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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old January 15 2013, 12:02 PM   #1
MikeS
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Location: Liverpool, UK
Episode of the week: Conspiracy

Wow! The end of this season seems to have appeared out of nowhere. I've always thought of Skin of Evil and We'll Always have Paris being much closer to the start of the final third of the season. Guess I'll have to get around to buying those flawed season two discs. Anywho...

This episode feels "epic". It seemed to be much longer than 47 minutes, and not in a bad way. It was great to see continuity from Coming of Age and good to see Jack, Beverly and Picard's backstory fleshed out a little more with the introduction (albeit briefly) of Walter Keel (any novels mention more about him?)

With regards to the HD remaster - I always remember an interview with Frakes where he bemoaned the fact that he ate one of the live maggots yet those frames ended up on the cutting room floor. I would have LOVED to have seen this found and added to that scene! Also visible in HD is the name PSI 3000 on the star map behind Remmick - nice reference to TOS.

Nitpicks - Data seems to go missing in this episode. I know that as second officer, he's in charge in the absence of the Captain and First officer, but it seems like he's being kept out of the way on purpose. Like his involvement would end the story sooner.

For an excellent continuation of this story read DS9's relaunch. I forget the precise books but the entire series is a good read.
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Old January 15 2013, 01:23 PM   #2
Use of Time
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Re: Episode of the week: Conspiracy

Yeah, I read the books but that was about 7 years ago. I really wish there would have been a follow up episode to this. It was such a cool ending to the episode to with that shot of space and the transmitting sound. The Blue Gill parasites were in interesting and worthy enemy of the Federation.
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Old January 15 2013, 03:11 PM   #3
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the week: Conspiracy

Conspiracy

Hey, I thought episode of the week was every Wednesday! Well, no matter.

I'm pretty mixed about Conspiracy as a whole. On one hand, it gave TNG a sense of continuity by following up on a story line set up in a previous episode. I love that. On the other hand, it does come off as downright silly at times. Having the parasite turn an old man into superman simply by using adrenaline? Looney with a capital L.

Now, that's not to say this episode doesn't have any highlights. The moment where Picard meets up with other Captains I thought was handled very well. I find it particularly important because it broadened Star Trek to be more than just the crew of the Enterprise solving every single problem ever. I was even pleasantly surprised that we got a black female captain who had this legendary status by being the youngest human ever to be promoted to the rank of Captain. Finally, Star Trek's future was looking promising and-



..... she's dead. Well, thank you for recommending the highest phaser setting Dr. Crusher. You've not only ensured that women can't have good things in TNG, you yourself are also going to get kicked out of the show after the next episode. I'm sure that Starfleet Medical will learn a lot from a doctor who believes that it is better to die than suffer from a non-lethal disease that makes you feel.... wait for it.... sick.

But again, Conspiracy wouldn't be a mixed bag if it didn't have just one other positive to counter the negative. And what better positive can we have than having an episode that doesn't feature Wesley Crusher? Yep, a potential galaxy wide take over and Wesley isn't brought in to help save the day. Kudos Conspiracy.

As for the queen parasite's reveal and execution? Yeah. If I was the writer, I wouldn't have killed it. Heck, I don't know why they didn't keep the original design from the concept art where it's head looked like the forward part of a Ferengi ship. That looked awesome and a lot more scary. AND WHO'S IDEA WAS IT TO MAKE THE SEQUENCE THAT GORY? You phaser a guy's head till it melts his skin off, revealing his muscles and eyeballs, and than make it all explode?? What were they thinking? Why even shoot the head?

I had always hoped that future series would carry on the parasite menace in some form or another. When I look at it now, it feels a lot like ENTERPRISE's "Regeneration" episode where our crew deals with an unknown alien threat, kills it, but realizes that it sent a signal out into deep space warning their own kind of this potential target. I'm still crossing my fingers that we'll see them again in the prime universe.

Stinger: *Pop!*
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Old January 15 2013, 03:43 PM   #4
MikeS
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Re: Episode of the week: Conspiracy

Jeyl wrote: View Post
Conspiracy

Hey, I thought episode of the week was every Wednesday! Well, no matter.
Sorry, I thought it was Tuesday? If not I was only 1 hour and 28 minutes too early

Nice observation about Wesley. I had missed that. The episode certainly doesn't miss him!

