Tuesday, March 27, 2012


***** (5 stars out of 5)
Is there life in the Epsilon Silar system? Who knows! We're not going to find out today!

Troi beats Data at chess. While you're trying to wrap your head around that, consider this. "Chess is a game of intuition." she gloats. Really? Really.

Soooo... is Troi cheating or is Data buttering her up for some reason? Maybe he's hoping for a promotion... or a date? He is eager to fix her a drink.

The Cliffs of Heaven on Sumiko IV (Holodeck Program 47-C) is the setting for another diving injury to Captain Liberty's descendant Kristin. Dr. Crusher suggests the Emerald Wading pool
on Cirrus IV instead. Really, what matters is that I retained that while staring at Liz Vassey in a bathing suit.

Riker chews Ro out for doing things. Rules, blah blah, bladdy blah. I'm sure it was important, but he's not in a bathing suit and neither is she, so I drowned it out.

Suddenly, a green beam makes everyone forget their identities. Even Extra First Officer looks confused. Still, it's not all bad. The crinkly-nosed woman remembers how to be a pilot. The guy with the metal baldric remembers tactics. The guy with the cool shades knows how to run computers and retrieve personnel files. Baldric Guy and Nose Girl place a high priority on weapons and defence, tying up computer resources. It slows Doctor Lady down in finding out what's wrong.

Robot Bartender and Telepath Gal await further instructions while Beard Man hits on Nose Girl.

Turns out their so-called Federation of Planets is at war with the genocidal Lysian Alliance. Enterprise is on a covert mission to destroy Lysian Central Command.

Now with names but still memory-free, Ro sets up shop in Riker's bed:
"For all we know, you and I could hate each other."
"What if I snore in my sleep?"
"What makes you think you're going to get any sleep?"

The Lysian ship they encounter is massively outclassed and easily destroyed. Hooray! Picard questions the morality of this and Extra First Officer MacGuffin, uh... MacDuff cannot stress enough how important it really is that they kill every single Lysian bastard ever spawned.

MacDuff, as it happens, is one of those guinea-pig eating creatures from 'V' and gets his fiery phaser comeuppance.

Ro had to keep elbowing past Troi to get to Riker's kissy face, but when their memories are restored it's HIM they blame for his Man-Whore Ways! Is that fair, I ask you? Is it fair to accuse men of being sex-obsessed? What's that? You'll have to speak up, I'm staring at Liz Vassey's bathing costume.

"Conundrum" is really quite cleverly written, a keen piece of acting, and GEEZ, did they just phaser that guy's skin off, or what? I'm going with hologram, myself. Also, on a related note, I hope the Federation sent some condolence cheeses to the Lysians.

The Masterpiece Society

* (1 star fragment out of 5)
While chasing a chunk of neutron star, Enterprise discovers an unexpected human colony dome on Moab IV.

To save them from the quakes the star will cause, they plan to evacuate. But the locals won't hear of it. They've put a lot of time into their horrible little planet, and an obsessive, dare I say, insane amount of pre-planning. Eight generations of selective breeding over two centuries has led to handsome, bland, nay blandsome Aaron Conor.

Everyone is bred for their purpose. No poets remain unknown labourers here. They're as homogenous as they come, filled with arrogant certitude from perfect birth to snooty death.

"Am I making this sound incredibly dull?" Oh, don't hang a lantern on it, man! Just hit on Deanna by the numbers and leave us out of it.

Local scientist Hannah Bates teams her smarts with Geordi's tech to create a multiphase tractor beam to move the stellar fragment instead. (Conveniently, no one will ever remember this miraculous star-pushing invention or speak of it again.)

While bragging about how many things the diverse and unplanned Federation has invented in the time it took the Moab Colony to stagnate into pointless tedium, Geordi says there's over a century of evidence that the transporter does not affect DNA. (Worryingly, we will later learn it has been in use for more than TWO centuries. Transporters: Flipper Baby free since 2263!)

Picard doesn't approve of genetic engineering. "It was a bad idea whose time has long past." (Plus it's hard to avoid Keniclius Gigantism or the dreaded Shrinkage of Terratin.)

The key to the multiphase tractor beam is making it work like a VISOR. Which Geordi gloats about. Yes, yes, the Genome Colony terminate imperfect offspring, so they never invented the tech that would have saved them. They would have fried like eggs. Very ironic. Petty, Geordi, real petty.

Troi and Aaron had what I infer was the dullest pre-planned sexual coupling in the history of the planet. She makes some noise about how she could easily fall in love, but it amounts to dumping Marlon Bland-o.

Geordi and Hannah read off numbers for far too long, somehow making the first time a starship ever pushed a star into an even bigger drag.

Picard cannot ignore Hannah or the others of Genome Colony who request asylum, but if they take two dozen of them away somehow the thousands who remain will lose their perfect world. I have a hard time feeling even slightly sorry for them, maybe because I don't understand this problem.

If 23 people leave, can't you just ask the Federation for 23 volunteers to live in a sterile, tedious little dome on some backwater shit hole? Oh, I see the problem now. Aaron might've phrased it better, though.

"The Masterpiece Society", sorry to say, is weak sauce. Maybe it's meant as an indictment against the utopia Star Trek posits. Criticizing a show for being dull with a dull show seems self-defeating, however.


*** (3 stars out of 5)
Enterprise is bringing telepathic Ulian historians to Kaldra IV. The garb of the Ulian is, for some reason, cut up like paper snowflakes. It is the only charming thing about them.

The Ulians' leader, chunky old Tarmin, helps Keiko retrieve a memory of her Obachan. He is eager to retrieve memories for everyone, but the crew is a little squeamish. Worf pretty much says it all: "Klingons do not allow themselves to be... probed."

Tarmin brags about how much better he is at telepathy than his withdrawn son Norman... uh, Jev.

Yet soon we learn that Jev IS proficient enough to probe Counselor Troi into a coma. Jev forces his way into her memory, and twists a post-poker game smooch with Riker into an assault.

Jev dodges Riker's investigation by invading Will's mind. He's tormented by the order he recently gave that cost the life of Ensign Keller. And now there's two comas.

When Beverly Crusher starts prying, she conveniently drops into a coma also. She's haunted by the memory of the starbase morgue where she viewed Jack's body alongside bandaged Captain Picard.

"Will keeping telepaths in their quarters prevent it from happening again?" Geordi asks, quite sensibly, when Picard orders it.

Geordi uncovers two cases of weird coma on Jarada III at the same time the Ulians were there. Jev is less particular about who he violates than anyone ever: at least, if that's the planet of the giant cockroaches mentioned in Season 1. I believe I speak for everyone when I say... ICK.

Troi awakens after three days but cannot recall her nightmare. Jev, under supervision, "recovers" Troi's memory... of Tarmin assaulting her.

About to get away with it, Jev cannot resist going back for thirds and is caught making another attack on Troi. She gets in a few good punches before Worf takes the frakker down.

