Second Chances - Riker (and his band I guess) play a concert in Ten Forward. Troi requests a song he can't play but Data interrupts calling him to the Bridge. The Enterprise is at a planet Riker visited eight years ago, one where the transporter window only opens up once every, you guessed it, eight years. Riker, Worf and Data beam down...and meet another Riker. He claims to be William Riker and that he's been on the planet alone for eight years. Crusher examines him and says he's genetically identical to Riker. Geordi gives the technobabble explanation of a problem with transport eight years ago due to the weird distortion field and a second Riker was beamed back to the surface when ours made it back to the ship. They're both really Riker. Troi gos to see the second Riker and he runs up and hugs and kisses her, as they were still together when he was stranded on the planet. Lt. Riker isn't impressed that Commander Riker chose to make his career a priority and his relationship with Troi fell apart. He makes it known that he hasn't stopped thinking of Troi all these years and he wants to be with her again. Lt. Riker is late for an away team mission on the planet and he and our Riker are a bit frosty. Can I just call him Thomas? We all know he'll take that name. They talk about their dad. Thomas wants to stay on the planet to download the data core against Will's orders and Will shouts at him. Thomas organises a scavenger hunt for Troi on the ship. He made phaser art for her. He lets it be known that he still wants to be the Captain of his own ship and he still wants Troi. She tells him how disappointed she was when the other Riker didn't meet her on Risa eight years ago.
Picard tells Will to work with Thomas on a plan to retrieve the data core, but they cointue to clash. Troi and Crusher have one of their yoga talks about men, but Thomas arrives. Thomas and Deanna end up kissing after doing Klingon exercises together. Troi goes to Will and he instantly knows she's here asking permission to date Thomas. Will says she's does't need his permission but points out that if Thomas had gotten off the planet he would have made the same choices as Will. Thomas comes to Will's quarters during the poker game and Will asks him to join. Will and Thomas have a tense poker showdown full of thinly veiled subtext as Thomas accuses Will of playing it safe. Thomas asks Troi if she'll come with him when he leaves but she says she doesn't know if she's ready to give up her life on the Enterprise. Data asks Worf if he'd have trouble interacting with his own double too. Worf says the two Rikers might have seen something they don't like in themself in each other. Riker and Thomas attempt to retrieve the data core. Thomas nearly dies falling off a bridge (what a lame way to die!) but Will saves him. Troi tells Thomas she won't be going with him but hints at a possible future between them. Will gives Thomas a trombone (this is when he decides on using his middle name) and they seem cool with each other now.
Its an episode that uses a science fiction concept to explore the character of Will Riker and it's a good one! The Thomas and Troi romance scenes work because there's so much history between them established already and Frakes and Sirtis are always good together. Thomas perhaps seems a little too well adjusted considering he was alone on a planet for eight years, but I like how he's unimpressed by Will dumping Troi and not being a Captain yet, even though he would have done the same things if he'd made it off the planet. And the episode doesn't kill of Thomas (I remember the TNG Companion saying they even considered killing off Will but that would be crazy) so that's good and maybe he'll show up again some day.
Timescape - Riker's looking after Spot while Data is gone, but Spot's scratched him up. Romulans send out a distress cal and Riker goes to investigate. Picard, Data, Troi and Geordi are on a runabout (like in DS9!) after attending one of those boring sounding conferences they always go to. Suddenly everyone but Troi becomes frozen in time. They unfreeze and Geordi can't find anything wrong. Then it happens to Troi herself. So it's a time anomaly that effects men and women differently! The runabout's fuel is quickly drained too, is if parts of the runabout are moving at different speeds. Picard finds some rotten fruit, tries to touch it, and his fingernails are suddenly super long! Troi says his cells are moving at fifty times the normal rate, but he only had his hand near the fruit for a second, so do Picard's fingernails normally grown that fast in fifty seconds? The runabout has to steer around the fragments of time anomaly to get back to the Enterprise. They find the Enterprise and a Romulan Warbird frozen in space, with the Warbird firing on the Enterprise. Picard wants to go onboard the Enterprise, but Geordi warns they'll be frozen too if they do. Geordi and Data come up with a way (after referencing 'Time's Arrow'.) Picard, Troi and Data beam to the Enterprise with magic armbands. Everyone's frozen in place (including Romulans who they assume beamed over to attack) and Riker's on the floor. They try to go to Engineering through the Jeffries tubes but it's hard (and quite eerie) with frozen crewmembers in the way. They end up in Sickay and find a Romulan shooting Crusher. And another Romulan appears to be able to move in this timestream.
