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Phantasms (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 6) Data’s Trippy Dreams; Riker’s Brainstraw and Troi-cake

Rewatching ST:TNG Data is walking through a corridor, which is filmed with the wide-angle lens the series has used recently to represent dreaming. He hears an old-timey telephone ringing, and encounters people dressed like miners, pickaxing their way through a bulkhead. He tells them to stop, and then shrieks electronically at them. They respond by pulling him to pieces. Data wakes up in his quarters, having had a nightmare. Picard laments that he’s been invited once again to attend the annual Admirals Dinner, and fears he may not be able to escape the ordeal. The Enterprise-D is getting ready to…

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Gambit Part 2 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 5) Artifact Raiders Raid More Artifacts

Rewatching ST:TNG Following the events of Part 1, Data plays along, simulating damage to the ship. Baran is persuaded by his Romulan flunky Tallera that he should retreat, and grudgingly thanks Riker for his role in keeping them all alive. Picard (undercover as “Galen”) taunts Riker as a “traitor and coward,” and gets a solid punch from his first officer. Tallera challenges “Galen,” asking why he didn’t keep firing on the Enterprise and why he keeps antagonizing Riker. Picard stays focused on his work, which consists of asking the computer to scan artifacts. It’s supposed to be technical work that…

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Gambit Part 1 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 4) Artifact Raiders Raid Artifacts

Rewatching ST:TNG I didn’t for a minute buy the “Picard is dead” premise, but it’s fun to watch the away team, dressed in civilian clothes, chatting with aliens in a cantina. They learn the “smooth-headed” human they are tracking was attacked and vaporized by artifact smugglers. Troi asks Riker to speak at the eulogy, but Riker wants justice. Acting on a lead from the witness, and acting against Acting First Officer Data’s advice, Riker leads an away team to a planet of archaeological interest, and promptly gets captured by raiders. The Enterprise-D picks up and quickly loses track of the…

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Interface (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 3) LaForge, using experimental augmented reality gear, encounters a vision of his mother

Rewatching ST:TNG The cold open features LaForge crawling through a Jeffries Tube without his visor, reaching through flames with his bare hands.  He’s actually in a lab, hooked into a VR interface, controlling a drone that’s inside the Reman, a science vessel that got stuck in the dense atmosphere of a gas giant planet.  Riker asks a few questions that give Crusher the excuse to explain the concept of a haptic VR interface, for the benefit of the 1993 audience. Picard has to pass along to LaForge the bad news that another Federation ship, the Hera, has disappeared. The captain…

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Liaisons (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 2) Picard is Marooned with a lovelorn woman; Worf is grumpy; Troi eats desserts

Rewatching ST:TNG Worf grumbles about his dress uniform, saying it looks like a dress. He’s preparing to receive two ambassadors on the Enterprise-D, along with a pilot to shuttle Picard to their homeworld. While Troi cheerfully introduces Loquel to the concept of “dessert,” Worf gripes that Byleth is “demanding, temperamental, and rude.” Data helpfully observes, “You share all those qualities in abundance, perhaps you should try to build on your similarities.” As we’ve learned to expect whenever a main character boards a shuttlecraft, something goes wrong and soon Picard is waking up in front of a fire in a low-tech…

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Descent, Part 1 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 26) Data experiences disturbing emotions while killing a Borg drone

Rewatching ST:TNG Data plays poker with holodeck simulations of a crabby Isaac Newton, a genial Albert Einstein, and a grinning Stephen Hawking (playing himself). The Enterprise-D follows a distress call to an outpost, where they find a Borg task force. But everything seems off… not only did these Borg seem to be hiding, the drones refer to each other by names, and one swears to avenge another’s death. When choking a Borg, Data gets really, really mad. Picard realizes these Borg (whose ship disappears into a Space Thing) may have a new agenda. A video call with Admiral Nechayev is…

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Timescape (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 25) Time bubble aliens lay eggs in Romulan warbird’s artificial black hole, apparently

  Rewatching ST:TNG Picard, Data, Troi and LaForge are lounging in the back section of a runabout (seen only in this episode), reflecting on a conference they just attended, when they start running into pockets of space where time moves at different rates. They find the Enterprise-D and a Romulan Warbird frozen in time, apparently in the middle of a battle.  LaForge rigs anti-time-bubble armbands so the crew can board the time-frozen Enterprise-D to see what’s going on. On the bridge, Riker is on the floor and armed Romulans are looming over him; in a transporter room, Worf has been beaming…

