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Andy in VA
Sat, Jul 1, 2017, 9:11am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

That final scene, where they all get together for poker, is just beautifully written. Everyone gets to contribute in classic form of their character. Everyone gets a moment building up to Picard's arrival -- their tensing, then exhaling -- and his benevolent, belated realization he should have joined them long ago.

I can't say enough about the Picard character and the man who inhabited it, Patrick Stewart. From the series' shaky start, right through "... and the sky's the limit," his bearing, his delivery, his ability to sell us on the J-LP personna gave the series its credibility, it's gravitas.

It's possible to imagine other actors could have played the other main roles (except maybe Brent Spiner as Data), but nobody else could have been so thoroughly and consistently Picard.

Bravo!
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Andy in VA
Wed, Jun 28, 2017, 8:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Preemptive Strike

I too was fascinated by the Picard/Ro relationship in this episode... somewhere between master and protege and something else burbling under the surface, from the moment he paged her out of Ten Forward, to the intimate bar scene and all the way to the end shot of the captain staring, grim-faced, jaw set.

Clearly the writers intended to convey that under-current of an unspoken love or at least attraction, perhaps one that blinded Picard to the obvious, that Ro was too raw, too vulnerable to send on mission like this one, given where she came from.

As noted above, her "good bye, Will" moment with Riker acknowledges their history and an intimacy and informality they'd never otherwise have permitted one another.

Something qualitatively changed about Michelle Forbes since her previous appearance (maybe it was Rascals, not sure). She seems more confident in her role, more sensuous, more tragically beautiful. Too bad it had to end that way.
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Andy in VA
Sat, Jun 17, 2017, 11:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Bloodlines

Agree with the comments above... why introduce a Picard son, only to reveal in the end he isn't really a son afterall?

I think the episode would have had more emotional heft if there had been that tie, but that Jason, understandably, wasn't ready to cuddle up to his life-long absentee dad and just wanted to be on his way. Kind of a "don't call me. I'll call you moment."

We already know from Tapestry that young Jean-Luc was pretty impulsive, so sowing a wild oat or two wouldn't have been completely out of character. Oh well.

Happy Father's Day 2017.
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Andy in VA
Mon, May 29, 2017, 12:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Code of Honor

Arguably the worst Star Trek story installment ever.

Other episodes have failed for hokey ideas (Way to Eden) or ridiculous plot contrivances (Spock's Brain) or execution (Threshold), but this one is all of those things with a generous dollop of inexplicable racist African savage/strongman stereotyping.

The unsubtle biggotry may have been passable in 1966, but 21 years later? Inexplicable. Unconscionable. Embarrasing. It may be the sole episode that would have benefited from network broadcast standards oversight.

No way this episode gets made today.
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Andy in VA
Mon, Apr 3, 2017, 8:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Birthright, Part II

Birthright Part I was good. Part II? Well... as Mr. Spock once said, "yes, quite untidy."

The whole premise of this story is that Klingons being captured and held is a terrible dishonor... one that echoes down the generations. If Mogh is alive, even Alexander will be dishonored.

So, here we have Worf, an apostle of Klingon culture, preaching to the Khitomer captives and their offspring -- at their secret enclave -- where he tells them all about their cultural rites, rituals and legends. That's all well and good, right up to the point where those kids are allowed to leave while the original captive grown-ups stay behind. Everyone is sworn to secrecy. Nobody can know this place exists.

Worf tells Picard the kids are survivors of a long ago ship crash. The captain accepts this with the equanimity of a man who knows he is being played.

Now maybe Picard, being somewhat clued in, isn't bound to pry into the little white lie fobbed off on him by his security chief (we'll ignore the fact said security chief just lied to his captain), but all these so-called ship crash survivors need to be accounted for in the Klingon establishment.

Whose house to they belong to? To whom will they be repatriated? How does one explain their presence to anyone on the Klingon home world, Quo'nos, without accounting for their parentage, something they've sworn to never reveal?

In reality Worf has removed these Khitomer captive descendants from a place where their identity, secret and shameful as he thought it might be, at least had a context.

Who are they supposed to be now? Where can they go without the whole story unraveling?
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Andy in VA
Sat, Mar 25, 2017, 10:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part II

Contrived circumstances aside, I really liked this episode for its against-the-grain approach.

Ronny Cox was awesome as the anti-Picard hard-ass Captain Edward Jellico. David Warner his equal as the sadistic Gul Madred and Patrick Stewart took a terrific turn as the suddenly-helpless but bravely defiant captive. Those three lifted this 2-part episode to near cinematic quality. Not coincidentally, all three have been big screen actors.

