ext_2512: ([tng] skeet surfing)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: I am pleased to report there were no rape gangs in this episode. )

Overall Reaction: In this episode, we meet Tasha Yar's sister, Ishara, because TNG killed Tasha off in a completely pointless way and has been trying to make up for its guilt ever since by having everyone eulogize her once a season. Ishara Yar teaches the master course in Emotional Manipulation and Betrayal, as well as a Symposium in Solving Things with Explosives, at the Tasha Yar School of Diplomacy. She is kind of bad at both of these, because like her older sister, her neglectful childhood has left her an adolescent ball of vulnerability and confused impulses. She wants to be loved, but has literally no idea how to go about doing so. (In case you missed it in my incredibly subtle comment under the cut above: THIS IS WHY SHE AND HER SISTER ARE SO QUICK TO ATTACH THEMSELVES TO ANDROIDS. Because they cannot people.)

There's been a lot of that going around the Enterprise lately.

I liked meeting Ishara and thought the episode was a pretty enjoyable, if not overly memorable, one.


Star Rating: ** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"Are you able to have friends?" (Ishara, to Data, being unexpectedly gentle and tentative, instead of rude, so ... yay?)
ext_2512: (Default)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Quickly, before more notes vanish! )

Overall Reaction: I like Beverly, but I can't pretend she's my favorite character or that Gates McFadden is the strongest actor in the cast (look, it is tough to compete against noted Shakespearean Patrick Stewart or noted playing-lots-of-different-robotsean Brent Spiner), so I wasn't as excited for an entirely Beverly-centric episode as I have been for recent ones centering around Sarek or Data or even Worf (I love Worf, it's Klingon politics that bores me).

That said, I was very pleasantly surprised by this episode! The atmosphere it created -- the building sense of menace and worry as more and more people vanished from the Enterprise and Dr. Crusher spiraled closer and closer to madness and hysteria -- was incredibly effective, especially the tension between Beverly's mounting anxiety and the devastatingly kind equanimity of the rest of the crew. I was even fairly freaked out by the feeling of isolation and dread in Beverly's Enterprise, when she was finally left all alone on the Bridge, left behind by everyone she loved, and "freaked out" is not something I usually feel when watching sci fi television shows that aren't Doctor Who and its terrifying love of all things uncanny valley.

I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be surprised by the third act revelation that it was Beverly who had vanished into Wesley's experiment, because I was...making a spreadsheet when she initially disappeared, but I was never going to be surprised because of course Wesley made his mother vanish with an experiment he wasn't even supposed to be doing. And of course he was the only one who could save her, along with his magic space friend and his magic space powers and the fact that he's basically a shojo manga character. And of course he is completely let off the hook for making his mother disappear, because guilt is soooo counterproductive. No, you know what, Wesley? Guilt is totally productive! Guilt is the feeling that tells you you shouldn't do things that make your mother vanish into subspace!

So while the Beverly parts of this episode -- which thankfully make up the bulk of the episode -- get a solid A/A-, the Wesley scenes are barely scraping by with a C. Do you see what you do Wesley?

Star Rating: *** 1/2, but like ** for Shojo Kakumei Wesley

Quote of the Episode:
"Will Riker, your First Officer! He's... he's very good at playing poker, loves to cook; he, he listens to jazz music, plays the trombone. -- Commander Data, the android who sits at Ops. Dreams of being human. Never gets the punch line of a joke. -- Deanna Troi, your ship's counselor, half-Betazoid, loves chocolate; the arrival of her mother makes you shudder. O'Brien, Geordi, Worf. Wesley, my son! They all have been the living, breathing heart of this crew for over three years! They deserve more than to be shrugged off... brushed aside, just pinched out of existence like that. They all do. They deserve so much more." (Oh, Beverly, I feel you so much)
ext_2512: ([ad] they're grown-ups!)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Lj-cut is adopted )

Overall Reaction: I restrained myself above, but from now on, I will refer to Jono by his proper name: Chad Allen. HI CHAD ALLEN, HI. It took me like ten minutes to recognize your baby face, but once I did I was so excited! HI!

A ball of confusion, that's what Chad Allen is today. The crew of the Enterprise struggles with what to do with the rescued Chad Allen, who has thoroughly assimilated to his adoptive/slightly kidnappy culture, and through his exposure to Starfleet, he too begins to question where his loyalties lie -- with the man he knows as his father, or with his birth species. But let's be real here: all we really care about is watching Picard be terrible with children when he is saddled with an unexpected teenaged roommate. That is the entire point of this episode.

