TNG Episode 1.12: The Big Goodbye

In which Captain Picard and Data look completely fly in chalkstripe suits and fedoras and what else do I care about?

Seriously. Unf. Jaunty. Jean-Luc Picard knows how to angle a hat.

Memory Alpha says: Captain Picard and some of the Enterprise crew get stuck on the holodeck on their way to an important diplomatic mission. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
I think I’m going to write this one up as a proper summary with commentary, because I’ve been slothful lately. I know the bullet point commentary works okay for people who watch the episode themselves and then see what I had to say about it, but there’s something to be said for reading an episode. Sometimes it’s almost as satisfying as actually watching it, not that I can really explain why.

Anyway! This is the first episode to feature holodeck LARPing and start exploring the storytelling possibilities of this nifty bit of technology – which, if you want to be realistic about it, is obviously incredibly dangerous to have on your starship, almost as dangerous as Data. Both are extremely powerful and unpredictably glitchy – but the holodeck is fun and Data is lovable, and quite frankly we know where our priorities lie.
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DS9 Episode 1.11: The Nagus

In which Ferengi culture gets a little more fleshed out… with hairy ears.

Memory Alpha says: With the sudden death of Grand Nagus Zek, Quark becomes the new leader of the Ferengi Alliance, but he also becomes a target for murder. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
Well, I finally have a proper, working internet connection again, so I can blog some more – although it seems inappropriate to cover a Ferengi episode when I have an ear infection. I don’t quite feel like this:

but I don’t feel too good.

This episode introduces Grand Nagus Zek and starts to show us a bit more about how the Ferengi Alliance works. Well, it shows us that the Ferengi Alliance does work, in its own shifty, shady, shonky little way, and that it’s run by people with at least fractionally more nous than those twerps with energy whips who occasionally mildly inconvenience Captain Picard. Feeling about Ferengi-centric episodes seems to be a bit divided among DS9 fans, as some regard them as Odious Comic Relief. I like ’em. I like ’em all. What do you mean, ‘Profit and Lace’? There’s an episode called ‘Profit and Loss,’ you must be thinking of that. Move along.
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DS9 Episode 1.10: Move Along Home

In which we receive further evidence that there are a lot of jerks in the Gamma Quadrant.

Memory Alpha says: A visiting delegation from the Gamma Quadrant turns four crew members into “pieces” for a bizarre game. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

‘Move Along Home’ vies with ‘If Wishes Were Horses’ for the coveted title of Dorkiest Episode of Deep Space Nine. Visually and structurally I found it reminded me a lot of a children’s TV show from my childhood called, if I remember correctly, T-Bag. A young girl had to solve a series of alphabet-themed challenges, moving around a giant game board, in order to defeat a wicked sorceress called Tallulah Bag, whose motto was ‘Ignorance is bliss.’ Her unwilling henchman was a grumpy little boy called T-Shirt, who she kidnapped at the start of each new series and enchanted and bullied into serving her; he always ended up turning on her and helping the heroine, and yet she kept on doing it. I always liked T-Shirt. I wish he were in ‘Move Along Home.’
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TNG Episode 1.11: Haven

In which Deanna receives a Quark in a box.

Memory Alpha says: Tension mounts on the Enterprise as Counselor Troi’s arranged marriage nears, and her mother takes a liking for Captain Picard. Meanwhile, a plague ship threatens the planet where they are meeting. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
This is an episode I’m almost sure I didn’t see on its first airing, and possibly have never seen at all. On the other hand, I could just be forgetting. I have the kind of memory that dredges up things like three Presidents of the United States with alliterative first and last names with relative ease (that won me a trivia quiz and totally impressed people, and I didn’t even have to use Ronald Reagan) but won’t do phone numbers that I didn’t learn in childhood (my first ever phone number was 780527, back when New Zealand phone numbers only needed six digits) and is remarkably unhelpful on questions like ‘So: have ya seen “Haven”?’

Anyway, this episode introduces Deanna’s mum Lwaxana, which is either awesome or cringe-inducing depending on how you feel about her. Personally, I like her, and not because I don’t think she’s awful – she is awful, and she knows it, and she doesn’t care because she likes herself so damn much. Plus, she’s Majel Barrett Roddenberry, so resistance is futile. And I would just like to tell you that this episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series. I guess it didn’t win, but let’s look really closely at the hairstyles, because I think I might know which one they’re talking about (which makes me suspect I have seen at least part of this episode after all).
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TNG Episode 1.10: Hide and Q

In which Q shows his enthusiasm for cosplay, and Riker kinda shows his enthusiasm for Wesley.

