Sub Rosa... um... (and they say season 1 is littered with clunkers?!)

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Qonundrum, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I either never saw this one before, or it was so hideously heinous that I still am recovering from the level of trauma it inflicted onto the audience.

    First, I'll get the good stuff out of the way:

    1. Jonathan Frakes directed this masterpiece o' fail that makes any season 1 episode comparatively palatable... even the sex planet one with all the oily and pliant Edo people
    2. Duncan Regehr is truly inspired casting* as he pretty much saves the episode from the start and in no way shape or form reminded me of his portrayal of Charles from 1985's disastrous weekly installments of "V" (he wasn't in the 1983 miniseries and his acting talents didn't make the episodes he was shoehorned into any worse, quite the contrary as he does make for a great villain actor)...
    3. As does Gates McFadden, particularly in the second half of the story. Her scene chewing toward the end never hurt either.
    4. it's nice to see her figure out the situation to what Ronin is doing (poisoning people with anaphasic radiation energy technobabble stuff) and dispatch him, and her acting sold it extremely well. (Compared to the first half of the story where she's just blandly spitting out whatever was on the script noncommittally...)
    5. Nobody on the planet was clad in tartan-patterned kilts, wearing Tam O'Shanters, and telling everyone how fashionable and cool it was to wear them to the beat of their bagpipes. Not even Ronin.
    6. Be on the lookout for some first rate double entendres in this week's action-packed thrill ride of an episode! The episode may get you wanting to take a long clean bath afterward but with sparkling lines like "I took care of your grandmother's house and her affairs.", "You must come. I am your love." and "This is a rash decision, ill considered. It's not like Beverly at all." (turns to the medicine cabinet to fetch the needed dose of Zyclara), what's not to like?
    7. Attention to detail with the Nana/Bev photo with the latter in a season 1 uniform was admittedly a nice touch (wait, let me check... odd, somehow Ronin never got to say that... oh, wait, Beverly said that but that's more a single entendre than a double, but this episode would make most viewers go to the bar and ask for a double and for something stronger and other than Scotch...)
    8. I'll never need to sit through this episode ever, ever again

    * despite looking mid-40s since the script reflects he hasn't aged and should look 30, and has been going after the Crusher clan since the early 1600s...


    ...Wow, that list was much longer than expected...

    Okay, it's time for the cathartic release as I'll be havin' nightmares for years:

    First off, given the fact that Ronin has a thing for "mane of red hair" females for over 800 fast-paced years, might I suggest either or both of the following:

    1. Go to the local horse shop the day after Thanksgiving and pick up a fillie or thirty before the stampede flattens ya (sheesh, Ronin's sense of poetry is a bit misplaced... especially as eyes of diamonds sounds like a silly drug-iunduced song lyric)
    2. Get someone to go back in time and get Dr Crusher's patented "season one red" hair dye and have her looking like that instead of the sandy blonde blah we got from season three onward since it helps sell her centuries' long lineage more effectively despite being, what, 1 to 2% of the human population (at least in the early-21st century) being genuine redheads...​

    When Picard and Crusher talk about the 100 year old nana going after some 30 year old stallion, Picard's response is a bit disturbing. He's either thinking a lady who's 16 to be in inverse proportional age relative to him, or he's jonesin' for Admiral McCoy's widow... either way, this is a tad creepy.

    Not as creepy as Nana having a field day with her "Journal of TMI Delights" that Beverly is going inappropriately all batbleep crazy over... raise your hand if you stumbled on your grandparents' diaries and they were (anything but prudes) and you read those instead of thinking of the Big Bang Theory episode where Raj and Howard mock Sheldon's disgust in having to think about his grandparents doing the nasty...

    Also, Ronin has a thing for Crusher's lineage. That's fine and dandy but when she expires, where's he gonna go? I don't think he'd be able to win over Wesley quite as easily.

    And the episode seems unsure on how it wants to approach her lineage since it's using her family's surname, "Howard", as a crutch. If nothing else, it's another ahead-of-it's-time easter egg to that infamous BBT episode where Howard and Raj heckle Sheldon to get him feeling queasy over how his grandparents were doing the nasty...

    This script might have been better if they gave him a first name then called him "Jack the Stripper". And why is Ronin so clingy to only the Crusher clan and no others?

    Weather control... how delightfully 1968 of them to mention. In a colony where they nicked load-bearing stones from all the original buildings without any care or concern, and recreated the town's look using those in part and all in the name of authenticity... ostensibly. They apparently recreated almost everything... except for the beloved regional weather... Who can blame them, I bet their national anthem of 400 years was "California Dreamin'" by The Mamas and the Papas. Okay, that rocks...

