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Nate the Great 11-02-2017 12:08 PM

November 2nd, 1987, "Lonely Among Us"

Fiver (by FatMatDuhRat)
Memory Alpha

Ugh, this is a bad one. The sad part is that while the two plots have almost nothing to do with each other, you could imagine other subplots that would've fit better had they been separated. The random energy being possessing people should've been matched with a more technological story; a new form of sensor attracts them. Insert the idea that the energy being doesn't understand strong emotion, as they make it jump to another host. The delegates should've had one or two representatives each that we follow. Teach them to respect all sentient life. Maybe use them to teach Worf a lesson.

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 41249.3. We have orbited the two major planets of the Beta Renner system taking aboard delegates from those two worlds. Since achieving space flight, their major life forms, the Anticans and the Selay have become deadly enemies. But both have also applied for admission into our Federation.

What does "these planets want to join the Federation" have to do with "these planets are enemies with each other"? Or are you going to claim that a planet can't join the Federation if there are ongoing hostilities with anyone else? This isn't like "Attached" when the warring factions are on the same planet. I could go on, but to be brief, these are two different missions.

TASHA: Neither seem like very promising Federation candidates, sir.
PICARD: Even Parliament's peacemakers may find this case a little difficult.

Again, what does one have to do with the other? Is the mission simply escorting the delegates to Parliament on a neutral vessel, or is the mission evaluating them for Federation membership?

PICARD: Oh, yes, well these life forms feel such passionate hatred matters of custom, God concepts, even, strangely enough, economic systems.

We get it, Gene, you hate money! Religious differences are nothing compared to the evil that is money! On a completely unrelated subject, remind me again who wrote silly lyrics to the TOS theme to steal half of Alexander Courage's money? Oh yeah, it was you!

DATA: I hope the Captain remembers his physical pattern is here. If he has, his energy has moved into the transporter relays by now.

Ugh. Entire essays could be (and have been) written about how the transporter works, whether or not people have a soul that travels along the beam, etc. Suffice to say, I doubt Picard knows enough about the inner workings of the ship to move around like this without getting trapped in a holodeck or something.

TASHA: Sorry, Commander, but Security Team Two reports they've discovered a puddle of blood outside the Selay Quarters and they can't find one of the delegates and so
RIKER: Lieutenant. This couldn't have waited a moment?
TASHA: It's good to see you, sir. The problem is that one of the cooks has just been asked to broil reptile for the Anticans, and it looks like the Selay delegate.

Ugh, so these guys aren't just at war, they're cannibals. Perfect Federation candidates! Apparently our heroes have missed a necessary step or two. First stop the fighting, then stop the cannibalism, then start talking about membership!

The Fiver

Selay Delegate: (sniffs) Eww! This ship stinks!
Picard: Sorry about that, the cleaners won't arrive until Tuesday.

We do get a lot of mileage out of that Generations joke, don't we?

Captain's Log: We're all relying on Mr. Singh right now to fix the Enterprise and --
Worf: (over the comm) Captain! Singh has been found sizzled and singed.
Picard: Whoa! Try saying that three times real fast.

--"and that means we're doomed" should've been in there somewhere, right? Picard passed by a perfectly passable passage to promote playing off a pleasant parody.

Picard: Data, be a good little android and take us back into the energy distortion.
Data: Uh, sure. Are you feeling okay?
Picard: Mwahahahaha! Yes, of course. Why do you ask?

I've said it before, a good maniacal laugh can be relaxing. Clears out the mental cobwebs and revives the spirit, don't'cha know?

Memory Alpha

* Supposedly the first bottle show. I'd argue that there are too many special effects to call it a true bottle show.
* Second appearance of O'Brien, and now he's wearing gold. The interesting thing is that we're told that he was a tactical officer on the Rudledge. He went from gold to red to gold? That's an inverse of Worf, isn't it?
* First appearance of Marc Alaimo. I wonder if we'll be seeing him again? ;)

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil points out that the transporter doesn't work in the episode according to how all of the reference materials say it should work. Normally I'd chalk this one up to growing pains, but the transporter doesn't seem to be sufficiently different to how it worked in TOS to start applying such wildly different rules to it.
* He's also confused as to how casually our heroes are taking the murder of the Selay delegate at the hands of the Antican.

Nate the Great 11-09-2017 09:32 AM

November 9th, 1987, "Justice"

I got off on several rants that I had to delete. Suffice to say, this plot is contrived, the Punishment Zone system introduces several moral questions, and so forth. Furthermore, it's made clear that the Edo are prewarp, so why is our crew visiting them in the first place?

No fiver
Memory Alpha

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 41255.6. After delivering a party of Earth colonists to the Strnad solar system...

I suddenly wish that the writers didn't treat the Federation like "a Homo Sapiens only club" in situations where it wouldn't cost any money to do so. We're never going to see these people, so say that they're Bolians or Tellarites or Horta!

CRUSHER: Establishing that colony has been exhausting for the entire crew, Captain. We're not a supply vessel. Settling all those people has been a strain on everyone.

Yeah, why is the Enterprise doing this mission anyway? Our heroes shouldn't be doing anything that a lesser vessel can do unless there are extra conditions. Starships that are specifically configured to create colonies (less sensors and weapons, more cargo space and life support capabilities, etc.) should be possible. At least give a reason for the big E to be doing this mission! The colony will need more engineering support than usual, it's unusually far out, our crew will be installing defense satellites, etc.

DATA: I'm reading something off the starboard bow, but there is nothing there.
TASHA: Sensor technicians are working on it, sir. They've identified it as a glitch in the system.

Um, don't the "sensor technicians" report to Data as the science officer? Why isn't Data in contact with his underlings?

PICARD: Of course. Wesley? If we go down, I'd like you to join the away team to evaluate this world as a place for young people to relax.

What? Even if Picard convinced Starfleet to allow Wesley to man a bridge station, don't you need to take loads of Academy courses to learn how to handle away missions and first contact protocols? I doubt any other ship in this condition would call up one of the civilian teenagers for this mission.

Captain's log, supplemental. We are in orbit of a planet designated Rubicun Three, the home of a life form who call themselves the Edo.

I think that this is the first time that this has come up in TNG, but why do we keep assigning names to planets that have indigenous populations who no doubt have their own names for their own planet? If we know that the people call themselves the Edo, why isn't the name of the planet Edo or Edo Prime or Edos or something?

WORF: I am not concerned with pleasure, Commander. I am a warrior.

Ha ha. Wait for the character development. Only a year from now he'll be assembling models in his spare time and playing Stratagema.

TASHA: Careful, Commander. They've got some strange laws here.
RIKER: I thought you reviewed their laws.
TASHA: But they listed nothing about punishment.

We're supposed to respect you, Tasha. Do your job and ask about the punishments! Furthermore, the fact that the general public don't know the locations of the Punishment Zones should've been included as well. But oh no, these people must be preserved as completely innocent!

CRUSHER: When he faces execution! Although he's committed no crime, certainly none that any sane and reasonable person would--

Oh, slippery slope, Beverly. Remember last month when Picard accidentally insinuated that the Ferengi are not civilized?

PICARD: I cannot permit that boy or any member of this vessel be sacrificed. The Prime Directive never intended that.

Really? Kirk says otherwise.

DATA: Would you choose one life over one thousand, sir?
PICARD: I refuse to let arithmetic decide questions like that.

Why not? Seems pretty cut and dry. Why is Wesley's life that important? The needs of the many and all that.

PICARD: And you should know that whatever the cost, I will not allow them to execute your son.

Even if the alternative is the entire ship being destroyed? I repeat, the needs of the many and this plot is completely contrived!

PICARD: And I say to any creature who may be listening, there can be no justice so long as laws are absolute. Even life itself is an exercise in exceptions.
RIKER: When has justice ever been as simple as a rulebook?

Finally a good lesson. Too bad it's in such a bad episode.

Memory Alpha

* I was surprised to learn that Picard did the "shows an alien woman her own planet from orbit for the first time" thing two more times (Nuria and Lily).
* In "Coming of Age" Remmick claims that Picard broke the Prime Directive in this episode. As I've already explained, whatever Federation laws he broke here, the PD is not one of them.
* Memory Alpha makes it clear that the Edo are prewarp. I'll repeat, why are our crew visiting them then?

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil points out that the crew had possession of the poison that was intended to be used on Wesley and could thus create an antidote for it to revive Wes later, as in "Code of Honor." Good point.
* If Wesley is an official member of the away team, why wasn't he wearing a commbadge? (For that matter, why wasn't he wearing a uniform?)


* Picard's final speech and the sparing of the Enterprise.

Nate the Great 11-16-2017 01:34 PM

November 16th, 1987, "The Battle"

The first draft of this entry got rejected for being too long. Instead of splitting into two posts I'll delete some of my repetitive diatribes. This is such a stupid episode, and I could've rewritten it to be less stupid so easily!

No fiver
Memory Alpha

The Episode

PICARD: And now I've got this damned headache.
CRUSHER: A what?
PICARD: Headache. Headache. Surely you know what a headache is.
CRUSHER: Of course. But I don't often encounter them.

1. Headaches can't be bred out of the human genome, and even if they could what makes this different from Khan? 2. Even if they could be, why wouldn't Crusher recognize the term immediately? As Starfleet's best doctor she should know about every medical condition not just in today's human population but throughout history. 3. "Headaches" is a symptom, not a specific disease. They come from all sorts of causes. Even if some of them could be bred out of the genome, all of them can't. This is stupid.

TROI: Captain, I sense considerable deception on Bok's part. And danger.

I wonder why the whole "telepaths can't read Ferengi minds" wasn't written into the series bible on Day One. Besides, whatever happened to Troi as an expert in reading body language, tone of voice, etc.?

CRUSHER: Medical fakery. The pain is actually still there. It's just cloaked.

You mean that you aren't sure what the source of the pain is, you're just suppressing the pain response. Which is silly. Numbing the nerve endings in the head and staying on duty when there are possibly hostile Ferengi about seems pretty dangerous to me!

WESLEY: Commander, you'll soon be getting an intruder alert.
RIKER: What? Wesley, if you've something to report.
WESLEY: If you'll scan heading four four mark one six three, Lieutenant, you'll find
TASHA: Intruder alert, sir.
LAFORGE: I've got something, sir.
WESLEY: It's an old style starship, Constellation Class, heading this way under impulse power, sir.

