Star Trek: TNG Season 7 “All Good Things…”

all-good-things

*Sniffle*

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.

“All Good Things…”

Synopsis

Picard is apparently traveling through time, encountering the crew of the Enterprise across different timelines. One constant, however, is a disturbance in the neutral zone. As Picard guides three different time periods to investigate the neutral zone, it becomes apparent that someone is tampering with things. Of course, it is Q. Q challenges Picard to figure out what is happening and blames him for the destruction of the entire human race. Ultimately, Picard must sacrifice the ship in each timeline in order to stop the destruction of humanity. Q, however, appears to reset things to normal, saying that Picard passed the test, for now, and that all good things must come to an end. Picard joins the crew for some poker at the end.

Commentary

I was surprised watching this episode because for a long time it has been among my favorites. Yet, watching it for about the 10th time, I was watching it in order–at the very end of the entire series. Set against that backdrop, it remains a good episode, but there are plenty of episodes that are far better. That said, as far as a series finale goes, this was a solid way to finish. The very end–with Picard joining in the poker game–was a great way to send fans out on a joyous/nostalgic note.

They also did a good job kind of book-ending the series with a Q-trial scene. However, given that I didn’t think the first episode was very good, it didn’t bring back warm and fuzzy memories for me of that episode. It just seemed a little like a weird extension of the same. Q usually is weird, though watching the series in order has given me a better appreciation of his character than I had before.

The main problem here is there is so much going on. Is it a time-travel episode, a Q episode, a character-highlight episode, a mystery episode? It’s all of these and more. They tried to shove too many things into such a small amount of time and space that it feels totally full. Moreover, the episode loses some impact because the future/past timelines are unconnected with the present, so the neat glimpses into the future of the crew are effectively a wash. They aren’t “real” in the sense of happening to the universe we’ve been in and enjoying.

Hey, it’s been an awesome run! We made it all the way through. Time to relax for a bit, then start up Deep Space 9!

Grade: A- “It’s good, but convoluted to the extreme.” 

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “It was a good episode, but they could have ended the series without Q.” 

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 Season 3 “Captain’s Holiday” and “Tin Man”

Picard's outfit in this episode leads to images which will never be forgotten....

Picard’s outfit in “Holiday” leads to images which will never be forgotten….

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.

“Captain’s Holiday”

Plot

Picard is convinced to take a vacation and he goes to Risa, a luxurious vacation planet (apparently?) to take some time by the beach/pool and read some lengthy books. Life has different plans for Picard and he encounters Vash, an archaeologist who is being pursued by a Ferengi and trying to find the Tox Uthat (hereafter TU), a weapon from the future. Meanwhile time-travelers are also pursuing the weapon. Picard and Vash team up and go to find the TU but after encounters with the future-peeps and Ferengi fail to find it. Ultimately, Vash is confronted by Picard and is forced to reveal she already had the TU, which Picard destroys to the chagrin of all.

Commentary

Look, this episode is like a lost Indiana Jones movie (a good one, not one of the even ones) with Patrick Steward as the lead playing Jean-Luc Picard. Need I say more? No? Well I’m going to anyway.

This is one fun episode. The beginning of the episode is great, as a conspiracy to get Picard to take a vacation unfolds. Riker encourages Picard to go to Risa for the women, resulting in this funny exchange:  Riker: “Have I mentioned how imaginative the Risian women are, sir?” Troi: “Too often, Commander.” Dr. Crusher asks Picard to give his own prognosis and cure: vacation. Troi mentions her mother might be stopping by (DISCLAIMER: LWAXANA TROI IS NOT IN THIS EPISODE!). Picard ultimately must give in.

But the fun only gets started in the introductory scenes, as the premise of Picard taking the role of Indiana Jones and going off on an adventure to find a lost future weapon is just fantastic. Maybe it is my inner archaeologist speaking, but I love that Picard is into archaeology, and to finally have an episode feature this aspect of his character rather than just use it as an explanation for how he knows something is great.

The episode has many twists and turns which are at times a little over-the-top but in general are, I think, delightful. It’s like a pulp adventure translated to television, and it just works. This ranks among my most-enjoyed, and it gets there through its tongue-in-cheek narrative and winking the whole time while also showing off Picard’s character more than he has been in a while.