Your musings on the Captains made me remember something I meant to put in my original post - IMO the Bolian presented to us here is much better than what we got later on. I don't know, he just seems more "real". A proper alien.
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Old January 15 2013, 10:39 PM   #5
Captrek
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Re: Episode of the week: Conspiracy

MikeS wrote: View Post
This episode feels "epic". It seemed to be much longer than 47 minutes, and not in a bad way.
Exactly the word I was going to use. Yes, this is the first "epic" story of TNG. It's good scoring and a sense of atmosphere that make it work. I don't think the writing is all that great.

Use of Time wrote: View Post
I really wish there would have been a follow up episode to this. It was such a cool ending to the episode to with that shot of space and the transmitting sound.
Yes, it feels like it should have had a sequel. Let's throw some story ideas around.

But for now, my notes:

DATA: I see. So the difficulty in attaining such complex positioning in zero gravity environment, coupled with the adverse effect it would have on the psychological well being of the average human male, is what makes this anecdote so amusing. Yes. Very humorous indeed. Hysterical, in fact.
(Data attempts to imitate a laugh. It is very forced)
I love the way Spiner performs this. He's the only regular TNG actor with a good feel for comedy (unless you count Whoopi).

TROI: I know I won't. I've been really looking forward to a nice swim.
DATA: You are aware, Counsellor, that the holodeck can be programmed to recreate an oceanic environment.
TROI: Data, it's just not the same. Have you ever been for a real moonlight swim?
This is kind of interesting. In The Big Goodbye, Picard says the holodeck seems completely real. Several seasons hence in Ship in a Bottle, Picard and Data will prove unable to distinguish the holodeck from reality.

Is Troi saying here that there is a perceptible difference between a holodeck moonlight swim and a real moonlight swim, or is she describing a psychological effect where knowing that it's a holodeck diminishes the experience? If the latter, why would she expect Data to understand?

DATA: One can swim in moonlight?
Is this Data being an idiot or Data making a joke?

KEEL [on monitor]: Don't trust anyone. Remember that, Jean-Luc. Don't take anything for granted.
He must mean "Don't trust anyone except me," because he has given Picard no other reason to divert to Dytallix.

PICARD: And there will be no records or logs mentioning any aspect of this diversion.
Wait, what?

KEEL: Tell me, Jean-Luc, where did we first meet?
RIXX: (the alleged Bolian) Answer the question.
PICARD: Tau Ceti Three. It was a bar. Quite an exotic one as I remember. What do I win?
KEEL: Do you recall the night you introduced Jack Crusher to Beverly?
PICARD: You know full well I hadn't even met Beverly then. You introduced them.
KEEL: My brother introduced them.
PICARD: You don't have a brother. Two sisters, Anne and Melissa. What the hell is this all about?
(Keel nods, and weapons are put away)
RIXX: Apologies, Captain. We had to make sure you were really you.
The questions about where they met and introducing the Crushers seem like good questions. On the other hand, the fact that Keel has two sisters and no brother is something the bugs could learn from records.

PICARD: The people involved in this are of the highest calibre. If I didn't believe in their loyalty, I wouldn't have gone this far.
But... "Don't trust anyone."

WORF: Sensors not detecting any bodies in the flotsam
What happened to the bodies?

DATA: Please continue with record scan.
Another great moment from Spiner.

RIKER: I think I'll summon my Science Officer.
(Quinn grabs his arm with a surprising amount of strength)
QUINN: It won't like your Science Officer. It does like you! Vitamins. They do wonders for the body.
(There's a very one-sided fight - Quinn easily throws Riker around the room)
...
LAFORGE: Admiral. Don't you think we should wait until the Doctor gets here?
(Quinn throws him through the plywood doors into the corridor)
QUINN: Now, Klingon, it's between you and me.
(Worf's double handed blows have no effect. Quinn floors him easily)
QUINN: Do Klingons fear death as much as humans? I could snap your neck in a second, but it wouldn't be as much fun.
This is difficult to explain. It seems like Quinn's blowing his cover on purpose here. Why would he do that?

One of the questionable joys of the Blu-ray is that Ward Costello's stunt double doesn't look like him at all.

