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Summary

The Enterprise rushes to Mintaka III to repair the power generator of a "duck blind" for covert cultural observation. Liko, one of the indigenous proto-Vulcans, is injured when he investigates the now exposed strange structure of the duck blind. Dr. Crusher has him beamed up to the ship for treatment, where he briefly wakes up and looks into the face of Captain Picard. Upon his return to the planet he tells everyone that he was dead, and that "The Picard" saved him.

As one scientist, Palmer, is still missing on the planet, Troi and Riker beam down in disguise, only to notice that the Mintakans have found him. Riker manages to have Palmer beamed up without the Mintakans noticing it, whereupon they take Troi hostage to please "The Picard". Picard decides to beam up Nuria, the leader of the village, and demonstrate to her that he is not unlike her, and that his power is neither supernatural nor unlimited. Nuria eventually believes him when Warren dies, a woman who suffered severe injuries in the duck blind accident. Back on the planet Liko still doesn't believe that "The Picard" is not immortal, until he injures the captain with a shot from his bow.

Errors and Explanations

Internet Movie Database

Plot holes

  1. Riker and Troi forget that the best way to lie is to tell the truth--just not all of it. When the Mintakans are speculating about why "the Palmer" was cast out by "the Picard", one of them could have suggested that "the Picard" sent "the Palmer" to Mintaka to accomplish a task and now awaits his return, a suggestion that would have been strengthened by the fact that two hunters have just returned after being sent by Nuria to accomplish a task (namely, getting meat).This could lead to more questions than answers.

The Nitpicker's Guide
Next Generation Trekkers
Volume 2

Plot Oversights

  1. Lack of a question mark in the title. The title could be regarded as part of the phrase 'He/she who watches the watchers'.
  2. Enterprise medical staff not using a holodeck simulation in case the Mintakan wakes up. This could make the situation worse, as the readouts and equipment drawers would have to be disguised.
  3. The apparent lack of time covering the sequence of Riker beaming up in disguise with Palmer, The Mintakans untying the old man that Riker had tied up, and Riker appearing on the bridge with his face restored and in uniform. The gap between Riker and Palmer beaming up, and the Mintakans untying the old man may be significantly longer than it seems.
  4. Niko realising that Picard is not a god when Nuria shows him the blood from the wound, which is red as opposed to the copper based green blood of Vukcanoids races such as the Mintakans. Mintakan belief probably states that gods can either avoid injury, or instantly heal themselves, which Picrad is not capable of doing.

Nit Central

  1. Will Spencer on Monday, January 22, 2001 - 10:33 am: Hmm. Nobody wants to discuss the religion aspect of this one, where Picard doesn't want the Mintakans to regain their religious beliefs, and that it's an archaic superstitious belief to believe in God? My feeling is that the writers could have avoided that whole implication by Picard saying, 'Yes, there IS an Overseeer, but I am not him.' By Keith Alan Morgan (Kmorgan) on Tuesday, January 23, 2001 - 4:10 am: That would imply that Picard has met the Overseer. A more accurate thing to say would be, "I do not know if there is, or is not, an Overseer, but I know that I am not the Overseer."

    Besides, while Picard's religious views may play a role in his decision, another important aspect was the violation of the Prime Directive.

    Because of Federation personnel, a Mintakan, and possibly others, had gone back to a belief system that the Mintakans had already discarded. Picard didn't make the Mintakans give up their belief in the Overseer, but Picard's presence rekindled that belief and he had to set things back to the way they were before he arrived at the planet.

    If the Mintakans development had involved going back to a belief in the Overseer without outside interference, then Picard would have done nothing to influence their beliefs.
  2. Keith Alan Morgan (Kmorgan) on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 2:19 am: On page 206 of the NextGen Guide II, Phil seems have confused Proto-Vulcan with Vulcan. It's possible that the term Proto-Vulcan was used because of their surface appearance and not internal similarities like blood color. LUIGI NOVI on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 9:51 pm: Phil only used that term because the episode did. He was merely quoting it.
  3. Also in the Guides Phil comments about Picard wearing a sling after Crusher treated his injuries with her usual skill. I guess in Clues and Suddenly Human, Beverly must have been using extraordinary skill.