1. Wesley fooling around with the sensors in Engineering can discover something that doesn't immediately appear on Data's board? 2. Intraship memos don't exist? Send Data an instant message or use your commbadge! 3. This isn't an "intruder alert" situation, Tasha! 4. "Old style starship" is awfully vague. The oldest Constellation class on record is the Hathaway in 2285, and the Stargazer was in active service less than twenty years ago! And there are "old style" Excelsior classes all over the place! I'd have skipped directly to the class designation, myself.

KAZAGO: And the android was mentioned too. What is its price? We should like to purchase it.
PICARD: He is not for sale. Commander Data is, um, is, um
RIKER: Is second-hand merchandise. You wouldn't want him.
DATA: Second-hand, sir? Oh, of course. A human joke.

Nice joke. It's a shame that we don't really have the time for Data's personhood and lack of "sell-ability" to be defended.

RATA: The log should be downloaded into the Enterprise's records. At a price.
BOK: No price!
KAZAGO: No price?

Finally, some proper Ferengi characterization. You'd think Bok would cover for himself by at least charging Picard the scrap value plus the costs of transporting it here. Do you really think Picard wouldn't pay it?

PICARD: For what purpose? What (clutches his head in pain)
TROI: I just felt something too, Captain.
BOK: Perhaps it is his conscience?

Props to Bok for knowing this bit of human trivia (Rule of Acquisition 194:
It's always good to know about new customers before they walk in your door), but isn't the conscience usually in the heart?

PICARD: We were traveling at warp two through the Maxia Zeta star system when this unidentified starship suddenly appeared and fired on us, point-blank range.
RIKER: Where did it come from?
PICARD: It must have been lying in some deep moon crater.

Putting aside whether or not you can travel at warp inside a star system, if you have no particular business in the Maxia Zeta system, why would you be near it? And since when do moon craters conceal ships from sensors? You could've at least thrown in a technobabble "the moon's surface was made out of Sensor-Blocking Sort of Rock"!

LAFORGE: I activated the emergency power cells. Amazing they still work.

It hasn't even been ten years! I jolly well hope the emergency power cells still work! At least throw in a "considering the battle damage"!

PICARD: Lieutenant Yar, run a structural analysis on the Stargazer for an impulse tow.

Impulse tow? Ugh. *Clears throat* "Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. You may think it's a long way down the road--" SLAP! You get the idea. I'll just chalk this up to "the writer was ignorant of Treknology" and move on.

RIKER: I know, sir, I must report it to Starfleet. That's at least one full day for subspace communications to reach there.
PICARD: And one more full day for their answer to return.

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate arbitrary delays in contacting Starfleet? This is still largely unknown territory, throw in something like "the X Nebula is between here and Earth and will greatly slow down communications" at least!

PICARD: Release the Stargazer from the tractor beam, Number One.
PICARD: The tractor beam.
RIKER: Sir, are you abandoning?
PICARD: No, but her inertia will carry the Stargazer along with us. Or did you sleep through the Academy lecture on conservation of tractor beam power?
RIKER: No, sir. I'll release her, of course.

So we are still at impulse? I hope these people had no plans for the rest of their lives, or their children's lives, or grandchildren's lives, or--*SLAP!*

BOK: Do you not, human? Can you not remember the crime you committed against my very blood? You murdered my only son.
PICARD: Your son?
BOK: He was the commander of the ship you destroyed! On his first voyage as DaiMon.
PICARD: The ship? The Ferengi ship that attacked me.

Yeah, about that. What was the plan? To lure Starfleet into attacking an unarmed ship to discredit the Federation? You might want to try not hiding in moon craters if you want to claim to be the innocent victim. And not being the first to fire, and not...ugh, my head hurts.

RIKER: The Picard Manoeuvre. What is the defence against that, Data?
DATA: There is no defence, sir.

In reality, the defense is "remember that subspace sensors exist and can tell a real ship from all of the ghosts that would otherwise be flying around confusing everyone". This is a stupid episode...

Memory Alpha

* First appearance of Picard's quarters, along with many of the iconic props within.
* First appearance of Wesley's acting ensign uniform, only he doesn't have a commbadge yet. Why he wouldn't have one at this point is beyond me, except to indicate that his status and responsibilities will evolve. Although I do think that at this early stage he really shouldn't be on the bridge when contact with other ships is expected.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Why didn't Picard set the Stargazer to autodestruct? (The second volume of the Guide says that several readers replied that there weren't enough officers around to activate the autodestruct. Pretty flimsy argument if you ask me)
* Many instances of beaming through shields in this episode.
* The Stargazer ghosts wear NextGen uniforms. Wasn't everyone still using Monster Maroons at this point?

Nate the Great 11-22-2017 05:15 PM

Since I want to enjoy my Thanksgiving weekend and there's no TOS episode this week, I'm going to do the TNG episode a day early.

November 23rd, 1987, "Hide and Q"

Fiver (by Kira)
Memory Alpha

The Episode

PICARD: Additional information. The number of colonists at the site is five hundred and four. Are you prepared for that many, Doctor?
CRUSHER [OC]: We believe so, sir.

I repeat earlier remarks in the TOS thread about small colony populations. Also, there are over a thousand people on board the Enterprise! Five hundred is hardly another drop in the bucket, but it's not so large that people would be sprawled out in the corridors...

PICARD: You're no Starfleet Admiral, Q.
Q: Neither am I an Aldebaran serpent, Captain, but you accepted me as such.
RIKER: He's got us there, Captain.

Yeah, he does. I've long liked Q's zinger here.

RIKER: Where are we?
DATA: Obviously a class M world. Gravity and oxygen within our limits.

Obviously, Data, since nobody's in pain. I think Riker meant "is this a planet that we already know about?"

(Glasses appear in everyone's hands. Worf ostentatiously pours his onto the ground)
Q: Drink not with thine enemy. The rigid Klingon code. That explains something of why you defeated them.

Phil Farrand commented in his coverage of the fifth movie how weird it would be for the Klingons to party with our crew if this code existed. Furthermore, we still seem to be in the period where people are treating the Klingon Empire as a mere subset of the Federation. Cue rants about series bibles here. And by the by, why would the Federation conquer the Klingon Empire, instead of just rendering their military useless?

We could have such discussions about other times where Worf drank with someone he believes to be a possible enemy.

Q: You see, of all species, yours cannot abide stagnation. Change is at the heart of what you are. But change into what? That's the question.
DATA: That is what humans call a truism.
Q: You mean hardly original?

I'm a sucker for quotes and aphorisms. But I still have a sense of humor about hackneyed sayings, so Q's line does make me smile.

DATA: His uniform is that of a French Army marshal.
RIKER: And a marshal outranks even an Admiral
Q: Well, do you think I would go from a Starfleet Admiral to anything else?

I miss Q's costume antics, it's a shame he defaults to Starfleet captain so often...

Q: Fairness is such a human concept. Think imaginatively! This game shall in fact be completely unfair.
TASHA: You've gone too far!

Is Q here to test our crew or just poke them with sticks for his own amusement? You can't have it both ways!

TASHA: What the hell am I doing? Crying?
PICARD: Don't worry. There's a new ship's standing order on the Bridge. When one is in the penalty box, tears are permitted.
TASHA: Captain. Oh, if you weren't a captain.

Never did like this scene. Tasha could express tenderness and vulnerability without flirting with her captain.

PICARD: A marshal of France? Ridiculous!

Oh, there's another example of Picard's early season "France is supreme" mentality. I guess I was wrong before.

RIKER: Geordi, can you see Worf?
LAFORGE: I'd see the freckles on his nose if he had them, sir.

Given what we know about how the VISOR works, no you couldn't, Geordi. For that to happen the visual input would have to be full photorealistic reconstructions with an infinite zoom lens. And you don't.

PICARD: Oh, no. I know Hamlet. And what he might said with irony, I say with conviction. What a piece of work is man. How noble in reason. How infinite in faculty. In form, in moving, how express and admirable. In action, how like an angel. In apprehension, how like a god.
Q: Surely you don't really see your species like that, do you?
PICARD: I see us one day becoming that, Q. Is it that what concerns you?

Given what we'll learn in later episodes and novels, yes, that's what concerns the Q.

DATA: Muskets are appropriate to the 1790 to 1800 French army uniform, sir. But it is hardly a weapon by our standards.

I hate that line. A weapon is a device meant to cause bodily harm on an enemy. So muskets qualify. Make the usual first season pompous declarations about the lack of accuracy and power compared to contemporary weapons, but don't pretend that a gunpowder musket is in the same category as a water gun or rubber knife!

WORF: Sir, what they're wearing may be old Earth uniforms, but what's inside of them isn't human at all. More like vicious animal things.

I've been waiting for this one. "Animal things." Here are a few closeups of these guys. These aren't animals, they're aliens. "Yellow-skinned aliens covered in fur and warts." It's not complicated.

(Wesley gets bayoneted from behind. I confess, I cheered)

Assuming Chakotea/Chrissy wrote these, I have to give her kudos for this.

DATA: Yes, sir, that is true. But I never wanted to compound one illusion with another. It might be real to Q, perhaps even you, sir. But it would not be so to me. Was it not one of the Captain's favourite authors who wrote, This above all, to thine own self be true?

Thank you, Data.

(A Klingon woman is kneeling at his feet. She gets up, tries to swipe at Tasha, and gets knocked down by Worf)
WORF: No! She is from a world now alien to me!

One wonders if the illusion attacked Tasha for being the closest or if "she" saw Tasha as the alpha female that had to be conquered. Chalk Worf calling the Klingon Empire "alien" up to early installment weirdness.

The Fiver

Captain's Log: We have received a distress call from the Sigma Three system requesting medical assitance. I certainly hope the rest of the Federation's colonies aren't this helpless, or we'll be spending the next seven years chasing after mining disasters and hostage situations.

Another typo that got past Zeke (or was Marc in charge back then?) Picard's hopes will be dashed here. "Does anyone remember when we were explorers?"

Picard: Security? Engineering? Anyone? What is this, some kind of shrinking-bubble alternate universe?

My opinion of "Remember Me" has fallen steadily over the years. Blech. I'll wait until we get to that episode in three years to go into further detail.

Q: Sit, Commander. Refresh yourselves before the games begin. Can I offer you something to drink?
Riker: Wow! Old-fashioned lemonade! Just what I wanted!
Worf: Prune juice?

Nice joke, but the whole point of the prune juice scene is that Worf's never heard of it. I have no reasonable alternative for TNG, but if I was writing this scene in a DS9 fiver I would've done one of my "Year X bloodwine is good, Year Y bloodwine is awful" jokes. Y'know, Q's a monster for giving him a substandard vintage of bloodwine...