Picard! Honey! So bad at this! Picard alternates between gruff orders and awkward commiseration, used to being obeyed and uncomfortable with the noise and emotion and confusion that comes with adolescents. (Picard, I honestly can't believe you refused to let him listen to music EVER; what were you hoping to accomplish there? Just tell him to respect your need for quiet when you are present in your quarters and to mind the volume otherwise! This is not a kid who is being purposefully difficult to you! Taking away all of his self-soothing techniques is obviously going to backfire.) And, of course, because Picard struggles so much with children, it was satisfying as ever to see his innate compassion overcome his awkwardness in the rather touching Holodeck scene where Chad Allen begins to experience flashbacks to the death of his parents.

As to the resolution, I think the Enterprise made the right call. The episode is a nice defense of adoption and the validity of made families, and Chad Allen's relationship with his father was well done. Add in the fact that Jono was of legal majority in Telerian culture and had already suffered enough unspeakable trauma for one lifetime (constantly switching custody? REALLY NOT GOOD FOR KIDS, SURPRISE! Of course, it doesn't usually lead to attempted-suicide-through-stabbing-Starfleet-officers, but the kid was going through a lot), and they've sold me! But...I do wonder what they're going to tell his grandparents, and if Starfleet isn't going to have a lawsuit on their hands from one pissed off and grief-stricken admiral. Maybe they can become pen pals?

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode:
"There was a crime committed on board this ship, but it was not Jono's; it was mine. When we found Jono, it seemed so clear what had to be done. We knew that if we could only... persuade him to make the decision to stay, then you would most likely let him. So with the best of intentions, we tried to convince him. And in so doing... we thoroughly failed to listen to *his* feelings, to his needs. That was the crime. And it has... taken a huge toll on a strong and a very... noble young man. And it must be rectified. He will return home - to the only home he's ever known. And to the father that he loves. To you, Endar." (Picard)
ext_2512: ([tng] data)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Lj-cut being portrayed in this episode by Brent Spiner )

Overall Reaction: Brent Spiner plays ALL THE ROLES! \o/

My excitement seriously kept mounting. I was like, "Ooh, something is up with Data, this is going to be a cool episode!" And then he went to the planet and I was like, "I BET IT'S LORE -- okay, no, it's Dr. Noonien Soong! Just as awesome!" And then Lore showed up and I was just like a slow motion victory celebration in an inspirational sports film.

Can I just reiterate how good Brent Spiner is at differentiating the different characters he plays? It took me a few minutes to recognize him under all the age make-up as Dr. Soong, and Lore was as bitchily wonderful as always. He has emotions, but he clearly doesn't know what to do with them; he was like a mercurial teenager in this episode, all jerky movements and eyerolls and sarky faces and feigned indifference over barely suppressed anger and longing. I love how he can vacillate between clear shock that Soong is dying at one moment -- "What do you mean, you're dying? You look fine! You look fine." -- to sarcastically lashing out or brutally attacking him the next. Also, I have to say: you are terrible at manipulating people, Lore. You are lucky one of these people is a credulous android and the other is a guilty old man, because you're just awful at it.

I also liked Data in this episode, though between being mind whammied for the first half and Lore's scenery chewing in the second, he didn't have all that much to do. It was nice to see him get to meet his creator and to get the opportunity to see that "I am not less perfect than Lore." (Which, of course, Lore follows up with some more sneering mockery. WHY ARE YOU THIRTEEN, LORE.)

The only thing I could have wished for was some more resolution -- I'd have happily watched a two-parter, but that surprises zero people -- which I hope will come in some future episode.

Star Rating: *** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"You’d be surprised, Data. Feelings do funny things. You may even learn to...understand your evil brother." (Lore, this is what I mean when I say you're terrible at manipulating people)
ext_2512: ([ds] maggie may)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
This post doesn't even merit the header of meta, because it's really just a small observation (for viewing up to 4x08 -- I haven't gotten to all my reviews yet): I love how many stories there are about family in TNG, especially about family and the main characters. TOS, largely because it subscribed much more fully to the no-continuity-just-adventures! model than TNG does, very rarely had family stories, and certainly showed none of the diversity that TNG has. (And, of course, there's the fact that the Enterprise of TNG is a family ship, something even represented amongst the main cast, which includes a mother and son.)

Just out of the last few episodes that I've watched (but going back to a few I watched back in December), we've had:

+ An episode about Sarek, the only fleshed out family member from TOS, which expanded and enhanced our understanding of Spock's family.

+ An episode full of the mother and daughter shenanigans of Deanna and Lwaxana Troi (who is a recurring character).

+ An episode entitled family, where we met Worf's parents, learned more about Wesley's father, and (most thrillingly) got to see Picard's brother and his childhood home.

+ An episode about Data's "father" and "brother."

+ An episode about adoption.

+ An episode where Worf discovers that he is a father, begins to think about passing on his heritage, and loses the mother of his child.

+ An episode about Tasha Yar's sister, where we get to learn more about Tasha's upbringing.

