Continuum-ing my celebration of Star Trek’s fiftieth year by watching The Next Generation on Blu-Ray and sharing random thoughts on each episode.
I’m going to start posting links to Memory Alpha, so if you want you can go and read a proper synopsis of each episode before I post a random drabble about it. Anyway…
Q!!! How have you been, man? Gotta tell ‘ya, things really haven’t been great round here since you left. Data got drunk, somehow… then a whole bunch of stuff we just wanna forget. But, you… you’re back! We can have fun! Throw a party! Hey, hey… remember when you put the whole of humanity on trial for being savage and barbaric? Good… good times. Hey, you wanna mess with Riker?
So yes, John de Lancie is back as Q, messing with Riker this time as Picard quotes Shakespeare at him. Q’s presence and performance at least makes this episode somewhat fun, because John de Lancie is awesome and if he did a version of Rebecca Black’s song ‘Friday’ it would deserve to go straight to the top of the charts. He gives the godlike powers of the Q to Riker, who in effort to prove he can use these powers for god starts giving gifts to all of the crew. In this scene, we get to see what Wesley Crusher looks like as an adult, played by a different actor of course. But, let’s just see how accurate Riker’s prediction of Wesley as a man turned out to be:
Pretty much spot on.
Anyway, it turns out that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Who knew. I suppose the only problem here is that there’s no real tension, as you know that Riker will have to give up his powers (at least if Jonathan Frakes is going to stay in the series), as letting him keep them would make future episodes difficult to write and have any drama in them at all.
‘I’m sorry? Who did you say you were? The Borg? F*** you, I’m Riker Q!’ It would be like playing a game where you’re just playing normally, but the other player has every possible hack and cheat enabled.
This episode is notable as it marks the first appearance of one Lwaxana Troi, daughter of the fifth house, holder of The Sacred Chalice of Rixx, and heir to The Holy Rings of Betazed, and probably a whole bunch of other titles. Played of course by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, who played Number One in the original Star Trek pilot ‘The Cage’, as well as Christine Chapell in TOS. She was also very often the voice of computers in Trek, making her, I believe, the only actor to have had roles in all Star Trek TV shows to date, as well as the Abramsverse. There you go – those are some actual nerdy Star Trek facts. Can I have my Spock ears and combadge now?
Anyway, I think Lwaxana is the only reason I didn’t puke at this episode. I can understand her being grating and annoying to some people, but despite all her eccentricity and posturing, I think Majel-Barrett managed to portray a warmth to her which I find endearing. She’s like my favourite aunt – it’s always really fun when she visits, just so long as she doesn’t stay too long.
It was another sunny morning in jolly England. Cool air blew in through an open window, bringing with it the morning chorus as I furrowed my brow and looked down at the coffee stains on my desk. I knew I would have to clean it later in the day, but first… I couldn’t put off another episode of season one TNG any longer, so I reached for the controller and pushed play.
There was Captain Jean-Luc Picard puckering his bald head, while Deanna Troi sat across from him by the desk with her dark chocolate covered eyes. It seemed some boys calling themselves The Jarada wanted to talk, but first he had to learn their lingo. The going was tough though, so Troi said he should take a break. Not like Star Fleet pays him by the hour, so he says yes and makes his way to this place called ‘the holodeck’ and loads up a program set in the mid twentieth century: Dixon Hill.
Now, this captain had earned a lot of respect from his crew, but I wondered if Frenchie really had the cahoonas to be a hardboiled detective. Did he have what it took to solve a case, get the dame, all while chain smoking twenty cigarettes an hour and throwing back gin like a fish gulping water?
Intrigued, I lay myself on the couch, all near six feet of me stretched out as the credits rolled. Blue on black: like the cold emptiness I felt in my soul after watching Justice.
It’s not long before things start down there on the holodeck. Those Jarada fellas send out a probe which does some crazy space stuff to the ship, and some doors open and close like a ghost were trying to get someone’s attention. Meanwhile Doctor Crusher joins the captain and others on the holodeck. She was wearing a pink coat and gloves, likely chosen to accentuate her fiery red hair and lips. In any case, she gets real into it, and I start to wonder if ‘Crusher’ is really more like a creed to her than a name.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, it turned out the crazy space stuff the Jarada did caused the holodeck to malfunction and what was supposed to be happy fun time ends with some guy bleeding out on the floor having being really shot. But near death’s not enough to deter this crew, and so this was the first but not last time they’d find themselves in trouble on the holodeck.
Just saying – if my Playstation kept trying to kill me, I’d probably take it back to the store and get a refund.
This brings me to half way through the first season. Thank Q I’ve managed to survive.
So basically, an away arrives on the planet Data was found on and within minutes of bumbling manage to find a secret laboratory that was somehow missed by the teams who searched the colony before. They find Data’s brother, Lore, but despite the amazing detective skills they had displayed finding him, no one seems to notice that Lore is evil even though it’s obvious. Equally obvious is when Lore is posing as Data, and no one notices that either. Well, almost no one… once again, it’s Wesley who saves the day which is becoming a recurring theme. One of the ways he knows it’s Lore and not Data is that Lore uses contractions in his speech, whereas apparently Data doesn’t (in fact, Data had used contractions lots of times. He does in this episode… so… yeah).
So, once again it’s up to the actors to try and salvage something out of a terrible script. In this case, it’s Brent Spiner whose chewing the scenery whole actually quadrupled the budget for this episode. But it was kind of worth it.
As for 1.14 Angel One, it… it was just bad. okay? It tried. It tried really hard to deliver a message of equality between the sexes, but like me playing a driving game, somewhere along the way it did a 180 and didn’t notice.