TNG Episode 2.11 – Contagion

In which Picard asks for tea-Earl-Grey-hot for the very first time. Yes!

Memory Alpha says: The Enterprise and a Romulan warbird are attacked by the same computer virus that claimed another Federation starship – one of the same class as the Enterprise. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review

Besides the making of tea history, a background detail that I really like about this episode (and here I quote MA):

  • This episode was conceived by computer technician and Star Trek fan Beth Woods, who at the time worked on the Trek offices’ computers. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
  • Gene Roddenberry was not initially keen on the story, having written in the TNG bible that Federation technology was so advanced that there was no possibility of it ever malfunctioning, but Woods brought him round to the idea by explaining the idea of computer viruses and how they could bring even the most well-designed computer system to its knees.

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TNG Episode 2.10 – The Dauphin

In which we briefly spot Shelley the waitress from Twin Peaks. Shelley, I just want to say that you can do so much better than Bobby – and that doesn’t mean you should just trade up to the deaf guy from the FBI. Take some time to get your own shit together before you get involved with another man. I just have a lot of feelings about Shelley.

Memory Alpha says: Wesley falls in love with the new leader of a war-torn planet. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review

Okay, I get the impression that this episode is going to be weird, corny and inconsequential in equal parts. It’s another in the great parade of episodes that I don’t think I saw when they were first on – indeed, the more I continue with this blog, the more I realise that I’ve missed a lot of TNG. I would feel like a Bad Fan, but I can’t be bothered.

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TNG Episode 2.09: The Measure of a Man

In which Bruce Maddox  just does not know how to express his Data crush appropriately.

Memory Alpha says: The Enterprise must defend Data’s status when Starfleet demands his reassignment for study.  (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review

I should reserve judgement on ‘best episode of season two’ when I’m not even half-way through, but oh gosh, this episode, you guys. It has so many of the best things about TNG. It has Data being smart and adorable and vulnerable and a challenge to the status quo by his mere existence. It has Picard being his dad and protecting him and getting to make a fiery courtroom speech all Crusading Silver Fox DA. (The episode was written by a former attorney, and only got a chance because of the writers’ strike, so it’s an ill wind that blows no good.) It has the staff poker game. It has a goddamn admiral. It has O’Brien. It has a guy called Bruce, which is probably the name, of all names, that I find most intrinsically comical (second place probably goes to Fred). Sorry, people called Bruce. So, despite my recent lassitude and ennui, I think it deserves a full write-up and will endeavour to deliver. (If I later bail out and revert to bullet points, sorry, people called Bruce and everyone else.)

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TNG Episode 2.08 – A Matter of Honor

In which Riker is swift as a coursing river, with all the force of the great typhoon, with all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the mooooooooooon.

Memory Alpha says: Riker serves as an exchange officer on a Klingon warship. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review

Yes, I said that next I would be doing the Ferengi Twelfth Night episode, but I’m just not in a Deep Space Nine mood. I want to sink back into early TNG. If you mind, I’m sorry. Besides, this episode has Riker eating worms. I have tagged it ‘Riker’s hairy chest’ even though I don’t think we see it, because in this episode, he really is The Man.

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TNG Episode 2.07 – Unnatural Selection

In which we see the worst age make-up since ‘Too Short a Season.’ Possibly even the worst age make-up since ‘The Deadly Years,’ in which, for some reason, accelerated aging gave McCoy David Bowie hair from the Thin White Duke period.

Memory Alpha says: The Enterprise investigates the deaths of the crew of the USS Lantree, who all died of old age. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review

This is one of those episodes that sneaks something in that, according to later episodes, shouldn’t have happened at all: namely, in a Federation facility, the deliberate genetic engineering and augmentation of children. I think we have to file this together with things like Q’s reference to the Klingons having been conquered by the Federation, under ‘retconned because we totally didn’t realise it would ever matter,’ with a possible side order of ‘season two was a mess because of the writers’ strike; you are lucky it makes this much sense.’ You can only imagine how annoying Dr Bashir would find the whole thing if he knew.

Plus, O’BRIEN GETS HIS NAME. At least, his surname. ‘Miles Edward’ wasn’t unveiled until later. Still, it’s an important milestone (ha) for the Artist Formerly Known As Battle Bridge Conn. Read the rest of this entry »

TNG Episode 2.06 – The Schizoid Man

In which it becomes ever more clear that Data comes from a family of assholes. (Not you Juliana. You’re okay as far as I can tell.)

Memory Alpha says: An away team discovers the dying Doctor Ira Graves, who claims to be Data’s “grandfather.”  (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
Okay, getting back into this thing. Usually when I cover a Datasode, I am inspired to write out a full summary with commentary interspersed, but I am still rusty and so I’ll just use bullet-point form today.

Is this the first episode in which Data is possessed? I want to say yes. He does seem to be unusually prone to it, no doubt partly because Brent Spiner is good at acting out multiple personalities and so writers enjoyed giving him that to do. So anyway, establishing/reinforcing a trend, and also reinforcing the ‘Tin Man’ cracks at his expense. (On the other hand, the actual Tin Man of Oz is not, strictly speaking, an artificial man or robot – he started life as a Munchkin whose body parts have been entirely replaced by tin prosthetics, so that he is in effect a sock made up of darns with none of the original fabric left. You could have a nice long nerdy chat about who Data most closely resembles, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and/or Tik-Tok. Baum certainly found this character type interesting enough to create multiple variations on it; I haven’t mentioned Jack Pumpkinhead or the Flying Gump or Scraps the Patchwork Girl.)

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DS9 Episode 2.05 – Cardassians

Memory Alpha says: Garak and Doctor Bashir investigate abandoned Cardassian war orphans on Bajor. (Please click the ‘Memory Alpha’ link for detailed information.)

My Review
Firstly, I’d like to apologise for this update being such a long time in coming. I’ve been having a really messy time. I have suffered from stress-related depression for much of my life and have just had to resign from my job (I did survive six years as a high school teacher which is quite impressive for someone who would rather be at home reading) and have had to move back into my parents’ house while I work out what to do with my life and, well, aargh.

One of the key signs of depression is anhedonia, the l0ss of interest and enjoyment in the things you used to like to do. Often, in fact, rather than feeling actively sad, depressed people just feel really blank and apathetic. This, unfortunately, is part of why they are often perceived as ‘just lazy’ by people with no direct experience of the condition. Thus, while I still really love both Star Trek and expressing opinions about Star Trek at great, garrulous length, I haven’t felt up to doing another Picardigan entry for a while.

However, things are getting a bit better since I’m not at work getting ground down by the stress of it any more, and I want to get back into the swing of this, particularly because I enjoy the interaction I can have with like-minded people through the comments.

So here we go with ‘Cardassians,’ point-form, and for goodness’ sake, I should enjoy this. Incidentally, I have decided to skip the episode after this, ‘Melora,’ because I find it horribly annoying. Some bad episodes are enjoyably bad, like ‘Code of Honor,’ but others should just be quietly ignored.

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