80s Fantasy Movie Review: “Willow”

willow

They don’t make movie posters as epic as they used to. This is SWEET!

I embarked on a quest to watch through Tor’s list of 80s Fantasy. I haven’t seen many of those flicks, so I figured I’d watch through. Here, I review “Willow,” another one that I had never seen before. There will be SPOILERS in what follows.

“Willow” is the story of a prophecy- one that says that a dark Queen–Bavmorda–will be overthrown by a child. Naturally, the Queen decides to check for all the children to see if they might be the prophesied one, but also naturally, that one is born and many people manage to work together to smuggle her away. Then, she ends up with Willow, part of a Nelwyn–race of little people–community. After they decide to take the child elsewhere because she’s not their problem, Willow gets embroiled in an adventure to protect the child alongside Madmartigan, a great swordsman (and seeming ne’er-do-well). Along with some Brownies and other characters met along the way, they protect the babe and Willow–the aspiring Sorcerer–saves the day.

Wait, what? I thought the kid was supposed to defeat the Queen! Well never mind that. And really, never mind basically any attempt to be serious about anything in this movie. After an opening that seemingly promised epic adventure, we are delivered a kind of silly, whimsical journey of Willow’s own discovery of himself as a hero.

But you know what? You don’t care. The movie is just that fun. So many scenes stand out as just being uproariously ridiculous, like when Madmartigan and Willow go swooping through the snow, with Madmartigan ultimately getting turned into a solid block of snow. It’s silly, it involves sword fighting, and it’s amazing. Time and again the film delivers huge action scenes that are infused with all kinds of silliness, and as a viewer I really didn’t mind. It just works. Part of what makes it work is that a great decision was made to leave virtually no time for the viewer to sit back and reflect on the plot. It’s just action followed by more action followed by hilarity, all in a continuous cycle. Another part that makes it work is that it is so genuinely humorous. Only rarely do the attempts at humor fall flat.

What does’t work so well is finding the audience. It’s clearly aimed at kids–Lucas himself apparently said so–but there is some pretty creepy stuff like the dark magic or some weird transforming trolls that are super gross. Also, there were clearly some scenes in which you as a viewer are supposed to be taking the movie more seriously… but you just can’t because of the context of the whole movie. It at times wants to be an epic fantasy, but it has sold itself so much on the comedy side that it can’t rebrand itself enough to be taken as seriously as it would like.

What does work, though, is the underlying theme of the “little person” against the overall evil and injustice in the world. No that wasn’t supposed to be a pun! But it works! Anyway, it’s a good story of Willow finding in himself more than he thought was possible, and a story of how one person can change the world.

“Willow” is one part epic adventure, one part a journey of self-discovery, and two parts silly. Whether that is a good thing or not is up to you.

The Good

+Genuinely hilarious moments
+Virtually no downtime between action scenes
+Great opening scenes
+Fun characters

The Bad

-Takes itself far too seriously for its content
-Some scary scenes make it hard to figure out what audience the movie was made for
-Somewhat enigmatic resolution of the plot

The Verdict

Grade: B+ “Oscillating constantly between ridiculous and taking itself too seriously, ‘Willow’ is a treat.” 

Guest Score and comment: My wife gives the movie a B+ “‘Willow’ was a delightful if somewhat absurd fantasy story.”

Conclusion

Silly and fun, “Willow” is an enjoyable adventure.

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Time to Watch some 80s Fantasy Flicks– I describe my quest to watch a bunch of 80s fantasy movies. This post also features links to all the reviews done so far.

A Ranking of 1980s Fantasy that would please Crom Himself– The original list of movies that made me embark on this quest.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 4 Awards

qpid

This picture is everything.

Here, my wife and I offer a look at the best and worst parts of Season 4 of TNG! Feel free to chime in to let us know what you thought. There are SPOILERS for Season 4 in what follows.

Worst Guest Character 

J.W.: Odan from “The Host“- seductive male with plot twist weirdness! We’ve seen this one a bunch of times already.

Beth: Ardra in “Devil’s Due“- she was manipulative and evil.

Best Guest Character

J.W.: All Cardassians. The introduction of this new race and culture in “The Wounded” is a huge step for the series and sets up so much drama later on.

