Yesterday evening, I took the Tarot Balbi on its continuing mission to explore strange new worlds with me…
We were watching some episodes from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and a few minutes into the first one, I spontaneously decided to pull some cards to see where the story would go. I repeated that for each episode we watched, and kept glancing at the cards throughout to see if anything would match my predictions or something else I might have overlooked.
I’ll spare you my first attempts because they were mostly off. But it got interesting eventually. For the episode “Power Play” I pulled these cards (no positional meanings, several plot spoilers ahead):
The Wheel of Fortune drew my attention most. The way the figures were all encompassed by that snake-circle made me think of cramped spaces. I decided the episode would contain an important scene in the starship’s turbo lift.
A few minutes into the story, crew members William Riker, Data, and Deanna Troi use a shuttle craft to get to the surface of a moon through an electric storm. The two men sit in the front, and Troi sits in the back, just like the three figures in the circle. The two men hold on to the dashboard because the vehicle is shaking so much. There are also several scenes that do indeed take place in one of the lifts, one of which with less than three people. Finally, crew members Geordi La Forge and Ro Laren get into the crawlspace above the bar Ten Forward to try and do something about the intruding spirits — another scene in cramped space.
Oh, and then there’s the spirit possession of Deanna Troi, Data, and Miles O’Brien which pushes their own personalities aside and renders them unable to interfere with the spirits’ actions. Which I can easily see in the way the other figures on the card are placed outside of the circle but still clinging close to it.
The other two cards I interpreted as having to do with something inside wanting to go outside (the spirits wanting to escape the penal colony the moon was for them), and an inner voice of wisdom (Picard’s sense that something didn’t fit about the violence of the spirits and their claim to be crew members of a starship that had been lost nearly 200 years ago), which I saw in the tiny owl-like figure in the middle of the star.
With the last episode (“Ethics“) I drew cards for, however, I was really stunned by the accuracy of the cards.This is what I got:
I immediately noticed that the Devil doesn’t seem to have a middle body. I didn’t quite know what to make of the cards and just said — drawing mostly on the Judgment card — that the crew would land on a planet, and that the episode would deal with the issue of family.
In the episode, Worf has an accident that leaves him paralyzed. See the very exposed Devil‘s spine? This is the one body part that everything in this story revolves around. I think the figure in the card image even looks a little bit like Worf with the beard and emphasized forehead.
As a Klingon warrior, Worf can’t stand the idea of living a disabled life and asks his friend William Riker to assist him in a ritual suicide. Apparently, that involves a fancy knife, which Riker handles in a scene where he states that, according to Klingon tradition, Worf’s son Alexander would need to be the one to assist. The King of Swords looks so much like Riker in that scene! He also uses logic and points to the “rules” to explain why he wouldn’t assist in Worf killing himself. This is also where the theme of family comes in, like I predicted (there are more scenes about Worf and his son later on).
In the end, Worf decides to go for an untested medical procedure where his spine is cloned and exchanged against the crushed one, fully aware that the procedure could very likely kill him. The surgery seems to go well until at the end of it he dies nevertheless. However, with the Klingon “redundancies” built into his body, he eventually revives himself and literally comes back from the dead — Judgment anyone?
Finally, the Devil also seems to be related to the series’ theme of medical ethics (does the end justify the means?) and the difficulty of not giving in to one’s immediate emotions (Worf end up not killing himself, Riker says he would have assisted him despite his conviction that suicide was wrong if it had been “his place”, Beverly Crusher allows the dangerous procedure despite her distrust in the other doctor).
Looks like he Tarot Balbi itself is pretty good at telling me what happens in Star Trek episodes. My own ability in accurately reading the cards, however, seems to leave room for improvement. But hey, there are several more seasons to go…