Episode of the Week: Skin of Evil

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Jeyl, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Skin of Evil

    To get the big issue out of the way, I have some issues with Tasha being killed off. I know a lot of people didn't like Tasha Yar or Denise Crosby's performance of the character, but the same can be said about any of actors and characters from the first season. And I honestly believe that no one was more disappointed in Tasha Yar's character than Denise herself. Watching Season One on BluRay, it wasn't too hard to see why. Not only was she written as a "shoot first, don't ask questions later" type of person, she never really got to do anything meaningful

    Sure, Worf eventually took over her position and the show certainly put him to good use in the later seasons. On the other hand, I always got the feeling that this looked more like an apology by the creative staff for putting a woman in a serious position and rectified it by putting the most manliest male character in all of Star Trek in her position. And things didn't get any better even after that. Season two lost two of the three main female cast members, while the remaining one isn't even wearing a uniform. And what better way to showcase the start of the new and improved season by having her get raped by a star thing and having the replacement female doctor be a contemptuous snot?

    Now back to the episode. First and foremost, Ron Jones shines with his work as his music compliments the tension and urgency of the episodes opening. Armus' theme is also nice and catchy. Even in episodes that are mediocre to bad, you can always count on Ron to be the hardest working person in the show.

    And I have to give props to whoever came up with Armus. I enjoy a coldhearted villain who does bad things just for the heck of it. No real motive and no real long term goal outside of being an insufferable a**hole. And despite how silly his design might look (Our heroes literally just talk to a puddle), I think his design was very effective. I'd love to see what today's technology would do for his character should he ever come up again.

    Stinger: "Data, something's got me!"
     
  2. tomalak301

    tomalak301 Admiral Premium Member

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    When I watched this episode recently (And I've seen this episode a lot of times), something I immediately took notice of was how good of an episode this was for Troi. I do believe Troi is the weakest character in the series, and Marina Sirtis was the weakest actress on the show to the point where the only good character she played was a Romulan. However, here was a really really good pure Troi story, and it added to the episode a lot.
     
  3. billcosby

    billcosby Commodore Commodore

    ^^ Agreed, this was one of the only instances in season one where they figured out how to write properly for Troi. And it was glorious.
     
  4. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Great episode all the way around. Definitely in my TNG Top 20. :techman:
     
  5. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    WHAT? Another episode where the alien of the week is Black?

    What was Roddenberry thinking?


    :evil:
     
  6. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This has always been my favorite S1 episode.

    I don’t know whether it was the intent of the writers to delve into philosophical issues of the nature of good, evil, free will and justice, but for me, 18 years old at the time, it was very thought provoking. Given the manner in which Armus was created, it’s inevitable that he would be evil. Would it make sense to punish such a being for his actions? Does he deserve his fate? The last shot of him and his terrible fate recall “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream.” Do you sympathize with him?

    I like the way Armus is realized. I find his appearance and voice to be suitably creepy and a welcome departure from the never-ending procession of BHAs. (On the downside, the special effects when he moves across the ground or the shuttle look pretty bad.)

    I agree with Jeyl about the scoring. I find it to be very effective at maintaining the tension.

    I haven’t done a full series rewatch since the original broadcast, but I’ve done an abridged rewatch a couple of times, and this episode has an interesting place in it. It begins:
    Encounter at Farpoint
    The Naked Now
    Where No One Has Gone Before
    Hide and Q
    Datalore
    11001001
    Heart of Glory
    Skin of Evil​
    A Captain’s Log at the beginning of Hide and Q mentions that Troi has gone on leave. She is then unseen and unmentioned for the remainder of Hide and Q — and, as it happens, she is also absent from Datalore, 11001001, and Heart of Glory. When Skin of Evil begins with Picard and Riker talking about how good it will be to have her back, she really has been gone for a while. Her return coinciding with Tasha’s death is like trading one character for the other.

    Fittingly, it’s one of Troi’s best episodes. I can’t think of another episode that showcases her empathy and psychological skills to better effect. Unfortunately for the character, the ship is about to get a bartender who will get most of the best counseling scenes for the remainder of the series, leaving the ship’s counselor without a clear role.

    He’s kind of annoying when he does that.

    But in Coming of Age,
    :shrug:

    Jean-Luc, you’re pushing. Your people know their jobs.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    On the other hand, given that he is evil, would he not lie about the way he was created?

    Plus, in the distant shots, say, the one with just Armus and Picard, it looks as if Armus is merely standing in an empty pit in that slime suit. Oh, the surrounding puddle is there, and is somewhat better visible in blu-ray, but it still fails to show up "properly black".