They head to Engineering and find a warp core breach in progress. Everything's really fucked up! Then, in an all time classic moment, Picard develops time madness and draws a smiley face in the warp core breach. It's great. He starts cracking up so they're all beamed back to the runabout. Troi, Data and Geordi beam over to the Romulan Warbird (Troi's knowledge of Romulan ships from 'Face of the Enemy' is referenced) while Picard recoveres. They find the Romulans were evacuating. They find something weird going on with the Romulan ship's power source (remember they use an artificial blackhole, another continuity nod.) Picard watches the Enterprise explode but then time rewinds and it goes back together. One of the Romulans attacks Geordi and they have to freeze him in time to save him. He's not actually a Romulan, Data says. They beam the fake Romulan back to the runabout so he explain the plot: he's an alien from another timestream. His species left their young in the Romulan's artificial blackhole, thinking it was real. They use blackholes as nests for their young. So the Romulans didn't really attack the Enterprise: the power transfer from the Enterprise disrupte the spacetime continuum. Of course it did! The Romulan fades out of existence. Picard asks Data if he can run time backwards to before the power transfer, to stop the warp core breach from ever happening. Data turns back time with his tricoard (it's Star Trek) and we see everyone moving backwards. The other time alien sees Data and attacks him. Data is too late to shut down the power transfer. Everyone's surprised to see Picard and Data and Troi just appearing out of nowhere. Troi saves Crusher from being shot (the Romulan was actually shooting at the alien.) They fly the runabout between the power transfer beam to stop it and save the day. Time goes back to normal! Riker goes to see Data (after checking Spot isn't about!) and finds him putting the theory that a watched kettle never boils to test. Riker suggests he turn off his internal chronometer.
It's another great Braga high concept science fiction episode! It's not quite as good as 'Cause and Effect', as that one had a tighter story whereas this one is more just "fun with time" and then an explanation at the end that basically comes down to "weird time aliens." That doesn't mean it isn't great fun! And it's totally different from any time travel type story Star Trek has done before. And Spot attacks Riker. Great stuf!
Descent: Part 1 - The teaser has Data playing poker on the Holodeck with Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking (guest starring as his holographic self.) It has nothing to do with the rest of the episode but it's a fun scene. The Enterprise responds to a distress call from an outpost and find the Borg there. There's a phaser fight during which it's clear theser are no ordinary Borg as they have names and get angry when they're friends die. Data, also, seems to experience anger when he chokes a Borg to death. Data has to be excused from duty while Geordi finds out what happened to him. He can't find anything and Data asks him to describe anger. Geordi finds it hard to do so without describing other emotions. Admiral Nechayev (one of the better recurring Admirals in Trek) comes onboard and asks Picard why he let Hugh go free last year instead of using him to destroy the Borg. Picard explain that Hugh became a person and it wasn't right to use him but she thinks ending the Borg would be more important. Data tells Troi he's been tying to experience emotions by partaking in many activities, including watching porn (he really says this.) He says he doesn't want to feel "negative" emotions like anger but Troi says there are no negative emotions and exploring anger won't make him evil. This does not seem like good advice! Data then admits he felt pleasure after he killed the Borg. Picard watches tapes of Hugh and snaps at Riker. He's wondering if he did the right thing by not killing all the Borg. Geordi walks in on Data repeatedly killing Borg on the Holodeck, trying to feel anger again. He wants to disable the Holodeck safeties (two officers must give permission for that, apparently) but Geordi won't help.
