What's the last TNG episode you'd watched, with mini-review?

Qonundrum

Vice Admiral
Admiral
I rewatched "The Masterpiece Society".

It's better than I'd remembered it as being.

Okay,the human colony that's all isolated and closed off and other contaminating cooties stuff has Okudagrams everywhere - even in Hannah's lab that looks like a TARDIS console, and they all speak Federation lingo, but that's the most I can complain about. Drat.

Conor is quick to say "screw it" regarding their closed environment, to let in the Federation folk, partly due because he wants to get busy with Troi but because of the larger problem that they can't get around. Conor/Troi (Tronor? Croi?) is a subtle and metaphorical parallel to what the planet is about to endure.

While this story is a good Troi episode, this is a GREAT Geordi episode! One of his best, if not the best, IMHO.

The ending proves the multifaceted nature of the piece. The Enterprise crew win on a technological level, but the colony never figured out how to cordon off impulses since now everyone leaves. This is a catastrophe despite the script trying to wiggle around it at the start.

The incidental music is very sparse, much to its credit. The dialogue and content are strong enough to carry this story and it shows. The times it is used do make me wonder if the cinematic style used in the early seasons would have fared better. Considering how far "Power Play" would be elevated, it's not too much of a leap to think that the earlier style would have benefitted this story's big action scene where the tractor beam is used to lure the big snowball 1.21 degrees. And don't get me wrong; with the scale of galactic space, 1.21 degrees is huge. Accompanying it via coma-inducing elevator muzak dampered things.

Also, life support is a bizarre concept in this show. Even if power went out, they'd just float there until it's fixed - if gravity is part of life support. Either way, the air might go stale - but this is a big ship. Like real big and stuff. They could all be there looking at a bag of marshmallows and wishing they could roast a few for a few hours before asphyxiation begins to become a concern. Less if there's enough plant life that hasn't died due to lack of lighting.

This one's definitely one of season 5's better stories.

8/10
 
I watched "Time's Arrow", which I regard as a surprisingly strong effort, though the first part. A particular standout is the earliest part, first where Data's head is mysteriously found on Earth, and the rest of the crew are trying to deal with the knowledge. Also, when Picard attempts to keep him out of harm's way. And once he gets sucked back in time, it's fun to see Marc Alaimo sans makeup, as a poker hustler.

Part 2 doesn't quite measure up to Part 1, but it's reasonably well handled, with the guy playing Mark Twain particularly amusing.

Overall, it's not the Best of Both Worlds or Year of Hell, but it's not a bad way to spend 90 minutes.
 
Just watched "Phantasms".

The Good: Data's dream sequence was quite surreal, with the bit in Ten Forward counselor cake and the drink-a-Riker a standout. Worf eats Troi, Beverly drinks Will, the creatures eat everyone, Sigmund eats a bullet, Worf feeds Spot, Data and Troi eat Data, and Admiral Nakamura undoubtedly takes a big bite out of Picard's rear end (offscreen) for missing the banquet.

The Bad: Not much here. We could have done without the ensign with a crush on Geordi (he didn't reciprocate... having too much fun with his holo-Leah, maybe?)
 
Final Mission was on regular old broadcast TV a while back. With nothing to watch, I gave it a view instead of streaming surfing. It'd been years since I'd seen it

It's really not that bad. Might even be my favorite Wesley episode. It's pretty bare in the premise department, survival situation with a trumped up antagonist, & an obstacle preventing rescue, but believe it or not the actors are doing a great job. They prop it up & the production gets fleshed out well enough to make it hold up IMHO. 6 or 7 out of 10.
 
Power Play:
This is a fun high-concept episode that feels like a TOS episode but for only good reasons, which fits into the style of TNG extremely well, is let down only by detracting incidental music. I love how possessed-Troi almost wins the captain over, except the fritter that possessed Data got anxious.

Ro and Geordi once again team up and I like their pairing, and her initiative and ideas to contribute. Yes, she had a bad past. Yes, she's showing Picard plenty of times she's worthy. I love this! (She and Guinan made a great double-act as well, but before I digress...)