In fact, I'd have taken this episode over either of the last two TNG movies.
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Andy in VA
Sat, Mar 25, 2017, 5:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Rascals

Oh.

Come.

On!

This was bad. And not good bad, but bad bad. It seems like the fusion of "hey, lets turn some of the crew back into children (the little rascals, no less), and then change them back again through the magical transporter that once fixed the hyper-aged Dr. Pulaski.

Then, somebody else said, that's not enough for an entire episode. I know, lets have them rescue the ship!

Klingons? Romulans? Cardassians? No! Ferengi in surplus Klingon ships. How many Ferengi? No more than a half dozen, that should be sufficient to conquer a ship with more than 1,000 people. (After all, we want our rascals to be evenly matched).

Hey, while we're at it, lets change the sometimes insolent Ro Laren into a petulant, insufferable pre-teen.

Now, I actually like the spunky adult Ro, but this version was just irritating. Kind of wanted to shout at her, "Oh, grow up!"

Next!
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Andy in VA
Sun, Mar 19, 2017, 11:15am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Man of the People

Awful, awful, awful episode for at least this reason: why is it that up to this point in the series, the only episodes that focus on Deanna Troi automatically make her a victim of somebody else's machinations? To wit:

* Haven -- Troi's arranged marriage to a man who is in love with another woman;
* The Child -- Her body is used to produce an alien life form;
* The Price -- She's taken advantage of by ace negotiator/trouble-shooter Devinoni Ral (sound familiar);
* The Survivors -- Kevin Uxbridge messes with her mind to hide who he is;
* The Loss -- two-dimensional spacebeings jam her empathic/telepathic powers;
* Violations -- one of yet another delegation hitching a ride on the Enterprise is uses his telepathic powers to screw with her and puts her in a coma; and here
* Man of the People -- she's an evil negotiator's "receptacle."

So basically, up to this point in Season 6, anytime the plot focuses on her (leaving her mother out of this for the moment, that's a whole other kettle of fish), she's portrayed as a victim, a liability or something of both. Awful character development for somebody already condemned to wear those silly cat suits instead of a standard issue uniform.

First glimmer of hope came in realm of fear where Lt. Commander Troi behaves like somebody with authority and relieves Lt. Barclay of duty. Second came in Chain of Command where she was ordered to wear a proper uniform (finally!) and then Face of the Enemy, where she gets to play offense, not defense.

Of course, it wouldn't last forever. Her sendoff, along with the rest of the TNG crew, once again had her as a telepathic sexual assault victim, this time that of Shinzon's viceroy in ST:Nemesis.

Given that Deanna Troi escaped the bizarre, multi-breasted sex/fertility goddess role Gene Roddenberry had orginally envisoned for her, one wonders why she was relentlessly deployed as the damsel in distress. For so philosophically forward looking a series, this seems to have been a real and consistent blindspot for its creators.
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Andy in VA
Wed, Mar 15, 2017, 7:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

This is a beautifully told tale.

For me, the most wrenching scene was Eline's death.

Here is Kamin, formerly Picard, losing the one person who has been by his side for the entirety of his journey from starship captain to iron weaver. He surrendered to her. He made a life with her. Nobody knew him as well, or understood his journey, as well as she did (even more then he knew). And then she's gone, her last words being the achingly domestic injunction, "put your shoes away."

That repetitive facet, his bad habit -- so un-Jean Luc Picard-ian -- her sweetly irritated reminders, is one of those little details that give this episode its depth and in that depth its power.

This was a great story. This is still a great story.

Doubters and debaters, willingly suspend your disbelief. Don't get caught up in the technobabble of "could that really happen?" Pull on too many of those strings and you'll unravel the whole tapestry that is Star Trek.

This is an extraordinary tale about human lives. Embrace it.
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Andy in VA
Wed, Mar 8, 2017, 9:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Cost of Living

Maybe it's because I'm the parent of a small child and could relate to the Worf and Alexander dinner scene but (forgive me) I actually found myself liking this episode as it progressed. And that was after I'd told myself I never like Lwaxana Troi episodes and maybe I should just skip over Cost of Living in my retrospective.

Pretty sure this is the second time she's won my grudging appreciation. Couldn't stand her through most of Half a Life either until suddenly I found myself agreeing. Damn. Damn. Damn.
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