TNG Episode 1.21: The Arsenal of Freedom

In which Picard and Beverly fall down a hole.

Memory Alpha says: On a planet famous for its munitions industry, the crew of the Enterprise is threatened by a deadly automatic weapons system. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
This is a very TOS-feeling plot. Perhaps, indeed, it has too much of the stamp of TOS on it, via Roddenberry, because according to M.A.,

Robert Lewin had originally meant “The Arsenal of Freedom” to develop the implied romantic relationship between Picard and Crusher. Roddenberry, however, nixed the idea, and Lewin cited Roddenberry’s lack of interest in character development as his reason for leaving the show.

Which is a good example of Gene Roddenberry not fully understanding what was good about his own show, and what would eventually become my most loved aspect of TNG and DS9: heavily character-driven episodes. What can I say, I watch it as a Space Soap. It’s nearly as good as Coronation Street.

Oh, and the sand in the pit where Picard and Bev are? Infested with fleas, so just you remember that in these scenes. Both of them are absolutely crawling with fleas. With that, on we go!

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TNG Episode 1.20: Heart of Glory

In which RAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRR.

Memory Alpha says: Worf faces a test of loyalties when three fugitive Klingons come on board the Enterprise-D. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
Ah, it feels nice to get back to TNG, and I have a run of several more of these before I get back to DS9.

This episode is important because it starts to lay out who and what the Klingons are in the post-TOS world. For one thing, a lot more foreheady and armour-plated. So far Worf’s cultural background has been hinted at; in this story details begin to be filled in. Some of these details, like the use of Kling as the name of their home planet, later fell by the wayside, but the whole WARRIOR CODE OF HONOUR AND RAAAARRRR element remains important in all subsequent iterations of Trek, even if it’s hard not to think sometimes that it is really only believed by a diehard few, particularly by Worf, who grew up alienated (sorry) from Klingon culture and thus idealised it in a way that someone growing up with its quotidian realities probably wouldn’t.

It’s a lot like how Japan used to have this big samurai code that everyone cited while wrapping themselves in the national flag, but at the same time, come on, politics was always politics. Read the rest of this entry »

DS9 Episode 1.20: In the Hands of the Prophets

In which Keiko will not teach the controversy.

Memory Alpha says: Orthodox Bajorans object to secular teachings about the wormhole in the station’s school, causing tensions between fundamentalists and the Starfleet crew. (Season Finale) (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
Well, it’s only taken me a few months to get to the end of the first season! This does also mean that my DS9 and TNG seasons are going to get out of step, because TNG’s Season One was 26 episodes long. Actually, what I think I’ll do is just finish up all the TNGs in season one after this, then start the second seasons together. Then I’ll get out of step again, because TNG Season Two is short due to a writers’ strike. So I’ll just pull the same catch-up thing in the opposite direction. It’ll all come out in the wash.

This episode sets us up for so much STORY, with the introduction of Vedeks Winn and Bareil. It’s unfortunate that Bareil is so bland and uninteresting, apart from his Claudia-like affection for big beaded earcuffs, because he never really feels like an equal and opposite force to the fantastically awful Vedek Winn. I mean, even her name is Winn. That’s got to tell you something about what a great antagonist she is. I greet her every appearance with a gleeful ‘That bitch!’ and a rubbing of hands. I suppose I should count down until someone says she reminds them of Umbridge from the Harry Potter books, and yes, I see what you’re saying, but WINN ÜBER ALLES. Read the rest of this entry »

DS9 Episode 1.19: Duet

In which I probably don’t find much to joke about.

Memory Alpha says: After a Cardassian man arrives on the station suffering from an illness that he could only have contracted at a Bajoran labor camp during the Occupation, Major Kira leads an investigation to determine whether he is actually a notorious war criminal. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review:
For much of Season One I’ve been pooting along saying ‘man I can’t wait for this show to get really good when “Duet” rolls round.’ So now of course ‘Duet’ is here and I’m semi-intimidated by it. It’s a big, impressive drama episode., and it cements DS9 as the Dark Trek, the one that rolls up its sleeves and handles tragedy on a much grimmer, less romantic level than the others. I had better just get on with it and not try to think of clever prefatory remarks.

Full summary, because I kept saying I was gonna. Read the rest of this entry »

DS9 Episode 1.18: Dramatis Personae

In which Sisko finally gets some personality. It’s just not his.

Memory Alpha says: The crew becomes infected by a telepathic imprint of a culture that destroyed itself. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
Okay, I’m writing this when I’m home from school on a Monday with a rotten cold that I don’t want to spread. What better medicine than Star Trek?

I do rather like the concept for this episode. Although they have to maintain a vestige of science fiction by calling it ‘a telepathic imprint,’ basically, they’re being controlled by ghosts, doomed to forever re-enact their own downfall, unless someone or something can break that pattern. This makes it similar to one of my all-time favourite episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ‘I Only Have Eyes For You.’ And hey! Principal Quark’s in that! Read the rest of this entry »

TNG Episode 1.19: Coming of Age

In which Wesley has a very busy day, and Captain Picard is required to account for the malarkey that goes on aboard his ship.

Memory Alpha says: As Wesley Crusher takes the Starfleet Academy Entrance Exam, Captain Picard faces a competency hearing. (Please click on the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
If having inane shit happen on your ship were cause for a competency hearing, surely this should happen to Picard every month or so. Sooner or later I think you just have to stop caring, and show up to the bridge in a trenchcoat and fedora and give your ops officer permission to work with his cat in his lap. (I would really like to see an Enterprise Mufti Day where everyone wears what they want; given the general historical recreation fandom on that ship at least half the crew should be prancing around in zoot suits or Jane Austen dresses.)

I’m just doing bullet points, although my memory of this episode is that I kind of liked it, while having all sorts of nitpicky questions about it. Read the rest of this entry »

TNG Episode 1.18: Home Soil

In which wet sand doubts your commitment to Sparkle Motion.

Memory Alpha says: A new microscopic lifeform threatens to kill the crew working to terraform its planet. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
I have absolutely no memory of ever seeing this episode. I know this is where ‘ugly bags of mostly water’ comes from, and that sounds vaguely familiar except I may be confusing it with something like ‘little bags of thinking water’ which I’m fairly sure was in a Discworld book; I want to say Pyramids. I really like Pyramids, btw, and want to rewind Siddig El Fadil to about nineteen and make him play Pteppic in a film version.

Ah. I just looked it up and Pratchett had ‘little bags of thinking water held up briefly by fragile accumulations of calcium.’ Rather less punchy.  At least I was right about which book it was. Read, enjoy, and years later try to figure out how the hell the timeline fits together with this and Small Gods.

So I’m just going to bullet-point it and hope for some pleasant surprises.

Read the rest of this entry »