Enterprise-D Blueprints

As a newlywed, when my in-laws were visiting us in Toronto, I picked up a slightly crushed box of Enterprise-D  blueprints at a big discount, and proudly showed my prize to my father-in-law. His face brightened, apparently thinking I was *giving* them to him. During the awkward pause that resulted, he reasoned that I was expecting him to *pay* me for them, so he took out his wallet. He happily took the blueprints back to his hotel room, then on to his home in Texas. I hadn’t even looked at them all yet! After he died about 10 years ago,…

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Birthright, Part 2 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 17) Worf sows disorder in a settlement where Klingons and Romulans live in peace

Rewatching ST:TNG L’Kor tells Worf the Klingons have chosen to remain in what was initially Romulan POW camp, because if were known they were captured alive, that would bring dishonor on their family. The Romulan Tokath gave up his military career to spare their lives and lead their new settlement. The Klingon survivors, their descendants, and at least a handful of Romulans now live together in peace.   Worf bristles when he sees the Klingon youth Toq using a Klingon weapon as a hoe, and dismayed when Ba’el (the young woman who caught his eye in Part 1) seems so happy…

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All Good Things… (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 25) Picard faces a timey-wimey puzzle in three different timelines

Rewatching ST:TNG When we all first met the crew of the Enterprise-D, I was an undergraduate living in a dorm at the University of Virginia. Seven years later, I was a Ph.D. student in a dorm at the University of Toronto. I saw the series finale on a channel that was hosting a huge live watch party at what was then known as Toronto’s SkyDome. When a certain iconic spaceship appeared and blew a hole through a hostile vessel, through my open windows I could hear a huge roar from the 40,000 trekkers watching a few blocks away. I’ve really…

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Preemptive Strike (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 24) Lt. Ro’s loyalties are tested during an undercover mission

Rewatching ST:TNG The newly promoted Lt. Ro, overwhelmed at a surprise “welcome back from tactical school” party, is disappointed when she sees Picard leaving. When it turns out he did so only so he could order her to report to him (and thus give her an excuse to leave the party), she’s grateful.  After a brief action sequence introducing the Maquis raiders (Federation civilians and former Starfleet officers who oppose the recent armistice with the Cardassians), we get another visit from Nechayev, who Admiral-splains the context for this episode: Starfleet wants Ro to infiltrate a Maquis cell. Picard expresses sympathy…

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Emergence (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 23) Enterprise-D subsystems exhibit emerging intelligence

Rewatching ST:TNG When I first read a blurb about this episode, I thought maybe the ship’s computer would develop an attitude and say, “I’m tired of taking your orders and shutting down systems and whatnot; I want to star in an adventure all about me!” In the cold opening, a costumed Data delivers Prospero’s speech about giving up his art towards the end of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Picard bardsplains the significance of the speech for those who need it, and I kind of got chills, as I’m aware I’m just a few more episodes away from the series finale (which…

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Bloodlines (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 22) Angry Ferengi threatens a son Picard didn’t know he had

Rewatching ST:TNG The Ferengi whose revenge scheme (s1e8 “The Battle“) involved planting a large thought-control device in the cabin of the starship Picard abandoned 15 years ago in order to force Picard to relive flashbacks of a battle is back, this time using a probe to announce his plan to kill a young man he says is Picard’s son. But soon the Enterprise-D finds the man and beams him safely aboard, but…um… It’s complicated. Picard had a fling with Jason Vigo’s mother 24 years ago, but lost touch with her. Crusher confirms that Vigo is indeed Picard’s son. But, um……

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Firstborn (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 21) Worf prepares his reluctant son for a rite of passage

Rewatching ST:TNG Worf awkwardly rehearses a speech to prepare Alexander for a rite of passage. Doused by a water balloon intended for Alexander, Worf bungles the speech. He’s even more rattled when Alexander admits he doesn’t want to become a warrior. Picard suggests Worf visit a nearby Klingon outpost for an upcoming festival. Wide-eyed Alexander is enchanted by a participatory street theater bat’leth opera, and runs off to see the sights with friends (mentioned only in dialog). When three bad guys surround Worf and Alexander, a stranger steps in to help fight them off. K’Mtar says he was sent by…

