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Nate the Great 03-09-2018 01:17 AM

"The question will be raised as to why he [Wesley] was selected for this all-important mission rather than someone older who would have the maturity and experience which he has not, as yet, attained." Justman wrote in a memo to GR way back on November 12. "Because of his youth, Wesley Crusher has not yet had to learn to go with the herd and compromise his thinking just because compromising is easier and more socially acceptable. He has the ability to grow with the job and to devise new approaches and new capabilities for whatever unforeseen events we encounter. In effect he is a one-man "think tank" without preconditioned limitations."

Nice try, crew. Exactly the same thing could be achieved with a slightly older enlisted crewman. Someone like O'Brien who didn't go to years of the Academy but is out here after a few months of training. If it were necessary to have a youth perspective on this mission Starfleet Command would've assigned one.

Coming up with a reason for Wesley's special status that viewers would accept proved difficult for writers and producers alike.

So...hold off on introducing the character until you have a reason that the viewers would accept? There's no reason why he couldn't be bopping around belowdecks with the rest of the civilians. Maybe he hangs around Engineering for an internship for a year as a recurring character.

Roddenberry admitted that this character [Data] sprang from the Questor, a similar android seeking its creator in his weel-recieved yet unsold 1974 TV pilot movie, The Questor Tapes.

So...change Data enough to not be a blatant Questor ripoff? Put in a little more effort?

Worf, the lone Klingon in Starfleet, almost suffered from Gene Roddenberry's insistance that "no old races", that is, alien races that appeared in the original Trek, be featured at first in order to distinguish TNG from its predecessor.

So where did "Heart of Glory" come from? I agree that you can't just have reprises from TOS races, but the idea that anything TOS-related is automatically bad is ludicrous. After all, you're trying to get the TOS fans to watch the show, right? Plus doing a total rehash of a TOS episode for the first episode after the pilot makes it look like either the staff was lying, the staff is incompetent, or the staff thinks the viewers at home are idiots who wouldn't notice.

Then again, I'm of the opinion that the Star Trek creators have been bitten on the butt over and over again by the desire to do something different just to do something different, as opposed to wanting to do something different because doing something different has a lot of potential for good storytelling.

Of course it swings both ways, they wanted to be different with Voyager but the studio wanted TNG Part 2.

We start catching up with the episodes in the next post.

Nate the Great 03-09-2018 01:58 AM

Actually, let's take a sidestep to the casting memo reproduced on this page.

I'll only comment on the actors I'm familiar with.

Mitch Ryan was considered for Picard, and played Kyle Riker later. He's a bit too rough around the edges for the kind of captain Picard was supposed to be. Certainly a fellow captain as a recurring character, and I would've liked to have seen him as Kyle at least once more, perhaps in the aftermath of "The Best of Both Worlds." And married to Pulaski just to mess with Will's mind, of course!

Rosalind Chao as Tasha just seems ludicrous (even if John Ferraro seemed to like her). Maybe she could've played Troi.

Eric Menyuk eventually played The Traveller. I could see him play a different sort of Data, perhaps one built by an alien and having a more generic "become more humanoid" goal rather than strictly human.

Kevin Peter Hall eventually starred as Leyor (one of the bidders for the Bazan wormhole) in "The Price". I don't really remember how he did.

Seeing Tim Russ and Wesley Snipes on Geordi's list is just surreal.

Seeing McFadden using her real first name of Cheryl is a bit unsettling. I'm glad that her schedule evidently cleared up so she could take the role.

Nate the Great 03-09-2018 03:14 AM

TNG Companion, "Encounter at Farpoint"

The first pilot outline was a more primitive version of the "exploited alien" subplot. A second starship and a battle are involved. As has been mentioned elsewhere, the Q stuff was only added to pad out the episode past an hour.

Robert Justman said that the editing had to be made a bit less tight to fill the time available. I'm reminded of when SF Debris complained that Voyager filled leftover time with technobabble and DS9 filled it with character work. Apparently early TNG was filled with special effects like STTMP, and we all know how well that turned out.

DeForest Kelley insisted on being paid scale for his cameo.

O'Brien is mentioned with the rank of Lieutentant, but this version of the Companion only goes up to the fifth season, so perhaps his rank was still in flux. I don't have the time to go to his Memory Alpha page for something this trivial right now.

Tasha's one-time use of the skant and Troi's appearance in the miniskirt uniform are mentioned.

Nate the Great 03-09-2018 12:40 PM

TNG Companion, "The Naked Now"

This episode sparked the first of many waves of early criticism from fans who felt that too many TNG plots were being lifted from original-series stories. In this case, however, that was exactly what Gene Roddenberry wanted: a story, like "The Naked Time" of 1966, in which the wants and needs of new characters could be quickly revealed to a waiting audience.

There's a way to achieve that goal without blatantly copying "The Naked Time", Gene. Rick Berman tries to claim that it's a homage, not a copy. Nice try, Rick.

"Code of Honor"

Tracy Torme, an eventual writing staffer, later said he was embarrassed by the shows "1940s tribal Africa" view of blacks and by the fight's uncanny resemblance to the win-or-die battle between Kirk and Spock in "Amok Time".

"Uncanny resemblance"? If you say so, Tracy...


The Companion claims that this is the only time Troi uses "Bill." We've already covered the second time. "Imzadi" won't be used again until "Shades of Gray", a surprise to me.

"Where No One Has Gone Before"

In the original teleplay, Kosinski was responsible for both the warp effects and the accident; he also had a son who felt he spent more time on his career than with him. The crew was in awe of Kosinski in the original script, and the hallucinations were even more bizarre, including the image of Jack Crusher appearing to both Picard and Beverly.

I don't know where you could've fit Kosinki's son into the story, although it would've done a good job of fleshing him out. I wonder what a Jack Crusher hallucination would talk to Picard and Beverly about: giving Beverly permission to date again and telling Picard to stop feeling guilty?

"The Last Outpost"

According to Zimmerman, the Ferengi's poor eyesight accounts for their beady eyes and brightly lit ship's interiors; their huge ears help to compensate by providing them with better hearing.

So that's why the lights were so glaring. I always thought it was to save on the cost of building a Ferengi bridge set! ;)

"Lonely Among Us"

The diplomatic conference was added by Fontana, as in her 1967 original-series script, "Journey to Babel."

If that was Fontana's intent, she didn't do very well. As I mentioned in my original coverage of the episode, exactly what the crew was supposed to be doing was unclear, and having cannibal ambassadors sort of killed the mood.

Apparently O'Brien was in Security this time around. I'm reminded of Leslie back in TOS.


In an earlier draft (before Roddenberry sexed up the locals) there was a rebellion in progress, complete with an execution of the rebel leader. I question how this could've worked if there was a god hovering above the ready to stop any such violence.

"The Battle"

The Ferengi do better in their second appearance, but the "silliness quotient", as Rick Berman put it, made them a "disappointment as a major adversary."

