Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Worst of the Worst of Star Trek TNG---The Perfect Mate (Or How the Federation Turns a Blind Eye to Slave Trading)

I finally went through and watched all 7 seasons of TNG.  There were a few stinkers in an otherwise great tv series, and after pondering the themes, general acting, and plot scenarios, I've deduced that the overall worst episode was "The Perfect Mate." It's from the 5th season. It was written by Rene Echevarria and Michael Piller and I would ask them wtf they were thinking.


"The Perfect Mate" was a dreadful episode, not because of any mystery, suspense, or violence, but because it seemed like it could have been written by a teenage girl with a penchant for romance novels.

An ambassador arrives on board the Enterprise with valuable cargo. That cargo, after it is brought out of stasis prematurely by a couple of sneaky Ferengis who tricked their way onto the ship, tells the Captain that she is the gift for the Chancellor of a planet involved in peace negotiations with the ambassador's planet.

The woman will psychologically bond with her intended mate. Trouble is, she attempts to seduce every man she comes in contact with, which is why she was supposed to be kept in stasis until the wedding ceremony. The ambassador tells her to stay in her quarters and not to mingle. Good advice...but...

Dr. Crusher isn't too crazy about the idea as a woman being a gift for some man, which to her, makes the Enterprise like a transport for slave trading. Picard agrees and decides to talk to the woman, named Kamala, that she should be a free agent and be allowed to leave her quarters---but with a chaperon. Picard enlists Data for that task, who is immune to her charms.

And now the plot complication; the ambassador has a run-in with the Ferengi who are trying to bribe him into a purchase of the metamorph, AKA gift for the chancellor. The ambassador attempts to leave with the threat of telling the captain about their bribe. He is pulled back and is accidentally knocked unconscious, rendering him unable to perform the duties of the reconciliation ceremony.

Now, the captain must take his place and gain help from the metamorph who, surprise surprise, bonds with him instead.

The episode ends with the captain giving away the bride and seeing the ambassador, recovered from his injuries, off the ship.

Why I hated it.

The metamorph tells the captain that she will stay put in her quarters until she's given to her master, but only if he visits her. Picard wants to know why she wants him to visit. She tells him she doesn't want to make love to him. Oh, please.

She goes on to impress him with her brilliance about ancient artifacts. He wants to know how, a woman bred to be some man's gift, she knows so much. She walks by him provocatively and tells him she never knows when the subjects will come up (that's not all that will come up).

She goes on to quote Shakespeare and mention landscapes from his village in France, using her telepathic abilities to entice him all the while telling him that she can only sense men of "deep passion and great conviction, so controlled, so disciplined" and she's "curious to know what lies beneath."

Part of this nauseating dialogue is to tell the audience how wonderful Captain Picard is?

When he tries to shrug her off, he assures her he's a very dull man. He asks her why she's doing this, she says it's because some part of him wants her to.

Now, it's up to Picard to get the help of the metamorph for the ceremony. He delights in discussing the particulars with her. She pleads with him to say nice things to her.

 If this episode were any more sappy, it would be a tree in Vermont.

Why does the federation deal with civilizations that use it's female population as gifts for men of other factions or worlds to uphold peace? Haven't they done away with this archaic swapping of girls as gifts in the 24th century? Yet, Picard goes through with the "giving away the bride."

As he tells an outraged Beverly Crusher, justifying his going along with it, that arranged marriages have been a part of many cultural traditions, including our own. Beverly is correct when she refers to the chaperone ambassador as a "slave trader."

Shame on Picard for justifying it instead of refusing to go along with it simply because it's wrong!

Later, before the wedding ceremony, Picard (almost jokingly) faults Beverly for suggesting to him not to keep Kamala confined to quarters.


Most of the time, the series explored human rights issues indicative to our times---exploitation, handicaps, ageism, prejudice, addiction, war profiteering, immigration, diplomacy, sexual orientation, personal responsibility, environmental responsibility, and superstition vs. rationality.

This episode went back in time. I think the producers of the show could have taken, and should have taken, the high road here. Rather than going along with a people's archaic form of diplomacy, they should have pushed the boundaries of the prime directive to include a provision that disallows cooperation in acts of arranged marriages and the exploitation of citizens for the purposes of being used as commerce or "gifts."

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Best of Star Trek TNG--Best Win---The Royale

Data on a winning streak in The Royale

Best of Star Trek TNG---All Good Things...