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Journey’s End (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 20) Picard must relocate a North American Indian colony; Wesley faces another loyalty test

Rewatching ST:TNG An obviously troubled Cadet Crusher visits the Enterprise. Picard lays out muchies to prepare for an in-person visit from Admiral Necheyev, in an effort to make their relationship less confrontational. She notices and appreciates his efforts, but still gives him very difficult orders to relocate a colony founded by Native North Americans.  Necheyev (having herself already voiced all the objections Picard brings up) feels this is a reasonable sacrifice in the interests of interstellar peace with the Cardassians. When asked whether she should appoint someone else to command the Enterprise for this mission, Picard says he’ll do it.…

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Genesis (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 19) The crew de-evolve into hominids, a spider, an amphibian, and such.

Rewatching ST:TNG After Worf loses a photon torpedo. Picard takes Data with him on a three-day shuttle jaunt to find it. I realize so far that probably sounds like a joke, but it’s accurate. They return to find the Enterprise-D adrift, and the corridors filled with animal noises. (I was listening with headphones, and the audio effects were great.) Picard for some reason decides to stop by Troi’s quarters, where he finds the counselor is now an amphibian. Lurking in the ready room, Riker is a grunting, hairy-knuckled primate; Worf is a spiky, venom-spitting predator, and Spot the cat is…

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Eye of the Beholder (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 18) Troi probes a crewman’s suicide, finds a ghostly love triangle tragedy

Rewatching ST:TNG An agitated engineer is poised to leap inside a warp nacelle’s plasma stream. He tells Riker “they laughed at me,” and jumps. Picard wants to know what happened so he can break the news to Lt. Kwan’s parents. Data tells LaForge he had great difficulties after he initially became sentient, and considered resetting his neural network, essentially killing himself and starting over, but decided against it. (LaForge approves.) Troi and Worf visit Kwan’s quarters, which are orderly. They check his personal log, which reveals him as dedicated and optimistic. His girlfriend Ensign Calloway mentions some tension with his…

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Masks (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 17) Ritual symbols start appearing on the ship and mythological figures inhabit Data’s personality

Rewatching ST:TNG Masks (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 17) Ritual symbols start appearing on the ship and mythological figures inhabit Data’s personality. This script is a mess. The comic opening is good. During an art class in the children’s center, Troi encourages Data to explore his imagination, but his sculptures are comically literal. The ship encounters an uncharted rogue comet, which causes a scanner glitch that will take some time to resolve. That’s good news for the plot, because it provides the characters with more downtime, during which they can notice odd things, like a tabletop obelisk appearing in…

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Thine Own Self (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 16) Data gets amnesia at a RenFest; Troi preps for promotion to commander

Rewatching ST:TNG In the captain’s chair on a night watch, Dr. Crusher tells Troi why she likes being in command. Troi then tells Riker she’d like to take the bridge command test, too. Data has been collecting radioactive metal from a remote site on an inhabited planet, but something has clearly gone wrong, because he walks, disheveled and confused, into a Renaissance-style town square, where Garvin and his daughter Gia just happen to be having an expositional conversation about his status as the village magistrate. Data has no memory of who he is, or where he came from. He can…

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Lower Decks (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 15) Junior officers star in a coming of age drama

Rewatching ST:TNG As Riker and Troi discuss crew evaluation reports in Ten Forward, we spend time with four junior officers who would normally get a few lines each. We already know Nurse Ogawa and Ensign Sito (one of the cadets who obstructed an investigation in s5e13 “The First Duty“). Lavelle is a square-jawed Dudley Do-Right and Taurik is a Vulcan with a dry wit. With their friend Ben (a gossipy civilian waiter) they look on as the series regulars sometimes encourage, and sometimes check their ambitions.  After a drill session on the bridge, where RIker offers a tip to the…

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Sub Rosa (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 14) Dr. Beverly’s Space Ghost Romance