"Memory invasion is simply not a crime that we've ever had to contend with," says Picard. What? WHAT? WHAT? No Romulans or Vulcans have ever tried to pull this crap in the hundreds of years you've known them? Not once? Think hard. I know Vulcans are the good guys, but come on. Mr. Spock's maneuver on Valeris was very much a memory invasion. Necessary perhaps, but arguably criminal.

The punishment for Jev is quite severe. I'm guessing it's not the gas chamber if they're Federation, but if it's a lobotomy it couldn't happen to a creepier guy. Misuse it and lose it.

"Violations" is the first episode made after Mr. Roddenberry's death. Some very ugly concepts are on display here. It's effective, scary drama.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hero Worship

** (2 stars out of 5)
Starship Vico is found damaged and drifting in the Black Cluster. (Confusingly, this Cluster was named for its mostly blue colour.) Somehow, mighty Enterprise is unable to download the stricken ship's logs though the emergency bulkheads (they block the wifi or something).

An away team braves the rumbling, crumbling vessel and returns with the lone survivor.

He had to be rescued from under a victurium alloy beam that blocked the transporter. I understand the necessity of plot devices, but I'm dubious. The boy is clearly visible. The troublesome alloy is only above him. Can't this marvellous teleporter get him out at another angle?

Anyway, heroic Data saves Little Orphan Timothy. Timmy relates a story of an attacking boarding party, but apart from his account, there's no evidence. According to this episode and the previous one, Kid Plus Dead Mom Equals Liar.

Also like Alexander, Timothy's desperate for a role model. His tormented mind concocts the solution of becoming an android just like Data.

As ever, procedure with trauma-shocked orphans is leaving them by themselves in empty rooms. Where the holy hell are Troi and the other counsellors? Wouldn't he need more attention than a daily appointment? 'Here's your quarters, there's the replicator. Now don't go anywhere, and be less sad. Later, 'gator!'

Anyway, Troi calls his condition enantiodromia: defined as something you say to remind people you have a psychology degree when they've lost faith in your general knowledge. Troi has Data play along with Timothy's android fantasy. Their antics include slicking their hair back, making bird-like head tilts, and field-stripping the engine nacelles while clinging to the outside of the ship.

Soon, Deanna has Data scooching Tim back toward humanity. The real android remarks with plaintive subtlety: "I cannot take pride in my abilities. I cannot take pleasure in my accomplishments... I would gladly risk feeling bad at times if it also meant that I could taste my dessert."

Some of Timothy's suffering stems from his mistaken belief that HE destroyed his ship. The true cause is discovered to be a reflective gravitational wave front that bashes ships harder and harder the stronger their shields. Only by lowering their barriers can they be saved.


"Hero Worship" wraps up the destruction of a child's entire support structure and his speedy recovery in short order. Then it shoves him into the same Oblivion Closet as Worf's adopted brother Jeremy Aster and Riker's beloved fake son Barash. Or maybe Data sent him to live with the Rozhenkos. I understand they're not busy anymore.

New Ground

** (2 stars out of 5)
Worf's mom drops by with that thing he left at her house. Alexander. He's HUGE! Nobody mentions time warps, but if you'll recall, he's not more than three years old. I guess Klingons grow fast. Nana Rozhenko is insistent that the boy remain with his father. Ruh-Roh!

Worf quickly learns how ill-prepared he is for true fatherhood. He doesn't even know Alexander's birthdate is the 43rd day of Maktag. If that's a real thing. There's some suggestion that Alexander is kind of a liar. That or his mom gave him cake for breakfast every day.

Bilana III is testing a new soliton wave. What a sensible, pronounceable way to spell that. Bilana. Bilana. Not nearly so difficult as when it's a Klingon female's proper name. (More on that later.)

Geordi is thrilled to be here to see this! Ships without nacelles will be riding soliton waves through warp space like surfboards. Data, Worf, and the entire audience shrug. Why? Because it's a terrible plan...

That's right. It's a warp drive, but without all that pesky being able to steer. OR STOP. How long did they think about this? Isn't this like building a car without an engine, that works by throwing it really hard towards your work every morning, and then throwing it back to your garage every night?

Speaking of avoidably stupid deaths, Earth's white rhino has been extinct for two centuries, and the draco lizard for three. The gilvos of Corvan II are under threat of extinction from industrial pollution, so Enterprise is taking some to the protected planet Brentalia. Gilvos are adorable: if you adore faceless snakes covered in bark instead of scales.

The test ship goes blammo but the soliton wave doesn't stop. Soliton Wave don't care. Soliton Wave don't give a shit! It's getting bigger, faster, and it's headed for Lemma II. If only it could be stopped somehow.

Caught stealing, Alexander receives a lecture in honour. It doesn't take. Under threat of Klingon boarding school (very probably where they literally hit you with boards until you learn honour) Alexander runs off and is caught in a fire in the Biolab as the Enterprise chases down and destroys the soliton wave. Alexander and the gilvos are saved.

"New Ground" features the final screen appearance anywhere of a lovely actress, the sweet Georgia Brown, and the first Alexander appearance of Brian Bonsall. Fine work from both. While I'm not a huge fan of the story, I appreciate the effort expended to remind us of the one thing that makes the D different from all the other Enterprises: Kids Welcome.

Sadly, it's the same sort of kid you always get on daytime dramas: aging rapidly, disappearing when inconvenient, and contributing little. Complaining aside, I blame all that on the system. Liking Alexander anyway: that I credit entirely to Mr. Bonsall.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

STAR TREK VI: The Undiscovered Country

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Way back in 2293, Captain Kirk's crew is retired or semi-retired. Or, in Hikaru Sulu's case, Captain of starship Excelsior on what sounds like the hands-down dullest mission of all time: 3 years cataloguing gaseous anomalies.

Disaster strikes the Klingon Empire when the overworked energy production facilities on the moon of Praxis cause the darn thing to crack in half.

The Klingon home world is so polluted by this accident that they will run out of oxygen in 50 years. It's fortunate that the Conservatives don't run Kronos: they'd be using their last breath to remind everyone that if Klingon God had wanted them to have air He wouldn't have let them blow up Praxis.

The Klingons sue for peace, sending moderate Chancellor Gorkon (the incomparable David Warner) to end 70 years of hostility.

Special Envoy Spock and Captain Kirk are given the assignment despite Kirk's deep-seated prejudice against Klingons. "Jim... they're dying."

"Let them die." Kirk blames all Klingons for David's death, it seems. That's the gentle voice of reason, mellowing with age.

Enterprise-A has a new helm officer, Lt. Valeris, the first Vulcan to graduate at the top of her class at the Academy. REALLY?!? SPOCK wasn't at the top of his class? SAAVIK wasn't? NO ONE from the Intrepid? I'd joke that they all must have had low grades in P.E., but they're not just geeks, they're super-strong geeks. What gives? Also, that Valeris is such a Samantha.

