Mark Watches ‘The Next Generation’: S05E12 – Violations

In the twelfth episode of the fifth season of The Next Generation, Picard begins to worry that a group of historians is causing his crew to fall into comas. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.

Trigger Warning: VERY strong warning for rape, sexual assault, consent.

Holy shit, this episode was intense. I know the last couple of reviews were shorter than usual, and I hope you’ll excuse the fact that this one might be, too. This is not a topic I like to dwell on too much, and this episode presented a very specific situation that could very well trigger me if I spend a lot of time thinking about it. The second time I was raped, I was asleep. I was drugged by someone who took advantage of me when I couldn’t even put up a fight if I wanted to. What Jev does here is awful to me specifically because I know what it’s like to be preyed on in such a vulnerable state.

And for what it’s worth, I think the writers take a very sensitive subject, name it for exactly what it is, and treat it very seriously. Thankfully, there are no jokes here; there are no attempts to blame the victim; and at no point are we meant to sympathize with Jev or his behavior. Is that the best that the show can do? I mean, they name the episode “Violations,” which is exactly what this man does to these people. He violates them through their minds, and he turns their worst memories against them. Why? Because it thrills him, maybe. Because he likes the control. Because he’s a sadist. Who knows? The point is that it doesn’t matter what his motivations were. He did something horrific to these people.

Not only that, but he exploited his own father’s flaws in order to implicate him! The episode was designed for me to think that Jev was responsible, sure, but as soon as that big confrontation scene with Troi showed Tarmin’s face, I believed it. The man had been overbearing and uncomfortable, so it was very easy for me to accept this as truth. Yet it was always Jev, lingering around those he knew he could exploit the easiest. And for years, the creep had gotten away with this!!! Oh my god, I lost count of how many victims there had been, y’all.

So at least there’s that. They finally brought this monster to justice. It’s weird for me to judge whether this is a “good” episode because it hits so close to home for me. I was entertained – to a point. I think it handled the issue as best as was possible, calling Jev’s action rape and never once making us feel like the script was at all sympathetic to him. The victims were the most important part of the story, which is great. But I honestly don’t know how to talk about this episode in the terms I normally do because it didn’t feel like a normal episode. The subject matter was more personal, more viscerally violent and disturbing, than much of what The Next Generation usually does. That’s okay, and I appreciate the challenge on some level. It’s a hell of a premise, I’ll admit that.

Sometimes, though, fiction can hit a little too close to the heart. That doesn’t make it bad or good, necessarily. It just makes it feel real.

The video for “Violations” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– The Mark Does Stuff Tour 2015 is now live and includes dates across the U.S. this summer and fall Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder of The Legend of Korra, series 8 of Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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