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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Loud as a Whisper (Review)

To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation , and also next year’s release of  Star Trek: Into Darkness , I’m taking a look at the recent blu ray release of the first season (and a tiny bit of the second), episode-by-episode. Check back daily for the latest review.

At the very least, Loud as a Whisper has its heart in the right place. At least of most of its run time. Essentially an issue-driven (and guest-star-driven) show that is determined to prove to the audience that a disability need not define a person, it’s a little undermined by a subplot where Pulaski and Geordi discuss the possibility of making the Chief Engineer “normal” again. However, once you get past the earnestness of it all, Loud of a Whisper seems a little clunky as television drama, with all manner of potentially interesting ideas that are never really explored. The result is a massively disappointing story that feels a bit like a clumsy after-school special.

What goes around...

What goes around…

To be fair, the idea for the show was actually proposed to the producers by the guest star, during the Writers’ Guild of America Strike of 1988. According to The Next Generation Companion :

Howie Seago, who is actually deaf, met with the producers during the writers’ strike to suggest a show built around a deaf actor as a guest star. This episode is the result, and in it Seago helped to change what he felt was a dangerous myth regarding deaf people: the first draft’s premise had his character learning to speak overnight after the failure of a mechanical translator he used to communicate with his chorus. The day before shooting he suggested an alternative scenario, where after the killing of his chorus Riva stays on Solais V to teach the combatants sign language. To his surprise the idea was eagerly accepted; the supportive mail from both deaf and hearing people seemed to bear out the wisdom of that idea.

We can all agree that the ending Seago suggested is at least superior to the one proposed in the script. After all, there’s something quite sinister about the idea that you can “fix” a disability like that. Unfortunately, the scene between Geordi and Pulaski that remains in the finished episode contains the same connotations.

Be sure to let him know when you a-Riva at your destination...

Be sure to let him know when you a-Riva at your destination…

It is possible for Star Trek to do great issue-driven storylines. For example, Symbiosis was one of the better episodes of the first season. Classic episodes like The Outcast and Rejoined would tackle homosexuality in clever ways. However, these episodes also have a tendency to take themselves too seriously, to rather clumsily manhandle the issue at hand, and to forget that a television series like this must first tell a story – and the way to explore these issues is through the story, rather than trying to awkwardly graft a story on to an issue.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the episode is Riva’s chorus, which is killed off about half-way through in order to generate drama and suspense, forcing our character to start from scratch. The chorus is, on a purely visual level, a fascinating concept. However, it raises all manner of logical questions. It seems appropriate that this show focuses around Troi, as a lot of the issues raised by the chorus apply to her as well.

Is he just hoping hostilities will evaporate overnight?

Is he just hoping hostilities will evaporate overnight?

We’re told that each of the three members of the chorus speaks to one side of Riva’s emotional spectrum. “We serve as translators,” one explains. “We convey not only his thoughts, but his emotional intent as well. I am the Scholar. I represent the intellect, and speak in matters of judgement, philosophy, logic. Also, I am the dreamer, the part that longs to see the beauty beyond the truth which is always the first duty of art.” Another observes, “I am passion, the libido. I am the anarchy of lust, the romantic and the lover. I am also the warrior, the perfect line which never wavers.” Finally, the third states, “I am that which binds all the others together. I am harmony, wisdom, balance.”

It seems a bit arbitrary that Riva’s emotional spectrum can be conveniently divided into three sections. It seems a bit reductive. I would imagine that emotions are somewhat broader and deeper than that. Still, Riva seems to place great emphasis on using these three voices to communicate with his audience. After they are killed, he dismisses Data’s ability to fill the void. “When Data speaks for me, can you hear my anguish, my despair?” he asks. “Data is a fine machine, but he cannot take the place of my chorus. It took years to develop a communication. That cannot be easily replaced.”

Yes, of chorus...

Yes, of chorus…

Here’s the thing, though. It seems a bit arbitrary that all the worlds in all the universe have the same emotional capacity as we do, and that emotions translate on a one-for-one basis across the galaxy. I know the chorus represent Riva’s emotional range, but he seems to emphasise how important that is to the people he addresses as well. It’s a bit of a problem I have always had with Troi – the idea that emotions can somehow be mapped on a one-for-one basis, particularly across cultures. It seems to reflect a human-centric view of the universe, with the idea that all species must rigidly adhere to our perception of the universe.

Of course, a later episode in the series, The Chase , would seem to explain why the Star Trek universe was populated with so many bipedal human-like aliens, and perhaps the same explanation accounts for how emotions tend to map the same across countless different species that evolved light-years apart. I can understand how that would make sense, but I’m still a little uncomfortable with the idea that there’s very few forces out there so alien that they don’t feel exactly the same way that we do.

Carrying the torch...

Carrying the torch…

That said, if they didn’t, then we wouldn’t need Troi as the ship’s empath. Since Guinan seems to have quickly become the ship’s de facto counsellor (helping Wesley decide what he wants in The Child and helping Data investigate humour in The Outrageous Okona ), it would seem a bit harsh to take that away from Troi. She seems to have unfortunately little to do on the show at this point in its run, so I suppose we should be thankful that she can still state the blindingly obvious for the bridge crew.

This idea that everything must conform to humanity’s ideals and expectations is actually raised in the opening scene, and I’m a bit disappointed that the episode never really addressed it. Worf seems hesitant to welcome Riva on board. Picard explains, “Ah. Riva negotiated several treaties between the Klingons and the Federation.” Worf replies, “Before him, there was no Klingon word for peacemaker.”

A Riva Derchi...

A Riva Derchi…

This seems to reflect what we saw in  Heart of Glory , where human values couldn’t necessarily be applied to the Klingon Empire. We’re told that this cultural assimilation “bothers” Worf, and it’s great that nobody takes the opportunity to lecture him on the virtues of peace. The application of human ideal to the Klingon Empire was arguably one of the factors that contributed to its decay and corruption, proof that you can’t just apply human value systems across the board.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the one concession the episode makes, and we’re quite clearly back in “human superiority” mode. Picard hovers the Enterprise over Solias V and notes in his log, “We are monitoring increased military activity on Solais Five. I fear that without Riva, we will be unable to keep the Solari from destroying themselves.” It seems creepily paternalistic. It doesn’t have to be, but the script makes it seem like the inhabitants should be kissing the feet of the Enterprise crew.

No bones about it...

No bones about it…

Before I move away from the chorus as a concept, the script itself has some clunkiness. I feel a little uncomfortable about the fact that the script identifies the two male members of the chorus by their roles and archetypes, but has to label the woman as “woman.” How come the men aren’t similarly classified according to the script?

There are three of them… each a distinctive personality and physical archetype — the SCHOLAR/ARTIST, the WARRIOR/ADONIS, a CULTURED WOMAN.

I’ve written before that The Next Generation has some serious gender issues, and this seems like another example. Also, how come every Troi-centric episode so far (and quite a few to come) are based around the guest star of the week trying to get into her skin-tight jumpsuit? I mean none of the male cast are so consistently objectified in such a manner in their own stories.

"I knew it was you, Riva... and it broke my heart!"

“I knew it was you, Riva… and it broke my heart!”

Finally, apropos of nothing, I do find it a little hilariously awkward how Riva’s libido works, and how incredibly awkward and transparent it is. When he wanders off with Troi, he leaves “Scholar/Artist” and “Cultured Woman” behind, prompting them to rather awkwardly ask to be shown to their quarters. They seem to stop short of saying they’ll have a few hours off. “At times like this,” one states, “we become an encumbrance.” Man, I hate it when two out of three of my emotional chorus tend to ruin my dates.

There is also, unfortunately, the rather awkward way that Riva’s disability is portrayed as inherently alien. I know that the gender issues of The Outcast and Rejoined aren’t exact parallels for issues of modern sexuality, but Riva is deaf and dumb – and the episode stresses that these are pretty much the exact same disabilities that we see everyday. As such, treating Riva’s inability to hear or speak as something exotic and alien seems to undermine the point a bit.

A civilisation at its peak...?

A civilisation at its peak…?

I’ve always felt that Geordi was the best way to handle that sort of issue in Star Trek . His blindness isn’t a secret – he isn’t treated as if he’s a character who can see, but with a funny comb on his face. Geordi is portrayed as different than the crew around him, and that difference stems from his inability to see. His blindness isn’t treated as something that makes him less capable than those around him, just something that means he perceives the world in a different way. The opening section of Heart of Glory might have seemed like clumsy padding, but it at least illustrated that Geordi comprehends the universe in a manner distinct from the rest of us.

So the episode is somewhat undermined by a scene between Pulaski and Geordi where she discusses “fixing” him using the magic technology of the replicators. Of course, the scene doesn’t use the word “fix” , but it uses words like “normal.” During a routine check-up, Pulaski reveals it is possible for Geordi to see again. “I can attempt to regenerate your optic nerve, and, with the help of the replicator, fashion normal eyes. You would see like everyone else.”

Seeing eye-to-eye...

Seeing eye-to-eye…

This is where the show runs into problems. That’s a fairly massive decision to put in front of anybody. It’s a massive and important character subplot for Geordi as a character. However, it’s all clumsily crammed into one short scene. She asks Geordi, “Why are you hesitating?” He replies, “Well, when I came to see you, it was to talk about modifying this. And now you’re saying it could be possible for me to have normal vision?”

There’s no discussion of what “normal” means or what “like everyone else” is truly about. After all, much like the emotional spectrum above, it suggests that the human perception of the universe is an absolute rather than a subjective interpretation. At its worst, it seems to imply that Geordi has a problem that should be rectified so he can conform to human standards, that somehow seeing the universe as most humans do is the very pinnacle of perception.

A bit of a blind spot...

A bit of a blind spot…

The scene was apparently written to provide actor LeVar Burton with the possibility of removing the VISOR and allowing the actor to emote with his eyes. I can understand the appeal of that proposal to a performer, but I also think that it would diminish the character in a very significant way. It was, at the time (and it still is), very rare to see people on television living with disabilities in a manner that doesn’t sensationalise or exploit. Geordi was blind, but that didn’t define him.

Geordi was a blind character whose characterisation didn’t really rely on that disability at all. It was just part of who he was, and it didn’t limit or restrict him in any way. He was surrounded by characters who respected and trusted him, and his inability to see didn’t reduce him in their eyes in any way shape or form – it didn’t limit his ability to contribute. I can’t help but feel like giving him “normal” eyes would send the wrong message to those watching and enjoying the series.

Real men fire pink lasers...

Real men fire pink lasers…

The scene was never touched on again, making it stand out even more than it does as part of the episode itself. You’d imagine that Geordi would have to digest and think about the proposal, and that it would weigh heavily on him. Instead, it is never mentioned ever again, which makes this feel like an especially surreal diversion. And positioning it in a story about another character coping with their disability makes it feel even more misjudged.

Finally, there’s Troi. It’s clear at this point in The Next Generation that the writers are trying to figure out what she is supposed to be doing. You’d imagine that the departure of the other two female leads might have inspired the producers and writers to do something dynamic or interesting in the character. Instead, we get this episode in which she is clumsily inserted into the story of a guest character, all so the episode can end with Picard bluntly telling the audience what a great character she is.

Going around in circles...

Going around in circles…

“You read me well enough to sense how I feel about you and what you do on this ship,”  he states. “But I just wanted to say the words. Thank you. Well done.” It’s hardly the most subtle way of trying to convince the audience that Troi is a valued member of the crew, and it hardly seems earned. I mean, Wesley’s advice to Okona averted a potential war last episode, and he didn’t get a nice little speech – and he doesn’t even have the advantage of being able to read Picard’s thoughts. Ah well. How far way is Face of the Enemy ?

The Next Generation could do great issue-driven storytelling. Unfortunately, it could also bungle the concept completely. Unfortunately, As Loud as a Whisper feels more like the latter than the former.

Read our reviews of the second season of  Star Trek: The Next Generation :

  • Supplemental: Phase II (1978) – The Child
  • Where Silence Has Lease
  • Supplemental: Embrace the Wolf
  • The Outrageous Okona
  • Loud as a Whisper
  • The Schizoid Man
  • Supplemental: Deep Space Nine (Marvel Comics) #3-4 – The Cancer Within
  • A Matter of Honour
  • Supplemental: Myriad Universes – Echoes and Refractions: Brave New World by Chris Roberson
  • Supplemental: The Measure of a Man (Extended Cut)
  • Supplemental: Masks by John Vornholt
  • Time Squared
  • Supplemental: The Lost Era – Deny Thy Father by Jeff Mariotte
  • Supplemental: (DC Comics) Annual #2 – Thin Ice
  • Supplemental: Strange New Worlds VI – The Beginning by Anne Reed
  • Supplemental: Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who – Assimilation²
  • Supplemental: The Newspaper Strips – Beware the Omnimind! (aka Restructuring is Futile)
  • Samaritan Snare
  • Up the Long Ladder
  • The Emissary
  • Peak Performance
  • Shades of Grey

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Filed under: The Next Generation | Tagged: Data , Federation , Heart of Glory , Howie Seago , jean-luc picard , Klingon , Outrageous Okona , Sign language , Star Trek Next Generation , star trek: the original series , StarTrek , Troi , William Riker , Worf |

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Reblogged this on cienciayconcienciaccd .

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I’m sorry but the entire concept of one of Riva’s chorus’ standing in as his talking libido just makes me think of Anastasia Steel’s ”inner goddess” or Harry Potter’s ”chest monster”.

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Den of Geek

Revisiting Star Trek TNG: Loud as a Whisper

A famous Klingon peacemaker causes trouble on the Enterprise in this episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation

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This review contains spoilers.

2.5 Loud as a Whisper

You know how some episodes of TNG are so nondescript that you can barely remember seeing them? Yeah, this is the exact opposite of that.

The Enterprise is dispatched to collect the famous mediator, Riva, so that they can transport him to mediate a dispute on Solais V. Before the away team beams down, Troi senses Worf’s inner-turmoil. He denies it, although the ever-tactful Troi drags the truth out of him, and he reveals that before Riva negotiated treaties between the Klingon Empire and the Federation, there was no Klingon word for “peacemaker” (trivia: there are still no Klingon words for “slippers”, “decompress” or “fringe”).

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When they meet Riva, the away team is surprised to discover that he is deaf and mute, and communicates through a “chorus” of three aides, who represent different parts of his psyche: passion, intellect and token woman. Riva, ever the professional, instantly demonstrates what a massive creeper he is by ignoring Picard and Worf and going on about how attractive Troi is.

Back on the ship he continues in much the same vein, basically abusing his diplomatic powers to get her to go to dinner with him. Eventually she relents, although it’s still creepy. This is full-on sexual harassment in the workplace! He even dismisses his intellect and wisdom aides, which is essentially the Riva equivalent of saying “let’s skip dinner.” Luckily they don’t, and mid-meal Picard calls Riva to the bridge to chat with the warring parties, who have broken their ceasefire.

Riva somehow talks them into laying down their weapons until he arrives, and picks a place to meet them. Unfortunately, as the talks begin, one of the faction members flips out and shoots Riva’s chorus. They’re vaporised! In an unusually graphic manner (you see bone and everything). The shooter’s mate then kills him, crying for forgiveness, but Worf and Riker are already hotfooting Riva out of there.

Back on the Enterprise, no-one can talk to Riva (who either can’t or won’t write) so Picard forces Data to learn sign language. Riva’s feeling both angry and guilty that his friends died, and declares that, as impressive as Data is, an emotionless robot is unable to serve as his voice. He withdraws from negotiations!