+ An episode where Riker is fooled into thinking he is a father, takes to it much, much better than Picard or Worf, and ends up forming a bond with an alien child.

Not to mention the nice Wesley-Beverly moments in the Beverly-centric episode.

Family's been all over the last part of season three and the beginning of season four, and I, for one, am loving it.
ext_2512: ([tos] STRONG SPOCK)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
I LIED, THIS EPISODE MADE ME LOSE IT SO MUCH HARDER THAN "BEST OF BOTH WORLDS". TEARS ALL OVER THE PLACE. SOMETIMES OF LAUGHTER. BE PREPARED FOR LOVE. Also, writing this maybe made me cry again like five times, because THIS YEAR, MAN, so sorry if it...is incoherent. I just have a thing about family. And conflict. And loss of self. And ugh, sorry.

Overall Reaction:I'm giving this reaction first, because of all the LOVE I have. This episode is wonderful. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful; please give all the awards to Patrick Stewart.

While Picard's plot is obviously my favorite, I really liked all three plot-strands in this episode. Yes, even Wesley's. They combine several of my die hard narrative kinks: family relations, especially ones where discord leads to greater understanding; character backstory; and serious treatment of the ramifications of trauma on characters, which is especially rare in a mostly episodic show.

Picard's visit to his childhood home in France, to the vineyard that his father and now his brother have preserved as a shrine to an archaic way of life, reminds us of a world we forget exists lost among the stars with him on his adventures. It is a world he has been happy to leave behind, but where he is now turning to try and find something of himself that he has lost. He is trying to know himself. At first, it seems like a poor place to look for that missing part -- Deanna had warned him that home may not give him what he needed, turning her therapist voice on him which he, like I, totally hates -- given the tension between him and his brother, and between their stunningly different ways of life. It seems that Picard, who was always moving too fast for that world (winning all the ribbons and all the races), looking out at something bigger and better, has grown too big to return there and will find nothing but sullen resentment. Even when he is most seriously considering remaining on earth, he is still looking for something new to explore, considering signing on as the leader of his friend Louis' Atlantis Project.

But Picard does find what he is missing, there. It isn't the place or the life he left behind or the Atlantis Project -- he doesn't need to revert. It is just one moment of connection with his brother, who may never like him or understand him, but who knows him and who can give him what he needs. "Did you come back because you wanted me to look after you again?" his brother sneers at him during their worst fight, and Picard punches him in the face. But the fight breaks the tension and the brothers end up laughing together and Picard realizes he did need his brother to look after him, for just a moment. He needed to be able to say what happened to him and for his brother to listen and to treat him the same and let him come back into himself. And then they're laughing together like boys in the sitting room -- getting mud all over the sofa -- and when Picard leaves they both understand each other a little better, or at least are able to forgive each other a little.


Worf's story is more comical -- the variety of socially awkward faces that Michael Dorn can make is an endless delight to me -- but it's also about finding understanding and connection, even when it's difficult. Like Picard, Worf went into space looking for something his family didn't really understand -- not adventure, in his case, but honor, some sense of Klingon identity that they were unable to give him -- and it is kind of wonderful and painful to see how proud they are of him and how uncomfortable he is with it. "It was a difficult adolescence," Worf's mother says at one point, and, really, what is Worf's life but one long difficult adolescence? He is so afraid to let himself be happy because he always feels that he is failing to live up to some invisible standard. But even as he tries to hold himself distant, to be the guarded Klingon, there is so much love in his family that it kind of breaks my heart. His parents sum it up, finally: they don't always understand, they can't, but being family means that they care whether they understand or not. "Whenever you are suffering, you must remember that we are with you."


And then Jack Crusher's speech just provides a beautiful thematic resolution to the episode (in addition to making me cry) -- about what it means to be family, to see so much of yourself in this other person, and to know that you'll make mistakes but that you'll try and do better next time.

Episode Notes: There were a lot of these but I've tried to pare it down. )

Star Rating: ****

Quote of the Episode:
"Hello, Wesley. As I make this recording, you are about ten weeks old. I wanted you to know who I am today. You see, this Jack Crusher won't exist by the time you're grown up. I'll be older, more experienced, and hopefully a little wiser. But this person will be gone and I want you to know who your father was when you came into the world. When I see you lying there in your crib, I realise I don't know the first thing about being a father. So let me just apologise for all the mistakes I'm about to make as you grow up. ... You're only a baby, but it's remarkable. I can see in your face all the people I've loved in my lifetime. Your mother, my father and mother. Our family. I can see me in you, too. And I can feel that you're my son. I don't know how to describe it, but there's this connection, this bond. I'll always be a part of you, Wesley. Well, I hope this made some sense to you. I'm not sure that it does to me, but maybe I'll do better next time. I love you, Wesley." (Jack Crusher)
ext_2512: ([tng] damn it feels good)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Be prepared for such astute observations as 'borg!' and 'emotions!' )

Overall Reaction: I really didn't have many notes that weren't "SHIT SON, THE BORG!" or "EMOTIONS!" because...that is pretty much my entire reaction to these episodes!

