Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 3 “Defiant” and “Fascination”

What the heck is going on?

I’ve completed my re-watch of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Now it’s time to start Deep Space Nine! I am much less familiar with this show, though I’m pretty sure I’ve seen about 80-90% of the episodes. It’s been so long that I’m sure it will all feel brand new. My wife has never seen the show. She and I will go through, review every episode, and give commentary and a grade from A-F. There are SPOILERS for each episode below. Without further adieu, here’s:

“Defiant”

Synopsis

Will Riker shows up on DS9 and shows some interest in Kira. When the latter agrees to give him a tour of the station, including the Defiant, he drugs her and takes over the ship. Turns out he is, in fact, Thomas Riker, who was created by a transporter incident some time ago and is referenced in the TNG episode Second Chances. He’s trying to help steal the Defiant for the Maquis. He and his crew take Kira deep into Cardassian territory, as Sisko partners with Gul Dukat to help track the ship. A member of the Obsidian Order, the Cardassian intelligence agency, monitors the events closely. Thomas Riker is convinced that the system he’s approaching has a secret Cardassian base where they are preparing for an attack on the Federation and specifically the area the Maquis dispute. Kira is unconvinced, but as the Defiant eludes pursuit, it is confronted by a number of Cardassian ships that even Gul Dukat did not know were in the system. Sisko swings a deal that sends Riker to a Cardassian prison camp instead of death in exchange for the Defiant‘s sensor logs, allowing Dukat to learn more about what the Obsidian Order may be up to in the system.

Commentary

Thomas Riker! That came out of left field, though I will say that I just barely called it in advance. I figured Riker was acting too strange to be William and it might be a shapeshifter or perhaps Thomas showing up. But I only thought of that just before he shot Kira, and the only reason I thought of Thomas was because that episode was pretty striking to me.

Anyway, this episode was actually totally exciting. Moreover, it seemed important. It wasn’t just a set piece to throw Riker into the mix. It showed yet another escalation of the Maquis conflict in the Star Trek universe, as well as some nefarious undercurrents with the Obsidian Order and the Cardassians. It set up a lot of stuff later, though I don’t remember how much of it is cashed in on. Moreover, it didn’t feel like a setup episode, because it was exciting and had an interesting plot on its own.

The man and perhaps only problem here is how totally willing Sisko was to share absolutely top secret and vital intel on the Defiant with the Cardassians. Though the ship was intended to combat the growing Dominion threat, I can’t help but think that sharing those secrets with the Cardassians, who are clearly another major rival, would not be okay. Yes, they rationalized it some as preventing all out war with the Cardassians, but it was still tough to completely suspend my disbelief here. If the rest of the episode hadn’t been so good, I may have marked it down even more for this.

But let’s get this straight, this was a great episode. It provided a tie-in to The Next Generation that wasn’t just for the sake of a cameo, it developed the Maquis, it perhaps closed the book on a loose thread with Thomas Riker, and opened exciting new possibilities for the show. Well done.

Grade: A- “Great follow up on the TNG episode, good action. If slightly unbelievable, it was exciting enough that I was able to mostly overlook that.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “It was a good tie-in to an old TNG story and had some nice action.” 

“Fascination”

Synopsis

Lwaxana Troi is back on station, much to Odo’s chagrin. But after her arrival, things begin to go haywire among the crew and visitors. People obsess over each other in ways that are clearly uncharacteristic. Meanwhile, Keiko and Miles O’Brien are reunited (oh yeah, and their daughter is there, too), but struggle because Keiko wants to stay on Bajor even longer for her botany. Miles is jealous of her time and her interactions with a male colleague, and he royally messes up. Ultimately, Bashir manages to isolate what’s happening to the station–Lwaxana’s Betazed abilities have been impacted by a fever and caused the mayhem. She gets treatment and the chaos stops. Miles reconciles with Keiko, offering to resign if necessary to let her pursue her dream. She says he doesn’t need to, and they’re happy once more.