There are some great moments of tension and suspense as well, save for the music. Prior to season 5, TNG's music was either really good or loud. This is really dull and having the opposite effect.

7/10
 
The Next Phase:
It still packs a punch and remains, for me, a near-perfect episode. Ronald D Moore takes a high-concept premise and makes the flaws and nitpicks easily forgiven by using crisp dialogue and characterizations, philosophical depth, as well as plotting elements that flow so naturally, with key moments being subtle - right down to when Ro obtains the Romulan phaser to be used later in the climax and, indeed, even the commercial break recaps flow back into the story with considerable deftness. It's brilliant stuff. Moore's that good. Even with the selective physics, not wrongly criticized in 1992 - or now for that matter, but so much more in this story that works makes it so much easier to overlook the nitpicks. That's a tall hurdle. Moore did it, IMHO.

David Carson's direction only sweetens the pot... back in the day, seeing Carson as a director, as with Kolbe and some others, was the calling card of a story that would always be more than the sum of its parts.

I love how Ro is all but spat on by Passive-Aggressive Riker when making a comment that what they were about to do wasn't a bright idea (and we've already seen Ro having trepidation and was right), but later when Worf also brings up a security issue, Riker is instantly more agreeable. "Show vs tell" prevailing, how Worf brings up the concern rather than Ro's cynicism is either conscious on Ronald's part or it's by chance that the script ended up that way. Either way, it's poignant and brilliant... oh, the story also reveals that Ro turned out to be right once again :D ... Unlike Cousin Oliver for The Brady Bunch, the inclusion of Ensign Ro in TNG actually works and she's one of the best characters in the show because of all the directions they can now take the show in.

And not to mention that the Romulans let the Federation crew take a defective Romulan power supply to the Enterprise to replicate a working equivalent from, before Worf made his whine about the Romulans asking for a computer. It just goes to show that the Federation isn't all Sesame Street either.

Also, the Romulans could have had a backup plan to let the Federation scan the device that would induce malware - a la "Contagion". That would have been a cool Plan B, if this episode were to have been a 2-parter. But it's not discussed, so some headcanon where the Romulans couldn't do that without rendering their own equipment impossible to use ruled that idea out, and this phasing notion was deemed strong enough to work.

Picard is antsy over the possibility of a warp core breach and orders Conn to move the ship at the slightest hint of the Romulan ship about to go boom-boom. Now compare to "Disaster" where Ro was just as intent as Picard and Troi gets all emotional soppy on Ro and plays Commander Peacock. Is it possible that Ro and Picard might have more in common than what's let on? (As much as I enjoy the Ro/Guinan double-act, there's something under the surface with Ro and Picard and I don't mean of the sort involving "bedroom romper room" antics, I mean characterizations that's always poignant. )

Seeing Romulans being scheming again and as a threat rather than the butt end of a Bugs Bunny cartoon gag is so eminently refreshing.

The philosophical bent involving mortality and death and celebrating life is positively used and very Star Trekky. I loved how they explored both Klingon and Bajoran customs, but outsider Data using his AI to find an independent but worthy alternative.

It's time for nerd mode: Garon II is mentioned in "Ensign Ro" as the planet Ro did her oopsie on. In "The Next Phase", said oopsie now occurred on Garon IV. The fact I'm such a huge fan of Ro and adore her season 5 stories, that must have made it easier to remember some of the fiddly tiddly bits like this. It's a small nitpick in the big picture, though.

Geordi and Ro both get to say things that solve the problem to get Data to notice. Both deserved citations of honor.

And Data having to put the pieces together regarding the Romulan ploy is the icing on the cake. (A shame Sela didn't order the caper... but she was treated as a cartoon in "Unification" and hasn't been seen since. :( )

And the music -- Dennis McCarthy's sumptuous score is anything but dull, knows when and how to be exciting to add to the scene, and it definitely knows how to be somber in order to pull the most out of those scenes. This is an episode from the post-Jones era of TNG that really shows how great a score can be and that not all of season 5-7 deserve the reputation of "it's all bland wallpaper glop". Plenty of good scores, or even moments, do exist. TNP just goes the extra mile, and it's that much more special as a result.