Yeah, and who's fault is that?

No mention has ever been made of the nine years in Picard's life between the Stargazer abandonment and his taking command of the Enterprise, although several incidents are mentioned as having occurred in that era: in "The Measure of a Man" and "The Wounded", including Jack Crusher's death "Family."

"The Measure of a Man" refers to the Stargazer inquiry, but that couldn't have taken that entire time. "The Wounded" and "Family" refer to events during Picard's Stargazer era, not after it (Jack died in 2353, the Battle of Maxia was in 2355).

Memory Alpha makes clear the fact that we know nothing about the nine year gap after the inquiry ended, except for the following:

* He must've been in command of a ship when he met Tasha as referenced in "Legacy". Tasha was saving colonists from a minefield and impressed Picard.
* The novel "The Buried Age" says that he took a sabbatical after the inquiry to pursue archaeology for awhile.

Apparently this episode has the first appearance of the shirt-tugging variant of the Picard Manuver.

Nate the Great 03-09-2018 02:43 PM

TNG Companion, "Hide and Q"

Picard's Shakespeare is apparently open to "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Act III, Scene 2. This is a scene with Oberon and Puck, where Puck explains that he made Titania fall in love with Bottom, followed by the discovery that Puck used the love potion on the wrong couples from Athens, followed by Oberon telling Puck to sort everything out. It's a rather long scene. I suppose the intent is to compare Q with Puck, along with making it clear that even Q has a higher power that he answers to.

"Too Short a Season"

The director admits that there was a bit too much talking in this one.

The first appearance of a Starfleet admiral.

"The Big Goodbye"

TV Guide complained that this episode is too similar to "A Piece of the Action", but Tracy Torme and the fans (and me) disagree. I've seen many different kinds of stories set in the gangster era, there are many directions to take it.


Before this episode the staff was still working with the original premise that Data was built by aliens.

This is the last of three episodes where Argyle is Chief Engineer. I remembered "Where No One Has Gone Before", but had forgotten about "Lonely Among Us."

"Angel One"

Larry Nemeck says that the only noteworthy scene is the one where Troi and Yar laugh at Riker's native garb. I could dispute that, but I don't want to search for a second example right now.

Nate the Great 03-09-2018 04:12 PM

TNG Companion, "11001001"

Larry likes that this episode showed what Frakes could do, pointing out trombone-playing and doing romance. He also notes that the autodestruct sequence is much more formally worded than in the TOS era.

"Home Soil"

Larry considers this episode to be a pale imitation of "Devil in the Dark", but I must disagree. Certainly it doesn't reach the heights of the TOS episode, but that doesn't automatically make it garbage. Larry does like the "ugly bags of mostly water" bit, though.

I've written out entries for the rest of the season into a separate document to be copied into the regular posts going forward.

Nate the Great 03-14-2018 01:43 PM

March 14th, 1988, "Coming of Age"

Fiver (by Derek)
Memory Alpha

The Episode

Let's get this out of the way up front: This whole premise of "only one person from this group can get into the Academy at this time" is ludicrous. Period. It opens plotholes and is clearly just here for cheap drama. Wesley just happened to be here! There doesn't seem to be a reason why all of these candidates have to be in the same place. Whatever the screenwriters intended Mordack was badly written and his acceptance really does look like filling a quota. This. Is. Badly. Written.

T'SHANIK: You do not look as if you meet the age requirements.
WESLEY: Uh, I'll be sixteen next month.
OLIANA: Happy birthday.

Yeah, about that...why is the age requirement so strict? The age of maturity is different for different species, and there will always be outliers like Wesley.

REMMICK: Yes. To the best of your knowledge, has the Captain ever falsified a log?

Why would Riker know? Is it his job to fact-check the logs?

RIKER: If you want to discuss anything about Captain Picard, you bring him in here and ask him face to face.
REMMICK: You are required to answer my questions, Mister Riker, unless you're trying to cover something up!

Is Remmick supposed to sound intimidating? If so, it didn't work.

REMMICK: So, you are saying Captain Picard had no control over this vessel. He handed it over to Kosinski, who took the entire crew to the edge of the universe.
LAFORGE: No, sir. That's not what I'm saying. Now, Kosinski was sent by Starfleet to improve our warp drive system. Captain Picard was ordered to take him aboard.
REMMICK: According to his own logs, his Bridge crew didn't think highly of Mister Kosinski's theories, yet the Captain allowed him to access to the engines anyway.

The captain was ordered to cooperate with Kosinski, and at the time the chief engineer believed that his work could do no harm. Furthermore, Kosinski did not take the crew to the edge of the universe, the Traveller did.

REMMICK: Do you believe the captain is emotionally and psychologically fit for command of this starship? There is nothing in his history or his personality that would suggest mental lapses?
TROI: Nothing.
REMMICK: Not even the Ferengi incident with his old ship, the Stargazer?
TROI: He was being controlled by a mind altering machine, Commander. Without his knowledge.
REMMICK: I would call that a mental lapse.

Remmick was using the term to imply a fault on the part of Picard, not an external influence. If external influences mattered, I don't think any Starfleet captain could hold their job very long.

REMMICK: Captain, you are completely responsible for that boy's life.
PICARD: Mister Remmick, either get out of my way and keep quiet, or I will have you removed from the Bridge.

I hate Remmick. He's acting like one of those smug ambassadors in TOS, but doesn't have the rank to back it up.

REMMICK: Very original, Captain. But how did that child acquire access to a shuttlecraft?
RIKER: Kurland is a highly qualified Enterprise Academy candidate, fully trained in many areas including shuttles.

That didn't answer Remmick's question, Will. Not in the slightest.

CHANG: It's important to know how you candidates deal with other cultures, other species.
MORDOCK: Then it was a test.
CHANG: Yes. Not all tests are announced, or what they appear to be.

I'm reminded of that old urban legend about divinity students being waylaid by a fake beggar on their way to a test, not realizing that the beggar was the test. Ugh.

REMMICK: You're an android, correct?

What an idiot. Of course Data is an android, it's part of the public record. What did this question achieve beyond making him look like an idiot?

REMMICK: Just how did this contaminant get aboard the ship?
WORF: By accident, sir.
REMMICK: Meaning Captain Picard has no standing procedure for this type of situation?

What situation? "Accident" means unpredicted. You can't have a "standing procedure" for everything because you can't predict everything! Remmick should be focusing on things that might have actually been judgment lapses on Picard's part.

REMMICK: You don't like me very much, do you?
WORF: Is it required, sir?

Great response, although a better one is "have you given me a reason to like you?"

REMMICK: I spoke to officer after officer, at length. I pried into the ships log reports. And yet I could find nothing wrong. Except, perhaps, a casual familiarity among the Bridge crew, but mostly that comes from a sense of teamwork, and the feeling of family.

And if that's a crime, I want no part of Starfleet. Even Vulcans have a sense of teamwork. If you don't want that, go join the Borg, you jerk.