Meanwhile, the episode was apparently running short because Pulaski hauls Geordi into the sickbay and offers to try and give him more organic-looking eyes, and even give him his normal eyesight back using cloned eyeballs. Geordi, who mere MINUTES ago was telling everyone he was happy to be who he was (and already turned down free eyeballs from Q once before) says he needs some time to think about it. Don’t take too long, says Pulaski, it’s a one-time only operation (for some reason). Geordi heads away to think about it, and it literally never comes up again for the rest of all TNG . Presumably that means he decided not to go through it with.

Back with Riva, Troi says she’ll do the negotiations in his place, and asks for his advice. He tells her to turn a disadvantage into an advantage, at which point a lightbulb goes on above his head and he decides that teaching the factions to communicate with him through sign language will be the path to peace. Okay then! The talks resume and before the Enterprise leaves, Picard calls Troi in to congratulate her actions. (Presumably he means not slapping Riva in the face when he made yet another pass at her. I’m speculating, but come on! There are rampant dogs that show greater subtlety.)

TNG WTF:   There are only a few mildly bizarre things in this episode. The chorus is a somewhat offbeat idea, but they follow through on its execution so it never becomes too hard to believe. The scene with Pulaski offering Geordi back his eyes comes out of nowhere and never goes anywhere. But the real WTF moment comes when the evil faction member shoots Riva’s chorus and they completely disintegrate, skin-first, right down to their skeletons. What the hell kind of gun is he using?!

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TNG LOL: This episode has possibly the worst pre-credits cliffhanger ever. Most of the time something big happens to keep you hooked through the over-long title sequence. In this episode, Worf, Troi and Picard beam down to Riva’s home and stand around silently looking slightly awkward. Riva isn’t even there. Literally nothing happens. It’s so strange that I actually laughed out loud.

Other amusing moments: Worf excuses the distorted signals from the warring factions by saying “the quality of the transmission is very poor”. Which probably had a lot of TNG fans nodding in agreement with imagined subtext (although to be fair, the last few episodes have been far, far beyond Season One.)

Time Until Meeting: 16:13. A briefing! Although the prepared discussion is interrupted about two lines in by Riva, who declares the backstory unnecessary and runs off to meet Troi for dinner, leaving Picard to utter a rather forlorn “Meeting adjourned.” Poor Picard.

Captain’s Log: Hey, how about that. The third actually coherent episode in a row. I think that’s a record! There’s quite a lot of depth here as well. Riva isn’t very likeable as a character – he’s self-assured to the point of being arrogant and overbearing, but that backfires on him later in the episode when his chorus is killed. Even just the idea of the chorus is very memorable, even if they don’t do a huge amount with it, although the exploration of Riva’s deafness is well managed and addresses certain concerns felt by people with disabilities (i.e. his anger at Picard speaking to his helper, rather than to him).

That said, it does occasionally get a bit heavy-handed. Riva’s chat with Geordi veers dangerously close to being “a very special Star Trek scene” where he can finally feel that being blind doesn’t make him any less of a person. And if it wasn’t clunky enough, it’s completely undermined by his later turmoil at being offered the chance to maybe get a pair of real eyes, in a scene that goes absolutely nowhere.

Still, as episodes go it’s got very little in the way of obvious weaknesses, although I do wonder if it wouldn’t have been helpful to know a little more about the parties he was trying to mediate between. As it is, we barely learn a thing about them, and that makes the stakes for the episode lower than they could be.

Watch or Skip? Again, in terms of Trek’s overall mythology, it’s skippable. But let’s be honest: this is what Star Trek is about. Diplomacy, communication, mutual understanding, all that stuff. If you don’t like this kind of episode, then you’ve hitched your wagon to the wrong series. Watch.

Read James’s look back at the previous episode, The Outrageous Okona, here .

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Every counselor troi love interest in star trek: tng.


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Star Trek: The Next Generation Cast & Character Guide

Star trek picard season 3 hilariously concludes worf & troi’s tng romance, recasting star trek: the next generation for a movie reboot.

  • Deanna Troi had multiple romantic partners throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation, but her best love story was with Commander Riker.
  • Troi's ability to sense emotions helped her excel as the ship's counselor and also aided Captain Picard in his interactions with new alien species.
  • Troi and Riker's on-again-off-again romance lasted all seven seasons of TNG and continued through the films, culminating in their marriage and continued presence in Star Trek: Picard.

Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) may always have been Imzadi to Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), but she had her fair share of other romances on Star Trek: The Next Generation . One of TNG's most underrated characters, Troi became the heart of the show over the course of its seven seasons. Half-Betazoid and half-human, Deanna could sense the emotions of those around her. This not only helped her perform her duties as the ship's counselor on the USS Enterprise-D, but also helped her aid Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) with introductions to new alien species.

Deanna's best love story was with Commander Riker , and their on-again-off-again romance lasted throughout all seven seasons of TNG and continued through the four films that followed the series. Since TNG's writers refused to put them permanently together on the show, both Deanna and Will cycled through various romantic partners. Deanna Troi did not always get the best storylines on TNG , but she was always a welcome presence on the show. Troi briefly returned to the franchise in Star Trek: Picard season 1, before playing a more significant role in Picard season 3, where she finally got to be the one to save the day.

Star Trek: The Next Generation has one of the most beloved cast of characters in all of science fiction. Here are the major characters of the classic.

8 Robert Knepper as Wyatt Miller

Star trek: the next generation season 1, episode 11 ("haven").

Deanna Troi's first romance on TNG comes in the show's first season, when Wyatt, a man Deanna was promised to as a child, comes back into her life. Deanna and Wyatt both try to make this arranged relationship work, but neither one can really put their heart into it. Before meeting Deanna, Wyatt had been dreaming of a different unknown woman, and when this woman shows up on a nearby ship, Wyatt leaves his life behind to join her. Troi, for her part, gives him her blessing, as she still harbors feelings for her former love, William Riker.

"Haven" also introduces Deanna's mother, Lwaxana Troi (Majel Barrett), who goes on to appear in several more episodes of TNG and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine .

7 Howie Seago as Riva

Star trek: the next generation season 2, episode 5 ("loud as a whisper").

When a renowned ambassador and negotiator named Riva visits the Enterprise, he and Troi embark on a sweet, budding romance. Riva is deaf and he is intrigued by Troi's telepathic abilities as well as her beauty. After Riva's interpreters are killed during the negotiations, he struggles to find other ways to communicate. Troi helps him work through his newfound difficulties and come up with another way to continue the negotiations. While Riva is clearly interested in Deanna, her feelings about him are never entirely clear, though she does seem to enjoy his company.

6 Matt McCoy as Devinoni Ral

Star trek: the next generation season 3, episode 8 ("the price").

When a supposedly stable wormhole is discovered, the Federation and several other interested parties bid for the rights to manage the wormhole. Devinoni Ral is a negotiator for one of the opposing groups, and Troi immediately finds herself attracted to him. Their relationship grows serious very quickly, but Troi begins to grow uncomfortable when she discovers that Ral is an empath and has been influencing the emotions of the other bidders. In the end, Troi reveals that Ral had been secretly manipulating the proceedings, ending their passionate romance. Devinoni comes across as sleazy and not particularly likable, so it's no real loss for Troi when he leaves the Enterprise.

Two Ferengi vie for control of the wormhole, and they travel through it to see where it goes. When the wormhole unexpectedly closes, the two Ferengi find themselves stranded in the Delta Quadrant. The Star Trek: Voyager season 3 episode "False Profits" reveals their ultimate fate.

5 John Snyder as Aaron Conor

Star trek: the next generation season 5, episode 13 ("the masterpiece society").

Aaron Conor is the leader of a genetically engineered colony that keeps itself closed off from any other civilizations as a way to preserve its supposedly perfect society. When their colony is put in danger by a stellar core fragment, the Enterprise tries to intervene to save the planet. As Troi works with Conor to encourage the people on the planet to evacuate, the two begin to fall for one another. The presence of Troi and the other Enterprise crew members brings change to the isolated civilization, and, while some of the inhabitants leave on the Enterprise, Conor stays to rebuild his "perfect" society.

4 Chip Lucia as Ves Alkar

Star trek: the next generation season 6, episode 3 ("man of the people").

In what is her worst and most problematic "romance," Deanna finds herself initially drawn to the visiting Ambassador Ves Alkar. Unbeknownst to Troi, Alkar lies about his traveling companion and manipulates Troi into performing a ritual with him. This ritual actually links the two, allowing Alkar to channel all of his negative emotions into Troi. This causes Troi to behave erratically and age rapidly. Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) manages to save Troi's life, and Alkar dies when he is flooded with all of the negative emotions he has channeled through others. "Man of the People," as an episode, is not particularly kind to Troi, robbing her of all agency and control of her own emotions.

3 Jonathan Frakes as Thomas Riker

Star trek: the next generation season 6, episode 24 ("second chances").

When the Enterprise visits the planet Nervala IV to gather scientific data that had been left by Starfleet officers years before, they encounter an exact duplicate of Commander Riker . This Riker chooses to go by Thomas and he is the result of a transporter malfunction that happened eight years ago. Thomas has been living alone on the planet for the past eight years, giving him a very different life experience than Will Riker. Because of this, Thomas reminds Troi of the younger Riker she first fell in love with, and he remains in love with her. The two briefly rekindle their romance, but when Thomas leaves for an assignment on another starship, Deanna chooses to remain on the Enterprise.

2 Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf

Star trek: the next generation season 7.

In TNG season 7, episode 11, "Parallels," Lt. Worf finds himself traveling through various parallel universes. In one of these universes, Worf and Deanna Troi are married and have two young children. Prior to this experience, Worf had never considered pursuing Deanna romantically, but he soon becomes more open to the possibility. After "Parallels," Worf begins to pursue Troi in his universe, and the two eventually embark on a romantic relationship. While their romance proved to be divisive among fans, it was nice to see the characters happy, and Troi developed a sweet, motherly relationship with Worf's son, Alexander (Brian Bonsall).

Star Trek: Picard season 3 briefly revisits the romantic relationship between Worf and Troi from the last season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

1 Jonathan Frakes as William T. Riker

Star trek: the next generation through star trek: picard.

Will Riker was always going to be Deanna's final love. The two had dated and fallen in love before the beginning of TNG , and they danced around each other throughout its seven seasons, often referring to one another as Imzadi . Although Troi and Riker both had other partners over the course of TNG , they never quite got over one another. Riker's desire to climb the ranks of Starfleet caused him to prioritize his career over romance, until he finally realized he could have both. In Star Trek: Insurrection , Deanna and Will finally rekindled their on-again-off-again romance before eventually getting married in Star Trek: Nemesis . When Riker gets promoted to Captain of the USS Titan, Troi joins him.

After the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies, Riker and Troi remain together years later in Star Trek: Picard . Despite the tragic loss of their son, Thad, and some rocky moments in their marriage, Deanna and Will remain very much in love. When Riker finds himself facing death on a Borg Cube, his last thoughts are of Deanna and these thoughts are what end up saving him. She senses him reaching out to her and pilots the USS Enterprise-D to his location just in time. At the end of Picard season 3, Riker and Troi, who have a daughter named Kestra (Lulu Wilson), set out for a much-needed vacation, prepared to face whatever their Star Trek future holds, together.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)

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Recap / Star Trek: The Next Generation S2E5 "Loud As a Whisper"

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Original air date: January 9, 1989

The Enterprise gets orders to transport a renowned mediator named Riva to Solais V to bring an end to a bitter war. Upon meeting him, the crew learns that he is deaf and speaks through three interpreters who communicate with him telepathically. Riva immediately finds himself taken with Counselor Troi and bonds with her over dinner.

Upon reaching Solais V, Riva beams down to settle the dispute with only Riker and Worf as security, reasoning that bringing anyone else will only increase tensions. But only moments after arriving (before they even have the table set up) one of the natives becomes angry and fires at Riva, somehow killing all three of his interpreters with one shot when Riker pulls him out of the way. After beaming out, Riva becomes despondent and loses faith in his ability to mediate a peace. Even after Data learns his sign language, he insists that he cannot be an effective mediator without his interpreters.

This episode provides examples of:

  • 10-Minute Retirement : Riva's refusal to return to the negotiations lasts a few hours.
  • Aborted Arc : One scene features Dr. Pulaski offering to grow new human eyes for Geordi, who leaves saying he'll think about it. This is never brought up again. The reason for this was to allow for the possibility of removing Geordi's need of the visor, which was due to a request from Levar Burton to be allowed to use his expressive eyes in the series. The plot point was dropped after the episode, however.
  • Aliens Speaking English : Despite him being from another planet, Riva's sign language is seemingly identical to American Sign Language — which is understandable, as it's Howie Seago's native language, but doesn't make much sense in-universe. Since the Universal Translator doesn't really work as an explanation, * it might be designed to work on sign languages, but why translate a language the user doesn't understand into another one they don't understand? we can only guess that Translation Convention may be in effect.
  • Armor-Piercing Question : When Troi asks Riva why he can't do what he does in his negotiations with himself - turn a disadvantage into an advantage.
  • The royal house status goes by male line only ; haemophilia, being a recessive X chromosome gene, almost always goes only by female line (but only affects males), the exception being that a male haemophiliac who has children (which was rare until the mid 1900s) pass the gene to all his daughters and none of his sons. note  The above explanation of the genetics of Haemophilia doesn't apply to type C, the rarest type. However, the family tree indicating who had Haemophilia does match the genetic information above. So haemophilia could not possibly go down a royal house.
  • There actually were several haemophiliacs in European royalty. The source was a mutated gene in Queen Victoria , who was from the House of Hanover. It did not affect her; however, it did affect one of her sons (even he wasn't a Hanover), one of the sons of his daughter, and 7 grandsons and great grandsons of Queen Victoria through 2 of her daughters. None of them were from the House of Hanover.
  • Although it can't be proven that the mutation was new with her, no members of her extended family, except her matrilinial descendants, had the disease.
  • Queen Victoria wasn't even the first British monarch from the House of Hanover. She came after George I, George II, her grandfather George III , and her uncles George IV and William IV.
  • Bilingual Bonus : Riva's signing is all genuine ASL. This unfortunately causes some issues during the scenes of Data's translating, as the differences in sentence structure mean he occasionally says a word before Riva makes the sign for it.
  • Break the Haughty : Riva isn't a bad guy at all and likes the entire crew, but he was pretty overconfident in his abilities to defuse a war (especially considering the warring factions in question had been at it for fifteen centuries ). Either way, once his entire chorus gets wiped out right in front of him, his confidence and cool veneer is completely shattered.
  • The Charmer : Riva turns on the ol' charm immediately upon seeing Troi.
  • Despair Event Horizon : Riva is horrified after his chorus gets killed, pacing around the briefing room like a madman. Troi and Picard try desperately to calm him, but of course, that's not happening.
  • Disability Superpower : Riva, who's deaf, is also telepathic. This is apparently a trait of his family, and possibly linked to their deafness (both are hereditary among them).
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas : When meeting Riva, Picard attempts to address the chorus instead of Riva, offending him. He later explains to Riker to treat the chorus as interpreters and thus address Riva directly.
  • Forever War : The Solari factions has been fighting for fifteen centuries, leading both of them to the brink of extinction.
  • Freudian Trio : Riva's psychic chorus literally represent parts of his mind. Superego Interpreter: I am the scholar. I represent the intellect, and speak in matters of judgement, philosophy, logic. Also, I am the dreamer, the part that longs to see beauty beyond the truth, which is the first duty of art. I am the poet who... Id Interpreter: Artists, they tend to ramble, neglect the moment. I am passion, the libido, I am the anarchy of lust, the romantic, and the lover. I am also the warrior, the perfect line which never wavers. Ego Interpreter: I am that which binds all the others together. I am harmony, wisdom, balance.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man! : Picard to Riva, by grabbing his head so Riva can read his lips and tell him he's not alone, after Riva's chorus is killed. With a bit of Translation by Volume with Picard shouting " LISTEN TO ME!! " to a deaf guy.
  • Hive Mind : Consisting of only four people. Riva's chorus represent his Ego, Superego and Id , with each speaking Riva's thoughts that most closely correspond to those aspects of his mind. It can also be turned off and on at will—Riva brings only the Id voice to his dinner date with Troi, then dismisses him to communicate alone.
  • It's All My Fault : Riva blames himself for his chorus' untimely deaths.
  • It's Personal : Riva tells the Enterprise crew not to even bother investigating the reasons for the war provided in the background they've been given. It'll say that it's about some piece of land, or wealth, or something, but it doesn't matter. After fifteen centuries of fighting, nobody really cares about the original reason anymore. It's just personal now.
  • Just Think of the Potential! : Worf is intrigued by the concept of sign language, observing that a form of communication which is both silent and covert could have other uses. (Of course, he's hardly the first person to have this thought.)
  • Language Equals Thought : Before Riva negotiated several treaties with the Klingons, the Klingon language had no word for peacemaker.
  • Mood Whiplash : The episode takes a deliberately slow pace in the first half to build up the mystique around Riva and his chorus. The result is that the tragedy that happens in the first negotiation attempt becomes that much more of a shock.
  • Never Learned to Talk : Riva is deaf due to a congenital defect among the nobles of his planet. He has a group of interpreters who are telepathically linked to him, but otherwise can only communicate through sign language.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending : Riva isn't the same after his chorus is gone, but he does decide to give the peace negotiations one more try - by teaching the two factions sign language. The theory is, while they learn to speak to him, they'll learn to speak to each other. It's clearly going to be a process, but that's fine with Riva.
  • Reading Lips : Riva certainly has no problem with this.
  • Reconcile the Bitter Foes : After fifteen centuries of war, the Solari calls for Riva to lead the peace negotiations. The episode ends with Riva intending to teach both sides his sign language to communicate with him, and hopefully with each other.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction : The representative that shoots at Riva to try and prevent peace is apparently from one of these. He is immediately shot dead as a traitor by the other representative of his supposed faction.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something : Riva is a member of the ruling family of Ramatis, and is also a renowned and experienced peace mediator.
  • The Speechless : Riva's deafness is hereditary, and having grown up with his chorus, he doesn't speak. In the script it's said he doesn't even know how to read or write either, which is why he ignores Picard's suggestion that he write his thoughts down.
  • Super-Speed Reading : Basically how Data learns all known sign language for Riva.
  • Voice for the Voiceless : Riva's chorus telepathically conveys his thoughts. It's a hereditary position for them, corresponding to the equally hereditary condition of Riva's family.
  • Wham Shot : When one of the tribesmen suddenly goes AWOL and shoots, instantly killing Riva's entire chorus.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong? : Averted. Riker expressed some concern about allowing Picard to beam down to the planet to meet Riva. Picard points out that he's just going to greet a dignitary and there's no danger. It seems like the perfect set up for something to go horribly wrong. But other than a minor faux pas that was immediately forgiven, nothing went wrong at all.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation S2E4 "The Outrageous Okona"
  • Recap/Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation S2E6 "The Schizoid Man"

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riva on star trek

Doux Reviews

Star Trek The Next Generation: Loud as a Whisper

riva on star trek

Picard: There are aspects to Riva of which we have not been informed. Riva/Chorus: Precisely. Our way of communicating has developed over the centuries and it's one that I find quite harmonious. Picard: Then Riva the mediator... Riva/Chorus: Is deaf. Picard: Deaf? Riva/Chorus: Born, and hope to die.


riva on star trek

I enjoyed rewatching this one. I liked the idea of the three different interpreters. I noticed that the handsome guy got to do the romantic interpretation for Riva. :) One detail I particularly liked was that the interpreters had white costumes but each was detailed and unique. Nice touch. I had a similar reaction when Riva was unable to communicate in some sort of written form, because any culture as advanced as his would have to have a reliable way to physically record knowledge, or they *wouldn't* advance. (Human advancement sped up after the printing press.) Riva immediately pursuing Troi also made me uncomfortable; it seemed out of character. And when Picard left Riva on the planet and he was just standing there waiting, I thought, um, does he have food, water, a place to sleep? Is there a nice hotel nearby in that stony outcropping in the middle of nowhere? :) Excellent review, Joseph. What a fun read.

riva on star trek

I enjoyed the episode more than most recently. It was an interesting concept and I agree props to someone who is deaf saving the world. The scene I found uncomfortable was Picard yelling at Riva, which is a somewhat common, ignorant response to people who are deaf. I would have hoped that he, future type Renaissance man that he is, would know better. Thanks for the fun review Joseph and I'm sure there's a Bedrock hotel just around the corner Billie.

Billie - I love writing for this site! People lead me to new points even unintentionally. In the "real" world, ASL interpreters almost always wear black or dark colors. I think you caught that the producers were playing with that fact! Drnananmom - yep - I felt Picard was really thrown by someone being Deaf for some reason. Often, people who put a lot of their personal "power" into speaking verbally tend to have that reaction. JRS

riva on star trek

Often, people who put a lot of their personal "power" into speaking verbally tend to have that reaction. I've never seen this episode, or even any episode, but now I'm tantalized by what my own personal, interactive-with-others power might be (in the way that you mean, which I've never thought about before). Hmm...

Nice review -- I haven't seen that episode for a LONG time -- maybe not since it first aired. I'd have liked to see some more discussion/analysis of the crew's "pushiness" -- Seems to me it's a fairly common thing for Hearing people -- Deaf people's feelings are typically disregarded, but since they NEED this particular Deaf person for something, they try to force him into some mold or force him to communicate their way or something -- I haven't quite articulated what I mean or am thinking on this, but it does strke me somehow. As for Data's signing/interpretation, well.... Mandela Interpreter, anybody?

Data was good just got ahead of Riva's signing. He was saying words Riva hadn't signed yet, but we can put that up to android.

riva on star trek

Great review! I really want to watch this episode again. I thought the corpus that Data used to speed-learn sign language was interesting. It only showed handshapes, no dynamic pictures/references or facial expressions. At the same time, they references varying sign language, recognizing that there isn't just one intergalactic sign system.

I love watching this episode coz I am trying to learn ASL and when I was trying to see the signs when data was looking up signs and could not keep up but was glad they made a episode for the deaf.

riva on star trek

It's difficult for those of us who aren't deaf or blind, or have other such challenges to know what those who do have to deal with. That being said, I did enjoy this one, and found Riva to be a very engaging and sympathetic character. They run roughshod over his grief which I find hard to reconcile with how the crew should have actually reacted to it. Losing people close to you, and who aid you with your important diplomatic work like that would be extremely traumatic. Troi was great here, and I do wish they would have avoided the rather cringe-worthy way Riva initially interacted with her, it is definitely on the creepy side. Barring that, I felt not only was the best option for such a communication, but that she was great as how she handled it too.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation

“Loud as a Whisper”

2 stars.

Air date: 1/9/1989 Written by Jacqueline Zambrano Directed by Larry Shaw

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Review Text

The Enterprise is assigned to transport renowned mediator Riva (Howie Seago) to a war-torn planet so he can broker a peace between two warring factions trying to overcome 15 centuries of bitter conflict. Riva turns out to be deaf, and he communicates through a "chorus" of three telepaths who speak for him, each one representing a specific facet of his personality.

This is an episode that seems like it was sold on a promising concept that ultimately no one could build enough of a story for. The early scenes set up the story in what by now comes across as formula TNG : lots of exposition, some of it interesting, some of it not, all of it taking up screen time in a very slow-moving story. Then we get back to the Enterprise where we have to sit through another round of introductions to the crew. Given that Riva is so well-known, I don't understand why everyone is surprised to find out he's deaf. (Maybe because if they already knew, the story would have no excuse for its exposition.)

Riva is very confident in his abilities to broker a peace agreement. So confident, indeed, that when a member of one faction tries to sabotage the talks by killing Riva's chorus, Riva's confidence is shattered almost beyond repair. We then get a series of scenes (too many, in my opinion) where the Enterprise crew tries to coax Riva back to the peace process he's supposed to be brokering. Only Counselor Troi is able to get through to him, in part because of their previous romantic overtures.

I'm sorry, but the solution just doesn't work. Riva's argument is that starting from zero and teaching sign language to both sides will become the common ground that will allow the communication and negotiations to flourish. Call me cynical, but I find it more likely that someone's going to pull out a gun and shoot up the place out of sheer frustration during such an arduous process. If these people have been fighting for 15 centuries (shouldn't they all be dead by now?), how is Riva and his simplistic solution honestly going to make a dent? I'm all for TNG optimism, but this is pushing it.

Previous episode: The Outrageous Okona Next episode: The Schizoid Man

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62 comments on this post.

It's a daring episode, and it's also an influence for the to-be sitcom "Herman's Head" that would be created some 4 years later... Some conflicts on Earth have lasted decades or longer as well - nobody's managed genocide quite yet... I do agree; Riva's solution is too simple... But the overall concept was novel and innovative for sci-fi, right down to the name of Riva's trio, that of "Chorus" (which could have had been influenced by Greek myths)... Yeah, it could have been better... 2/4 stars is definitely a good rating, but something about the story hits not the wrong spot for me as well...

It was hilarious that one energy blast vaporized three people, as if they were fused together. And they all reacted in complete unison.

At this point, TNG was still "Bad Season 1" when it dared to introduce unorthodox ideas, that means that no matter how good the initial concept was, they couldn't pull it off. "Loud as a Whisper" was just boring and featured a lot of Troi counselling, which is never a good thing, imo. But the worse is the ending, as Jammer said. It is totally bananas and unrealistic. "Let's all learn sign language. Future world peace. The End." @ Jay: They were so tuned with Riva that they became one :P

One thing which really annoyed me about this episode, and it has been a recurring theme as I make my way through Seasons 1 and 2 on Blu-ray - the use of Counsellor Troi and her empathic abilities. In this episode, she practically humiliates Worf in front of Picard and Riker in the transporter room by openly confronting him about his strong discomfort towards Riva. It just strikes me as completely inappropriate for Troi to be describing people's feelings in front of other people. For one, why would anyone trust her as a confidential and non-judgemental therapist if she's willing to disclose people's emotions whenever she sees fit? Secondly, it opens up a bit of a can of worms in terms of her role on the ship. We know that the Doctor can relieve the Captain if she feels that he or she is not fit for duty. But the way Troi has confronted Picard in the past about the feelings she has sensed in him makes it seem as if she also has a similar responsibility. Fair enough if she detected feelings of utter despair or loss in a crew member, that might indicate suicidal ideation or trauma, but to question Worf on a personal dislike of someone was very nosy and unprofessional. Picard's comments in "The Drumhead", about reconsidering the use of an empathic counsellor when Crewman Tarsus is under suspicion based on a Betazoid's intuition, actually make a lot more sense now. There has been a substantial number of episodes in Season 1 and early Season 2 where Picard has consulted with Troi about a person - even muting the viewscreen so that he can see what she senses in the person. There's something quite under-handed about that, and I don't think I ever realised it until I've gone back and observed the sheer number of times it happens (and I know it continues in later seasons). I liked this episode for trying something different, but I agree that the solution was a bit much to stomach and it's hard to believe that Picard would have so much faith in such a plan given that Riva's Chorus were blown away in under 2 minutes of negotiation. I give Riva a day before he's disintegrated by one or both factions (hey, that might actually bring them together!).

@ ChrisM I'm a bit skeptical that empathic powers would work over viewscreens anyways.

Jammer says he doesn't see how Riva's plan will "...make a dent". So guess I'll explain. Whenever people have problems, alcoholism, drug or porn addiction, etc. the key is the person who has the issue has to WANT your help. If they want help, you can help them, and if they don't, you can't. The people of that planet specifically asked for Riva - they WANT his help, a key pre-requisite for success. Therefore, they will do what Riva asks, and he's right, doing something co-operatively will help them learn to live together (though surely Riva isn't saying you don't still have to address various grievances,, land/resources/prisoner exchanges, etc.). If they DON'T want Riva's help then yes, his death would seem to be forthcoming. I also think it's rather irresponsible of the Enterprise not to leave communication equipment capable to reaching Federation planet/outpost/starbase and some security personnel, no matter what Riva says. If Riva does end up dying, and Picard could have left security but didn't, and Riva is as famous as the episode says Riva is, won't that be massive egg on the Federation's face? Anyways, Marina Sirtis acting didn't bother me here, so overall I give the episode 3/4 stars.

Like Corey, I think that Jammer underrates this episode. I also think that what is crucial is that the people on the planet do want to end their peace, but can only see themselves interacting with Riva. The other important thing is that Riva now has a particular stake in this planet that he didn't before. His chorus was killed by a person on this planet -- and the lead negotiator from the side of the conflict who tried to kill Riva has made it clear that this was an anomaly and punished him immediately. Tragedy has a way of bringing people together, when they recognize that the tragedy is shared. By staying even after his chorus was killed, Riva demonstrates a huge commitment to the peace talks which no one could have anticipated, and so, I think, does the lead negotiator from the side that attacked Riva, by shooting his own. Riva, by indicating that he is willing to move past his chorus being attacked, also removes the excuse that the side who did not attack Riva might otherwise have for pulling out of the negotiations -- if Riva can get past it, than so can they. Certainly, this was not stated, and I think it's fair to criticize the episode for acting as if only Riva's sign language can seal the deal. But I find that *myself*, watching the episode, I am very impressed by Riva's ability to get past the death of his chorus and not holding a grudge. The episode is certainly slow-paced. That said, I think that the ideas present in this episode are worthy, interesting, and unusual. The relationship between Riva and his chorus, and Riva's realization that he can move on without them and as a person himself, suggest to me issues of both the difficulty integrating different perspectives into one; the relationship between royals and their followers (Riva is identified as a royal, and his willingness to continue his diplomacy without assistants represents a royal recognizing that despite their belief they have the 'right' to have servants following them around all the time, they have to work like others do); and the way disability and apparent "lack" shapes identity. Some of these themes clash in unfortunate ways -- I think that the ideas of Riva-as-nobility with servants whose whole identity is geared toward him, and Riva-as-disabled-person (akin to Geordi-with-visor) interfere with each other. It's hard to know whether we should view the chorus as Riva's friends, or as a lower-class group of people bred to 'serve' royal Riva, or as basically an equivalent to Geordi's visor, and the treatment of them certainly varies depending on which we take. But the episode ultimately produces a fair amount to chew on as well as an optimistic message that I find credible, at least within the confines of a TV narrative where exaggeration (like "warring for 15 centuries") is the norm. I do agree with ChrisM's point about Troi humiliating Worf in the transporter room. That is deeply unprofessional and uncalled for. It also has no apparent plot purpose. I also don't quite understand why Worf is so angry that the Klingon/Federation treaty was negotiated, because, hello, he's a Klingon Starfleet officer. Still, I think this is counterbalanced by Troi throughout the rest of the episode -- I like the way she responds with a bit of coyness to Riva's aggressive flirting, the way she and Riva start to communicate as equals in a way that foreshadows the way Riva will connect to others, and the way she turns him around at the end by focusing in on Riva's best qualities (his consideration for others, his ability to find common ground with others). I think that she did a good job of letting Riva know he should stop feeling sorry for himself without saying those exact words. )It's too bad she couldn't use that insight for herself in "The Loss," but I'm getting ahead of myself.) I think this is the best use of Troi doing her job up to and including the episode. (I like Troi in "Haven," but that episode had nothing to do with Troi-as-Starfleet-officer/Troi-as-Counsellor.) 3 stars from me, though maybe on the low end.