The Borg attack another colony. The Enterprise is sucked inside the conduit thing the Borg use to travel. Two Borg beam onto the Bridge but are easily defeated. It was a distraction to let the others escape. One of the Borg who beamed over survived. Picard questions him. His name is Crosis and he speaks of "the one" who will destroy the Federation. They don't assimilate anymore, just destroy. Picard wants to know if "the one" is Hugh but the Borg doesn't answer. Data is left alone with Crosis and tells him that "the one" can help him feel emotion again. Data tells him it felt good to kill. The secuity guard in the room ignores this pervy conversation. The Borg asks Data if he'd kill Geordi to feel pleasure again and Data says he would. That escalated fast. Data steals a shuttle and escapes with Crosis. The Enterprise manages to create one of the energy conduits (Geordi technobabbled a way) to follow. The Enterprise finds the planet where the shuttle landed, a planet they can't scan with their sensors. Riker and Worf lead an away team. Picards sends down more away teams to search the planet, and even he and Geordi will lead teams (Crusher is in command.) This seems a bit much? Shouldn't Picard at least stay on the ship? Picard, Geordi and Troi all end up on one team together (what are the odds!) with a security officer. They find an evil looking building with Nazi-like banners showing the Borg symbol. The Borg arrive and instantly kill the redshirt. We finally meet their new leader...LORE. And Data's with him now. "The sons of Soong have joined together and together they willd destroy the Federation" says Data and there's your season ending cliffhanger that is nowhere near as good as 'Best of Both Worlds.'
This episode starts off very good and intriguing. The Borg are different, Data's got emotions, what's going on? Data trying to feel and understand emotions is good stuff, Picard and Nechayev have a good scene. But by the time of the Crosis scene it becomes obvious that Data isn't just feeling emotions, he's being mind controlled in some way too. And that makes it all much less intersting. Then there's quite a bit of walking around looking for Data to pad out the episode before the shocking Lore cliffhanger. So yeah it's not a great part one but it's good enough that if part two delivers it could seem like a strong two part story...
Descent: Part 2 - Troi can sense emotions in Data. Lore claims he has given the Borg a purpose, after Hugh Borg caused them to become individuals. Picard keeps going "yes but I want to hear from Data!" Crusher is acting Captain of the Enterprise with a crew of Ensigns. A Borg ship appears so Crusher starts beaming the crew up, but Riker and Worf remain behind to look for Picard. Troi can only sense anger and hatred from Data as Lore is only feeding him the negative emotions (but Data points out she told him there are no negative emotions.) I'm not sure why feeling these emotions would make Data believe the Federation must be destroyed? I mean I can feel anger or hatred but I don't forget everything that happened in my life and set fire to a zoo or something. Lore wants to do experiments on Geordi. Lore gives a pep talk to a Borg. Geordi comes up with a technobabble way to reactivate Data's ethical subroutine (I guess that explains him being evil.) Riker and Worf are captured by Borg and brought to Hugh, who is also on the planet. Hugh is angry and blames the Enterprise crew for everything that's happened to the Borg and Lore taking them over. He shows them messed-up Borg who Lore experimented on. He still cares about/is in love with Geordi.
Data speaks in Picard's voice to be nasty to Geordi. Troi does the "help me!" trick (but not as entertaingly as Thor and Loki) so she and Picard can break out, but Data arrives just in time to stop them so it was a waste really. Crusher brings the Enterprise back to the planet to beam up the remaining crew, but can't find Picard or Riker so really she's just saving a bunch of redshirts. The Enterprise ends up in a fight with the Borg ship again and their warp drive goes down. Crusher plots a course directly into the sun as she read the post by Eggs earlier in this thread about metaphasic shielding. They hide in the sun but the Borg are waiting for them outside. Picard prepares to activate Data's ethics again. Geordi reminds Data of a time he tried to go swimming but sank to the bottom of the ocean. LET'S REMEMBER THAT WHEN INSURRECTION COMES OUT. Data delays doing the experiment on Geordi's brain as Geordi possibly got to him (I'm not sure if his ethics are back on yet, I stopped paying attention.) Lore feeds Data emotions like Data is a junkie. The Engisn at tactical on the Enterprise comes up with a way to destroy the Borg ship. A Lieutenant thinks it's a bad idea but Crusher does it anyway. It works and the Borg ship is destroyed. Picard tells Data to consult his ethical subroutine to see what it says about torturing Geordi. Lore wants Data to show his loyalty by killing Picard. He won't do it, of course. Lore is going to kill Data but Riker, Worf, and Hugh's Borg arrive but a BORG BATTLE ROYAL. Data shoots Lore and deactivates him as Lore says "I love you, brother." Picard tells Hugh he should be the new leader of the individual Borgs. Hugh doesn't even say hi to his friend Geordi, which is bizarre. Data has the emotion chip he removed from Lore but it was damaged. He's going to destroy it but Geordi says maybe someday he'll want to install it. Maybe in a movie.
