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James G
Wed, Jan 22, 2020, 12:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Captain's Holiday

I was adequately entertained, but I wouldn't watch it again. There's a lot wrong with this one. The fact that Picard being key to one of the pivotal moments of history is dealt with in such an unassuming way. The way that the archaeologist woman just calmly reveals the precious object to Picard near the end, and even hands it to him. Also, although this is just personal preference - the tedious sexual / romantic undertones.

Oh yes, and the Ferengi never improve a TNG episode.

The time travel aspect raises more issues than it's worth.

That memory disk looks a bit like a mini CD ROM, doesn't it? Quite contemporary when this episode was made.

Finally on a related note, and this isn't a serious criticism really, but - old books in the 23rd Century? I don't take them on holiday in the 21st, myself.

Still - I enjoyed the eye candy.
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James G
Mon, Jan 13, 2020, 12:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Allegiance

I don't mind this one. An average episode, but it held my attention and entertained me decently. I thought the replica Picard element was quite interesting and well done.

Perhaps the aggressive alien with the huge knife and tusks was a less than subtle touch. Something a bit less obviously menacing could have been more sinister.

Where was the toilet, in the cell they were being kept in? As I recall at least one of the captives had been there for days!

I was amused that the replica Picard warned Riker that he was risking his career when the alternative appeared to be losing his life with the rest of the crew, to the pulsar. Interesting that the real Picard was prepared to mention a Starfleet secret to the impostor cadet. A very powerful technology that the captors have; they can assimilate an adversary's thoughts and knowledge in a moment.

Average - but OK.
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James G
Mon, Jan 6, 2020, 6:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Sins of the Father

This one really shines for me - it's a highly dramatic script with lots of emotional content about comradeship, honour and betrayal but everyone seems to act out of their skin. Very impressive.

Quite an intriguing plot too, with a nice twist. If I have one criticism though, it's this - is it really so easy on the Klingon homeworld to get out of being executed, by "discommendation"? And how can a society so enamoured with honour and justice accept such a solution?
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James G
Thu, Dec 26, 2019, 6:16am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Offspring

Brilliant episode this one, albeit one I was reluctant to revisit, after about 25 years - because I assumed I'd find the emotional scenes at the end a bit of a difficult watch. It wasn't that bad.

Really a bravura acting performance by the woman who plays Lal. Odd that Data, incapable of love, should choose the Hindi word for "beloved" for her name.

This episode makes a bit of a feature of Data's inability to use contractions, which I've always found laughable. An amateur programmer could write code to reliably perform contractions of source text on a 1980s home computer.

I was interested to learn that Lal's brain is capable of 60 trillion calculations / second. A mere 30 years after that episode was written, we already have hardware that can do 10 trillion calculations / second. That's not a criticism, of course. Just an example of the unpredictability of technology.

I guess this episode is in part a thematic rerun of 'The Measure of a Man', to which it refers obliquely. It concerns the same question of an android's rights as a sentient being, though that is not the centrepoint of the plot in this one.

Interesting that the term "human" is used as a sort of catch-all term for the sort of emotional / character development that Data and Lal aspire to, when other species also have these characteristics. Guinan, who does more than anyone in this story to guide Lal toward being more "human" and also has them in abundance, isn't human at all.

Anyway - not my favourite but a really good one, one of the memorable, classic TNG episodes.
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James G
Sun, Dec 22, 2019, 11:29am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

One of the three or four great TNG episodes, for me. Very memorable. That said though, when you think about it - the premise is quite odd, isn't it? Picard agrees to erase the last 22 years of history as he knows it, on the advice of the lady who collects the glasses in the ship's bar (the real oddity of course is why someone of Guinan's wisdom and perception does that job in the first place).

What's really striking isn't how different the two timelines are: it's how similar, 22 years after they diverged. Why, Worf and Tasha apart, are exactly the same people in the same jobs on the Enterprise, in such different circumstances?

What's that sticking out of Captain Garrett's head, as she lies dead on the bridge of her ship? It looks like a miniature starship toy.

Denise Crosby acts out of her skin in this one. In all honesty I don't remember her being a particularly good actor in the first series. Must have worked on her craft in the intervening couple of years.

Anyway. Definitely one that rewards the necessary suspension of disbelief.
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James G
Mon, Dec 16, 2019, 1:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: A Matter of Perspective

Not a fan of this one. The technobollocks is silly. And Apgard's suit is worse than his haircut. Unless I'm imagining it there's a TOS story in which the computer reconstructs a crime scene, implicating one of the main cast (Scotty I think?)

Anyway - the basic plot idea is sound, but the implementation is based on a paper-think technology gimmick.

Interesting to see the CRT screens on the space station. Those flat screen colour displays on the Enterprise seem mundane and ordinary now, as do the touch screen interfaces. But in the late '80s / early '90s when the show was made, they were strictly sci-fi.
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James G
Wed, Dec 11, 2019, 2:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Deja Q

I really like this one. It does require the massive suspension of disbelief that all 'Q' episodes ask of their audiences. But it's worth it. The comic performances from de Lancie and Spiner are spot on and the writers came up with some delicious dry dialogue.