They are brilliantly done, with a real sense of menace from the Borg, who are so wonderfully inhuman. It really hurts to see Picard become part of the collective, and Patrick Stewart does an excellent job. I love seeing the crew, and Riker in particular, struggle with his absence, especially with the bitter feeling of his being there but not being there and their unwillingness to let him go. I... Well, several people I loved went into comas this year, and so I don't think I've ever before been in as good a position to understand what the crew of the Enterprise are going through here and frankly it's making it kind of hard to talk about the emotional arc of the episode. The moment when Picard came back, when he reached out and touched Data, and they knew that he was still there, that somehow they might be able to get him back made me kind of lose it.

Everybody knows these episodes are fantastic. Everyone knows the Borg rock. Everyone knows Picard is a badass.

Let's talk about "Family", instead! It is probably my new favorite episode ever, because it has much less WAR GRR and much more of the wonderful ~EMOTIONS~ and ~BACKSTORY~ that I love!

Star Rating: *** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"I am Locutus of Borg. Resistance is futile." (Because I dare you not to feel chills run up and down your spine when you hear that)
ext_2512: ([jcs] fabulous)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Hey JC, JC, would you transfigure for me? )

Overall Reaction: I'm just going to get this out of the way: SPACE JESUS. SPACE JESUS SPACE JESUS SPACE JESUS.

Half my notes (well, of the notes not about Geordi's lack of luck with ladies) were like "Wow, this guy is super likeable. And hot. Very hot. Picard just felt him up. Picard just realized Beverly thinks John Doe is hot and is now side-eying him. He's so hot I don't even mind that hideous, hideous turtlejumpsuit. Even if it is embarrasingly revealing and his nipples are much too visible and really that's a terrible jumpsuit."

And the second half were all "SPACE JESUS."

This all begs the question...am I doomed to find Jesus hot forever?

No, I'm sorry! This has all gotten so out of hand! Focus, Taf, focus!

To be fair, though, I am not the only person distracted by my strange feelings for Space Jesus. Beverly is intrigued by her the quick healing alien patient with no memory from the start, even having what has to be the most awkward boy talk conversation with her teenage son ever. Sure, Bev. We've all used the "deep spiritual connection" line to justify the butterflies we get with our amnesiac patients. Wes is clearly humoring you. (Come to think of it -- that spiritual connection line probably should have tipped me off to the Space Jesus thing.)

And, ultimately, his charisma and appeal is the main strength of this episode. The episode's message is a little muddled -- the old Star Trek standby of kindness and tolerance and joy in IDIC has been done better -- but Mark La Mura as John Doe held my attention throughout. (Shut up.) I wanted him to remember who he was and to find out where he came from, I didn't want him to be turned over the authorities on his home planet (even if, like the crew of the Enterprise, I struggled with what that would mean for the Prime Directive), and I felt for him in his fears of persecution. Also, I decided to become his acolyte and convert into an energy being myself. Wait. No.

For all I've belabored them, though, the Jesus parallels could have been much more hammer-like, and I enjoyed this episode. It was helped along by an entertaining script with some great moments for Worf and Geordi.



(Did I want Geordi to have a consciousness exchange with the mysterious injured alien when they did their risky neural hook-up thang at the beginning of the episode, and to hopefully become a super sassy villain? Obviously. But I guess him developing self-esteem or whatever was...whatever. *sigh*)

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode:
"I’VE BEEN TUTORING HIM. HE LEARNS…VERY QUICKLY." (Worf, about Geordi's newfound romantic success, with this amazing wry little chuckle in his voice)
ext_2512: ([tng] i'm not lying)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
This is one of those times that I realize I never did a write up for an episode I watched months ago, and so may not remember everything I wanted to say. However, since it is a Lwaxana Troi episode... I think I'll remember the important bits.

Episode Notes: Females do not deserve the honor of lj-cuts. )

Overall Reaction: I am aware that not everyone feels as I feel, but my love for Lwaxana Troi is a true and powerful thing. Much like the Ferengi's love for her, but with much less casual misogyny. I am willing to pay handsomely for her, though.

Also, although Deanna is not my favorite character, she is at her most likeable in her interactions with her mother -- her exasperation is very relatable, as are her efforts to get her mother to "stop demeaning me and address me as an adult." I liked that this episode gave them so much opportunity to interact.

And, finally, I adored the resolution of this episode. Both because we got to see Lwaxana being canny and plotty, for all she can seem like she has lost the plot a bit, and because she managed to organize her own rescue in a way that forced Captain Picard to pretend to be her jealous lover. And to serenade her with a sonnets mash-up. Truly, it was a thing of beauty.