It's a pretty by the numbers conclusion. Data's emotion story isn't interesting here because it's all just Lore manipulating him. Picard's guilt about letting the Borg live doesn't really come back either. I guess there's a hint that Hugh could eventually change all of Borg society but we all know that doesn't happen! The action is pretty dull though I guess the part in the sun is fairly good. It's not terrible or anything but it's not even as good as Time's Arrow part 2. This is the weakest TNG two-parter so far.
Liasons - The Enterprise welcomes two ambassadors from an alien race to the ship, while Picard heads to their planet on a shuttle. Troi shows one of the ambassadors around, the other is supposed to be shown around by Riker but he demands Wof instead. And Worf hates ambassadors! Troi's ambassadors is very interested in desserts. Worf's ambassador is rude to him and makes Worf angry. Data tries to give Worf advice in a mildlly funny moment. The shuttle carrying Picard crashes on a planet that looks like something from season 2 (I was going to say season 1 but that would be a bit harsh.) The alien pilot is injured. Picard is knocked out by some lightning or something. On the Enterprise, Worf's ambassador continues to annoy him and Troi's continues to eat sweets. He is fascinated when he sees a child and explains that his people emerge from pods fully grown. A human woman finds Picard and takes him to another crashed ship where she lives. She tells him the pliot is dead and makes soup. Her name is Anna and she's been alone on the planet for seven years. She acts a bit weird because she's been alone so long.
Worf and Troi are both annoyed by their ambassadors (Worf has a funny bit where he says "THEY ARE INSANE!") Anna continues to act weird and ruins a chance to escape (ON PURPOSE?) She kisses Picard and says she loves him and he's alarmed. He says it's probably just because he's the first person she's seen in years but she insists she really loves him. Worf, Troi and Riker play poker with the ambassadors on the Enterprise. Worf and his ambassador end up having a fight. He thanks Worf for the demonstration. The woman keeps trying to stop Picard from getting them off the planet. He confronts her with all her lies. She jumps on him and says "You should love me now!" and tries to force herself on him. It's poorly acted. She runs off. The pilot shows up (hmm) right after that. They go out looking for Anna and seperate. Picard sees her about to throw herself off a cliff because Picard doesn't love her. He realises this is all bullshit and that he's never seen her and the pliot together. She's actually the pilot in disugise. He's the third ambassador and he was sent to study love (the others were studying aggression and...eating?) He was attempt to recreate the events of a log they found on the planet of a human woman who fell in love with the man who rescued her. He doesn't understand what he did was wrong as they were just trying to understand humans. There's no hard feelings in the end! And that's it!
Umm, yeah, this is pretty poor stuff. It feels like an original series episode, but it probably would have been more campy and fun if it was. The b-story has a few funny moments with Worf trying to restrain himself but it's barely a story at all. It's about three minutes of matieral. The a-story is a bit like Darmok if the guy from Darmok had been trying to shag Picard. And if it had been shit. The guest woman's acting is really poor and while you could say that's because she was an alien pretending to be a human woman that doesn't make it better to watch. This is the kind of episode you watch and don't completely hate but forget about as soon as it finishes.
