For general discussion on this episode, visit the VOY forum at The Trek BBS.
This summary seems long-winded and poorly written. Should it be rewritten?– 188.8.131.52 21:27, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
The True Spirit of Forgiveness Edit
This is one of the most impressionable Star Trek episodes ever made, at least to me. Few others have had such an impact. Among the caliber of "The Measure of a Man", this episode succinctly describes the science behind emotions that have long troubled the Human race. Capital punishment. Murder. The criminal psyche. Guilt and moral responsibility. The Justice System.
It outlines a particularly interesting and alluring concept of justice: "Favor the Victim", the basis of the Nygean legal system... let the victims decide the punishment of the guilty. This is jungle rules at it's best: and that, in a future advanced alien society. How many people in our world have suffered from the loss of a loved one because of unfair sentencing of the accused? The power they have to enforce their position is limited to their social status and their finances. But the question is: Would it work for us? No doubt, the rattled emotions of the victim would impair his or her judgment as to what would be "fair"... yet often people who have had the chance to face their offenders experience relief and remarkable prose in deciding what's best for them. Personally, I think a collaboration of victim involvement with justice supervision might produce equitable results.
Guilt and violence. I was blown away with the concept that a person's moral sense can be affected by the neurological connections in his brain. In this episode, seeing the prisoner's behavioral change after the administration of nanoprobes radically illustrated to me the likely cause of problems in many offenders in our present day society. Is it possible that the majority of today's violent offenders in our prisons are, in fact, victims themselves of their own faulty Pineal glands? And is it possible that knowledge of this in oneself could propel one's sense of conscience to self-forgiveness and subsequent self-improvement?
Capital punishment. I almost laugh at the nonchalance of Seven of Nine's comments on the issue: "Executing them ensures they'll never pose a threat to anyone again." "Confining them for life requires significant resources. The Nygeans may not think it worthwhile." "Their victims won't have the same opportunity." [to become productive members of society - EMH] "I'm simply being objective." Thank goodness the Doctor is there to balance out Seven's perspective: "Killing is wrong no matter who's doing it." Still, what a staunch reminder of the discomfort of this subject - the idea of killing in order to prevent killing - is this really a viable solution?
And finally, the episode's namesake: Repentance. It's here that the impact of this story becomes apparent; it seems to actually redefine the very definition of the word. No longer is it falling to the knees in supplication for anxiety and sorrow. There is no darkness in the character who, though at first experiences remorse, then quickly becomes what he wishes for, to be "made of light". He asks for no special treatment, offers his dinner to Egrid, and helps quell a rebellion. He offers his apology, and his life, to the victim's family, and essentially expresses a new-found freedom from his previous barbaric nature. He's found Peace.
And that, my friends, is the True Spirit of Forgiveness.
By Steve. – Steph6n 08:55, March 30, 2010 (UTC)