"All Good Things..." was the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation" and was written by Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore.


It begins with a confused Captain Picard approaching Counselor Troi and Lt. Worf, asking them what the stardate is. He tells Troi that he had just come back from the future. He tells Troi that he was in a future
time, doing something he can't remember and that it was not a dream. As he's talking, he's suddenly in the future.

Now, he's working in the vineyards and Geordie LaForge, who has new eyes, is paying him a visit. It seems natural to Picard, even talking to Geordi about his wife and kids. As they walk, Picard sees strange people ahead, waving and yelling but they're unseen to Geordi.

Back to the present, he's in sickbay telling Dr. Crusher about his strange experiences and then gets a call from starfleet ordering his ship to the border of the neutral zone. The Romulans are up to something and they want federation ships to investigate. There's also some strange anomaly in space within the area.

Now, in the future again, Picard wants to visit Data, where the android is now working as a professor at Cambridge. Picard knows if there's anyone that can help explain or find out what's going on, he can.

Then, he's back in the past and embarking on his first voyage on The Enterprise with Tasha Yar at the helm of the shuttlecraft that's taking him to the shuttlebay of the ship. He's a bit confused at first but falls into the role as being the new captain. As he's about to announce his new commission, he sees the strange people again shouting and jumping. He orders the crew to battle stations. He is given orders to study the anomaly but instead chooses to head toward Farpoint in hopes of meeting Q again. His hunch was right. He goes to his ready room and finds himself on trial once again just like he was 7 years ago on the ships first voyage to Farpoint.

Q stands before him once again and tells him that the trail is still ongoing. The Q Continuum is still testing humanity to see if they're worth saving and this time Picard is told that he needs to correct a wrong concerning his actions in regards to the anomaly. Apparently, his actions regarding the study of it leads to the ending of humanity. The strange people we see jumping and yelling earlier are part of the crowd at the trail.

Throughout the episode, we see Picard jumping from the present, to the future, and to the past and we learn Q is responsible for this. His reasons become clear---he's giving Picard a second chance to right his mistake and save humanity.

In the past, Picard finds the anomaly very wide and taking up a vast amount of space. He has the crew launch a tachyon beam. In the present, he has the crew do the same, but now the anomaly isn't as large. Data's analysis of the anomaly show it's made up of anti-matter and anti-time, causing fluctuations in the space-time continuum. In the future, the anomaly is very small, barely taking up any space.

In the present, when the tachyon pulse is sent into the anomaly, the crew begins experiencing a reversal of aging in such a way that old scars are reappearing, Geordi's eye cells are forming, and Ogawa's fetus is dissolving because her uterine wall is forming new cells, going to the state it was before the pregnancy. Dr. Crusher tells Picard she fears that soon, everyone will revert back to an earlier stage until they are non existent.

In the meantime, we learn that in the future, Deanna Troi has died. Her cause of death isn't stated, but we're lead to believe that certain events lead to her early death and Riker, who is now an admiral, and Worf, who is now working at the border of Klingon territory in space, are on the outs because of her death, each one blaming the other.

Meanwhile, back to the future, Dr. Crusher now mans a spacecraft suited for medical emergencies and that she and Picard had gotten married and divorced.

Picard talks her into going toward the anomaly to study it and probe it with the tachyon beam. The Klingons, who now occupy that space and are no longer on friendly terms with Starfleet, attack her ship. The crew is beamed aboard the Enterprise at a critical moment before the ship explodes. They were rescued by Admiral Riker, who tells Picard that he knew he wouldn't give up his idea of trying to get to that area of space. He is manning the Enterprise. He later tells Picard that the ship was docked but reinstated and upgraded.

Then Picard finds himself with Q again, this time all the way back to the beginning. Q shows Picard a small pool of amoeba, the start of life. The anomaly now takes up most of the sky. Q warns Picard that the life in the pond of "goo" is no more, making Picard realize that his actions concerning the anomaly up to that point have been counter productive.

He is sent back through the 3 time lines to correct the mistake. Now he must stop the tachyon beams into the anomoly and seal it with a "static warp shell."

In each timeline, Picard orders the Enterprises to fly into the center of the anomaly and proceed with the experiment to stop it from expanding. When he does, each ship is thus destroyed along with the anti-time anomaly.

Finally, Picard is before Q again and is told that he succeeded in saving humanity and that the Q Continuum are most impressed and have decided that humans are a worthy species afterall.

