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

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Old March 10 2013, 09:22 PM   #16
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Re: Descent was TNG's best 2-parter

I enjoyed it, the first part was was probably the first Trek 2 parter I'd seen where they hadn't even filmed the resolution when I saw it.

There's no build up to the Time's Arrow's cliffhanger. Can't even remember Gambit's
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Old March 10 2013, 11:32 PM   #17
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Re: Descent was TNG's best 2-parter

"Descent" was the worst TNG two parter.

Part one advertised as a huge Borg story, and we ended up getting a silly Lore story in Part Two instead. All the main characters were dumbed down to get the plot to work. Having the ENTIRE senior staff beam onto a planet leaving the Doctor in command with a skeleton crew?

I'll take "Times Arrow" over this stupidity any day.
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Old March 10 2013, 11:41 PM   #18
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Re: Descent was TNG's best 2-parter

Ah yes, Time's Arrow's so uninteresting I had forgotten about it. The original plan of not making it a two parter would probably have been better, and would have spared us all that Mark Twain nonsense.

Birthright is another failed two parter. Not only one of the plots is completely dropped in the second part (Data's dreams), the other one is badly handed. Having Worf dealing with the fact that his father was still alive, but living side by side with his blood enemies in peace, eschewing the so called sacred Klingon ways, would probably have been more interesting. Also it seems to me that the episode takes Worf's side on the matter, justifying the break up of a peaceful community on the account of tradition. Now, this is quite an interesting subject, I just think the episode didn't really approached it well.

Gambit, on the other hand, I find to be quite a fun romp. True, the cliffhanger is weak, but apart from that it injected a heavy dose of adventure and fun in a season that sorely needed it.
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Old March 11 2013, 12:05 AM   #19
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Re: Descent was TNG's best 2-parter

Praetorian wrote: View Post
And then we have the absurdity of the entire command staff beaming down and leaving the medical officer in charge... Really? I know they were probably "preparing" the fans for Voyager (because female captains are something trek fans are unfamiliar with...if only one of the Enterprises had been commanded by one...), but it makes zero sense.
This is what dooms the episode for me. When did the senior staff lose their brains like that? Picard didn't even have a good reason for going onto the planet!

I think they were trying to set up the future scenes of "All Good Things" with the Crusher in command plot, but it could have been done so much better than what we got. Do a separate episode with her in command instead of the stupid ghost with candle episode.
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Old March 11 2013, 01:23 AM   #20
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Re: Descent was TNG's best 2-parter

What's hard to judge is that I really, really like part one. Out of the true two episodes (as opposed to the two hour broadcasts of Encounter at Farpoint and All Good Things), it's first part is my 2nd favorite first part of a two part story, but it's 2nd part was utterly awful. In my opinion the worst or tying as 2nd worst 2nd part of a two part TNG story.

Just Yuck.
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Old March 11 2013, 08:17 AM   #21
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Re: Descent was TNG's best 2-parter

I raised an eyebrow when I read this thread title.

But reading through it got me asking myself, "did I always hate it?". I think I loved the part I when I first saw it but part II lets it down so horribly that I can never watch this or I, Borg again.

(Of course I will watch it again when the blu-ray gets released)
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Old March 11 2013, 09:15 AM   #22
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Re: Descent was TNG's best 2-parter

All Good Things...
Best of Both Worlds
Chain of Command
Time's Arrow
Redemption
Gambit
Unification
Descent
Encounter at Farpoint
Birthright

I really enjoyed all except Farpoint and Birthright (and even they were watchable at least). The two-parter I think is underrated is Gambit. I just don't understand why it's viewed as weak. I thought it was a fun show (watching Picard blending in as one of the crew, hating Riker and stuff was pretty funny).
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Old March 11 2013, 09:37 AM   #23
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Re: Descent was TNG's best 2-parter

TNG writers really had a problem doing good two parters during the later years of the series. Most of those episodes would have been fine as one episodes instead of being dragged over two episodes.
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Old March 11 2013, 09:38 AM   #24
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Re: Descent was TNG's best 2-parter

sadsquid wrote: View Post
The two-parter I think is underrated is Gambit. I just don't understand why it's viewed as weak. I thought it was a fun show (watching Picard blending in as one of the crew, hating Riker and stuff was pretty funny).
I won't speak for anyone else, but for me the bad part about TNG: Gambit was the following.