Also, on a side note, I think this was my biggest score-difference with my wife in an episode yet.

Grade: A “Indiana Jones…. in SPA-A-A-A-A-A-CE!”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: C+ “It was just unbelievable.”

“Tin Man”

Plot

A strange living ship has been discovered and the Enterprise must race Romulans to reach it. The Enterprise is also acting as diplomat transport to bring Tam Elbrun, a Betazoid with powerful empathic abilities, to try to communicate with the ship. Ultimately, Tam goes aboard the ship and stays, finally finding peace from his empathic dissonance.

Commentary

Here’s an episode that makes a dramatic turnaround. When viewers first encounter Tam, it seems we’re about to get another obnoxious character episode that–at least in the past–leads to some half-hearted attempt to garner sympathy. Here, however, Tam’s character experiences genuine development. Troi and Tam have a past, and their discussions about empathic ability adds great depth to both characters without seeming contrived. Tam is well-acted and he is able to make the character feel real in developing through the episode.

The Data/Tam sub-plot is also great, as Data’s lack of feelings means Tam cannot sense him, which ironically makes Data the ideal companion for a man constantly haunted by the minds of others. It is a great dynamic to add to the episode. Having Data round it off by pointing out that he “belongs” on the Enterprise is a fitting end to an episode about finding one’s place in the universe.

Grade: A- “Initially off-putting, the episode sucks viewers in with a solid plot and developed character.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “I enjoyed Tam’s character and the Tin Man resolution to the problem.”

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.

Star Trek: TNG Season 3 “Yesterday’s Enterprise” and “The Offspring”

I can see the family resemblance.

I can see the family resemblance.

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.

“Yesterday’s Enterprise”

Plot

The Enterprise crew unwittingly stumbles into a time rift which sets in motion an alternative future in which war has persisted with the Klingons for many years. The only one who notices anything is different is Guinan, who tries to figure out how to revert things to the past. Meanwhile, the future-Enterprise encounters a ship from its own parallel past, the Enterprise C. It seems that because C came to the future through a time rift as well which has disrupted this future because the C would have fought Romulans and perhaps prevented this long war. Ultimately, the C is sent back to its doom, along with Tasha Yar who will die in the line of duty instead of senselessly being murdered.

Commentary

It’s a convoluted plot, and I apologize for having to take so long to explain it, but it is a good one! The sense of wrongness about seeing the Enterprise as a warship instead of a vessel of exploration is exacerbated by having Tasha Yar in the flesh once more. Guinan knows something is wrong, and of course the viewer knows it too, but the way it develops unfolds a mystery that is both fun and compelling.

Showing off the alternative-future Enterprise is a lot of fun, and it is also interesting to see how the war with the Klingons may have developed had peace not instead been reached. It is particularly surreal to see the bridge crew armed at all times and watch the Enterprise function as a warship.The explanation of having the C die defending the Klingons (ultimately to no avail!), thus showing the honorable nature of the Federation to the Klingons is genius and also provides a lot of great background information.

The only major downfall of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” is its continued moralizing to the extent that it seems a bit like getting the questions the episode raises rammed down viewers’ throats. Is war okay? Is a death in one fashion better than one which is senseless? Is sacrifice of the few for the many good? Should we mess around with time travel anyway? Etc., etc. I normally like the moral questions TNG raises, but the massive number of questions so intentionally raised and dangled past viewers here was just overdone. Overall a solid episode, but just hampered by too much reflection. This is one that could stood by just having the action continue.

Grade: A- “A great episode with just a little too much moralizing.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “I enjoyed the concept and it was pretty well acted, plus it was fun to see Lieutenant Yar again.”

“The Offspring”

Plot

Data creates another android he refers to as his child. The android picks gender as a female human and her given name is Lal. Admiral Haftel comes to investigate and argues Lal should be given to Starfleet to raise her, but Data counters that he is the most experienced one to do this task. Data’s creative skill is so good that she surpasses him, and as the Federation tries to decide what to do with her, she short-circuits. Haftel tries to help Data but ultimately she succumbs and she suffers a total failure of her cognitive net. She dies saying that she loves Data and will feel enough love for both of them.