"We! Are all in this! Together!" Sorry, Picard, but this is Riva's show. There are zero stakes for the regular crew. They're not even responsible for bringing peace to the planet; they could leave immediately and nobody would care. Contrast this with "The Host," where the regulars are roped more directly into an otherwise superficially similar plot.

The woman chorus in this episode is married to the actor who plays the Q character in this series. Just a bit of fun trivia.


I wasn't as skeptical as Jammer and others were on Riva's final solution. The whole point was to force the two opposing sides to put some effort into the peace treaty. By spending all their efforts trying to learn to talk to Riva, it would make the mediation problem easier. Well, at least easier in the Trek sense. I don't buy that two factions who have been waging war for so long just needs to talk to each other and then will become friends no matter how awesome Riva is. Tolerate each other's presence with a cease fire, perhaps. But ideological differences exist in the real world. And actual grievances exist in the real world. And just telling people they need to communicate with each other will not make other problems go away. But that's not Roddenberry's vision, so whatever. I'll accept it in the confines of the show. In general though, I found this episode boring. Sure, it's a sci-fi-ish concept, but once again it seems the writers didn't know what to do with it. We had quite a bit of awkward exposition (thankfully very little on the actual conflict, which was irrelevent to the show), particularly in the beginning when Riva explained how his chorus worked. As an aside, if Riva is so freaking famous, wouldn't Picard already know about his chorus? Wouldn't it be in the 24th century Wikipedia article on him? So the episode moves slowly. Notice that the stinger ended with Picard et al walking around an empty room. Oooh, exciting.... And so because it moved slowly, the conflict (chorus' death) didn;t happen until literally 60% of the way through the episode (I checked). That leaves little time for Riva to deal with his problem, which probably makes the final resolution feel rushed. Maybe that's why so many don't buy Riva's final solution. Another problem I have with this episode (and many others, honestly), are all guests on the Enterprise sex-obsessed? Riva, an accomplished diplomat, starts hitting on Troi in the middle of an official meeting. Such conduct would be completely unbecoming, even today. Can you imagine a diplomat doing that today? And yet it happens all too often in TNG. The one good aspect of it was that Marina Sirtis' acting in response was pretty good as trying to be as diplomatic as possible. Personally, I also thought Data's demonstration of sign language to Picard was pretty funny. He seems to be the go-to guy for comedy so far this season. Not as much as the last two episodes, obviously, but it was a good moment.

A really interesting episode. It really intrigued me with the way Riva communicated with everyone else and that part of the story was, in my opinion, executed very good. The entire concept of his chorus was both well thought out and performed, and I was interested to see what was going to happen. However, the episode is obviously not without its problems, some of which damaged the episode as a whole. First was the part already mentioned by Jammer and some other people in the comments - how didn't anyone know about Riva's condition before they met him? The comment about that being on 24th century Wikipedia made me laugh. But OK, that wasn't really such a big problem. However, the scenes on the planet were. Everything up to the point where they beam down to the planet was done really good, and after that, things just started to make no sense. Why did Riva beam down to a rock in the middle of nowhere? It gave the impression that the planet was about 500 square meters big and that the rock where the planet scenes took place was pretty much all there is to it. Then, the scene where his chorus gets killed. Oh my... To say that it was poorly acted would be an understatement. Furthermore, it was more like I was watching a theatre play which relied on the viewer's imagination to colour up the scene instead of watching a TELEVISION show. I didn't get that sense of alarm when Riker jumped to save Riva, everything about that scene was just bland, slow, and empty. I realise that they had a 42 minute time constraint for the whole episode (and that it was 1988 after all) but come on... It could've been done way better. And the final scene when they leave him on the planet also made little sense. Someone already said that it wasn't smart to leave him there without any means of contacting the Federation. I'll add this: what was he going to eat? Where would he sleep? Where would he go to the bathroom and wash himself? Again, it leaves the impression like they were on some rock traveling through space, Riva and three of those guys, sitting at that table for months learning sign language. Literally doing only that and nothing else for months. Come on... If you ask me, if the planet scenes had been done better, this would've been a truly great episode. It is still good, I guess the whole aspect of his chorus really sparked my interest.

I have one nitpick. Riva is not human and has never been to Earth but he communicates with ASL? How did he learn American Sign Language?

@Mary: Practicality, I'd imagine. The actor playing Riva, Howie Seago, is deaf in real life (and American, therefore he very likely knows ASL), so they were using the resources they had available. It doesn't make sense in-universe, admittedly, but then neither do all the aliens speaking English (yes, universal translator, but why do their lip movements match the English words?).

I mostly just like watching Howie Seago sign. It's (mostly?) ASL. I'm not sure if the signs I don't recognize are because "I learned sign language from someone with a small vocabulary because her parents were abusive little shits" or because Howie's tweaking ASL to make it "futuristic". He almost never goes anywhere near the upper half of his face, and that's... weird. Like the sign for "listen" just seemed off to me. I liked is sign for Ramatis, his planet. It's the ASL letter "r", inside a planet. Clever!

Season 2 started off on a bit of a promising note with The Child and Where Silence Has Lease, after a rather dismal Season 1. Then along comes what I thought was a bad episode about the holodeck going haywire with one of its characters threatening the ship (yawn), followed by that utter disaster The Outrageous Okona (which should have been called The Beyond Annoying You Just Want To Freaking Beat The Sh*t Out Of Him Okona), and then finally this extremely boring, not creative thought whatsoever episode, replete with a bad plot, bad writing, bad acting, and bad directing... I remember by this point in Season 2 I was starting to believe there would be no Season 3, no matter how many letters Trekkers might send in. It was so bad.

Diamond Dave

As others have noted, this episode has no stake for the crew of the Enterprise and in the end adds up to a slow placed and ultimately inconsequential episode. There were some nice ideas here - the chorus in particular, and I liked the clear implications of when the libidinous chorus member speaks. And the scene where Geordi describes how he embraces his disability, only later to have Pulaski offer him a risky route to sight, sets up a nice tension for his character. But in the end it adds up to a fairly simplistic conclusion - communication is good. 2 stars.


I thought the plotting of this episode was excellent; this was slow sci-fi with an exploration of an interesting idea--the chorus. My problems with it were that Riva With Chorus was so arrogant he wasn't very likable. I much preferred his personality when he lost the chorus and had some self-doubts. I also thought the solution of teaching the antagonists to speak sign language was inspired. I remember being thrilled with it the first time I saw this episode. We Trekkers might take it for granted, but for most of the world, a violent solution is all they can consider. I also didn't like the chorus because Mr. Sexy Pants really creeped me out. When a flirtation begins, the mystery of "is he flirting or not?" is part of the fun. With Riva, when Sexy Pants chorus guy speaks, you know Riva is feeling hot--no mystery. It also wasn't a really good move for Riva to have his passion chorus be better-looking than he was! Riva wasn't unattractive, and I loved his eyes, but having the Latin lover standing next to him all the time made it difficult to appreciate Riva. One small thing I liked about this episode was that Troi was going to try and manage the negotiations. That felt like a real and tough effort on her part. She knew she didn't have the experience but she was going to give it her best shot. It felt sincere--and Picard thanking her at the end was a nice touch. I agree with Filip about the absurdity of the rock where the negotiations were to be held. No food, no mini-fridge with some beer--it was odd. But I am willing to forgive that because I know the budget constraints of the show. What i didn't like was making the aliens so gooey-looking. Their faces looked like they were about to pop. But overall, I think this is one of the better of the early TNG outings. Riva is one of the most memorable guests they have ever had on the show. In response to Shannon, who mentioned The Beyond Annoying You Just Want To Freaking Beat The Sh*t Out Of Him Okona--ROFL! You aren't kidding! How any woman would find that overgrown child appealing is beyond me! (And a small bit of fun trivia--I went to the same high school as Billy Campbell--he was a few years ahead of me. But all the buzz was that he was a really nice guy, and there were still girls who swooned when mentioning him! Probably guys, too--we just didn't talk about it that openly yet)

Another example of them writing Troi to be grossly invading people's privacy that would never ever work in the real world. I can live with her pulling someone aside privately (which I still don't like because unsolicited counselling based on reading someone's mind is still an invasion of privacy).... however, openly revealing your thoughts among your associates and commanding officers is just a disgrace. I wish I could ask the writers back then why they wrote Troi this way. In the real world, nobody would trust her or want to be near her for fear their deepest emotions would be revealed publicy. And the best she does for the ship is tell everyone the alien of the week is hiding something or not being honest.


I remember liking season two a lot than I am right now (re watching alk episodes), the scene between Troi and Worf in the teaser realley bugged me for some reason.

In a different kind of episode the Troi-Worf 'moment' of professional misconduct could serve as an interesting jumping-off point to study the profound cultural differences that would exist between a species of isolated individuals, and a species of empaths & telepaths. It's almost impossible to fathom how the nature of privacy, social boundaries and even 'self' vs 'other' would develop in a race of beings who can read the true thoughts and feelings of the person their dealing with (and visa versa). Lwaxana kind of embodies this friction whenever she steps on board the Enterprise, and ironically it's Deanna who has to remind her how different the social and behavior standards are among humans -- Which is a long way of saying that the good Counselor definitely should have known better in this episode. Thankfully she does seem to redeem herself as the episode develops. But setting aside previous character precedent (and a lack of discretion and common sense on Troi's part), one could imagine just how jarring it would be for a Betazoid to adjust themselves to an emotionally 'blind/deaf/dumb' culture. I suppose in a Betazoid culture, a reaction like Worf's would be immediately evident to everyone...including Worf. He would never think to 'hide' his feelings on this issue, he wouldn't even try. If you are an open book to others, you would have to become an open book to yourself as well. Honestly and openly dealing with your emotional foibles, hangups, prejudices, anxieties and so forth would be 'de-rigeur' as there's no hiding from the judgement of others. I guess a very stretched parallel is the development of monolithic Social Media in today's 'always connected' society. Virtually everything anyone thinks on a given topic can be transmitted instantly to a huge number of people, who in turn transmit that information to their circle of friends, etc, until everyone 'knows' about a given topic, incident, misdeed, etc. At least in 140 characters or less. How are you feeling at this moment? In the past you may tell a co-worker in the cubicle next to you...now you can 'Share your thoughts' to half the planet with a few clicks of a virtual keyboard. Along with that has come an erosion of our boundaries of what information is private and what is public (much to the benefit of certain corporation's bottom lines). Young people today are growing up in a more 'Betazoid' style world where everything is shared, and is expected to be shared, with everyone else. In many cases whether you like it or not (the Internet never forgets...). Of course many members of 'older' generations look at this development with a mix of confusion and horror. Boundaries are being broken or at least mutated in ways we could hardly imagine even in 1989. Full disclosure, I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Troi and I try to avoid dumping on the character every time she tells Picard she's 'sensing something', or 'doesn't think so-and-so is being totally honest'. She's an underdog type and I try to root for her, despite her frequent 'hicups'. Ultimately I think the incident in this episode was just the writers trying to shoe-horn in another joke "Worf is a bad-ass warrior who cares little for 'peace'. And did we mention he's Klingon? Rawr!" Hamfisted and a disservice to Troi, unfortunately. Hmm maybe Lwaxana, a full telepath and hillariously oblivious to Human social standards, should have been made the ship's counselor so we'd have awkward moments like this every episode. The crew would lose their minds, and Lwaxana would be there to provide a running commentary as it happened....

"It's a daring episode, and it's also an influence for the to-be sitcom "Herman's Head" that would be created some 4 years later..." I'd like to see some actual proof of this.

I am all for slagging off season 1 and 2 episodes but ,for me, this episode shone as a beacon for what TNG could be. It transcended the sterility of/ poor execution of ideas that permeates all that preceeded it. I cannot accept Jammer's rating -this was massively better than Elementary Dear Data for example. Of course one can be critical of aspects of the plot-Troi flinging herself at Riva, the intrusive interrogation of Worf's feelings in the transporter room( which has no plot purpose whatsoever), the single laser blast conveniently killing all the chorus members but these are nitpicking points. Troi really did do well in this story.

I agree that Troi might seem wrong to question Worf about the emotion she reads from him before they all step onto the transporter. But only a few episodes earlier, in Where Silence Has Lease, Worf had demonstrated that he possibly had not yet completely mastered control over his Klingon impulses. Thus his unchecked state of mind could have had a bad effect on their diplomatic mission. Since there was no time to privately consult with him, Troi might have believed it to be her duty to immediately confront him.

Some interesting ideas in this episode - Riva speaking with a chorus, even his ideas on negotiating made logical sense to me. But to be honest, this was a boring episode: spent far too much time understanding Riva and his chorus and how he operates, and then his breakdown. I think you really have to appreciate psychological episodes to like "Loud as a Whisper". And I think there are much better psychological episodes in TNG. For me, the best part of the episode is Data describing sign language to Picard. All that "here is the sun, here is the ocean, here are 2 people walking on the beach..." That was LOL funny. And what was the point of Pulaski saying she can give Geordi his sight back? Anyhow, at the end I couldn't believe the episode ends with Riva all alone on the planet with an idea to teach both sides sign language after the incident when his chorus got zapped. Highly optimistic in my opinion. I'm with Jammer on that one. This was just a poorly designed episode that didn't make the best of some interesting ideas. Sounds like an oxymoron but I rate it a strong 1.5 stars out of 4. Perhaps harsh but a lot more bad than good without a doubt IMHO.

I very seldom find an episode boring, but this one was for me. And I thought the ending was incredibly unrealistic. Before Riva came down to the planet, the two sides were shooting lasers at each other. And it took just one renegade who opposed peace to throw a big wrench into the negotiations by shooting the Chorus. What was going to maintain the peace--and stop those who didn't want peace from messing it up--while a few individuals from each side struggled to learn sign language over many months? 1 1/2 stars for me

Just caught this randomly on a TV recording from last week. Wow it's very "early TNG"... they're so overt with "this is the one who reads emotions" and "this is the warrior" etc. I like the disability messages. I have a good friend with physical disabilities and whilst obviously I can't speak for him (unlike Riva's Chorus!) I think the point about addressing them directly is spot on, at least with someone whose mind works perfectly well. The anger was expected. You have no idea how often when I'm with my friend people talk to him "through me" or just talk to me and refer to him in the third person. His brain is fine, talk to him! Shame he came across a bit of a creep. I could understand a romance blossoming naturally, but he just basically.... not to be crude but figuratively speaking he's shoving his doodah down her throat from the moment they meet. It's super creepy the way it's so 'forced' I like the "Darmok" style moment between him and Troi when they have their date, though. Worf commenting on sign language being tactical was interesting -- I know they're a bit "brute force" but they never thought of doing things the SAS way, even as if to say "go"? Picard should be advised NOT to interrupt Data's attempt to teach him sign language - you'll be needing this for Darmok in season 5! Ah yes it's the season with Pulaski in it. I thought she was pretty good in this one. Very much herself in terms of her determination to make Geordi "normal", but I liked how she showed offer her professional abilities while also outlining the risks and uncertainties. I actually like the resolution, yes it's a bit simple but I have enough optimism in me for it to seem like something that "could work". I love that Picard knows when to say "well done" - nice touch and good leadership. The main problem is it ends too soon. How did it go?!!