In TOS: The Savage Curtain, Surak was described as the savior of Vulcan, because he led the development of their philosophy of peace and reason which in the end won out over violence. From http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/77.htm:

SURAK: In my time on Vulcan, we also faced these same alternatives. We'd suffered devastating wars which nearly destroyed our planet. Another was about to begin. We were torn. But out of our suffering some of us found the discipline to act. We sent emissaries to our opponents to propose peace. The first were killed, but others followed. Ultimately we achieved peace, which has lasted since then.
Now, before you say that that wasn't the real Surak, from the same episode:

KIRK: Thank you, Mister Chekov. Mister Spock, any explanation?
SPOCK: Conjecture, Captain, rather than explanation.
KIRK: Well?
SPOCK: It would seem that we were held in the power of creatures able to control matter and to rearrange molecules in whatever fashion was desired. So they were able to create images of Surak and Lincoln after scanning our minds and using their fellow creatures as source matter.
KIRK: They seemed so real. And to me, especially Mister Lincoln. I feel I actually met Lincoln.
SPOCK: Yes, and Surak. Perhaps in a sense they were real, Captain. Since they were created out of our own thoughts, how could they be anything but what we expected them to be?
It is certainly true that the image of Surak was true to how Spock understood Surak to be. I'll take Spock's opinion as about as authoritative it gets in-universe in Star Trek. Therefore, the image of Surak's description of Vulcan history was accurate.

So, what's wrong with TNG: Gambit is that it betrayed and cheapened this view of Vulcan history. Instead of Vulcans taming their animal passions with reason, the need to adopt logic was reduced to rendering inert a random artifact-of-the-week that mattered neither before nor since in on-screen canon. It was embarrassing.
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Old March 11 2013, 12:36 PM   #25
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Re: Descent was TNG's best 2-parter

As far as I remember, and Memory Alpha seems to support it, the need to adopt logic had nothing to do with the weapon! The episode simply stated that the weapon became useless once Vulcans started to adopt Surak's teachings, because the emotions necessary to make it work were mostly eradicated. Avoiding the effects of the weapon was not the basis of Surak's teachings, but instead a consequence of it.
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Old March 11 2013, 12:49 PM   #26
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Re: Descent was TNG's best 2-parter

Praetorian wrote: View Post
As far as I remember, and Memory Alpha seems to support it, the need to adopt logic had nothing to do with the weapon! The episode simply stated that the weapon became useless once Vulcans started to adopt Surak's teachings, because the emotions necessary to make it work were mostly eradicated. Avoiding the effects of the weapon was not the basis of Surak's teachings, but instead a consequence of it.
Yeah, you're going to have to quote something specific to back up what you're saying, because I'm not buying it at this juncture.

First of all, Gambit itself doesn't even mention Surak, in either part.

Second of all, here's what Ron Moore (teleplay author) had to say about it, from http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Gamb...and_production:

Ronald D. Moore commented, "I felt we ran out of story in 'Part II'. There were places where I was treading water. We had to find the lost ark and I didn't know what the lost ark was. Instead, we had a device from ancient Vulcan myth that had mythic properties that you explain are telepathic focusing properties. I was trying really hard to make this thing work and in the end, I just said, 'All right, maybe we should just go for it and make this a classic Gene [Roddenberry] kind of message and go for "think happy thoughts" and make it something which tied into the backstory of Vulcan and of Surak and peace.' I thought it would fit in nicely. I'm not sure if it did. It might have just fallen in on its own gooeyness." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
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Old March 11 2013, 01:32 PM   #27
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Re: Descent was TNG's best 2-parter

Huh, interesting. I never really payed much attention to the back-story of the artifact, so I didn't pick up on that. I always just assumed what Praetorian said. Never even occurred to me that the weapon might have been the catalyst behind the switch to logic. If that really is the case, then yeah, it's a bit dumb. But I do think the rest of the show is a lot of fun.
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Old March 11 2013, 03:58 PM   #28
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Re: Descent was TNG's best 2-parter

Well, let's see:

TALLERA I am sure you are familiar with the ancient history of my people... before we found logic... before we found peace. PICARD You were much like my people once were... a warlike, savage race... TALLERA There was even a time when we used our telepathic abilities as a weapon... a time when we learned to kill with a thought.

And then:
PICARD As I recall the legend, the Stone of Gol was destroyed by the gods when the Vulcan people found the way to peace... TALLERA The resonator was believed to have been destroyed during the Time of the Awakening. Only one piece was known to have survived and it was placed in a Vulcan museum under heavy guard.