Because of the sensitive nature of the talks, everyone gets shit-faced on Romulan ale, and for some reason it goes badly.

Gorkon has a bone to pick with you... actually it's his cane. Gorkon's daughter Azetbur makes the (rather plausible) accusation that the Federation is nothing but a Homo Sapiens Only club.
Brigadier Kerla thinks his culture is about to be annihilated. General Chang seems to believe Shakespeare was a Klingon and he can't or won't stop quoting him.

Gorkon understands Kirk's lack of trust. "If there is to be a brave new world our generation is going to have the hardest time living in it."

Gorkon's ship, Kronos One, is fired upon and the Chancellor himself is assassinated in zero gravity by helmeted Starfleet personnel. The severed limbs and gouts of purple blood are most striking... but mysterious. Since when is Klingon blood purple? Side-effect of too much Romulan ale, I'll wager.

McCoy does his best to salvage Gorkon's life. Chang has Kirk and McCoy arrested for the assassination.

The diplomats have their say: K'Shuck sputters in anger, Romulan Ambassador Nanclus offers a receding hairline (but not the beetled brow of his descendants), and Federation President Kurtwood Smith looks a lot more Klingon than one would imagine, except for the John Lennon specs.

Starfleet Colonel West presents a plan to rescue Kirk and McCoy, and if it should accidentally provoke a war, he brags, 'Then, quite frankly, Mr. President, we can clean their chronometers."

The backward sexism of the 24th Century seems absent in the Klingon Council of the 23rd: Azetbur is made Chancellor.

Colonel Worf, (presumably the father of Mogh) and looking a lot like his namesake grandson, defends Kirk and McCoy at the trial on the Klingon home world, Kronos. Chang presents Kirk's personal logs as evidence that he sought revenge against Klingons for the death of his son.

The "merciful" court sentences our heroes to 'The Alien's Graveyard' the dilithium mines on the frozen penal asteroid Rura Penthe. W. Morgan Sheppard as the Gulag Warden demonstrates that mere exile to the surface is death.

Kirk wins a fight with DC's Blue Devil by kicking him in the knee-nads. (They're like knee pads only they're genitalia.) Femme Fatale Martia stands up to Kirk's bully and offers him a smoke.

Ensign Christian Slater works for Captain Sulu, but they say his mommy got him the post.

CSI: Starfleet does a drawer by drawer, deck by deck search for Klingon blood on uniforms and gravity boots. The incriminating footwear is in the locker of Crewman Dax, a guy with trees for feet.

Since the mine doesn't take girl prisoners (what do the girls do, knit Kahless Day Sweaters?), Martia becomes a Wookie, then 'Aliens' Newt. She calls herself a chameloid. Kirk acts like he's never seen a shape-shifter before (instead of at least three on-screen).

Since the Universal Translator would be detected somehow (but not the SHAPE of the most famous ship in the galaxy), Uhura gets them across the border with spoken Klingon. The bit with all the frantic dictionary shuffling is cute, but dumb. Uhura's ENTIRE linguistic career, nearly three decades in communications and she can't say a few simple sentences in Klingon? It's embarrassingly incompetent, like Scotty banging his head on a beam of the ship he knows like the back of his hand. Yuk, yuk, yukkity yuk.

The assassins, Yeomen Burke and Samno, are themselves killed- by... SPOILERS. The new girl. It's Jess! Uh, I mean Valeris.
Enraged by his traitorous protege, Spock slaps the phaser out of her hand and most distressingly, he FORCES a mind meld to dig out the identity of her fellow conspirators. It's Admiral Cartwright, Ambassador Nanclus, and General Chang. Granted, they're murderous, racist jerk-balls. But at least they're multi-racial murderous, racist jerk-balls!

Sulu provides the secret location of the peace conference, Camp Khitomer near the Romulan border. He also battles Chang's cloaked ship: a prototype that can fire torpedoes while invisible. The torpedo battle effects are pretty darn cool. For nearly no reason, Spock and McCoy run down to torpedo room and modify the thing themselves. Is this a crew composed only of cooks?

Our heroes storm the conference, and save the delegates. Scotty guns down the sniper: Colonel West in a Klingon mask.

"Once again we've saved civilization as we know it." gloats Kirk.
"And the good news is, they're not going to prosecute." snarks McCoy.

"STAR TREK VI: The Undiscovered Country" has good writing, fine performances, effects up the ba-zoom, and yes, it's a worthy send-off for the classic crew. But, boy howdy, that forcible mind meld really leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Essentially, Spock saves the day by publicly mind-raping this woman, evil though she clearly is. Uhura's last line is a JOKE about it. Not cool. Not funny. Proud, deductive genius Spock, reduced to a blunt instrument?

And people think Jar-Jar Binks is an embarrassing misstep.

A Matter of Time

*** (3 stars out of 5)
An asteroid strike on Pentara IV is about to cause severe cold effects. Like 21st Century Earth's nuclear winter, it's the aching, snuffling, sneezing, life extinguishing kind of winter, and Enterprise is the cure. They hope to phaser drill up a bunch of CO2 and warm the place with a nice, safe greenhouse effect.

Professor Berlinghoff Rasmussen, an oddball historian from THE FUTURE (late 26th Century Earth), arrives in a plasticized titanium timeship to be cagey, twitchy, and observe the crew on this Most Historiffic Day!

Riker asks "At what point does time travel become a tool for historians?", clearly having missed 'Assignment: Earth', where Captain Kirk's crew used it for that very purpose. So the answer, Mr. Riker, is 2268. A century ago. Pay attention, man!

Speaking of other series causing continuity problems: Crusher claims 22nd Century space vessels still used surgical masks and gloves, not having perfected quarantine fields. (A certain Dr. Phlox might beg to differ...) Riker says the warp drive wasn't around in the 22nd Century, and Worf says there were no phasers. (In fact, we will later learn that both those things existed plenty in the 2150s. Thanks to 'Star Trek: Enterprise', Will, Bev, and Worf now seem to have a very poor grasp of history... or were they cleverly TESTING Rasmussen with false information? You decide!)

The Professor's pocketing knick-knacks while passing out questionnaires. Troi and Geordi also fail to catch him in his lies, even with leading questions like: "What would be required to mass-produce isolinear circuits starting from scratch in a dingy basement in, say, the 2150's? That is to say, after the Post-Atomic Horrors but before the Federation. Be specific. Show your work."

Picard tries to argue Rasmussen out of some advice about his options in saving Penthara, but Rasmussen sticks to his guns on the temporal version of the prime directive. Not from morality, of course, but from total B.S.

"Oh, this IS a time pod. And it is from the 26th Cenutry... at least, that's what the poor fellow said." Rasmussen himself is actually from 22nd Century New Jersey. The Radioactive Garden State.

His attempt to kidnap Data fails, the computer deactivated his stolen items, and the pod vanishes. The con man is arrested and deposited at Starbase 214.

