Episode of the Week: We'll Always Have Paris

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by Jeyl, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    "We'll Always Have Paris"

    We'll Always Have Paris is a quote from the 1942 film Cassablanca, spoken by the character Rick to his former love Ilsa as she is about to leave his life forever. It's one of the most famous lines of all of motion picture history, showing that even though Rick may not have gotten the girl in the end, he will still have the memories that the two of them shared when all was right in the world.

    The TNG episode "We'll Always Have Paris" is an attempt by the writers to capture the romance angle from Casablanca by having Picard meet a former love of his life. The problem is that we know that this relationship will go no where for four reasons.

    1. She's married.
    2. Rick never gets the girl, and neither will Picard.
    3. This is an episodic series where she will most likely be forgotten (and conveniently is).
    4. Feels more like an episode of TOS where Kirk meets a former fling he had in the past that also went nowhere.

    The execution of this romantic subplot doesn't help matters either. While I think Michelle Phillips does a good job with the role she has, her wardrobe is one of the most embarrassing pieces of clothing I've seen all season. Sure, the Edo wear only four feet of cloth, but those are aliens. Jenice is a human. It looks like she's wearing one of those wearable rugs with the sides cut out. I just can't take it seriously.

    Where this episode really works is how the our characters deal with the time disruptions. It starts out small with some scenes rewinding for a couple of seconds to full blown chaos where the characters will start seeing BOTH their past and future selfs. The sequence with the Turbolift is one of my favorite time issue moments in TNG because of how well executed it is. Having the perspectives switch between one time based crew to another while they still carry on the same conversation is a great example of keeping things consistent while still throwing the viewers off.

    And that scene where Data is trying to seal the hole is pretty well done with cool looking props, great sound editing, cool looking visuals and a nice resolution.

    Conclusion: Not a bad episode for season one. Very watchable with some nice character moments and some really well executed camera trickery. While the romance element can be predictable and boring at times, there's enough good stuff going on for our characters to deal with to avoid this episode being a 'skip'.

    Stinger: "Hiccup?"

    RIP: The two second shot of Riker
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  2. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    It's always been one of my favorites, due to the several timeslips, and a haunting score by Ron Jones. The romantic plot felt contrived to me, and apparently existed only because the two women writers wanted Picard to sleep with Mrs. Manheim during a commercial break. Fortunately others, including Patrick Stewart, opposed the idea.
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Some exceptional sense-making included. Typically, Star Trek location coordinates are given in just two dimensions, as the writers confuse them with the concept of heading or bearing. Here, the first set of numbers includes at least two dimensions but is cut short, thus could plausibly include three. And the second one does feature three dimensions, for an extremely rare once!

    And then Worf gives us a perfectly sensible set of coordinates on the surface of the planet, too. Trek goes hard scifi? I almost fell from the couch.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. Mott the barber

    Mott the barber Commodore Commodore

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    Good analysis and I agree, it's not too bad of an episode.
     
  5. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I didn't enjoy it at all. Well perhaps that one scene with Picard, Riker and Data in the turbolift. Felt very "boring", and I hate to use that word.

    The two seconds of missing footage was remarkably noticeable - guess that highlights what a superb job CBS have done with this remaster!
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    A scientist's experiment bringing about Armageddon, and our heroes rushing in to save the world - all fine and well. Approaching doom serving as an excuse of surprising and beautiful visual effects - excellent. Some personal involvement across the board - even better. Bread and butter of dramatic episodic writing, even if there's nothing actually thought-provoking there.

    But the execution of the ultimate jeopardy was particularly ill thought out. Why can't our heroes shut down the experiment with a minimum of fuss? Because the scientist has booby-trapped his equipment! Makes no sense whatsoever. He may be secretive and paranoid, but booby traps would paint him as insane, and he's not supposed to be that. Even Noonien Soong never was this crazy, and he had more reason to be afraid of things like industrial espionage.