PICARD: Mister Crusher? Why aren't you in your dress uniform for Admiral Quinn's farewell dinner?
WESLEY: I didn't think that would be appropriate.
PICARD: Why not?

"Because I'm an Acting Ensign who shouldn't be going to officer's dinners and doesn't even have a real uniform, much less a dress uniform, sir."

PICARD: Wesley, you have to measure your successes and your failures within, not by anything I or anyone else might think. But, if it helps you to know this, I failed the first time. And you may not tell anyone!

Why would he have to? It's in Picard's public record if anyone cared to look it up.

The Fiver

Picard: Good luck on your test, Wesley. I hope you get into the Academy and never have to visit this ship again.
Wesley: Thanks, sir. But I'm sure that even if I get into the Academy, I'll still want at least one episode a season anyway.

I would've thrown in a reference to his contract, but this still works.

Oliana: Hi. You must be Wesley. I've heard a lot about you.
Wesley: Are you a love interest for me this episode?
Oliana: Not after what I've heard about you.
T'Shanik: I'm also not a love interest; you won't get one until next season.
Mordock: And I'm your rival, so forget about any male friendship between us.
Wesley: Sigh.

"It's gonna be one of those days..."

Remmick: Would you say the Captain was irresponsible to let Kosinski into Engineering?
La Forge: No, why would I?
Remmick: Because that incident resulted in Wesley being made an acting ensign.
La Forge: That is a good point.

Yes, it is.

Remmick: So would you call the Captain sane?
Troi: Of course not. His name's Jean-Luc.
Remmick: What about the time he was mind-controlled by the Ferengi?
Troi: His name was still Jean-Luc.


Memory Alpha

* First episode after Hurley took over from Roddenberry as showrunner.
* Remmick meeting with Yar isn't shown, but it must've happened. I wonder what they would've had to say to each other!

TNG Companion

Larry considers Wesley to be much better written this time. Wesley’s sixteenth birthday party was shot but cut for time.

The tale of this first appearance of the shuttlecraft, initially named the Copernicus III by Probert, is another uncanny echo of the original Trek. In both series, the building of a full-scale shuttlecraft was put off for budgetary reasons until writers made the craft and integral part of a story so that it had to be built.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil is also confused as to why Wesley didn't get in. In particular he points out that Worf and Data wanted Ishara Yar to apply for the Academy, and she can't possibly know as much about the technology as Wesley.
* If both Quinn and Remmick are being controlled by bluegills, why wouldn't they take the opportunity presented by all of these one-on-one meetings to take control of the senior staff?

NAHTMMM 03-20-2018 12:39 PM

Yeah, I have a hard time seeing Sirtis as Yar too. I'm sure she could have managed it with less showy hair.

I'd forgotten how good that "Coming of Age" fiver is.


So...change Data enough to not be a blatant Questor ripoff? Put in a little more effort?
It's a fine idea that never actually got used, so may as well recycle it.

Nate the Great 03-21-2018 03:52 PM

March 21st, 1988, "Heart of Glory"

Fiver (by Marc)
Memory Alpha

The Episode

* Picard wants to get more information before separating. So...when will there be enough information to justify separation besides a warp core breach?
* Why did they choose an exploding ship for this walking camera experiment?
* Even after the transmitter experiment ends, they maintain an open commlink so Picard can backseat drive. Ugh.
* Nikolai is mentioned, even if not by name. Whatever family members were invented in Season Seven, he wasn't one of them.
* Why would the Klingon death ritual be a secret? It's not like it's the pon farr or anything...
* I'm glad that the Klingon view of the body as merely a shell was kept consistent.

The Fiver

Korris: Traitor! Sheep! Peacenik!
Worf: I have heard worse insults before.
Konmel: Vulcan!
Worf: But not that one yet!

Redshirt! Bolian! Pakled! 23rd-century Federation official!

Worf: I like being the only Klingon serving on a Federation ship.
Riker: If our roles were reversed, I'm sure I'd feel the same way.
Picard: Gentlemen, may we please stop discussing these hypothetical scenarios and get on with our work?

Yes, completely hypothetical. Smirk.

Memory Alpha

* First appearance by perennial guest star Vaughn Armstrong, best known as Admiral Forrest on Enterprise.
* Using Geordi's VISOR as a camera won't happen again, at least for official use. The Romulans will hack his VISOR in "The Mind's Eye" and Soran will do it in Generations.
* First appearance of the perennial Klingon armor.
* Note the usage of "Kling" as the name of the Klingon homeworld before "Kronos" was invented. The Star Trek Encyclopedia attempts to reconcile this by using "Kling" for the First City.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil wonders why they didn't separate the saucer when a Klingon is pointing a weapon at the warp core.
* The Klingons admit to taking over a freighter and destroying a Klingon ship, and Worf takes them on a tour of the most vulnerable parts of the ship? Huh?
* The Guild asked why they couldn't turn off the warp core, but they also wondered why Korris couldn't have been beamed out and his weapon disabled.
* Geordi had normal sight for a few minutes back in "Hide and Q", so he should know Data doesn't glow. Furthermore, wouldn't Juliana Soong glow as well, blowing her cover?
* Why is the platform around the warp core made out of glass? The Voyage Home introduced transparent aluminum a year and a half before!

TNG Companion

The Klingon speech heard here was invented by Hurley, but in future Marc Okrand would be brought on board to bring some consistency.

Nate the Great 03-21-2018 03:58 PM

I apologize for the short entry. It was much longer, but the forum kept inflating the character count and insisting that the post was too long even though it's clearly not. Ugh.

Nate the Great 04-11-2018 11:35 AM

April 11th, 1988, "The Arsenal of Freedom"

No Fiver
Memory Alpha

The Episode

A few big nits before we get started:
* Far too much blatant padding with people on the bridge and people on the planet expositing to each other.
* The blatant fakeness of the Rice illusion is pathetic. If a bit of the padding had been chucked room could've been made for more Rice/Riker interaction. Come to think of it, couldn't a different illusion have been created for each away team member a la "The Man Trap", allowing for some characterization for Yar and Data?

And let's get some compliments out there up front: even though the plot is stupid there was some nice characterization. And at least this episode is the fun kind of stupid, where technobabble is kept to a minimum to make room for some humor.

RIKER: Paul Rice is confident to the point of arrogance, he but carries it well because he's usually right. He's a risk taker.
PICARD: Really?
RIKER: I'll give you an example. One of the final tests in advance navigation at the Academy provides the student with three options. Rice was given this test, rejected their options and offered one of his own.
PICARD: That's taking a risk.
RIKER: And it paid off. He received the top grade and now that same test has four options.

It's a shame they couldn't have namedropped Kirk and the Kobayashi Maru here.

WORF: Commander, weren't you offered the Drake?
TASHA: You gave up your own command to take this assignment?
RIKER: At the time I thought it would be more advantageous for me to do a tour on the Enterprise.

