The Great ST:TNG Rewatch part 7
As before, each episode gets rated from 1 monkey (as bad as a Wesley jumper) to 5 monkeys (“I am Locutus of Borg”).
We’ll Always Have Paris
Picard is fencing in the holodeck with Lieutenant Lieutenington when time repeats itself for a few moments. Then the Enterprise receives a distress call from Dr Paul Manheim, who’s opened a crack into another dimension, endangering the whole galaxy (shades of Doctor Who?). Most of the story concerns Picard’s feelings for Mrs Manheim, whom he’d stood up years earlier in Paris.
The synopsis betrays the story’s major weakness: The whole galaxy is in peril, but all the main characters seem more bothered about Picard’s failed relationship. We get to see Troi poking around in old wounds with both the Captain and Dr Crusher, and at one point Picard even remarks how self-absorbed he’s being. Plus there’s the universe’s most phallic musical instrument, as played in the holodeck recreation of Paris, basically consisting of a man rubbing up and down on three tubes. Disturbing. What should have been the main plot is resolved by Data dumping a canister of anti-matter anti-climax in the timey-whimey thing.
Picard: “Enough of this self-indulgence”. Indeed.
Picard receives a Code 47 (Captain’s eyes only) from Captain Walker Keel demanding he urgently attend a meeting on Dytallix B to discuss a threat to the Federation from within. Later the Enterprise discovers the remains of Walker’s ship, and Data discovers abnormal patterns in Starfleet’s commands that could be a prelude to an invasion. The crew set sail for Earth to investigate.
A commendable attempt to do something rather different. It may seem tame compared to later events in DS9, and it would have benefited from there being a running theme gradually revealing the conspiracy throughout the season, rather than just re-introducing Quinn and Remmick from Coming Of Age. The death of Picard’s ‘old friend’ Walker Keel, that you’ve never heard of before or since would have had more impact if he’d been introduced earlier too. But there’s a really interesting feel to the story, part thriller, part horror flick, complete with chest-bursting aliens. When originally broadcast on the Beeb, Auntie cut out all the interesting scenes of alien gore and maggot eating, lest we got put off our spaghetti hoops, rendering quite a bit of the story incomprehensible, but you can only applaud the series makers for trying something different, and it’s a shame the ending, suggesting a bigger invasion on the way, was never followed up.
Riker: “You’ll be one of us soon” One of us! One of us!
The Neutral Zone
An ancient capsule is discovered containing three people from three hundred years in the past, frozen in cryogenic suspension after they’d died (er, rather too late surely, and Crusher now has the power of resurrection?). Meanwhile, two Federation outposts have been destroyed and communications have been lost with others, with the finger being pointed at the Romulans. So the ship is off to the Neutral Zone, but the levels of destruction discovered point towards a more dangerous foe.
The series ends on a high with the reintroduction of the Romulans. Ironically we learn more about them from Troi’s briefing for Picard than we did in the Original Series’ entire run. They return with a new look, and with a brilliantly styled spaceship, plus the presence of Marc ‘Gul Dukat’ Alaimo as one of their leaders ensures they’re played with suitable menace. Arguably it takes rather too long for the Romulans to make their appearance, but the second plot concerning the three ‘out-of-time’ characters is rather fun, especially the scenes with LQ ‘Sonny’ Clemonds, and the way they have to adjust to the changes of the past three hundred years is well played.
All this, plus the clever seeding of the threat of a new race, far more powerful than the Federation or the Romulans. Who could they be...
Picard: “I think our lives just got a lot more complicated.”
So I’ve survived season one. It did seem pretty bad at times (Justice, I’m looking at you. Actually I’m not. Ever again), but the average monkey score is 2.78 (oook!), so not a half bad season, statistically speaking.
On to season two, in which things can only get better, right?
Oh wait- first up: The Child and Where Silence Has Lease?
Curse you re-watch rules! *sobs*