Sarjenka's Little Brother

I wouldn't say this episode changed my life, but I took an important lesson from it that has served me well over the decades. "Turn disadvantage into advantage." I'm naturally a half-glass empty kind of guy. I see what's missing, what's going to be hard. That's where I want to go emotionally when bad things happen to "my chorus." I have to work hard sometimes at staying positive and working with what I've got, not what I wished I have. And I have to say, there have been times in my life where "turning disadvantage into advantage" has actually worked well for me.

boorish caveman

Omfg! Them crew iz luvez sekz & reevy iz da idyot & shutin’ & fightin’ iz nat soo booorin’ ROFLMAO! Ah wanna seee som shootin’!!! waaah!!!

Prince of Space

For a caveman, you’re really not all that boorish. Rather affable, actually. I disagree with reevy iz da idyot, but otherwise I am on board with your conclusions.

The universal translator helps people understand other languages being spoken. Riva can read lips, but how can he read the lips of people speaking English? How will he be able to read the lips of the aliens when they speak? They'll spend forever just trying to get across the message that he wants to teach them sign language. And then it will still take forever to learn. A 'fast' way to learn sign language would be to say "what is the sign for X word?", Riva reads their lips, and shows them the sign. But he can't read their lips, he doesn't know their language...

The only reason I can see for this story is that they were trying to make Troi seem useful. All they succeeded in doing was to show how boring she was. They would have been better off just letting her be pretty and telling good stories where she is virtually useless. Let's face it, the consensus is that she was virtually useless anyway. She was pretty though.

I am going to call Jammer cynical on this one. This episode is without a doubt, not enough story to fill the time allotted, but I don't think it's a wasted effort. It presents a new way of looking at things and I agree with Troi's line that Riva's method of communication is quite beautiful. The ending works for me even if the prospect of these people achieving peace by learning sign language is dubious. Star Trek itself is overly optimistic at it's core (before the later seasons of DS9, that is); and that is the point. Will Earth ever be an absolute paradise? Unlikely, but we can hope and strive for it just as the Solari can with Riva's help.

That scene where Troi reveals what was on Worf’s mind, may have been there to act as a foil to the scene, also on the Enterprise, where Data vocalises the thoughts of Riva. Worf and Riva are, after all, very different characters. The place given to Data, and to Riva’s reactions to him, show how Data is growing as a character, and proving, yet again, how versatile and important he is. Troi is clearly secondary to him in this episode. Whatever its flaws may be, some important things happen in it. The episode also provides some “personal growth” for Riva. I think this episode is a lot better than it’s given credit for being. 3 stars out of 4 seems about right.

SPEAK TO ME!!" For such a supposedly great negotiator he sure loses his temper easily.

Some notes made while watching: - Picard contemplating weird orbital dynamics in a planetary system they had visited, using a hologram at his desk, doesn't really go anywhere. Was this simply for the purpose of establishing that all of Starfleet's best possess keen intellect and scientific curiosity, even if they don't wear blue? I suppose it's no different from what we saw from Janeway later, but taking it to the point of doing orbital dynamics for fun (but with *no* actual calculations) when you're 1) not an astrophysicist and 2) are the Captain, are on duty, and presumably have a lot of other things you could be doing, seems a stretch. - So Worf is uneasy about Riva *because* he negotiated treaties between the Federation and the Klingon Empire? Am I missing something here?? Worf presumably thinks the alliance is a *good* thing, right? He was saved by humans, and he's a Starfleet officer. And we saw in Heart of Glory that unlike Korris and Konmel, he sees no honour in fighting the wrong battles in the wrong places, and pitied them for being unable to adapt to peace with the Federation. So why is he now acting like Riva forcing the Klingons to negotiate and to create a Klingon word for "peacemaker" was some grave attack on the Klingon warrior psyche? (Side note: I am dubious that they did not have such a word before). This writing/characterization makes no sense, as though the writers still hadn't figured out what the hell they were doing as far as defining the nature of the Klingons (and Worf), even *after* Heart of Glory. - The teaser ends with Picard's away team beaming down to an empty room, not finding anyone, and not saying anything. Did anyone else find this to be really poor editing? Even if you have nothing dramatic to end on, at least have the characters *say* "we were supposed to be greeted by Riva's entourage. Where is everyone?" As it stood, I wasn't sure if I was supposed to feel uneasy after the teaser, because something was amiss, or whether everything was normal, and the director just decided to have the teaser *stop* in mid-scene for some reason. - At first, we aren't given an explanation for why Riva would be excited to meet an empath, and it just ends up seeming like he's perving on Troi (EDIT: nevermind, because he *does* perv on Troi for the rest of the episode...*and* it's always blatant because it's the libido/warrior chorus guy who addresses her and requests her presence as an escort, not the scholar one. Ugh.) - PICARD: "There are aspects of Riva of which we've not been informed." Which seems absurd! How could Starfleet not brief their officers on the fact that one of the Galaxy's most famous mediators, whom they've been charged with transporting to a critical negotiation, is deaf? How could it be a secret, for that matter? - The expository dialogue is atrocious, both from the 'scholar' and from Riva's other chorus member, the guy who says "I am passion, the libido, the anarchy of lust." - Despite it being a very narrow, directed beam, the Solari's weapon somehow disintegrates all three of Riva's chorus members in one shot. And despite it supposedly being a laser, its effect is to vaporize someone from the outside inward, peeling away their tissue layers uniformly over their whole body so that we are treated to some really bad CGI tomography. Okay...sure. Also, this attack happens in the first minute or two of negotiations. This "experienced" mediator has never faced a threatening situation before? Why was there no backup plan? Basically there are only three people in the Galaxy whom Riva is relying on for all communication with other individuals... - Picard's approach to consoling and getting through to Riva is to grab his head and shout in his face "LISTEN TO ME! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!" This was a ridiculous scene. - Riva's character arc is like the trajectory of NASA's "vomit comet" (the plane that flies in parabolic arcs to simulate weightlessness). He goes from being so self-assured that he doesn't even bother briefing himself on the situation, to so doubtful and self-pitying that he tells Troi "you don't need help from someone like me" when she tells him she's going to attempt the mediation herself. Then he goes back to being confident enough to be left alone on the war-torn planet for months, assuring people that he will be fine. I understand that the death of his chorus and ensuing guilt and grief could create a crisis of confidence and identity. But it isn't portrayed realistically. - The resolution of this episode is, of course, absurd. These Neanderthals with ray guns are supposed to have the patience to learn sign language *and* sit down and negotiate with their bitter enemies? They're just going to meet on the top of this stone cliff face that is completely unsecured? Why couldn't the negotiations have taken place on the Enterprise or a dedicated diplomatic vessel? I.e. in a neutral location, where weapons have been removed in advance? Why couldn't they beam down some computers so that the Neanderthals would at least have access to the *the same pictographic dictionary that Data used* when he learned the sign language?

My main nitpick with this episode is just, how does Riva read lips so accurately, especially when the people saying things aren't even always speaking in his direction? I understand that having people repeat themselves a bunch doesn't make for good television, but he was really so on top of things it often seemed like he was just mute, rather than deaf and mute.

I was going to dismiss this one as a hohum episode in the TOS style without the charm of the TOS characters. However that changed for me when the three interpreters were killed. My partner is Deaf and I recognized the anguish of Riva both in how anguish is communicated but also the anguish of not being able to communicate. (Deaf people have been treated badly on this continent with the banning of ASL for decades, bad science used to justify this and other misguided treatmentetc. The needless isolation is heartbreaking.) I speak ASL so I think it was well acted. I thought there were other subtle touches to this episode (like Geordi saying he wouldn't change himself as he liked himself.) that I (and I assume a lot of able bodied folk) ldidn't understand until I met my partner. So 8/10 for that aspect and the first half 5/10

Watching and commenting --Peacemaker. Why should it bother Worf that Riva negotiated Klingon-Federation treaties? --Riva's bee line for Troi is very creepy. He's just generally creepy, though the presentation of those three communicators is nicely done. --It's hard to buy the idea that Troi is returning the feelings, but I guess she is. --Very boring. I literally fell asleep. Will have to try to finish this later. Buona Notte, Trekolini.

So I finished this, but aside from the nice shock of the deaths of the trio, it was truly a snoozer. I think this week's continuing Season 2 exploration of "the nature of being alive and being human" was probably about identity - the need for relationships but the need to have our own independent identity. Lots of stuff about what makes you, you. My favorite part was Data doing the "two people at the beach" in sign language.

I've been enjoying Jammer's review site for years - about 8-9 years ago I watched the entire series of TNG and read every review here as I went along. This is my first time commenting, though. I don't want to get political, but I do want to say that as I've started re-watching this series as a way of entertaining myself during this global pandemic and my self-isolation, "Loud as a Whisper" spoke VERY loudly to me. It resonated with me during a time when "different" can be seen as "evil", and the United States is more divided than any time in its history since the Civil War. This episode may be naive in some ways, and I would subtract a star for a very weak and awkward cold opening. However, two factors made this very relevant and powerful for me. One is the use of a disabled actor - Howie Seago is actually deaf - in a time when very few differently-abled actors were being hired. This was very forward-thinking and added a great deal to the episode for me, especially when Data is learning sign language. I do believe that in the future more accommodation for disabilities will occur, and the scene where Picard is struggling to understand Riva seems dated. Couldn't the Universal Translator also translate sign language? But the concept is still very much ahead of its time. Second, Riva's final solution got me thinking about the situation in our country. There is so much anger and fear right now. What is the common thread that brings people of all races, religions and beliefs -- or non-beliefs -- together? Obviously a deadly virus wasn't enough to do it. (Where's Dr. Crusher - or Pulaski, for that matter -- with a vaccine when you need it?) I don't wish to start a political discussion or who's right or who's wrong. I simply want to state that during this time, in this year, that this episode merits a very strong three-star rating from me.

If these people have been fighting for 15 centuries, shouldn’t they all be dead by now? We’re still here.

I hated the start of this episode and the whole "Troi only does rape or romance storylines" thing. I get the idea behind having someone who communicates through others but it just came off as incredibly goofy watching Riva tilt his head constantly while others spoke. The episode actually got much, much better after his chorus got lazered because using sign language got rid of the goofy chorus stuff.

Frake's Nightmare

For some reason I started thinking marry, shag avoid ? And another candidate for Next Gen ultimate sleazoid list - do you mind if my slave watches ? Wesley's jumper - yep he's firmly established in the grey ribbing jumpsuit - 'Ensign'.

S. D. Martino

I think it would be a good idea to teach the country's sign language in primary or high school as a subject, if only to give the hearing person a basic vocab when encountering a deaf person. We must learn more languages in school. It brings us into other people's mindsets. The theme of this episode.

This is very fascinating sci-fi concept, though delivered in a rather slow-moving episode. Personally I think it would make a very readable sci-fi novel rather than a time limited segment in a sci-fi adventure series. The parts where Riva talks to Geordi, and the frustrations of being unable to communicate when his 'chorus' had - in a very stupidly written moment - been killed en masse. I can understand Troi's role in this, but I can't help feeling that Guinan could - if the two sides had been transported to Ten-Forward - have sorted them out with her natural wisdom and a few bottles of Betelgeuse Brandy. :)

Riva lookin' like the frontman of a Kenny Loggins cover band.

Great comments Davywiz (08/02/20). I agree. 3 out of 4 stars for this episode. I would also mention that the music was beautiful.

So in the 24th century no one in the federation is conversant in Any kind of Sign Language? When his chorus got killed they couldn’t find someone else at Federation headquarters or Starfleet academy to replace them and warp them out to the planet to be interpreter? In the 21st century lots of people are conversant in ASL but everyone in the 24th is flabbergasted by Rivas deafness and unable to communicate with him? Riva never learned sign language himself? So he’s crippled when his chorus is killed? Only Data can figure out a way to communicate with him? Sorry I’m not buying it, that’s a stretch even back in 1987.

@ Kyle, "Riva never learned sign language himself? So he’s crippled when his chorus is killed? I suspect what they were going for was something like Hellen Keller, where telepathy was the only way for him to communicate. I think it would have been clearer had he been blind as well, but that might have made production too obtrusive. When he loses his chorus I think they want us to understand that it is now so difficult for him to communicate that he has to invent a new way of doing so. The script obviously fails to use much imagination in setting up this premise for us, so it's understandably muddled when a person who is merely deaf and mute acts as if he's cut off from all communication...including writing! But I understand what they wanted, and I think it's fair for us to just accept that premise and evaluate what they do with it...which isn't all that much :/

I liked it but it definitely feels undercooked. Maybe some sort of hand grenade would have been better that the quite comical way the chorus was killed. And one of them surviving could have been interesting. Also, Spiner's sign language was obviously half assed at times. Annoying considering how little actually occurs here. Good points above that the tragedy could paradoxically increase the chances of this working. The situation on the planet is obviously massively simplified, but hard to do much more in an episode. Though I puzzle at how they agreed to bring in Riva if the two sides were unable to even communicate.

It is hilarious that the teaser ended with the away team in an empty room. Another symptom this wasn't fully cooked. Still, overall, I think this flows pretty well considering the casual plot. I never find it boring at all. It was interesting to see Riva hitting on Deanna and I liked how Sirtis played it-- seriously creeped out. It kind of makes you wonder how many of those alien women Riker/Kirk jumped in bed with felt. The murder of the chorus is really the biggest blight here. It's just so hilarious. All three in one blast, all frozen mid pose while the beam burns off their skin then their skeleton, etc. if ever there was a case for just a flash of light, this was it. Also, the dude pulls a gun, then Riker runs over, grabs Riva, pulls him over to Worf, then the dude shoots the chorus, THEN they call for beam out. It's all so goofy. Worf does absolutely nothing but should have had plenty of time to stun the dude. And Riker should have jumped on Riva and knocked him out of the way, not go grab him and turn around and pull him away.

Oh and I'm being a total dork here, but in the final scene with Deanna and Picard, when it cuts to closeup, the 3D planet thing disappears a frame or two too early. I verified in slow motion. ;) Fortunately, they eventually stopped with 3D displays because they always looked goofy and had that "ooh, look, we have 3D fx!" vibe.

Another thing that would have helped is if Worf wasn't on the away team because Riva absolutely forbade it. Because Worf looks really flat footed here and does nothing even though he notices the one party is freaking out. Worse, his utter inaction might be read as caused by his discomfort with Riva. It would have been better if instead of Worf, Deanna joined the away team. She could have empathicly noticed the traitor's unease and this would also strengthen the later scenes where she considers attempting being mediator. She could even have pointed out that she read the other three aliens as being absolutely sincere in wanting peace. After all, it's acknowledged by Riva himself that his arrogance prevented him from properly reading the situation. That could have even led to a scene where Riva and Deanna talk about how reading people works.

The answer is picard

The end scene. Picard is thanking Tori. It seems he's thanking her for putting up with the creeper. Then they smile about it, like they played Riva to get what they wanted, by using her charms. Creepy.