Sort of a light, goofy episode -- and I'm not sure the show really knows what it's doing with the Ferengi yet -- but it brought a few of my favorite things together in a delicious way.

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode:
"My love...is a fever, longing still, for that which longer nurseth the disease."
"Tell me more."
"In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes, for they in thee a thousand errors see; but 'tis my heart that loves what they despise, who, in despite of view, are pleased to dote. Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate!" (Jean-Luc, "wooing" Lwaxana)
ext_2512: ([tos] STRONG SPOCK)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Before I say anything, a query: When Picard says he met Sarek at his son's wedding, that would be Sybok, right? Because he'd have just said Spock if he meant Spock, especially since the wedding would cleeeeearly have been with a previous Enterprise Captain. I mainly ask because I reject all movies except two through four, and have an ambivalent relationship with the canonicity even of those, and therefore I know nothing about the Spock-half-brother thing.

Episode Notes: Imma get this out of the way first: that is one fine looking two hundred year old. )

Overall Reaction: I love the GOOD GODDAMN out of Sarek, I am so happy to see him back on my television screen. Not least of all because it gives me an opportunity to engage in my favorite Star Trek pastime, which is to think about Spock. I just...I feel so much for Spock sometimes, because there's this real sense that he tries SO MUCH HARDER than everyone else and buys in so much more to the COMPLETELY AFFECTLESS Vulcan thing because he's different and half-human, and a big part of that is that I feel he sees himself as a massive disappointment to his father. Which -- in this episode we learn that Sarek has married not just one, but two human women. He obviously finds some emotionality charming despite himself. (He even gets in some HARDCORE VULCAN FLIRTING here, which is what "Perrin can be quite logical. When she chooses," clearly is. It's the verbal equivalent of him always going around touching fingers with Amanda.) I just wish that he and Spock could have had a better relationship than they clearly do. It made hearing Sarek talk about how much he cared for his wives and son that much more poignant here, because while Perrin can say she always knew, I really don't think Spock did.

As much as I love a good Vulcan outburst of feeling, though, this was pretty painful to witness. I jokingly wrote down, about ten minutes into the episode, "do senile Vulcans become emotional? Is it really embarrassing for everyone?" and then it was TRUE and I felt terrible. I can't imagine anything more undignified for a Vulcan, and the worst thing is that it brings with it the openness to feel the acute embarrassment it no doubt causes. I was so glad to have Sarek back, but it was sad to see him this way.

Star Rating: *** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"Bedlam. BEDLAM! I'm so old. There is nothing left but dry bones, and dead friends. Oh... tired. Oh, so tired." (Picard as Sarek)
ext_2512: ([tng] i'm not lying)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: DATA IS A FREE ANDROID. )

Overall Reaction: A Data episode. Is there any way I'm not down? It was pretty delightful! Though I would like to reiterate: DATA IS NOT A SEXBOT, FAZHA (yeah, I don't know his real name, I heard an Austin Powers joke and I'm sticking with it). HE HAS FEELINGS.

WELL, NOT REALLY. MOSTLY.

I thought the ending was a bit of a cop-out -- we got Data nearly killing a man but getting saved from the repercussions of his actions via deus ex transporter -- but all in all we had enjoyable performances, some great lines, and some lovely grieving from the Enterprise crew as they struggled to deal with Data's apparent death.

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode:
“Personally I’d be delighted to see you go around naked.” (Fazha, after ACTUALLY DISSOLVING DATA'S UNIFORM, WTF)
ext_2512: ([tos] no biggie)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: And when we're holding hands, it's like having sex to me. )

Overall Reaction: I liked this episode a lot, in terms of the writing, the performance by Barclay, and just giving us some delightfully goofy moments, but it raised a few big questions for me.

Number 1: Holodeck ethics. Is it ethical to enter into an occupied Holodeck without express permission? There was a clear understanding amongst all the crew members that the Holodeck was a place for fantasy and self-exploration, a judgement-free place where one can act out one's id. Geordi explicitly states that what happens on the Holodeck is private. Further, though the show skates around this, there's a suggestion that the Holodeck can be, well, a masturbatory aid. Certainly we've seen people act out sexual fantasies in there. GEORDI HIMSELF IS THE WORST OFFENDER IN THIS. He has both fallen in love in there, as he tells Reg in this episode, and relived super awkward dates in it. That may all have been in one episode. I watched that episode a lot because I kept falling asleep during it. ANYWAY. If all this is the case, then why is it acceptable for crew members to enter into their co-workers' fantasies?