Not the best solution they ever came up with. Probably better off not leaving empty time pods full of anachronistic trinkets cluttering up their own past, wouldn't you say? They don't even lock it. But, then again, where's the fun in being sensible with time travel? What's the worst that could happen? (And DON'T Say 'Star Trek: Enterprise'...)

"A Matter of Time" by Rick Berman tied for an Emmy for Visual Effects. But the true star is the tremendous Matt Frewer, filling in at the last moment when Robin Williams ducked out to make 'Hook'. Like a chump.

Join me tomorrow as we take a little trip back to yesterday. Not with an abandoned time pod, but through the magic of the silver screen! (Bring your time pod in case of boredom.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Unification II

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Spock meets Data. There's your four stars right there, that's why!

Riker and Worf have a couple of jam sessions with a four armed salt-sucking piano player in a dive bar on Qualor II. Finally, Riker strong-arms the story of surplus Vulcan ships and weapons delivered to the Romulans out of Omag, a fat Ferengi weapons dealer. It's like something out of 'Star Wars', and I DO mean that in a good way, because this episode's better in the misty haze of my nostalgia than on screen. The stuff in the bar is kind of a highlight. And that's really saying something in a story with Spock, Sela, and a Romulan invasion.

The phrase 'Romulans are a passionate people' comes up again today, and unfortunately, I don't see much evidence of that. The streets are drab, the clothes are somber, the shopkeeper is cowed, Pardek and his rebels are as quiet as Church Vulcans on Surakday Morning. Only future Praetor Neral and testy time-warped Sela (the baddies) show much in the way of feelings. Where's the passion?

K'vada's taunt to Data that a Romulan beauty "might lick the paint right off your ears" is nowhere in evidence. I guess trying to convey a people with a repressive government means they can't show us what ordinary Romulans are really like. The rebels are Vulcan-o-philes, it's true. But our first look at the fabled Romulus has a disappointing lack of flair. Lovely establishing painting, sure, but the street-level stuff is dull like Corrugated Bran Puffs. What do I know? This got an Emmy nomination for art direction.

Of course, that's before the shocking, terrible, devastating betrayal of Spock by his beloved, decades-long friend and confidante, Senator Pardek. Had we ever met him before, I'm sure that would've had more of an impact. Well, ANY impact. Still, you can't fault Malachi Throne, a fine actor, with a fine voice. It's just such a bloodless, matter-of-fact betrayal that it barely registers.

Pardek's My Little Pony diary entry reads: Jolan Tru, Diary. Coffee with Neral. Soup with Spock and the human Picard. Betrayed Spock to Sela for the 5 credit reward. Watched 'Krocton Segment's Got Talent' & 'Real House-Consorts of Remus'. Big day tomorrow. 5 credits for a new Beatles wig!

It feels smaller than I remember. Much like the invasion of Vulcan itself. This is A PLANETARY INVASION meant to be carried off by three tiny junk ships? And is defeated from an office by two old dudes and Data?

Maybe this is why we never see Sela again. When he seizes the throne, Neral double checks her work.

'Hey, it says here you abandoned the Duras Initiative because you didn't fly AROUND the blockade?'... 'You spent years stealing bits of Vulcan ships from junkyards for an invasion, then blew up your own troops?... What the... YOU CAPTURED THE SOONG ANDROID! And YOU DIDN'T turn him over to Cybernetics?!? I DON'T CARE WHO YOUR FATHER WAS! OR HOW BLONDE YOU ARE! See how much revenge you get on humanity while you're picking up trash along the hover highway!'

"Unification II" was awesome, yet it's wearing out its welcome with me somewhat. It's still worthy. Leonard Nimoy is the best.

Unification I

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Since the set up is 'a search for Spock', this episode seems padded like Ensign Ro's bra.

Admiral Brackett reports Ambassador Spock has gone missing, presumed defected to Romulus.

Showing us grainy pictures of Spock isn't Spock!

Picard meets with Mrs. Sarek, who conducts him to Sarek's death bed. Sarek rambles, rages and shivers (bring the poor man a blanket, this desert planet is freezing!). And get those kids off his lawn sand!

Sarek thinks Spock's Romulan contact Senator Pardek might be involved. Of course, seconds later Sarek thinks Pardek might be a delicious eggplant. I'm saying Sarek's completely out of marbles.

And telling us rambling anecdotes about Spock isn't Spock!!

Data and Picard get Crusher to help them with their deadly serious Romulan Cosplay Adventure. The Enterprise leaves them with a disgruntled Klingon taxi service for running cloaked into the Neutral Zone. The Captain is Jimmy James of 'NewsRadio', who (as I recall) is a Macho Business Donkey Wrestler. He also sounds something like Woozy Winks from 'Batman: The Brave and The Bold'. It's Stephen Root: Bill Dautrive, Chode McBlob, Milton Waddams. If you've ever seen anything, you've seen Stephen Root. Today he's a Klingon bus driver. BANG! ZOOM! Straight to Romulus!

Riker and company, meanwhile, investigate the theft of old Vulcan ship parts from the dump at Qualor II. Clim Dockachin the Zakdorn quartermaster hits on Troi by telling her about his 14-foot eel. Mercifully, the thieves strike again, but explode when cornered.

Our first look at planet Romulus is a superb matte painting. It's a shame that everything else on this planet looks like horse crap.

Pardek's goons escort the sneaky Starfleeters to Spock's Secret Grotto. Which looks like crap. But, holy moley, THERE'S SPOCK!!!

If I was still 15 I would squeal like a 9 year old girl. I'm far more mature now: I girl-squeal at a college level.

"Unification I" is still good. I can't sell Mark Lenard short. His final performance as Sarek is heart wrenching. It's an episode about honours earned, and the end of an era, appropriately dedicated to Gene Roddenberry. Join me again tomorrow, or no plomeek soup for you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Game

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Riker's insipidly giggling alien holiday consort Etana throws his communicator out the window of their Risian bungalow. Then they get down to some REAL fun and games...

Video Games.

Surveying the Phoenix Cluster with the help of vacationing Cadet Wesley Crusher, Mission Specialist Ensign Robin Lefler decides to survey the Cadet instead.

Everyone's having a good time today. "I never met a chocolate I didn't like." Troi is NOT kidding. Based on this monologue, Deanna is probably DATING this ice cream.

Worf baked Wes a cake. Lefler baked him a hearty handshake. She makes up her own laws of the universe. She knows about Wesley's prank war with Cadet Martoni. She also knows about his birthmark. It's a Hyper-Nerd Meet Cute!

While everybody is full of sugar and orgasms, poor Data sits the whole thing out, shut down by the Devious Doctor Crusher. And she's a little TOO eager to make her son play a video game. Does that seem right?

ONLY Wes and Robin (whose first friends were a warp coil and a tricorder, respectively) would STUDY a game instead of PLAYING it. They determine that it stimulates the septal area (the pleasure centre), is psychotropically addictive, and screws with reasoning. Yet only slightly less than 'Angry Birds'.

