Episode of the Week: 2x22 "Shades of Gray"

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by Jeyl, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    [​IMG]
    Memory Alpha Entry
    Chrissie's Transcript
    SFDebris' Review

    After 21 episodes, we finally come full circle with the mixed bag that is Season 2 of Star Trek: The Next Generation. A season that started out badly, and with this episode it ends badly. Not in the same way like with "The Child" that ended up being a dumb and quite offensive episode, but in an incredibly lazy "I don't give a sh**" kind of way. Oh, Maurice. If there was ever a writer who summed up the reason why this episode is as bad as it is, you nailed it.

    "I was on the way out the door."

    How can you even call yourself a professional when there's such scathing evidence that showcases how you are a bona fide quitter who won't put in any effort into something just because it had to be a clip show? There are so many other cost effective ways of doing a show that takes place solely on the ship. "Where Silence has Lease" did a great job with this concept and as did many other episodes of Star Trek.

    What little story there is in this episode all boils down to Riker being stung by a plant that is attacking his mind, and Troi and Pulaski have to work on forcing Riker to relive past memories in order to beat the infection. It's almost disturbing how much medical science has advanced in such a way that you can literally cause a patient to have nightmares. How anyone thought that would be useful in any situation outside of this I have no idea.

    In regards to the clips themselves, there does seem to be real potential in using clips from previous episodes without outright being moments from those previous episodes. When the doctor first tries to induce a memory, it's when Riker is beamed onto the planet from "The Last Outpost". I could have easily have seen this as the present Riker being trapped and alone in his mind without simply going back to the events of the said episode. Don't know how long that would last, but at least it's something. If you check out SFDebris' review, he has some pretty good ideas in how you can build a story around a clip show in more interesting ways rather than simply relying on it to kill time. One idea he had was to have Lore try to acquire certain memories from Riker to use against the Enterprise. That way you don't have to hire a new actor for the role, and there are certain memories that Riker has that could very well be used against the Enterprise, like the self-destruct code for the Enterprise as seen in "Where silence has lease".

    But if there's one thing about this episode that stands out as actually having some share of quality to it, it's Ron Jones. Throughout the entire length of the episode, he's the only person who is bringing in his "A" game into the mix and really puts in a great effort in trying to sell something that is flat out ridiculous. And as SFDebris pointed out, Ron Jones was the only person associated with this episode that Rick Berman fired at the end of Season 4. Yep, the one person who was responsible for the only good thing in this episode and Rick not only didn't want his talents on the show, he actually brought back Maurice Hurley to write another episode in a later season. How's that for quality assurance?

    CONCLUSION: While this episode is certainly one of the worst, the elements that make it bad are thankfully limited to the writing being horribly lazy and unimaginative. It's not offensive like "The Child", it's not painfully annoying like "The Outrageous Okona" and it does have something that's kind of happening in it which is more than I can say about "The Manhunt". Overall, it's not an unwatchable episode, it's just an episode that, with the exception of the music, had zero effort put into it. At least when Xena: The Warrior Princess had a clip show, they used clips from Spartacus!

    STINGER:
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  2. LOKAI of CHERON

    LOKAI of CHERON Commodore Commodore

    I just don't get the all out hate this episode apparently engenders? It's certainly no classic, but as far as clip shows go - I find it perfectly enjoyable. Indeed, it's actually quite a bit better than other season 2 entries such as "Manhunt" and "Up The Long Ladder".
     
  3. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    I've seen really great minimalist storytelling.

    This was not.

    Stick Riker and Picard in a cargo bay as the ship dies or something.
     
  4. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps what hurts it as well as being a bad episode is that it is the season finalé.
     
  5. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    This was a bad recap of the entire first two seasons of TNG. I'm surprised viewers still stuck with the show after Shades. :lol:

    I know they were going for a bottle episode, but I would have preferred seeing an episode about two of TNG characters stuck in a shuttle for an hour instead of this.
     
  6. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    You've also got to love how this episode takes a potential plot of Riker being killed by this disease/virus (BLEH!) thing and treat it as a mere inconvenience at the end. For an episode that relives Riker's past memories, you would think that being on that reliving those moments on while the brink of death and surviving at all would have a major impact on his character. Like maybe he should treat his relationship with Troi more seriously, or that he should stop being such an a**hole to others. Something!
     
  7. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    I just realized that this was Pulaski's final episode on TNG. What a terrible episode to go out on! It would've been better if she fell to her death from a turbolift or something. At least that would have been a memorable exit! :devil:
     
  8. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Someone's been watching L.A. Law. :p
     
  9. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    I'd like to think that Picard got rid of her due to the fact that she can easily induce nightmares into his officers. That crap is just wrong.
     
  10. Kevman7987

    Kevman7987 Captain Captain

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    Lol. I imagined that scene from that episode from friends where Joey's soap opera killed him off by having him fall down an elevator shaft but replaced all the characters with Pulaski and the TNG crew.
     
  11. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Why was this the finale anyway? Couldn't they have just swapped the broadcast order of this and Peak Performance? I guess there was no concern with ending the show on a low note.

    Both episodes would have been in the can around the same time.
     
  12. Mojochi

    Mojochi Commodore Commodore

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    It does feel awful having that be the last episode of the season. I also think a major issue isn't just that it's a clip show, but that the show is so stinking new still, that there's very little footage to select from, such that the clips drag the episode down, where as if the clip selection had been better or they'd have a more varied selection to choose from, they might have made a better go of it
     
  13. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Hey guys remember that time we were talking about Shades of Grey and Lokai said,

     
  14. LOKAI of CHERON

    LOKAI of CHERON Commodore Commodore

    Umm, what point are you trying to make with this post? Do you disagree with my opinion? Are you trying (and failing) to be "smart"?
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  15. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Star Trek has never really done clip shows well, perhaps the best of the bunch is TOS's "The Menagerie". Stargate managed to do reasonable clip shows as for the most part they expanded on the mthology of the show or plot.
     
  16. JoeD80

    JoeD80 Captain Captain

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    I'm can understand the playful Maurice Hurley bashing, but Richard Manning & Hans Beimler have writing credits on this one too.
     
  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I'm sure they're all pretty ashamed of it. I understand that it was filmed on significantly truncated schedule, but that's not much of an excuse for the flabby framing story. This was the end of the season, so there was probably a little less time to work on the script, but it's not like there was another WGA-strike like there had been at the end of season one which prevented some re-writes.
     
  18. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Would someone care to explain the joke there to Lokai? After all "White on right, not too bright".
     
  19. LOKAI of CHERON

    LOKAI of CHERON Commodore Commodore

    Perhaps you should have made your joke a little clearer - more black and white possibly!! I'm clearly not bright enough to pick up on such nuance. Regardless, I doff my cap to your wit and superior intellect.
     
  20. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Worst episode ever.

    Clip shows are beneath Star Trek. Except for this episode.

    But some clip shows at least make sense. 'Happy memories make sick!' Bleck.