A few thoughts anyway:

That line about changing the gravitational constant of the Universe. That would have have devastating consequences in billions of star systems in billions of galaxies, for the sake of one planet and its satellite. I don't like to think that Q has that power. Something a bit more modest and imaginative might have been a better bet (and he does of course fix the problem at the end of the episode - we can assume, I hope, that he hasn't made a fundamental change to the celestial mechanics of the totality of the cosmos).

Q's hair looks a little shorter in some of the scenes. Bit of a continuity gaffe.

Every time Q turns up, it's "oh jeez not you again", yet he is possessed of powers and knowledge that might transform the human experience for all eternity.

Still. All that said, it's a belter of an episode.
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James G
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 3:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The High Ground

Not a big fan of this one but I do like it. Thematically quite similar to 'The Hunted' which precedes it and quite a lot less silly in some ways. It works on a crude level to explore the old "one man's terrorist" chestnut.

I smiled at the notion of a united Ireland by 2024, about four years from now as I type, as casually mentioned by Data. In the Star Trek universe the republican terrorist campaign ultimately won peace and unification in Ireland apparently. That's not what happened in the real world where it set those causes back at least a generation.

I quite like the way that it's a bit dark. People get killed and ultimately there's no happy ending, despite Riker's optimistic parting shot. Kirk would have solved all of that society's problems in half an hour.
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James G
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 12:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Hunted

Not a big fan of this one. The plot takes a few liberties. How did Danar come to have such expert knowledge of Starfleet technology, even knowing how to power a transporter with a phaser? The hide & seek part of the story is overlong. The whole thing is reminiscent of '60s sci-fi, with stunt doubles engaging in punch-ups (Mission Impossible, Land of the Giants, and (yes) Star Trek).

Danar is just a bit too unconvincingly invincible. He leaves trails of unconscious security personnel in his wake, like an alien Jack Bauer. Despite this he looks more like a geography teacher, though he acts well.

Still - not bad. I was entertained but it's not a classic.
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James G
Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 5:43am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

Clever one. I like this one a lot. The only criticism that this one provokes really is a very general one - the Enterprise is sometimes claimed to be a science and exploration vessel, but there's an armed conflict with some interstellar foe or other every other episode. I think I'd prefer Federation starships to be represented as military vessels. No kids on board. The writers mostly use them in that sense anyway.
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James G
Thu, Nov 28, 2019, 3:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

Not a fan of this one. The cheesy romantic bits are awkward in any Star Trek story, and even though here they do add something to the drama when Riker is forced to take lethal action, I still find them a bit of a drag.

But is he? Is there no way for anyone present to stop Yuta from coming into contact with her intended victim, short of vaporising her with a phaser? Is there no-one who can overcome her physically even when she's stunned (twice)?
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James G
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 12:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Price

Sort of a so-so episode for me. Nothing much wrong with it but the romantic aspect is a bit hard to take and some of the scenes between Troi and Ral are off-the-scale cheesy. Participation by the Ferengi never improves an episode. It stretches my credulity too far to accept that a species as immature and petty could have mastered science and technology sufficiently to become a warp-capable civilisation.
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James G
Mon, Nov 25, 2019, 12:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Booby Trap

I liked this one. Not the most memorable, or inspirational. But the technobabble game in this one is strong. Often, I can't suspend disbelief when Star Trek characters are conversing in techno-nonsense. Here, I could.

One thing I thought amusing was that while the ship was on emergency energy, the lights were dimmed in the meeting room where Picard and his chief officers discussed their options. Imagine how energy-efficient artificial lighting must be in the 24th Century. And consider how much power that lighting consumes, as a fraction of the output a starship must be capable of.

In a drama aboard a WW2 submarine it would have made more sense. But even here it works as a sort of metaphorical effect.
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James G
Thu, Nov 21, 2019, 1:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Bonding

Average 'Twilight Zone' type episode. The major flaw with this one is that the kid's personality and reactions are a bit Midwich Cuckoo-ish - he's far too calm when he's told his mother has died, and indeed when he believes he's been reunited with her.

Not the young actor's fault, of course.
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James G
Sun, Nov 17, 2019, 5:47am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

I've been watching the whole series through from the very first over this last few months, and reached this one today. Some of them I remember watching thirty years ago, some I hadn't seen before. I had never seen this one. Although they're all enjoyable in their own way, I think this is the first one that doesn't provoke a nagging inner voice complaining about some improbable plot device or oversight. This one just flew past. I was utterly immersed. Brilliant.

A couple of thoughts though - did the writers miss a trick by not having Kevin turn out to be a member of the Q Continuum? he seems to possess similar power, being able to snuff out an entire race on a whim provoked by rage. And he has a similar fascination with, or weakness for, humans. That might have been a nice tie in.

And secondly, a similar complaint that I always have about the 'Q' episodes. Doesn't the Federation have a lot to learn from a being like Kevin, or Q? Q can make vessels travel at many times maximum warp speed. Kevin has similar extraordinary power. But Q is treated like the annoying, embarrassing uncle who turns up at an awkward time. Kevin is just left to live out his (endless) life on a remote shell of a planet.

I don't like to think that these individuals are practitioners of "magic", so shouldn't the Federation be urging them to pass on a few secrets? Or at least ask for some sort of help or alliance; imagine what someone like Kevin or Q could do to a fleet of invading Borg cubes given the right motivation.
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