[highlight]Merry Christmas![/highlight] Under the tree this morning we find our weekly episode Symbiosis, featuring TWOK alumni Merritt Butrick and Judson Scott. It's an unusual episode in that it doesn't feature any direct threat to the Enterprise or its crew. There have been two other such episodes so far, Angel One and Too Short a Season, and they both suck. This one is much better. It's a mystery with a surprising answer leading to a real moral dilemma for Picard and an intelligent resolution. The episode makes effective use of the Prime Directive. I think the franchise in general suffers from a lack of clarity of the meaning, purpose, or consequences of the Prime Directive, but the way it's depicted in this episode makes sense. My perspective on the episode has changed over the last 25 years. When I first saw it, I was about the same age as Wesley. Everything I knew about drugs came from things like this episode so, like Wesley, I didn't understand how people knowing what we do can get themselves into such situations. 25 years later, I'm an adult with PTSD, an unhappy life, and substance abuse habits born of desperation to dull the pain. This is Denise Crosby's penultimate episode as a regular, and I think her improvement over the course of the season has been remarkable. Early on she was absolutely terrible. She's still no Meryl Streep and I won't miss her, but she's gotten the point where she's no longer an embarrassment. Pet peeve moment: If you're concerned that these people may be carrying a plague that is dangerous to humans, exposing Dr. Crusher to it is the most self-destructive thing you can possibly do. Where are the quarrantine procedures? Fanwank challenge: How does the whole planet's population go two centuries without discovering the truth of the situation?