Beth: Picard’s sister-in-law from “Family“- she loves her husband and is committed to him and Picard being reunited as brothers.

Best Character

J.W.: Jean Luc Picard- Time and again it was Picard’s character who made an episode, saved the day, or delivered the emotional punch in this season. Data and Worf certainly had their moments, but not as many as the Captain.

Beth: Jean Luc Picard- he displays a remarkable degree of versatility and acting skills in the range of things that happens to his character.

Most Awesome Moment

J.W.: The ending of “The Mind’s Eye” when Geordi is forced to realize how manipulated he has been through a genuinely good counseling session with Troi.

Beth: When Data deletes the program of his dating life in “In Theory“- it is such a remarkable moment to demonstrate how different he is from other people–he just deletes the program and his relationship ends.

Most “Huh?” or Awful/Worst Moment

J.W.: The “big reveal” of Odan as a weird alien thing that just uses human bodies in “The Host.” How long have they enslaved this species?

Beth: That Picard is escorting Wesley to go to the academy in “Final Mission“- weird that the captain would get sent to do that.

Worst Episode

J.W.: The Host” – Been there, done that.

Beth: The Drumhead“- it didn’t really seem that plausible–suddenly, an Enterprise witch hunt; the end.

Best Episode

J.W.: I debated this for a really long time with myself. “The Wounded” is epic and introduces an entirely new enemy in an awesome way. All Worf episodes were amazing. “The Mind’s Eye” has so many cool moments. But ultimately, I have to go with what was the biggest surprise for me- “Family.” I didn’t like the episode when I was younger, but time and again I’ve thought about it since I re-watched it for this run through. It’s touching, it’s dramatic, and it’s so character driven. Amazing, amazing episode.

Beth: Qpid” – It was thoroughly delightful from beginning to end.

Overall Season Score and Comment

J.W.: “When the hardest part of this review is deciding the best episode, you know a season was done right. A fantastic season in an increasingly awesome series!”

Beth: A- “Star Trek delivers a thoroughly good season. Well done, Gene Roddenberry.”

Links

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2 Awards– Swing on by to take a look at the awards for Season 2. What do you think of the selections?

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 3 Awards– Don’t forget to also look at the Season 3 awards!

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Star Trek: TNG– For more episode reviews, follow this site and also click this link to read more (scroll down as needed)! Drop me a comment to let me know what you thought!

SDG.

“Murder, She Wrote”: Aaron Hernandez [You read that right!]

"Now, I'm sorry, but that just does not make sense!" J.B. Fletcher- multiple episodes.

“Now, I’m sorry, but that just does not make sense!” J.B. Fletcher- multiple episodes.

“Murder, She Wrote” is a simply phenomenal American television show  about a little old lady played by Angela Lansbury–JB Fletcher–who is probably your grandma and who, confound it, just has people get murdered everywhere she goes. She’s also a mystery writer, which totally makes her super legit at figuring out who done it. The series ran from 1984-1996. It’s just that good.

Aaron Hernandez was an NFL football star for the New England Patriots. Quickly rising to fame as one of the most dangerous Tight Ends (a skill position that blocks and catches passes designated as TE), he was given a 40$ million contract from the Patriots. Shortly thereafter, he was put on trial for the murder of Odin Lloyd. He was cut from the team before that–merely for having the charges brought against him.

Why in the world am I talking about a TE in the NFL in the 2010s and a TV show that stopped in 1996? Because there is a pretty epic connection: Lloyd’s murder was sealed, in part, by testimony of a kind that often pops up in episodes of “Murder, She Wrote.”

The Episode

Here’s the stage:

Jessica [JB] Fletcher flies in to Massachusetts to visit with some of her friends there who have partial ownership of a company that pays a lot of money to the Patriots. They’re cruising around the facility and they meet with some of the players, including Hernandez. Jessica is impressed by his kind attitude and queries him more about the sport, something she has little familiarity with.

