TNG Episode 1.26: The Neutral Zone

In which cryogenically frozen twentieth-century humans followed Data home, and can he keep them?

Memory Alpha says: An encounter with the Romulan Star Empire is complicated by the presence of three Humans rescued from an ancient cryoship. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
I do not remember this being an exciting or dynamic season finale. In fact, pretty much all I can remember about it is ‘there were some frozen people they defrosted.’ I am sincerely struggling to recall any Romulan involvement to speak of. It will be interesting to find out what the episode is actually like.

So without ado beyond noting the fact that going back to the Khan well in any way worked exactly ONCE, and it was called Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, let us begin.

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TNG Episode 1.22 – Symbiosis

In which I really wonder if Tasha Yar used to have a drug problem.

Memory Alpha says: Two alien races struggle over a major pharmaceutical shipment. The dominant race claims the drug will treat a deadly disease, but instead it has been used to keep the weaker race addicted and powerless. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
Oops! I completely skipped this one. My apologies for the oversight to symbiotes everywhere. I have no memory of the episode, so I wouldn’t have really noticed missing it. I’m afraid it’s a bit of a Very Special Episode, based on the Memory Alpha stuff, so I’m hoping it at least has some funny throwaway stuff or some awesome outfits. Anything about addictive drugs from the 1980s is pretty guaranteed to be mawkishly earnest, and extra amusing given the amount of weed, LSD and latterly cocaine that I am morally certain lies behind Star Trek. Read the rest of this entry »

TNG Episode 1.25: Conspiracy

In which EXPLODING HEADS. Okay just one! BUT EXPLODING HEAD!

Memory Alpha says: After the mysterious death of a distinguished Starfleet captain and the destruction of his ship, the Enterprise-D finds Starfleet Command acting erratically, with key officers possessed by alien neural parasites. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information. The part in the Apocrypha about the Trills is pretty cool.)

My Review
Okay, I do remember seeing this episode when I was a kid, and digging it. It has the most astonishing moment of gore in all of Star Trek, and I just darn well like conspiracy stories, even if this one had to turn out to be masterminded by parasites, because Gene Roddenberry would not countenance a plot that relied on the existence of untrustworthy people in Starfleet.

My high school art teacher had a small scar on his neck in the approximate position of the alien ‘gill’ on the admiral’s neck, and being a complete dork I rationalised this as part of why I didn’t like him. (Main reason: he wanted me to draw a sheep’s skull when I wanted to learn to draw people. And I was an unreasonable little girl.)

Here we go! At least, it looks like here we went, but I actually went and made myself a grilled cheese sandwich in between paragraphs. Mm! Read the rest of this entry »

TNG Episode 1.24: We’ll Always Have Paris

In which you get three Datas for the price of one.

Memory Alpha says: When Paul Manheim’s temporal experiments backfire, the Enterprise-D crew tries to rescue him and his wife, before catastrophe strikes. Complicating things, his wife is Picard’s old flame, Jenice, which incites jealousy in Beverly. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
So, despite the fact that Gene Roddenberry wouldn’t let Beverly talk about her feelings about Picard two episodes ago, now she has to spend this episode being jealous of an old flame of his who is married to someone else. I find this lame. I feel like it puts Beverly in this crappy passive position that she never really breaks out of. It comes close to being as annoying as the way Juliet gets shafted towards the end of Lost, and this terrifically brave and tough woman is ultimately undone by the fact that she thinks the man she loves cares more about someone else (well, all right, all that metal stuff that fell on her had an impact too).

Oh, by the way, now totally imagining Drs Beverly Crusher and Juliet Burke as friends and colleagues. Elizabeth Mitchell would look super in Starfleet medical blue.

Did I mention I got back into Star Trek to get over Lost? But we’ll always have the Island. Now, on with the episode! Read the rest of this entry »

TNG Episode 1.23: Skin of Evil

In which we learn why sometimes, you should just hold on a little longer and see how things pan out. Denise.

Memory Alpha says: A rescue operation to save the lives of a shuttle crew costs the Enterprise one of its own. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
This is, of course, a really weird and uncomfortable episode, and probably the best thing about it is Jonathan Frakes sliding backwards into a trench full of printer’s ink thickened with Metamucil.

I do remember being sincerely scared by Armus when I was a kid.

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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!

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 »