Season 2 rewatch: The Emissary and the clip show

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Qonundrum, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    May 18, 2017
    The clinic located by the Q Continuum
    The Emissary - saw this one last night before binging on my Folgers Special Dark roast.

    I'm certain they lifted the main plot from some World War 2 event where military warriors had been out of the loop over the war ending and had to assimilate... but I wish they would have addressed why Klingon High Command couldn't have found a way to send a message in subspace, assuming they'd find and read it after waking and assuming they, after waking, look at cartography and realize they're deep in enemy territory and lack the time to read up on any diary entries left by home base because their perception will more likely have them prepare for battle - which ties into K'Ehleyr's continued protests.

    It's a great trope, regardless.

    Okey doke, I'm, just going to get this one cornball joke out of the way right off the bat: K’Ehleyr and Kylo Ren would make a fantastic couple if put into the temper tantrum room together. There's a spinoff series just waiting to happen, all Disney need do is buy CBS... or if Disney went back in time to buy Paramount first before CBS... they could call it "The K'Ehleyr/Kylo Variety Hour" and the first week's guests can be the Kardashians, to keep up on what they're doing. Nobody wants to see Hannah Montana until week two, you know...

    Troi/K’Ehleyr had some terrific scenes together and Troi is given some snippets of good dialogue and Troi's philosophy is one I take to heart. I also liked how K’Ehleyr points out "with a little help" regarding DNA between the species. Genetically speaking, within the same species, it's a given - 100% compatibility between races therein - no problem. With different sentient species, even if humanoid, might not always work. Trek does interchange race with species, so it's nice to see the bigger genetic compatibility issues actually brought up with enough detail to intrigue.

    K’Ehleyr is a refreshing character. Both Human and Klingon and can relate to both cultures - so by the 24th century, humans and Klingons have one culture for each species and all the variants within said species.

    K’Ehleyr does seem insistent to just kill the Klingons, with Worf and Picard vehemently disagreeing. Worf gets some great lines in this story about finding other solutions, and - not by talk but by situation - we see how a solution is presented not as part of a meeting but while everyone was in action, in real time.

    K’Ehleyr also points out "Klingons of that period never did research for its own sake." and thus bypassing the obvious question of "If all Klingons do is commit war, how'd they develop their technology to get into space?" (the only thing missing would be Klingons' first contact and ending up developing offensive measures for galactic threats as a result.)

    Worf/K’Ehleyr make for a fun, conflicting relationship. He wants to marry and be considerate of his partner's well-being since sex to him is that significant (and he must have really enjoyed it to want to propose), though she's just using him as another notch on her bedpost. You sure a gorch really isn't space herpes that only takes years to manifest instead of days or weeks? (K'Ehleyr later admits there was meaning, but nothing gets developed as a result of said claimed admission, as if just to stir the pot. At least it's a role reversal; with humans it's stereotypically the male that wants to notch it up everywhere.)

    As with K'Ehleyr/Worf and K'Ehleyr/Troi, K'Ehleyr also gets to shine with Data. K'Ehleyr, not exactly a shy person, gets Data to react in a near-human way of being taken off-guard over being asked if he is confused more by human quirks or Klingon and Data is unable to choose - which could infer he's chosen both just as much as he'd chosen neither. I'll have to think about that and make a decision later...

    Worf, who is given verbal quips about being a glacier or iceman, also gets some great deadpan as well - about his first command experience, he laments about the chair. I love it.

    Great incidental music...

    Worf not only figures out the solution, he (bluffs) the woken Klingon crew and wins. Like Poker... nice tie-in with the start of the episode.

    One big problem - K’Ehleyr is whizzing along in a torpedo tube at warp 9.0. Ignoring the fact they show a face mask for oxygen, what about eating and what happens several hours afterward? What if another ship was in the vicinity and sensors bleeped over a, UM - HELLO - IT'S A TORPEDO AND A BIG ONE, whizzing by? You know someone would say "Torpedo roaming around the universe? That'll cause a disaster. Set phasers to splodey." (zap) True, the setup is done for dramatic effect, which actually works, but it's technically a stupid way to do things, so why not send a cruiser ship capable of warp 9 instead of firing off the torpedo at warp 9 from whatever distance?