RIKER: You're not going anywhere. You'll be one of us soon.
AARON: You were meant for the Doctor.
RIKER: It couldn't be helped. Riker walked in on us unexpectedly.
So showing it to Riker wasn't part of the plan? Did Quinn's bug go insane?

(Aaron checks the back of his neck. The gill is there)
Good thing he forgot the other test, which is to ask questions an impostor couldn't answer.

The special effects of the bugs look laughably cheap in HD. Like the stunt double, it can't be helped. This show wasn't made with HD in mind.

REMMICK: You don't understand. We mean you no harm. We seek peaceful co-existence.
(So Riker and Picard shoot him and as his body falls apart, the alien inside him that spawns the parasites looks out at them. So they kill that too)
I might be inclined to give him a chance to explain what it is he thinks we don't understand. On the other hand, if I hesitate too long, my curiosity might get me killed.

Captain's log, stardate 41780.2. ... We'll never know how many of these life forms infiltrated Starfleet,
How can we not know? Wouldn't the people who had been compromised know that they had been compromised?

but it seems they could not survive without the mother creature which had taken over Commander Remmick.
This is what I call a SPOF DEM, which is a pet peeve of mine.
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Old January 15 2013, 11:15 PM   #6
Dale Sams
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Re: Episode of the week: Conspiracy

CapTrek you missed the best part of the "Swim conversation", when Worf says "Swimming is too much like...bathing."

It's very funny because of that little shake of the head Dorn gives. He hadn't quite become the Klingon whose every line reading we could predict for some 13 years. Also as seen in Skin of Evil, he makes some interesting choices.

edit: also we seem to see a weird callback to that "Starships can't/are forbidden to return to Earth" thing in TOS that I *think* only appears in the Blish books.

Picard: "While it is rare for a ship to return to Earth", and that line the Vulcan Admiral has...whatever it was...

Double edit: Maybe it was in "Making of Star Trek"..i dunno...

Last edited by Dale Sams; January 16 2013 at 06:10 AM.
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Old January 16 2013, 03:09 AM   #7
Captrek
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Re: Episode of the week: Conspiracy

It does seem kind of bizarre that the captain has complete personal discretion to abandon a mission and take the ship where he wants to and doesn’t even have to provide an explanation. Bizarre though it may be, at least they’re pretty consistent about it. In the TNG universe, we just accept that those are the rules.
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Old January 16 2013, 10:50 AM   #8
MikeS
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Re: Episode of the week: Conspiracy

I wonder what carpenter fitted those doors in Starfleet headquaters. They must be draughty as hell!

Another thing I didn't notice until watching this in HD - the yellow-shirt, skant wearing ensign that passes by the tactical station shortly after the opening credits where Data is about to explain to Riker about Dytalix-B. She is wearing a bracelet. Must have been dress-down Friday.
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Old January 16 2013, 05:08 PM   #9
Reeborg
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Re: Episode of the week: Conspiracy

I still did not understand why the bugs have build up this huge conspiracy, and then they just wasted all the effort because one of them wanted to beat up half the Enterprice crew. Not very smart writing IMO. That's the reason I rather dislike this episode.
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Old January 16 2013, 05:30 PM   #10
davejames
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Re: Episode of the week: Conspiracy

Reeborg wrote: View Post
I still did not understand why the bugs have build up this huge conspiracy, and then they just wasted all the effort because one of them wanted to beat up half the Enterprice crew. Not very smart writing IMO. That's the reason I rather dislike this episode.
Not only that, but once Picard and Co figure everything out, it doesn't take much effort to take down the alien queen. They just waltz in to Starfleet Headquarters with their phasers and shoot it dead.
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Old January 17 2013, 09:09 AM   #11
inflatabledalek
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Re: Episode of the week: Conspiracy

A fun, tense episode that's fast paced enough (especially by the standards of the era) enough for it to skip quickly past the oddities (pumping up the adrenalin in an old man wouldn't make him super strong and impervious to phasers, it'd probably give him a heart attack). There's a hell of a lot of stuff going on in this one compared to the rest of the season and most of it is very strong.

But of course, it's the exploding head we all remember. Still strong enough to be cut out of the most recent SyFi screening of the episode in the UK (I wonder if they'll do what the Beeb did and leave it in Shades of Grey?) it's a brilliantly insane OTT bit of violence.