And if there's a sense that the Holodeck is in some way a public place, then I don't think Riker was out of line with his comments that co-workers should be off-limits in it. Deanna was right that he was responding out of hurt pride and that he was taking it much too seriously, but there is something deeply inappropriate about Barclay's use of real people on the Holodeck. Especially his use of Deanna, which began to read almost as sexual obsession. In fact, all of the women in his programs read as combination mommy figure and sex object, and that's both very telling psychologically and fairly disturbing, especially since the objects of his fantasy can walk in at any time.

Number 2: Is this really the crew's job? Okay, okay, I'm not questioning that from a human perspective it was good for Geordi to take a personal interest in a clearly troubled subordinate or for Picard to put the kibosh on mocking nicknames. Certainly he should at least have been pointed to a counselor. But, he was really bad at his job! Yes, he ended up solving the problem, but there was NO WAY to foresee that, and I don't understand why precisely they have to be lenient about his absenteeism and inarticulateness. Probably I am just Missing the Point, but from a pragmatic perspective, this is not how to respond to lousy employees.

However, I do appreciate the message of empathy in the episode, of not letting troubled people slide through the cracks, and of the idea that even...I'll say introverted for the moment, but I'll come back to that...people can have contributions to make. So I guess I'm just nitpicking here. Maybe not good business practice, but good from a message point of view, and I suppose the Enterprise wouldn't be the place it is if it focused on the pragmatic over the human.

(THIS IS LIKE THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT I SAID WHEN I CAME OUT OF MONEYBALL THE OTHER DAY, IT'S KIND OF HILARIOUS. There I was all, "I respect his business practice and I get that he changed baseball and that he gamed the Yankees, etc., but, but BASEBALL. I WANT TO ROMANTICIZE IT. WHAT ABOUT LOYALTY TO PLAYERS AND, AND TEAM SPIRIT, AND.")

Number 3: I'm not a psychiatrist, and he's a fictional character, but with those caveats, I'm pretty sure the issue in this episode was not what the show thought the issue was. They seemed to think it was fantasy versus reality, and that was part of it, but I'm pretty sure the issue was that this guy has a MASSIVE UNDIAGNOSED ANXIETY DISORDER. How was that not caught during the endless psych evals these people go through? How is he not in therapy and possibly being medicated? Geordi called him shy, and that seems to be the assessment everyone else stood by, but he says it's more than shyness, he knows it's something more, even if he can't articulate it. I really would have liked some acknowledgment that he clearly had some problem beyond being slightly awkward around people and that perhaps just telling him to engage with the real world and talk to people wasn't enough. (Okay, they did point him to Deanna, but that was like the shittiest therapy session ever. Possibly because of his hard-on for her.)

These questions aren't necessarily criticisms, though. I liked that the episode made me think a little (even if the space mystery of the week did not).

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode:
"Being afraid all of the time, of forgetting somebody's name, not, not knowing... what to do with your hands. I mean, I, I am the guy who writes down things to remember to say when there's a party. And then, when he finally gets there, he winds up alone, in the corner, trying to look comfortable examining a potted plant."
"You're just shy, Barclay."
"Just shy... Sounds like nothing serious - doesn't it? You can't know." (Barclay and Geordi, talking about something that -- I'm not wrong, right? This is more than shyness?)
ext_2512: ([tng] skeet surfing)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Pretty much these boil down to 'Is that the Mayor?' 'Wow, it's the Mayor!' )

Overall Reaction: I'm afraid that I, rather unsympathetically, spent the whole episode saying, "Suck it up, young Mayor! Stop being such an over-emotional Betazoid." (Fun Fact: "Betazoid" is one of those words that always sounds like an insult, even when it isn't. Like "unitard.")

Having said that, I was sympathetic to his problems, I like telepathy plots, and I appreciated his kindness to Data.

But, WTF, random Romulans? WTF, living creature that evolved to be a spaceship?

Star Rating: ** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"You said in the transporter room that you could not read my mind."
"True enough. But I think I understand you pretty well. It worries you that I can't read your mind?"
"Perhaps there is nothing to read - nothing more than mechanisms and algorithmic responses."
"Perhaps you're just different. It's not a sin, you know. Though you may have heard otherwise." (Data and Tam Elbrun)
ext_2512: ([tng] guh)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
This review is forcing me to institute a new special section, entitled simply:

The Hotass: Caps of people looking attractive in stupid swimwear beneath the cut. You may not like 50% of it if you're not a Vash fan. )


Okay, not that I've gotten that taken care of:

Episode Notes: Riker's working overtime to earn his lech tag in this ep, and he's barely even in it. )

Overall Reaction: Ahhhhhh, what fun. This entire episode was just such a romp.

ENTERPRISE CREW: Dude, Picard, take a chill pill.
RIKER: You need to get laid. I know the perfect spot!
PICARD: Um.
RIKER: It's great! It's not a brothel at all! P.S. Can you buy me a souvenir?