Yar: But sir, I'm too young to die!
Picard: Yes, I know. But don't worry -- I'm sure you won't always feel that way.

Now there's gallows humor for you. Would a "How can this happen, we stopped wearing redshirts a hundred years ago!" joke have worked here?

Picard: This must be some form of torture Q has devised.
Data: What is your reasoning for that, sir?
Wesley: Where are we? What's going on? Why am I here?
Data: Ah. I see.

It would've been hilarious if Picard had said something along the lines of "that's torture all right, but hardly Q's fault".

Memory Alpha

* Second and last usage of the Q grid (although mentioned in "All Good Things" in reference to "Encounter at Farpoint" events). It would've been nice if it had reappeared in Q's appearances on Voyager, right?


* Possibly Q at his hammiest. "Did someone say games!" Where did all these bitemarks on the scenery come from?
* Monk Q, and Picard asks what's with the costumes.
* A duel of Shakespeare quotes.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil asks why the story of Gary Mitchell was never brought up as a comparison to Riker's situation.
* If Geordi can see Worf's freckles (he can't), why is Worf there? Can't Geordi just look at the enemy camp directly from a safe location?

Flying Gremlin 11-23-2017 05:41 PM

It's too bad the Fiver didn't go with a gorch joke.

Nate the Great 11-30-2017 01:19 PM

November 30th, 1987, "Haven"

Sorry, I cut this one to the bone, and it's still over the limit. Two parts!

Fiver (by dsbs)
Memory Alpha

Let's sum up the major gripes so we can stay relatively positive for the rest of the review:
1. Lwaxana is badly written 90% of the time, and in this episode she's utterly irredeemable except in that scene where she helped Wyatt. Where's the filter between her brain and mouth? Take it as read that the vast majority of her dialogue is mockable, and let's move on.
2. There's no reason why Haven has to have these mystical healing powers. The Tarellians don't care about that, they've just been trapped in space for years and want to die on a planet.
3. Furthermore, don't go hyping up this planet's beauty unless we're going to see it! Couldn't the writers have tweaked it so Lwaxana and the Millers intended for the wedding to take place on the most beautiful planet that Deanna is likely to be near at this time?
3. Why does Wyatt have to be human? Why would a human family want to take part in a traditional Betazoid arranged marriage? Furthermore, telepathy (no matter how weak) over such enormous distances would be slightly more plausible if both sides had at least some ability in that area. Plus it would make Lwaxana's distaste for the Millers a bit more plausible if they were like the Tenth House, i.e. barely Betazoid aristocracy and barely worthy of her notice. Plus, if Wyatt and Deanna could talk telepathically immediately, forming this bond on par with Deanna and Will, that would provide some nice character conflict, right?
4. Deanna thought she could escape this marriage without formally breaking it; that's a bit naive. Furthermore the idea that she could escape direct conflict by simply going deep enough into space makes her seem like a rebellious teenager, not a professional psychiatrist.
5. Unless a reason is given for why the wedding has to happen now, all of the bickering and rush just makes everyone involved look like horrible people. But it wasn't, so they do.

The Fiver

Picard: This planet is rumoured to be the most peaceful, beautiful, restful world in the whole galaxy.
Riker: Sounds like we can expect trouble here.
Picard: Agreed. Stand by to go on Red Alert.

Genre savvyness is one of my favorite gags.

Wyatt: I'm a doctor.
Troi: I'm happy for you. And I'm a practicing psychologist. We could work in concert.
Wyatt: I said I'm a doctor, not a musician.
Troi: Are there any men on this ship who aren't morons?

Shoulda thrown in a "Darnnit, Deanna..." Good joke, though.

Lwaxana: Captain! Shame on you for thinking what you just thought!
Picard: Preposterous! Starfleet regulations prohibit officers from having impure thoughts about visiting dignitaries!
Lwaxana: "Impure" isn't exactly how I'd describe a comment like "And good ridance!"

She ain't a dignitary yet. And there's another typo. The whole site really does need an overhaul, doesn't it?

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil wasn't willing to wait until "Dark Page" to discuss the Homn/Xelo question. He's confused as to where Deanna's accent came from, since neither of her parents talk like that. And it seems that neither did Xelo, if Xelo was the one who tried to rid her of it.
* Where are the biofilters in this episode?
* Phil made a mistake! He thinks that the tractor beam that was meant to stop the Tarellians from beaming down to Haven should prevent our people from beaming on board. First, tractor beams have never interfered with the transporter, I refer you to "The Emissary" when K'ehleyr beamed on board from a probe that was completely surrounded by a tractor beam! Second, the tractor beam was meant to keep the Tarellian ship out of range of Haven. Not being able to beam to the planet doesn't mean intership beaming isn't possible. Third, even if our heroes have modified the tractor beam in this specific instance to block Tarellian transporter beams, that has nothing to do with Federation transporter beams!


* Lwaxana arrives and makes Picard carry her luggage.
* Petty bickering, and Data asks them to continue.

Nate the Great 11-30-2017 01:23 PM

The Episode

PICARD: Legends like that are the spice of the universe, Mister Data, because they have a way of sometimes coming true.

A cliche that shouldn't be there unless something was going to come of it.

TASHA: Yes, sir. There's an object of some kind beaming in from Haven.
RIKER: What is it?
TASHA: We're not sure.

Since when do our heroes let mysterious packages get beamed on board?

FACE: I hold a message for Deanna Troi. Lwaxana Troi and the honourable Miller family will soon arrive. The momentous day is close at hand. Rejoice.

Hi Armin! You're not horrifying at all!

(The box bursts open and scatters gems on the transporter pad)
TASHA: Jewels. Look at these jewels.

I'll be generous and say that Tasha is ignoring the nonexistent monetary value of these, but simply their beauty, a thing she's seen precious little of in her life.

PICARD: Will you and your husband be staying with the ship, Counsellor?
TROI: No, sir.

Yeah, about that...why can't Wyatt stay onboard? This ship is supposedly designed for families and civilians, right?

TROI: Your last valet tried so hard to rid me of it. Whatever happened to Mister Xelo?
LWAXANA: I was forced to terminate his employment.

The discussion of when Xelo left and Homn arrived will have to wait for "Dark Page" in six years. Ugh....

VALEDA [on viewscreen]: An incoming vessel has bypassed our stargate, violating our law.

So what's a stargate in the Trek universe? If it's simply a relay station that you're supposed to hail on your way in to let Haven know that you come as a friend, they could've said that.

VALEDA [on viewscreen]: Failure to communicate is inherently hostile.

No, it's not. Maybe the ship is a derelict, maybe the people are too sick to pick up the phone, maybe their language is so different from yours that it's taking them time to translate your message!

TROI: I only ever felt this, well, with someone who's on this ship.

So wait, your only serious relationship was Riker? And you had no particular desire to track him down, it's only serendipity that brought you together on the Enterprise? You dated no one else in the intervening eight years or so? I'm sure Riker did!

Captain's personal log. I trust my concern over the problems of ship's Counsellor Troi are not based merely on losing a highly valuable crew member. But it seems to me that she is trapped by a custom of her home world which the facts of the twenty-fourth century life have made unwise and unworkable. I wish I could intervene.

Odo's line about the price we pay for having freedom of choice is that sometimes we choose wrong comes to mind. I give Picard credit for not wanting to intervene.

LAFORGE: A damaged vessel, sir. That could explain it.
RIKER: If it were unable to reach warp speed, it would have taken all these years to get here.

I've done the "space is big, really big" joke before, let's cut to the chase. There's no need for this thing to be sublight (much ranting could be done here), saying that they're barely going Warp One and don't have the fuel to reach another planet is enough.

CRUSHER: The Tarellians had reached Earth's late twentieth century level of knowledge.

And yet they had warp drive, albeit easily-broken warp drive? To quote Linkara, "methinks this plot has many holes."

PICARD: Which creates a very difficult problem for the Enterprise. Our treaty requires us to protect Haven, and Federation policy requires that we assist life forms in need, which must include the Tarellians. I'll want you to help me find some answers.

I'm getting the feeling that Haven isn't technically a Federation world, they just have a treaty with them. What difference does this make? Would anyone's actions be different if Haven was a Federation world?

DATA: Could you please continue the petty bickering? I find it most intriguing.

A great line to end a scene.

RIKER: I will miss you, Deanna.
TROI: I'm no longer Imzadi to you?
RIKER: You taught me that word means my beloved.
TROI: And the human heart is too small to permit that feeling now.
RIKER: Have you discussed this with Wyatt? I think you should. It's also damned unfair to me.
TROI: I understand. I should have realised. Humans, young human males particularly, have difficulty separating platonic love and physical love.

Troi is written very badly here. I'll go into more detail after the next quote.

TROI: Actually, Bill was concerned that you might be upset that I care deeply for him, too.

And how do you care about Riker, Deanna? In this line it almost seems like she's claiming that she has the right to have romantic feelings for two people simultaneously. Even if Betazoids have that right (which seems unlikely, Lwaxana may play the field, but once a relationship becomes serious she stays monogamous for the duration), she doesn't have the right to impose this scenario on two humans.

Captain's log, supplemental. All attempts at warning off the Tarellian ship have failed. They still refuse to communicate and I am growing concerned.

All attempts? Apparently not, as you won't talk about stuff like tractor beams and weapons until later.

LWAXANA: All life, Wyatt, all consciousness, is indissolvably bound together. Indeed, it's all part of the same thing.

Ugh. Hippie nonsense. Let's move on before someone starts a poetry slam.

WRENN [on viewscreen]: You may turn off your tractor beam, Captain. We will not be going to Haven. We have what we really came for.

So you're going to spend another few decades in space going to another planet? You're not going to ask for spare parts to fix your warp drive? You're not going to ask for the location of an uninhabited world that you can die on? You're not going to ask for a tractor beam tow to said planet? You're just going to hope that Wyatt can cure you before you die?

Flying Gremlin 12-02-2017 05:49 PM

The Fiver for "Haven" made me wonder why no one made a joke about the box having big ears.

NAHTMMM 12-06-2017 12:32 AM


Originally Posted by Nate the Great (Post 81131)
Genre savvyness is one of my favorite gags.

Me, too.

Nate the Great 01-11-2018 02:30 PM

My initial draft was too long, but this episode ain't worth two parts. I had to cut out a lot of Treknology nits. Is this really the best way to do the big introduction to the holodeck? A room that could kill our heroes if the slightest odd energy wave hits the ship?