    Well, there's no reason to think that either Wesley or Mordock would have gotten that answer right. They just agreed on it. :devil:

    Perhaps Picard doesn't know his people? Leland "We got your middle initial" Lynch might be justified in hammering in his full name and credentials if he's not the guy the skipper expected to find at Engineering. Preventive dilithium maintenance appears to be a rare operation; Lynch could be a specialist who performs the operation the Chief Engineer is not trained to handle, and needs to make it clear that he is in charge now.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think he can lie to Troi. She reads him like a book.
     
  9. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe he does it to distinguish himself from a possibly similarly named Leland R. Lynch, if one exists. Perhaps in a few years, Leland T. gets demoted to ensign and has a bad encounter with the Borg.
     
  10. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I wish Lynch or Logan had been on duty during Lonely Among Us. Poor Singh didn't deserve to die. :lol:
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Or he is frustrated about Picard's constant fumbling of his surname. It's not Mr Lynch, it's Mr Teelynch!

    I wonder what the modelmakers had in mind when creating the remains of the crashed shuttlecraft. Clearly it is completely unlike Andrew Probert's "soapbar"/Type 7 shuttlecraft, in ways that wouldn't be explained by the modelmakers taking the occasional shortcut. It doesn't even try to be of that shape or detail, but has detailing of a wholly different kind. Did the modelmakers have a specific shape in mind for the intact craft? Or is the design a random one, due to the model being quickly built out of some sort of preexisting parts?

    Of course, the interior is the Type 7 one, but that's only sensible: less variety for pilots to learn, even if the actual craft are completely different. Like Airbus cockpits. :vulcan:

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Mr_Homn

    Mr_Homn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    agreed, he was so nice to wesley and the actor seemed to bring an added dimension to his limited role. why does the only indian guy on the entire show have to die almost immediately? :(
     
  13. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not the only one. There’s a bunch of Indian guys in Journey’s End. :p
     
  14. Mr_Homn

    Mr_Homn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    [​IMG]
    I see what you did there.
     
  15. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    this episode gets a bad reputation, I don't know why. Armus is one of the best one-shot villains in all of TNG, and Picard's confrontation with him at the end is one of the best moments of the series. But yeah,the handling of Tasha's death does suck.(except for the memorial service that was great)
     
  16. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Dunno about you guys, but that silly purple stain on Tasha's cheek kinda undercuts the drama of her death. It just....looks silly. Nothing at all like a fatal wound.
     
  17. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I rewatched this just a couple of days ago. There's a lot to love about this ep. As you mentioned the music, the writing.

    The 'taken at face-value stuff' of his being a 'Skin of Evil'. No technobabble explanation of what the hell he's doing to Riker, and how "He had to let Riker go out of frustration" ....I guess he turned Riker to psychic energy??...

    Picard being dead-on in his speech about evil. The fact that Armus does have my pity...err (bad choice of words Troi) SYMPATHY! That's it...

    And while season one generally sucks, it's interesting because the actors can still surprise you with their choices. I love how in the middle all the actors are arguing over each other and Picard just taps on the table...juxtaposed..with Worf staring straight ahead not getting involved in the argument. Great choices, great direction.

    I honestly have no idea why this ep got such a bad rep. i love everything about it. Leland T. Lynch. The bit at the beginning that Crosby says if they had done more often she might have stayed (the martial arts bit). The shot near the end ,"The gathering is concluded" and everyone else crosses in front of Picard's closeup, but the focus stays on Picard.
     
  18. Mr_Homn

    Mr_Homn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    it's always been one of my favorite episodes
     
  19. Mott the barber

    Mott the barber Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, that's my one disappointment in the whole sequence starting with Tasha saying "Enough!" on the planet through the beam up, attempt to save her, and her death.

    I was really hoping they'd somehow make that wound look more realistic because everything else was perfect.
     
  20. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Another thumbs-up form me. Another episode that I have remembered through shit-tinted spectacles and that has surprised me. I was going to mention that crappy blood-stain on Yar's face, but it's already been mentioned. I usually type something about the continuity errors, but someone already mentioned the matter-antimatter 35:1 intermix ratio. So instead I'll focus on the excellence -

    Troi and Worf both shine in this. It really does feel as though one character has stepped aside to allow these two to shine. You do feel pity for Armus - totally unexpected. This is where the writing begins to shine - "All spirits are enslaved that serve evil" - from Percy Shelley. I love the lines in the funeral scene - "Jean-Luc, the heart of an explorer and the soul of a poet", "death is that state in which one exists only in the memories of others, which is why it is not an end. No goodbyes, just good memories." My Dad died recently and I realise now that I must have subconciously gotten my philosophy on death from watching this as a kid! Then the moment where Data "get's it". Had me welling-up! Brilliant.

    And I'm glad we never got those episodic promo's in the UK - that left no surprises unsprung!
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013