|Index||5 reviews in total|
Kyle Riker (Mitchell Ryan)--hyper-competitive and emotionally absent
lots of macho theatrics Worf's right of ascension
Whether you like "The Icarus Factor" or not might well depend on whether you like soap operas. Instead of the usual missions, there are two crew members who have serious growing up issues...and for once, it ain't Wesley!
In the first theme, Riker is being offered command of a ship. But, there is a problem--his father had come to talk to him about this assignment and ready him should he accept it. Why is this bad? Well, Riker has daddy issues--and he and his father are not at all close. Much of Will Riker's childhood was spent with a hyper-competitive dad who was also emotionally absent. And, although he behaves as if he doesn't need his father or care, Will obviously is carrying a lot of pain and needs to deal with this.
The other involves Worf. Wesley has noticed that Worf is even more emotionally distant and surly than usual and he brings this to the attention of Worf's other friends. They have no idea what's going on...until Wesley realizes, after doing some research, that Worf is feeling alone and alienated from his Klingon heritage because there are no Klingon friends with him to celebrate his Right of Ascension. So, the crew prepares for the ceremony--with involves 'pain sticks'!
As I said, this is a soap opera-like episode. Nothing really occurs except for some occasionally embarrassing emotional baggage coming to a head. It is fitting, then, that Ryan Riker (the dad) is played by Mitchell Ryan--a very familiar face on soap operas like "All My Children", "Dark Shadows" and "General Hospital". As for me, I really found the episode a bit poor--with a real slump in writing and not enough happening other than a couple folks whining about their childhoods.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Commander Riker is being offered a chance to have his own ship as the Captain of the Aries is retiring. The Aries will be on a mission exploring territories in an obscure galaxy with the great potential of new discoveries. A "civilian adviser", for whom Will knows personally, will brief him on the Aries mission Kyle Riker (Mitchell Ryan), his father! We see immediately that Will has animosity/hostility for pops and "The Icarus Factor" examines what that is. Most of it deals with the death of Will's mother/Kyle's wife and how the two often compete with each other. The martial arts fighting style of "anbo-jytsu" might be the right sort of action to get these two to "bury the hatchet" or, at the very least, confront the personal issues that currently estrange them. Also fascinating is the fact that Kyle and Dr. Pulaski were once romantic and Worf is going through an emotional turmoil where he's not only isolating himself from the rest of the crew but snaps at any officer who dares to confront him out of curiosity/worry. It turns out, thanks to Wesley Crusher's research (he's the one who is motivated to pursue what is wrong with Worf after he yelled at him for no reason other than annoyance), that Worf has reached the tenth anniversary of the "Age of Ascension", a spiritual pain ceremony where a Klingon must endure the "rite of passage for a warrior" by taking shocks to the upper torso with painstiks as his family looks on from afar. This episode really gives the Riker character a chance to determine his current career path, whether he is ready for his own command or would rather remain on the premier Federation starship as a first officer to the Captain, and also finally acknowledge his pain in regards to his authoritative, well-respected, and highly popular father, a towering figure who has quite the commanding presence. You can see that Will has been battling for years to escape the shadow of his father, and his efforts have been rewarded with the new command offered him. Look, we know Will wasn't about to leave the show so the end resultthe decisionisn't some big surprise, but seeing him come to terms with a father he has felt a particular disregard/anger for is really what the episode is truly about. Ultimately, this episode is about family, especially fathers (Wesley never got to know his father, Worf who never knew his Klingon father, and Riker who has never forgiven his father for past "misdeeds"). A minor subplot involves the USS Montgomery sending scientists to the Enterprise to study a "glitch" in Engineering, with Chief Engineer Geordi a bit disenchanted with the idea that he cannot fix his own problems a bit of irony comes into play as Data pronounces what he believes is the reason behind the anomaly before the officers board and is correct. Also of importance is the growth of the Chief O'Brien character who was little more than the guy who beams the away team back and forth during the first season, actually having a conversation with Riker, even at the Klingon ceremony by Wesley invite.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
We get to see Riker being offered a command for the first time here, the USS Ares, named after the Greek God, often misquoted Aries even in the subtitles! Will's estranged Father comes aboard as his adviser from Starfleet. He is torn as his position on the Enterprise has a certain prestige about it and he is comfortable in his life. Elsewhere Worf seems to be snapping at almost everybody! Wesley does some research and discovers it's Worf's anniversary of his age of Ascension. They set up a Klingon Ascension chamber in the Holodeck and Worf undergoes the ceremony as his crew mates watch. He grunts a 'thank you' just after the session is over! Riker eventually makes peace with his father but turns down the promotion as he believes that he can learn more aboard the Enterprise. A good episode that dealt with character stuff, Klingon lore and promotion.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
ST:TNG:40 - "The Icarus Factor" (Stardate: 42686.4) - this is the 14th
episode of season 2 of The Next Generation. This is what I consider a
Riker episode, delving into his past by a surprise visit from his
estranged father (played by Mitchell Ryan of "Dharma & Greg" fame)
before Will Riker takes a captain position of the Starship Aries he is
offered that will take him on a far away mission. The estrangement is
caused by the death of Will's mother when he was still a young child.
Also his father knows Dr. Pulaski, who is an old love of hers. You also
get to see Riker looking at photos of his childhood in Alaska,
including one with him holding a fish.
At the same time, Worf is increasingly hostile to the rest of the crew - it turns out he is feeling isolated because it is the anniversary of his Age of Ascension, an important Klingong ritual - and it's up to Wesley, Data and Geordi to help Worf!
Trivia: there's also mention of PCS - Pulaski's Chicken Soup!
Riker has a chance to leave the Enterprise. His leadership and his
overall competence has brought an offer of command on another ship.
There are two issues. One is the fact that the ship he would go to
wouldn't have the spirit of adventure this one does. I assume he may be
bored. The other factor is that Will's father is on board and there is
no love loss on Riker's part. He is resentful and full of almost
childhood hatred. Somehow, the father is seen as indifferent to his son
and not adequately affected by the death of his wife, Will's mother.
This is a tired old plot where the guy can't speak to his son for more
than a few seconds without the son taking off. Riker's father is a
handsome, impressive man, highly respected in Starfleet. He apparently
also has had some romantic connection to Dr. Pulaski. Of course, we
know what's coming.
The second plot is that Worf has been acting distant and silent. It turns out that he is in the tenth year of his age of ascension, and he needs to transition into a warrior. This is done by his surviving a painful ritual where he is subjected to incredible pain by a gauntlet of Klingon warriors with pain sticks. This is supposed to be set up by a family, but since Worf has no family, he must rely on his friends, Geordi, Will, and Data. Of course, Worf would never ask for this since it is a question of honor.
It's an OK episode but not really memorable.
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