Interface - Geordi is climbing around the Enterprise with eyes. Geordi doesn't have eyes! Did they grow back? Turns out Geordi isn't really there, he's wearing a bodysuit in the science lab. He's interfaced with a probe via his VISOR. It's a clever idea! An Admiral contacts Picard (and mentions the Breen!) with some bad news: the starshp Hera has disappeared without a trace. Geordi's mother was the Captain. Geordi watches the last message he got for her and Riker comes to see him. Geordi's interface probe is about to rescue some trapped crewmembers on some planet. Riker offers to do it instead but Geordi says he's fine. Geordi finds a trapped crewmember and we see him struggling to lift some metal off the crewmember, a visual representation of the probe's tractor beam lifting the metal. He can also shoot phaser beams out of his hands. All of the crew are dead. A fire burns probe Geordi and it somehow burns real Geordi too. Geordi talks to his dad, who's also in Starfleet. The actor playing his dad gives a really unemotional performance, which hurts the scene. Geordi think there's still hope for his mother but his dad thinks she's definitely dead. Geordi goes to see Data. He's staring at a blank screen to "study poetry." Data invites him to experience the blank screen with him, but Geordi really just wants to talk about his mum. Data says that disappearances like this rarely end with the crew being recovered. Of course things like that happen to the Enterprise every week so it's not really a surprise Geordi thinks she could still be alive. Geordi uses the interface again and sees his mother on the crashed ship.
She talks kind of weird. She wants Geordi to go down to the planet's surface, but the interface is cut off. Crusher suggests that the probe was just interpreting infromation the best it could and that's why Geordi saw his mum. Geordi still thinks the Hera is on the surface somehow but everyone says that's impossible. Again though, these kind of impossible things seem to happen in Starfleet all the time so you'd think they'd be more open-minded. Geordi has a counselling session with Troi. Geordi won't accept that he's just imagining his mother because he feels guilty. Geordi comes up with a wacky theory on how the Hera could have ended up on the planet and tells the senior stuff. Riker talks to Geordi about his own mother's death. Geordi goes to use the interface against orders. Data predicts this and goes to stop him, but Geordi tells him he has to do it to make sure his mum isn't really alive. Data lets him go ahead with it as long as he can watch to keep Geordi safe. He sees his mother again and she confirms everything he thought. He brings the ship down to the surface to save her using technobabble. The interface input has to be turned up so Geordi can bring the ship down, even though that could put Geodi at risk (it's an attempt to introduce some drama!) Geordi gets to apologise to his mother for not coming to see her recently. Picard orders Geordi to stop. Geordi can't pick up the Hera on his sensors and his mother does something to his head. She's not really his mother, of course, she's some alien thing who killed the crew of the crashed ship (by mistake) then got trapped on the ship. They want to go back to their home. And they can read minds and appear as dead mothers. Convenient! Geordi saves the aliens, Picard tells him off, Geordi says the whole thing felt so real it gave him a chance to say goodbye.
This episode isn't exactly bad, it's just all a bit dull. The concept is sound, Levar Burton is always good, but the stuff with his "mother" never really rings true. Geordi says it all felt real, but it's really obvious that his mother is just some weird alien given how she talks and, well, given that this is Star Trek and it's always just some weird alien. The scene with his dad is really strange in how unemotional it is. There's good moments between Geordi and Data and Geordi and Riker, but the central story is never convincing enough.
Gambit: Part 1 - Riker, Troi, Crusher and Worf are undercover in an ALIEN BAR looking for someone who matches Picard's description. They get a guy with big ears to talk about pretending Picard got Crusher pregnant. There's a code of criminal silence in the bar but they agree to take big ears off the planet if he tells them where Picard is. The upshot is that Picard was vapourised and Crusher identifies his DNA to conclude that yes, he's 100% dead. That's right, they've killed off Picard offscreen! I guess Patrick Stewart fell out with the producers or something. Riker tells Troi he's angry and will stay angry until he finds out who killed the Captain. Troi gets angry and shouts that he's got a responsibility to the crew. An Admiral gives Riker permission to find out who killed Picard (this scene is pointless, really.) Riker threatens Big Ears for more information. They find a planet with several archaeological sites that the mercenaries who killed Picard travelled to. Data, as First Officer, objects to Captain Riker leading the away mission. There's a phaser fight and Riker is captured. The pirate ship somehow manages to disappear from the Enterprise. Worf gets angry at Data's calm and rational command style (didn't this already happen in a previous episoe?) Riker is questioned by the pirate captain (Baran) who has a torture device attached to Riker, and the rest of his crew. Why would you ever sign up to serve a ship like that? Unless his crew are all meant to be slaves or something. A crewmember speaks up, saying Riker must be killed. It's Picard! He's a space pirate now! Frakes makes a great shocked face.