Okay, let's say that at this point the whole "the Enterprise will be leaving the known Federation for twenty years, and that's why children are on board" thing had been abandoned. Even so, Riker will be offered a few more commands in the next few years. Shouldn't "tour" still imply that he's not going anywhere for a few years? I thought Riker thought he just needed a little polishing before taking his own command, not years of training.

DATA: Captain, we are being hailed.
RIKER: How can that be from a planet with no people?
PICARD: Your sensors indicated no intelligent life forms?
DATA: Correct, sir.

First, nobody's ever heard of autodialers? "The Thaw" comes to mind immediately. Second, shouldn't Data say that he can't find any known forms of intelligent life?

SALESMAN [on viewscreen]: If you need a little something special, be it for one target or multiple targets, we got it. You'll see it here on Minos, where we live by the motto 'peace through superior firepower'. eap...shot...And also stop talking like Captain Kirk.

SALESMAN [on viewscreen]: To be totally armed is to be totally secure. Remember, the early bird that hesitates gets wormed.

We're definitely led to believe that Minos had no prior Federation contact, so did the computer scan the "language banks", find an appropriate Earth metaphor, and then edit the video and audio feeds to insert it? And all for a rather mild joke?

TASHA: Commander, I recommend a minimum complement.
RIKER: Oh? I would have thought otherwise.
TASHA: We'll keep the first landing party small and mobile, until I'm confident that whatever killed the inhabitants of this planet isn't still down there.
RIKER: Okay.

The problem here is that they're specifically pointing out that the away team is small, implying that elsewhere they'd be much larger (including a few disposable security officers, of course). Too bad in general the away team is always "small and mobile", so what's the point in reminding us of plot holes?

RICE: Tell me about your ship, Riker. It's the Enterprise, isn't it?
RIKER: No. The name of my ship is the Lollipop.
RICE: I have no knowledge of that ship.
RIKER: It's just been commissioned. It's a good ship.
RICE: Refresh me, would you, Riker? What's its size, it's complement?
RIKER: Who is here with you?
RICE: What's the armament on the Lollipop?

This is some clever thinking on the part of Riker.

DATA [OC]: He appears to be in some kind of stasis.
PICARD: Theorise, Mister Data. What would be the purpose of such an encasement?
DATA: Typically, the purpose of such an enclosure is for storage.
PICARD [OC]: Which would suggest what?
TASHA: That sooner or later someone or something will be along to collect him.

"Sir, it would suggest that this script was far too short and these irrelevant digressions had to be inserted to fill time." It would also suggest that the screenwriter was inept, because it would've been nice to have a scene or two where the deaths of Rice and the Drake crew was actually mourned.

PICARD: Yes. Doctor Crusher, this is the Captain. Meet me in Transporter room three. Mister La Forge, you have command of the Bridge.
LAFORGE: Aye, sir.
PICARD: And whatever happens down there, your prime responsibility is to the ship.
LAFORGE: Understood, sir.
TROI: Captain, I take great exception to your decision to beam down.
PICARD: Noted.

One, in the first season La Forge is still a junior officer, there are many more people on board who could and should take command before him, Logan among them. Second, situations like this are exactly why the captain shouldn't go on away missions. And it's not like danger is merely a possibility right now, events on the planet are dangerous right now. Picard should've been raked over the coals for this idiocy, possibly by Norah Satie.

Ship's log, supplemental. Lieutenant La Forge in command. I am unable to beam up the away team due to an unseen assailant attacking the ship. To make matters worse, Chief Engineer Logan is on his way to the Bridge, and he's not paying a courtesy call.

That last sentence is not log material, that's sitcom narration.

LAFORGE: I'm in charge until relieved by Commander Riker or Captain Picard.
LOGAN: You're ignoring my greater rank and experience.

So pull rank, Logan! This script really needed a better editor...

LAFORGE: I have a responsibility to them as well. Mister Logan, you are going to take command of the Saucer Section. Backup crew, report to the main Bridge.
LOGAN: You're going to separate?
LAFORGE: Yes, and I want you to take the saucer section and proceed immediately to Starbase one zero three.

"You mean ask Starfleet to send another ship to tow the saucer. You do know that at impulse it'll take us years to get anywhere, right?"

PICARD: Your grandmother was a doctor?
PICARD: Oh. She was a botanist, then?
CRUSHER: No. She helped to colonise Arveda Three.
PICARD: Arveda Three? That's such a tragedy. Did she survive?
CRUSHER: Yes. Once the medical supplies had run out, she had to use what was at hand. So she learned all about roots and herbs, and then taught it to me.
PICARD: You were part of that colony. I didn't know that. But then there must be a lot of things about you that I don't know.
CRUSHER: Quite a few.

Memory Alpha specifies that despite the contradictions this grandmother is in fact Felisa Howard from "Sub Rosa". I am confused about this business of Picard not knowing that Beverly was on Arveda Three. Shouldn't he know the major biographical details of all of his senior officers, even before you factor in his infatuation with her in particular?

TASHA: We could split up.
RIKER: What good would that do?
TASHA: Confuse it, delay it. Something.
RIKER: It would still get us. It would just take a little longer.
TASHA: It might give one of us long enough to get out of range.
RIKER: Out of range?
TASHA: Forget I said it. These devices wiped out an entire planet. I don't think it has a range.

I'm reminded of "Devil in the Dark" when Spock argues that it's pointless for him and Kirk to separate when being chased by a Horta. Also, are they implying that the devices that are chasing them are the same model as the devices that are attacking the Enterprise? I don't think these two models have the same range.

Memory Alpha

* Just like in "Angel One", shooting had to be stopped for a few days because the script wasn't ready. I'd argue that it still wasn't quite fully baked yet.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Riker was in stasis when Picard beamed down. Wouldn't he be angry that the captain is down here?
* La Forge drops the shields to beam the away team back while the Enterprise is still in the upper atmosphere? Um, wouldn't this damage the ship?

Nate the Great 04-11-2018 10:32 PM

I forgot to keep up with the TNG Companion. Here we go...

“Heart of Glory”

At last—a Klingon show!

Worf’s backstory was finally fleshed out here. Despite many complaints that previously unseen family members kept popping up in Season Seven, Nikolai Roshenko was referenced here, if not by name. The Klingon speech heard here was invented by Hurley, but in future Marc Okrand would be brought on board to bring some consistency.

“The Arsenal of Freedom”

This episode was originally conceived as a Picard-Crusher love story, but Lewin recalled that Gene Roddenberry changed his mind and opted instead for this extremely ambitious action-adventure yarn/morality tale about arms merchants.

Last appearance of saucer separation until “The Best of Both Worlds Part II”.

NAHTMMM 04-14-2018 02:52 AM


Originally Posted by Nate the Great (Post 81309)
April 11th, 1988, "The Arsenal of Freedom"

No Fiver

Really? . . . Huh. Maybe some other fiver references this episode.