“What is it you do for the Patriots, Aaron?” she asks, leaning over the door of the convertible to get a better look at the man.
“I’m a Tight End,” he replies, with a smile.
“Oh my!” ejects JB, “That’s a bit forward of you! Are all NFL players so blunt?” She says it with a wink and a smile, but is clearly a bit befuddled.
“I’m sorry,” says Aaron, grinning more broadly now, “it’s not a reference to my ‘assets,’–I am referring to a position on the field. I block for the quarterback and then run routes. I’ve caught a bunch of touchdowns, and will keep doing so in the future.” He ends with a wink at a pat on the shoulder for J.B., who is still seated in the top-down convertible.
Flustered but bemused, J.B. replies, “Oh! I’m sorry, I know so little about the sport. Horse racing, fencing, tennis, baseball, I know pretty well, but Football? There was one time I watched a few games, but some poor chap got murdered during the get-go and I never fully caught on.”
At the word “murder,” the camera zooms in on Hernandez’s face, showing it go dark for a moment. Fletcher, as always, takes note for later. After he waves, he hops in his own car, popping out his cell phone and appearing to have a rather angry conversation with someone. He sees Jessica watching and closes the door, rolling up its tinted window as a brief ominous cord of music sounds.

Scene Two: Arrested

Skipping ahead a bit, a murder has occurred. Some young man who’d been seen around the Aaron Hernandez a bit had been shot six times! Scene: Patriots facility. Subjects: Jessica Fletcher, Aaron Hernandez, and Robert Kraft–the owner of the Patriots with whom J.B. and her friends had dinner with the previous evening. Kraft and Fletcher are walking together down the hall. Kraft spots Hernandez working out:

“J.B., mind if we stop in? I’d like to speak with Aaron for a moment, given all the news stories flying around,” Kraft asks.
“Of course!” Jessica follows Kraft into the weight room.
“Aaron, you’ve met Jessica, right?” queries Kraft.
“Yeah,” replies Hernandez, wiping his face with a towel and tossing it around his neck. “I’d shake hands but I’m a bit sweaty.”
“I understand,” says Jessica with a smile.
“Aaron, I’ll just get right to the point,” starts Kraft, “there’s a lot of talk in the news implicating you in the murder of that poor young man last night. I need to know right now, did you have anything to do with it?”
“I was not involved,” Hernandez says, meeting Kraft’s eyes, and then Jessica’s. “I am innocent. I really hope that the time of the murder comes out. I was at a club at the time it happened! Couldn’t have done it then, right?” He smiles.  [See ESPN for my source on these words in the conversation.]
Jessica’s eyes narrow, something is wrong with that statement, but she can’t quite put her finger on it.
“That’s all I needed to hear, Aaron, have a nice day!” Kraft nods to Hernandez, lightly touches Jessica’s arm, and they walk out together.
In the parking lot, as they get into the car for Kraft to give Jessica a ride back to her hotel, Jessica says “I’m sorry, but something just does not make sense. I just can’t put my finger on it.”

Later, the evidence seems strong enough that the police arrest Hernandez and the Patriots cut him from the team.

Scene Three: Convicted

At the murder trial, both Kraft and Jessica are called to the stand in turn. Jessica has got it figured out now.
“What was it Hernandez said to you, Mrs. Fletcher?”
Jessica recounts the exact words of Hernandez, then: “But there was something wrong with that. I couldn’t place it until just now. The time of the murder was never disclosed. Indeed, even after much examination it seems the exact time of death either was never revealed or could not be pinpointed to the right time. But how did Hernandez know the time? I still don’t know the time. But he was convinced he knew the exact moment of the murder, and told as much, and where he allegedly was at the time of the murder. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t add up.”

Based on the testimony of Kraft and Fletcher, and on top of a mound of physical and other evidence, Hernandez is convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Scene Four: Case closed

J.B. Fletcher and her friends are at a local restaurant, enjoying a plate of lobster.
“Looks like you sealed the case, Jessica!” one–Bob–says.
“Oh, I don’t know if it was me, Bob. It seems to me that in trying to claim his innocence, Hernandez just proved himself to be the guilty party. It’s a shame.”
“At least you got to eat some good lobster?”
“Indeed, though there’s no shortage of that in Maine!”
The episode ends with the whole group laughing, stopping on a shot of Jessica’s face lit up with a big smile.

