The Bonding ( ST:TNG Rewatch, Season Three Episode 5) — Character-driven analysis of grief

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. After a member of a landing party dies an accidental, senseless death, Picard must break the news to her young son. “Jeremy, on the starship Enterprise, no one is alone,” says Picard. “No one.” Numerous times on my rewatch, I’ve wished episodes would devote less time to scanning and probing and navigating around the Sci-Fi Thing of the Week, and more time on how the…

The Survivors (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season Three Episode 3) Charming geriatric love and a pacifist morality play

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. After the Federation colony on Raina IV is obliterated, the Enterprise discovers a perfectly preserved house with two elderly survivors. The standoffish Uxbridge impresses Worf by confronting strangers with a non-functional hand phaser, and the hospitable Rishon tells a charming story of how the two fell in love on Earth. The script does a good job of building a mystery around how they alone survived…

The Ensigns of Command (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season Three, Episode 2) Data plays MacGyver to save stubborn human colonists

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. Data must convince stubborn humans to evacuate an unauthorized colony in Sheliak territory. Meanwhile, Picard must bargain with the legalistic Sheliaks for more time. After a teaser shows Data second-guessing his creative abilities, the main plot follows him as he first tries reason, then rhetoric, then a phaser to persuade the colonists. The actress playing Ardrian gave off a kind of Marion Ravenwood vibe,…

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Evolution (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season Three, Episode 1) Wesley’s nanobots irk tweedy astrophysicist

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. The life’s work of an eminent astrophysicist is threatened when Wesley accidentally creates a civilization of microscopic beings. For a school project. The rumpled Dr. Stubbs is friendly enough to Wesley, but he lacks the devoted female companion that Star Trek often gives its male scientific geniuses, so his fatalistic tweediness seems to warn us of what Wesley might become in 30 years if…

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Shades of Gray (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season Two Episode 22) Forgettable low-budget clipshow

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. After routine establishing shots we open with grumpy Riker slouching in a puddle, reporting that something unseen jabbed him in the leg. That’s the most creative bit of storytelling in the episode, other than some decent camerawork as we linger on various not-all-that-impressive props. The script is budget-friendly tribble fodder, padded with clips from previous episodes representing the memories Riker relives as Pulaski stimulates…