    Actually, its possible that Picard wore the sling to further convince the Mintakans that he is mortal. If he had been walking around with no sign of injury, don't you think someone would have thought it was magic. Of course, if Picard were a God, don't you think he would have given himself some hair? Such a display of ego could make the situation worse.
  4. Why does Starfleet just leave it's researchers essentially stranded on a planet, dependent on starships which could be weeks to months travel away? Logically, there should be a ship, either manned by a skeleton crew or remote controlled, in the event of an emergency. LUIGI NOVI on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 9:51 pm: There could very well be an escape vehicle in orbit where the scientists could beam to. Seniram 15:43, March 20, 2016 (UTC)Too risky - if the ship's systems failed, it could easily crash into the planet and cause an enviromental disaster.dotter31 on Friday, May 04, 2007 - 4:02 pm:Wouldn't a warp-capable escape vehicle be potentially be visible from orbit? It can't be cloaked, but perhaps some sort of holographic shielding, maybe?

    An escape vehicle wouldn't have helped here anyway, since the problems incapaciated everyone at the station.
  5. How did Starfleet build this 'duck blind' without any Mintakans noticing? LUIGI NOVI on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 9:51 pm: By locking on to large chunks of rock in the mountain, beaming it out, and then beaming in the equipment?
  6. The 'duck blind' doesn't look like it has a very good view of the village. Do the observers have additional methods of observing the village? For that matter, why not disguise some of the observers as Mintakans like Dr. Crusher did to Riker and Troi?LUIGI NOVI on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 9:51 pm: I assumed they did. They probably have cameras scattered throughout the area, and the observatory is simply were they do the observing.Torque, Son of Keplar on Tuesday, July 01, 2008 - 6:57 pm:I do remember seeing what appears to be some-kind-of binoculars or some other form of magnifying device that could be used to view the village. Also, given how Oji saw the blue sparkle in the shadows of the hills while standing at the sun dial in her village, it's safe to say that the duckblind actually looks out toward their village.
  7. Around Earth we have satellites capable of photographing very small things from orbit. Why does the Federation need to put people on the surface? LUIGI NOVI on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 9:51 pm: Keith, I don’t think those satellites can make detailed observations of the culture, the language or HEAR what the Mintakans are saying. What good is a bird’s eye only view for what these anthropologists have to do? It’s fine for national security, observing technological advancements in an industrial society, etc., but not observation of primitive cultures.
  8. Why didn't Geordi just shut off the faulty generator causing all of that electrical activity before trying to fix it? It may not be possible.
  9. Prior to Liko's experience the Overseer was not called "The Picard", but after getting beamed up to the Enterprise Nuria very easily refers to what she thinks is the Overseer as "The Picard." Don't you think she should have just said, "Overseer..." instead? LUIGI NOVI on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 9:51 pm: When she was beamed up, Picard introduced himself by name, and the way the scene was presented, it was hearing his last name, Picard, that caused her to drop to her knees in adoration. Obviously, when she heard his name, she connected it with Liko’s story of "the Picard" and assumed that as the manner to address him.
  10. If the Mintakans really believed Picard was the Overseer, then how would watching one of his servants die or even seeing him injured and bleeding prove otherwise? The Picard may have allowed His servant to die as punishment or when Nuria wasn't looking He could bring the servant back to life. As for the `injury' that may have been a ruse for some unrevealed purpose. After all, He is The Picard and He does work in mysterious ways and He must have His reasons for allowing His worshippers to believe Him to be mortal. All praise The Picard for He will lead us where no one has gone before. That’s a very good point regarding the "servant", Keith, but I’m not so sure about the bleeding. If I saw my God bleeding, that’s not the first thing I’d think of, especially if he were trying to convince me he WASN’T a god.


The Next Generation Season 3
Evolution I The Ensigns of Command I The Survivors I Who Watches the Watchers I The Bonding I Booby Trap I The Enemy I The Price I The Vengeance Factor I The Defector I The Hunted I The High Ground I Déjà Q I A Matter of Perspective I Yesterday's Enterprise I The Offspring I Sins of the Father I Allegiance I Captain's Holiday I Tin Man I Hollow Pursuits I The Most Toys I Sarek I Ménage à Troi I Transfigurations I The Best of Both Worlds Part 1