PICARD: I WILL NOT HAVE FUN. I WILL NOT GET LAID. I WILL READ THIS BOOK AND GLOWER AT ALL THE SCANTILY CLAD WOMEN.
SCANTILY CLAD WOMAN: Heyyyyyy, stud.
PICARD: No means no.
SCANTILY CLAD WOMAN: Well, you should have thought of that before you bought a sexuality totem.
PICARD: RIIIIIIIIKER!
SCANTILY CLAD WOMAN: Oh, sorry, I didn't realize it was for a special friend.
PICARD: Well, he's not so special now.

VASH: Hey, sailor.
PICARD: I don't want to have sex with you.
VASH: Well, maybe I don't want to have sex with you.
PICARD: *raises eyebrow*
VASH: Okay, yeah, that's not very likely. Anyway, I am just going to hang around here being outrageous and affronting your sense of dignity and generally being a flirtatious troublemaker until you find me hot despite yourself.
PICARD: That will absolutely work.
Q: I KNEW IT. Oh, Jean-Luc!

[PLOT]

PICARD: I am totally on to you, Vash. But I pretty much find you hot anyway.
VASH: You have got a type and it is hilariously wonderful. Just wait until I team up with Q in DS9. Then your head will really explode.

RIKER: So, did you get laid?

And that was pretty much the whole episode. And I fucking loved it. Also, this is the most I have ever liked Vash, which is what I get for watching her episodes entirely out of order. Now I'm looking forward to rewatching the Robin Hood Q episode even more.

Star Rating: *** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
(Vash kisses Picard.)
"I think you've mistaken me for someone else."
"You know, I think you might be right. Welcome to Risa!"
"A simple handshake would have sufficed." (Picard and Vash)
ext_2512: ([tng] good god no)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
First question, before I even start here: How the hell does everyone aboard the Enterprise know the words to "Heart of Oak"? I only know it because my ex-boyfriend had delusions of Hornblowerosity and always wore full Napoleonic War gear. He hosted sea shanty singalongs every Friday, with homemade grog.

WAIT. WAIT, HOLD UP A DAMN SECOND. IT IS THE OFFICIAL DAMN SONG OF THE BRITISH NAVY. PICARD IS FRENCH. FRENCH. This song was basically written to tell his people to go fuck themselves and die. How did that not send up a thousand red flags? Why does this show never remember that he is French anymore? Has he done a single French thing since season one?

Now that I've gotten that out of the way: Hey, that scene was pretty funny! Why don't we talk about the episode now?


Episode Notes: Steady, boys, steady! )

Overall Reaction: So, there were two different things going on in this episode. On the one hand, there was the sublimely awkward (I had to keep taking my headset out and going "la la la, I can't hear you") comedy of the not!quite!Picard, and on the other hand there was a pretty traditional Trek plot about powerful entities playing games with the Enterprise captain and his final success in outsmarting them. Personally, I've always like that plot best when it's done with a delicate TOS touch, but Picard holds his own, and brings a nice little moral about research ethics and the need for living things to be free to boot.

But, really, I was mostly enjoying this episode for the completely squirm-inducing moments with fake!Picard, as he slowly alienated his crew's trust be behaving in more and more bizarre ways. I mean, I could hardly watch it, because I have a really gigantic embarrassment squick, but it was still funny. The hardest part to watch was the not!a!date, because that was really the most problematic thing fake!Picard did -- aside from completely fucking around with the emotions of one of Picard's closest friends, it is just absolutely not cool to go around macking on people in someone else's body. The cringe-inducing mood music was just the cherry atop this particular disaster. Conversely, by far the MOST FUN to watch was Picard's HORRIFICALLY UNCOMFORTABLE butting into the leisure time of his crew, especially when he showed up in Ten Forward, bought ale for the lot of them, and led them in song. He even touched Geordi's shoulder. It was both amazing and awful at the same time.

And, pfft, forget teaching aliens a lesson about liberty and free will! The crowning moment of this episode's denouement was the look of dawning horror on J-L's face as soon as Riker said the word "singer." I will treasure that face always.

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode:
"Imprisonment is an injury regardless of how you justify it." (Picard, pwning)
ext_2512: ([tng] good god no)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: I'll overcome that in order to erase the humiliation that I've brought upon myself and my father. / You're just in your own little Euripides play over there, aren't you? )

Overall Reactions: So I guess that brings me to the actual plot of the episode, and not just the red herring cross-cultural-hijinks plot that I held out so much hope for. Which, fine, I can do the Klingon Honor plot, even if I got over my hard-on for HONOR at, like, age fifteen.

