translator doesn't work on sign language! But if the universal translator doesn't work on visual communication, then Riva wouldn't be able to read lips unless he really did know the language being spoken. Just an interesting point.

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