Conclusion

I couldn’t resist writing this blog. It just is too perfect. The Hernandez case was–in part [and alongside what sounds like mounds of physical and circumstantial evidence]–was sealed just like an episode of “Murder, She Wrote.” If you liked the show, it might be worth looking into the case more. If you like awesome television, check out the TV series–it is fantastic. Hope you’ll drop a comment to let me know what you think, and follow my blog for more fun content.

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

The image in this post is not my property but I use it under fair use.

SDG.

——

The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

Microview: “Wind and Shadow” by Kathy Tyers

ws-tyersWind and Shadow is the continuation of the Firebird series (see my review of the Trilogy here) and follows the story of Wind and her struggle to survive in a changing world.

Wind is a descendant of the Shuhr, a people group that was a major threat to the stability and survival of humanity just thirty years before. She walks the line as a diplomat between the people of Mikuhr and the Federation which wants to make sure they never pose a threat again. Meanwhile, a plot is hatching to bring the Shuhr back into prominence and an evil Shadow has descended upon Kiel, a priest of the Sentinels–the people that the Shuhr have historically wanted to destroy.

There are a few pacing issues in the story which are largely due to some lengthy portions with little action. This is a bit surprising given how action-packed the premise is. That’s not to say there is no action–it is there aplenty–but it just isn’t as interlaced through the plot as it perhaps could have been to keep it moving.

The interplay between Wind and Kinnor Caldwell is interesting and Tyers once more does an excellent job potraying the difficulties of interacting among different faith backgrounds. Moreover, the worldview issues Tyers raises through Wind–such as loyalty to one’s own society, political intrigue, justification of genocide, and more–are of great interest.

As in the previous books in the series, the world itself–Mikuhr–feels fully realized with good descriptions and background. It feels like a world and not just a backdrop.

Wind and Shadow is a good sequel which isn’t quite as good as the Trilogy it follows. That said, its different tone and decided focus on worldview questions makes it a very worthy entry and interesting read.

The Good

+Lots of worldview questions are raised
+High stakes in a believable context
+Solid look at human nature
+Setting feels well-developed

The Bad

-At times difficult to follow the cast
-Not enough action to sustain the pace of the plot

The Verdict

Grade: B+

It doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of its predecessors, but Wind and Shadow is a worthy successor with much to commend it.

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Enter [Science] Fictional Messiah- “Wind and Shadow” and “Daystar” by Kathy Tyers– I reflect on a number of worldview issues that Tyers brings up in the concluding parts of the Firebird saga.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Microview– Read more microviews to discover more materials to experience! (Scroll down for more)

Source

Kathy Tyers, Wind and Shadow (Colorado Springs, CO: Marcher Lord Press [Now Enclave], 2011).

SDG.

Star Trek: TNG Season 4 “Redemption, Part I”

*Sniff* - See you later, buddy!

*Sniff* – See you later, buddy!

I’m going through “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and reviewing every episode, complete with commentary and a grade from A-F. I’ve also included a score and comment from my wife, who has never seen the show before. There are SPOILERS for each episode below.

“Redemption, Part I”

Plot

The crew of the Enterprise, and in particular Worf and Picard, are thrust directly into a potential civil war building up in the Klingon Empire. Gowron seeks to take his place as the head of the High Council, but the Duras family claims a newly found child should instead take the place of the Klingon leader. Meanwhile, Worf–prompted by Picard–seeks a way to clear his father’s name and restore his family’s honor. Gowron is reluctant to give Worf’s family their honor back for the little support Worf can offer, but ultimately, after Worf’s brother saves Gowron, does restore Worf’s honor. However, the split in the Klingon Empire–revealed to be prompted by the Romulans, remains wide.

Commentary

Watching TNG all in a row makes you much more cognizant of the continuous storylines that are threaded throughout. There are the stories of Data’s development towards humanity, Wesley’s growth, and Troi/Riker’s past, among others. Worf’s Klingon background, however, is one of the hardest-hitting themes of the series.

We have seen Worf enduring much hardship for the last season and a half or so, with his family’s name dishonored among all Klingons due to his decision to take the fall for the Duras family due to the political pressures building in the Klingon Empire. To have him finally seek to clear his father’s name is a wonderful premise for this episode to go along with the real tension of the possibility of a new Klingon-Romulan alliance.