Also:

PICARD Think, Tallera -- two thousand years ago, your people were being consumed by war... then they found the way of peace and logic. During the same period, the resonator was dismantled... don't you see the connection? (beat) When peace came to Vulcan, the resonator became useless. That is why it was dismantled.

All of this corroborates what I said. And there's nothing that implies the adoption of logic and pacifism, proposed by Surak, came to be due to the existence of this particular type of weapon, as opposed to the generalized violence present in Vulcan at the time.

Now, it is true that, thematically, the weapon and Surak's teachings are intertwined:

PICARD (quiet) You were right... the resonator cannot be stopped with phasers or shields. But like every other form of violence... it can be stopped with peace.

But there's no apparent cause and effect here. I guess it could be argued that Surak was influenced by the weapon, and how it could be defeated by eschewing violent thoughts, and decided to apply this notion to all kinds of violence. But the episode doesn't say this directly, and the evidence is, at best, circumstancial.

Moore's quote seems to be from a storytelling point of view, not a continuity one, since having a weapon that can be neutralized by "thinking happy thoughts", with the weapon itself alluding to this very fact, is somewhat silly. However, thematically, it kinda fits, hence my appreciation for it.
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Old March 11 2013, 04:20 PM   #29
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Re: Descent was TNG's best 2-parter

Where are you getting that dialog? That's not accurate according to http://www.chakoteya.net/NextGen/episodes.htm.

From http://www.chakoteya.net/NextGen/257.htm:

[T'Kareth sanctuary]

(a stone chamber with carved walls)
TALLERA: There. Your reward, as promised.
NARIK: Is it all there?
VEKOR: No, this is less than half of what we were promised. Where's the rest of it?
(Tallera has assembled the resonator)
TALLERA: That is all I could manage. I suggest you take it and leave.
NARIK: I did not come this far to be cheated. I want it all, now.
TALLERA: Very well. You will get what you deserve.
(a strange field wraps Narik then throws him across the chamber. Tallera then sends a second one to do the same to Vekor)
TALLERA: Go ahead, Captain. Pick up the phaser. See what good it will do.
PICARD: You'll never get away with this. Starfleet will never stand and watch you tear apart one of the founding worlds of the Federation.
TALLERA: How little you understand what you're facing, Captain. You're used to fighting enemies like yourself. People on ships with defence shields, energy weapons, warp drives. But this is unlike anything you've ever faced. This is the power of the mind. Pick up the phaser, Captain.
(Riker, Worf and two security guards beam in)
PICARD: Listen to me, all of you! Drop your weapons! Do it! Don't make any aggressive movements. The resonator amplifies violent feelings and emotions. And that's why you wanted me to pick up the phaser. That's how you were able to kill Narik and Vekor. But I can see the symbol on that third artefact, and it is the Vulcan symbol for peace standing between the symbols for war and death. It's a warning that the power of the resonator can be overcome by peace.
TALLERA: You are about to see how wrong you are.
PICARD: Empty your minds of violent thoughts.
(the field passes through Riker without hurting him)
TALLERA: No!
PICARD: Think, Tallera. Two thousand years ago your people were being consumed by war. But when peace came to Vulcan, the resonator became useless. That's why it was dismantled.
(Tallera tries it again on Worf and fails. She sinks to her knees)
PICARD: You were right, Tallera. The resonator cannot be stopped by phasers and shields, but it can be defeated by peace.
(she tries again, but it's a very small field that passes through Picard before he takes the device from her hands)
I read all that as corroborating what I said, that peace was achieved in order to defeat the resonator. So... we're not getting anywhere. I've highlighted what I see as the key passages that support my perspective.

Moore's opinion that the story did not really fit in well with TOS Surak, and that it just didn't really work period, is pertinent.

---

Anyhow, lurching back towards being on topic, Gambit, for all its shortcomings, is certainly better than Descent in my book.
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Old March 11 2013, 04:26 PM   #30
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Re: Descent was TNG's best 2-parter

If Surak's peace and serenity-through-logic was motivated by a desire to avoid war, then the psychic resonator was just another weapon that needed to be defeated through pacifism. I'm not seeing the problem with this scenario; the resonator was defeated by the new Vulcan peace movement in the same way nuclear weapons were - the motive to use them was removed.

I doubt the wholesale reformation of a society was motivated by the desire to disable just one weapon. I can believe it would be due to the desire to disable all weapons, though.
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