This strip may be more about how I was feeling by this point in the pilot than anything, because man this whole encounter sort of drags on. It’s one of those things that, done right, could make a really neat disorienting sequence in a film, but at the sort of sedate pace and direction of Star Trek and with the “we know this has to work out because it’s the damn pilot of a show” context, there’s not a lot of sense of risk or disorientation or whatever to the whole thing. Which is problematic when the premise is that it’s a wildly disorienting experience in which the main character fights rhetorically (er, not figuratively, but literally with rhetoric) for his survival on unfamiliar turf.
It’s kind of like watching someone play a point-and-click puzzle adventure game. You can appreciate what the game’s writer was going for, but the whole experience of the resulting story is so overtly mediated that it’s hard to really get into it, to become and stay immersed, because the formal wonkiness of the container overwhelms the narrative pull of the contents.
But also, yes, I’m not sure how much better it’d be in an actual gaming session, especially since it’s basically the DM playing out a dialogue puzzle with one player while everybody else sits on their hands.
But it’d probably have been a knockout scene if Bioware had made a Deep Space Nine RPG. Replace the light/dark or paragon/renegade dialogue morality spectrum with Picard/Riker, boom, you’re golden.