Gowron’s restoration of Worf’s honor was an awesome moment, finally clearing Worf’s family’s name. But even more epic was Worf resigning from the Federation after Picard chose to maintain a strict non-interference policy related to the Civil War. The final scene, in which Worf leaves the Enterprise with the whole crew honoring him on the way to the transporter room, seals the deal on this excellent episode.

Also, let’s not forget the scene with Guinan schooling Worf in phaser tag.

Grade: A “Worf’s family is redeemed, but at what cost?”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “This episode was chock full of intrigue and featured an exciting cliffhanger.”

Okay, I accidentally managed to review an episode twice this season, so this single-episode review wraps up season 4! Next we’ll have the Season 4 awards post, and then dive into season 5!

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Star Trek: TNG– For more episode reviews, follow this site and also click this link to read more (scroll down as needed)! Drop me a comment to let me know what you thought!

SDG.

80s Fantasy Movie Review: “Labyrinth”

labyrinth-posterI have embarked on a quest to watch a number of 80s Fantasy flicks and share my findings with you, dear readers. Today, we reflect on Labyrinth. This is one of the many on the list that I had not seen before, so I’m coming at it fresh.

The movie does many things right. The intro scene is just great, and the premise is a perfect set up for a childhood classic. It just feels like a perfect movie for kids to watch with the setup of Sarah having to watch the “annoying” younger child, Toby, along with her drifting into fantasyland, and more. It’s got 80s movie written all over it, but in a good way. The premise with Sarah having to make her way through a labyrinth to get Toby back is fun. Plus, David Bowie is a pretty awesome Goblin King.

The sets were also pretty cool to see, and some of the costumes were really neat.

Let’s just get this out of the way: you can’t unsee David Bowie’s pants. Every scene it’s like they decided to accentuate a certain masculine feature of the man by means of strangely fitting garments. One might even argue that his pants are the true antagonist of the movie. I’ll just leave it there.

There are also some really inexplicable scenes, like the one with the weird fire thingies that throw their heads back and forth. It’s just weird, extremely long, and obnoxious. Other scenes also seem to be really drawn out to the extent that the movie seems to absolutely crawl at times.

All that said, though, this is another 80s Fantasy Flick I wouldn’t mind seeing again. It has an undeniable charm and real sense of fun throughout that is absolutely necessary for a movie like this.

The Good

+Fun childhood fantasy story
+Intriguing premise
+David Bowie
+Good sets

The Bad

-Often feels bogged down
-Many weird scenes
-David Bowie’s pants

The Verdict

My Score: B- “It’s weird and it really drags at times but the sheer amount of charm the movie possesses makes it fun to watch.”

Guest Verdict: “It’s hard too go to far wrong with fun music and lovable puppets.”

Conclusion

“Labyrinth” is a fun movie I wouldn’t mind seeing again, particularly with the ability to skip through some of the unnecessary scenes.

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Time to Watch some 80s Fantasy Flicks– I describe my quest to watch a bunch of 80s fantasy movies. This post also features links to all the reviews done so far.

A Ranking of 1980s Fantasy that would please Crom Himself– The original list of movies that made me embark on this quest.

SDG.

Star Trek: TNG Season 4 “The Mind’s Eye” and “In Theory”

"Computer, let's play a game." "Okay, Knock-Knock!" "Who's there?" "Romulan Warbird!" "Romulan... wha!?"

“Computer, let’s play a game.”
“Okay, Knock-Knock!”
“Who’s there?”
“Romulan Warbird!”
“Romulan… wha!?”

I’m going through “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and reviewing every episode, complete with commentary and a grade from A-F. I’ve also included a score and comment from my wife, who has never seen the show before. There are SPOILERS for each episode below.