Commentary

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one, as I remember in the past being bored by it. Maybe it’s the fact that I have a child on the way (well, by the time this publishes I’ll have a newborn!), but this hit me right in the gut. It’s an incredibly touching episode made all the more impressive by the fact that it is headlined by the character without feelings, Data. This was a smart choice by the writers as they were able to utilize the emotional roller coaster of the episode to make Data’s own striving for humanity and emotions all the more interesting.

The mounting drama between Picard and Haftel over the fate of Lal is done very well. Picard, despite chastising Data for his project (to which Data humorously responds that no other crew members have to discuss their procreation with the Captain), sticks up for his own in a fashion that we have come to expect from him. Having Haftel turn from antagonist and villain to co-operator when trying to save Lal is another genius move as it makes him a more realized character while also adding to the emotional gravity of the moment. Haftel’s description of Data continuing to work despite the fact that hope was being lost was gripping.

Really, this episode could be summarized as “All the feels.” An excellent episode, and one which improves upon re-viewing.

Grade: A “An amazingly emotional episode centered around some awesome questions.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “It was a very good exploration of personhood and development… and Data.”

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.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 3 “The Enemy” and “The Price”

This is how I felt when Lwazana Troi was mentioned. Good thing she was a no-show.

My face when I thought Lwaxana Troi would be in the episode.

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 Enemy”

Plot

The Enterprise investigates a Romulan [why is this so hard for me to spell?] crash site in Federation territory. In the process, Geordi gets stranded with a Romulan as a prisoner, and another Romulan is taken to the Enterprise. The latter is dying and the only one who can save him is Worf, who refuses to give his blood. As Dr. Crusher attempts to convince Worf to give blood, a Romulan Warbird bears down on the Enterprise and Geordi struggles to get some sense of trust with the Romulan on the planet. Ultimately, Geordi saves the day, and Picard defuses the situation, once more preventing war.

Commentary

Here’s how a Geordi-centric episode should look: put the focus on him as a character, not purely on his flaws. He is made vulnerable by his blindness, but he overcomes this with force of will and his interpersonal skills. The latter bring about a kind of ceasefire between Starfleet and the Romulan Empire on a micro-level. The tension which builds up between Picard and the Romulans is also a great entertainment factor.

I admit that the attempts to guilt Worf into giving his blood were annoying. However, Worf’s stoic resistance to all efforts was so true to his character that it made up for it. He is willing to allow a Romulan–a very valuable prisoner–to die rather than compromise his moral compass.

Overall it was a solid episode, which I admit I may have scored higher because it gives Geordi a chance to actually shine.

Grade: A- “Geordi finally gets his due, and the Romulans remain a mysterious threat.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: C+ “I thought the story was okay, but it seemed like it should have been more urgent. It was missing something.”

“The Price”

Plot

A wormhole is discovered which may usher in an era of prosperity when sold, to the highest bidder. The Ferengi show up to throw a wrench in the process. Devinoni Ral dominates the negotiations as he manipulates the other parties while also becoming Troi’s lover. Between love-fests, he finally seals the deal to get rights to the wormhole. Unfortunately for him, it turns out it is not stable on the other end, and a pair of Ferengi are left behind a Quadrant away. Ultimately, Ral leaves after a rather epic break-up with Troi.

Commentary

I think it is appropriate to mention the music. The tracks were actually quite good and beautiful, particularly in the scenes with Ral and Troi. The problem is that they were so overdone for those scenes that as we watched it felt as though a stirring love story were being shoved down our throats. I mean that literally: imagine a novel being shoved down your throat. That’s how each “love” scene in this episode felt, and the music made it even more sappy and unbelievable. Not bad music, but chosen poorly for this specific episode.

I also feel the need to mention how TNG fell on its face on gender issues once again. Troi totally duped by some guy whose first interaction with her involves him not letting her say no and stroking her hair (assault!)?- check. The two prominent female characters showing up in skimpy 80s workout gear passed off as sci-fi?- check. Reducing the one interaction between these two women to idle gossip about men?- check. Yep, we’ve failed this round.

The unfortunate thing is that apart from these rather massive failures–and the mention of Lwaxana Troi at the opening (I actually turned to my wife and said “Oh no!” rather loudly)–this is a great episode. The premise is pretty fascinating–negotiations over a galactic commodity with huge import. The Ferengi getting rocked by their idiocy was fun. Seeing Ral lose the negotiations despite winning was also a great piece of writing. Heck, even Troi’s zinger at the end “I’m already a counselor…” to Ral was fantastic.