Wes narcs to the Captain, but once the doors close, Jean-Luc is popping frisbees into funnels with the best of them!

Only the nerds are left: and the brawny nerd is in a coma.

Robin and Wes jump on the bed and 'fake it' so Worf and his mom will stop bugging them. Do not read anything into this.

"I'm at level 47," moans Nurse Ogawa. SHE'S not faking it. And I'll have what she's having...

Etanna of the Ktarians wants to make the Enterprise crew her game distribution mules. In Soviet Ktaria, GAME plays YOU!

Wes runs the crew a merry chase that would do Roga Danar proud. But in the end, his loving friends and family hold him down and make him play with himself. Do not read anything into this.

Data dims the lights and flashes everyone.

With a flashlight, you pervos. It's the cure. Everyone knows bright light is the only thing that can stop basement trolls.

Etanna is arrested. They confiscate all her tokens and quarters. Wes and Robin engage in something cuddlesome.

"The Game" is a fun story, a great return for Wil Wheaton, and is not harmed at all by the appealing Ashley Judd. After today, there's even photographic evidence that a girl would touch Wesley's underpants. There's hope for us all!


**** (4 stars out of 5)
Enterprise hits whatever a quantum filament is and gets into another fine mess.

As the highest ranking officer on the Bridge, Lieutenant Commander Deanna Troi is in charge. Not only does the computer barely function, but Troi has forgotten what happens when antimatter gets out of magnetic containment. Forgive me, but did you REALLY forget WHY your sister ship Yamato went 'Ka-Fizzle-Blooey-Blam' before your very eyes, Deanna?

If Ro and O'Brien were uncomfortable following her orders before, that little brain fart must've made them clench up tight enough to re-crystallize dilithium.

Riker and Data are today's engineers, braving electric shock and the absurdity of Will carrying Data's head to the rescue like a novelty man-purse.

Hardly could it be more absurd than the vision of Worf delivering Keiko's baby and his disgruntled chagrin as everything fails to remain "orderly".

Crusher and La Forge Fight Fire With Arthur! Sorry. With Vacuum! Risking death by asphyxiation, they expose the fiery cargo room they're trapped in to outer space. And because the controls were designed by a madman or something, they must stagger and crawl across an airless room to let the air back in.

Jean-Luc's trapped in a precariously dangling turbolift with three frightened children. He must find the skills to relate to them on their level and save their lives. And sing a song, to boot.

"Disaster" is awesome. Call it 'The Quaratum Inferno' or the upside-down boat one, what was it called? Oh, yes, 'Poseidon Turbolift Adventure'. By whatever name, it's got fish out of water proving that, quite frankly, they can walk and breathe just fine, thank you so very much. Just don't ask Troi any math questions. Math is hard!

Silicon Avatar

*** (3 stars out of 5)
I know, I know, it's not the GOOD Avatar. No Na'vi, no Sigourney Weaver, no battling mech suits.

But it's got a little CGI and a little woodsy charm!

Then, six minutes later, it doesn't anymore.

All kidding aside, that is one kick-butt pre-credits teaser. Idyllic colony world Melona IV, where Riker hits on pioneer Carmen 'San Diego' Davila, is a midnight snack for the Crystalline Entity. The whole world, not Carmen. Oh, and also Carmen.

The Federation's foremost expert on the Giant Snowflake of Horrors rushes in to take notes, wave tricorders randomly, and have a complete mental breakdown. Dr. Kila Marr is showcased in this mostly bottle show. She's prejudiced against Data as the brother of Lore (the Snowflake collaborator who got everyone on Omicron Theta killed).

Including and especially Dr. Marr's sixteen year old son Raymond.

Echoing Picard's empty threat in "Clues", Marr quite sincerely threatens Data with disassembly if he turns out to be a traitor. It's difficult to like a bully. But of course, you gotta feel sorry for the driven career woman who doesn't take time to grieve. Or toilet breaks, one would imagine.

She's on a completely different page from Picard when it comes to the Crystalline Entity. She's fiercely hunting her deadly white whale and he's intent on treating it like some endangered white whale.

"The sperm whale on Earth devours millions of cuttlefish as it roams the oceans. It is not evil."... "It has as much right to be here as we do."

Dr. Marr learns that Data's head is full of the dead: even her son's journals and voice patterns and brain scans. "All I have left of Renny... is there, inside your head..."

Pause to insert request to take the head home with her... maybe propped up above the fireplace...

The tormented specialist comes apart while Data talks to her in her dead son's voice.

But not as much as the Entity comes apart when she shatters the hell out of it with a graviton beam on the pretence of 'communication'. "It will never hurt anyone again."

Dr. Marr begs Data for the gift of absolution: but Data extrapolates that Renny would only have been sad that she destroyed her career for revenge.

"Silicon Avatar" makes me wonder: was Jeri Taylor only accepting scripts where clever women go crazy?

Ensign Ro

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Admiral Kennelly caught a cold. Dr. Crusher once told us the cold was cured, but fear not, it's a Cardassian cold.

Those pesky Cardassians seized the planet Bajor and drove the locals out over 40 years ago. Homeless, desperate pariahs, the Bajora have suffered a long time and the Federation was politically powerless to help. Thanks to the recent treaty, Picard hopes to change that.

Kennelly also has some funny ideas. He releases problem officer Ensign Ro Laren from the stockade, then foists this loose cannon on the flagship... all because she's one of the Bajora in Starfleet. Perhaps he hopes wacky antics will ensue. Next week he'll make them bring in a Berengarian dragon to run the shuffleboard court!

Ro crosses arms, rolls eyes, and locks horns with everyone she meets. She wouldn't agree with a bland, boring Starfleet type if he said that space was dark. Screw you, old man! Gawd!

Ro leads the stiffs to the refugee camp of Pel Orton, where she gives a little matchstick girl the shirt off her back. No teenage boy objects to her attitude problem after that.

Ro leads the stiffs to the terrorist camp of Jaz Holza, an angry man hideously disfigured by the Cardassians. His story is not as rare as it should be: Ro lost her father to Cardassian tortures as well.

Guinan takes Ro under her enigmatic bartender wing and makes Picard do the same.

Admiral Kennelly was hoping to lure Holza out and blame him for the attack on a UFP colony. In fact, his ships aren't up to it any more than Holza is up to a song contest. Uncharacteristically, the Cardassians were lying!

Nobody goes home happy, except there's a new regular at the helm and she's dreamier than Wesley.

"Ensign Ro" is a key episode, for the introduction of feisty Michelle Forbes as Ro, for the downtrodden people of Bajor and for their grievances with the Cardassians, which will serve as major elements of a certain spin-off we'll get to one of these months.

I used to have a T-Shirt that said 'Just Say Ro'. It was somehow important to me then (and now) that nobody have any idea what I'm doing.


