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Yesterday’s Enterprise (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season Three, Episode 15) Alternate history featuring the Enterprise-C

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. A space anomaly activates an alternate timeline in which the Enterprise-D is a bustling battleship, Picard is a hard-edged militant facing defeat after decades of war against the Klingon Empire, and somehow only Guinan realizes something’s wrong. This version of Picard struggles with ethical complexities that “our” Picard could resolve after only a few sips of tea, Earl Grey, hot; however, great scenes with…

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Déjà Q (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season Three, Episode 13) Amusing, insightful study of human nature

(Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break) The meddlesome entity Q, stripped of his powers, throws himself at the mercy of Captain Picard: “in all the universe you’re the closest thing I have to a friend, Jean-Luc.” Lots of well-done banter and self-absorbed patter from actor John De Lancie. While Worf and Crusher have memorable reactions to Q’s newfound mortality, the story really gets rolling when Data takes charge of Q’s adjustment…

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The High Ground (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season Three, Episode 12) Sensitive, Artistic Terrorist Is Also a Terrorist

(Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break) Crusher finds herself sympathizing with the charming terrorist who kidnapped her. After last week’s “The Hunted” and the week before’s “The Defector,” it seems the writers are very interested in humanizing perceived enemies. An unusually exposition-heavy captain’s log establishes the Enterprise is visiting a non-aligned world shaken by terrorists. We want to like the romantic separatist leader who mourns the death of his own…

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The Hunted (ST: TNG Rewatch; Season Three, Episode 11) Honorable soldier exiled by the peaceful society he defended

(Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break.) A great Trek morality drama, most obviously inspired by the challenges faced by US troops returning from Vietnam, but light on preachiness and heavy on action. Impressed by the cultured and intellectual Angosians, Picard offers to help them recapture a violent prisoner who escaped a penal colony. The prisoner’s increasingly creative evasive maneuvers impress Riker and LaForge, though Picard is visibly annoyed. After the…

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The Defector (ST:TNG Rewatch; Season Three, Episode 10) Cold War Brinksmanship, via Shakespeare

(Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break.) A Romulan defector exposes a planned incursion against the Federation, in a slow but gripping character study that comments on the Cold War. As I kid, I remember being transfixed by the 1983 TV movie The Day After, which depicts a nuclear attack on America. I doodled mushroom clouds in my Latin textbook, and more than once I woke up from a nightmare in…

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The Vengeance Factor (ST:TNG Rewatch Season Three, Episode 9) Sovereign’s Chef Beguiles Riker

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. As Picard mediates a reconciliation between a recently enlightened civilization and its barbarian outcasts, Riker pursues a humble servant girl. After a brief visit to a raided Federation outpost, we get a well-done infodump from the stately Marouk, ruler of the Acamarian civilization. She lets Picard talk her into offering amnesty to any raiders who will agree to rejoin her peaceful society. Who doesn’t love…