Commentary

Yeah, this episode was silly. Surprisingly, the silliness wasn’t terrible though. It gave a more plausible reason for all the characters to act silly, because we’ve already seen how Betazed/Betazoid (which is correct, anyway?) abilities can impact all those around them. It made for some humorous scenarios to offset the drama among the O’Brien family. It was great to see how Keiko and Miles reconciled.

But speaking of Miles O’Brien, why does DS9 have it in for him so much? It’s like every episode he’s featured in he screws up big time or ends up stranded in some horrible situation. Poor O’Brien.

Another reason this episode gets kudos from me is because it used Lwaxana Troi wisely. It didn’t push her to be something she’s not, and it stayed in character for her without being completely obnoxious. I suspect Odo would disagree on that assessment, though.

Grade: B “Amazingly, DS9 has had Lwaxana Troi on it multiple times and not delivered a series-worst episode. Well done.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “There was nothing particularly special about this one, but I certainly enjoyed 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: DS9– 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: Deep Space Nine Season 1 “The Forsaken” and “Dramatis Personae”

Well this is weird, all around.

Well this is weird, all around.

I’ve completed my re-watch of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Now it’s time to start Deep Space Nine! I am much less familiar with this show, though I’m pretty sure I’ve seen about 80-90% of the episodes. It’s been so long that I’m sure it will all feel brand new. My wife has never seen the show. She and I will go through, review every episode, and give commentary and a grade from A-F. There are SPOILERS for each episode below. Without further adieu, here’s:

“The Forsaken”

Synopsis

A delegation of ambassadors shows up on DS9, one of whom is the great Lwaxana Troi. Bashir is assigned to show the ambassadors around while Chief O’Brien struggles to teach the stations computer how to work. Troi starts to pursue a relationship with Odo. When an alien object shows up, suddenly the computer goes haywire. Troi and Odo are trapped together, and the other ambassadors are trapped due to an explosion with Dr. Bashir. Troi allows Odo to go liquid form in her dress to protect him, and Bashir manages–just–to save the other ambassadors. High fives all around.

Commentary

Lwaxana Troi drives me crazy, but she has become a progressively better character, despite her obnoxious qualities, as Star Trek goes on. Here again we see a new dimension of her character–a touching one–in which she reveals to Odo her own weaknesses regarding her looks to allow Odo to feel more comfortable with his own need to go liquid form (that’s what I’m calling it–deal with it).

Yeah, the side plot with the “puppy dog alien computer virus” was weird, but it served its purpose–to create drama for the other characters. Bashir’s delightful idiocy also got some expansion as he was smart when under pressure–something he hasn’t yet had the opportunity to demonstrate. He got all the perks of showing the ambassadors he could have dreamed of. Go Bashir!

So yeah, there are some big problems in this episode, not least of which is the weird virus that just wants some love, but those can largely be forgiven because Odo/Lwaxana worked so well together. It’s a true character piece that gives a lot more dimension to both of them.

Grade: A- “Like a puppy, it’s got some problems to work out, but it has a lot of heart.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “It revealed depths of Lwaxana’s character that were previously hidden.”

“Dramatis Personae”

Synopsis

When an alien object is returned to the station, the crew starts to go crazy. It turns out that the alien object has managed to force most people on the station to start acting out roles in an ancient alien drama, recapitulating its warlike, betrayal-laden plot. Odo and Bashir manage to remove the alien influence from the crew, and everything is saved with only minimal losses.

Commentary

Okay, this is a really strange episode. It’s like some attempt to integrate Shakespeare into DS9 but in a way that isn’t as spectacularly epic (or fail) as many of the episodes with the same idea in TNG. It’s just weird. The impending paranoia that surrounds everyone in the crew made me as a viewer uneasy, but I never felt it was truly a threat to anyone, largely because they didn’t introduce any side character who might actually be in danger (yes, I know, it is hard not to meta-). But, that said, it was fun seeing all the characters being so out-of-character, and Sisko made a really, really cool clock that I would love to have. I don’t have much more to say about this one, to be honest. Strange.

Grade: B- “I want that clock.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B- “It was a cool story, but didn’t seem to make much sense as a Star Trek episode.”