    Loved the calisthenics program and the Skeleton thing getting sliced in two. Good effect and prime late-80s gore on the small screen... cor, if they had HDTV back then just imagine how many more bits and guts and other various drippings one could have put in as its top half continues to slide down (eww)...

    So, yeah, the story is loaded with a great plot, great characterizations, great writing, there's little to actually nitpick (drat)... so how's it in the acting department?

    Dorn and Plakson both have tremendous on-screen chemistry, which is something the whole episode utterly hinges upon in terms of keeping the story going anywhere, since Worf and K'Ehleyr's drama makes up more than 50% of the story. Both actors put in such perfect performances, to the point I wouldn't mind the show becoming a pure soap opera because it's about K'Ehleyr and Worf.

    9/10 - highly recommended.

    Shades of Gray -





    At least before they get to the clip show extravaganza, the plot had something of interest. Riker noting many species act out of preservation rather than overt maliciousness is a nice touch, and it's not an unknown that some plant species do have means to kill animal species - though this vine is no patch on a Venus fly trap. Some dialogue between Data and Geordi (the best duo ever on TV, IMHO) also helps, as does minute details regarding Pulaski and the transporter.

    But, yeah, once they went into clip show lalala land, I turned it off. Stimulating the nerves and neurons is one thing, the ye olde magic of "good memories help and bad memories hurt" - reversed for the sake of not making a bad cliché any worse than it has to be - to save Riker is such a con.

    2/10 - maybe catch the first 20 minutes, and by the time they pull out the first clip it's okay to watch something else...
    Armus likes this.
  2. Herbert

    Herbert Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 20, 2017
    CT - The Sad Land of Malloy
    Other than the Seinfeld one, I abhor clip shows. They are such a waste of time.

    I've always enjoyed The Emissary. K’Ehleyr was a great character. I wish they had kept her around longer. My only real issue with this episode is that as I watch it, it seems like the writers want me to think that a 75 year old Klingon ship is more of a threat to a current day galaxy class star ship than it should be. The T'org certainly could have done some damage but the Enterprise D would handle it without too much issue.
    Qonundrum likes this.
  3. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

    Nov 20, 2012
    I didn't get the impression the E-D was in danger so much as the danger was being forced to blow up the ship to stop them from attacking colonies.

    As for the torpedo, they could have rigged it to replicate oxygen or whatever system they use to have life support in escape pods.

    Only clip show that's ever worked for me is SG1's Politics because they made it contribute to the ongoing story as opposed to standing up some weak story to justify clips.
    Qonundrum likes this.
  4. Tim Thomason

    Tim Thomason Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    May 27, 2009
    Daniels' Illinois
    Both Xena and Hercules had a clip show almost every year back in the '90s, and it was often some of the most entertaining and hilarious episodes of the series.

    The second episode of Clerks was a clip show primarily featuring clips from the then-unaired pilot episode. South Park had a clip show relying on false memories of the episodes they showed clips of.

    Community featured a fake clip show featuring entirely 72 new scenes created for the episode as supposed clips.

    So, when I hear "clip show", I don't always assume we are in for a terrible time. Star Trek just dropped the ball with a terrible framing story.
    Qonundrum likes this.
  5. Armus

    Armus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Feb 14, 2003
    Massachusetts, USA
    Star Trek never did clips again until DS9's finale 10 years after Shades where the cast remembers their good times together on the station before parting ways. All the stuff besides the clips; Geordi finding Riker in the teaser, Riker's early scenes in sickbay, and Data and Geordi's closecall beam out are well written and filmed but the rest of the episode isn't a shade of grey, it's a shade of brown, brown shit.
  6. Mirror Sakonna

    Mirror Sakonna Captain Captain

    Dec 15, 2015
    And talk about a bad use of clips! I understand why they couldn't use Terry Farrell's image, but it's such a serious flaw in that finale that when Worf is leaving the station where he met the love of his life, married her, and then watched her die, his memories are of... that time when his image was used for a character in the Bond holoprogram. An event at which real Worf was not actually present.

