Masks: why the hate?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by jackoverfull, Dec 1, 2021.

  1. jackoverfull

    jackoverfull Commodore Commodore

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    I just rewatched Masks, I only recently realized this episode is a much hated one but I remembered as one i quite liked, even if not as a favorite one, and can confirm I still find it intriguing.

    Sure, it's not the most fast-moving episode, sure, the science is very questionable, sure, the resolution feels rushed, but I really like the dark and spooky approach, how different it feels from the rest of TNG and the whole concept of a lost civilization gradually and mysteriously transforming the ship.

    Also, both Spiner and Stewart offer splendid performances.

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    It's got a few things going for it, but the whole setup is kind of silly. Some of Spiner's characters come off as hammy. And even for Star Trek standards, the ship transforming like that without noticing anything from the outside or disrupting structural integrity, but still easily transformable back to its original shape, was a bit of a believability stretch.
     
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  3. Vger23

    Vger23 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I just rewatched it last night as well. I certainly don't hate it...and for S7, it's not half bad (a fresh re-watch of S7 TNG has me feeling that this might legitimately be the worst overall season of Star Trek in the franchise)...but it's pretty trying otherwise.
     
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  4. MrPicard

    MrPicard Jean-Luc's Loving Husband Captain

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    I love it. It’s my third favorite TNG episode. It’s massively weird, and I love weird. Plus, the Korgano mask looks adorable on Jean-Luc.
     
  5. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

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    I really liked this episode when I was younger. Was the first time I recognized Brent Spiner's acting range (or recognized actors as able to have range in general), and the ship changing was a cool thing that gave the environment some character.
     
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  6. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Found it too odd as a kid, but really like it now.
     
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  7. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Worf In the 23rd Century Premium Member

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    It was a bit too Theatrical. I'm sure the actors enjoyed that,
     
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  8. Rusty0918

    Rusty0918 Commander Red Shirt

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    The whole premise is stupid with a capital S. Why would some civilization build something to turn a passing ship into stone temple? Granted it had some interesting lighting effects and Mr. Spiner's acting, but that was it. The idea of the Archive made no sense whatsoever. That's why it's bad.
     
  9. cgervasi

    cgervasi Commander Red Shirt

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    "Well, whatever the intent that lies behind its process, I'm not going to permit this ship to be turned into an alien city." --Picard
    The fact that he said it so plainly made it even harder for me to suspend disbelief.
     
  10. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    It's a fantasy episode in a scifi show.
     
  11. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's not a great premise, but not terrible either. That's not really why I don't like it. I can't get into it, because I personally think Spiner is schlocky as shit in this. It might be his 2nd worst outing on the whole show imho, right behind A Fistful of Datas, for damn near the same reason. I heard tales that the cast & crew were cracking up doing it

    It plays as obvious that he & the writing team got together a script, so he could make up for years of having to play the most unaffected character in almost all tv history, by giving him a rare & deserved chance to play something else, which sadly results in a week of shooting, rolling out every silly voice or accent he can muster, which prior to TNG had come from being a comedic actor, & are rather low rent & were mostly done for laughs (See also Night Court), & as a result, I find them laughable, & can't take the damn thing seriously

    There have been other times where Spiner got to play outside Data on the show, like Power Play, where I think he's quite good. His turns as Soong are fairly well done as well, & even as Lore, who frankly is about as over the top as it gets, he's still pretty good imho, but Masks & A Fistful of Datas are just too far down that hole, in my book.
     
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  12. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Captain Captain

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    I enjoy "Masks," but even I think that it probably only exists because it was time to give Spiner an excuse to break from "emotionless android" again, and someone found a supply closet full of Mesoamerican-themed props. The idea of a billions-years-extinct alien civilization leaving a massive time-capsule in an asteroid intrigued me, but the story's conclusion ended up being too confusion for me to get, if there was one at all. But I do love the starship gradually turning into an Aztec city and rain forest.
     
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  13. jackoverfull

    jackoverfull Commodore Commodore

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    from the background material, the archive is actually a genesis devices that mistakes the enterprise from a planet and starts terraforming her.
     
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  14. galleywest

    galleywest I'll get you, and your little dog too! Premium Member

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    I accept this reasoning, there are episodes of every show I watch that I like for this reason. :beer:

    When I first watched TNG in the 90s I had a few Trekkie friends but watched it pretty much in isolation. It's funny to me that because I didn't have an internet community, my opinions of the episodes are sometimes wildly different than the norm.

    Masks is okay to me. Not my favorite but certainly not one I hate. I like the visuals in it and always love Data, so yeah, I'll watch it if it's on.
     
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  15. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I love the theatrics, the "hamminess" if you will, the mythology, the symbols, the masks, and the Aztec-ification of the ship. All that's really fun.

    My problem with the episode is quite similar to the problem I have with "The Inner Light." We have this alien race, with tech that the Federation can't handle, and their legacy is that they assault the ship and members of the crew — if not mind rapes them (Data in this case, Picard in the other) — all just so they won't be forgotten?! Well, yeah, I'd guess that the crew won't forget that these aliens were a bunch of assholes who almost turned the ship into a stone temple, potentially killing everyone aboard! :crazy:

    Other than that, it's fun. And different. In this case, different is waaay better than the bland cookie-cutter homogeneity that represents so much of TNG and "the Berman era."
     
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  16. Jedman67

    Jedman67 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's not terrible...but it's pretty mediocre at best.

    Threshold might have been better.
     
  17. Finn

    Finn Bad Batch of TrekBBS Premium Member

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    I remember the night it first aired...one of those nights I spent watching TV on the couch in the basement. It was an hour of WTF for me back then. It's still not one of my favorites as there were so many ridiculous things about it. But it was easier to watch during my recent rewatch.
     
  18. jackoverfull

    jackoverfull Commodore Commodore

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    well, their queen wasn’t held in great regard for sure.
     
  19. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I can get that. The TNG episode that does that for me is Phantasms, which is just as weird, & Data centric. Plus it's also in season 7 (which I guess a lot of people don't like) but because it came before Masks, & IMHO is a better production, Masks fails to do much for me.
     
  20. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I have always loved "Masks". There are a lot of things going for it.

    1. As mentioned, Spiner got to do some fun characters. And each were very distinct. Not easy to do, especially when this episode was produced directly after another Data heavy episode, "Thine Own Self".

    2. We got the rare use of Picard's archaeological knowledge. It's always a treat when his interest is shown, even better when it's a critical component to solving the mystery.

    3. The premise of the episode, an ancient technology starts transforming a ship into a representation of its city, is really awesome. Very high concept.

    4. As a mythology lover, I love this one because it is deeply rooted in myth.

    5. Very creepy, eerie vibe. Very well directed. Kudos to Robert Wiemer, who tended to get rather off the wall episodes.


    I have defended this episode many times on this site, and I'm glad there are others here who love it like I do. Thank you to all those fellow "Masks" lovers.