January 11th, 1988, "The Big Goodbye"

No fiver
Memory Alpha

The Episode

Riker: The Jarada demand a precise greeting, in this case from Captain Picard. Their language is most unusual. The slightest mispronunciation is regarded as an insult.

I hate it when alien races are made to be this unreasonable. We should lock them in a room with the Sheliak and throw away the key...

Captain's personal log. I'm entering the ship's holodeck, where images of reality can be created by our computer. Highly useful in crew training, highly enjoyable when used for games and recreation.

Gotta love that Season One conceit that "fun" is the secondary objective of the holodeck. No, really, we put this here for practical reasons! You're not fooling anyone, production staff!

Captain's personal log. I'm delighted with how the Holodeck has created the fictional world of Dixon Hill, the twentieth century detective who has been a hero of mine since childhood. The illusion is flawless. The characters I meet are generated by the computer, of course, yet they feel real, they seem real in every way.

Were the creators that terrified that unless they reiterate the illusion thing after every commercial break that the stupid viewers would wonder if they had the wrong show or think that Picard has gone back in time?

PICARD: And when I looked down into the street, I actually saw automobiles!

Stop being a fanboy, captain. We know that this level of holographic perfection has only recently become possible, but using the captain as the audience surrogate character was a mistake. Given her background Tasha would've been a better choice (in a different program than Dixon Hill, of course).

RIKER: The Jaradan are strategically important to the Federation.

Why? They sit between us and the Romulans? Over the last few years they've been talking with the Cardassians (I know that they don't exist yet), and it's important to keep them on our side? We trade with them for Resource X? Another sentence would be useful, you know...

Captain's log, supplemental. The Jaradan rendezvous still is eleven hours away. I am about to reenter the world of Dixon Hill, this time properly dressed.

Eleven hours? Get a good night's sleep, review the greeting again, get that taken care of, then relax, Captain!

WHALEN: He actually thinks you're Dixon Hill.

Ugh. There's exposition and there's treating the audience like idiots, and the line was crossed ten minutes ago! Who was it that said that intelligent audiences appreciate fiction that doesn't talk down to them?

DATA: The record will stand until the year 2026, when a shortstop for the London Kings...

This bit of trivia was extrapolated into Buck Bokai's biography. I'm glad someone remembered this episode so this could be done

VENDOR: Hey Dix, what gives with this guy? He's not from around here, is he.

The lack of perceptual filter thing is really getting old. Couldn't half of these things be jettisoned to make room for another plot elsewhere on the ship? Furthermore, it happens before the Jaradan probe, so this isn't a case of a malfunction!

(The ship shakes as a beam passes through it, including the holodeck, whose controls flicker and door briefly opens and closes a few times)

Don't ask me what a sensor scan has to do with the holodeck, or what the holodeck has to do with the doors...

SERGEANT: You're a pretty hep lookin' broad.
CRUSHER: Is that good?
SERGEANT: It ain't bad.

He he. "Hep lookin' broad?" I'm reminded of Troi in "The Royale"...

TROI: I don't believe this dialogue. Did humans really talk like that?
PICARD: Not in real life. Remember, everything that's going on down there is taken from what Colonel Richey calls a second-rate novel.

I suddenly wonder if Colonel Richey would've liked being trapped in a Dixon Hill novel better...

And of course "is that good" brings to mind the scene where Kirk sells his glasses...

LAFORGE: Not a thing. We have to go through this millimetre by millimetre.

Yeah, it's not like you could just unplug it. Unlike Voyager the holodeck's power supply is integrated with the ship. And Geordi, isn't this a job for the chief engineer (whoever that is this week...)?

PICARD: Soon, my friend. For the moment, I have other duties.
MCNARY: Blonde or brunette?
PICARD: She's a lady, all right, and her name is Enterprise.
MCNARY: Sounds like a working girl to me.

No, she's a beautiful lady and we love her! (Trek quote game!)

WESLEY: I don't know if I should. If this isn't done correctly, the programme could abort and everyone inside could vanish.

HOW? Even if the safeties are off, how does "holograms shutting off" kill everyone inside?

Memory Alpha

* It was suggested to depict the world of Dixon Hill in black and white, like Captain Proton would be later. I wish they had, it seems like a missed opportunity.
* The only episode where Tasha has the bridge.
* The only episode where the holodeck has two exits. While I could understand the flagship having a super-sized holodeck for when many many people will be participating (promoting Worf, etc.), I don't see why Picard would need one for this simulation that only expects four users.
* William Ware Theiss (glad he was on board for the early days of TNG) got a award for the Dixon Hill costumes.

Nitpickers Guide

* Data knows about cars, baseball players, and the events of every Dixon Hill novel, but a simple electric lamp confuses him. Ugh...
* No one even tries to beam our people out of the holodeck. A horrifying implication: turning the safeties off turns the transporter blocking shield on!
* The Jaradan probe shakes the bridge, but not the holodeck. How strange...
* Between scenes the lipstick on Picard's face changes shape, location, and color. Almost as though the scenes were filmed on two different days with two different kisses! You'd think they could've filmed all of the kiss scenes on the same day to avoid a problem this simple...

Nate the Great 01-11-2018 10:18 PM

I'm still pondering how an uncontrolled holodeck shutdown could vaporize everyone inside it. Even if you had to sweep the thing with baryons or something every time you turn it off, to complete the holographic reset, couldn't our heroes just unplug that part?

Then again, I'd hope that every holodeck would have a manual shutdown, probably a form of fuse.

The weird thing is that "The Big Goodbye" is supposed to tell us what the holodeck can do, while at the same time convince the entire audience that they are not fun and in fact are very dangerous. A scanning beam manages to lock the doors and deactivate the safeties and make the holodeck unable to shut down without killing everyone. And not even a weaponized scanning beam deliberately designed to do this thing, it's a random result! You couldn't get me within a hundred feet of this deathtrap!

Nate the Great 01-18-2018 01:24 PM

January 18th, 1988, "Datalore"

No Fiver
Memory Alpha

The Episode

My usual line-by-line commentary got real negative real fast. Good performances here and there aside, there are plotholes big enough to drive a starship through, and it got really aggravating real fast.
* The Enterprise is gonna spend a couple hours here, just in case they stumble upon something that was missed before. Did Starfleet just not care enough about what killed this colony? Why'd it take so long to find Soong's lab?
* Lore's reactivation should've taken place in a more controlled environment nowhere near Data. Furthermore a method of differentiating between the two should've been devised and applied before reactivating him. Data's capabilities are fairly well known, Yar and Worf should've insisted on having a way to identify and control Lore should he prove dangerous.
* The contraction thing was just stupid. It's far too late to introduce something like this, Data's already used more contractions than would be considered acceptable and forgiveable. Cue usual Nate series bible-shrieking here. Furthermore, even if all previous usages are to be forgiven under the growing pains clause, that doesn't forgive the times in this and all future episodes where Data will use them.
* I get that they wanted to homage Isaac Asimov with the positronic brain thing, but they mixed up "artificial intelligence", "robots", and "androids" far too much in this episode. Were the technical advisors out to lunch this week?
* Data is very clear that he only has the information from the colonists' records, and yet everyone seems to act (here and in "Silicon Avatar") that he has all of the actual memories from them. But apparently no one remembered Dr. Soong or the android experiments. Did Soong take the time to clean out as many mentions of this stuff as he could before putting them in Data.
* Lore summoned the C.E., the colony found out, and then they managed to disassemble Lore? Why would Lore let this happen? If Soong had an android-stunning weapon, why wouldn't Lore take it to use against Data if needed?
* Again Picard gripes about Riker not letting him go on away missions. Is this a recent order and he went on away missions for the Stargazer all the time, or did Picard complain to Ben Zoma for over twenty years? If I were Riker, by now I'd ask Starfleet Command to give Picard strict orders on this point: no away missions unless it's absolutely safe, and stop bugging Riker about it.
* Crusher should know about Data's off switch by now. Full stop. Make it classified, need-to-know information by all means, but Crusher (and the whole senior staff, really) do need to know this.

Some good points:
* Data doesn't mind confirming his loyalty to Starfleet over his brother. And this is a good thing; if he hadn't I'm not sure he could be allowed to stay. A desire to help other forms of artificial life is one thing; treating his commitment to Starfleet as optional and temporary is another.
* Wesley devoted a lot of time and effort to earning his place on the bridge, and he was still willing to chuck all of it because the ship was in danger and he was the only one who seemed to know that it was. Even so, I wouldn't have gone about it the way Wesley did, I would've been in my lab building an android-stunner.
* The Crystalline Entity is a good idea for an alien. You could imagine how a crystal could slowly grow in size, power, and intelligence over a long time in space. And imagine the fanfic about when the C.E. meets Gomtuu or Junior!

Memory Alpha

* Final episode written by Gene Roddenberry. I didn't know that he wrote any episodes of TNG, but apparently he did "Encounter at Farpoint" and "Hide and Q" as well.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Lore says that he will drop the shields and beam something out for the C.E. to absorb. It seems he intended it to be Data, but when it turns out to be himself, why didn't the C.E. absorb him?
* Phil also mocked the fact that the entire episode was about the fact that Data can't use contractions, only for him to say "I'm fine" at the end. Seriously, those editors were asleep on the job...
* In my original blow-for-blow commentary I made a Princess Bride joke at the "almost lifeless soil." It turns out that Phil makes it himself in the Guide. I've read the Guides several times, but for any Princess Bride/Trek fanatic the joke is obvious.

Nate the Great 01-25-2018 03:22 PM

January 25th, 1988, "Angel One"

Ugh, here we go...

No fiver
Memory Alpha

The Episode

Summary of huge plot holes:
* There's no reason for Angel One to be specified as having twentieth-century technology, especially because they're going to be shown to have disintegrator fields and subspace radio at bare minimum.
* Relying on platinum did nothing but kill time. Scanning for humans as opposed to Angel One-ians would've saved time and created fewer plot holes.
* What did the disease plot accomplish other than killing time and giving the rest of the crew something to do? It's not like there weren't umpteen other possible subplots that could've done the same thing and provided opportunities for characterization. Furthermore, where were the transporter biofilters this week?
* There's far too much of the common Trek cliche of using "Prime Directive" to refer to all Federation law. This has to stop.
* In the early script Wesley's field trip caught the disease from an actual planetside field trip. The biofilter should've caught it. In the episode as presented it was a holodeck field trip. How and why could the holodeck create real viruses? Aren't there safeties in place to stop this sort of thing?

Captain's log, stardate 41636.9. As feared, our examination of the seven year overdue Federation freighter, Odin, disabled by an asteroid collision, revealed no survivors. However, three escape pods were missing, suggesting the possibility of survivors.