Projekt Kobra

@Silly. LOL...thanks I had to pause-play, pause-play for 5 minutes until I could land on that frame with the missing solar system you mentioned! This is a cool episode for me, cuz Riva is my surname (different spelling), so its FULL of awesome answering machine fodder.

This is another episode where everything Data does is motivated by feelings and emotions...blowing up the weekly narrative that androids can't feel anything.

Oops wrong episode. I was referring to "Pen Pals" when Data was determined to save an alien world.

I'm not sure, on this viewing, if I agree with the many who find Troi's revelation of what her empathy has told her about Worf's discomfort an unethical violation of privacy. I mean, yes, it's a violation of privacy, but this is Starfleet, not civilian life. I could imagine it being understood by all concerned, including her and Worf, that she has a duty to reveal whatever may affect the success of the mission or the safety of the ship and crew. If that's embarrassing, uncomfortable, or painful to a crew member, that's just too bad; it's their own duty to accept that she must do her duty. And if a member of the away team is going into a diplomatic greeting with troubled emotions she has previously only known him to exhibit when about to do battle, I can see how she would have such an obligation. "You seem to know something that could put us all in danger. Spill it, Worf." There's no time for calling him aside for a private conference. Who knows? I may see it differently on my next viewing.

Another thought I had on this viewing: Troi at first looks to me as if she's uncomfortable with Reva's attentions to her. That's not romantic.

@Trish I don't think Troi is uncomfortable. I think she's not romantically interested in Riva, but is willing to spend a friendly evening with him in conversation. For what it's worth, I think Troi looked far more uncomfortable around Ral in "The Price".

yes Troi's "Speak to me, SPEAK!" was probably something of the worst things she ever done. Even for her standards. I mean this is like the mind of a five year old. Who in heavens name had even the slightest thought that Troi would be a good counsellor.

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In 2359 , he and Sarek helped to broker a temporary peace between Cardassia and the Federation . ( TLE novel : The Buried Age )

He used a telepathic 'chorus' to talk to people. ( TLE novel : The Art of the Impossible ; TNG episode : " Loud as a Whisper ")

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  • TLE novel : The Art of the Impossible
  • TNG episode : " Loud as a Whisper "
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Depictions of Disabilities in Star Trek

In honor of Kenneth Mitchell and how he’s living with his condition, I wanted to take a look at the way Star Trek has addressed special needs throughout the various tv series. The depictions have changed depending upon the prevailing attitude at the times. You can chart the changes in how society has addressed the subject by how the subject has been addressed in Star Trek. In almost all of the cases where a character possessed some form of physical or mental limitation they have been played by an actor without that specific challenge. Only Mitchell, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking who appears as a holographic simulation of himself, and deaf actor Howie Seago are exceptions to this rule. Interestingly, both Mitchell and Hawking were diagnosed with ALS, the fatal neurodegenerative disease that is sometime’s called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Seago, who plays the deaf mediator Riva on TNG, was a member of the National Theatre of the Deaf, a collaborator with such experimental theatre artists as directors Peter Sellars and Robert Wilson, as well as Talking Heads musician David Byrne. Also, from the 1990s into the early 2000s Seago frequently acted with tthe Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In TOS, three examples exists. Their treatment reflects different approaches based on gender. Female characters with a disability appear to have been born with it. Examples are Dr. Miranda Jones, the blind telepath who accompanies the Medusa ambassador from “Is There In Truth No Beauty?” or the mute empathic healer Gem from “The Empath.” A major distinction is that Dr. Jones attempts to disguise her blindness by wearing a cloak that enhances her physical awareness of her surroundings giving off the impression she can see. Male characters, on the other hand, are impaired temporarily. The example is Spock, who, in Season One’s “Operation — Annihilate!” is blinded by an intense white light used to cure him the sting of a giant parasite. His blindness is seen as a tragic career-ending injury. The overall impression is that blindness is a life sentence, reflecting a perception that was pronounced in American culture in the 1960s. However, lucky for him, Spock’s blindness lasted for a short period of time.

By the late 1980s attitudes towards people living with a disability had begun to change. The terms like “differently-able” and “special needs” came into fashion highlighting a shift in thinking that one could still lead a fully productive life regardless of whether they were blind, deaf, or wheelchair-bound. The most obvious example of this shift is the character of Geordi LaForge, who is blind but wears a visor that enhances his sight beyond normal human limits. In spite of being blind Geordi achieves the rank of Lieutenant Commander, is considered an excellent pilot, and is promoted to Chief Engineer aboard the flagship of the Federation. With Geordi, Star Trek modeled a more enlightened awareness about disabilities than was shown on TOS. In spite of the fact that actor Levar Burton is not blind, the character did help to start a dialogue about special needs citizens. In TNG’s second season the show presented E5 “Loud As a Whisper.” The Enterprise was charged to carry mediator Riva to the war-torn planet of Solais V for peace treaty negotiations. Riva is deaf but uses his telepathic powers to communicate through a three person chorus that conveys both his words and their intention to his hearing audience. When he meets Geordi they have this exchange:

At the conclusion of their conversation Riva says “It’s a blessing to understand that we are special, each in his own way.” This was a bold statement in 1992. It presented a progressive point of view about those citizens who were not born with all of their senses intact. It’s also important that such a conversation reflecting a very positive outlook on their lives occurs between two characters with an impairment. However, later on in the episode, Geordi goes to Dr. Pulaski to see if she can reduce the level of pain he experiences from wearing his visor. As a permanent remedy she offers to attempt regenerating his optic nerves and giving him “normal eyes.” Dr. Pulaski assures him that she’s successfully done this procedure twice before. Although he hesitates in responding to her, Geordi leaves sick bay deciding to give the matter more thought. This idea is posed in a single scene and is never followed up on during the remainder of the show’s seven season run. But it does undercut the clear message of the rest of the episode – that having a disability does not limit one’s aspirations. Still, as with most attempts to liberalize attitudes on social issues, we take two steps forward while taking one step back. Star Trek is no different. Another example can be found in the TNG episode “Ethics,” where we deal with the less enlightened perspective of the subject. In the A-plot, Worf has his spinal cord crushed and is paralyzed. As a Klingon, he sees his injury – and the burden he would be to others – as a dishonorable way to live. As such, Worf requests that Commander Riker honor his service to Starfleet and kill him. Riker declines telling him he should follow Klingon tradition and ask a family member to honor his wishes to be killed, specifically, his young son, Alexander. Eventually, Crusher comes up with an idea to grow Worf a new spinal cord and transplant it into his back. Eventually, everything is fixed. Once again, the disability is temporary, but this story introduces a more serious concept into the conversation, that of euthanasia or mercy killing. At the time of “Ethics” original broadcast Michigan’s own Dr. Jack Kevorkian was known for publicly assisting in the suicides of people who suffered with terminal illnesses or who felt their quality of life had diminished. My final example is from DS9, naturally. In Season 2 the show’s sixth episode featured a new species – the Elaysian. “Melora” introduced us to Ensign Melora Pazlar, the new cartographer assigned to DS9. We learned the reason why she is the first of her kind to join Starfleet. Elaysians are a humanoid species from a low-gravity planet. Their physique and neural motor cortex are adapted to cope with a low gravity. On their homeworld, they can virtually “fly.” So when she is in an Earth-normal gravity environment Melora becomes handicapped. Her body’s weight becomes heavier and her under-developed muscles can’t carry the weight. This condition requires the use of an anti-gravity unit and/or a wheelchair for Melora to get around. Naturally, Melora resents the impression that she is dependent on others. Dr. Bashir offers her an option. She could receive a progressive treatment that would help her muscles get stronger over time. Unfortunately she won’t be able to use the room’s low gravity field or go home for extended period of time because she could risk confusing her body’s motor cortex. Although she initially takes the treatments Melora eventually decides to remain how she is and learn to accept assistance when it is needed. She concludes that if she went through with the treatments she wouldn’t be an Elaysian anymore.

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Melora’s sentiment is echoed in the actions of Kenneth Mitchell. When the actor was diagnosed with ALS he could have abandoned his acting career and fallen into a depressed state. Instead, he has continued to participate in the Star Trek cruises and conventions with wheelchair, and take on acting opportunities. He played Tenavik last season soon after he was originally diagnosed and Aurelio this season as well as did some voice acting on Lower Decks. In many ways, Star Trek, the TV series, has modeled the behavior for a more enlightened culture.

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Seven of Nine Just Delivered Star Trek's Sickest Burn

  • Seven of Nine shows off her wit, offering a savage comeback in "Lady Luck."
  • Seven uses her Borg tech to uncover corruption at a Starfleet reunion, shutting down a bigoted Starfleet officer in the process.
  • Seven's wit shines in Star Trek Celebrations: Pride , proving bigots can't outsmart a former Borg.

Warning: contains spoilers for "Lady Luck," appearing in Star Trek Celebrations: Pride!

Seven of Nine just delivered the Star Trek franchise’s sickest burn. Across the latter half of Star Trek: Voyager , Seven of Nine rediscovered her humanity after a lifetime of servitude to the Borg Collective. Seven was intelligent and resourceful, and in Star Trek Celebrations: Pride , from IDW, she demonstrates her caustic wit by shutting down the bigotry of her colleagues with a snappy comeback.

Seven of Nine, and her lover Raffi, take center stage in “Lady Luck,” by Vita Ayala and Ilana Kangas. The pair is attending Raffi’s Starfleet Academy class reunion, and it is not going well. Many of Raffi’s classmates are hostile to Seven, in part due to her time with the Fenris Rangers, but mostly because she is a former Borg. Seven uses her Borg technology to expose a corrupt officer among Raffi’s classmates.

As Seven explains what she did, she tells the officer not to worry about being assimilated, as they would add nothing to the collective.

Seven of Nine Was Unlike Any Star Trek Character Before Her

Seven of nine helped voyager survive their journey home.

Seven of Nine is one of the most compelling characters in the Star Trek franchise. Introduced in Star Trek: Voyager’s fourth season, Seven of Nine was born Anika Hansen, and was assimilated into the Borg at a young age. She joins Voyager’s crew as a liaison for the Borg during their war with Species 8472. Seven were severed from the Collective during the conflict. She would spend the remainder of the show learning what it was to be human again. After Voyager’s return, Seven joins the Fenris Rangers before eventually joining Starfleet.

Seven’s former masters in the Borg are perhaps the most feared alien race in the galaxy, and for good reason. A race of cyborgs, the Borg travel the universe, assimilating other species into their Collective. Star Trek has shown that the assimilation process is not easily undone, but Seven of Nine bucked the odds. Seven proved to be one of the best things to happen to Voyager. She shaved seven years off their journey within weeks of joining the crew. Her inside knowledge of the Borg helped Janeway and company navigate a treacherous stretch of space.

Star Trek Gave Voyager's EMH Doctor the Perfect Ending

The EMH was one of Star Trek: Voyager's most popular characters, and now his fate after Voyager returned has been revealed.

Seven of Nine Gets to Show Her Wit in Star Trek Celebrations: Pride

She makes it clear bigots cannot be borg.

Seven of Nine proved herself time and again as a formidable intellect, and now, when confronted with ignorance and corruption, she lets loose one of Star Treks sickest burns.

Seven of Nine proved herself time and again as a formidable intellect, and now, when confronted with ignorance and corruption, she lets loose one of Star Trek’s sickest burns. The Borg assimilate nearly every species they encounter. Suggesting that the Borg would pass someone over for assimilation is a 24th century way of insulting their intelligence. Seven of Nine’s insults work, as it gets under the corrupt officer’s skin, nearly starting a fight. The Borg find something worth taking from every one they meet, but bigots clearly offer nothing.

Star Trek Celebrations: Pride is on sale now from IDW Publishing!

Seven of Nine Just Delivered Star Trek's Sickest Burn

TREKNEWS.NET | Your daily dose of Star Trek news and opinion

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Emmy Award winner Paul Giamatti cast in Star Trek: Starfleet Academy

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Star Trek receives prestigious Peabody Award for franchise's impact on American broadcasting

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A second Star Trek: Strange New Worlds novel coming April 2025

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From TNG to Enterprise, Star Trek VFX Maestro, Adam Howard, shares stories from his career

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Gates McFadden talks Star Trek: Picard, reuniting with her TNG castmates, InvestiGates, and the human condition

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John Billingsley discusses what he’d want in a fifth season of Enterprise, playing Phlox and this weekend’s Trek Talks 2 event

Veteran Star Trek director David Livingston looks back on his legendary career ahead of Trek Talks 2 event

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2023: A banner year for Star Trek — here’s why [Op-Ed]

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New photos from this week's episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks

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Star Trek: Infinite release date + details on Lower Decks­-themed pre-order bonuses

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Connor Trinneer and Dominic Keating talk Enterprise and how they honor the Star Trek ethos with Shuttlepod Show, ahead of this weekend's live event

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Review: Star Trek: Discovery Season 5 Episode 7 “Erigah”

Moll and L’ak’s quest for freedom takes a drastic turn for the worse as the criminal pair find themselves within the Federation’s grasp – and the Breen are knocking on the door.

After escaping the I.S.S. Enterprise just before Discovery could capture them, Moll ( Eve Harlow ) and the wounded L’ak ( Elias Toufexis ) are ensnared by the U.S.S. Locherer . Discovery arrives on the scene so Captain Michael Burnham ( Sonequa Martin-Green ) can escort them to Federation HQ, but a last-minute development arrests that plan: the Breen are bringing their biggest, deadliest, meanest-looking dreadnaught to bear against the Federation to get L’ak back.

Admiral Charles Vance ( Oded Fehr ) initially ordered Burnham to jump away from Federation HQ to protect Moll and L’ak, but Burnham reasons having Discovery stand its ground will ultimately lead to a solution to this political and diplomatic crisis. But why are the Breen bringing so much firepower and risking war just to fulfill a blood bounty?

In “Erigah,” we’re treated to a surprise: the return of Commander D. Nhan ( Rachael Ancheril ). Fans may remember her last from season four’s “ Rubicon ,” where she served as a member of Federation Security. Disappointingly, Nhan’s role in this episode feels underutilized. Any member of Federation Security could have filled her position without affecting the plot, which is the telltale sign of a wasted character. What’s missing is any significant development related to her overarching storyline—such as her struggle to reintegrate into her own culture after time-traveling to the future. Given that this is the show’s final season, it’s regrettable that Nhan’s character doesn’t receive a more impactful sendoff. Hopefully, we’ll encounter her again in the remaining three episodes, providing a more fitting conclusion to her journey.

riva on star trek

“The word ‘diplomacy’ isn’t even in their vocabulary.” “Then we shall teach it to them.” – Rayner and T’Rina, on the Breen.

Burnham correctly deduces there’s more to the Breen’s interest in L’ak than meets the eye. Six primarchs are aiming for control of the Breen Imperium, and that has led to internal unrest. Moreover, thanks to a report from the still-off-screen Saru (it’s a damn shame Doug Jones isn’t in this season more), we know the Breen’s political quarrels stem from members of the Breen royal family competing for the throne.  A fairly one-sided conversation with the wounded L’ak confirms Burnham’s suspicions: L’ak is a member of the royal family, and is the only way his uncle, Primarch Ruhn ( Tony Nappo ), can claim the Breen throne. Getting L’ak back goes beyond a blood bounty for Ruhn – it’s the only way to gain power.