Picard, going by the name Galen, tells the Captain that Riker is a rogue Starfleet officer and Starfleet won't pay a ransom for him. Picard also quickly arranges a malfunction on the ship so Riker can fix it and win Baran's trust. Data follows a lead to another star system. Picard finally explains to Riker that he was shot by a gun that beams things away (that's pretty cool actually!) when he was supposedly vapourised. He'd been tracking the mercenaries after finding out they'd been raiding archaeological sites. They've been stealing Romulan artifacts and Picard wants to know why. Picard has to beat up Riker when Baran walks in on them. Picard convinces Baran to use Riker to get them into a Federation outpost and steal another artifact (to stop them from killing anyone.) Picard tries to get information out of a Romulan crewmember (played by Robin "Second Saavik" Curtis.) Riker fails to get the outpost to drop its shiels but Picard has a convenient way to lower them anyway by doing something to the phasers. The Enterprise shows up and shoots the pirate ship. But Riker hails the Enterprise and orders them to stop attacking. He uses his personal command codes to drop the Enterprise's shields. His codes have been changed but Data orders the shields lowered anyway, knowing that Riker must be doing it for a reason. Worf objects because he's a dick now. The ship fires on the Enterprise to end part one.
Well, it's a part 1! It certainly moves, I'll give it that. The start with Riker and Troi grieving over Picard is a bit weak, because you know he isn't dead and the scene isn't very convincing anyway. But once Riker gets on the space pirate ship it's a lot of fun. Baran is a good evil space pirate type and Picard and Riker pretending to be dicks to each other is always fun. These type of pulpy space grime episodes aren't exactly what TNG does best, but it's good fun for a first part.
Gambit: Part 2 - The pirate ship does little damage to the Enterprise as Picard has sabotaged its phasers, but Data plays along by having the Enterprise appear to be damaged. Data lets the pirate ship go because he thinks it's what Riker wants (Worf continues to be a dick.) Galen taunts Riker so Riker gets to punch him as payback for earlier. Robin Curtis goes to Picard and says she knows he's up to something. Picard makes a positive match on one of the artifacts. Riker gets to lounge around in Baran's quarters. Is Baran gay for Riker? That'st he subtext I'm picking up! Baran says it'll be time to kill Galen soon and he wants Riker to be the one to do it. Worf says "finally" when Data has the Enterprise go after the pirate ship. Data takes Worf aside and tells him to stop being a dick and a First Officer can't keep making sarcastic comments. It's good seeing Data telling him off and being a tough commander, but it really seems out of character for Worf to act like this after seven years of serving with Data. Picard tries to start a muntiny against Baran. Robin Curtis aks him to tell her his real name, with a phaser pointed at him. He tells her the truth and she reveals she's really T'Paal, a member of the Vulcan security force and she's trying to stop Baran getting the artifacts (which are Vulcan, not Romulan.) She tells him the artifacts are a weapon that Vulcans use to kill people using their telepathic abilities. Vulcan isolationists want it. The Enterprise finds a Klingon ship with a really tall Klingon onboard (he's played by some basketball guy I guess.) Worf points out that the Enterprise is allowed to conduct "health and safety inspections" on ships in Federation space (or something, it's just an excuse to bring the Klingon's ship onboard.)
