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 Enterprise is playing shuttle for delegates to a conference: two fish people and Lwaxana Troi. The latter is in midlife crisis mode for a Betazoid and goes after Picard, random people, Riker, and a holodeck character in turn. The episode follows Troi’s attempts at conquest and Picard’s evasions. In the end, Troi fails and leaves, after revealing the fish people as assassins.
Those two words, which compose a ridiculous name, are instant episode-killers. I don’t remember every episode with the mother-Troi, but I’m going to take that as a blessing. Anyway, this episode was ruined the moment the elder Troi showed up and unleashed her innuendo-laden comments and ridiculous caricature of hyper-sexuality into the mix. The scenes with her pursuing Picard are generally painful and filled with poor dialogue.
There are good things in the episode, like Picard’s genius move to use Data to use up all the time with Troi at dinner, the episode’s title as a pun, or Worf’s random admiration of fish-people “They’re a handsome people.” Picard’s introduction to the holodeck was also pretty funny, as the program continued to up the ante with violence when Picard just asked to relax. Ultimately, though, these moments are not enough to save the episode from the garbage heap.
Grade: D “Lwaxana Troi is in this episode. Enough said.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: C “It just felt sort of silly.”
Star Trek poker is always awesome, and the introduction was once again awesome. Data’s interaction with Worf was hilarious. “Talk or play. Not both.” Worf, you complete me.
Anyway, this is one of those episodes that really sells TNG as a series. It’s a stand-alone, as they all are, but it has far-reaching plot threads that viewers can feel even with just one episode. It sets up future plot events–or at least makes it seem like we’ll encounter again. But it also looks backwards and fills in story for one of the key characters, Worf. Set that alongside a solid main plot with an awesome climax (Worf’s idea to save the day was just brilliant) and “The Emissary” is the best episode to come along in a while.
There are few downsides to this episode apart from the fact that because it doesn’t really resolve the love story it introduces, it feels a bit anticlimactic at the end. Overall, though, with its dramatic plot, great character development, and very solid acting, “The Emissary” stands tall among the better episodes of the season.
Grade: A- “A full episode of epic Worf moments, with great character development and a good ‘main story’ to boot.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “It had both a compelling plot and good character development.”
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!
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