While Burnham, Admiral Vance, and President T’Rina ( Tara Rosling ) – standing in for President Rillak – stare down the Breen, Moll and L’ak try a last shot at freedom. On Discovery , the pair formulate a desperate escape plan; Moll will make a run for it as L’ak hacks his biobed (sure, why not?) and overdoses himself to cause a distraction. The plan works, unbelievably, but only insofar as Moll escapes the forcefield in which she and L’ak are being held. Her escape backfires when L’ak accidentally takes a lethal dose of the drugs, forcing her to say goodbye to her love.

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“L’ak is your world. I know that. I also know what it’s like to lose one. Don’t miss your chance to be with him. For him.” – Book to Moll, as L’ak is dying.

Not quite all is lost for Moll, however, as she sees a narrow chance to still get what she wants. Handing herself over to the Breen and helping them find the Progenitor tech means she might be able to clear the blood bounty she and the now-deceased L’ak share, and perhaps bring him back to life using the life-creating properties of the Progenitors’ tech. So, that’s where Moll’s story ends in this episode – hopping on a Breen dreadnaught, nesting in the lair of the enemy, and trying to help the Federation’s adversary find the galaxy’s ultimate treasure first. What could go wrong?

Commander Rayner ( Callum Keith Rennie ) is more than his typical hard-edged self in this episode. The Breen’s arrival rustled up painful memories, and it takes a bit of convincing for him to tell his captain why he’s so hostile against the alien race.

It turns out his homeworld, Kellerun was once occupied by the Breen, and Rayner saw firsthand how ferocious and unforgivingly violent Breen can be. He even lost his family to the helmeted off-worlders, so yes, Rayner has an axe to grind against the brutalists now on the Federation’s doorstep. Much to T’Rina’s and Burnham’s chagrin, Rayner isn’t afraid to advocate total annihilation of the Federation’s newest enemy. (How long before we get a novel filling in Rayner’s tragic backstory?)

Rayner’s tale does give Burnham an idea for how to deal with Ruhn, but we must wonder: Why doesn’t Rayner voluntarily offer his intel in the face of the Breen’s overwhelming threat, which he has experienced firsthand? Despite the painful memories the Breen elicits for him, shouldn’t he understand every advantage helps Federation leadership concoct a defense against the massive dreadnaught?

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An offer to trade an enormous amount of dilithium, likely still uber-valuable in the post-Burn galaxy, doesn’t convince Ruhn to back off wanting L’ak and Moll. So, the Federation plays hardball, and T’Rina asserts that instead of giving Ruhn his bounty, she will hand Moll and L’ak over to another Breen primarch, Tahal, who supposedly gave a competing offer for the criminals. Ruhn thinks the Federation is bluffing, until Rayner supports their ruse with detailed knowledge of Tahal, knowledge he undoubtedly gained from Tahal’s occupation of Kellerun. Ultimately, Ruhn agrees to let the Federation keep L’ak, as that would ensure other Breen primarchs can’t use the royal family member as a shortcut to the throne. But as we’ve seen, Ruhn doesn’t walk away from Federation HQ empty-handed.  

Despite the confrontation with the Breen, Discovery ’s crew still needs to figure out the next step in the Progenitor puzzle. A metal card attached to the clue found in the last episode – complete with a Betazoid logo and the phrase “labyrinths of the mind” – points to a Betazoid book authored by Marina Derex, one of the scientists who fabricated the puzzle trail to the Progenitor tech.

The metal card is actually a library pass, a realization Adira Tal ( Blu del Barrio ) and Sylvia Tilly ( Mary Wiseman ) have thanks to the niche knowledge of Jett Reno ( Tig Notaro ), who points them in the direction of a traveling library in space, called the Eternal Gallery and Archive. Thanks to Stamets and Cleveland Booker ( David Ajala ) working on the location of the next clue, we know where this library is now. It’s a familiar place for Deep Space Nine and Voyager fans: the Badlands. We certainly look forward to seeing what this iconic location looks like in 2024.

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There are three episodes left in the season, and plenty of opportunities for twists and turns in the path to the Progenitors tech, never mind time for Discovery to show the audience its take on the Progenitors tech itself, with all the technological and spiritual elements that might entail. Intriguingly, things are a bit more personal after the events of “Erigah.” Now that Moll is working with the Breen, will Book end up doing something foolhardy to protect the only family he has left, and how will he weigh that motivation against his residual love for Burnham? What will Moll sacrifice to bring back her partner? How will Culber’s spiritual journey play out as the crew gets closer to the secret of life itself, and will that journey foreshadow spiritual awakenings other crewmembers might experience? Discovery has set up quite the expectations for the last half of its final season, and we’re holding our breath that they stick the landing.

Stray Thoughts:

  • The Breen attack on Earth hundreds of years ago referenced in this episode was seen in the Deep Space Nine episode “The Changing Face of Evil.”
  • It can’t be a coincidence that the first name of the Betazoid scientist who worked on the Progenitors tech, Marina, has the same first name as Marina Sirtis, the actress who played Star Trek ’s most famous Betazoid.
  • Rayner recalls a Romulan saying: “Never turn your back on a Breen.” This same saying was referenced in Deep Space Nine ’s “By Inferno’s Light.”
  • Why would Tilly be taking a shuttle to Federation HQ, and not a transporter? Is it perhaps so Stamets could intercept her and keep her on the ship?
  • Besides seeing a Breen dreadnaught in the time bug cycle, how could Burnham be sure it’s the same one as what ultimately arrives at Federation HQ?
  • When Burnham was first learning about who she would pick as her first officer, wouldn’t Rayner’s homeworld’s occupation by the Breen show up in her research?
  • At the end of Rayner’s monologue about his past, Burnham asserts he just gave them a way to deal with the Breen. Why doesn’t Rayner ask how, or what Burnham’s plan is?
  • Who else aren’t fans of the swinging camera technique employed in this episode’s fight scenes?
  • Wouldn’t scans taken after Moll was captured show she has implanted cloaking technology, as Zora ( Annabelle Wallis ) assumes when Moll mysteriously evades capture?
  • Burnham asserts Rayner did “really well today” at the end of the episode, but did he? If not for Burnham’s persistence, he likely wouldn’t have revealed his knowledge of the Breen, which helped in negotiations with Ruhn, and just continued to be a thorn in the side of Federation leadership.

New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery stream Thursdays on Paramount+ , this season stars Sonequa Martin-Green (Captain Michael Burnham), Doug Jones (Saru), Anthony Rapp (Paul Stamets), Mary Wiseman (Sylvia Tilly), Wilson Cruz (Dr. Hugh Culber), David Ajala (Cleveland “Book” Booker), Blu del Barrio (Adira) and Callum Keith Rennie (Rayner). Season five also features recurring guest stars Elias Toufexis (L’ak) and Eve Harlow (Moll).

Stay tuned to TrekNews.net for all the latest news on Star Trek: Discovery , Star Trek: Prodigy , Star Trek: Strange New Worlds , Star Trek: Lower Decks , and more.

You can follow us on X , Facebook , and Instagram .

riva on star trek

Kyle Hadyniak has been a lifelong Star Trek fan, and isn't ashamed to admit that Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek: Nemesis are his favorite Star Trek movies. You can follow Kyle on Twitter @khady93 .

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Memory Alpha

Designated as a " pleasure planet ", Risa was an inhabited Federation planet located in a binary system , in orbit of the star Epsilon Ceti B, and was about ninety light years from the Sol system . The planet was orbited by at least two moons .

This planet was the homeworld of the humanoid Risians and its planetary government was called the Risa Hedony . ( TNG : " Captain's Holiday "; ENT : " Two Days and Two Nights "; Star Trek Into Darkness ; PIC : " Maps and Legends ", " The Next Generation "; SNW : " Strange New Worlds ", " Children of the Comet ")

  • 1 Culture and climate
  • 2 Popular attractions
  • 4 Visitations
  • 5 Mirror universe
  • 6.1 Spaceport authorities
  • 6.2 Points of interest
  • 6.3 Zoological
  • 7.1 Appearances
  • 7.2 Background information
  • 7.3 Apocrypha
  • 7.4 External links

Culture and climate [ ]

Risa was originally a dismal, rain -soaked, and geologically unstable planet covered with vast jungles and plagued by violent earthquakes . However, the planet was transformed by the native Risians with a technologically sophisticated weather control system that provided almost-constantly desirable weather , industrial replicators , and seismic regulators to eliminate the geological instability for optimum tourist comfort. By at least the mid- 22nd century , Risa became known for its beautiful tropical resorts and an abundance of pristine beaches , making it a popular tourist destination. Tourism is the main economic source of income for Risa. ( ENT : " Two Days and Two Nights "; TNG : " The Mind's Eye "; DS9 : " Let He Who Is Without Sin... ")

Risa was most noted for its native population having a frank and open attitude to sexuality . By the mid- 24th century , Risa had developed a reputation as being a most peaceful planet, where weapons weren't allowed. ( TNG : " Captain's Holiday "; DS9 : " Let He Who Is Without Sin... ")

In 2371 , after surviving an attack by the Vidiians , Kathryn Janeway and Chakotay remembered a "cautionary tale" told to Starfleet Academy cadets before their first shore leave on the planet. In the tale , a man goes to Risa, meets an alluring woman who seduces him into what he thinks will be an evening of passion. Upon awakening in the morning, he feels awesome but discovers that he's missing a kidney . ( VOY : " Fury ")

Popular attractions [ ]

Suraya Bay

Suraya Bay at night with its two moons

  • Suraya Bay , where the Lohlunat , the Festival of the Moon , was held. One recommended restaurant was a little boat that sailed into the bay every evening, just after sunset . Patrons waded out to it, and they were served seafood right off the deck. ( ENT : " Two Days and Two Nights ")
  • Galartha , a cliff face that changed pitch while a person climbed it. ( ENT : " Two Days and Two Nights ")
  • Temtibi Lagoon , where it never rained, the water was warm and the wind smelled sweet. ( DS9 : " Let He Who Is Without Sin... ")
  • Subterranean gardens with luminescent plants . ( ENT : " Two Days and Two Nights ")
  • Risan steam pools , which were said to be very relaxing. ( ENT : " Two Days and Two Nights ")
  • The Risa water recreation park . ( VOY : " Riddles ")

There were many nightclubs on Risa, but the Vulcan database advised visitors to be wary of occasional crimes . Commander Tucker and Lieutenant Reed , for example, were left tied up in their underwear by two alien thieves who had been disguised as two "gorgeous" Risian females. ( ENT : " Two Days and Two Nights ")

According to the Vulcan database, Risa had over two hundred registered Nuvian masseuses . ( ENT : " Fallen Hero ")

Risa also offered many diversions designed to appeal to Vulcans . ( ENT : " Two Days and Two Nights ")

History [ ]

Enterprise-D over Risa, 2366

The Enterprise -D orbits Risa in 2366

In 2152 , Enterprise NX-01 visited Risa for two days for some shore leave . This stopover marked the first official visit of an Earth starship to Risa and also the farthest any Human had officially traveled from the Sol system up until then. ( ENT : " Two Days and Two Nights ")

Also, during the 22nd century , a time traveling scientist from the 27th century named Kal Dano came to Risa. There, he hid an invention of his called the Tox Uthat – a device capable of halting all nuclear fusion within a star – from Vorgon criminals who considered it to be a formidable weapon . ( TNG : " Captain's Holiday ")

Risa was a common travel destination during the mid- 23rd century . During the Federation-Klingon War of 2256 , two crewmen aboard the USS Discovery laughed about someone who had never been to Risa. ( DIS : " Context Is for Kings ")

By the 24th century , the history of the Uthat had passed into local legend and both the Vorgons as well as Federation archeologists tried to recover it. ( TNG : " Captain's Holiday ")

On Stardate 34180.7 , Risa hosted a Starfleet bridge tournament in which Jean-Luc Picard won a Silver Spade . ( Star Trek Nemesis )

In 2366 , Vash , a Human archaeologist who was concluding years of search by Professor Samuel Estragon , found the Tox Uthat buried in a cave . She wanted to conceal her discovery from other interested factions, such as vacationer Jean-Luc Picard, but as Picard discovered her deception and the Vorgon's longing for the dangerous device, he destroyed it. ( TNG : " Captain's Holiday "; DS9 : " Q-Less ")

In late 2367 , Risa hosted an artificial intelligence seminar . ( TNG : " The Mind's Eye ")

According to Starfleet Security , it was believed that Federation Ambassador Krajensky was kidnapped or killed by the Dominion while on his way to Risa in 2371 so that he could be replaced by a Changeling impersonator . ( DS9 : " The Adversary ")

In 2373 , the New Essentialists Movement , who led a campaign to turn the Federation away from its perceived decadence, successfully sabotaged Risa's weather control system. They attempted to do the same to the planet's vital seismic regulators, but were stopped when Lieutenant Commander Worf became disillusioned with them and refused to continue the demonstration. ( DS9 : " Let He Who Is Without Sin... ")

Jack Crusher , under his alias "Jack Canby", was charged with intent to distribute banned substances and intent to distribute illegal firearms on Risa in the late 24th century . ( PIC : " Disengage ")

Visitations [ ]

Risa tourist resort

A tourist resort on Risa (2366)

In 2135 , while working for the Vulcan Ministry of Security , T'Pol tracked down the fugitive Vulcan operatives Menos and Jossen to Risa and pursued them into the planet's Tropical Zone jungles . She killed Jossen, but Menos escaped. She was later dismissive of her activities there upon Enterprise 's 2152 visit, saying merely, " I've visited Risa before. It seemed appropriate to give someone else a chance. " ( ENT : " The Seventh ")

During Enterprise 's two days and two nights on Risa, crewmembers enjoyed various locations, such as Suraya Bay and the Galartha cliffs. While visiting there, Captain Jonathan Archer met a couple who were also visiting the planet, where they were celebrating their three hundredth wedding anniversary . ( ENT : " Two Days and Two Nights ")

In 2366 , Captain Picard of the USS Enterprise -D followed a recommendation from his first officer by taking a shore leave on Risa. ( TNG : " Captain's Holiday ")

Geordi La Forge was scheduled to attend an artificial intelligence seminar on Risa in late 2367 . He was ordered by Captain Picard to arrive a few days early to have some fun and relax. However, three hours before his arrival, he was kidnapped by Romulans and replaced by a double who attended the seminar in his place. ( TNG : " The Mind's Eye ")

Riker visited Risa in 2368 , where he met Ktarian operative Etana and introduced him to a game for the purpose of gaining control of Starfleet. ( TNG : " The Game ")

Risan sunset

The two suns of Risa

In the same year, Captain Picard suggested a hypothetical choice whether to holiday on Corsica or on Risa. ( TNG : " A Matter Of Time ")

In 2369 , Grand Nagus Zek decided to go to Risa or Balosnee VI for his first vacation in eighty-five years. ( DS9 : " The Nagus ")

In early 2371 , a Boslic captain filed a flight plan from Deep Space 9 to Risa after selling some wreckage to Quark . ( DS9 : " The Abandoned ")

Later that year, Thomas Riker (while posing as Will Riker) claimed that he was on his way from the Enterprise -D to a vacation on Risa. ( DS9 : " Defiant ")

Hoping to stop her from further helping the Maquis , Benjamin Sisko told Kasidy Yates they should visit Risa. Yates turned him down but told him she would meet him there if he wanted to travel there alone in a runabout . ( DS9 : " For the Cause ")

Jadzia Dax , Worf , Julian Bashir , Leeta , and Quark all visited Temtibi Lagoon on Risa in 2373 . ( DS9 : " Let He Who Is Without Sin... ")

Risa cave

Caves on Risa

Later that year, arms dealer Farrakk visited Risa for a vacation instead of opening negotiations with the Verillians . ( DS9 : " Business as Usual ")

At some point in 2373, Raimus was on Risa and talked a Starfleet officer who was in command of the weather control system there into becoming an informant for the Orion Syndicate . ( DS9 : " Honor Among Thieves ")

In 2374 , Odo asked Bashir if an upcoming medical conference he was to attend would be on Risa. It was actually on another "sunny resort," Casperia Prime . ( DS9 : " Inquisition ")

Risa resort

A resort on Risa

When told by Jadzia Dax that she wanted a suffer-free honeymoon , Worf was worried she wanted to visit Risa again. She had actually chosen Casperia Prime. ( DS9 : " Change of Heart ")

When Grand Nagus Zek disappeared in mid- 2375 , Quark believed he was probably on Risa. In fact, he had traveled to the mirror universe . Zek himself knew that Quark would say he was on Risa. ( DS9 : " The Emperor's New Cloak ")

Doctor Bashir asked Sarina Douglas if she wanted to go to Risa. Their relationship ended before they could go. ( DS9 : " Chrysalis ")

Grand Nagus Zek and Ishka retired to Risa in 2375. ( DS9 : " The Dogs of War ")

Following the Battle of Cardassia and the prospect of a larger battle with the Dominion , Ezri Dax told Captain Sisko, " All things considered, I'd rather be on Risa. " Sisko noted, " That makes two of us. " ( DS9 : " What You Leave Behind ")

In 2380 , Quimp and his wife considered going to Risa for the weekend . ( LD : " Envoys ")

Mirror universe [ ]

Risa (Mirror)

Mirror Risa

In the mirror universe , Risa was part of the Terran Empire as of 2255 . Unlike in the prime universe, mirror Risa had a ring system .

