Star Trek: TNG Season 5 “Disaster” and “The Game”

Most exciting [take that word as innuendo-laden] game ever!

Most exciting [take that word as innuendo-laden] game ever!

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.

“Disaster”

Plot

A quantum thingy (that’s the technical term) disrupts the Enterprise’s power, stranding crew members across the ship and leading to not a few injuries and deaths. Picard is stuck with some children in a turbolift; Worf is in Ten Forward coordinating the treatment of injured crew members on the deck; Geordi and Dr. Crusher are stuck in a storage bay with a plasma fire raging; Troi is the senior officer on the bridge and in charge, though Ensign Ro is skeptical of her command ability; Data and Riker seek to gain access to Engineering and possibly take control of the ship from there; and I think I caught all the main plots. All of these race to the finish as the ship nears cataclysmic explosion, from which a decision by Troi ultimately saves them all.

Commentary

“Disaster” is an episode that is ultimately far more than the sum of its parts. And, as you can see from my plot summary, there’s a whole lot going on. It’s quite a bit like “Data’s Day” in that it presents different views across the ship, but here instead of being the “mundane” of a standard day, it is the presentation of what the crew does all over the ship when a disaster strikes.

Each plot thread is actually really interesting, and the sense of tension throughout the episode is real, despite the fact that viewers generally know the main characters are pretty much invincible. You know that Geordi and Dr. Crusher aren’t going to both die, but the tension remains there because it’s well written; moreover, several guest characters (like the kids with Picard) mean that there are stakes so far as saving the lives of these side characters. It’s well done and it’s entertaining.

Worf’s dialogue as he delivers a baby is also superb. “Congratulations, you’re dilated to 10 centimeters. You may now deliver the baby!” Genius line. He has a number of good ones in this episode.

If there’s anything that makes this episode falter, it is just that some of the problems and resolutions seem to simple and too easily wrapped up. Overall though, this is a really fun episode that I’m more than happy to watch again (and again).

Grade: A- “Worf delivers a baby. ‘nough said.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “Overall it was a good idea and had good stories but a bit too complicated to do due diligence to all of the plot lines.”

“The Game”

Plot

Riker is introduced to an addictive game while on vacation and brings it back. As it spreads through the ship, Wesley–stopping by the Enterprise for a visit–and Robin Lefler are the only ones who think something might be up and act to try to stop it. Ultimately, even they are captured and forced into the game, but Wesley managed to get Data revived just in time to save the ship.

Commentary

“The Game” isn’t terrible, it’s just silly. It’s really hard to believe that everyone on board the ship would be sucked into a game, particularly with such personalities as Worf, Picard, and Troi on board. Moreover, it’s hard to believe that the game could so radically alter people’s entire belief system and loyalty in such a short time. It seems like it takes but a few seconds and you’re done for.

Also, if the game is so effective, why even bother to use the crew of the Enterprise at all? Just give the game to some of the most powerful people in the galaxy and you win. “Game” over. Okay, maybe that’s not so easy; but why not just make huge amounts of it and send it all over the place, then? Not everyone will have a Data to save the day. Subjugate a few planets and live like royalty for the rest of your lives. Anyway…

To be fair, though, the episode does a good job building a real sense of foreboding as what seems innocent at first becomes more and more ominous. The solution with Wesley being captured only to discover that he was just acting as a diversion for the off-camera action of Data is a smart way to tie the episode up. I liked the episode despite really not wanting to. That’s gotta say something, right?

Grade: C+ “‘The Game’ is a really silly episode that does enough to avoid being terrible as well.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “‘The Game’ had a good plot with a good balance of suspense and storytelling.”

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.

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