Memory Alpha specifies that despite the contradictions this grandmother is in fact Felisa Howard from "Sub Rosa". I am confused about this business of Picard not knowing that Beverly was on Arveda Three. Shouldn't he know the major biographical details of all of his senior officers, even before you factor in his infatuation with her in particular?
Classic Starfleet Stupid. See also "Journey to Babel" where Kirk didn't know his First Officer was the son of a Vulcan ambassador until the time was dramatically right for him to find out.

Nate the Great 04-18-2018 01:12 PM

April 18th, 1988, "Symbiosis"

Fiver (by Nic)
Memory Alpha

The Episode

Main points:

* Dr. Crusher should know a narcotic when she scans one, and she should know what withdrawal symptoms look like. This Season One mentality of "if humanity doesn't experience it anymore, it's pointless and not worth remembering" is infuriating.
* Neither side has the high ground, which I suppose was intentional. But the problem is that neither side is sympathetic either. TOS pulled this off with Bele and Lokai, Troyius and Elas, and so forth, so when was this skill forgotten?
* These planets are not Federation members and are not subject to Federation law, so if they were just upfront about what this stuff was and asked for transport back home, our heroes couldn't do anything about it. Remember "The Outrageous Okona"?
* Picard asserting that they can't interfere is correct, so why is he getting so much backlash from the crew? Especially when TNG was supposed to be the anti-TOS at this point. No conflict and all that...
* The conversation between Tasha and Wesley was good, but it went too far into Very Special Episode territory and lasted too long. Even Kirk speeches didn't last that long.
* In this case, even if technically Federation law prohibits interference, I still would've, but in subtle ways. Isn't there a chemical or countermold that could be seeded on Brekka to make this mold gradually die off over a few decades? If the drug keeps getting more expensive, eventually alternatives would have to be developed, right?

The Fiver

Yar: Wow, electrical powers. Certainly a weapon that's hard to confiscate.
Riker: You're a big help. I don't see much of a future for you in Starfleet Security.

Given that this is the last pre-"Skin of Evil" appearance of Yar, I get that this is gallows humor, but personally I think it goes a little too dark.

Romas: The felicium is the only medicine that keeps us alive!
Crusher: And I don't suppose that there's a cheap generic version on the market?
Langor: No, that would infringe our patents.

It's sad how this joke has grown gradually less funny over the years...

Picard: You believe that felicium is a narcotic, Doctor?
Crusher: Yes! Everyone on Ornara is addicted to it!
Picard: I can't imagine what it must be like to depend on a chemical substance. Computer -- tea, Earl Grey, hot.
Crusher: Isn't that your twelfth cup since this morning?
Picard: Find someone who drinks that much coffee, then complain.

Point taken. One wonders how Janeway would deal with these people...

Crusher: I'm prepared to resign to protest your policy on this!
Picard: You'll have wait till Lieutenant Yar leaves the ship. She's in line ahead of you.

Dark. And overkill.

(The Enterprise sails away at Ludicrous Speed)



Tasha waves good-bye. This was her last episode filmed, after all.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil pointed out the biofilter thing as well, including the conflicts with "Angel One."

TNG Companion

This episode will most likely be remembered for three things; the teaming of two Star Trek II actors in guest roles, the late Merritt Butrick (his name was misspelled in the credits as “Merrit”) and Judson Scott [one of Khan’s followers]; the overbearing Nancy Reagan-era “Just Say No” anti-drug speech Tasha gives Wesley; and the REAL last scene for Denise Crosby.

Nate the Great 04-25-2018 02:57 PM

April 25th, 1988, "Skin of Evil"

Oh boy, here we go. As a prelude, I understand why Denise Crosby wanted to leave, but I think she made a mistake.

Fiver (by Kira)
Memory Alpha

The Episode

WORF: The martial arts competition is in three days. Are you prepared?
TASHA: I will be if you'll meet me on the holodeck later. I need your help on the Mishiama wrist-lock and break. If it works on you, I can use it on anyone.
WORF: A valid assumption. Who is your first competitor?
TASHA: Science Officer Swenson.
WORF: You will defeat him easily.
TASHA: I'm more concerned with Lieutenant Minnerly's kick boxing.
WORF: You are favoured in the ship's pool.
TASHA: You bet on me?
WORF: A sure thing.

Like Crosby said, if she'd gotten more scenes like this maybe she wouldn't have left so quickly. I wonder why she didn't push a bit harder, maybe form a block with the other actors to demand better writing and more varied plots or else everyone is leaving at the end of the season.

LYNCH: Captain, I'm in the middle of realigning the dilithium crystals.
PICARD [OC]: There is an emergency. We need warp drive. How long?
LYNCH: Twenty minutes. Maybe more.

Look, I get it, you can't always schedule disasters and routine maintenance to not conflict with each other. That's not practical. But something as simple as "have two sets of dilithium crystals and swap between them, so warp drive is never out of commission for more than a few minutes at a time" should be practical. It's not like we can recycle dilithium in the 24th century-oh wait!

LYNCH: Prime matter-antimatter injectors. Set ratio at twenty-five to one.

Would people please stop treating the matter/antimatter mix ratio as having possible values other than 1:1! Please! What's that other 24 parts of matter going to do besides spray across the bottom of the warp core? Throw in technobabble about slowly focusing the plasma stream if you need to pad out achieving warp capability if you have to!

(The oil slick ripples, and speaks)
ARMUS: Very good, tin man.

Seriously, where did Armus hear this colloquialism? He's obviously not telepathic. Further signs of bad writing. You don't make references Earth culture if the speaker doesn't have a connection to Earth!

RIKER: We have no choice. We're here to negotiate for our team. What do you want?
ARMUS: Maybe I want nothing.
RIKER: Then you would have killed all of us.
ARMUS: I still might.
RIKER: What do you want? Tell me. Maybe we can reach an accommodation.
ARMUS: If I tell you, will you give it to me?
RIKER: I might. It depends.

Okay, Riker asked what Armus wants, and he deflects. We'll come back to this.

ARMUS [OC]: They perfected a means of bringing to the surface all that was evil and negative within. Erupting, spreading, connecting. In time it formed second skin, dank and vile.
TROI: You.
ARMUS [OC]: Yes.
TROI: They discarded you and left.

There's an interesting discussion to be had here about these aliens who somehow removed the impurities from their own beings and combined them to create a sentient lifeform.

ARMUS: Don't you want to ask me what I want?

They DID! If you want something, just say so, it's too late to be offended that you weren't asked.

DATA: I think you should be destroyed.
ARMUS: A moral judgment from a machine.

Given Armus' origin, why is the concept of a sentient machine so incomprehensible for him?

I suddenly wonder if a tractor beam from the ship could scoop this guy up and toss him into where the next state would be.