Why did it take seven years for Starfleet to get around to looking for survivors?

PICARD: Counsellor, as this is a female dominated society, you might wish to make the initial contact.

Time to bring up SF Debris again. This is a patently ridiculous statement. The Federation is about tolerance. We don't let the biases of other cultures dictate our actions, and we don't let our crews be biased against because of factors beyond their control.
And as Chuck said, Janeway didn't turn over negotiations with the Kazon to Chakotay because of their misogyny, that would only reinforce it. Looks like pigs are flying again, Voyager did something right that NextGen didn't!

BEATA: Even a planet as remote as Angel One has heard of Starfleet. Searching the galaxy for survivors seems a petty task for one of their mighty vessels.

I'm with Beata, why is the flagship doing this mission? It's not like the armaments of the Enterprise will be needed, aren't there diplomatic or science vessels about that could handle this?

PICARD: I want all departments prepared for a warp six trip into the Neutral Zone as soon as the away team completes its mission.
WORF: Trouble, Captain?
PICARD: Insurance. Romulan battle cruisers have been detected near one of our border posts.

Seems like a prime opportunity to leave a shuttle or the saucer section behind. Too bad neither the writer nor Picard thought of it.

RIKER: Data, what's the best way to go about finding Ramsey and the other survivors?
DATA: If we can isolate something unique to the Odin survivors, perhaps an element not otherwise found on Angel One, we can utilise the Enterprise scanners.

Are you telling me that the Odin survivors and the natives are of the same species and the scanners can't tell them apart? Furthermore, this element thing (later determined to be platinum) does nothing but pad the episode while bringing in plot holes. If the humans of the Odin could be found now, what would it matter? And are there really habitable planets that don't have any platinum? Not one bit?

PICARD: Lieutenant La Forge, you have command until further notice. Please, make the proper ship's log entries.
LAFORGE: Aye, sir.

Geordi's in command? I'll overlook Dr. Crusher in this case, there's a disease on board and she needs to be working on it. But there's the chief engineer (whoever that is this week, wink wink) who can take command, it's not like there's a crisis in engineering at the moment.

LAFORGE: [OC]: Bridge to Sickbay how are you Doing, Doctor?
CRUSHER: We have more sick than we do beds. So far I've been forced to confine over three hundred to their private quarters.
LAFORGE: We're going to be seriously undermanned if we're forced to engage the Romulans in battle.

There should've been a substitute starship on the way to the Romulan border by now, why is our crew still talking about this? And what's with the confining to quarters? It's been less than a day and somehow there's no uninfected section of the ship left, what does it matter?

CRUSHER: It's that smell. That's how the virus travels. An airborne particle whose sweet scent inspires deep inhalation. And once inside the body, it becomes that damned virus. I have work to do.

What does this have to do with anything? I thought that the airborne nature had already been determined. As SF Debris would say, you're filling plotholes that nobody was wondering about!

RIKER: And what about the Romulans entering the Neutral Zone?
DATA: The border outpost reports a contingent of seven Romulan battlecruisers within sensor range. The USS Berlin has answered the distress call. However, should hostilities erupt, both the outpost and the starship will be out-gunned. It is felt that the Enterprise's presence in the area will be a vital show of force.

Seven ships in the Neutral Zone at once, and none of them have asked for permission from Starfleet? I call that an act of war that can't be hidden from. I can't think of a single nonmilitary mission in Trek history that required seven ships in the same place.

CRUSHER [OC]: This virus is totally out of control here. Until I know exactly what I'm dealing with, I can't let anyone new be exposed.

Totally out of control. Last time I checked, the number of deaths

RIKER: Understood. Doctor, would this virus have any effect on Mister Data?
CRUSHER [OC]: Not likely.

It's not like he was infected with polywater intoxication a few months ago...

DATA: And the USS Berlin can safely withstand a Romulan attack, and deducted our time to destination at maximum warp speed. That leaves Doctor Crusher forty eight minutes to develop an inoculants to the virus.

One starship can fight off seven Romulan warbirds for an hour? I don't think even the Enterprise can do that!

Memory Alpha

* Production had to be shut down for a few days because the script wasn't ready yet. It will happen again during "Arsenal of Freedom." I thought production work for several episodes happened at the same time. The idea that the only script available to work on at this time is "Angel One" is also terrifying.
* Props from this episode were reused in several future episodes. I wish that didn't happen so much.
* First mention of the Romulans in NextGen. In retrospect it seems odd that it took this long.
* It was Gene who did this temporary rewriting of the Prime Directive to cover all interactions with non-Federation cultures regardless of technological level. So once again it's Gene I can blame. As an idea man he's great, but when it came to the application of such on a practical basis he really needed a few more leashes on him.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Isn't it convenient that Dr. Crusher was never completely stricken with the virus?
* Supposedly the biofilters don't exist yet. Still a sad excuse if you ask me.

Nate the Great 02-01-2018 12:34 PM

February 1st, 1988, "11001001"

Fiver (by Marc)
Memory Alpha


The Episode

Summary of key points:
* It feels too soon for such a complete overhaul of the computers. In retrospect I wish this episode could've been put off until after "Contagion": the Iconian virus is certainly reason enough for a complete computer overhaul.
* If Barclay's holoaddiction was supposed to be so weird, the creators need to stop presenting episodes like this and "The Big Goodbye" and "Booby Trap." Over and over again we get Starfleet officers saying how you need to keep your perspective and distance when it comes to relationships with holocharacters.
* I hate plots where the heroes aren't given a choice in the matter because "you might say no." That's flat-out lazy writing. Bynar is a Federation world, and this seems like prime humanitarian mission material.
* The Bynar race in general raises a few too many questions, but I'll skip them. Except for one: why are only two Bynars assigned to this task? Even if you don't need teams physically at each of the three computer cores, this does seem like a problem you can speed up by throwing more people at it.
* The perceptual filter hasn't been invented yet, and it irks me.
* Who left Wesley in charge of Engineering again? It doesn't matter that they're not polywater drunk again, there are other Engineers about. (And who is the Chief Engineer this week?)

PICARD: What about you, Number One? You've earned a rest.
RIKER: I've never been very good at organising my time off. Something'll turn up. It always does.

Why is this line here? Why are you making Riker look bad if it doesn't service the plot? At least have him say "I was planning to X, but I'm open to other interesting activities if they present themselves."

RIKER: Worf, it's just a game. A little friendly competition, You work up a sweat, you have a few laughs, and you make new friends.
WORF: If winning is not important, then, Commander, why keep score?
TASHA: I think he's pulling your leg. Believe it or not, Worf is developing a sense of humour.

I hope so.

RIKER: Keep notes. This project might turn out to be of interest to scholars in the future.
LAFORGE: Really?
RIKER: Well of course. Think about it. A blind man teaching an android how to paint? That's got to be worth a couple of pages in somebody's book.

I get the joke, but this one does seem a bit insensitive. Was Gene asleep this week?

CRUSHER: Well, since then I've been working on an approach that combines cybernetics and regeneration. It sounds impossible, I know, but I have found an approach which will work. I mean, what an opportunity. To have a chance to talk with Doctor Epstein.

Sheesh, you can tell the Borg haven't been invented yet, can't you?

RIKER: All right. What should I choose? Computer, I'd like some place to play some music. A little atmosphere.
COMPUTER: Specify.
RIKER: Jazz.
RIKER: Circa 1958.
COMPUTER: Location.
RIKER: Kansas City. No, wait. New Orleans. Bourbon Street Bar, New Orleans. Around two a.m.
COMPUTER: Programme complete. Enter when ready.

I'm glad that this era of building programs via verbal commands (and frankly insufficient verbal commands) won't last forever. Why is any of this junk important? "1950s-era Earth jazz club, late at night" is adequate for this purpose.

MINUET: My name is Minuet and I love all jazz except Dixieland.
RIKER: Why not Dixieland?
MINUET: You can't dance to it.
RIKER: My girl.

Always remembered the Dixieland quote.

RIKER: I know you are a computer-generated image, but your smell, your touch, the way you feel. Even the things you say and think seem so real.
MINUET: Thank you.
RIKER: How far can this relationship go? I mean, how real are you?
MINUET: As real as you need me to be.

Ugh. And Reg (and Geordi, and Harry...) are the freaks?

MINUET: Enchantee. Comme c'est merveilleux de vous voir ici.
PICARD: Incroyable! Vous etes Parisienne?
MINUET: Au fond, c'est vrai, nous sommes tous Parisiens.
PICARD: Oui, au fond, nous sommes tous Parisiens.

Rough translation:

MINUET: Enchanted. How wonderful to see you here.
PICARD: Unbelievable! Are you from Paris?
MINUET: More or less, we're all Parisians.
PICARD: Yes, deep down we're all Parisians.

PICARD: The holodeck has been able to give us woodlands and ski slopes, figures that fight and fictional characters with which we can interact, but you, you're very different. You adapt. You spoke to me in French.
MINUET: It was very simple. When I heard your name, I merely accessed the foreign language bank.
PICARD: That's very impressive.

Apparently "Picard" means a person from Picardy, an area in northern France. According to Memory Beta he's La Barre, Haute-Saone, which is south of the Picardy region (I suppose one of his ancestors moved south taking the name with him).

(Data is continuing to paint, or not to paint)
LAFORGE: Now what are you doing?
DATA: I am awaiting inspiration.

I hope Geordi packed a lunch, Data won't be inspired until "Birthright". Hehe...

LAFORGE: I don't know. There's no one on duty here, and we're getting some very strange readings from the magnetic containment field.
DATA: The field is deteriorating.

There should be someone in charge of Engineering, keeping an eye on the warp core. And couldn't they have created a technobabble reason why the antimatter can't be dumped?

COMPUTER: Decks two through four to cargo transporters. Decks five through ten, proceed to transporters one, two, three and four. Decks six through sixteen, proceed to transporters five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten.

First, where are the escape pods? Second, wouldn't the wall arrows from "Encounter at Farpoint" be of use here? Just have the computer say "follow the wall arrows to your nearest transporter room."

RIKER: It's uncanny. I could develop feelings for Minuet, exactly as I would for any woman.
PICARD: Doesn't love always begin that way? With the illusion being more real than the woman?

Ugh. Repeat previous comments about Reg and Geordi here, but toss Harry Kim and Janeway into the pile as well.

COMPUTER: Initiated as a programmed response. The magnetic field containing the antimatter had weakened. There was no fail-safe available.