    Forgive me, but Beverly really being fond of this place despite no signs of heat generation or water... no plumbing? Were they really trying to live like ancient Scots? Average lifespan wouldn't be so great...

    So the candle everyone is hemming and hawing over... if it's plasma based, since Ronin the Magic Ragamuffin there needs the plasma as a link into our universe or who cares, they light it with any bog standard match? Really?? Never mind the (surely OTT?) accent in enunciating "Dunnah light tha cahhhndle!"

    TNG and Married with Children have one thing in common: Both have episodes exploiting the Big-O as it was trendy in the early-1990s to do so... cheesy too!

    As the Enterprise fires its plasma beam down to the planet, note it is not in geostationary orbit. (This is the HD remastered edition I sat through, the SD original may not have had the issue.)

    Can the presentation of the Scots be anymore superficial? Trek has always been superficial in this regard, though given its bigger trademark is everyone being unified it's amazing they pay homage to it at all. But by using a veneer of culture as stereotype drivel, we're supposed to revere it just because? (I'm Scottish and Irish but one needn't be to make the same valid criticism because it's obvious and silly.)

    Aw man, caber tossing contests! What, there's nothing more critical going on to drive any form of urgency? Not even the caper whippin' contest going on some 2000 miles and two time zones' west of theirs at the local haute cuisine restaurant?

    Even Beverly states to Troi (now back out of proper uniform and back into the season 3 garb) "I re-read the entries in my grandmother's journals. Whatever else he might have done, he made her very happy." Wow, Bev really loved reading that journal... oh wait, I meant to mention that she's awfully forgiving given how she was screaming in hatred toward him about his meddling all these centuries to her lineage. Was he really that good in (bed?) that she has no angst over 8 centuries of abuse? Most humans don't like it after a few months or years of a to-be-ex's abuse, never mind a whole family spanning several centuries. Even for the 24th century state of evolution, the episode doesn't want to go into any depth. Which might be for the best considering where it went into any depth into...

    I don't care how cool the weather control system is, if you have some ghost that Scooby Doo cannot see, at least through in a better history lesson than "We moved the castle over here piece by piece" (well, sorta, it was only the cornerstone from every building they desecrated before moving since the people they were leaving behind certainly wouldn't mind one bit), as that was just a lame plot device to get around the budget cuts that impacted this episode and without having to resort to a bottle episode stuck inside the ship. There's tons of Scottish heritage, even slavery, that Ronin could have told us about that would be a lot more engaging than watching him do a cheap porno with Beverly.


    But, yeah, was this script a rejected season one entry? Or was it originally written with Peg Bundy in mind since she went to England in 1992 so it all fits?! It would work better as a sardonic comedy than, as some say, "po-faced sci-fi"! But if it was a season one reject and season one isn't known for having the most polished, renowned scripts of envy...
     
  2. Armus

    Armus Commodore Commodore

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    Some day I will watch this one all the way through. If I make it to heaven and have an eternity to spare.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
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  3. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    In school I overheard a classmate enthusiastically talking about his grandmother's diary that he discovered, which was filled with such details. I quickly covered my ears.

    Kor
     
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  4. JesterFace

    JesterFace Commodore Commodore

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    I watched this one the other day after years and years of staying away from it.
    I didn't remember much about this one....
    I was surprised, it wasn't as bad as pretty much everyone says.
    I'm not saying it was good either but there was some fascination about this episode.

    Or was it because of Duncan Regehr, my childhood hero Zorro.
     
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  5. Iamnotspock

    Iamnotspock Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I like to think Jenice Manheim released a cover of it that sounded oddly like the original.

    It's a dreadful episode, and one of the reasons I'd sooner watch Season 2 than Season 7.
     
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  6. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I was surprised that the entire series wasn't immediately cancelled after this one aired.
     
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  7. Finn

    Finn Admiral Admiral

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    Wow. Long post

    This episode has been beaten up and criticized more than the Star Wars prequels by now

    :lok:
     
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  8. Iamnotspock

    Iamnotspock Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Maybe it was...

    Now we know the true reason it ended after Season 7!
     
  9. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Regehr might be the reason. He's got a certain style and panache.