Given all that, my score may seem low. Apart from the two items mentioned above, this is a solid A-B episode, but the things that were bad about it were so bad. Ouch.

Grade: C- “The main plot was good, the ‘love’ story was atrocious.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B “There was a lot of plot that felt rushed or unresolved but it was good overall.”

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.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 3 “The Bonding” and “Booby Trap”

Carefully set up scenarios don't get you a girlfriend? Just make one on the holodeck!

Carefully set up scenarios don’t get you a girlfriend? Just make one on the holodeck!

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 Bonding”

Plot

A freak accident on an away mission leads to the death of a crew member, survived only by her young son. Worf wants to share in the experience with the child, but so does an alien energy field which turns into a fake-mom and tries to lure the child off the ship to make a pseudo-utopic life for him. The alien-force is eventually talked out of it by reasoning that human experience must be had instead of a false front.

Commentary

I’ll admit it: I fell asleep during this one. But I did rewatch the ending to make up for it. That said, this is not a very exciting or engaging episode. It has some pretty good moments and deals well with issues of loss (did I just say that about a TNG episode!?), but it just doesn’t make you want to watch it. Perhaps the most interesting part of the episode is Picard’s dialogue with Troi on the ins-and-outs of having children aboard a starship. This conversation was interesting, and brings up some great questions: is it better to leave kids out of harm’s way but separate from their parent(s) for long periods of time or have them riding into the Neutral Zone with their families? The reasoning from Picard and Troi was interesting, and the question could probably sustain a different episode, but not this one. This one is more concerned with the question of grief and weird aliens. Yeah.

Worf finally gets another episode with some character time, but it is unfortunately largely wasted. He has a great exchange with Troi over dealing with grief and the futility of such a loss, but it doesn’t go beyond that. His ‘adoption’ of Jeremy isn’t awful, but it seems strange. You’d think Starfleet would have other systems in place.

Grade: C- “Literally put me to sleep.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B “The acting was somewhat lacking but it dealt well with themes of grieving and death.”

“Booby Trap”

Plot

After exploring an ancient derelict, the Enterprise find itself caught in the same energy-sucking trap. Geordi goes to the holodeck to talk to the computer in order to figure out how to get out of the trap. Eventually, Geordi and a facsimile of an engineer who worked on the Enterprise‘s design come up with a solution which leads to Picard’s expertly piloting the Enterprise out of danger.

Commentary

“Booby Trap” has the makings of a great episode. Picard is jubilant over an ancient archaeological find; Geordi finally gets some real screen time; the plot itself is interesting; and the music is again noteworthy, though at times overbearing. Unfortunately, the episode fails to capitalize on these factors. Instead, we see Geordi as incompetent at relationships and getting to intimately know the ship’s computer. Weird.

It’s sad because the episode really has some great moments. The discovery aboard the derelict of a captain’s log was a great moment, and Picard’s piloting out of the mess by slingshotting around an asteroid makes the episode have an action-film feel not often present in TNG. However, for Geordi’s character to essentially get disrespected makes it all feel wrong. Sure, it’s fine to have problems with the opposite sex; but to reduce it to “what do women like” as if all women like the same thing or “what can I do differently” as if making up a scenario is the way to woo people makes the whole notion feel odd. Geordi’s ultimately relational “success” with the Computer–and did anyone else sense a double meaning with the notion that pressing the ship’s buttons is pressing the designer’s?–exacerbates the problem.

“Booby Trap” isn’t terrible, it just isn’t at the level set by other episodes at this point. Hopefully Geordi will see justice done for his character later.

Also, side note, wasn’t Worf trying to build a model ship in an earlier episode… and wasn’t Data perplexed by Geordi (?) building a model ship also? Maybe they just didn’t realize they could put them in bottles.

Grade: C “Geordi gets a girlfriend, named ‘Computer.'”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: C+ “Development for Geordi was good, but the rest of it was bland.”

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.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2, “Elementary, Dear Data” and “The Outrageous Okona”

elementary-dear-data

I have deduced that this is a shoe.

I’m going through “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and reviewing every episode, complete with commentary and a grade from A-F. Here, we’re in season 2 and discussing episodes three and four. This week I’ve changed the format a bit by including scores from my wife, who has never seen the show before. There are SPOILERS for each episode below.

