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 dispatched to try to deal with a Bajoran–a people persecuted by the Cardassians–terrorist who allegedly destroyed a Starfleet colony. Ensign Ro is assigned by Admiral Kennelly to assist with this quest, fresh out of prison. The crew is as unimpressed by her as she is by them at first, and they try to track down the Bajoran terrorist. Ro is revealed to be working with Kennelly to try to help the Cardassians, and after a conversation with Guinan she decides to fess up to Picard. It turns out, however, that the Bajorans didn’t commit this act at all; in fact, it seems it may have been a Cardassian ploy to try to get Starfleet to clean up their mess for them. Picard commends Ro and tells her Kennelly is likely to be court martialed.
At last we are introduced to the Bajorans. I admit I had forgotten they showed up at all in the TNG universe and thought them limited to Deep Space 9. How (happily) mistaken I was! This is a great episode that not only sympathetically introduces a race of people but also seamlessly interweaves them into already existing storylines. It is easy to believe that the Cardassians would do such injustice because that is the persona given to them: warlike and most concerned with their own survival as opposed to anything else. The introduction of the Bajorans adds another layer of complexity over that storyline, and this episode does it very well.
Guinan also had another scene! Yay! I enjoy her character quite a bit, and the apparent rapport behind the story of Picard and her continues to offer tantalizing hints.
This is an all-around good episode with plenty of intrigue, interesting plot, and solid characterization.
Grade: A “A great blend of political backstabbing, buildup, and action. Give us more Bajorans!”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “I enjoyed Ensign Ro’s character development and the intrigue of the mission.”
The Crystalline Entity which destroyed the colony from which Data hails shows up at another Starfleet colony to reduce it to rubble. The crew of the Enterprise set off in pursuit, aided by a xenobiologist, Dr. Kila Marr, whose son died on a colony that the Crystalline Entity destroyed. As Data and Marr try to work together despite Marr’s suspicion of Data, they piece together a way to perhaps try to communicate with the Entity. Meanwhile, Dr. Marr finds out Data has her son’s memories and even voice pattern in his memory banks and seems to believe that it may be her son. When the Enterprise finally encounters the Entity, she manages to use their form of communication to destroy it through resonance. Saying she did it for her son, she turns to Data for affirmation. Instead, Data argues it is not what her son would have liked at all.
This is a decent episode with a great opening and several impactful scenes. The sense of foreboding surrounding the Crystalline Entity is well done, and some of the drama between Dr. Marr and Data is pretty interesting.
What makes this episode hard is really two aspects of the same problem: the notion that Data could be so gullible and oblivious and the quick descent into seeming madness that Dr. Marr experienced. I get that Data isn’t human and sometimes really can’t figure humans out, but seriously, he had a real rough time predicting the craziness of Dr. Marr here. Moreover, it’s hard to believe he wouldn’t have noticed her locking out the console to make sure the Entity was destroyed.
The episode also drags a whole bunch in some parts. A lot of filler with Dr. Marr and Data just sitting around talking to each other. It’s not awful, but it does make it slow down a ton.
It was nice to see the Entity show up again, as we keep having some interesting continuity with the series pop up at unexpected moments. It’s a testament to how well the universe was established in the earlier seasons that we can go back and visit concepts to learn more about them. This wasn’t a terrible episode; indeed it was pretty decent. But it was just that; decent.
Grade: B- “Some good emotional impact is marred by a quick descent to madness… and some sloth-like moments.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “It was overall good, but I have a hard time believing that Data is so inept at interpreting people… still.”
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!