And I wanna know what Riker was going to say about Ro at the funeral... WAAAAHHHHH!!! Oh well.

You can probably guess how much I adore this story: 9.5/10
 
Most likely it would have had something to do with the romantic encounter they had during 'Conundrum', right?
That would seem a little indelicate to me, for a funeral, BUT I always suspected that he was going to say something that reflected that encounter without specifically referencing it. He seems rather contemplative & a bit sullen about the remarks he has planned. I imagine that her dying would've had him realize just how much time he & her had spent engaged in contention with one another, & how he might, now that she's gone, regret that having been the case.

He'd be having something of a gut check, as he really does understand & respect her now, which wasn't always the case, & it's mostly because they'd had the rather odd chance to actually see one another more clearly in Conundrum, with the ranks dropped so to speak (Among other things lol)

You see, as silly & downright dumb as some of the parts of Conundrum are, I really like that episode, because it's a rare vehicle for the characters to see other aspects of one another that they hadn't yet. More important than the fling Riker & Ro had, was that they actually, for the 1st time, were forced to deal with one another without the burden of their baggage & biases.

The result was them realizing how similar they actually are, which can really get under your skin when you're forced to realize that the reason for you not liking someone is because they are like YOU. It was a long needed gift for them both, that served them exceptionally well... despite it going a bit too far. lol

The same is true of Worf & Picard, who'd contrarily known & worked with each other for ages at this point, but still get to discover new aspects of one another here. Despite their mutual respect for one another, once the trappings of their normal circumstance are discarded, it's made pretty clear that Worf REALLY doesn't like Picard's methods, & let's himself get caught up in that, enough that he has to eat some humble pie later on.

OTOH, I absolutely loved seeing Picard's methods here, because it's a new angle on him as a diplomat & negotiator & that he's a fantastic one. We've seen him in countless situations where he's negotiating with diplomats, leaders, or 1st contacts, but we've never seen him apply those kinds of methods within his own family group, because as captain he doesn't have to

It provided an insight to how a man like him rose to his station, & what he'd have been like at other times in his life & career.
 
You see, as silly & downright dumb as some of the parts of Conundrum are, I really like that episode, because it's a rare vehicle for the characters to see other aspects of one another that they hadn't yet.

When I watch 'Conundrum' one of the first thoughts might be that there's just too much weird here to watch it again....
But, when the time comes I might not skip it, somehow it's interesting even if some things aren't explained.
 
Hero Worship.

While the main plot regarding the cluster and the loss of the Vico was actually pretty compelling, the best part of this one was the interaction between Data and Timothy. It gave the story some genuine heart. And also some funny moments, such as Beverly playing along with Timothy's android persona and Data trying to yawn. And, it gave us some touching insights into what made Data want to be human. The young man playing Timothy did a pretty good Data, too. Patrick Stewart directed this one, and I enjoyed it far more than "In Theory".

Only downsides were the whole business with the shields seemed kind of obvious, and we don't find out what happened to Timothy. We spent a whole episode watching this kid work through his trauma, and having him just disappear into the ether... it doesn't feel right.

Still, if you haven't watched this one in awhile, I recommend a look.
 
“Q Who”. I genuinely think this might be the scariest episode Trek ever produced. The tension, fear and dread are palpable throughout but especially once we encounter the Borg. With the possible exception of “Best of Both Worlds”, they were never better and more terrifying than their debut. Space truly feels unpredictable and dangerous here. It makes me sad to think how TNG almost totally lost this edge when it came to later seasons.
 
The Child.

* Really nice the way they outlined the changes: Worf's new uniform, Riker's beard, Geordi's new job. Flowed nicely.

* I've heard it stated that Troi was "violated" in this episode, and there's truth to the statement, but I can't be too upset at the alien. A non-corporeal being cannot be expected to understand body autonomy.

* Smart play, the way the discussion of Troi's pregnancy proceeded... by making it clear that Troi's right to choose was paramount, but having her choose to have the baby, they were able to satisfy both sides of a very thorny issue.