“Elementary, Dear Data”

Plot

Data and Geordi trade moments of sharing favorite things. Data’s is Sherlock Holmes but he has all the novels memorized and so they present no challenge. Dr. Pulaski argues Data can’t reason himself out of a box, but Geordi is convinced Data could solve a mystery and sets the holodeck to create a mystery and nemesis that could defeat Data. The computer complies, resulting in a nemesis, Professor Moriarty, who can eventually take control of the Enterprise, who is ultimately not defeated but allowed to continue on in the code of the computer until the technology comes along that can maintain his existence outside of the holodeck.

Commentary

I loved the interplay of Data and Geordi in this episode. Geordi sharing one of his favorite things with Data and agreeing to share in a Sherlock Holmes mystery. Dr. Pulaski being the character to spur Data into a challenge to see if he can solve it is a good use of her character. She has officially grown on me marginally, but she still treats Data in a manner unbecoming a Doctor, in my opinion. The use of Moriarty as the nemesis of Holmes/Data is also well done and the building suspense is interesting and entertaining. I can’t but say that the episode entertained me. Character growth for both Data and Geordi was both needed and welcome. Their dynamic is great and I can’t wait to see that develop more.

Despite that, the episode really pushed the “suspension of disbelief” envelope. Why would you build a holodeck in which failsafes were able to be turned off so easily and unintentionally. I mean, shouldn’t there at least be a warning: “Hey, you’re making a really dangerous program, proceed?” Why not have a failsafe that allows you to just turn the power off no matter what? Importing my philosophy background: how does a computer that is non-sentient come up with a program that “gains consciousness”? If I were Picard, I’d be thinking it is time to ban use of my holodecks.

That said, I actually liked this episode a lot. It had lots of flaws, yes, but it was entertaining and fun. At the heart of Star Trek, that’s what the show is all about.

Grade: B

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A-/B+ “It was pretty good… I was entertained.”

The Outrageous Okona

Plot

A ship is broken down, the Enterprise assists. The ship’s captain, Okona, is Han Solo (basically). Two ships come wanting Okona for different reasons. It turns out that their reasons are linked and Okona was kind of the fall guy trying to help young love happen. In the end, young love wins, and Okona leaves safely. Oh yeah, Data also tried to find out what’s funny.

Commentary

Okona had a lot of promise when he showed up. Sure, he’s a stereotypical rebel-without-a-cause character/Han Solo, but who doesn’t like Han Solo? (Lower your hand, you!) Unfortunately, that never plays out. Instead, we have to endure shots of Data trying to figure out what’s funny while Guinan scorns his efforts in between shots of Okona being the ravishing space captain.

There are a lot of problems here apart from mere disappointment, however. Guinan has apparently joined the bash-Data club of which she and Pulaski are the founding members. Data’s interplay with “the comic” were initially sort of fun but dragged on forever and became dull and painful to watch. Okona’s character was utterly stereotypical. The commentary on a father being upset that a guy got his daughter pregnant and then ran off was just weird. I believe the word they used was “ancient” customs. It seemed disrespectful to the real plight of the woman involved. Another failed effort at egalitarian themes. The big reveal in which the young love was shown to be the thrust of the plot was a potentially interesting twist that just fell flat due to its surroundings.

This episode was very *shrug*-worthy, and at times painful. Long story short, the episode was boring.

Grade: D+

Wife’s Grade and Comment: C “Data jokes weren’t that funny; two groups fighting over one thing feels like it’s been done before.”

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: The Next Generation Season 2, “The Child” and “Where Silence Has Lease…”

star-trek-tng-enterpriseStar Trek: The Next Generation is my favorite television show of all time. That doesn’t mean it is completely without flaws. It just means that I love watching it, no matter what episode, no matter what’s happening. I have been getting the Blu Ray seasons and I figured why not go through the series,  a la AV Club (great reads on every episode, there), and talk about my thoughts? Maybe you’ll enjoy them. I’d love to read what you have to say on an episode-by-episode basis, as well!

I’ll give a reflection to each episode, and then I’ll give it a grade like we’re in school (A-F) based on what I thought overall. Yes, that’s copied off of AV Club, and I acknowledge their influence here. I’m starting in Season 2 because that’s where I am. I will one day go back to season 1, if demand is there!