    With the jeopardy so implausible, all the beautiful effects and fine stunts and Spiner cuteness can't manage to hide the fact that it's just filler and artificial tension, and the story would perhaps have been better served with Data beaming down, facing those time-copies of himself, and sorting it all out in a scene one-tenth the length.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Please tell me you meant "wasn't remarkably noticeable" because CBS has done a terrific job in bringing TNG into High Definition. Yeah, the SD sucks, but considering that it's two seconds out of hours upon hours of footage, it's a blessing. They just couldn't find it.
     
  8. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    CBS-D did a great job applying artificial grain and tweaking the colors to make it match the surrounding remastered footage. It's not perfect, of course, but it fits right in. It was also an improvement over the Riker/Crusher shot CBS-D used in the sampler for Sins of the Father.

    CBS-D took more care to make an SD shot look right than HTV did with HD footage.
     
  9. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed. Other than the cool turbolift scene, I just found the episode painfully slow and dull.

    First you have all the padding before they even get to the planet, and then there's a bunch more standing around before Data finally beams down and does whatever he does.
     
  10. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Another fun episode. :techman:
     
  11. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    This episode is boring and painful.
     
  12. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No. I meant it was obvious where the two seconds of SD footage were. When I saw the warning "contains 2 seconds of SD" I laughed thinking "I'll never spot where that is" (the warning doesn't tell you where it is). I am just saying that it was easily spotted and the contrast between the SD and HD made it even clearer what a superb job they've done with this remaster.

    I don't understand what I wasn't making clear in my original post? I know it's "just two seconds" and it doesn't bother me at all.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that having bought a HD television and Blu-ray just for this project, I had not realised the massive difference between SD & HD before seeing these two seconds.
     
  13. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Heh, it's better than a root canal though..
     
  14. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    When you said that you could spot the SD footage very easily and immediately follow it up with "guess that highlights what a superb job CBS have done with this remaster!", it sort of came off like sarcasm. Like CBS didn't do a good enough job trying to find just those two seconds of film. I wouldn't have used those two seconds of SD footage as a 'highlight' in regards to the quality of CBS' work.
     
  15. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I can be guilty of sarcasm but in this case it wasn't. The two seconds were not the highlight. The rest of the work is. Sorry for my poor use of English, hope my follow-up post was clearer. :techman:
     
  16. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Would have been nice to have an explanation of Data's "Me, it's me." How did that Data know that he, and not the other Datas in the room, was the correct one to drop the charge?

    What was his reasoning?

    :)
     
  17. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    The answer was all of them, it just took the one who was ahead of them to actually take the initiative. But of course I'm not going to give the episode credit for something it didn't bother to explain, because we're going to get the exact same thing in the next season's episode "Time Squared".
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    That's just standard officer competence at work: be firm and decisive, and things will work out for the best.

    Of course, we know that Data is capable of subliminal messaging, reading of nuances in expressions, counting of eyeblinks and so forth. Quite possibly there was more information exchange going on than the mere audible dialogue there, then.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I can't say anything other than I agree with you 100%. The episode is awesome when it's dealing with the Sci-Fi plot. My favorite scene is with the "split" Data trying to dump the antimatter into the fissure or whatever it was.

    The whole romantic subplot was pretty bad because from the beginning we knew it wasn't going to go anywhere for the exact reasons you mentioned.

    And yes, that costume was horrible. I kept thinking "why is this lady in her pajamas the whole episode?"
     
  20. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I love the time travel stuff. As always I'm not entirely sure it makes any sense if you think about it for a second but it produces some cool visuals and is a nice different (for TV at the time) way of approaching the subject. Indeed, TNG would generally try to avoid the "Obvious" time travel plots, which is to be commended really.

    But the romance side of things... Blueghh. Completely undone by Picard and Janice having only slightly more sexual chemistry than Picard and Wesley. She's impossible to take seriously as a love interest for the Captain unless he wants something really wooden to use as a display piece in his ready room.

    The ending also makes you wonder if Holodeck players have to avoid the word "EXIT" at all times when having fun on there as well.