Baran decides they'll have to board the Enterprise to get the artifact the Klingon had. Data and Troi have an awkward drink with the Klingon (he pours it on the floor.) Picard and Riker and the pirates beam onto the Enterprise and shoot Worf and Crusher. Picard shoots Riker DEAD (according to Troi) and beams away with the artifact. Troi says that Riker is "only stunned" and Data says "I must admit I am experiencing a similar sensation" in a good line! Picard punches Baran when he gets back and says it's time for a new commander. Baran tries to kill Picard but Picard switched the transponder codes in the implants so Baran dies (why didn't Baran remove his implant after he killed the older captain?) Riker finds out from Vulcan security that they have no operative on Baran's ship. Picard begins to grow suspicious of Robin Curtis. When they arrived at Vulcan, Picard orders her to leave one of the artifacts behind. T'Paal outs him as an undercover Starfleet officer. Picard outs HER as a Vulcan isolationist who won't pay them. When they get to Vulcan T'Paal kills two of the pirates with the weapon. It kills them one at a time with a really slow moving energy cloud. It's shit. A phaser is much more useful. T'Paal tries to claims it's more powerful than any normal weapon because it uses the power of the mind. Riker and Worf show up but Picard has worked out that the weapon picks up violent emotions and can't kill them if they don't think violent thoughts. Wow, what a shitty weapon! LOVE WINS. Riker says Picard is dead so he can't give orders, but Data points out Riker is a renegade who can't give orders either. Picard orders Data to take Riker to the brig and he does so as Riker protests!!!!
Yeah, part 1 was much more fun. This one just feels a bit dull and the ending is really stupid with the Vulcan weapon turning out to be useless. There's some funny moments with Data and there's still some fun from seeing Riker and Picard pretending to be evil, but I was really losing interest by the end.
Agreed on the mehness of this 2-parter despite the great possibilities. Baran didn't seem so much like as pirate as he did a fat nancy alien who could never have risen to his tyrannical position in the first place. And the plot only moves forward because these mercenaries keep trusting each other's lame actions and stories. They are dumb mercenaries. (This will come up again in Ro Laren's final episode.)
And having the whole thing end by having Picard order the crew to think of cute kitten videos is a nice thought, but not very exciting. "We win because we're good and you're bad." POW!
Ro Laren was a disappointment from start to finish. Michelle Forbes played her like a Bronx hash house waitress with a chip on her shoulder, and there was no getting any deeper into the character than that. It's like, look, woman with the shapeshifting nose crinkles, I'm sorry Jimmy-Ray from down the way stiffed you on the tip for that "cuppa cwoffey", but get over it. Go masturbate or something, but lighten up. Even Kira laughed now and then.
Phantasms - Data has a weird dream where he says some old-timey guys digging into the Enterprise with pickaxes. The Enterprise has installed a new warp core (it's green!) and Picard has been invited to a boring Admiral's party or something. I'm sure one of these things will be important later. Geordi suspects an Ensign has a crush on him. The new warp core stalls, then power goes out all over the ship. Data watches Spot sleep in an adorable moment. He wonders to Troi what Spot dreams about. Troi advises him to have another dream to help him get over the nightmare he had. In this dream, Worf is eating a cellular peptide cake (with mint frosting) and Crusher is drinking Riker's brain with a straw. Troi is the cake(!) and Data is about to start cutting into her when he wakes up. He overslept for the first time in his life. Data goes to see Frued on the Holodeck. Freud of course concludes that Data wants to eat his mother and is impotent. Freud is pretty useless, really. An Admiral suspects Picard is faking the ship's problems to get out of the party. The ship breaks again. Data finds himself in a dream while talking to Geordi (Riker still has the straw in his head!) and opens up his chest like Bender to answer the phone inside. It's Freud telling him to kill everyone. He goes to see Troi holding a big knife. Umm, that doesn't seem like a good idea of what he just dreamed about.