So they outright said it: there are no fail-safes. Not "all fail-safes have malfunctioned", "there are no fail-safes at all."

Nate the Great 02-01-2018 12:34 PM


DATA: Which is the nearest Starfleet vessel?
QUINTEROS: The Trieste.
DATA: I know the Trieste. Too small, too slow.
QUINTEROS: Plus it's sixty six hours away.

First, who says it has to be a Starfleet vessel? Second, if speed is a concern shouldn't that be the key factor? Ask the Klingons to help, hire a Ferengi ship and pay what they ask, etc.

RIKER: One of us could beam into the Bridge.
PICARD: No, it takes several seconds to materialise. You wouldn't stand a chance.

Actually if "A Matter of Perspective" is to be believed, the annular confinement beam is quite good at deflecting phaser beams.

DATA: Do you think I am responsible?
LAFORGE: Responsible? How could you possibly have known?
DATA: My station is on the Bridge.
LAFORGE: You can't be on the Bridge every second, Data.
DATA: You are wrong, Geordi. I can. I do not need rest or diversion. I should not have been painting. I was negligent.

Very good character work, too bad nothing will come of it. It's a shame the events before this point couldn't have been condensed to make room for this. I'm reminded of his "Achilles in his tent" pouting session in "Peak Performance".

MINUET: A star in the Bynar system went supernova and they miscalculated. The electromagnetic pulse from the explosion was going to knock out their main computer.
PICARD: So their only choice was to transfer all the stored information and shut down until after it passed. And then reactivate their system and transfer the information back to this main computer.
RIKER: The Enterprise has the only mobile computer large enough to handle all that information.

A star in their system went supernova and the plant survived? An EMP could travel through space and the planet's atmosphere without being distorted enough to minimize the damage? And the Enterprise has enough storage capacity to handle an entire planet's data? Have I said "ugh" enough yet this review?

(The computer searches the combinations of 1 and 0 to get to 11001001)

11001001 in decimal is 201. Makes me wonder what the significance is. Incidentally, 1701 in binary is 11010100101, I wonder why they didn't do that, it would've been cooler.

The Fiver

Yar: We're off to play parrises squares against the station's top team.
Riker: You and Worf against those four big, tough guys? Isn't that unfair?
Worf: (to Yar) He is right. One of us should remain here.

You capitalize Parisses Squares. Nice joke, though.

Data: We need to go after the Enterprise.
Quinteros: We can't. All our ships are either too far away or under repair.
Yar: What kind of an incompetent deployment system do you call that?
Quinteros: Standard Starfleet policy.

Grrr, "only ship in the quadrant", grrr....

Picard: The Bynars have copied their entire planet's data files into our computer?
Riker: Yes, they're using the Enterprise as a giant CD-ROM drive.
Picard: That explains why the saucer section is spinning so fast.

Ha ha.

One Zero: You have saved our world!
Zero One: You may now punish us as you see fit!
Picard: I ought to have you downgraded to that old Windows 95 operating system.
Riker: Sir, I recommend leniency.

No OS/2 joke? The opportunity was sitting right there!

Riker: Minuet's gone. She's been replaced by a 1960s lounge singer.
Picard: That doesn't sound so bad.
Riker: His name's Vic.

There's gotta be a Vic/Minuet fanfic somewhere, but I won't be looking for it.

Memory Alpha

* This episode was supposed to be before "The Big Goodbye", to explain the malfunctions there. I think it's just as well, because it's not like "The Big Goodbye" was the only holodeck gone amuck episode. Plus if this episode was the cause our heroes would have to namedrop the Bynars every time or dedicate another episode to sorting it out later.
* The true meaning of 11001001 is simply that it's a combination of the four two-number binary names of the Bynars: 00, 01, 10, 11. This does introduce the need for other identifiers (00 son of 10 son of 11, Unimatrix 1001, etc.). In short, this is a case of the creators being lazy in their conception of a species.

Memory Beta

Besides "Future Imperfect", Minuet also appears in a few novels. I most remember "Of Cabbages and Kings" from the first Strange New Worlds anthology.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil points out that the Bynars only planned to kidnap Riker when they knew they'd need two people to save their planet. For computer-enhanced people they aren't that smart...
* Phil is also confused about the two-digit names.
* The Bynars make sounds similar to 300-baud modems (this was fast at the time). As of when Volume 2 was written (1995) the cutting-edge was 28,800 baud, and as of when I'm writing we don't use bauds anymore, but bits per second. The peak at the moment seems to be 1000 Mbit/s, which is a billion baud. Insert Moore's Law discussion here, along with the joke that we're so primitive that we still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.
* Why couldn't they have used the saucer separation stock footage? It seems like a prime opportunity for it.
* Many people were bothered that Data communicated with a starbase with his commbadge after the Enterprise had left the vicinity. I have to agree.

NAHTMMM 02-02-2018 03:11 PM


Originally Posted by Nate the Great (Post 81212)
January 25th, 1988, "Angel One"


Captain's log, stardate 41636.9. As feared, our examination of the seven year overdue Federation freighter, Odin, disabled by an asteroid collision, revealed no survivors. However, three escape pods were missing, suggesting the possibility of survivors.

Why did it take seven years for Starfleet to get around to looking for survivors?

Space is big, really big.

That said, it's a freighter. Freighters don't push the edges of the frontier all on their own, they should generally be using shipping lanes (even if they are remote) with people at either end. There should have been someone close enough to mount a rescue mission.

Nate the Great 02-08-2018 01:22 PM

February 8th, 1988, "Too Short A Season"

Fiver (by Marc)
Memory Alpha

The Episode

Once again we find ourselves with an episode that is starting off with two strikes against it because of the sheer amounts of contrivance and bad Treknology that's being stuffed into it. There's some good character work here, but it still doesn't make the episode redeemable.

KARNAS [on viewscreen]: I am Karnas, governor of Mordan Four. A dissident group of terrorists have taken Federation Ambassador Hawkins and his staff hostage. They will not discuss terms with me. This is a crisis I cannot resolve. The terrorists are demanding a Federation negotiator. I feel there is only one negotiator with the skills to resolve the situation. The lives of the hostages will depend on Starfleet delivering this man to Mordan. Commander Mark Jameson. Admiral Jameson. The terrorists have given you six Earth days to bring him here, or the hostages will die.

So was bringing Jameson here your idea, or their demand? I feel an editor should've taken another pass at this script.

JAMESON: I am not simply an advisor. On any assignment I accompany, Starfleet has designated me Senior Mission Officer. I control the away team and all its actions. Is that understood? Of course, Captain, you command the ship, but the mission is mine. I trust you are in complete agreement.

Starfleet doesn't have to "designate" you that. You're an admiral; you outrank Picard already. I hate visiting dignitaries that feel comfortable throwing their weight around at the start of the mission instead of when it's actually relevant. It doesn't endear the captain or the audience to them.

KARNAS [on viewscreen]: They insist all discussions will take place here on Mordan. They refuse to speak to me, only to a Federation mediator.

One, Jameson is an admiral, not an ambassador. Two, did they demand Jameson and only Jameson or not? More desire for another editor...

ANNE: This ship is magnificent. It even has family quarters. Pity we didn't have them twenty, thirty years ago. We could have been together almost all of your career.

Yes, we get the feeling that this whole "large amount of civilians on starships" thing is a recent phenomenon, and it seems that Anne was never a member of Starfleet, but what about starbases? Aren't families allowed there?

CRUSHER: I found traces of chemical substances in his blood and tissue samples, but none of them are in our pharmacopoeia.

A "pharmacopoeia" is just a book of medications and their side effects. It just seems like an outdated term for the 24th century, "medical library" would do just as well.

CRUSHER: His red cell count is running riot. The cellular structure of his body is radically changing, but we can't make any decisions on that until we know what it's changing to. His DNA is skewed. Don't ask me how, but he even looks younger. And Captain, there are absolutely no traces of Iverson's Disease.

I sti
ll wonder about the pseudoscience that's supposed to be doing this, especially from the late '80s perspective.

JAMESON: There are no dissidents, are there? No terrorists. You have the hostages.
KARNAS [on monitor]: And if I have? You're coming to Mordan, Jameson, and you're going to negotiate for their lives. And I'm going to ask a very, very high price.
JAMESON: What if I refuse?
KARNAS [on monitor]: Then the hostages will die.

You have to respect a plot twist like that. It's a shame that we never really got to know Karnas as anything other than a spouter of exposition and bluster...

JAMESON: It wasn't my golden oratory that saved them, Captain. I gave Karnas the weapons he wanted.
PICARD: You did what?
JAMESON: I gave exactly the same weapons to his rivals. My interpretation of the Prime Directive. Let them solve their problems with those arms on an equal basis.
PICARD: And that decision plunged them into forty years of civil war.

Ah, we just covered this in "A Private Little War". It makes a little more sense here, since there's enough industrialization that the locals can reproduce the weapons and hide them from our heroes. Still doesn't mean it's the right thing to do, of course. And we're still in the "call all of Federation law the Prime Directive" era, I see. Wait a the locals have warp drive? A previous mission could've given them a subspace transmitter, so that's no proof.

The Fiver

Captain's Log: We have been ordered to bring Admiral Mark Jameson to Mordan IV to resolve a hostage crisis there. If he is successful, the news will surely discourage our enemies everywhere from taking any more Federation prisoners in the future.

I get that you were going for sarcastic humor, Marc, but if one takes a minute to consider the implications (i.e. validating the "taking hostages means we get whatever we want" fallacy), it gets mighty dark from a real world perspective.

Jameson: Why don't you have an access ramp?
Picard: It's supposed to arrive next Tuesday.

Yikes, do we get a lot of mileage out of the Tuesday gag.

Picard: I'm surprised that Karnas isn't able to handle this hostage situation on his own. He is, after all, the one who unified the planet after forty years of civil war.
Riker: Perhaps he made too many enemies in the process.
Jameson: Quite possible. It's easy to dislike a man whose motto is, "Peace through superior firepower."

Ah, "The Arsenal of Freedom." Perhaps not the best Season One episode, but far from the worst.

Jameson: I'm also benefiting from a trip I made last week to the famous Briar Patch Health Spa.
Picard: I've never heard of it.
Jameson: You will.

I suppose I should snark about how the Briar Patch probably wasn't discovered at this point in time, but a good punchline isn't coming to mind. I'll just bring up how much of a contrarian Trekkie I am by mentioning again that I prefer Insurrection to First Contact.

Crusher: He's putting his life in danger. There's no telling how far back he'll regress towards early youth.
Anne: You're not kidding. When I last saw him, the rascal was jumping up and down on the bed.