(Armus transports Picard into the shuttlecraft)

HOW!?! Telekinesis is one thing, independent teleportation is another. Armus is clearly not supposed to be on the same level as Q or a Douwd or whatever. Just create a path for Picard to follow, then cut to Picard walking into the shuttle, it wouldn't cost an arm and a leg.

DATA: Sir, the purpose of this gathering confuses me.
PICARD: Oh? How so?
DATA: My thoughts are not for Tasha, but for myself. I keep thinking how empty it will feel without her presence. Did I miss the point?
PICARD: No, you didn't, Data. You got it.

A good scene. The episode really wasn't about Data, but he can still learn something.

Nate the Great 04-25-2018 03:02 PM

The Fiver

Yar: I hear there's a betting pool for the upcoming martial arts tournament.
Riker: Did you bet against her, Worf?
Worf: Bet against Lieutenant Yar? Ha! Over her dead body.
Yar: Thanks, Worf. That's very sweet of you.
Riker: But Tasha, he said --
Yar: Don't ruin the moment.

I wonder if "I'll take what I can get" could've been worked in here.

Picard: Picard to Engineering. I need warp and I need it now, Mr. Lurch!
Lynch: (over the comm) My name is Lynch, sir.
Picard: Whatever.

Is that supposed to be an Addams Family reference? I don't get it.

Riker: Tasha and Beverly don't want to get their shoes dirty.
Picard: Be a man, Will! Take your jacket off and use it to cover the puddle for them.
Riker: Are you kidding? Those stains would never come out.

Good joke, but the uniforms won't have separate jackets for a few seasons yet.

Armus: I'm not letting you near your shuttle!
Yar: Oh yeah? What are you going to do, kill me? I'm a regular! In your face!
Armus: Does this look like the Original Series?
Yar: Hahahahaha! No, our captain has far less hai...uh oh.
Yar: GAK!

Nice joke. Contractual immortality is always a great gag.

Riker: Armus is extremely dangerous. He's toying with us.
Picard: Then there's only one possible course of action.
Riker: Send down another away team?
Picard: Absolutely.


Data: Armus is approaching again. He most likely wants to torture one of us for amusement.
La Forge: Not it.
Crusher: Not it.
Data: Not it.
Riker: Huh? What are we -- Aaaaaaaa!

I wonder if a redshirt gag would've worked here, even when Security wears yellow, now.

Data: I feel worse for myself than for Tasha.
Picard: That's only natural, Data. You've lost a valued friend.
Data: Not to mention it will be years before I get any action again.

Depending on your definition of "action", it'll either be Ard'rian in two years, Jenna in three years, or the Borg Queen in nine years.

Memory Alpha

* Writer Keith DeCandido refutes fan dissatisfaction with the death, saying that there's no such thing as a good death. How short sighted. Main characters should never be killed in a method that might as well have been a TOS redshirt. Tasha could've been tricked by Armus into joining Troi in the shuttle, then chooses to fight back, perhaps jumping into Armus with a tricorder set to temporarily disrupt Armus' energy field allowing the Enterprise to beam up the shuttle crew. Wouldn't that be a better death? Then again, we wouldn't have had "Yesterday's Enterprise", so who knows...


Picard taunts Armus
Data is confused about mourning
Betting on Tasha is a sure thing

Nitpicker's Guide

* If Troi is in the shuttle and Riker is a few hundred feet away, why aren't they using their telepathic bond?
* If Armus is holding Riker hostage or something, why isn't there a bulge when he covers the shuttle to talk to Troi?

TNG Companion

“Gene felt we couldn’t kill the creature, because it is not up to us as human beings to make a moral judgement on any creature that we meet because we are not God,” Hannah Louise Shearer [one of the screenwriters] has said.

Director Scanlan filmed Tasha’s farewell message two ways: looking straight ahead at the camera (his preference, and more logical) and nodding in the direction of each person as she talks about them (completely illogical unless she left behind directions on who was to stand where).

Nate the Great 05-02-2018 01:18 PM

May 2nd, 1988, "We'll Always Have Paris"

Fiver (by KJP)
Memory Alpha

The Episode

As a summary, this is another episode that abuses science (at least standard Trek science) but has good character work. Which I suppose is better than the other way around.

DATA: Sensors show nothing, sir, but it appears a moment in time repeated itself exactly for everyone.
LAFORGE: Just like a feeling of deja vu.

Even as a child I found it odd that even after using the term "deja vu" the characters kept using alternate terms, dancing around the slightly foreign word as if afraid that it'll confuse or discourage the viewers from continuing to watch.

DATA: Computers were also affected, which would indicate the phenomenon was not an illusion but occurred in real time.

Now that's an interesting question: how would a computer feel deja vu? Would it record a set of calculations twice? I'm reminded of the Department of Temporal Investigations story "God, Fate, and Fractals", which feature tricorders that are specifically designed to retain data even if timeline alterations change the memories of the DTI agents.

RIKER: Captain, you act as if there's a connection between the time distortion and the distress signal.
PICARD: There is. Paul Manheim. Fifteen years ago he went off to work on experiments relating to non-linear time. It appears he may have achieved some measure of success.

Another interesting question: how much of Picard's knowledge of Manheim is basic scientific interest and how much comes from his connection with Janice?

PICARD: Yes, what is it, Counsellor?
TROI: I think you would prefer to discuss this in private.
PICARD: That's not necessary. Go on.

I do wonder why this conversation had to take place on the bridge. Was the script running long and there wasn't time to move things to the ready room or conference lounge?

COMPUTER: Holodeck three is clear.
PICARD: Location, Paris, Cafe des Artistes, as it appeared twenty two years ago. April the ninth, fifteen hundred hours, three o'clock. Warm spring day.
COMPUTER: Programme complete.

A horrifying thought...sensors keep track of everything that happens in public spaces everywhere on Earth with this kind of precision and distribute the data to all Federation facilities that have holodecks. And somehow records at least basic psychological profiles of everyone at the time of recording, along with recent biographical information to make them seem real. I thought unauthorized holographic recreations of real people was illegal!

Furthermore, it must be remembered that holodeck technology at the time was limited. Maybe Jack Crusher and Noonien Soong could record versions of themselves to stand in one place and talk, but true interactivity was still years off.

DATA: Actually sir, that may be an incorrect analogy.
PICARD: How so, Data?
DATA: A hiccup is a spasmodic inhalation with closure of the glottis. accompanied by a peculiar sound. If we were to continue this analogy to a body function, what occurred would be best represented by a--

By a...what? At best I would equate the Manheim Effect to a form of seizure. If you loosened the definition, maybe amnesia that only goes back a very short amount of time.

PICARD: This is Captain... This is the Captain of the USS Enterprise responding to your signal for help.

I get that Picard is uncomfortable about meeting Jenice right now, but even so, this seems like cowardice. Starfleet captains shouldn't exhibit this kind of weenie behavior when on duty.