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: DS9- 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 7 “Dark Page” and “Attached”

My face while I watched this episode.

My face while I watched this 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.

“Dark Page”

Plot

Lwaxana Troi is having psychological difficulties. Initially, they appear to be linked to her attempts to communicate telepathically with a new race of telepaths–with potentially nefarious consequences–but it turns out that it is really Lwaxan’s own attempts to suppress a memory which are causing her distress. Deanna must enter into her mother’s mind to rescue her from the prison in which she has encased herself. She does so, thus revealing the truth of Lwaxana’s lost child.

Commentary

Ouch. This was a surprisingly thoughtful and emotional episode, starring Lwaxana Troi of all people.

I enjoyed it, but I also felt a little bit scared and uncertain afterwards. I wanted to run to check on my sleeping child to make sure he was okay. “Dark Page” preys upon that part of parents’ psyche: the knowledge that no matter what we do, something could always go wrong. No matter how much preparation, watching, and the like we engage in, something terrible could happen.

But then, the episode doesn’t just leave it at that. Instead, it turns to how we deal with great loss. It doesn’t offer an easy, stupid one-size-fits-all solution. Instead it just leaves the emotions raw and unchecked. With loss, we must not avoid the feelings we experience. That is what this episode tells us, and it hurts quite a bit to see it or even contemplate it.

There’s my analysis. As far as the actual details of the episode, I don’t think they matter much. This was an episode that was all about struggling with sorrow, and the plot was less important than the ideas it conveyed.

This is an episode that will hit you right in the gut, and leave you thinking for a while afterwards. Well done.

Grade: A “Right in the feels, there, Star Trek.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A “It was a remarkable and touching exploration of Deanna’s relationship with her mom.”

“Attached”

Plot

The Enterprise is dispatched to check out a planet that is petitioning for entrance into the Federation. Once there, they beam Crusher and Picard down to the surface. But wait! During transport, the two are intercepted and imprisoned by a rival faction who believe the Enterprise is at their planet to give military assistance to conquer them. They implant something into Crusher and Picard which is supposed to let their thoughts be read to see if they’re telling the truth, but when the two escape, they start to hear each other’s thoughts and experience agony if they stray too far from one another. Eventually, as Riker deals with leaders from each faction, Picard and Crusher manage to escape, ending the potential conflict… and the chances for the planet’s entrance into the Federation (for now).

Commentary

Can we just agree that Crusher and Picard need to just get married already. They love each other. They effectively admitted that to each other in this episode. There is so much sexual tension happening that it is ridiculous. And why not? Huh? Well, probably because they both love the position they’re currently in and neither wants to transfer or move for the sake of a relationship. At some point though, they have to realize they’re basically letting their chances for happiness over a longer period of time slip away! It’s driving me crazy.

As far as the rest of the episode goes, I think it was pretty entertaining. It’s a pretty fun concept: show what happens when someone is petitioning to enter the Federation who is actually insane. Yep. This is a planet full of madness, and they manage to put just enough of a facade of normalcy forward to lure the Enterprise into having to come see if they might be considered for entry. This does not go well for them.

I particularly enjoyed Riker’s bemused expression as representatives of the two factions were countering each other with ever-increasing levels of paranoia. You could just tell the thought that was going through his head: “Yeah… not recommending these crazies for entrance into the Federation.” Of course, he gave voice to that very thought shortly thereafter, which was just as enjoyable.

“Attached” is full of characterization as well. We learn more about Picard and Crusher’s backgrounds in ways that are touching and revealing.

The complaint I have is that we keep getting more and more relationships that seem like they should just be a thing, but instead are put off for whatever reason (see also Troi/Riker). Look, we’re in the 7th season of this series. Can we just have the people who are obviously made for each other get together? I like resolution, so it is starting to drive me bonkers.

Another complaint: how is it so easy to just intercept a transport in progress? Basically every time that’s happened before this, people end up dead. Here’s another of the endless examples where technology is used in a very inconsistent fashion throughout the series.

