Archive for February, 2012

Trekathon 299: Inheritance (TNG)

February 29th, 2012

Data meets his mother.

This episode ended up as just a great big pile of ‘meh’. While I like Data as a character, this journey into his past just ended up as dull. The story is well executed, with a good subtle sense of there being something just a little ‘off’ about the mother, and the reveal was (for me at least) surprising. But I just didn’t care.

It didn’t help that I never really understood the B-plot about magma flows and the like beyond ‘planet in trouble, technobabble will save us’.

299 down, 438 to go.

Trekathon 298: Second Sight (DS9)

February 28th, 2012

Sisko meets a woman who was never there.

There wasn’t anything particularly bad about this episode, but it fell flat in almost every direction. There was an incredibly interesting science fiction premise here – if a species biologically mates for life, what implications does that have (moral, practical) for people of other species. Is it ethical or just for a species without those restrictions to try a relationship?

But the episode talked about none of that. Instead we get the galaxy’s greatest egomaniac committing suicide to save his wife, which just made no sense at all. For a start, I don’t see how it was clear that this even solved the problem (otherwise why didn’t he just fake his own death), and secondly it rang false for the character, to do something like that solely for another’s benefit.

298 down, 439 to go.

Trekathon 297: Force of Nature (TNG)

February 27th, 2012

Speed limits come to the Star Trek universe.

This feels like an episode that went very badly wrong somewhere in the writing process. There’s an awful lot of padding in the first half, and the story of the researchers happens so quickly that it doesn’t make much of an impact. Then we spend a little time moping, and then a quick action sequence where almost everything happens off screen.

And then to top it all off, there appears to be a massive overreaction with the speed limit of Warp 5 for all starships, as the problem only applies to a very small area. (Which, I must admit, is probably the most realistic bit of the episode)

By the way: try and train a cat? Geordi should be banned from cat ownership…

297 down, 440 to go.

Trekathon 296: Necessary Evil (DS9)

February 26th, 2012

A crime committed during the occupation comes back to light as someone tries to kill Quark.

The first major episode to feature Odo, and it’s a great story. The flashbacks to the occupation are very well done, giving us the first look at what the station was like before. The actual mystery is a little light on, but that’s made up for by a great reveal at the end of the episode.

As an aside: compare the Quark in this episode with the one in Rules of Acquisition – they could almost be different people. One is whiny and erratic, the other a tough nosed businessman trying to get by. Why can’t we have more like this?

296 down, 441 to go.

Trekathon 295: Attached (TNG)

February 25th, 2012

Picard and Crusher are captured and inadvertently joined telepathically.

The best parts of the episode were the Picard/Crusher scenes as they came to terms with their new mental link. Perhaps they got there a little too quickly, but the adaptation was fun to watch. The final scene between them was also nice to see, with some suggestion of consequences beyond the episode, but I suspect follow up won’t be good.

But the overall frame, with two paranoid alien races sharing a world fighting each other, was silly and unsubtle. It didn’t need to be painted in such stark strokes. And Riker should never ever be allowed to do diplomacy again.

295 down, 442 to go.

Trekathon 294: Rules of Acquisition (DS9)

February 24th, 2012

Some Like It Hot takes on a Ferengi twist.

Overall an offensive and misguided episode, focusing on the single most offensive part of Ferengi culture. I simply can’t believe that in Gene Roddenberry’s future we’d tolerate aliens who treat women like this.

The rest of the episode doesn’t help. I find the Grand Nagus tiresome, and the aliens of the week looked like WWE wrestlers.

The only positive was a very small point – the first mention of The Dominion, soon to become a very big part of this series.

294 down, 443 to go.

Trekathon 293: Dark Page (TNG)

February 23rd, 2012

Q: How do you make a tolerable Lwaxana Troi episode?

A: Make it not a comedy. Oh, and make her unconscious for at least half the episode.

I don’t want to go over board here – the episode isn’t great by any means. The conceit of ‘what happens when a telepath suppresses a trauma’ is way underdone and buried in technobabble. And the trauma itself was a bit underwhelming – bad, but not really crippling.

The only real thing of note is an appearance by a very young Kirsten Dunst as the alien girl.

293 down, 444 to go.

Trekathon 292: Melora (DS9)

February 22nd, 2012

Deep Space 9 has to adjust to the Aliens with Disabilities Act.

This episode was well constructed technically, but something rubbed me the wrong way. I think that we’ve moved a long way in our understanding of disabled and disadvantaged groups, and so now Bashirs naive attempt to ‘cure’ Melora comes across as more arrogant, and the conclusion seems more inevitable. And with any empathy killed for that part of the episode, the rest falls down with it.

The Quark subplot is very underdone, and ends up just being the setup for the final act. Quark’s criminal past (and present) deserved better.

292 down, 445 to go.

Trekathon 291: Phantasms (TNG)

February 21st, 2012

Data’s nightmares show that something is going very wrong, with the ship or with him.

I loved a lot of this episode. The dream imagery is wonderfully filmed, and it has that kind of stra be menace that nightmares often have. And there are some good moments, like Picard hovering a bit too much during repairs, or Worf agreeing to look after the cat.

But I found the reveal to just be too prosaic. Dreams aren’t that straightforward, so it all just seemed a bit too easy. And everyone gets over Data stabbing someone way too easily.

Overall a miss, but a worthy one that at least has a good idea to begin with.

291 down, 446 to go.

Trekathon 290: Cardassians (DS9)

February 20th, 2012

An emotional story of war orphans is tied up, as it often does, in espionage and intrigue.

I found this episode nearly flawless. The only downfall was the slightly arch ‘drawing room reveal’ with Bashir at the end, but that’s a minor quibble at best. The story of the Cardassian orphan confused over their identity would have been enough to carry an episode alone, combining it with “plain and simple” Garak’s intrigues made for a great story.

Garak is a wonderful character – his line at the end was a good summary of him: “I never tell the truth because I don’t believe there is such a thing”. He made a good initial showing in Season One and then disappeared. It’s a good thing he’s going to be back a little more often now,

290 down, 447 to go.