Day: April 13, 2017

Star Trek – The Next Generation – tape 1519

This is a packed tape, with five episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation on it, all from season 5.

In Violations, the Enterprise is transporting some telepathic historians.

Oh good, it’s another of these episodes where Troi gets metaphorically raped. This show had far too many of these. There’s barely a metaphor here, though. Marina Sirtis was so ill-served by the writers, sometimes.

At least, in this case, the mental assaults aren’t limited to Troi, as Riker also succumbs to a memory attack. And when Dr Crusher has an attack, we get a memory from when Picard had haie (and a strange, borg-like thing on the side of his head).

It’s nice to see Deanna give the perpetrator a few good hits and kicks, but boo for having to rely on Worf turning up and knocking him cold. Still, at least Deanna wasn’t helpless, and she has moves.

So, minus points for another Troi assault story, but +1 for Troi kicking arse.

Next it’s The Masterpiece Society. A Stellar Core Fragment is heading towards a planet, which is unexpectedly populated.

The people on the planet are unwilling to interact, and don’t want to evacuate.

They are a genetically engineered society, who are unwilling to mix much with the Enterprise. The show gets into some philosophical discussion about the merits and morals of genetic engineering. Geordi, in particular, doesn’t like the idea that he would never have been allowed to be born in such a society.

This is a low key episode, but it nicely plays with the issues such an insular colony would throw up. There’s some strategic casting here, as well, with Ron Canada playing the member most opposed to mixing with outsiders.

It’s only let down by the show’s lack of nuanced understanding about genetics. It’s not as bad as some other episodes I could name *cough* Genesis *cough*.

But it’s another story where the crew’s intervention might not have been wholly positive, and I like that about the show.

Next, it’s Conundrum. The ship is scanned by an unknown vessel, and suddenly the whole crew has lost their memories.

I like the restraint with which this episode is directed. There’s a very subtle change on the bridge after the mind-wiping scan, but the direction draws no attention to it. There’s a crewmember on the bridge we’ve never met before, but his presence isn’t made significant. He could just be another redshirt.

Worf takes command, by virtue of his Klingon sash marking him as different from the rest of the bridge crew. It takes a bit of time to get access to the crew roster.

When they do, the episode finally makes explicit that the newcomer on the bridge isn’t supposed to be there.

He’s listed as Executive Officer Kieran MacDuff, so we now know he’s the cuckoo in the nest.

The computer tells them that Starfleet is at war with the Lysian Alliance, and on a mission to destroy their central command.

Ensign Ro somehow decides that she and Riker must be an item.

MacDuff is eventually unmasked as a member of the race at war with the Lysians after he tries to fire on a virtually unarmed control centre against Picard’s orders.

The next episode here is Power Play. Data, Troi and Riker take a shuttle trip onto a stormy planet.

Their shuttle crashes so O’Brien beams down with a pattern enhancer to beam them to safety. But just before beaming out, they’re zapped by an electrical pulse, and Data, O’Brien and Troi appear to have something glowy enter their bodies.

Pretty soon, the trio are trying to take over the ship, and shooting phasers at everybody. I spotted Babylon 5 regular Patricia Tallman as an uncredited security officer (on the left).

The lifeforms who have taken over the trio are actually former starfleet officers. And they’re not nice.

The last episode on this tape is Ethics. Worf suffers a serious spinal injury, and Dr Crusher con’t repair it. He’ll never walk again.

And that’s just the teaser.

Worf asks Riker to assist him in dying, as his life as a Klingon is over.

There’s a guest appearance from Worf’s adopted son Alexander.

He’s definitely on the right track when it comes to Klingon Bollocks. “My mother said that Klingons have a lot of dumb ideas about honour.”

Crusher comes into conflict with another Starfleet doctor, who is taking ethical shortcuts in her treatment, and wants to experiment on Worf.

Eventually, Crusher and the doctor do try to repair some of the damage. What’s with the red surgeon’s scrubs? FIrst time I ever saw that was in David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers. There, I think it was a design choice. I wonder if there’s a deliberate choice that blue or green is commonly used – shows up the amount of blood being spilled, I suppose.

And the final scene, with Worf learning to walk again, with the help of his son, just made me cry.

That’s all for this tape. I was very zealous about removing adverts, which proves I never went out in the evening.

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