Grade: A- “Just get married already!”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “Yet again, Picard demonstrates his extraordinary ability to stay out of a relationship with Beverly Crusher.”

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 5 “The First Duty” and “Cost of Living”

Well, this is awkward to watch.

Well, this is awkward to watch.

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 First Duty”

Plot

The Enterprise is headed to earth and as they are inbound they discover that Wesley was involved in a training accident. He’s going to recover, but one of the five members of his flight crew was killed and an investigation is launched. As the inquiry continues, it turns out that the four remaining members have agreed to conceal their attempt to perform a highly dangerous maneuver and have instead appealed to the dead member making a pilot error that led to his death. Geordi and Data, however, discover that plasma ignited at the same time as the inquiry reveals a picture of the training craft in an unreported formation. Picard confronts Wesley and tells him that if he doesn’t come out with the truth, he will. Wesley does tell the truth, which leads to the leader of the flight crew being expelled and permanent reprimands on the rest of their records.

Commentary

The approach taken with the plot of this episode was thought out very well. As observers, we can tell something is wrong with Wesley, and as we see the pressure being put on him and the rest of the team by their flight leader, we can see that there is more to the story than meets the eye. But we don’t find out exactly what happened until about the time Picard reveals his own knowledge of it to Wesley following the investigation run by Geordi and Data.

Thus, we can understand Dr. Crusher’s concern and confusion regarding the situation and how the picture that demonstrates the falsehood of the flight crew’s story must be mistaken. There doesn’t seem another explanation. But the explanation is simple: they’re lying. It’s something that seems to go beyond the bounds of what we normally expect from Star Trek’s normally squeaky-clean world.

“The First Duty” is uncomfortable in that it makes us see things from both sides of a tragic event. The manipulative comments from the flight leader add to this discomfort. Picard’s epic tongue-lashing of Wesley seems both appropriate and well-deserved and it fits into the conversations Picard had with the groundskeeper.

I really loved this episode. Wesley has come into his own.

When my wife came up with a good score, but I gave it a super high score, I explained my reasoning to her thus: “It was like we got to witness all at once the threads that were put in place for Wesley’s development blossom and turn him into a beautiful flower, but then we watched it whither, only to be revivified in greater, but tarnished glory by Picard.”

Yep, that’s about how I feel about this episode. It was phenomenal.

Grade: A+ “It initially made Wesley suck, but then made him surprisingly admirable. Well done.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “It was interesting but it lacked the gravitas of better episodes.”

“Cost of Living”

Plot

Lwaxana Troi comes to the Enterprise to get married. As she struggles to deal with the implications of an arranged marriage, she tries to guide Alexander in his own path to self-awareness and freedom. They play around on the holodeck as tensions increase between Troi and her betrothed. Finally, she realizes that, like she did for Alexander, she needs to be herself. She shows up to the wedding in traditional Betazoid fashion: naked. The wedding is called off as her betrothed and his adviser are horrified and leave.

Commentary

This is an all-around weird episode. The interactions on the holodeck are a bit whimsical but also kind of creepy. The way that Lwaxana Troi tries to take over parenting of Alexander from Worf is left largely without comment. But there are a few things to like here as well. Troi becomes just a little bit less awful here–something it’s hard for me to admit–as she tries to realize her own needs alongside navigating Alexander towards his. There’s a kind of endearing sadness to Troi’s situation that makes you sympathize with her. Seeing her betrothed and his adviser absolutely flipping out about every little piece of protocol only added to the sympathy that was generated for Troi.

But really, having Alexander walk around saying random nonsense was a bit too much for me. Just stop it. Also, mud bath awkwardness. Just a weird episode.

I was surprised by the score difference between my wife and I here. She really liked it. I thought it was okay. I suppose my deep dislike of Lwaxana Troi might have contributed, but I just thought the episode was super weird.

Grade: C+ “Lwaxana Troi only barely ruins an episode. But seriously, this had some touching moments that were marred by a sense of strangeness and a throwaway side-plot.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “It did a nice job exploring the challenges of responsibility and carefree living. It also had some very fun visuals in holodeck-land.”