JENICE: Paul's always been interested in time. He's never believed that it was immutable, any more than space is immutable. Over the last decade, he came to believe that we reside in one of infinite dimensions, and what holds us here is the constancy of time. Change that and it would be what he called opening the window to those other dimensions.

So altering certain temporal variables would allow us to exist in physical dimensions other than the three we currently occupy. I'm not sure what the appeal would be.

PICARD: Did he anticipate that these experiments might be dangerous?
JENICE: I didn't think so. Now, in retrospect, he probably did. That would explain all the unusual precautions he began taking, even before the accident. The force field, the elaborate security system. Every time he started a new experiment, he insisted that I stay in what he called a protected room.

I'm not sure how you would shield a room to resist temporal effects. You'd probably need to infuse the forcefield with tachyons or somesuch.

(Jenice kisses Picard's cheek and leave)
PICARD: She's an old friend.
CRUSHER: I gathered that.

Understatement of the century. We'll be returning to Beverly later.

DATA: I cannot be sure, sir, but I believe Manheim has developed a method for harnessing energy from the pulsar.

What? I thought Manheim set up shop here because of the gravitational conditions. How do you tap the energy from a star from so far away?

MANHEIM: We were able to locate an energy source in the centre of this planetoid.

What? This brings to mind bad memories of the Icarus Base from Stargate that is on a planet that has a naquadria core that can somehow power a Stargate. Blech.

JENICE: I knew you wouldn't come to me.
PICARD: No, not under these circumstances.

This is good. It's not that Picard is scared that he'll be tempted to have an affair with Jenice, it's that he doesn't want to cause her unnecessary pain or distract her from her husband.

JENICE: I've thought a lot about this over the years, and perhaps you're leaving out your greatest fear. The real reason you left.
PICARD: Which was?
JENICE: That life with me would have somehow made you ordinary.
PICARD: You're wonderful. And am I that transparent?
JENICE: Only to me.

I suppose Picard would've had to give up Starfleet and return to archaeology. I suddenly wonder if Professor Galen would've liked her.

CRUSHER: I don't think I want to talk about what I think you mean.
TROI: Captain Picard
CRUSHER: I can't compete with a ghost from his past. No one could.

You know, if Gene didn't want this relationship to exist, why did it keep showing up? Scenes like this in the first season create questions relating to "Lessons". In that episode Beverly claims that at this point all that there was was vague chemistry. This scene implies more than that.

MANHEIM: She never would admit this, but she has had a terrible time these last years. Had we not been so isolated, she might have left me, and I never would have known. At least, not right away.

"Isolated." Right. The Hansens were isolated, the Manheims were just a little bit off the beaten path. There's a difference.

DATA: In both cases, the time distortions occurred along the same continuum as a preview or a reprise of a specific point in time.
PICARD: Where we are, where we were, and where we will be.

This makes it sound like the distortions aren't altering history (movement is only along the axis of the timeline), which is nonsense. When the loop places two versions of a person in the same place, both retain memories of the encounter, which I would call an alteration (movement goes "off the rails" of the prior timeline).

PICARD: I think it should be only you because you seem more able to control the effects of the time distortion.
DATA: Oh, I see, sir. That is quite true, sir. I see time as a constant, whereas humans perceive time as flexible.

What? It was said earlier that the Manheim Effect appeared on sensors. That means that it affects machines as well. And it will affect Data. And I think Picard should've used something like "cope with" rather than "control." If Data can emit a subspace field that he can tune like a radio to deal with temporal alterations, that's news to me.

Nate the Great 05-02-2018 01:20 PM

The Fiver

Picard: Ah, the Holodeck. No better place to be when there's time warps and spatial anomalies about.

I'll say. Remember "The Big Good-Bye" when a slightly weird alien sensor scan totally broke this thing? And that would have less affect than time warps and spatial anomalies.

Picard: This is the captain of the Enterprise, but definitely not the man who stood you up in a Paris café years ago.
Female Voice: Oh, hi, Jean-Luc.

Using "but" instead of "and" makes it sound like multiple Enterprise captains have stood her up. Maybe she had a date with John Harriman the previous week...

Crusher: It's only the first season -- should I be jealous yet?
Picard: Nothing is outside the realm of the P/C 'shippers.

Fair enough.

Crusher: Dr. Manheim is awake, but not fully aware.
Dr. Manheim: My mind feels like it is floating between two places.
Crusher: He seems to be suffering from an overdose of New Age music.

This sounds like a topical joke that didn't age well. Sorry.

Picard: Now remember, Mr. Data, when fixing a time anomaly, you have to have an appropriate "time" catch phrase to use at the crucial moment.
Data: Okay, how about... "Time to take out the trash"?
Picard: Ugh. I would think any Starfleet officer could come up with something better than THAT.

Janeway sure did...

Riker: [I'm] just wondering how I would have handled the situation of dealing with the attractive wife of an eccentric scientist on a remote space station.
Picard: Right, as if that could ever happen again.

Ha ha. "That's as likely as discovering that Kreiger Waves actually exist!"

Nitpicker's Guide

* Supposedly the recreation of the cafe is accurate, but Jenice said that it rained that day. Even if you posit that there's some sort of Back to the Future II-style weather control in play, there should be wet furniture around.
* The Eiffel Tower jumps around in the holodeck scenes so you can see it as much as possible. It's almost like the studio thinks the viewers are so stupid that the won't remember that this is Paris unless the Eiffel Tower is always in view.
* When Troi takes Jenice to the holodeck when Picard is already inside the computer gives Troi the option to stop the program. Huh? I would think that the occupants of a holodeck should have priority unless the people outside use a security override.
* The computer presents the arch when Jenice uses "exit" in a casual manner, not as a command. Phil comments that this would create all sorts of unwanted side effects when commands don't have to be preceded by "Computer."

TNG Companion

As originally pitched there was a lot more romance, but it was toned down. The writer’s strike affected filming. Many staff members thought that Jenice and Picard lacked chemistry, but actress Michelle Phillips took cues from the script and acted like a faithful wife to Manheim. The menu at the holographic café includes such in-jokes as Croissants D’ilithium, Targ Klingon a la Mode, and Tribbles dans les Blankettes.


The Manheim Effect at the turbolift
Data plugs the hole
Jenice wanted a painless lie

NAHTMMM 05-06-2018 08:10 PM


Originally Posted by Nate the Great (Post 81326)
COMPUTER: Holodeck three is clear.
PICARD: Location, Paris, Cafe des Artistes, as it appeared twenty two years ago. April the ninth, fifteen hundred hours, three o'clock. Warm spring day.
COMPUTER: Programme complete.

A horrifying thought...sensors keep track of everything that happens in public spaces everywhere on Earth with this kind of precision and distribute the data to all Federation facilities that have holodecks. And somehow records at least basic psychological profiles of everyone at the time of recording, along with recent biographical information to make them seem real. I thought unauthorized holographic recreations of real people was illegal!

