Star Trek: TNG Season 7 “Descent, Part II” and “Liaisons”

Klingon Diplomacy

Klingon Diplomacy

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.

“Descent, Part II”

Plot

Lore and Data are working together towards Lore’s dream: creating a pure race of non-biological life. Lore happened upon the Borg ship that Hugh returned to in I, Borg and gave them this purpose. However, Hugh is also on the surface and is leading a band of renegade Borg who oppose Lore. Riker and Worf work with Hugh to rescue the imprisoned members of the crew. Ultimately, Data must make a choice about whether to assist Lore to keep his emotional capacity or fight him and choose his friends. He ends up deactivating Lore permanently.

Commentary

Well, we’ve finally taken care of Lore. It’s about time! It’s unfortunate that Data’s brother had to be so bad, but it has been equally unfortunate that they haven’t already deactivated and dismantled him. Although, I wonder how Starfleet felt about dismantling an android–which is supposedly a person, after all. Let’s just go ahead and dissect this person who could just be reactivated. Was there a trial? Does Starfleet have the death penalty? Are my speculations getting out of hand?

ANYWAY… “Descent Part II” is an enjoyable episode. Hugh showing up again was a great treat, though they clearly had too much going on to explore his character as much as I would have liked. What happens to Hugh next? I’d love to see a follow-up episode. The story was great too–it is always fun to see Lore and Data interact. However, the same problem that plagued the last episode is in this one: it is difficult to believe Data would just turn on his own people in any serious way over emotions.

Overall a solid way to start the season.

Grade: A- “We stopped Lore at last!”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A “I only wish Hugh had had a larger part to play.”

“Liaisons”

Plot

Three Iyaaran ambassadors visit the Enterprise, on missions to come to mutual understanding with Starfleet and learn more about each other’s culture. Two remain aboard the ship, while another departs with Picard and crashes on a planet en route. On board the ship, one Iyaaran appears only interested in eating yummy food, while the other continues to jab at Worf. On the planet, Picard discovers a woman who has been stranded for 7 years. Worf and the Iyaaran get into a fight, which remarkably ends when the Iyaaran thanks Worf for showing him anger. The one whose been feasting the whole time thanks Troi for showing the nature of pleasure. Picard figures out the “woman” was actually the third Iyaaran in disguise, and that he was trying to experience love. The diplomatic encounter is successful, though it leaves everyone a bit nonplussed.

Commentary

I loved this episode when I was a kid, which I’m sure influenced how much I liked it now. Really though, this is a fun episode. The plot is fairly thin, yes, but it is full of hilarious moments. Worf’s interactions with the Iyaaran were particularly epic (more on that later), but Troi also had her moments. The mystery surrounding Picard’s circumstances was also highly interesting, and it is fun to see him figure out what’s going on. You can tell he’s suspicious almost right away, which contributes to me believing the episode is possible. Picard isn’t an idiot, so it was good they didn’t portray him as such. But he didn’t figure out what was actually going on until much later.

Worf had some epic lines in this one. “I will take him by the throat and rip out his esophagus” was probably my favorite. But yeah, Worf’s first stint as diplomat did not go so well. Or, maybe it went supremely well because he did exactly what the alien wanted him to do. Yeah, let’s go with that.

Overall, I’d say I was right to enjoy this episode when I was a kid. It’s just fun all around.

Grade: A “I find this episode delightful.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “It was pretty good, but quite strange.”

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 4: “Brothers” and “Suddenly Human”

Contrast of two cultures... also notice how Picard is staying as far away from child as possible. Kids + Picard = sad.

Contrast of two cultures… also notice how Picard is staying as far away from child as possible. Kids + Picard = sad.

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.

“Brothers”

Plot

A young boy plays a prank that seriously injures his brother. The Enterprise tries to race home, but Noonian Soong, creator of Data (and other androids) summons Data to provide him with an emotion chip. Data hijacks the ship and uses it to get to Soong. Soong’s summons also called Lore, however, and Lore arrives bitter that there is nothing for him. He steals the emotion chip and fatally injures Soong. The crew of the Enterprise arrives to get Data and they get the boys to a space station to save him. Data sees their reconciliation as a sign of hope for himself and Lore.

Commentary

There is a lot of great story building for Data in this episode, as we find out more about his origins and the ways in which he and Lore are connected. It’s kind of an exciting premise too, as it makes us wonder what other “triggers” could be planted into Data, who really seems unstoppable when it comes down to it.

But this point leads to some of the difficulties with the episode as well. I think we as viewers have to wonder whether Starfleet would be even more worried about Data than they’ve shown so far. The interactions with Lore consistently portray him as crafty and evil (or mad?), but it is also hard to see him consistently making mistakes that undermine him later.

The juxtaposition of the two stories of two brothers is interesting, though I think it could have been used with even more effectiveness throughout. It was good plot device that wasn’t used as well as it could have been.

Grade: B “Great backstory building for Data, but some problems in the execution.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “It was interesting to see the development behind Data’s character and ‘family.'”

Guest Grade- J.W.’s Mom -and Comment: B+ “It seems that objectivity should be paramount in a scientist and Dr. Sung is shown to be lacking in it. He’s too emotional.”

“Suddenly Human”

Plot

The Enterprise rescues a human youth who was among a crew of Talarians–a warlike, xenophobic people. It turns out he was captured on a raid some time ago and a Starfleet Admiral is his grandmother. They decide they must return him to his human family, but Captain Endar, a leader among the Talarians views the boy, Jono, as his own son. The crew of the Enterprise tries to integrate Jono into human society with limited success as Endar threatens to escalate into war to retrieve his son. Picard finally decides that the boy’s choice to identify as Talarian and son of Endar must be respected.

Commentary

Honestly, on later reflection I think I liked the episode a little more than the grade I initially gave it (see below), but I have a policy of going with your initial gut feeling on such things (just like multiple choice tests–don’t second guess yourself!). Anyway, as Season 4 continues its focus on familial relations (what with “Family,” “Brothers,” etc.), we here have an episode dedicated to the drama of adoption, identity, etc. It raises numerous interesting questions of right and wrong regarding cultural norms and practices, and surprisingly has a satisfying feeling at the end (rather than a contrived one).

Picard’s interplay with Jono has moments of comedy, but sometimes feels a bit overdone. It was great to see much of the main cast talking with Jono and to see the escalation of the possible conflict. The pacing is a bit slow, and there seems to be some relative naivete regarding yanking Jono from his culture and slapping him into human society whence he came. Troi, thankfully, shows some awareness of this but doesn’t fully pursue it.

It’s a good episode that maybe just doesn’t shine as much as it could because of a few minor flaws.

Grade: B “A solid premise with some minor flaws.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B “It presented an interesting dilemma for Picard and company.”

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.