Back on the present day Enterprise, Picard approaches Deanna and Worf to find out what the stardate is. He is pleased to be back where he belongs and that the timelines with the anomaly have not occurred. He later joins them, for the first time as captain, in a game of poker.

********************************************************************************* I liked this episode because it was fun to see possible future scenarios for the characters (with the exception of poor Deanna). We got to see the return of Q, Tasha Yar, and Chief O'Brien. The episode brought us full circle, from the ship's first voyage and it's encounter with Q, to the end with the Q Continuum finding humanity worthy (with the help of Picard's "buddy," the individual known as Q.)

One thing I didn't like and that I found archaic was how Riker blamed Worf for his not getting together with Troi. But as we've seen, Riker chose his career path without the consideration of her in his life. And now he blames Worf? As if she was supposed to wait around for his approval to see others and wait until HE was ready to include her in his life's decisions, especially when it comes to romance or marriage.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Which ST TNG Cast Member Portrayed the Most Different Alien Races in the Series?

                                         Captain Picard as Locutus of Borg In "Best of Both Worlds"
                                    Lt. Commander Data and Captain Picard as Romulans in "Unification"
                                             Data as the Nanites in "Evolution"

                                                                  Data as Masaka in "Masks"
                       Counselor Deanna Troi as Romulan Rakal of the Tal Shiar in "Face of the Enemy"
                Commander Riker and Counselor Troi as Mintakens in "Who Watches the Watchers"
                                                      Riker as a Malcorian in "First Contact"
                                                  Riker as a Bojorn in "Preemptive Strike"
                                           Dr. Crusher and Riker as Barkonians in "Thine Own Self"
                                            Lt. Commander Worf as a Boraalan in "Homeward"

Best Role Playing TNG---Elementary, Dear Data

Geordi and Dr. Polaski put Data to the test and attempt to give him a mystery that will challenge him in "Elementary, Dear Data"
gifs from

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Worst of Star Trek TNG---Journey's End

"Journey's End" was from the last season. It was Wil Wheaton's last appearance on the show, which had only a few shows left in the series.

This episode had a promising beginning, but fell flat and delved into the mystical and painted Wesley Crusher has a superbeing who was evolving into a higher spiritual/cosmic being. The Traveler returns as a guide to usher him into this new realm.

This is one of two plots. The other is a conflict involving the federation and a group of Native American settlers on a planet that were given to the Cardassians in a peace treaty and now they've come to collect.

Admiral Nechayev gives Captain Picard the order to remove the colonists from the planet according to the terms of the treaty agreement. Picard recognizes that it's history repeating itself, with a peoples being forced to move from their homeland once again. The issue is how will Starfleet agree to the terms of the treaty in order to keep the peace with the Cardassians and avoid a violent confrontation between them and the Cardassians.

That portion of the show was engaging and brought up issues of race, cultural identity, and settlement rights. Fortunately, alls well that ends well when Picard hosts a discussion between the native tribal leader and the Cardassian captain that leads to the two factions deciding to share the planet under Cardassian law. The Cardassian captain agrees they can coexist by staying out of each other's way. Fair enough.

The plot that spoiled the story was when Wesley boards the Enterprise as a mini vacation to visit his mother. He's sullen, grumpy, and downright rude, especially to Geordi, who shows him work he's done on the engine propulsion system. He criticizes the work in such a way as to practically make Geordi look stupid. "You're excused, cadet" Geordi tells him. Wesley walks off in a huff.

Wesley goes down to the planet and gets involved with one of the natives, or so we're lead to believe. There, Wesley has visions of his father telling him to let go of his current path and follow a new one not connected to Starfleet. He also tells the natives that the Enterprise is planning to remove the settlers by force for refusing to leave. This gets him in trouble with the captain, who reads him the riot act and tells him his actions were not of one worthy of the uniform. Wesley agrees and takes of his badge and walks out of the captain's' ready room.

He explains to his mother, Dr. Crusher, that he no longer wants to live up to everyone's expectations but follow his own path. He goes back down to the planet where the native reveals his true identity--The Traveler. How much the traveler influenced Wesley's visions isn't clear, but it is suggested that he helped him along to see his true potential.

At one point, tensions on the planet are escalating and Wesley tries to intervene when the action stops frozen in time. Wesley turns to see the traveler who tells Wesley it isn't he that stopped time, but Wesley himself.