Picard tries to give Geordi suggestiosn on how to fix the ship. Data stalks Troi through the ship like a scene from a horror movie then stabs her in the shoulder with his big knife. Data is terrifying sometimes. He tries to stab Riker's head too. He's kind of sleep walking and trying to eliminate things he saw in his dreams. Crusher finds a rash on the spot where Data stabbed Troi. There's some weird interphasic (that word gets used in TNG a lot) thing going on. Data has Worf look after Spot for him in case he goes nuts again and stabs the good kitty. Crusher finds invisble organisms on many crewmembers, including one on Riker's head. They're eating our cellular peptides! Picard decides that Data's dreams might hold the answer to how to remove the organisms. They link Data's brain to the Holodeck so that Picard and Geordi can walk around in Data's dreams. That means they get to see the Troi cake! Freud makes another appearance too. Data concludes that the shrieking noise he keeps making in the dreams means the creatures can be destroyed by an "interphasic pulse." The new warp core had been infested with the creatures. Picard is happy that fixing the warp core will mean he'll miss the Admiral party. Troi comes to see Data to show there's no hard feelings for him nearly murdering her. She's made a Data cake.
It's a good weird Braga episode. Data's dreams are pretty good for tv dream sequences. I mean they're not Twin Peaks (or Buffy's 'Restless') or anything, but there's some good weird imagery like the Troi cake. Really the Troi cake elevates the whole episode. Despite some talk of dream symbology it's actually pretty basic (the high pitched noise represents a different high pitched noise!) but it's a fun episode and, like all Braga episodes, has some good Spot humour.
Dark Page - A delegations of telepaths who don't use spoke language are onboard, and of Lwaxana Troi is there to help them speak out loud. One of the aliens is a young Kirsten Dunst(!) and her brain seems to grow outside her head. Lwaxana tries to set Deanna up with Dunst's father, telling him she needs a husband. That's how the pre credits scene ends, making it a really weak teaser. Lwaxana starts getting headaches and acting weird. The guy she tried to set Deanna up with tells Deanna that Lwxana has a "dark" part of her mind that can't be seen. Lwaxana randomly starts shouting at Riker for touching Deanna's hand. Crusher tells her to take some time off telepathic communication. Deanna takes over helping the Dunst aliens. Dunst falls into some water and Lwaxana falls into a coma. The telepath tells Troi more about the "dark place" in Lwaxana's mind and Troi concludes her mother's "metaconscious" has been damaged. The telepath looks over Lwaxana as she sleeps and EVIL MUSIC plays. Troi shouts "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" but in the next scene everything is fine again and he was just trying to help. This is all a bit stupid. He tells Troi telepathically how he was trying to help and a stupid sound effect plays as he uses his power.
He helps Deanna enter her mother's mind for answers. Strangely her mind is made up of the corridors of the Enterprise. Well, that saves some money! It's all shot through a fish eye lens too, which looks dumb. Lwaxana tries to scare her away with a fake Picard and a dog. Deanna meets her fahter in their "house on Betazed" which looks like a crew quarter on the Enterprise, weirdly. Deanna sees Kirsten Dunst and than Lwaxana shouts at her and she wakes up. In the real world, Dunst tells her she makes Lwaxana sad. Data suggests that the dream Dunst represents something else, because he understands dreams after the last episode. Deanna reads Lwxana's journals that Mr Homm (sadly not in the episode) sent. Picard finds a seven year gap in Lwxana's journal, files she deleted thirty years ago. Deanna goes back into Lwaxana's mind. She finally confronts her mother, so it's time for some bad acting! We finally find out that Dunst represented Kestra, Deanna's older sister who drowned when Deanna was just a baby. Lwaxana doesn't want to go through the memory again but Deanna forces her too in order to save her life. Lwaxana gives Kestra a hug in her mind and says goodbye to her. Deanna asks Lwaxana to tell her about her sister.
Look, this episode is bad. Majel Barrett was a limited actress, and pretty damn bad doing crying scenes. She just was, okay. You're not going to convince me otherwise. Even so they episode could still have packed an emotional punch if done well. But it just all looked so cheap and the acting was all so melodramatic. An episode about buried memories of a dead child should at least make you feel sad, but I felt nothing. Twelve year old Kirsten Dunst out-acted both Trois. Strangely sinister music played every time her father appeared, even though he was a good guy. It was all badly executed. I did not enjoy it.