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Rightful Heir (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 23) Worf’s quest for the return of a fabled Klingon threatens the Klingon Empire’s status quo

Rewatching ST:TNG Worf is uncharacteristically late for a shift because he was distracted by a ritual to invoke the fabled warrior Kahless. He tells Picard that since meeting the young Klingons who grew up with no knowledge of their heritage (s6e16&17 “Birthright“), he has felt “empty,” and feels the need to test his faith. Picard is simultaneously strict and empathetic, calling Worf’s actions “Inexcusable… and understandable.” He grants him a leave and tells him not to come back until he’s ready to perform his duties properly. In a shrine on the holy planet Boreth, Worf joins a group of Klingons…

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Suspicions (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 22) Crusher narrates murder-mystery flashbacks

Rewatching ST:TNG A defeated-looking Crusher tells Guinan her career is over, and, film-noir style, narrates how “it all started when…” After meeting a Ferengi scientist at a conference, Crusher invites him to the Enterprise-D to demonstrate his unorthodox technobabble technology. Only four scientists accepted Crusher’s invitation to witness the demonstration —  a Klingon (not much respected on her homeworld), a lofty Vulcan expert and her human husband; a member of a species we haven’t seen before, and the Ferengi, Dr. Reyga, who intends to demonstrate his shield technology by piloting a shuttle into a star’s corona. The visitors are skeptical,…

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The Chase (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 20) Planet-hopping archaeological DNA mystery

Rewatching ST:TNG A well-done mystery that could have, *should* have, redefined our understanding of intelligent life in the Star Trek storytelling universe, but did not. Picard’s beloved archeology professor shows up after 30 years with an invitation to join a mysterious expedition.  I respect that the writers don’t ask us to believe that Picard is seriously tempted by the offer; instead, Picard is worried about having to say no to his mentor (once again). Not too long after he leaves the ship in a huff, Galen sends a distress signal. He’s rescued just in time to utter a last dramatic…

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Lessons (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 19) Picard and a new officer bond over their shared interest in music

Rewatching ST:TNG When Picard is up in the middle of the night amusing himself with his archaeology hobby, he’s annoyed to find that Stellar Cartography has taken communications, library systems, and the replicators offline.  When he heads down there, the officer in charge is taking some sensor readings that are so delicate they can be totally ruined by a 3am meet-cute. Lt. Commander Nella Daren is intelligent, focused, witty, well-rounded, and she speaks her mind. When she joins Data as pianist for a classical concert, Troi observes that Picard is unusually moved by her performance.   When Daren drops by…

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Birthright, Part 1 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 16) Worf learns his father may still be alive; Data dreams

Rewatching ST:TNG The Enterprise-D visits Deep Space Nine, so that the producers can take advantage of the beautiful promenade set and jam in a guest appearance from DS9’s Dr. Bashir. O’Brien doesn’t appear in this episode, but he’s mentioned in a brief and completely unnecessary scene where LaForge complains the pasta on DS9 “tastes like liquid polymer,” but Worf thinks it’s “Delicious.” Worf is approached by a ratlike alien who suggests Worf’s father, believed to have died in the Romulan attack on Khitomer, is not dead. Worf is enraged at the insinuation his father did not die a warrior’s death,…

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Tapestry (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 15) The dying Picard has a chance to alter his rash youth

Rewatching ST:TNG Picard is in sickbay with a gaping hole in his chest. Crusher can’t save him. In a white void, Picard meets a familiar figure, Q, who claims to be God, and conjures up a vision of Picard’s father (who is *so* disappointed), and voices from Picard’s past — people he says have died because of Picard’s actions and inactions. We see a vision of a young Picard laughing at the sight of a spear tip emerging from his chest — the climax to a bar fight story Picard once told Wesley (s4e9 “Final Mission“). Picard insists he regrets…

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Face of The Enemy (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 14) Troi role-plays as a feared Romulan intelligence officer

Rewatching ST:TNG Troi wakes up, looking like a Romulan. When Subcommander N’Vek tells her she’s impersonating the imperial intelligence officer Major Rakal, and that she’ll be killed if she doesn’t play along, he invites her to use her empathic powers to see whether he’s lying. He’s not. He’s using the assumed authority of “Rakal” to prevent his commander from opening some mysterious cargo containers. Back on the Enterprise, a former Federation officer who defected to the Romulans has re-fected to the Federation, knowing he’ll be court-martialed. (The guy’s name is “DeSeve”… oh, what a tangled web we weave!) He bears…

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Aquiel (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 13) LaForge adopts a murder victim’s dog. Is she really a suspect?