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 “Half a Life” and “The Host”

"Don't ruin this for me, Lwaxana. I want to be in a halfway decent episode."

“Don’t ruin this for me, Lwaxana. I want to be in a halfway decent 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.

“Half a Life”

Plot

The Enterprise is to help the people of Kaelon II try to rejuvenate their sun and so continue surviving. Dr. Timicin, a leading scientist from the reclusive people, comes aboard. As he conducts experiments, Lwaxana Troi, aboard for other reasons, quickly falls for him (and he for her). However, after the experiment ultimately fails, Dr. Timicin is recalled. It turns out he is to die, because he has reached the traditional age at which the people of Kaelon II euthanize the eldest generation. After seeking asylum, Dr. Timicin is ultimately convinced by his daughter (and others) to return home, despite not having finished his life’s work. Lwaxana Troi disagrees with the custom but utlimately returns with him.

Commentary

The first line of this episode is from Deanna Troi and ends with: “My mother is on board.” It is at this point I knew this episode would probaby be super hard to watch. But honestly, the shortcomings (i.e. the continued existence of Lwaxana Troi) are in part overcome by the episode itself.

The problem is that this is the kind of story which the writers apparently think is the only possible one for Lwaxana Troi–a parade of failed love interests. I caught myself thinking: Oh look, Lwaxana Troi throws herself at another man and something causes an epic failure in the relationship. 

Yeah, big surprise right? It’s unfortunate because if the previous episodes with the elder Troi had been able to establish any kind of decent rapport with her character as opposed to being utter drivel, it would be easier to sympathize with her and perhaps overlook the rehash of her story.

The main plot, however, is intriguing enough to cover some of the sins of the character. Indeed, Troi looks downright gracious when she finally gives in and goes down to the planet alongside her latest love interest in an act of solidarity. The episode really ends up being an intriguing look at the topic of euthanasia and the ethical quagmire that can be brought up around it. Dr. Timicin is a decent guest character with a pretty solid backstory and enough rapport with viewers to make us care what happens to him.

And heck, making Lwaxana Troi somewhat more likeable is an epic feat on its own. Not a great episode, but amazingly not terrible. The best moment: Picard trying to slowly worm his way around to avoid Lwaxana at the beginning of the episode, only to be caught. Hilarious!

Grade: B- “Performs a miracle: It makes Lwaxana Troi slightly less atrocious.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B “It dealt with some difficult issues but overall was not super exciting.”

“The Host”

Plot

An ambassador the Enterprise is shuttling around, Odan, has hit it off with Dr. Crusher. However, when a militant faction causes an injury, it turns out that the body that Crusher had known was merely the host for a parasite that was the real intellect behind the man. They implant the Trill parasite in Riker for the negotiations, which leads to much akwardness as Riker’s body is guided by Odan’s mind and still loves Crusher. The negotiations succeed, and Odan gets a new host–a woman! Crusher can’t handle the craziness of changing bodies and the two depart on friendly terms.

Commentary

It seems we again tread familiar ground with a female character. Haven’t we seen Beverly Crusher get swept away by some random guy before? Well kind of. But parts of this episode seem to also mirror Deanna Troi in episodes like “The Price.” Here, it is Troi giving Crusher knowing looks and random insights about being in love. It’s almost like it’s the same dialogue/scenes just with the characters reversed. Very strange.

Speaking of strange, there are just too many plot holes here to take the premise itself as seriously as it needs to be taken. Where do the Trill get hosts? What of the host bodies? Did no one really consider the possible damaage to Riker? Who became first officer? What would have happened if the Trill took sensitive Starfleet data from Riker’s mind? The questions multiple interminably. Granted, this is science fiction–and Star Trek at that–so the suspension of disbelief is expected. However, that suspension can only be pushed so far.

Moreover, I wish that we could get more episodes that made better use of Crusher (like “Remember Me”). I get it, she’s a female doctor, so she apparently must have a love interest for her. But really? Do we? Pulaski got some episodes where she got to be an epic doctor as a doctor (like “Unnatural Selection“) so why can’t Crusher? And to make it worse, we know TNG can do it because it has done it before. I expect better, but maybe that’s a testament to how good season 4 has been.