It's actually amazing Gene let that one through considering his general attitude towards the unblemished purity of our heroes at the time; Picard and Riker don't have any real reason to shoot Remmey. He's unarmed and they don't know killing him will switch off the plot. Without that knowledge having him alive gives them a hostage. Having him dead could have just really, really, really pissed off all the infected officers at Star Fleet headquarters... Such an arresting visual though I'm glad they did it.

I also love that when Riker calls for security Worf (and for some reason Geordi, obviously he had itchy feet at this point but hadn't decided on his new career path) turn up unarmed, but Crusher arrives packing a phaser.
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Old January 17 2013, 07:55 PM   #12
Dale Sams
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Re: Episode of the week: Conspiracy

inflatabledalek wrote: View Post
A fun, tense episode that's fast paced enough (especially by the standards of the era) enough for it to skip quickly past the oddities (pumping up the adrenalin in an old man wouldn't make him super strong and impervious to phasers, it'd probably give him a heart attack). There's a hell of a lot of stuff going on in this one compared to the rest of the season and most of it is very strong.

But of course, it's the exploding head we all remember. Still strong enough to be cut out of the most recent SyFi screening of the episode in the UK (I wonder if they'll do what the Beeb did and leave it in Shades of Grey?) it's a brilliantly insane OTT bit of violence.

It's actually amazing Gene let that one through considering his general attitude towards the unblemished purity of our heroes at the time; Picard and Riker don't have any real reason to shoot Remmey. He's unarmed and they don't know killing him will switch off the plot. Without that knowledge having him alive gives them a hostage. Having him dead could have just really, really, really pissed off all the infected officers at Star Fleet headquarters... Such an arresting visual though I'm glad they did it.

I also love that when Riker calls for security Worf (and for some reason Geordi, obviously he had itchy feet at this point but hadn't decided on his new career path) turn up unarmed, but Crusher arrives packing a phaser.
At least Worf and Geordi had a *little* spring in their step. I've seen eps where security is just sauntering.

And it would be hilarious if security looked like your standard correctional officer.
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Old January 17 2013, 08:49 PM   #13
BillJ
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Re: Episode of the week: Conspiracy

Do we know for sure that Tryla Scott died in the episode? Admiral Quinn survived being shot with a phaser...
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Old January 17 2013, 09:06 PM   #14
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the week: Conspiracy

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Do we know for sure that Tryla Scott died in the episode? Admiral Quinn survived being shot with a phaser...
Quinn was brought down by Crusher when she used the high stun setting. The parasite was still attached to Quinn when in sickbay and she stated that any attempt to remove it now would probably kill Quinn. It wasn't until the mother parasite died that the parasite was removed safely.

Crusher insists that Picard and Riker set their phasers to kill since it has little effect on the creature or the host, despite the high stun setting being effective on Quinn. Remember, this is the same doctor who was willing to let a group of people die rather than get infected with a disease that doesn't kill you. When they shoot Captain Scott, the parasite leaves her body. When Quinn was stunned, the parasite remained in the host. Why would a parasite remain in a non-living host if the parasite in Quinn's body still remained when he was alive?
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Old January 17 2013, 09:12 PM   #15
BillJ
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Re: Episode of the week: Conspiracy

Jeyl wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post
Do we know for sure that Tryla Scott died in the episode? Admiral Quinn survived being shot with a phaser...
Quinn was brought down by Crusher when she used the high stun setting. The parasite was still attached to Quinn when in sickbay and she stated that any attempt to remove it now would probably kill Quinn. It wasn't until the mother parasite died that the parasite was removed safely.

Crusher insists that Picard and Riker set their phasers to kill since it has little effect on the creature or the host, despite the high stun setting being effective on Quinn. Remember, this is the same doctor who was willing to let a group of people die rather than get infected with a disease that doesn't kill you. When they shoot Captain Scott, the parasite leaves her body. When Quinn was stunned, the parasite remained in the host. Why would a parasite remain in a non-living host if the parasite in Quinn's body still remained when he was alive?
I just don't see any evidence, one way or the other, that she died. I'll have to break out the episode, it's been a few months since I watched it.
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