Star Trek TNG Season 7: “Genesis” and “Journey’s End”

journeys-end

Hey, let’s put this plot in the middle of a potentially great episode and ruin it? K? K!

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.

“Genesis”

Synopsis

Picard and Data chase a photon torpedo that veered off course, only to return to find the crew of the Enterprise has been turned into a bunch of animals. Apparently some disease infected them, which led to them “de-evolving” into lower forms of life. Ultimately, Data manufactures a retro-virus and while Picard distracts an angry Worf with pheromone sprays from Troi [!?] the crew gets better.

Commentary

Okay, this was a weird episode full of all kinds of problems. First off, devolve is a word… why did they have to keep using de-evolve? Is it because people might not get the concept? I don’t get it. Second, given that the whole crew has “de-evolved” into lower forms of life, how is it that pretty much no one except one crew member manages to end up dead? I’m pretty sure that the Worf-beast had some buddies of other sorts… how was this not a major incident involving the death of half the crew? That certainly seems much more likely than having everyone but one get better, naming a disease after Barclay, and high-fiving all around. Plus, why is everyone so cheerful given that one crew member, it seems, did die? They usually freak out when even one is in danger. Suddenly one crew member kills another in de-evolved state and no one cares? Come on.

Plausibility of this episode? Off the charts on the implausible side. What the heck? How could such a disease even happen? How could people just randomly turn into approximately human-sized animals? How could a cat turn into an iguana? What are Troi pheromones? It’s as silly as an old horror movie.

On the plus side, there was a serious sense of foreboding throughout the episode, enhanced by the weirdness of it all. The costumes and modification of various crew members was done well. It wasn’t a terrible episode… but it wasn’t great either.

Grade: C “They turned me into a newt. I got better.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B “I thought it was an interesting premise but the short episode length left many questions unanswered.”

Mother-in-Law’s Grade and Comment: C “While I appreciated the premise, I would have liked them to have allowed actual engagement with the ‘de-evolved’ crew members to create obstacles along the way.”

Father-in-Law’s Grade and Comment: C- “Several things: the crew should have been able to recognize that something was happening and started some analysis or communicated with the missing Captain; then there’s the whole conservation of mass thing- where does all the extra hair and bone come from and where did it go?” 

“Journey’s End”

Synopsis

The Cardassians and the Federation have reached a way to ensure peace for some time, but it involves trading certain planets and colonies back and forth. One such colony has been inhabited by Native Americans–called “Indians” throughout the episode–and Picard is unwilling to remove them forcibly, as he is ordered to do if no other option presents itself. Meanwhile, Wesley is visiting and is super cranky, but he finds his answer to what he is supposed to do in the Traveler, who posed as a Native American in order to show him the next steps on his journey. Ultimately, the Native Americans decide to stay on the planet, basically staying in the Cardassian territory at their mercy, but working out some kind of deal with them to be allowed to stay.

Commentary

Okay, it’s obvious too much is going on in this episode. Moreover, it seems this is some kind of attempt to show the wrongs that have been done to Native Americans at the hands of Europeans, but it fails. It fails first, because they keep referring to Native Americans as Indians, which seems strange. It fails also because the Traveler is the most “spiritual” of all the Native Americans, and turns out he’s not one at all–he’s just some super-powerful being co-opting a narrative that should have been about other people.

It is really tough to figure out how I feel about this episode. I enjoyed much of it, but there was too much going on for any one aspect of it to shine. The concept was good–what happens when the Cardassians and Federation make peace but have to compromise–but the execution was poor.

Grade: B- “I’m not really sure how to take this one.

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B “It was a good idea… it would have been better if they left Wes and the Traveler out of 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!

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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Star Trek: TNG “Masks” and “Eye of the Beholder”

masks

Try sleeping soundly now, children!

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.

“Masks”

Synopsis

The Enterprise encounters an ancient object floating through space, which, when interacted with, begins to take over the systems of the ship… and Data. The problem can only be solved by acting out the ritual beliefs of the people who built the object, using Picard and Data as stand-ins for the Sun and Moon.

Commentary

Someone had a blast making the standard sets across the ship look completely changed by the pseudo-Mesoamerican invasion. I wonder how much of the special effects budget was blown on this episode making stuff look like ancient ruins and the like. Mesoamerica is one of the places I have focused study on in my non-fiction, non-philosophy/theology reading, and it was a delight to see the many nods to those cultures in this episode.

The main problem with “Masks” is how utterly uneblievable it was. I mean I get that replicators are a thing, but could they really have the resources and power to transform the whole ship? And wouldn’t there be some kind of failsafe–turn everything the hell off–type of thing? Or maybe just a manual reboot to reset everything to defaults? I don’t know, it’s tough to swallow that if they can bring people back from the dead with a transporter, they wouldn’t have thought through some of the implications of that.

Another issue was that this didn’t feel very much like a TNG episode at all. That’s not always a bad thing, but this was just… strange. It wasn’t one of those episodes where it worked as well as it should have. I enjoyed it, probably more than I should have, but I had to acknowledge it felt a little bit overdone… and underdone.

On a side note, this episode terrified me when I was a kid. Having Data–one of my favorite characters in any show–turn so fiendishly bad and creepy haunted me for a long time afterwards.

Grade: B- “An intriguing premise is marred by poor execution.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B “It wasn’t bad, it was just creepy and weird.”

“Eye of the Beholder”

Synopsis

A crew member kills himself, and soon after in the same place Troi experiences some kind of psychic trauma. She begins to deteriorate, experiencing things that she couldn’t have known, and thinking that people are out to get her or hate her. Eventually, she manages to solve a mystery disappearance that goes back to the construction of the Enterprise.

Commentary

Troi being manipulated by psychic trauma! We haven’t done that one before, have we? Wait… oh well, let’s do it again.

This one was another really strange episode. Somehow we’re to believe that having something bad happen somewhere left behind a trace that Troi picked up? Why hasn’t that happened about a trillion times before? And why doesn’t it continually destroy telepaths capacity for interacting with society? I’m sure we could figure out some deus ex machina reason to explain this, but it seems easier to just say “Oh well,” and go along for the ride in the episode.

The sense of foreboding in this one was quite well done, and the way they approached solving the mystery by intertwining events that happened years before with those events happening in the present was intriguing. Again, it was an episode I didn’t hate, but it falls apart on closer examination. A really strange TNG episode overall.

Grade: B “It was really weird.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “It was a very interesting episode, but suffered from the mega plot-hole of being the first time we ever encounter ‘psychic residue.'”

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.

One Sentence Book Review: “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Review

Too much dialogue and too little character-building bogs down this tense dystopic classic.

Links

One Sentence Book Reviews– Read more one sentence book reviews here. I’ve decided to do one for every book I read, which is a lot. I got started on 5/14/16 so this list will grow from there.

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!

SDG.