He was able to pull himself out of another plane of existence. Huh? Then the traveler tells Wesley to let the lowly humans solve their own problems. To that I say...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Best of Star Trek TNG---Preemptive Strike

"Preemptive Strike" was the next to last episode in the series and written by Rene Echevarria and Naren Shankar and directed by Patrick Stewart.

Ro Laren returns to the Enterprise after extensive tactical training. Admiral Nechayev discusses with Captain Picard tensions between the Cardassians and a band of resistance fighters called the Maquis. The admiral wants Ro to infiltrate the group to stop their attacks because the Marquis, made up of Bajorn and other federation-friendly species, are jeopardizing a peace treaty between the Cardassians and the federation.

Ro accepts the assignment and gains the confidence of a small group of Marquis fighters when she is able to bypass the Enterprise's shields to beam over medical supplies on the shuttlecraft she and another Marquis fighter are operating. They need the medical supplies in preparation for an assault on Cardassian ships they plan to intercept that they believe are carrying biological weapons to use against them.

Ro meets with Picard to inform him of the Marquis plans and Picard hatches a trap for the Marquis by having Ro play on their suspicions of the Cardassians and lead them to an area of space where they can be captured by federation starships.

Meanwhile, Ro is developing a relationship with the Marquis fighters, one elderly man in particular who she comes to view as a father figure and had suffered at the hands of the Cardassians the way she had as a girl. As Ro and the man plan to have lunch in the compound, they are surprised by a sneak attack by three armed Cardassians and the man is killed.

Ro meets with PIcard to discuss particulars of the mission and Picard senses she has reservations about setting a trap. He tells Ro that if she's having second thoughts that he needs to know. She assures him she will carry out the mission. Picard has Riker pose as a Bajorn and relative of Ro to go on the mission with her to ensure she follows orders. But when the time comes to set the trap and everything is going according to plan, Ro points a phaser at Riker and tells him that she's changed her mind. She feels like she has finally found a place where she belongs  and now has a purpose and wants to fight with the resistance. She asks to be beamed back to the compound. She tells Riker to tell the captain she is sorry. Riker returns to the Enterprise to give the captain his report. Picard is dismayed at the turn of events and of Ro's betrayal.

I liked this episode because it shows that sometimes military training doesn't ensure a person will follow orders, orders that may conflict with their conscience and convictions. As a child, Ro had seen her father tortured and killed by Cardassians and believed that they were planning assaults on Bojorn civilians and came to resent the federations' alliance with the Cardassians, especially after the surprise attack.

I think too that the episode doesn't wrap things up neatly into a black or white scenario, but leaves the audience thinking who is right and who is wrong and there is no clear-cut answer. This more closely resembles the reality of conflicts between factions.

Marina Sirtis with Michael Dorn and Brent Spiner at Comic Con 2013

Marina Sirtis with Michael Dorn and Brent Spiner at Comic Con 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

John DeLancie on the Possible Inspiration for His Character Q

John DeLancie feels Trelane was the inspiration for his character Q.
I thought this when I first saw Q in TNG. He reminded me of Trelane from the original series episode "The Squire of Gothos." That is one of my favorite episodes from TOS.

Best of Star Trek TNG---Emergence (The Enterprise Gives Birth)

"Emergence" is the 23rd episode of the last season. It was written by Joe Menosky and Brannon Braga.

The story begins when there's a holodeck malfunction during Data's rehearsal for Shakespeare's The Tempest. The Orient Express shows up and Data and Captain Picard jump out of it's way right in the nick of time.

As the crew investigates a system for habitable planets, the ship suddenly goes into warp drive on its own. But it's fortunate that it did because dataflux distortions were accelerating and would have destroyed the ship. Geordi enters a jeffries tube and finds a new circuit node that's connecting other systems of the ship together and is protected by a force field. Further scans show more nodes generating around the ship.

The crew decides at first to regain control of the ship and enters the holodeck where the problem began. They find several different programs running at once and characters appear and act protective of the ship and prevent Data from gaining access the holodeck circuitry as a train conductor demands tickets from them.

Data notices that pattern of the nodes is consistent with the matrix of his positronic brain and that the ship is forming an "emergent property," or a form of life consisting of all the ship's components including the crew's logs, technology, and holodeck programs.

At this point, Captain Picard decides to find out what the new emergent life form is trying to do. Counselor Troi, Worf, and Data reenter the holodeck to interact with the characters to get more information. Once more, the conductor wants their tickets. A mafia character leaves the train and carries a brick up through a subway and Dianna and Worf follow him as he puts the brick into a wall to "lay the foundation."