    I looked up his Zorro on youtube. Sadly there's not much to find. Shot on location or on well-crafted sets; impeccable production value from what little I had seen. Definitely late-80s or early-90s. He looks the part. Might have been filmed then edited on videotape... Ran for 4 years so it developed and kept enough of a robust fanbase... Has a few Trek alumni in it as well... And as I'm a sucker for anything fencing (used to do it and well enough), looks like something worth trying to find on DVD or Netflix if they've got it - looks like it was released in 2011, the complete series... But if nothing else, could they have used a typeface other than the one used for "The Golden Girls"'s opening titles for the cast credits?! :guffaw: (Good theme song, reminds me of a Bond film and I say that only in a good way.)

    I can't help it. I'm so much a nerd that I get it less often than Wesley! :guffaw:(Well, voluntarily so but that's another story...)

    Hmmm, Star Wars prequels didn't have the level of crafted dialogue Sub Rosa had, now there's a parallel... But to be fair, the Star Wars prequels weren't trying to coast along the sex life of-- well, not for the combined runtime of three whole movies anyway. But it's so easy to see why Sub Rosa beaten up, especially as "Sub Rosa" means "under the rose" in Spanish yet she didn't do it there. Oh, wait, I think I just figured it out... either it's a thorny episode, thorny minus the "t"... Now I feel just like Batman when trying to figure out the Riddler circa 1966...

    Maybe I missed it and never bothered due to "it's the one where Crusher has the big O". The episode does feel as if it's trying to add a little something of substance behind the icky, and using a different perspective (normalizing the reading of granny's diary and being happy over how oiled up she got, instead of Picard chiding her for reading someone else's special area diary - I guess, he was making inquisitive "Hmmm! :D " noises while listening to her sharing her findings or wishing that he was in the 30 year old's place, oh my... :guffaw:)

    But there was so much to rag on, and then it dawned on me that some bits did suggest they were trying to do something slightly out of the usual format and it wouldn't be right to not mention the bits that weren't all that bad...
     
  10. Iamnotspock

    Iamnotspock Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I watched it when I was very young but didn't connect Regehr to it until years after Ronin and Shakaar.

    J.G. Hertzler was in it too.
     
  11. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    How lonely, after Jack Crusher dies, are you? I'd rather an episode about Lwaxana as Cupid, setting up dates for the entire Bridge staff. Or Q steals Beverly's coffee maker and Jean-Luc gives an impassioned speech about humanity's need for personal property and the clarity of caffeine.
     
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  12. JesterFace

    JesterFace Commodore Commodore

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    I don't want to derail this thread, but I got to say that aside from few ridiculous things going on it's an interesting show.
    Or is it just my childhood memories talking?

    Henry Darrow was also in 'The New World Zorro' as a regular and appeared in TNG and Voyager.
     
  13. Nakita Akita

    Nakita Akita Commodore Commodore

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    You forget to mention that she changed her eye color to make Mr. 840 Happy. :wah:
     
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  14. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    Season 7 is like a roided baseball player. Every at bat is either a strikeout or a homer.

    Whereas season 1, there were just as many strikeouts but the rest were only bloop infield singles.
     
  15. gakelly

    gakelly Commander Red Shirt

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    Braga wrote the teleplay.
    I think this would have been an ideal series finale instead of the typical character shifting through time/realities that seemed to be every Braga script.
    Maybe it could have been Crusher shifting through time in the bodies of all her ancestors and getting it on with Ronin in all the different time periods she travels to.

    Did all the Howard women not have a husband/partner for most of their lives? The script could have made the case that Ronin had drifted around the Howard women and murdered all their husbands throughout time. And he was responsible for Jack's death.
    What would he have done had Beverly died? Wesley...
     
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  16. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Given that Jeri Taylor was basically the head of the writing staff for season 7, I was surprised this episode was made under her watch. Even more surprised that she did the story to the episode.
     
  17. gakelly

    gakelly Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't think it is really much worse than season 7 episodes like Force of Nature (the first half is about Data's cat), Phantasms, Inheritance, Masks, Genesis, Firstborn, Journey's End, or Emergence and a few others I missed.
     
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  18. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I will defend "Phantasms" and "Masks". The former was very creepy and eerie, while the latter was a great use of mythology.

    Season 7 is hard to defend, as a whole, because at least anything not good in season 1 can be argued it's the series trying to find the right moves, so trial and error.

    Season 7, it should have been a well oiled machine, but it seemed like the cogs got stuck more often than not.
     
  19. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Commodore Commodore

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    stopped reading the first post halfway in, but I never found the episode bad at all... creepy granny rising from her coffin, energy-based lifeform playing ghost... it's much better than catspaw for sure
     
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  20. marlboro

    marlboro Guest


    i don't know. I mean at the very least the Muppets in Catspaw didn't seduce any septuagenarians.