Memory Alpha says: Q returns with a new test for the Enterprise. Can Commander Riker resist the power of the Q Continuum? (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
This episode marks the second time we see Q, and that establishes a tendency that will grow more pronounced over the course of TNG until it eventually gets really awesome in DS9, towards greater continuity in Star Trek. That’s not to say there is no continuity in TOS; you get recurring outside characters like, um, Harry Mudd is the only one who comes immediately to mind (I’ve also found that a lot of people have trouble remembering that Cyrano Jones, from ‘The Trouble With Tribbles,’ is not Harry Mudd, because selling tribbles just seems like such a Harry Mudd thing to do).

This is one of the episodes that I really can’t remember watching, except a vague memory of Tasha saying she was in a penalty box. Is that this one? Well, I’ll find out, won’t I?
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DS9 Episode 1.9: The Passenger

In which Julian’s mind is the scene of the crime.

Memory Alpha says: An alien criminal, attempting to prolong his life, hides his consciousness inside the mind of a station crew member. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
Glorious: one of the search terms that has led people to this blog in the past month is ‘keep away from data bitch ontd_tng.’ Dude, it has not been possible to keep me away from Data since approximately 1988. But let’s press on with DS9.

This is one of those Star Trek standbys, an episode in which a core crew member gets possessed by an alien intelligence so that they can have conflicts with the rest of the core cast and/or generally act like a dick without it being morally their fault or breaking Gene’s rule that We Don’t Fight Amongst Ourselves or, in fact, having any impact on how anybody responds to them in subsequent episodes (this is particularly hilarious with Data; the most hostile anyone gets with him is when, after he goes berserk and stabs her in a lift, Counselor Troi presents him with a mocking cake). TOS and TNG would be such different shows if, after events like these, it took time for people to regain their trust in each other, and in some cases they never quite did.

Of course, as DS9 went on, it became apparent that you don’t need anybody to be possessed by an alien intelligence for them to have some beefy conflicts and act like a dick (you have people like Dukat around who are more than happy to fill your dick quota), so they became less reliant on the old possession trick, or when they did use it did something interesting like introduce the Pah Wraiths. At least that’s how I’m remembering it; I’ll have to see whether that’s borne out by this rewatch. I do remember that they did at least one other old-school possessionpisode, ‘Dramatis Personae,’ which I found striking because Avery Brooks played his possessed character with much more personality than he gave Sisko at the time.

For the second episode in succession, we’ll get no O’Brien. I guess he’s still in Japan, and I hope at least he gets to do some nice things like soak in a hot spring with snow monkeys. But hang on. Bear with us. Bullet point commentary again.
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DS9 Episode 1.8: Dax

In which Dax could tell you a lot, but it’s not in a gentleman’s code; make it one for Fionnula Flanagan and one more for the road.

Memory Alpha says: New evidence reopens a thirty-year-old murder case, and Dax’s previous host Curzon is now the prime suspect. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
I’m reverting to bullet-point form, because it’s quick and I’m lazy. I’m doing this one at my parents’ place, because they have decent broadband and are sympathetic to my internet-deprived plight (connecting the line at my new flat is not going smoothly, I’m waiting on a technician, they might have it working on Monday, it’s all a bit unnecessary). I have to admit that, while I’m really enjoying revisiting the early TNG episodes that I haven’t watched for ages, because everything is half-remembered and goofy and adorable and weird, since I first watched DS9 right through back in May 2010, getting through Season One again is a bit of a slog, so I want to keep this thing moving and not get bogged down. (The only thing I can remember being outstandingly good in Season One is ‘Duet,’ but at least ‘Move Along Home’ is so cracky it really deserves to be an early TNG episode.)

Right; this episode is important because it begins to explore the consequences for Jadzia of living with Dax’s past, something to which her storylines (and Ezri’s, but Ezri is rather boring) will return a few times, sometimes with awesome two-lady kissing. I do like the fact that, in the Star Trek universe, the legal system has to deal with questions like ‘Does Data have human rights?’ and ‘Is Jadzia liable for things Curzon did (if indeed he did them)?’ that are quite outside the kind of courtroom dramas you can do in a less fantastic setting. I persist in believing that something like Law & Order: UFP would be kind of a fun spin-off. The usual assumption is that Captain Picard will be some kind of ambassador when he retires from Starfleet, but why not a crusading silver-fox DA, I ask you? Why not indeed. If you like Law & Order and ridiculous/cool things, go and look at These Are Their Stories; I’ll wait for you. There are Kate Beaton drawings.
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