Grade: C “Rehashed plot with a whole bunch of holes.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “Overall a good episode but not outstanding.”

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 Awards

I can see the family resemblance.

I can see the family resemblance.

We’ve now finished watching all of season 3 of TNG and offered individual reviews of every episode. How about taking some looks at the best and worst parts of the season! Feel free to chime in to let us know what you thought. There are SPOILERS for Season 3 in what follows.

Worst Guest Character 

J.W.: Alright let’s just admit that Lwaxana Troi (“Menage a Troi“) can take this category any season in which she appears. Instead, I’m going to pick Devinoni Ral from “The Price.” The episode itself was decent, but Ral’s hyper-seduction and assault of Troi (touching without permission, etc.) and overbearing insults toward Riker made it almost unbearable to watch at points.

Beth: DaiMon Tog from “Menage a Troi“- he was just really annoying. [J.W. note- can I point out that this episode gets a lot of hate from us in this awards ceremony?]

Best Guest Character

J.W.: Sarek from “Sarek.” Watching a Vulcan suffer breakdowns related to emotions was moving, and Sarek played the part perfectly. It’s also a great tie in to earlier Trek lore.

Beth: Sarek is the best guest character. He’s got the most interesting dilemma and the characters around him added interest.

Best Character

J.W.: Let’s give credit where it is due: Picard rocked this season. Whether it was as an archaeologist on an adventure in “Captain’s Holiday” or as the emotional outlet for Sarek in the oh-so-aptly named “Sarek,” Picard showed versatility and genuine development as a character. Plus, I don’t think anyone will forget Picard’s final words on “Best of Both Worlds Part I“- “I am Lucutus of Borg.”

Beth: Geordi La Forge between the two episodes he was prominently featured in, his character was developed and his acting talent shown.

Most Awesome Moment

J.W.: The Klingon assembly turning away from Worf in “Sins of the Father.” You may have thought the episode might end badly for Worf, but I don’t think anyone could have predicted the utter shame he was wrongfully subjected to. It seems like an awesome set up for later plot development.

Beth: “I am Locutus of Borg” from “Best of Both Worlds Part I”- it was so epic!

Most “Huh?” or Awful/Worst Moment

J.W.: In “Who Watches the Watchers” we’re taken on an ahistorical ride through the evolution of religions school. It’s rather pointless and also inaccurate.

Beth: The Lwaxana and DaiMon Tog interactions from “Menage a Troi.”

Worst Episode

J.W.: Easily “Menage a Troi.” Absolutely nothing went right in this episode, and it was just a terrible sight to behold. It might be the worst episode in the series so far (and hopefully overall), though “The Child” gives it a run for its money (as does “Shades of Gray” but that gets a Mulligan). Watching Lwaxana Troi is always a way to spoil an episode, and the plot was just absurd. Approximately 20 seconds of this episode was bearable.

Beth: Captain’s Holiday” just didn’t interest me that much. It seemed out of place in the season. [J.W.’s note- I almost picked this one for best episode! I loved it!]

Best Episode

J.W.: I had to sit and think this one over for a while, but I’m going to go with “Sins of the Father.” Season 3 was filled with epic moments and persistent storylines, but here we have something that catapults Worf’s family into the limelight in spectacular fashion and sets up what will hopefully be more thrills in the Klingon part of the galaxy.

Beth: Best of Both Worlds Part I” kept you on the edge of your seat and featured some great acting.

Overall Season Score and Comment

J.W.: I think this season is just fantastic. Sure, there are bumps along the way but it is consistently good television. I give it an A- overall. There’s still room for improvement, but I was very satisfied with this season.

Beth: B+ Despite a few not-so-great episodes the overall quality of the season.

Links

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2 Awards– Swing on by to take a look at the awards for Season 2. What do you think of the selections?

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 “Sarek” and “Menage a Troi”

Deanna is also unimpressed by this episode.