***** ('Arena', the Rating High!)
In honour of the first contact with the Children of Tama where something actually got understood, I'll conduct my review in pidgin Tamarian:

Joe Menosky, the scribe, his characters exploring, his 47 often mentioned!
Paul Winfield, at Bronson Canyon, under Westmore make-up, his eyes wide, his voice mighty, his performance transcendent!
Picard's Bad-Ass Jacket, the arms suede, the shoulders leather!
Lefler in Engineering, her cheeks chipmunk!
The Predator Rip-Off at El-Adrel, it's fists invisible, it's claws bloody!
Sir Patrick- Gilgamesh re-telling, the Viewer to Paper DVDs encouraging.
Dathon. The life of Dathon. Dathon's end.

"Darmok" isn't a new concept. Kirk and Gorn in the Arena! Geordi and Bochra at Galornden Core! Willis Davidge and Jeriba Shigan in 'Enemy Mine'!

What's clever here is a barrier not entirely of language but of point of view: these aliens have no relatable concept of self, and communicate entirely in metaphors drawn from their myths and cultural heritage. Not unlike geeks and the poor, hapless non-geeks trying to grok what the geeks are honking about.

It's not only a problem of words but of rich, expansive histories and the gulf between people who don't share them. Just as I don't follow sports, so I wouldn't usually know what you meant if you said "Tebow Knelt", you're not going to get me when I'm yammering on about how Paul Atreides IS the Kwisatz Haderach.

Our world cries out for people who will work harder to understand one another.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Redemption Part II

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Over the summer, Worf either got a demotion to working tactical for his little brother instead of Gowron, or (like the X-man Wolverine in the decades to come) Worf does both and is fighting on two or more teams at once. He may already be a member of the Justice League.

Picard is trying to reveal the Romulan aid covertly propping up the Duras fleets.

Since the days of Kor in 'Errand of Mercy' it seems the Klingons abandoned their surveillance culture. If one's superiors are always watching, the Duras sisters could not get away with all the crap they pull.

La Forge devised a tachyon detection blockade with 20 Starfleet ships that have nothing better to do. Geordi and Riker are assigned temporary command of a couple of them. After 26 years in Starfleet, Data asks Picard whether he gets to play, too, and is assigned command of the Sutherland.

Data's first officer, Christopher Hobson, instantly requests a transfer rather than work for an android. Klingons can't be Counselors, Berellians can't be Engineers, and Androids can't be Captain, at least to hear him tell it. Thankfully, as Hobson demonstrates, humans can still be Bigoted Dinks, or the galaxy might run out.

Worf is finding Klingon life is not all it was cracked up to be. Cracking heads, maybe. Bar games like Arm Wrestling with Knives. The old standard 'I Punch Your Face', sure. But where's the love?

Sowing confusion, Romulan Commander Sela approaches Picard at the blockade. She claims Tasha Yar was her mother. But how can this BE?

Guinan has a vague recollection of 'Yesterday's Enterprise', and a convenient gap concerning her own role in causing Paradox Sela to exist. To hear Guinan tell it, it's mostly Picard's fault.

24 years ago, (in Sela's enthusiastically detailed back-story) Tasha Yar was one of a few Enterprise-C survivors scheduled for execution. A Romulan General took them off his 'To Do' list when Tasha agreed to be on his OTHER 'To Do' List. When Sela was four she got her fleeing mother shot and, to hear Sela tell it, she's O.K. with that.

B'Etor should have a line of T-Shirts: 'B'Etor Failed to Seduce Me and all I Got was this Lousy T-Shirt'. Worf is the latest dude not to fall for her charms. He doesn't want a future: "Where Klingons trade loyalties in dark rooms and the Empire is ruled from Romulus."

Sela has her people interrogate Worf. This is a guy who runs painstik gauntlets for his birthday. We don't see the Romulans' idea of torture but I imagine it did them very little good. Strangely, Worf is hardly IN this Worf story.

Picard arranges a ruse to goad the Romulans into running his blockade. This whole blockade seems a little suspect to me. Blockade a single planet? Sure, why not. Even Neimoidians can manage that for awhile. Blockade SPACE? The moving graphic makes it look like the cloaked Romulans could just fly around the entire fleet without much trouble.

Pressed for time or something, Data goes against Picard's orders and Hobson's dragging, racist, feet to light up the sneaky Romulan convoy with low-yield torpedoes. The Romulans pull at their collars with their fingers and make comical *Gulp!* noises.

Sela skulks away, shaking her tiny pink fist, and growling 'Next Time, Gadget! NEXT TIME!', leaving the Duras fleet to flounder. As the Duras territory is bombarded, Kurn rescues Worf. The Duras sisters beam away, abandoning Little Lord Toral. Gowron gives Toral's life to Worf, but that compassion Picard talked about gets in the way.

Don't worry. I'm sure somebody killed Toral before Worf even got back in his gold uniform.

"Redemption Part II" is pretty great. Despite my misgivings, I usually like a Romulan story. Yet everything wraps up a little too neatly. It's almost sitcom easy to return to the status quo. But the effects are groovy and Sela is one of the most brilliant underused villain ideas they ever had. Welcome to ST:TNG Season 5.

Redemption Part I

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Gowron, the buggy-eyed son of M'Rel comes to Picard for help in preventing the long-awaited Klingon Civil War.

Although it's been a year, Gowron is STILL not installed as the leader of the Council? That seems dicey. These are not a dithering people. Who's been in charge all year?

The sisters of Duras, Lursa & B'Etor, speak for the family and are amassing space fleets. Women may not serve on the Council these days (their boobs are too distracting), but they have found Duras' bastard son Toral to prop up on the throne. (Literally. Like he'd need a booster seat.)

Worf's brother Captain Kurn thinks Gowron is weak. Kurn wants to sweep away the government. Worf insists that their family back desperate Gowron: at the price of restoring the Mogh honor. And maybe some motorbikes.

Worf keeps buttering Gowron up as though he wasn't a suspect in K'mpec's poisoning. Are we pretending we're sure Duras did that?

The Shadowy Female Romulan Figure who had Geordi tortured is working with the Duras sisters and gunning for Picard. The Duras sisters try to seduce the Captain with tea and creepy scalp massage. They claim siding with them is the only way the UFP-Klingon alliance will last.

Most of the Council walks out with the Duras. Gowron flings threats at their backs. "Are you blind to what they represent? Then go. Your blood will paint the way to the future."

Worf soon finds himself following Gowron into combat. Gowron offers the knife of friendship, restoring Worf's name. Picard cannot support Klingon internal warfare, and orders Worf to return to duty. Worf resigns and turns in his badge instead.

Worf is made weapons officer of Gowron's ship Bortas. Picard tells Worf that the human qualities of compassion, generosity, and fairness are also a part of him. Will Worf agree?

Elsewhere on Klingon soil, Shadowy Female Romulan Figure steps forward: IT'S YAR?!? What the what?