There are SPOILERS in what follows, of course!

“The Child”

Plot

Flying energy-star thing impregnates Troi because it wants to experience what it’s like to live as a human (and betazoid, apparently). Wesley Crusher has to decide whether to stay with the Enterprise or leave to join his mom who is now heading some medical thing in starfleet. Speaking of the doctor, we now have Doctor Pulaski who is mean to Data. The Enterprise is transporting some volatile bacteria or somesuch, which is influenced by energy-starchild, so energy starchild immediately decides to die, thanks Troi, and takes off. Crusher decides to stay.

Commentary

Honestly, this was the episode in which I came to the awareness that I don’t completely 100% hate Wesley Crusher. Yes, that does mean I do not like his character, but I “get” the concept. I was watching and realized that although I knew Wesley wasn’t going to leave (having seen the whole series a few times, but never straight through), I actually kind of wanted him to stay. I don’t know if that’s masochism or because watching the series straight-through gives me a better idea of his overarching plot, but that’s the only reason this episode doesn’t get an “F.”

On that note, this episode is terrible. The scene in which Counselor Deanna Troi is being ignored by all the guys sitting around talking about what she should do with her baby actually has some poignancy to it as their words echo over her zoomed in face as they consider what she can or should do. I think there’s some attempt at a commentary there on how too often women’s voices are ignored, and the fact that Troi speaks up to ultimately make her decision (and Picard immediately says that settles it) is a near-nod to the show’s attempts to have gender equality, but against the backdrop of the whole episode, it falls flat.

There is no real acknowledgement of the notion that this alien creature violated Troi. Yes, it ultimately leaves her without a trace physically of its presence, but what of the mental scars from having an alien impregnate you, growing quickly to love it like your own child, and then watching it die in the space of two days? The episode is silent on this, and I find that pretty astounding.

Also, Dr. Pulaski is introduced in the most extremely obnoxious fashion possible. She’s completely dismissive of Data and scorns him for being concerned with how to say his name, and her bedside manner is just ridiculous. I think I remember her growing on me but wow this is a terrible start.

GRADE: D-

Where Silence Has Lease

Plot

There’s a “hole” in space that is neither matter nor energy. The curious crew of the Enterprise goes to explore it only to be enveloped by it. After some probing and an away team of Worf and Riker which has some spooky moments of exploring a sister ship of the Enterprise and the away team seeing themselves in two places, the crew discovers they are essentially being toyed with as if they were rats in an experiment. A godlike being reveals itself and demands to know more. It is curious, particularly about death, and kills a redshirt (sorry redshirt!). Then it decides to know more and wants to kill about 1/3 to 1/2 of the Crew. Picard will have none of it and decides to blow the ship. With only seconds left, the godlike being releases them, Wesley is pumped about the “bluff” Picard pulls while Riker points out he doesn’t think it was a bluff. Godlike being converses with Picard, the latter of whom notes they share curiosity.

Commentary

You know, when I started watching this with my wife, I initially groaned internally, because I remembered really not enjoying this episode very much. But I also had forgotten the plot, and as I watched it with seemingly fresh eyes, I realized it was actually a pretty interesting episode. Sure, it has the same godlike-being tampering with random human ship plot we’ve seen a bunch in Star Trek, but the way it plays out is really fun.

Worf/Riker exploring the ship is actually pretty spooky at points because you know something is wrong but can’t quite put a finger on it. The big reveal in which the godlike being is not as ridiculous as it is in other “godlike being” episodes, and it actually is put off long enough to allow the mystery to develop. Picard’s reaction is so awesome, too: “No, I’m not going to let you experiment on my crew, we’re gonna blow ourselves sky high instead!” (Not actual quote.) Seriously, very in-character for him. You’d think that there’d be a bit more of a protest, however, and that negatively impacts the believable factor of this episode.

Just an aside: I’m not saying “believable” is something that can be applied to “The Next Generation.” It’s sci-fi, there is major suspension of disbelief throughout. However, the way characters act through the show and our own experiences about how people react to situations is what allows us to have some sort of notion of “believable” (or not) when it comes to certain things. That’s what I’m saying above when I say it isn’t as believable as it may have been.

Overall, a pretty fun episode with a few flaws, including the really weird look of the godlike being.

Grade: B-

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!

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