Rewatching ST:TNG LaForge gets a little too involved when investigating the disappearance of a lieutenant posted on a remote relay station. On a routine supply mission near the Klingon border, the Enterprise-D finds only a friendly dog and a mystery.  The plot requires the details of the mystery to remain fuzzy so that LaForge has time to sift through the personal logs of Lt. Aquiel Uhnari. The technobabble uncertainties with the evidence examined by Worf and Crusher must be untechnobabbled by a lengthy process. We learn that someone likely died from a powerful weapon, that Uhnari didn’t get along with…

Starship Mine (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 18) Picard out-thinks thieves raiding an evacuated Enterprise-D

Rewatching ST:TNG Picard plays cat-and-mouse with thugs when the Enterprise is evacuated for routine maintenance. During a long tracking shot, Picard bumps into senior staff members who just happen to be standing in the corridor with administrative problems for him to solve. In the turbolift, Data tries out his new “small talk during awkward moments” subroutine, and Picard recommends he meet Commander Hutchinson at this afternoon’s reception on Arkaria Base. On his way off the ship, Picard pauses to take in the empty bridge, as the local work crew arrives to set up equipment.  At the reception, Data observes the…

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Ship in a Bottle (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 12) Barclay’s holodeck hack brings a mastermind back, that’s a-foul play

Rewatching ST:TNG Data and LaForge are enjoying a Sherlock Holmes holoprogram when LaForge notices an NPC glitch. Because they have more important things to do, they call Barclay, who inadvertently activates the sentient Moriarty simulation (from s2e3, “Elementary, Dear Data“). Picard is shocked to learn that Moriarty has experienced consciousness while stored in the computer databank. Moriarty becomes convinced Picard lied to him about asking Starfleet to work on a method to let Moriarty exist off the holodeck. Moriarty shows a stunned Picard, Data and Barclay that he can leave the holodeck and walk out into the corridor without disappearing.…

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Chain of Command, Parts 1 & 2 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episodes 10 & 11) When Picard’s reassigned, the new captain’s a grind (there are four lights)

Rewatching ST:TNG Picard is relieved of command and assigned to a special ops mission, as the Cardassians provoke a war with the Federation. The new CO arrives with plans to reorganize every department. Jellico is very hands-on, giving Riker specific details for reworking the shift rotations, and crawling trough the Jeffries tubes with LaForge. He cheerfully shows Troi pictures drawn by his son, but he’s bluntly not interested in listening to anyone else’s input. Instead of actually showing Picard’s team surreptitiously making their way to an illegal Cardassian weapons lab, we get a budget-friendly scene in a bar where the…

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The Quality of Life (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 9) Boxy bots start to skive; Data thinks they’re alive, that’s a-plot twist

Rewatching ST:TNG During a poker game, Crusher tweaks Riker, Worf and LaForge for wearing beards.  The bumpy-headed scientist Farallon is super-dedicated to a “particle fountain” mining project, which the Enterprise-D is assigned to evaluate. Along the way she has also had time to tinker with remote-controlled, AI-driven gadgets she calls “exocomps.” After an exocomp refuses an order in a context that could be interpreted as an act of self-preservation, Data asks Crusher for a definition of “life.” Testy Farallon lashes out at LaForge when he’s trying to offer not only sympathy, but also a second shift of engineering staff to…

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A Fistful of Datas (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 8) Worf Trapped in Western Simulation

Rewatching ST:TNG Silly Gagh-Western finds Worf trapped on the holodeck with gunslinging copies of Data. When the crew gets a few unexpected days of downtime. Picard practices his flute and Crusher casts a play. After running out of excuses, Worf finds himself wearing a sheriff’s badge and moseying into a holo-saloon, at the request of his young son. Alexander is initially annoyed that Worf finishes the story too easily, so he orders the computer to make it harder to win. LaForge, who a couple weeks ago sparked an invasion from hostile subspace aliens when he tweaked the scanners, decides to…