* Although people dislike Pulaski because of her thoughts about Data, it gave her room for growth. And it also gave other crew the opportunity to stick up for him. As seen in the delivery room scene. And Data was able to stand up for himself, too. Such as when Pulaski got his name wrong. "One is my name, the other is not" might not have Spock's snark, but it got his point across.

* I think Picard understood Ian's motive better than we think... when he got burned, Picard understood immediately why it had happened. One does wonder why Troi replicated food that hot, though.

* Maybe Picard should play with puppies more. :lol:

* Maybe it's just me, but the concept of this episode would have made a wonderful season-long arc. Yes, I know Trek wasn't into that yet, this was 1988. But imagine devoting more time to Ian at multiple ages/life stages, allowing us to really follow his journey of understanding humanity.
- Infancy. Give baby Ian an episode.
- Age 4 and 8. Extend the latter a bit, show him in school, making friends.
- Adolescence. First crush, maybe?
- Young adulthood, working as a civilian on the ship.
- Later on, he reveals to have vast knowledge of science (due to his actual species), so he receives a field commission.
- Aging, learning how human bodies fade.
- And as the grand finale, the clip show season ender takes us through scenes from his life as he ends his year-long journey of discovery by passing away with his loved ones at his side. I'm not saying "Shades of Gray" was bad, it was what it needed to be. But this would have given us a good reason for a clip show!

- Overall, I enjoy this one. It's not "The Inner Light" (or "The Inner Fight"), but it's decent Trek.
 
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The Child.

* Really nice the way they outlined the changes: Worf's new uniform, Riker's beard, Geordi's new job. Flowed nicely.

* I've heard it stated that Troi was "violated" in this episode, and there's truth to the statement, but I can't be too upset at the alien. A non-corporeal being cannot be expected to understand body autonomy.

* Smart play, the way the discussion of Troi's pregnancy proceeded... by making it clear that Troi's right to choose was paramount, but having her choose to have the baby, they were able to satisfy both sides of a very thorny issue.

* Although people dislike Pulaski because of her thoughts about Data, it gave her room for growth. And it also gave other crew the opportunity to stick up for him. As seen in the delivery room scene. And Data was able to stand up for himself, too. Such as when Pulaski got his name wrong. "One is my name, the other is not" might not have Spock's snark, but it got his point across.

* I think Picard understood Ian's motive better than we think... when he got burned, Picard understood immediately why it had happened. One does wonder why Troi replicated food that hot, though.

* Maybe Picard should play with puppies more. :lol:

* Maybe it's just me, but the concept of this episode would have made a wonderful season-long arc. Yes, I know Trek wasn't into that yet, this was 1988. But imagine devoting more time to Ian at multiple ages/life stages, allowing us to really follow his journey of understanding humanity.
- Infancy. Give baby Ian an episode.
- Age 4 and 8. Extend the latter a bit, show him in school, making friends.
- Adolescence. First crush, maybe?
- Young adulthood, working as a civilian on the ship.
- Later on, he reveals to have vast knowledge of science (due to his actual species), so he receives a field commission.
- Aging, learning how human bodies fade.
- And as the grand finale, the clip show season ender takes us through scenes from his life as he ends his year-long journey of discovery by passing away with his loved ones at his side. I'm not saying "Shades of Gray" was bad, it was what it needed to be. But this would have given us a good reason for a clip show!

- Overall, I enjoy this one. It's not "The Inner Light", but it's decent Trek.

It's short on my rewatch list as well.

Supreme idea for letting Ian have a multiple-story arc...

Troi and the male officer were both violated and it's clear Troi had it worse, even if there was no physical pain. But the incorporeal alien could not relieve Troi's emotional hurt, which also impacts those of the audience who are invested in the story.

And, yep, the sensitive topic was well-handled and Troi got the best lines. As much as Word had a point about "DANGER DANGER DANGER!", the being could have destroyed the ship very easily and long before the A/B plots merged with the deadly biological samples' delivery.