"Redemption Part I" is no 'Best of Both Worlds' unless you love Klingons, in which case you got yourself a gagh-laden smorgasbord!

Over the summer of 1991, while eagerly awaiting ST:TNG Season 5, my Commander Data T-Shirt got me noticed by one Bryan Andrews. A Star Trek fan and friend of the first rank, this young man's encouragement and correspondences helped me through what I considered a very difficult adolescence. Like Mr. Worf, I spent many years trying to find a place where I could belong and be recognized for myself. In Star Trek fandom, and with stalwart friends, I found it.

In Theory

**** (4 stars out of 5)
While exploring the dark matter nebula Mar Oscura, torpedo specialist Jenna D'Sora dumps Jeff Arton and pursues a rebound relationship with her emotionless friend, music teacher, and superior officer Data. A good idea, 'In Theory'. Who doesn't love Data, after all? I can see where she's coming from.

Keiko complains about picking up Miles' dirty socks when the pile is two weeks old. Data is doing the same with Jenna's mess as she has "an aversion to orderliness". (I do to. I think I need an android or a botanist to pick up after me.)

The android confides to Guinan: "Lt. D'Sora has just given me what could be considered a very passionate kiss in the torpedo bay."

Whoa! Right in the torpedo bay? That sort of thing is still illegal in the southern Federation, isn't it?

BFF Geordi is forced to admit he doesn't have any romantic advice. Riker seems vicariously aroused and eggs Data on. Picard's response is still my favourite: "I will be delighted to offer any advice I can on understanding women. When I have some, I'll let you know."

Data writes a program for romance, devoting a considerable portion of his mind to the Jenna Subroutine. Explained THAT way, Jenna STILL thinks that's the "nicest thing anybody's ever said" to her.

Really? This Jeff must be a massive douche nozzle.

Meanwhile, stuff is falling through tables and Data's cat Spot gets out through a door with no cat flap. If only Picard hadn't made Worf take a cautious approach. Worf's paranoid instincts might have found the problem before the horrible, hideous death...

The invisible dark matter globules interact with matter by making temporary gaps in it. One nearly blows all the furniture out of the observation lounge, and one bisects poor Lt. Van Mayter. It's a grotesque and undignified fatality, right out of Looney Tunes with an ACME portable hole. At least it's quick.

Data's 'romance voice' is too much like Lore's. I guess it's a good thing Jenna never met Lore.

Data's decision to intentionally start a 'lover's quarrel' in the hopes of strengthening their connection is a big mistake. The last straw is an honest breakdown of exactly HOW MUCH is happening in Data's mind during a kiss, only part of which is how much pressure he can safely apply to her lips.

"In Theory" written by Menosky & Moore, with Patrick Stewart directing is still a personal favorite. Star Trek magazine gives it a TERRIBLE rating. Calls the romance 'mawkish and disturbing'. The sad part is: I relate to it very, very well. Deeply cut off from my own feelings, socially isolated and maladapted, my teen years were, let's call them, unfortunate. I'm not seeking sympathy, things are almost infinitely better nowadays. (In the romantic partner department!) But the inability to make romantic connections is not a problem unique to androids. It's a quirky love story that, yes, fails tragically. It does not fail to move me, however.

The Mind's Eye

*** (3 stars out of 5)
In a shuttle bound for Risa, Geordi is alone with the mind-numbing emptiness. Phil Farrand's Nitpicker's Guide points out how ridiculous these multi-hour sub-light shuttle journeys are when the parent ship could get there in under a minute. Did the Enterprise have to be somewhere so urgently that 33 seconds to warp over plus the time it takes to beam down would make any difference? Why should Geordi need to be isolated and bored to tears?

All too soon, the demands of the plot have the answer, and he's wishing he was bored instead of captured by Romulans. The villains send a La Forge dopple-guy on vacation. If this isn't a hired human, and he's surgically altered, this might be the first on-screen brown Romulan. Not that it's relevant, but most Vulcanian types we've seen look like queasy white guys.

A Shadowy Female Romulan Figure directs an unnamed agent (let's call him J'Onn Fleckus) in a torturous mental conditioning of La Forge using his visual implants.

When brainwashed, Geordi will behave normally, but perform as their puppet. He's so disconnected he shoots a holodeck O'Brien without batting an electronic eye.

The Klingon world of Krios is revolting.

Also it wants to govern itself.

Klingon ambassador Kell doesn't think much of Worf. Kell is very pink-skinned for a Klingon, not that it's relevant, but Klingons tend to be brown even when they're greasy white guys. Kell tells the outcast that his killing of Duras was appreciated by many on the High Council.

"My motives were personal, not political," argues Worf.

"Motives? Who cares for motives? Humans, perhaps."

Governor Vagh of Krios believes the Federation is aiding the rebels with free medicine and less easily acquired phaser rifles.

I WANT A PHASER RIFLE! I think of myself as a pacifist, but that's pretty awesome. I'd finish the yard work a lot faster with one of those beauties. Tch-shew! FOOOOSH!

Geordi gets back to work spilling drinks on O'Brien and test-firing phaser rifles. Geordi reveals the Kriosian weapons are Romulan forgeries, but next he jiggers with the logs and beams even more weapons to the rebels- until Vagh catches them at it.

When the Romulans send commands to La Forge's VISOR, Enterprise sensors register the transmission, but cannot pinpoint the source. (The source is the pale old Klingon in the chunky sweater.) Will the under-handed scheme to ruin Federation-Klingon relations succeed?

"The Mind's Eye" is intense. I find torture pretty upsetting, even if it's family-rated, and it wasn't on TV as much back then. Still, great performance from LeVar Burton. Also, I can't get enough of John Fleck. For all I know he's a wonderful guy, but he's always cast as these total slime-balls! We'll see him as a Romulan again. I like to think it's the same Romulan. But they all look alike to me: Greasy and/or Queasy.

The Host

**** (4 stars out of 5)
"Doctor Beverly" has a boyfriend. But handsome Ambassador Odan has a secret he's playing close to his vest. In fact, it's inside his abdomen.

While on a mission to resolve the dispute between the people of a moon with an energy siphon, and the people of a moon that's getting screwed over by the energy siphon, Odan and Bev fall for each other. And on top of each other.

Odan is the first Trill the Enterprise crew has ever dealt with, from a race they know little about. Does this qualify Dr. Crusher for a First Contact merit badge?

Unwilling to risk the transporter, Odan is injured when his shuttle is attacked, and he must reveal his true self to Crusher: he is a parasite (known as a symbiont) within a swappable host body.

The new body is on back order, so when Odan's host dies, Crusher must improvise a temporary host in volunteer Will Riker. He's the first human to be joined in this way, and it takes a toll on him in medications and fever.

This does not stop Beverly from eventually getting it on with Odan in Will's body, however. Fever for the flavour of a Pringles indeed! (In this case, I am likening Riker's thoracic cavity to a can of potato chips, where the tasty chips are the bit inside, not the package. And I DO mean his package! I've said too much.)