Are you going for some sort of record for the most references to other episodes, Marc?

Picard: Trading weapons for hostages is illegal and unethical!
Jameson: So? What's good enough for Oliver North should be good enough for me.

At the time of the Iran-Contra Scandal I was too young to know it was happening. I actually only know the guy existed in the first place because of the connection between him and Colonel West.

Picard: Admiral, I strongly disagree. You've made the Federation look like an arms dealer.
Jameson: I like to think of us as "the arsenal of freedom."

You already made an "Arsenal of Freedom" joke.I'm not sure if the repetition was justified here.

Picard: The policy of supplying weapons to one side in an alien conflict was discredited long ago by the "Tyree's Planet" fiasco.

I'm glad Marc also saw the parallels.

Picard: It really is the Admiral, Karnas. He's using a youth serum he got from the people of Cerebrus II.
Jameson: It was my reward for negotiating the release of some hostages being held there by a radical faction called the Anti-Grup Liberation Foolie.

"Miri" too? Were we supposed to get "Trek episode BINGO cards" at the start of the fiver? ;)

Jameson: Here is the proof of who I am! The scar from the blood-cut that sealed our bargain!
Karnas: This youth drug gave you back the body of an eighteen-year-old, but it wasn't able to heal a tiny little scar?
Jameson: Well, what do you expect from a rejuvenation treatment -- miracles?

You can just hear the bah-dum-chish of the offscreen drummer and the canned laughter, can't you?

Memory Alpha

* The Iran-Contra scandal connection is made obvious.
* The wheelchair cost twenty thousand dollars, but couldn't move like it had to. I hope whoever was responsible for that thing got fired. Even Christopher Pike's wheelchair looked more practical.

Nitpicker's Guide

* "Lonely Among Us" establishes that if the entire senior staff agrees the commanding officer can be removed, and yet this isn't done to deal with Jameson. Perhaps rules for admirals are different.
* Phil questions why Jameson's scar wouldn't be healed. I have my own theories to explain this one, but I'm neither a doctor nor do I play one on TV.

Nate the Great 02-15-2018 02:06 PM

February 15th, 1988, "When the Bough Breaks"

No fiver
Memory Alpha

The Episode

Let's get this out of the way first: this is a horrible episode. A good line here and there does not redeem the asinine nature of this plot.

HARRY: I'm not going back. I hate that teacher and I hate calculus.
BERNARD: Everyone needs an understanding of basic calculus, whether they like it or not.

I understand how we're supposed to be smarter in the future and getting more advanced education earlier, but this is ridiculous. Calculus isn't just memorization, it's a framework of methods that's built on earlier education. You can't rush it unless the kid is a prodigy, and Harry is clearly meant to be an ordinary 24th-century kid. And it's not like you couldn't have had the same resolution using algebra instead...oh, wait!

CRUSHER: Captain, they haven't been through decontamination.
PICARD: Our medical doctor is concerned that you didn't go through the regular transporting procedure.

Party game everyone, how many instances in NextGen can you name where mysterious people beam themselves onto the ship and no one insists on decontamination procedures?

RADUE: We must return now to Aldea. Our eyes are very sensitive to bright light.

I get that this is a clue for the radiation sickness reveal later, but delivered in this way it really does seem like a Chekov's Gun to incapacitate them later, doesn't it? It's a shame the writer never thought of it.

TROI: Humans are unusually attached to their offspring.
CRUSHER: Our children are not for sale at any price.

Can you name any races that would be willing to sell their children? I can't even imagine the Ferengi willing to do this (the kids wouldn't be raised with Ferengi values!)...

RIKER: It's the children. That's why we've been brought here. That's what they wanted.

Yeah, Will, they told you that a few scenes ago! Was the editor asleep this week?

CRUSHER: Don't give in to fear. Now, we all knew what the risks were when we signed on, and that's the choice we made.

But your kids didn't make that choice, that's why they're not supposed to be on exploratory vessels!

RADUE: Where have you been Rashella? Zena and Aran are waiting to take Alexandra.
RADUE: No? I told you that she
RASHELLA: No, Radue. They can't have her. I will never let her go.

One wonders where Rashella learned the maternal instinct from. It makes a great act climax, though.

RIKER: You're certain they'll negotiate?
PICARD: Oh, they'll negotiate, or they'll call it that. They've taken what they want. Now they'll rationalise it by throwing us some sort of bone.
RIKER: And when we don't accept their offer?
PICARD: The minute they believe that we won't accept their compensation for the children, they'll break off the discussion, they'll disappear behind their shield, locking us out and the children in forever. That's why I've got to keep them talking.

Reasonable, but this seems awfully deceitful for Gene's perfect humans.

WESLEY: What does the Custodian do?
DUANA: It frees us from all burden. It takes care of all our needs. It regulates our lives.
WESLEY: Who built it?
DUANA: The Progenitors.
DUANA: Oh, hundreds of centuries ago.

Didn't we already go through all this with Vaal? The problem with these "central computer maintains the status quo has some sort of paradise" plots is that it's not paradise. Either the people eventually learn to want more, or the computer makes them sheep unable to think for themselves.

WESLEY: What's in there? The power source?
DUANA: I don't know. It's forbidden.

Look, with the more primitive societies of TOS you can get away with this sort of programmed "blind spot" (Norman: I am programmed not to respond in this area), but with this much interdependent technology you can't have everyone be a mindless sheep.

PICARD: No. Doctor Crusher is a Staff Officer, Radue. Starfleet Regulation six point five seven requires that at least two Staff Officers are present during any treaty or contract negotiations.
RADUE [on viewscreen]: Very well.
RIKER: Not much on pleasantries, is he?
DATA: I am not aware of Regulation six point five seven.
PICARD: No, Data. Neither am I.
DATA: I see, sir. Oh, I see, sir.

This regulation seems pretty reasonable, I wonder why it wouldn't exist...

PICARD: Before we begin, we want to see the children.
RADUE: No. We're here to negotiate appropriate compensation, not to pander to emotions.

Time to go get the rest of the fleet and bombard this planet until they surrender. These guys are jerks and whatever compassion I may have had for them has evaporated.

DATA: I believe it was a repulsor beam.
PICARD: Position report.
LAFORGE: This is unbelievable, sir. According to my calculations, we're three days from Aldea. At warp nine.

I wouldn't go back to Aldea immediately, I'd call the rest of the fleet etc.

LEDA: Ah. A fish. We used to have them in our oceans. I've never seen one before.

Wait for after the next quote...

Chief Medical Officer's log, stardate 41512.9. I've begun to suspect that whatever is killing the Aldeans is related to a danger faced by Earth in the twenty first century. Can it be that Aldea's ozone layer has been weakened?

Very topical. You can read about the effect of ozone depletion on the ecosystem here. In short, more UV radiation stunts the growth of fish and the plankton they eat. This affects the entire food chain. But no fish means that the entire ecosystem has been destroyed. That just raises further questions!

RADUE: Before we begin, Captain, you must speak with the children. It seems they are on some sort of strike. I don't understand it. You must deal with this, Captain. I'm not very good with children.

Classic buyer's remorse. Maybe they should've stolen a few parenting manuals while they were at it. One wonders if the Custodian could hack the Enterprise computers...

HARRY: Dad, I want to be an artist, but I don't want to take calculus anymore.
BERNARD: You can be anything you want, Harry. Anything. But you still have to take calculus.
HARRY: Okay. Thanks, Dad.

A good lesson. It's a shame more wasn't made out of this. Seriously, why wasn't a family of minor recurring characters in the cast from the start? Have one of them be part of the engineering staff and the other part of the science staff, or whatever. See the kid a couple episodes a season, a few B-plots to make the ship feel like a city in space and not just a giant taxi.

DATA: It worked well, sir. We have successfully reseeded the ozone layer. But for their atmosphere to maintain it's integrity, they can never use the shield.
RIKER: Or be cloaked again.

Destroying an atmosphere in one day is reasonable, but fixing it shouldn't be this easy. Couldn't the captain's log have said that a science vessel will be coming soon to handle this project, as well as the long-term medical treatment of the locals?

Memory Alpha

* "Aldea" is Spanish for "village". Huh? None of these people are Spanish, or even human!
* Kirk's Enterprise was flung a great distance away in "That Which Survives." Toss that onto the pile of TOS episodes that are ripped off poorly this week.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil agrees that "Things are only impossible until they're not" is a great line.
* The Aldeans expect to repopulate the planet with seven kids? Too bad all of the children could've been kidnapped, but they were all transplanted to other continents and Wesley's group couldn't contact them in time. The creators never seemed to grasp this concept of "offscreen people never add to the budget or production time, so always use numbers that sound logical".
* Phil points out that the gravitational effects can help locate any cloaked planet.
* There are more kids kidnapped than parents present in the meeting. Therefore all of the kids that were kidnapped are part of single-parent homes. Every. Single. One. Did the budget really not extend to nonspeaking bit parts using already made costumes?
* Doesn't the Federation have orphans for these guys to adopt? Not that I necessarily consider these people fit parents or anything...

Nate the Great 02-22-2018 02:04 PM

February 22nd, 1988, "Home Soil"

Fiver (by Derek)
Memory Alpha

The Episode

Let's get this out of the way up front: even after having proof that the microbrain is alive the crew is still uncertain, and then even after having proof that the microbrain is sentient the crew is still uncertain. It gets really annoying really fast. Furthermore even if Data is excluded from the list of nonorganic life forms because he was constructed, at the very least we have the Horta, the Excalbians, and the Crystalline Entity as proof that such things are possible, so the characters should stop acting like such a thing is impossible!

Captain's log, stardate 41463.9. While mapping the Pleiades Cluster, we've been asked by the Federation to visit a group terraforming Velara Three. Communications have been erratic and there is some concern about their welfare.

This seems like a TOS premise, doesn't it? Ships spread much farther apart than usual and all that. And note that Picard said while they map the cluster, not suspend mapping the cluster to go somewhere else. By sheer coincidence the Enterprise happens to be next door to this place exactly when communications become erratic. Talk about narrative convenience....

TROI: I sense deliberate concealment, sir.
PICARD: Of what?
TROI: I don't know, but it's intense.

That "of what" almost sounds like Picard is expecting telepathy, not empathy. Ugh.

BENSON: An android?
TASHA: And third in command of the Enterprise.
BENSEN: Where were you manufactured? Are there others like you?
DATA: Both matters are subjects of protracted discussion.