In an alternate timeline created by the Guardian of Forever in 3189 , the ISS Discovery captured Duggan , Gabriel Lorca 's lieutenant , in orbit of Risa in 2255. ( DIS : " Terra Firma, Part 2 ")

Further information [ ]

Spaceport authorities [ ].

  • Risa Control

Points of interest [ ]

Risian birds

Risian birds in 2135

  • Temtibi Lagoon
  • Tropical Zone

Zoological [ ]

  • Risian bird
  • Risan sea turtle

Appendices [ ]

Appearances [ ].

  • " Two Days and Two Nights "
  • " The Seventh "
  • " Terra Firma, Part 2 "
  • " Captain's Holiday "
  • " The Game "
  • " Let He Who Is Without Sin... "

Background information [ ]

Risa concept art

Concept art for Risa in DS9

There are two pronunciations for Risa. In the script for "The Mind's Eye", the pronunciation was "RYE-sa". [1] In the script for "Q-Less"", the pronunciation was "RYE-suh". [2] The latter pronunciation was used in the script for "Fallen Hero".

The concept of Risa was invented by Ira Steven Behr , who based the script for the episode "Captain's Holiday" on it. Gene Roddenberry approved of the idea of the "pleasure planet" but wanted to radically change Risa's culture to incorporate extremely graphic depictions of homosexual behavior, which Rick Berman advised Behr to ignore. ( William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge )

Years after working on Star Trek: The Next Generation , Patrick Stewart once claimed that Risa was the only planet from TNG that he could remember the name of. ( William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge )

For DS9 : " Let He Who Is Without Sin... ", sets representing guest chambers on Risa (such as Pascal Fullerton 's, as well as one used by Worf and Jadzia Dax ) were built on Paramount Stage 17 . ( citation needed • edit )

In ultimately omitted dialogue from the final draft script of ENT : " Desert Crossing ", Jonathan Archer and Charles Tucker III agreed that, when they arrived on Risa, the first thing they would do would be to "jump into the nearest swimming pool" they could find. In the same script, Risa was depicted as appearing in the episode's final shot, referred to in a scene description as "a beautiful, blue-green planet," despite the fact Risa does not appear in that episode's final version. Nonetheless, Risa was also referred to as a "blue-green planet" in the final draft script of ENT : " Two Days and Two Nights " and in incomplete visual effects footage from a deleted scene excluded from that episode (the latter of which can be seen in the special features of the ENT Season 1 DVD and Blu-ray ).

Scott Bakula in front of green screen

One of the shots in which Risa was intended to replace green screen

In the version of the ultimately deleted scene from the final draft script of "Two Days and Two Nights", a scene description stated, " Risa hangs enticingly outside the windows, " and another scene description mentioned "the promise of Risa shining through the windows." The filmed version of the scene demonstrates that, if the scene had been completed, the planet would have been inserted into the footage with replacement of green screen .

In another scene description from the final draft script of "Two Days and Two Nights", Risa was referred to as a "spectacular planet." The surface of the planet was also scripted to be extremely serene.

In a scene that was scripted for the end of ENT : " Home " (and included in the ENT Season 4 Blu-ray ) but never filmed, Risa was briefly mentioned, as one of several small rocks which Archer left at his father 's grave had been taken, by the captain, from Risa. In the same scene, Archer commented, as if to his deceased father, " That's a place I wish you could've seen. "

A reference to Risa was included in the first draft script of the aborted film Star Trek: The Beginning , set in 2159 . Risa was noted to be the location where Archer and Enterprise were during a series of Romulan attacks in the Sol system , which took place on 13 August 2159 and initiated the Earth-Romulan War .

At the conclusion of DIS Season 1 , After Trek host Matt Mira commented to Sonequa Martin-Green and Anthony Rapp that he thought the USS Discovery 's crew should set a course for Risa. Martin-Green agreed with this, since the Federation-Klingon War depicted in the series was now over, but Mira had to explain to her what Risa was before she understood. ( AT : " Will You Take My Hand? ")

Deanna relaxing

The Risian emblem, tilted by 90°

A logo for Risa, depicting a sunset over an ocean, was created and shown in VOY : " Inside Man ", on Deanna Troi 's beach towel. A more colorful version was used in the reference book Star Trek: Star Charts (p. 53).

According to Star Trek: Star Charts (pp. 53, 56), the planet Risa (Epsilon Ceti B II) was class M and its government was the Risan Hedony. This planet was admitted into the United Federation of Planets in 2249 . The Risan capital was Nuvia. The population of Risa, which included Risans and individuals from many other species, in 2378 , was 2.81 billion, and, in an average year, up to 1.3 billion tourists visited the world. Points of interest included Temtibi Lagoon, Suraya Bay, and the Eluvian Mud Baths. The tropical climate was controlled by a weather control system. In the 24th century , Risa was a popular destination on the major space lanes.

Risa, the primary of Risa, was located in the Alpha Quadrant on a star chart visible in the Star Trek: Discovery episode " Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad ".

The Star Trek Encyclopedia , 4th ed., vol. 2, p. 225 described Risa as a tropical class M planet.

According to StarTrek.com , Risa was located in the same sector as Starbase 12 . [3] (X)

Apocrypha [ ]

According to the RPG sourcebook Planets of the UFP , Risa was the third planet in the Tau Regulon system.

According to the RPG sourcebook Worlds , Risa was the third planet in the Granicus system.

The biography for Starfleet Lieutenant Hawk in the video game Star Trek: Starship Creator states that his parents Gwyneth and Ethan were residents of Risa.

The non- canon Star Trek: Destiny novel mini-series depicted Risa as one of the many worlds decimated during a Borg invasion of the Alpha Quadrant in 2381.

Before ENT : " Rajiin " established Nuvians to be a separate species, the reference to Nuvian masseuses on Risa in ENT : " Fallen Hero " was misinterpreted by the non-canon Star Trek: Star Charts , which lists the city of "Nuvia" as the capital of Risa.

External links [ ]

  • Risa at Memory Beta , the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
  • Epsilon Ceti at Wikipedia
  • Re-Used Planets in DS9  at Ex Astris Scientia
  • 1 Daniels (Crewman)
  • 3 Jamaharon


  1. Riva

    riva on star trek

  2. Riva

    riva on star trek

  3. Loud as a Whisper--Howie Seago an actual deaf actor played an

    riva on star trek

  4. Riva's chorus

    riva on star trek

  5. Riva

    riva on star trek

  6. Today in Star Trek history: actor and director Howie Seago is born

    riva on star trek


  1. Star Trek INtakes: Riva, Master Diplomat

  2. #nature #trekking #trek_To_Thatharna #dharamshala #mountain #beautiful #youtubeshorts #shorts

  3. Star Trek

  4. Star Trek The Next Generation Loud As A Whisper chorus horribly killed (ST:TNG S2E05)

  5. Loud as a Whisper: Meet Riva/Emotional Revelation

  6. Riker and Deanna's situationship


  1. Riva

    Star Trek. Riva was a famed Ramatisian mediator from the planet Ramatis III. He was a member of the ruling family on Ramatis, all of whom shared a genetic condition that rendered them deaf. Because he was deaf, to communicate, Riva used his Chorus of telepathic interpreters who spoke for him.

  2. "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Loud as a Whisper (TV Episode 1989

    Loud as a Whisper: Directed by Larry Shaw. With Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn. The crew ferries a deaf mediator to Solais V to negotiate an end to a civil war.

  3. Loud as a Whisper

    "Loud as a Whisper" is the fifth episode of the second season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 31st episode overall which first broadcast on January 9, ... communication with him, who are able to enunciate his thoughts. Riva dismisses the Enterprise crew's briefing on the history of the ...

  4. Loud As A Whisper (episode)

    (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., p. 73) 73) The script of this episode stated that Riva was forced to learn sign language while mediating a conflict in the Plaeties system .

  5. Howie Seago

    Howie Seago (born 15 December 1953; age 70) is the actor, director, and producer who played Riva in the Star Trek: The Next Generation second season episode "Loud As A Whisper". Like his character, Seago is deaf. Born as Howard W. Seago in Tacoma, Washington he joined the National Theatre of the...

  6. Deaf Star Trek TNG Guest Star Made Their Episode's Ending Better

    Summary. Guest star Howie Seago's objections to the original ending of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Loud as a Whisper" led to a better resolution for his character, Riva. Seago, who is deaf himself, refused to perpetuate the false idea that deaf people can learn to speak easily overnight, and the show respected his cultural ...

  7. Star Trek: The Next Generation

    To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and also next year's release of Star Trek: Into Darkness, I'm taking a look at the recent blu ray release of the first season (and a tiny bit of the second), episode-by-episode. Check back daily for the latest review. ... where after the killing of his chorus Riva ...

  8. Revisiting Star Trek TNG: Loud as a Whisper

    The Enterprise is dispatched to collect the famous mediator, Riva, so that they can transport him to mediate a dispute on Solais V. Before the away team beams down, Troi senses Worf's inner ...

  9. The Trek Nation

    Riva is so famous that even Worf has heard of him ("Before Riva, there was no Klingon word for peace," Worf announces in aggrieved tones, though Worf was raised by humans and ostensibly knows ...

  10. Every Counselor Troi Love Interest In Star Trek: TNG

    When a renowned ambassador and negotiator named Riva visits the Enterprise, he and Troi embark on a sweet, budding romance. Riva is deaf and he is intrigued by Troi's telepathic abilities as well as her beauty. After Riva's interpreters are killed during the negotiations, he struggles to find other ways to communicate. ... After the Star Trek ...

  11. Recap / Star Trek: The Next Generation S2E5 "Loud As a Whisper"

    Recap / Star Trek: The Next Generation S2E5 "Loud As a Whisper". Recap /. Star Trek: The Next Generation S2E5 "Loud As a Whisper". Picard talking to Riva. Original air date: January 9, 1989. The Enterprise gets orders to transport a renowned mediator named Riva to Solais V to bring an end to a bitter war. Upon meeting him, the crew learns that ...

  12. Star Trek The Next Generation: Loud as a Whisper

    Riva is played by Howie Seago, a well-known actor in the Deaf community and last seen Shake-ing his speare in a festival in Oregon as a member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Company. ... As a Star Trek episode, though, I thought it fell flat. Picard should have yelled at Pulaski for her eagerness to violate the Prime Directive for medical ...

  13. "Loud as a Whisper"

    In-depth critical reviews of Star Trek and some other sci-fi series. Includes all episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks, Prodigy, and Strange New Worlds. ... Riva turns out to be deaf, and he communicates through a "chorus" of ...

  14. A couple questions on Loud as a Whisper : r/startrek

    In the first draft, Riva learned to speak overnight after a mechanical translator he used to communicate with his chorus failed. Seago suggested the ending used in the finished episode the day prior to shooting. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion 2nd ed., p. 73)

  15. Riva's chorus

    Riva's Chorus was a trio of telepaths who had lived with Riva since his childhood and who were extraordinarily attuned to his thoughts and emotions. Riva himself was deaf, a hereditary condition of the ruling dynasty of his planet, Ramatis III, and the chorus interpreted his thoughts and spoke on his behalf. The trio each spoke for different aspects of Riva. The "Scholar/Artist" spoke on ...

  16. "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Loud as a Whisper (TV Episode ...

    It contains some classic liberal Star Trek philosophy but it is presented in a fairly non cinematic way. To enjoy 'Loud As A Whisper' you need to be invested for the guest character of Riva who carries the main arc, along with Deanna Troi and have an appreciation for the use of communication to resolve conflict.

  17. Riva

    Star Trek. Riva was a deaf ambassador for the United Federation of Planets native to the planet Ramatis III. In 2359, he and Sarek helped to broker a temporary peace between Cardassia and the Federation. (TLE novel: The Buried Age) He used a telepathic 'chorus' to talk to people.

  18. Coming Soon

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  19. What happened to Riva after the events of Loud as a Whisper?

    They're a pair of aggressive, yet slow to learn species. 1. 755K subscribers in the startrek community. A casual, constructive, and most importantly, welcoming place on the internet to talk about Star Trek.

  20. Depictions of Disabilities in Star Trek

    Geordi meet Ambassador Riva - "Loud As A Whisper" Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season Two, Ep. 5. At the conclusion of their conversation Riva says "It's a blessing to understand that we are special, each in his own way." This was a bold statement in 1992. ... Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season Two, Ep. 6.

  21. Riva

    Riva (Riva) on the KellyPlanet Database for Star Trek Timelines Portrayed by Howie Seago and featured in The Next Generation ~erickelly~

  22. Rivan

    Rivan was the leader of the Edo who inhabited Rubicun III. She was among the group who welcomed the officers of the USS Enterprise-D in 2364. After the young Wesley Crusher was condemned to death for violating a law in one of the Edo punishment zones, Captain Picard brought her aboard on the...

  23. Seven of Nine Just Delivered Star Trek's Sickest Burn

    Seven of Nine is one of the Star Trek franchise's most intelligent characters, but now, in the face of bigotry, delivers its sickest burn.

  24. Star Trek: Discovery 507 "Erigah" Review: In the Shadow of War

    Review: Star Trek: Discovery Season 5 Episode 7 "Erigah" Moll and L'ak's quest for freedom takes a drastic turn for the worse as the criminal pair find themselves within the Federation's ...

  25. Risa

    Sci-fi. Star Trek. Designated as a "pleasure planet", Risa was an inhabited Federation planet located in a binary system, in orbit of the star Epsilon Ceti B, and was about ninety light years from the Sol system. The planet was orbited by at least two moons. This planet was the homeworld of the humanoid Risians...