“The Mind’s Eye”

Plot

Geordi La Forge is heading to a vacation and seminar when his shuttle is intercepted by Romulans and he is captured. They brainwash him and program him to perform whatever tasks they want. Meanwhile, a Klingon planet is experiencing a rebellion and it is suspected that the Federation is aiding the rebels. The Enterprise is dispatched with a Klingon ambassador to investigate. Much evidence points to the Federation being involved, and Geordi’s mind control also leads him to send more evidence, but the timeline is forced forward as the non-brain-controlled Geordi and crew push the investigation. Geordi is ordered to kill the Klingon governor, but some quick thinking by Data saves the day.

Commentary

I was blown away by this episode from the great opening getting to see Geordi at leisure and then getting kidnapped all the way through the great ending.

There are two primary things that make this a superb episode (namely, a Geordi-centric episode that uses the strength of his character and a very strong main plot), but it also gets all the details right. Those details include the ongoing investigation Data is doing into the strange emissions which makes his detective work at the end of the episode out to be part of that rather than a kind of deus ex machina ending, great use of secondary characters, continuity with the broader plot happening throughout the conflict with the Romulans, and good music.

The plot itself is excellent, as it both ties in with the storyline of the Romulan-Klingon-Federation timeline and helps expose the notion that the Federation-Klingon alliance is not exactly airtight. There is real tension here as viewers wonder whether another step towards alienation between the two governments might be taken. The focus on Geordi is a smart move as his character is quite lovable but also rarely gets treatment apart from a string of failed love interests.

I also need to comment on the ending. This is how you end an episode! The closing scene opens with a close-up of Geordi adamantly arguing with Deanna Troi: “But I remember!” as he points to his head. After he describes some of his memories, Troi takes him back to the shuttle and leads him into it by saying “The first thing you did when you saw the Romulan ship was…” [I paraphrased here] and he just completes the sentence, then realizes this conflicts with his other “memories.” It’s a revelatory moment for him and one which just ties the episode off with just enough closure and ambiguity to get viewers’ minds racing. It is also a great moment for Troi, as she demonstrates her capacity as counselor in the most convincing way yet.

“The Mind’s Eye” is just a phenomenal episode and one that deserves a place among the all-time greats.

Grade: A+ 

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A “It had a great premise and an excellent character-driven plot.”

“In Theory”

Plot

The Enterprise explores a Nebula which leads to some strange occurrences with dark matter. Meanwhile, Data and another officer, Jenna D’Sora enter into a relationship after D’Sora comes to realize that Data is “perfect” due to his thoughtfulness and kindness (and Data’s questioning the crew about whether it might be a good idea). As the strange occurrences increase, the Enterprise is caught in a struggle to escape–led out of the Nebula by Picard in a shuttle. D’Sora ultimately realizes that Data’s lack of emotions is a greater rift to cross than she realized. They break up, but the ship is safe.

Commentary

Here’s a strong episode that doesn’t quite do enough. The main plot about the Nebula is mostly a backdrop for the drama between Data and D’Sora. It’s a nice touch to have the two of them working on the Nebula so that it doesn’t seem totally like two episodes thrown together, but the relationship is the star of the episode.

Data’s interactions with D’Sora are suitably hilarious, with his comments ranging from unintentionally insightful to blatant howlers. It’s a great way to explore Data’s character on the level of human relationships, even if it is just a bit hard to believe that D’Sora would think such a relationship could work. My wife and I both laughed quite a bit in this one, and it is a pretty fun episode.

The best part about the episode, though, is the ending, which turns the episode on its head from being a kind of lighthearted romp into a serious look at Data’s continued struggles. Data’s response to the breakup is just to query whether the relationship is over and then say that he will delete the relevant file. After D’Sora leaves, Data holds spot and calmly pets him while he blows out the candle. It’s a totally bleak ending that shows just how much work Data has to do yet to realize his goal of becoming “human” in a more relevant sense. His lack of emotions means that on a fundamental level he cannot connect to (or even genuinely care about) humans, and–in an almost dark twist–doesn’t even register the problem that this is.

Fun side note: this was apparently the first episode directed by Patrick Stewart (Picard).

Grade: B+ “An intriguing look at Data’s ‘humanity’ with a suitably bleak ending.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “The two plot issues were both interesting but didn’t work together.”

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Star Trek: TNG– For more episode reviews, follow this site and also click this link to read more (scroll down as needed)! Drop me a comment to let me know what you thought!

SDG.