I'm glad Data didn't have Spock's snark. The show already had to battle "Pulaski is a McCoy ripoff", especially as she wasn't. TNG played on some archetypes, as would later spinoffs - the EMH reminds me of McCoy far more often, but by 1995 nobody cared. Or loved it every time he copped "I'm a Doctor, not a ___" but Robert Picardo does play it so perfectly that even I can't deny liking the EMH as well... that said, Pulaski was a more fun character, and was the first to be "against the grain" - something that Barclay, Shelby, Ro, and others would do to varying levels of success and all in their own ways as well. Ro was arguably the best of the bunch, and certainly helped elevate season five for me... but I digress.

I loved the Pulaski/Data running arc, which starts out reasonably enough and improves as the season progresses. Pulaski later accepts Data, believes sentience, and even defends his actions in later stories. It's all a joy to watch. The turning point is around the time that the mostly-underrated "Pen Pals" is shown. Indeed, Pulaski and Data are clearly pals as the season progresses. Her backstory with Picard and Riker also had a solid foundation, which sadly never got more completely explored, On screen, not sure if novels or audio plays cover it...

If the alien had a home world, I'd call it "Zog". Sounds very fifties, even if the story came from an era when Studio 54 was popular.
 
Having just watched the disastrous usage of force fields in the Titan in Picard Season 3 episode 7, I was reminded of Allegiance. I watched it immediately after, and it was quite a palate cleanser. I don't like the Picard series!

Allegiance is a lighter episode, in that it's so unbelievable, but it's fun.

A few points:
1) I've always thought the aliens' appearances are an homage to The Outer Limits.
2) How did the aliens learn so much about Picard's personality and history?
3) When Picard uncovered the deception and was returned to the Enterprise with the aliens, I assume the other two prisoners were as well, but we don't know.
4) Picard's Academy drinking song seems archaic and male-centered. I wonder if it was an actual sea shanty or was it composed for the episode.
5) When TNG originally aired, I was smitten with Marina Sirtis (still am), but never gave Gate McFadden much attention. Now I appreciate her beauty, and she was gorgeous in the dress she wore to dinner in "Picard's" quarters.
 
"Justice"

The first scene where they discuss rest and relaxation is rather a jumble that must be seen to be believed as, despite this story being a rewrite, it needed another rewrite to clear up a lot of hokey dialogue.

Yar researched and found nothing. Later dialogue has Riker saying "we" so a whole lot of people found nothing, so they were asking the wrong questions or getting the wrong answers from the earlier away mission or something.

Wesley's first commend after tiptoeing through the tulips is to explain he's fine, not realizing that his new play buddies were concerned about the state of the flowerbed he just tossed himself into. And, indeed, the hairy action figure doll who threw the ball would also be complicit, since he's just as ignorant when pointing Wes to go fetch in the direct way of the flowerbed.

The Data/Picard scenes, which are rather fantastic, save this from being a large pile of IBS.

Be glad the multidimensional thing didn't have lasers. That said, beings that live in multiple dimensions simultaneously is a really cool idea. The episode only hints at "what might be advantageous" (paraphrased) but is never explored, directly to this episode or even as a sci-fi idea. This is the best multi-dimensional story idea ever, and it's never explored. And one advantage is wonderfully obvious.

When Crusher enters the large, windowed room where Data and Picard babble, a goldshirt crewmember behind Crusher continues to walk to the imagined end of the corridor. One slight problem, she's less than 8 feet away from the edge of the ship, so the corridor ends less than 6 feet away. There's probably a door to another room she went into.

The story's theme and exploration of the prime directive and differences in societal laws has potential to be great, and I do wonder if the same themes could all be used in a later season story. I know later seasons successfully bring up the prime directive. And, indeed, even "Encounter at Farpoint" already tackled some of these - and did so better.

3/10 - too many good ideas that are less than the sum of their parts, not to mention they already had Q observing them.
 
"The Battle"

It's one of the better revenge-themed tales ever made. Action is used thoughtfully, and one quickly grows to loathe Bok's antics. The direction and music are sublime and cinematic in quality, and all for a fledgling tv show that was made on a budget tighter than the gravitational pull of a neutron star. (Doctor Who's budget, to compare, is made on a budget tighter than the gravitational pull of a black hole. But that's not as hard to spot.)