Troi saw this coming and gave her consent, despite the awkwardness. (Although this story doesn't make it clear, we are later told Trill joining doesn't block the host memory. So... awkward. For Will, Bev, and Troi, probably.)

Odan, pushing his human host's health as far as he can, succeeds in stopping the moons of Peliar Zel from going to war. Off-screen. Somehow. Maybe everybody moved to Alpha Moon so they could suck Beta Moon dry. Maybe they watched 'The Lorax' together and decided to be more environmentally responsible. I just don't know. Or care. It's only the B-story anyway.

Beverly reaches the limit of what she's willing to put up with (sex-wise) when Odan's new host turns out to be Kareel, a female. Which is to say, she doesn't have the whole package.

The outie filtrum and golden forehead arches look is seen for the first and only time in Trills. I can only assume that, like Romulans with and without prominent brows, this variation only means they're Canadian Trills.

"The Host" introduces an intriguing new alien race in the Trill. New stories to be told and new questions to be asked, particularly some squelchy and uncomfortable ones.
How important is physicality to true love?
What limits do we put on ourselves, and what are we willing to be with our partners?
Is that a symbiont in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Half A Life

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Please welcome for the first and last time David Ogden Stiers as the introverted Dr. Timicin.

Timicin's people practice the same custom as Jim Henson's Dinosaurs: HURLING DAY!
It's the ritual wherein loving (and not-so-loving) relatives toss the elderly into tar pits when they turn 72.

On Kaelon II it's age 60, and it's a solemn, beautiful, dignified dinner party-slash-suicide. But even if they played the theme song to 'M*A*S*H' it amounts to the same thing. Dirt Nap. The Big Sleep.

In the old days they just stuffed the elderly into Death Watch facilities and waited them out. Rather than be that cruel, the locals created a system where everyone knows when it's their time. Nobody has to endure tapioca and adult diapers on Kaelon II.

But, middle-aged herself and barely having barged into a romance with the shy solar engineer, Mrs. Troi can't see the upside and badgers him to buck the system.

Lwaxana relates the tale of a fashion custom from bygone Betazed: women once wore giant wigs with caged live animals inside. Weird fad became custom became rigid tradition for generations. Painful and cruel to woman and beast, there was finally someone who said 'no'... and the practice stopped.

Timicin's daughter, Cindy Lou Who (who is not more than 22), is disgusted at the freakish behaviour of her new mommy. How very dare Troi just swish in and say what's what?

Ignoring the Prime Directive means never having to say you're sorry.

Timicin is tormented by his choice: with much to offer (indeed, he's on the verge of saving his planet's dying sun) and much to live for (kissing Mrs. Great Bird of The Galaxy, for example) he still cannot bring himself to throw away a lifetime of his beliefs.

And in the end, even Lwaxana discovers she is wrong to try and force him to.

"Half A Life" is an underrated gem. Tragic, romantic, strangely beautiful. I really like it. Ask yourselves two things: (1) are my cherished customs comforting, or merely self-destructive? and (2) aren't old people cute when they make out? Just like two elephant skin rugs.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Drumhead

*** (3 stars out of 5)
They get a lot of star miles out of the exchange program! Now J'Dan the Klingon exobiologist is suspected of delivering dilithium chamber drawings to the Romulans.

One, how many Klingons get into this field? Science, I mean. Lot of glory in science?
Second, what's his job? Does he weaponize pumpkins? Heh. Better Off Ted reference.

Anyway, Joe Dan's SUPER guilty and he needs a punch. Worf happens to have one handy.

But that doesn't end the matter, like it should have.

Zealous lawmaker Norah Satie, retired Admiral, with her Betazoid mind-checker and Delbian paper-worker posse for the intimidation factor, burst in and start dragging random people into the Accusing Parlour.

Stammering young Medic Simon Tarses checked "Vulcan Grampa" on his application form when really what he MEANT was "Romulan Grampa". Poor bastard might as well have been wearing a turban in the USA in 2002.

And where was Picard when all this metal fatigue leading to accidental explosions in which no one got hurt was taking place?!? HMMM? Leading the Borg on a deadly rampage that killed 11,000 people, eh? A likely story!

Was O'Brien in the IRA? Maybe Keiko's thumb is a little TOO green: because she's an Orion Sympathizer! It would have been a thousand people in the stockade and fourteen left to drive the ship if Satie had her way.

Finally, the Persecuting Attorney is asked to take a little lie down by Admiral Henry.

Henry doesn't get to say anything on screen, really. He just has that face that says "AFFRONTED"!

"The Drumhead" is good courtroom drama with fine writing and riveting performances. I like to believe the Federation is better at checks, balances, and weeding out the nutbars than this episode would have me believe. Exactly how many Admirals lose their shi... sense of proportion in these series, anyway? Somebody less lazy than me should count the crazies someday, since I ran out of fingers and toes.


**** (4 stars out of 5)
It's a case of Trial and Errol as Q repays his debt to Picard by being the usual amount of annoying.

At an archeological conference orbiting the world of Tagus III (where archeologists are not allowed), Picard hooks up with Vash from 'Captain's Holiday' once more.

It's awkward breakfast handshakes for all as Picard introduces his Breakfast Buddy Beverly to his Voulez-Vous Vixen Vash.

Q thinks he'll teach Picard to better express his feelings of love, or that those feelings are foolish, or something... actually I don't think even Q is sure what he's doing. "Something... CONSTRUCTIVE! That's my new word for the day."

The spiteful god constructs a Robin Hood fantasy adventure. Picard and his not especially merry crew must rescue Vash as Maid Marian from the clutches of Clive Revill (the one-time Emperor Palpatine). Swordplay and silliness breaks out.

Soon, the entity Q has ALSO fallen for the duplicitous she-devil Vash. Q admires the way she is not content to wait for rescue: not concerned about honor or virtue she simply agrees to marry the evil Sir Guy.

Swashes are buckled. Troi shoots Friar Data with an arrow. Worf Scarlet smashes Geordi A-Dale's lute. Bits of Data explode. Crusher and Troi set women back to the 12th century with some dainty sneaking up behind and hitting of villains with pots.

I can't lie. It was cute schtick. Doctor McCoy probably would have done that, too. They're not bad fighters because they're girls, they're bad at it because they're DOCTORS. Anyway, it's fun.

Q whisks Vash off on an amazingly ill-advised whirlwind tour of the galaxy. Now taking bets on who will be dead by the other's hand within the week? I've got Q bludgeoned from behind by pith helmet on the Moons of Nibia. So stay tuned!

"Qpid" from the pen of Ira Steven Behr is worth your while, and the cast are obviously having a blast with it. And I'm never unsatisfied with John de Lancie's performances. I even found it cute to discover that Jenifer 'Vash' Hetrick and Patrick 'Picard' Stewart were engaged when this was filmed. Hey Nonny Nonny!