Episode a Week: Lonely Among Us

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by Captrek, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The weekly thread starts a day late again.

    This week’s episode is Lonely Among Us. Hopefully this thread won’t be lonely among us.

    I said these weekly threads would be our way to relive the 80’s. At this point in the 80’s we were a little disappointed with the early output of the series and wondering whether the series would be a success. Today I’m a little disappointed with these early threads and wondering whether the weekly thread tradition will be a success.

    This episode exemplifies some of the worst of the crude judgmentalism that sometimes plagued TNG. Our heroes spend a lot of time talking about how superior they are to the aliens and 20th-century humans, when all they’re really demonstrating is a complete failure to appreciate the challenges faced by these supposedly inferior beings. The aliens are seen as so inferior and insignificant that the apparent murder and cannibalization of one of them makes for a lighthearted gag on which to end the episode. Blech.

    This is an early A/B episode, and most of my complaint is reserved for the B storyline. The A storyline isn’t offensively bad, but it’s utterly bizarre that when the captain takes the ship off mission, refuses to explain the decision, then outright admits to Beverly that an alien intelligence is in at least partial control of his mind, regulations still require the crew to follow his bizarre orders. I do like how, in the finest TOS tradition, the adversary turns out to be misunderstood rather than hostile.
     
  2. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually I was surprised to find this one a lot better than I remembered. It may not have the most original or complex storyline, but it still seemed a lot better-executed (and less corny) than other early season episodes like Code of Honor, Last Outpost, and Justice.

    The aliens have a great TOS vibe to them, and it's kinda cool watching the crew have to contemplate mutiny against their captain. And when Picard beams out into nothingness, it's a genuine "holy shit, what are they going to do now?" moment.

    And while I'm sure other fans roll their eyes, the idea of Picard somehow "finding his way" back onboard the ship (and creating that little "P" on the monitor) still brings a smile to my face. :)
     
  3. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    Like most of season one, I like this one.

    Space still seemed like a vast, unexplored wonderland where anything could happen, including really weird stuff. Like accidentally picking up an entity of pure energy and I thought the "B" story was hilarious.
     
  4. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    A very odd episode. The Picard plot is harmless fluff but full of holes. It should be far easier to have a strange behaving Captain relieved of duty than this. But then, by this point in the series everyone else in the crew is so used to having their every idea treated as moronic by the Captain they might be fully conditioned to behave that way no matter what.

    The alien plot is utterly bonkers though. It ends with the Enterprise utterly failing in its mission and one of the delegates being eaten. Which is played for laughs. It's hard to imagine any other episode ending with Picard being completely unbothered by a passenger on his ship being horribly murdered and cooked.
     
  5. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Seeing O'Brien is always a treat. I liked how the aliens looked alien and not just some facial bump (Worst case of that coming in Symbiosis).

    The plot with the entity is... mediocre at best. I thought the crew should have acted a little sooner with Picard giving out phony commands and the resolution in rescuing Picard came off as anti-climactic. I just didn't get it.

    Also, doesn't the Enterprise-D come equipped with probes? Why not just leave a probe in the cloud and gather the results at a later time?
     
  6. Mott the barber

    Mott the barber Commodore Commodore

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    The alien makeup was excellent this this ep.
     
  7. Danny99

    Danny99 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As soon as "Picard" does his speech on the bridge, I thought it was hostile. Maybe it's just the way Patrick Stewart played it, but I thought it was mighty pissed off and was showing it.
     
  8. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I've seen this episode only once. It was god-awful (cf TOS 3rd season stomach-churning) on first run viewing, and I haven't had the courage to peek again.
     
  9. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Also, I can't help but laugh at Worf's expression when he gets possessed while working on the control panel. I was even more embarrassed that they used that very shot for the comparison image between the old and the new effects. I think I would gone with the shot of the Selay on the transporter pad showcasing how rich and detailed the colors turned out in HD.
     
  10. Mott the barber

    Mott the barber Commodore Commodore

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    Agreed, that was a funny choice. :lol:

    I also don't like how basically the entire senior staff has doubts about Picard and, especially considering his odd behavior, don't do anything about it.

    The whole idea of beaming him back from pure energy, similar to what they did in "Unnatural Selection" with Pulaski, was also hard to stomach.
     
  11. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    We're seeing intelligent purposeful behavior from the "essence" of a man who has left his brain far behind. Beaming him back from pure energy goes with the territory. Sometimes in Trek you just have to suspend reason.
     
  12. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Here's the problem with the suspension of reason for this particular episode. If the drama of the main story line is centered around elements that are understandable (i.e. Picard acting strangely, crew having doubts, a mysterious entity that can hide in anyone), and than have the climax resort to something that we cannot understand (Picard magically entering the Enterprise's systems), you are short changing the audience. Suspension of disbelief normally works when the whole story requires it, not when the story needs it to resolve an issue that didn't require it.
     
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Jeyl, suspension of disbelief was spaced in this episode.
     
  14. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Spaced? I don't get it.
     
  15. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    spaced = dumped out the airlock
     
  16. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The whole story does require it. Think about the situation here. We have a "pure energy" Picard existing in the cloud, thinking, making decisions, taking action, taking advantage of his knowledge of the ship and the crew and communicating with them, all despite having disposed of his brain along with the rest of his body. Once we have accepted that it can do all that, I don't see it as much more of a leap to imagine it being reconstituted into "matter Picard" from a pattern left over in the transporter buffer.
     
  17. Mott the barber

    Mott the barber Commodore Commodore

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    I see both arguments, but IMO using the transporter in this way is not as believable as, say, in "Relics" where they at least tried to explain that Scotty had set the buffer to loop the pattern.

    Here, taking something out of "energy" seems more of a stretch.

    "Unnatural Selection" with the transporter as "fountain of youth" was also sketchy at best.
     
  18. The Castellan

    The Castellan Commodore Commodore

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    Don't really see it as a stretch, who knows what can be done a few centuries from now.

    Well, they are superior to 20th and 21st century humans, since I don't recall too many fucking each other over in the name of profit and percentages.
     
  19. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There is little motive to fuck others over in the name of profit and percentages when all material needs and desires can easily be satisfied with a word to the replicator. It’s not moral superiority, it’s just good fortune.
     
  20. The Castellan

    The Castellan Commodore Commodore

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    Not really, I don't go around screwing people over, even it if made me a millionare. Dunno why some folks find such a concept of humanity actually being better such a bad thing.....one of those things I quite like about Trek, especially TNG. If you wanna see folks screw over other folks for profit, go watch all the Aliens films.:p