Data's technobabble about checksums is brilliantly on the mark and is accurate and still holds up. For some of us in this world, this is our "squee" moment. I also found it amusing that Riker asked for the explanation and then whines about not having the time for one. Riker's the CO in that scene, he shouldn't be blaming the being who was obeying the order. Oh wait, that's a nitpick and I've not gotten to those yet... the whole scene is terrific... Indeed, Data, Geordi, Dr Crusher all get a fair bit of solid material. Especially by season one's mixed bag standards.

The only real nitpick, save from the cheese of "we used to have common colds and headaches but not anymore, whee!", is how the computer would enact on Bok's commands on Stargazer*, or why ship sensors didn't notice any unusual energy patterns to alert the crew to - Wesley just happens to be wandering around every department needed in the story and sees all the answers at random, even smugly saying "Adults!" at the end of one scene. And yet, that is nowhere near the worst of the worst Wesley moments from season 1 as his moments here don't come across as directly tacky as in other season 1 escapades. (He's also generally written as a real character from season 2 onward...)

Also, and this is my last picked nit, as much as they had fun adding burn marks to sets (the blu-ray quality shows so much more than any upscaled SD edit could begin to reveal), couldn't they have made the turbolift felt blue to help redress what are clearly TWOK's turbolift sets reused? That stuff's like $1.99/square yard and they needed a couple yards' worth.

What's odd is, as much as I like this episode, and almost love it, it doesn't have quite the same level of compelling rewatchability feel that the other top-notch season 1 stories have. And this one deserves it. Still, as much as I know it exists and rewatch it, it feels fresh - but it's been such a long time between visits. At the same time, Conspiracy, 11001001, Where No Man, Arsenal, and even Datalore** all have that extra little nuance and I've rewatched those more times and oddly can't get tired of those. It's always lovely to rewatch a good episode when recovering from the common cold with a headache... "The Battle" is excellent yet it doesn't quite make the mark and I can't quite figure out where the lack of spark is, because it IS a very competently episode that helps improve season one's standing. Daimon Bok, is that you behind me? Oh, that's the cat staring at me intently. His name is Jason and he's telepathic, you know...

* Okay, it is a very old ship, but nobody's known the Ferengi before based on "The Last Outpost". That said, Picard did attack a ship that was already attacking and didn't bother to identify itself, so this doesn't go against continuity so far... except, how would the Ferengi, a species knowing nothing of humans either, manage to figure out enough of the virtually decade-old technology just enough to say "Shields up" and it complies. What, no voice control verification process? Okay, it's also possible they conjured up Picard saying "Grant access to Daimon Bok and blahbety blah", except there's always a command code that follows the commander's name. Then why wouldn't Bok do anything other than fudging some logs?

** Despite its surprisingly cliche-ridden half-baked plot, which - to its credit - is uplifted by excellent direction, music and acting that really sells the sense of the threat of Lore so extremely well that I've probably rewatched it more than any other season 1 story. Like a prune addict looking for the next fix, "Datalore" is so smooth flowing despite being a real stinky pile at its core...
 
overlook the nitpicks. That's a tall hurdle.

I agree it's a fun ep, I enjoy it too, but you mentioned "nitpicks" twice.

"How did they breathe?" is not a nitpick. Nitpicks are tiny things you overlook. If the whole premise falls apart if you pull on any of 20 threads we're deep into plot hole territory.
 
"How did they breathe?" is not a nitpick. Nitpicks are tiny things you overlook. If the whole premise falls apart if you pull on any of 20 threads we're deep into plot hole territory.
In general, I feel as you do, it was quite the plot hole. But this one came out soon after the Patrick Swayze movie "Ghost", so I just figured this was Star Trek trying to do its own take on that film.
 
I agree it's a fun ep, I enjoy it too, but you mentioned "nitpicks" twice.

I couldn't help it... :(

"How did they breathe?" is not a nitpick. Nitpicks are tiny things you overlook. If the whole premise falls apart if you pull on any of 20 threads we're deep into plot hole territory.

Good point. :blush: It is a plot hole and a much larger one than I want to recognize. The emotional delivery of the base ideas really get ramped up for the sake of the episode...
 
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