Deanna is also unimpressed by this 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.

“Sarek”

Plot

Renowned ambassador Sarek–Spock’s father–is dispatched to the Enterprise to start of negotiations with a notoriously difficult species. The moment he boards, however, it seems things are wrong. Emotions run high aboard the ship and even Sarek appears to be hampered by emotions. As the crew investigates, it turns out that these may be coming from Sarek because of a rare disease. The only way to continue negotiations is to have Picard take on the burden of Sarek’s boiling emotions, which he does. The negotiations are successful and both Picard and Sarek are changed by the event.

Commentary

Patrick Stewart. Patrick Stewart. Patrick Stewart.

What an amazing actor. The scene in this episode in which he is taking all the pain and emotion from Sarek must go down as one of the greatest scenes in television history. I mean that seriously. The acting by Stewart sells a scene that could have been silly and makes it into an awesomely emotional and stirring moment.

The episode starts off very slowly. Sarek shows up, there appears to be something ailing him. The crew experiences increasing tension. The connection is made. It’s not much of a mystery. We can see the clear link between Sarek and the anger long before any of the main characters have, but the payoff we get from this episode is all about how Picard is able to step in and take on a situation which could destroy him. It’s moving in a way that few TV episodes manage to be.

I wish we’d been able to see whatever species it was that wanted to sit in the weird pool in the darkness, but again that’s not what this episode is about. It’s all about getting we, the viewers, to see Picard handle an emotional roller coaster. It’s that moment which sells this episode. Everything else is fluff. That could be a bad thing, but in “Sarek” you won’t mind. It’s just that good.

Grade: A- “Slow out the gate, but a stirring episode that impacts the audience as few others have.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B “Despite a slow beginning, Picard gave an amazing performance.”

“Menage a Troi”

Plot

A conference is being held on Betazed and the Ferengi are among the invited species. One Ferengi, Damon Tog, is infatuated with Lwaxana Troi and the monetary prospects of having her as a mate. He kidnaps Lwaxana and Deanna Troi along with Riker. As these three try to manipulate the situation, they are thwarted. Ultimately, Lwaxana volunteers to stay behind but is saved by a clever false love spat between herself and Picard.

Commentary

What can I say? So much goes wrong in “Menage A Troi” (the title, for one) that it is hard to pick a place to begin. First, it forced me to type the line “infatuated with Lwaxana Troi” which is a phrase that must never be uttered. Second, oh my goodness what a paper-thin plot. I get it in a way: it is supposed to be a way to feature a set piece of the Troi family’s interacting with Riker and kind of a get to know everybody moment. Riker gets a chance to prove himself, right? Well, no, not really. That may have been the intent but the product is quite different as Lwaxana is split from the other two upon the kidnapping and then is forced to carry her own part of the episode.

Let me tell you this: if Lwaxana Troi has to carry an episode in any part, that episode will be awful. Honestly, the actress does a decent job, assuming her job is to be an insufferable character. The problem is that Lwaxana is utterly insufferable on any conceivable level.

But even the parts of the episode that don’t have Lwaxana in them are pretty bad. The Enterprise is dispatched on some random mission that keeps them from helping. Riker and Deanna have barely any time to try to salvage what’s left of the episode, and the whole thing just feels totally forced.

There is one scene which isn’t atrocious: Picard forced to pretend he likes Lwaxana and reciting love poetry to her. It is a really funny sequence, but after being force-fed garbage for so long, it hardly makes an impact. I should also note (here I am trying to not some positives, look how good I am at this!) that the set for Betazed was decent. The Ferengi ship having random beds and torture devices was weird but at least made the ship seem clearly different from other ship sets. Oh, and I suppose that Star Trek Chess has always been cool. Does it seem like I’m grasping at straws here? I am. This is an irredeemably bad episode.

Side note: I think this is the new biggest spread in the score between my wife and myself.

Grade: F “If there must be a silver lining, at least it is now easy to select the worst episode of the season for our season review.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B “The Ferengi-Betazoid interactions were funny.”

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.