You'd think all of the scientists in the Federation would know that an android is in Starfleet. There are still science journals in the future, right? These guys can't be so busy that they never have the time to curl up with a good book, even Scotty did that!

LUISA: The first phase involves selecting the planet. That's very important. It must have the right mass and gravity, the correct rate of rotation, and a balanced day and night. The planet must also be without life or the prospect of life developing naturally. The Federation determines if that's so.

Okay, time to bring up the Genesis Experiment. Without protomatter the instant process is impossible, and let's figure that most of the technology is dependent on said protomatter, so most of that research is useless. Even so, they managed to fill an underground cavern with life that was seemingly stable. None of this could be used to fill a planet with life in a timescale less than a lifetime? Do they have to plant all the seeds one by one?

LAFORGE: Data, what's happening?
DATA [OC]: Too much to explain.

"The drill is out of control and firing at me." That hardly seems like "too much to explain." Yikes, I can be pedantic sometimes...

PICARD: None at all, Mister Mandl. Until this is sorted out, I've provided temporary quarters for you and your staff. Perhaps you'd like to make use of them.
MANDL: You're overstepping your authority, Picard. You have no right to interfere.

Yeah, good luck defending that argument in court, Mandl. I'm pretty sure Starfleet has authority where crime scenes are involved.

MANDL: I have a schedule to meet.

Schedule with who? Picard as a representative of Starfleet has put the schedule on hold. If he means that the various terraforming projects that they're working on have interlocking schedules that demand that the schedule be kept if months of work aren't to be undone, then he should've said so.

PICARD: Doctor Crusher is still making her determination. Mister Mandl, you know the Prime Directive.
MANDL: Are you saying that I knowingly defied it?

Here's the thing, "aware of surroundings" does not equal "sentient", and I'm pretty sure that the Prime Directive only applies to sentient life. It's a little too early in the episode to invoke the P.D. if you ask me.

Captain's log, supplemental. The inorganic life form from Velara Three has apparently taken over our Medical Lab.

Apparently? If there's doubt I'd like to see where it's coming from, Captain...

DATA: The Universal Translator is coming on line, sir.
VOICE: Ugly, ugly giants bags of mostly water
PICARD: Bags of mostly water?
DATA: An accurate description of humans, sir. You are over ninety per cent water surrounded by a flexible container.

You mean billions of tiny bags of mostly water, right? To get to the "bag of mostly water" stage you have to be talking about a single cell. Ugh. Furthermore, how would this thing have the concept of beauty if they can't see beyond light vs. shadow?

PICARD: Then what is feeding the damn thing?
LAFORGE: We found traces of cadmium salts. Now, cadmium is a conduit for converting infra-red into electricity.
PICARD: Meaning?
DATA: Meaning the microbrains might be photoelectric.

Okay, they set this point up earlier under a mountain of technobabble. A better Chekov's Gun than you'd expect for the season, but still rather clunky.

PICARD: We mean you no harm. Do you believe me?
PICARD: Good. It is important that you trust us.
VOICE: Not yet. You are still too arrogant. Too primitive. Come back three centuries. Perhaps then we trust.

The twenty-seventh century? Not that you care, but it seems that the microbrain will trust us when we are capable of creating the Tox Uthat.

The Fiver

Louisa Kim: Hi! I'm in charge of PR for the terraformers; let me give you the tour. Afterwards, you can visit our giftshop.
Riker: Thanks.
Louisa: No problem. (ahem) What is terraforming? Well, put simply, terraforming is life from lifelessness....

So these guys haven't bothered changing the script since the Genesis Project days. Talk about being committed to your work instead of public relations. :rolleyes:

Troi: I'm sensing that Nerd 2's in danger!
Riker: I don't hear any screams. Are you actually being useful for once?
Nerd 2: AAAAAH!
Riker: Wow. She was.


Data: Hey, Geordi! Look down this hole!
La Forge: Weird. It's inorganic, but it's doing strange flashy things.
Data: Who would've known there would be such a devil in the dark?

See, Horta!

Picard: Did you know there were lifeforms on the planet?
Nerd 1: At first the sand was just showing circles, but then it started displaying ellipses, parabolas, and the weirdest thing I've ever seen!
Picard: Come on, it couldn't be that weird.
Nerd 1: That was a hyperbole. It showed a hyperbola.
Picard: How eccentric.
Nerd 1: At least 4.5. Maybe higher.

As a math geek I approve.

Riker: Captain, you should look at this picture of the sand.
Picard: (over the comm) Amazing, it's using force lightning!
Riker: Does this mean it has joined the dark side?
Picard: I'm afraid so, Number One.
Riker: Look at all the chaos Mandl brought.

Star Wars and the Mandelbrot Set. Only in fivers. Enjoy some images of Mandelbrot Sets...

Data: I figured it out! They're photoelectric.
Picard: All right. Kill the lights!
Lights: GAK!
Picard: I meant in the lab, stupid.
Data: Sorry.

Another classic fiver gag.

Memory Alpha

* Final episode where Gene was head writer.
* The Horta is also brought up.

Nitpickers Guide

* If the microbrain needs saltwater to interconnect, how can it live in the lab where there is none?
* How can the microbrain start dying immediately upon losing access to light, what about nights on the planet?
* It's impressive that Data can apparently move at the speed of light to dodge laser blasts.

Nate the Great 03-09-2018 12:44 AM

I happened to find the TNG Companion at a library, so let's see if I can catch up in the next few posts.

GR had always insisted that people be at the heart of any Trek yarn, and it was in the arena of human interaction that the differences in TNG would be the most striking. While Kirk's crew was on a five-year mission, the new starship was to be outfitted for an assignment of ten years or longer. Because of that, officers and crew would be allowed to bring their families along.

Here's the thing; if you're going to operate under this "we won't be back in the core of Federation space for a long time, we need to have families on board" theory, you need to follow through with it. And that means you can't have wars where the flagship will be needed to defend Earth. It means you can't be patrolling the Neutral Zone (that's for the short-range military vessels). It means you have to have a captain that can deal with children!

But no, the E-D did not go past Farpoint Station into the great unexplored mass of the galaxy, it piddled about along the fringes of known space. And going back to Earth was not treated like an extremely long trip. So families aren't needed! Unless you're willing to always act like families are on board and structure the episodes around them. And separate the saucer every time battle is anticipated. And so forth.

Probert had also designed a transporter just off the bridge, but GR wanted the characters to have conversations en route to the transporter room, so that idea was dropped.

What conversations couldn't be held on the bridge before walking over to the transporter area? For me, the reason to have a separate transporter room is isolation from whatever's beaming on board. Even so, the five-minute walk is ridiculous. You could've used the same set for all transporter rooms and imply that one is within a minute's walk of the bridge, another is down the hall from Sickbay, etc.

The rest of this post is from the first casting call, December 10th, 1986:

Capt. Julien Picard. A caucasian man in his 50s who is youthful and in prime physical condition. Born in Paris, his gallic accent appears when deep emotions are triggered. He is definitely a "romantic" and believes strongly in concepts like honor and duty. Capt. Picard commands the Enterprise. He should have a mid-Atlantic accent, and a wonderfully rich speaking voice.


Number One (AKA William Ryker). A 30-35 year old caucasian born in Alaska. He is a pleasant looking man with sex appeal, of medium height, very agile and strong, a natural psychologist. Number One, as he is usually called, is second-in-command of the Enterprise and has a very strong, solid relationship with the Captain.

Fair enough.

Lt. Commander Data. He is an android who has the appearance of a man in his mid '30s. Data should have exotic features and can be anyone of the following racial groups: Asian, American Indian, East Indian, South American Indian or similar racial groups. He is in perfect physical condition and should appear very intelligent.

You'll note that everyone is in perfect physical condition so far. I guess the world was ready for a bald captain, but no one on the Enterprise is fat or sickly. Ugh. I do wonder how having an Asian or Indian actor would've altered the role, especially if the pale makeup was still intended.

Lt. Macha Hernandez. 26 year old woman of unspecified Latin descent who serves as the starship's security chief. She is described as having a new quality of conditioned-body-beauty, a fire in her eyes and muscularly well developed and very female body, but keeping in mind that much of her strength comes from attitude. Macha has an almost obsessive devotion to protecting the ship and its crew and treats Capt. Picard and Number One as if they were saints.

Doesn't Tasha treat all Starfleet officers as though they were saints after they rescued her?

She'll be turned into an Eastern European (one novel specifies Ukrainian and Lithuanian) after Denise Crosby was cast. I suddenly wonder how Roxann Dawson would've done in this role had she been a few years older.

Lt. Deanna Troi. An alien woman who is tall (5'8-6') and slender, about 30 years old and quite beautiful. She serves as the starship's Chief Psychologist. Deanna is probably foreign (anywhere from Italian, Greek, Hungarian, Russian, Icelandic, etc.) with looks and accent to match. She and Number One are romantically involved. Her alien "look" is still to be determined.

We all know how Crosby and Sirtis initially auditioned for the other's role, but we switched. I can't see either of them in the swapped role. At best I could see Riker and Crosby's Troi in a different sort of relationship than Sirtis' Troi.

Leslie Crusher. An appealing 15 year old caucasian girl (need small 18 or almost 18 year old to play 15). Her remarkable mind and photographic memory make it seem not unlikely for her to become, at 15, a Starfleet acting-ensign. Otherwise, she is a normal teenager.

How often did Wesley act like a normal teenager?

Beverly Crusher. Leslie's 35 year old mother. She serves as the chief medical officer on the Enterprise. If it were not for her intelligence, personality, beauty and the fact that she has the natural walk of a striptease queen, Capt. Picard might not have agreed to her request that Leslie observe bridge activities; therefore letter her daughter's intelligence carry events further.

I didn't need the mental image of Beverly strutting across the bridge, thank you Gene. I could've sworn he said he didn't want Beverly and Picard to get together.

Furthermore, if events had proceeded like this the audience would've had even less reason to like Wesley. Couldn't he have been a bit older, a prodigy that graduated from the Academy at nineteen or whatever but still had the heart of a kid?

Lt. Geordi La Forge. A 20-25 year old black man, blind from birth. With the help of a special prosthetic device he wears, his vision far surpasses anything the human eyes can see. Although he is young, he is quite mature and is best friends with Data. Please do not submit any "street" types, as Geordi has perfect diction and might even have a Jamaican accent Should also be able to do comedy well.

Jamaican accent. Ha ha. Sure, mon.

"Although he is young, he is quite mature." Ugh. The phrase "trying to have it both ways" comes to mind. Has the backstory of working with the kids not been thought of yet?

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