Meanwhile, Data attempts to disengage the nodes. A taxi also runs him over and the ship begins losing structural integrity. Data is forced to stop his attempt. Geordi finds an emergent lifeform in the cargo bay that's generating energy within it's core.

Worf, Troi, and Data try again to communicate with the holodeck characters as they focus on getting to "Vertiform City." The ship is heading toward a white dwarf star and the ship uses its tractor beam to get vertiron particles. When it fails to gather enough vertiron particles, the ship heads in a new direction as the train conductor takes the train in a new direction.

The crew decides to create vertiron particles in a nearby nebula to avoid the ship using all it's reserved power to get to "New Vertiform city." The crew watches as the new life form takes in the vertiron particles and phases out through the ship into space. Later, Captain Picard and Data discuss the risk they took in helping the new life form exist even though the end result was unknown. As Picard explains to Data, the new life was born from the sum of The Enterprise's parts and therefore the chance of the new life being malevolent was not very likely.

I liked this episode because it had a lot of images that were quite like dream symbols and reminded me of "Phantasms" and "Birthright." It also reminded me of another good episode "Home Soil" in which the Enterprise crew discovers an unknown life form and works to communicate with it and learns that their experiments on a dead planet were actually killing the species. Rather than eliminate the species for convenience and safety sake, they work with it to ensure it's survival. That theme is repeated here and sends a positive message about respecting other life forms.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Worst Alien Possession---Data as Masaka in "Masks"

Data is possessed by mythical being Masaka in  "Masks"

                           gifs from Trekgate at tumblr

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Best of Star Trek TNG---Heart of Glory

"Heart of Glory" is one of the better episodes of the first season which had quite a few stinkers. This episode was written by Maurice hurley, Herbert Wright, and D.C. Fontana.

It begins when the Enterprise gets a distress call from the neutral zone of a Talarian cargo freighter that's been badly damaged in a conflict. The away teams finds 3 Klingons, one of which is badly wounded and near death. They beam the survivors aboard just in time before the freighter explodes. Worf asks permission to see to the surviving Klingons in sick bay.

The Klingons claim that they were merely passengers and that the Talarians were taking them to an outpost. They were attacked by a Ferengi cruiser and unknowingly entered the neutral zone in the heat of battle. They tricked them into lowering their shields and that's when they opened fire.

Worf offers to take them to their quarters for rest. Captain Picard is suspicious and decides to investigate their claims. The two Klingons are surprised to learn that a Klingon is serving on a federation ship and taunt him about it, but Worf remains slow to anger. While dining with them, they learn that their comrade is dying. They go to sick bay and perform the Klingon death ritual (one of the highlights of this episode.) It is a warning to the dead that a Klingon warrior is about to arrive.

This is where we get Worf's background story of how he was rescued during the battle of Kitamor and raised by human parents. He and his step-brother joined Starfleet when they came of age. The Klingon guests attempt to reach the warrior within Worf by saying how being cut off from his Klingon heritage may have caused him to lose his strength, culture, and dreams of glory.

We also learn the truth, that the Klingon's destroyed a Klingon vessel harboring those they feel have betrayed their culture and now they are hunted by the Klingon Empire as traitors.

A captain of a Klingon vessel tells Captain Picard that they are wanted fugitives and Picard orders them under arrest. They willingly go but hatch a plan for escape. Worf pleads with the Klingon captain to spare their lives and not let them die with dishonor, but to no avail.

When the Klingon's use a weapon to lower the force field, one Klingon is killed while the other, Korris, escapes to main engineering. He heads to the warp engine core and threatens to phaser it. Worf confronts him. Korris tries to talk Worf into letting him take the battle bridge to escape but he soon learns that Worf is not about to betray the Enterprise. Instead, Worf tells him he looks for battles in the wrong place. It is within the heart that battle lives to be overcome rather than looking for a fight without. Worf fires his phaser. The Klingon falls and Worf holds him in his last breathe and performs the death ritual.

Captain Picard asks the Klingon captain if they have any burial or preparations for their Klingon bodies to which the Klingon captain replies, "they are only empty shells, dispose of them as you see fit."

This episode was well acted and exciting and gave us a look at Klingon values and customs. Vaughn Armstrong as Korris was exceptional.