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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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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…

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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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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…

It’s not just you — we are all more forgetful during the pandemic, experts say. Here’s how to fix it

Pandemic living can make it much more difficult to form a memory at all, let alone call it back when we need it, said Yassa, director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California, Irvine.   “Sometimes we’re a little bit harder on ourselves. We think, ‘Oh, how did I forget this? This is something that should be so natural for me to store,’” he said. “But it turns out that something happened during encoding that made it actually impossible for you to even get this memory onboard to begin with. “So, if…

Finland’s Museum of Contemporary Emotions

A history of the beginning of the pandemic, oragnized around emotions. More recently, the Museum of Contemporary Emotions—a project of the Finnish government’s Finland Forward pandemic communications initiative—picked up Ekman’s work as its scaffolding. The Museum, really an interactive website, is a kind of digital archive of experience during the Covid-19 pandemic, styled with the sans-serif aesthetics of a direct-to-consumer startup and the haunting, echoing soundtrack of a post-apocalyptic Catholic Mass. The events of the pandemic are positioned on a timeline—the discovery of the virus, the toilet paper panic, the ban on events, and so on—and a click on any one…

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Frame of Mind (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 21) Riker is an asylum inmate who hallucinates he’s a Starfleet officer rehearsing a play about an asylum inmate

Rewatching ST:TNG Riker overprepares for a role in “Beverly’s play,” which distracts him during his briefing for an undercover mission, so that Worf accidentally cuts him while demonstrating a ceremonial knife. The night of the performance, the crowd applauds enthusiastically, but Riker is disturbed when he notices in the crowd a humanoid alien he had bumped in the corridor before. Suddenly the setting shifts, and Riker finds himself in a real cell that resembles the play set, where an alien tells him he’s an inmate who’s been having delusions about serving on a starship. Riker is confused, but resigns himself…

He dedicated years of his life to QAnon. One day made him question it all.

Thoughtful analysis structured around one man’s personal journey away from QAnon. No single online platform is responsible for QAnon’s rapid rise. YouTube hosted the videos that many members credit with their “red pilling,” the favored term for a supposed enlightenment or exposure to conspiracy theories. Facebook allowed for easy conversation, meme sharing and organizing. Twitter, Justin’s favored platform, provided fertile ground for QAnon influencers and their lies. “It was an amplification machine,” said Daniel J. Jones, president of Advance Democracy Inc., a global research organization that studies disinformation and extremism, referring to Twitter. Jones found QAnon followers (identified by the QAnon identifiers in…

Smalltalk through masks is hard; I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at last night’s six-theatre Sondheim tribute

If you said hello to me recently and I didn’t seem interested in smalltalk, but just raised my eyebrows, made friendly sounds, and drifted on, I hope I didn’t seem indifferent. I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at the Lamp Theatre last night, but it was also kind of overwhelming. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly bad at recognizing faces (see this Post-Gazette article on my colleague Lee McClain), but I’m definitely not as good as I was in my youth, when I spent more of my day around a flow of people whose…

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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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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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Rascals (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 7) Transporter glitch tween-ifies Picard, Ro, Guinan and Keiko

Rewatching ST:TNG A glowing Space Thing causes the transporter to revert Picard, Guinan, Ro and Keiko into 12-year-olds, with their adult memories intact. The four child actors do a fantastic job channeling the personalities of characters we already know well.  Tween Picard tries to carry on giving orders as usual, and contemplates returning to the Academy or pursuing archaeology until he grows up again. Keiko finds her husband and toddler are treating her very differently. The already testy Ro has one more thing to be testy about. Guinan is determined to enjoy every moment of her second childhood. According to…

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True Q (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 6) Visiting Intern Exhibits Q-like Powers

Rewatching ST:TNG On its way to help an ecologically devastated planet, the Enterprise-D picks up a clever young intern, who reveals for us her secret power of making puppies appear from nowhere. Amanda (played with an impressive mixture of maturity and teenaged vulnerability by Olivia D’Abo) chats with Dr. Crusher about family, and we learn she was adopted as a baby. Right before a cargo container falls on Riker, she deflects it with a gesture. Later, in engineering, the warp core suddenly acts up and explodes, but she manages to reverse the explosion and restore the ship. Q suddenly appears,…