    But back to TNG... in recent years, I've done a bit of reappraisal of "Shades Of Grey." It's still a clip show and clip shows are awful -- but within those considerable limitations, it makes a good showing of it! They go down fighting -- the introductory bits and framing scenes are much stronger than I thought initially.
  7. Shikarnov

    Shikarnov Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Nov 2, 2001
    Texas (Connecticut & Ivanovo in years past)
    This is completely off topic, but I met a guy the other day who sells his own fresh roasted coffee and makes a business of it at local farmers' markets and whatnot. He gave me a sample bag to try, in an effort to earn my business, and told me it was a $4 value. Not only did I have to go through the effort of grinding the beans myself, but that $4 bag made only one pot of coffee. And you know what, it didn't taste all that different from Folgers. It was a little smoother, but basically the same flavor. But Folgers is $0.20US per ounce, and his was $1.20 per ounce. I have no idea why I'm telling this story. Just random vomiting of the mind. Carry on, now.

    It would actually make for a compelling story, in that context. I could easily see some hard nosed submarine commander resurfacing at an appointed time to attack designated target, only to find his boat intercepted by an enemy ship with orders for him to stand down.

    I thought they did address this by saying the ship was to remain under strict radio silence. Our heroes accept that reasoning without any question, so maybe subspace communication -- or subspace communication of that older era -- involved active participation that would give away a recipient's position.

    Or maybe there was some other reason for cutting themselves off. We have no idea what was going on during that time which would compel the positioning of one (or more) sleeper ships. Maybe the dishonorably clever Federation found a way to implant computer viruses, and so the Klingons kept all their ports shut down.

    The cartography thing is glaring only when we assume that the T'Ong was ignorant of their mission. But their captain gave no indication that they awoke at an unplanned time, though he was obviously unaware of contemporary politics. The idea that they wouldn't be interested in learning about their environment in order to gain some tactical advantage seems unwise, but it's not like we haven't known Klingons to act rashly in the past.

    Oh, please don't tempt fate. The last thing I want is to see a Disney logo before my next Trek rewatch. And you know it's going to happen eventually. That's the way it goes these days, with companies constantly merging and growing until either a monopoly is established or a government breaks it apart.

    I wonder if it was ever addressed in a novel. Certainly would make for a great story, especially given the moral, religious, and legal factors. Given the ban on genetic engineering in the Federation, and the extremely unlikely participation of Klingon scientists (after the augments mess, pride in being Klingon, and general prejudices concerning weakness of other races), it must have been quite a challenge for K'Ehleyr's parents to bring her into being.

    I agree, and Suzie Plakson was truly excellent in this role. Actually, I think this was probably her best Star Trek work. It's a pity we saw so little of her.

    Indeed. It's a great bit of irony that K'Ehleyr, who is supposed to be the blend of cultures, was unable to escape the Klingon mindset, while Worf -- who was fully immersed in being the best Klingon -- was able to apply a little humanity in his insistence that there are always alternatives.

    A popular theme in older novels (that was picked up a bit by Enterprise) was that Klingons have multiple castes -- and that the Warriors tend to dominate the others. Perhaps that oscillates a bit over time, and different castes established dominance during different periods. Our own society is filled with ebbs and flows culturally, economically, politically. Why not Klingons too?

    If K'Ehleyr lived, it's interesting to wonder what might have been with Jadzia. Can you imagine these two in a room together? And would Worf have even thought about Jadzia at all given that he'd taken the Oath with K'Ehleyr? Would her running away with his son to live a separate life matter, or would he allow unrequited love to chain him forever?

    I think this is probably most easily filed under "Space is Big."

    As for K'Ehleyr's digestive needs, maybe all that just gets beamed out.

    I liked that too, but because it was all tech'ed up. You knew exactly that these weren't real; just game pieces to be discarded at will.

    Agreed 100%.

    No comment. :)
  8. cosmic mouse

    cosmic mouse Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 11, 2017
    Tube 32
    Shades of Gray was pretty poor... not sure it's the worst ST ep I've seen thus far, but it's close.
    Overall I found season 2 good, not great. It began and ended with a whimper, but there were some strong points in between.
  9. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    I said out, dammit!
    I spoke with Suzie Plakson at a con once. She's an absolute doll.