Picard had to tell it that it was a "warm spring day". So presumably it just took the temporally closest snapshot of the cafe, adjusted the sun for that time of day (almanac), and populated it with, perhaps, a few of the servers who worked there and agreed to be recorded, and added in Generic Parisians.


Data 1: Uh oh, there are three of me now. Hmm....
Data 3: Helloooooooooooooo....
Data 2: ......Hellooooooooooo....
Data 1: ............Helloooooooo....
All Three Datas: Hello.
Data 3: I always wanted to do that.
Now that's turning a problem into an opportunity.

Picard: Before we say farewell and you return to your husband, may I ask what you think of our Holodeck's re-creation of the French café?
Jenice: Very authentic. I haven't seen our waiter in over an hour.

Nate the Great 05-09-2018 12:03 PM

May 9th, 1988, "Conspiracy"

No fiver
Memory Alpha

The Episode

LAFORGE: So the guy staggers to his feet and goes back to the girl, right? Well, she smiles, looks him right in the eye and says 'just try that in hyperspace!'

Hyperspace? What's that? If Memory Alpha is to be believed, the only other mention of "hyperspace" in Trek is a "hyperspace physics" question in "Coming of Age."

Seriously, where were the science consultants? This joke would work equally well if you invoked zero gravity instead.

RIKER: Increase to warp six.
LAFORGE: Aye sir. Full impulse.

No comment.

TROI: I know I won't. I've been really looking forward to a nice swim.
DATA: You are aware, Counsellor, that the holodeck can be programmed to recreate an oceanic environment.
TROI: Data, it's just not the same.

How? This is a perpetual problem where the holodeck is concerned. If the simulation isn't perfect, why is it available? Why bother with the thing at all?

WORF: Swimming is too much like bathing.

The season's almost over, and the writers still don't have a firm grasp on his character.

DATA: Commander Riker. I am receiving a Code Forty Seven.

Joe Menosky is the guy who will inflict 47 on the fandom, and he won't show up for a few years, so this instance is just a coincidence.

PICARD: You're using a Code Forty Seven. I have to know what this is all about.
KEEL [on monitor]: Not over subspace, no.
PICARD: Oh, for God's sake, Walker. This is a secured channel--

Why do "secure channels" exist if they're not really secure and people can't trust them?

WORF: Two are frigates. The Renegade commanded by Tryla Scott, and the Thomas Paine, Captain Rixx commanding.
DATA: The third is just coming into range now, sir. It is Ambassador Class heavy cruiser, USS Horatio.

A frigate is a warship that is built for speed. These ships are of the New Orleans class, a modified, smaller version of the Galaxy class. Their sister ship, the Kyushu, was destroyed at Wolf 359.

KEEL: Do you recall the night you introduced Jack Crusher to Beverly?
PICARD: You know full well I hadn't even met Beverly then. You introduced them.
KEEL: My brother introduced them.
PICARD: You don't have a brother. Two sisters, Anne and Melissa. What the hell is this all about?

Nice characterization.

PICARD: Tryla Scott. It's said you made Captain faster than anyone in Starfleet history, present company included.

It's said? Isn't something like that rather easy to verify?

RIXX: Starbase twelve was completely evacuated for two full days. No explanation given.

You'd think the press would demand and explanation for that. Furthermore, what would such a thing accomplish for the bluegills' plan?

KEEL: We're not sure yet. Damn it, Jean-Luc. I tell you that some of Starfleet's top command people are changing. This could affect the very core of our organisation. Officers I've known for years are bluffing their way through talk of old times.
RIXX: That's their weakness, a lack of memory.

A perpetual problems with large-scale replacement plots. It takes much more than what's on the official records to duplicate a person's personality and responses. It's too bad this isn't the last time Trek will attempt to feed us this kind of nonsense.

KEEL: Tell Beverly I said hello.

It's not like this was a meeting that we were attempting to keep secret-oh, wait!

PICARD: I trust Keel completely. If he felt it necessary to violate regulations, he must have had a good reason.
TROI: But you're putting your career at risk for him.
PICARD: Friendship must dare to risk, Counsellor, or it's not friendship.

A good message, but in this case I don't think enough evidence has been presented yet.

PICARD: Take us out of orbit, Mister La Forge.
LAFORGE: Aye, sir.
PICARD: Resume heading to Pacifica, warp factor eight.

Why wasn't the discussion with Troi conducted en route? And why not use warp nine to minimize the delay and the appearance that something strange is going on?

CRUSHER: I understand the Horatio was in orbit around Dytallix. Did you see Walker?

A classic example of "do what I mean, not what I say."

DATA: Startling. Quite extraordinary, in fact.
COMPUTER: Directions unclear. Please repeat request.
DATA: That was not a request. I was simply talking to myself.

I know that Data has talked to himself before, but having this appear before he gets his emotion chip seems odd.

DATA: The orders were given with great subtlety. To use an aphorism, Starfleet's left hand did not know what its right hand was doing.

Sometimes it gets annoying when Data understands metaphors during some episodes and not others. Returning to the plot, sometimes I wonder how Starfleet ever keeps everything straight. There are just too many planets and ships to keep track of. Can you imagine the number of middle-management drones filling whole starbases worth of cubicles that would be required for all this coordination?

Captain's personal log, supplemental. While it is quite unusual for a starship to return to Earth, we seem to be left with no other choice. I have apprised the remaining bridge crew of our situation.

And yet the trip from the frontier to Earth didn't seem to take long. The Enterprise has just traveled across almost half of the Federation in a day or so. It's almost like the writer's can't do math...

SAVAR [on viewscreen]: Greetings Enterprise. I am Admiral Savar. This is Admiral Aaron, and I believe you already know Admiral Quinn.

Yes, we keep three admirals around at all time to talk to starships who show up at unexpected times. We apparently have nothing better to do...

AARON [on viewscreen]: Governor Delaplane of Pacifica informs us that you cancelled your scheduled stop there. Is this true?
PICARD: Yes, sir, it is.

Wait a second. Picard defied orders and never bothered telling Starfleet about it? That seems like something needing at least a disciplinary hearing, doesn't it?

CRUSHER: The parasite appears to stimulate the victim's adrenal glands, generate great strength.

Can we all agree that this is nonsense and move on?

(The bowl contains live mealworms. Picard recoils)

What was the point of this? Even if bluegills eat mealworms, their host bodies don't.

LAFORGE: Any idea what the message was, Data?
DATA: I believe it was a beacon.
PICARD: A beacon?
DATA: Yes, sir. A homing beacon, sent from Earth.

It's too bad that this will never be followed up on in canon...

Nitpicker's Guide

* At the end Riker calls for Security, and not only do Worf and La Forge show up instead to save the cost of hiring extras, but they're not even armed. And the weird part is, Crusher is armed when she arrives!
* Wouldn't the biofilter catch these bluegill things?
* Picard is able to dodge a phaser blast. I guess these things don't travel at light speed after all...

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