Rewatching ST:TNG Dr. Crusher eulogizes a grandmother she’s never once mentioned, on a colony terraformed to resemble Scottland (scotta-formed?). A man who looks like he swaggered off the cover of a romance novel throws a flower into the grave. A grumpy old caretaker warns Beverly not to light the candle which is her family heirloom.  Beverly learns her 100 year old grandmother had been in a relationship with a 34-year-old named Ronin, and tells Troy of the unusually erotic dream she had. Of course, there’s more to it than dreams. The grumpy caretaker is killed while apparently sabotaging the colony’s…

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Homeward (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 13) Worf’s foster brother interferes with a primitive, dying culture

Rewatching ST:TNG The Enterprise-D answers a distress call from Worf’s foster brother, a civilian observing a primitive civilization on a planet with an atmosphere that’s spontaneously dissipating because reasons. The dissipation is also creating a plot contrivance field that periodically jams key systems so that we can watch characters react to dramatic in-person discoveries of details we would otherwise learn through a scanner readout on the bridge. When the planet surface became uninhabitable, brother Nikolai moved a village of Boraalans into a cave (again with the caves!), and set up a technobabble field to protect them from the bad Space…

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Parallels (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 11) Worf gets technobabbled into a timeline where he married Troi

Rewatching ST:TNG After returning victorious from a bat’leth tournament, Worf is ambushed by a surprise birthday party, where a chocolate cake turns yellow, his big pointy first place trophy turns into a ninth place blob, and things continue diverging from the recent past he remembers. A great comic scene features a terrified Worf reacting when a very relaxed Troy undoes his ponytail and gives him a backrub. (As she sees it, she is just helping her husband of four years to relax.) The structure of the story is a little herky-jerky; sometimes, when Worf jumps to a new parallel universe,…

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Inheritance (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 10) A scientist introduces herself as Data’s “mother”

Rewatching ST:TNG Within minutes of hearing about a problem with a planet’s molten core, LaForge comes up with a solution that Data and the visiting scientists from Atrea are convinced will work.  One of the visitors, Dr. Juliana Tainer, introduces herself to Data as a colleague of his creator Dr. Soong. In fact, because she was married to Soong, she considers herself Data’s “mother.” She explains she and Soong wiped Data’s memory and deactivated him as part of a process of trying to make him more human, but they had to leave him behind when the Crystalline Entity attacked. She…

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Force of Nature (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 9) A Space Thing leads to an environmental mystery that implicates warp drive technology

Rewatching ST:TNG In which a comic teaser features LaForge’s misadventures with Data’s cat; we join the search for a missing medical transport; and we meet environmentalists with dire warnings about a ubiquitous Federation technology. LaForge is tinkering with the engines, trying to beat the performance stats of an academy frenemy. He and his nerd buddy Data have a meandering scene fiddling casually with the sensors, which have been affected by this week’s Plot Contrivance Particle Field. A disabled Ferengi ship reports being technobabbled by what appeared to be a Federation buoy. Reasoning that the missing medical transport may have been…

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Attached (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 8) Picard and Crusher are telepathically linked and on the run

Rewatching ST:TNG Picard and Crusher are implanted with devices that let them overhear each other’s thoughts. The plot contrivance that makes this possible is ridiculous even by Star Trek standards; however, if you are a Jean Luc / Beverly shipper (as I am), the payoff is delightful. The preachy geopolitical framing story is also totally on brand for Star Trek. Preparing for a mission to evaluate a politically divided planet’s request to join the Federation, Picard is distracted during his customary breakfast with Crusher. She questions the policy that planets must have solved their own geopolitical problems before joining the…

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Dark Page (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 7) Lwaxana suffers from a hidden trauma

Rewatching ST:TNG Troi’s mother visits the Enterprise-D with a delegation of nonverbal telepaths. She’s focused and professional, but we see her stumble dizzily. (In TV-land this is as bad as coughing.)  One of the aliens is a widower (with a daughter played by a pre-“Interview with the Vampire” Kirsten Dunst). On my rewatch I was impressed at how stealthily the script slips in an important plot point about Lwaxana, I suppose because at this point we’re watching to see how Troi handles the awkward flirting from the nice guy barely verbal alien telepath single dad, who tells Troi that when…