So, I missed some of the nuances with how the Klingon justice system works and why exactly Worf had to descend from on high to go through a trial with the death penalty to try and avenge his father's honor. I'm sure it's all perfectly self-explanatory to Klingons. The set-up wasn't really what was interesting about the plot, anyway. What was interesting was seeing the character with possibly the most black and white view of right and wrong and of honor in the show (something I've commented on a bit before) come face to face with corruption and hypocrisy at the heart of the system that he believes so strongly in, even more strongly because of his separation from it. The episode didn't hold my interest all the way through, but the last scene, where Worf had to shame himself and be outcast (again) from his people, when there was no last minute reprieve to clear his name, was powerful.

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode:
"The family of a Klingon warrior is responsible for his actions, and he is responsible for theirs. If I fail in my challenge, I will be executed." (Worf, in a quote chosen not because it is interesting, but because it actually vaguely explained the justice system stuff I zoned out on while watching)
ext_2512: ([tng] data)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Picard's got an Admiral and he hates that dick, he tells me everyday -- what you thought I would actually avoid an Offspring reference? )

Overall Reactions: I'm a little surprised that I didn't like this episode more than I did. Oh, I liked it, but sometimes the premise felt a bit hokey, as if I were reading very strange kidfic, and the villain of the week was such a cartoon villain -- if I may refer to my notes: "suuuuuuch a dick," "dick, dick, dick, dick," "such a dick," "I...AM...STARFLEET" -- until his sudden final redemption, that it was hard to take the episode as seriously as I would have liked to. There have been better examinations of Data's sentience and what it means for him and for Starfleet, I think.

None of this is to say that the episode didn't occasionally MELT MY HEART. Aside from a few moments of comedy gold -- see: RIKER'S FACE when he gets kissed -- there were so many deeply touching moments. Lal and Data holding hands, for one. And then the final scene, which just made me lose it -- the moment where Data can't feel what his daughter is feeling as she dies, cannot say that he loves her, and she tells him, "I will feel it for both of us. Thank you for my life." That was beautiful.

So some really nice moments and an enjoyable episode, but not my favorite Data vehicle.

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode:
"So without understanding humour, I have somehow mastered it." (Lol, Lal)
ext_2512: ([tng] from the t.y.s.d.)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
It has been SO EFFING LONG, I am SORRY. All my shows came back and then I started obsessively watching reality TV and ugh. Luckily my summer break starts soon (TWO WEEKS, OMG) and then I can maybe watch a bit more Trek.

But to get back in the swing of things, I am going to comment on something that I actually watched a few months ago and... failed to take notes on. That obviously means this commentary will be SCINTILLATING.

Luckily, however, this was a very good and very memorable episode, so I might have one or two things to say.


Episode Notes:
+ No reason to cut this, 'cause y'all know I'm just going to say: TASHA! TASHA YOU ARE BACK!!!

Overall Reaction:
Ahhhhhh, I love AU episodes! SO SO MUCH. This was profoundly satisfying. What I especially liked, however, was that this finally gave Tasha Yar the ending she deserved. I mean, my fondness for her was always at least half mocking -- downside of being part of TNG S1 -- but it was fondness, and she died so randomly and so ignominiously. Here she got to sacrifice herself for a greater cause, and I was grateful for the retroactive respect.

Star Rating: *** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"Tasha, you're not supposed to be here."
"Where am I supposed to be?"
"Dead."
"Do you know how?"
"No. But I do know it was an empty death. A death without purpose." (Guinan and Yar, who is probably not remotely reassured)
ext_2512: ([tng] good god no)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Here is Picard's painting:



Here is Data's assessment of Picard's painting:

While suggesting the free treatment of form usually attributed to fauvism, this quite... inappropriately attempts to juxtapose the disparate cubistic styles of Picasso and Léger. In addition, the use of color suggests a... haphazard melange of clashing styles. Furthermore, the unsettling overtones of proto-Vulcan influences...

And my assessment:

Data, sweetie, you're a little bit full of crap. I'm looking for Fauvism and not really seeing it. The palette is strictly, as Data suggests by invoking Picasso and Leger, cubist. Data calls Picard's use of color a "haphazard melange of clashing styles", but it just seems really, really cubist to me. When I say "cubist" and "color" in the same sentence the word "god-fucking-ugly" usually figures as well, but Picard does mix things up with his use of rather pretty blues in addition to the muddy greens and browns that make me dislike most cubist paintings. The main critique I'd level at his use of color isn't that it's haphazard or god-fucking-ugly, though it sometimes is (he needs to work on flesh tones), but that it's very flat. It lacks the richness that really elevates the work of the guy I am about to compare him to, Modigliani, or either Picasso or Leger. I blame the thinness of the application.

Now about Modigliani (you can fucking forget about Leger because his work has nothing whatsoever to do with Picard's painting -- the Picasso reference is much more valid, but might make Modigliani cry, given their rivalry): Picard is ripping him right off. Like so:



Gosh, I love Modigliani. I think that's partly why I do respond somewhat positively to Picard's work; there's something compelling about this kind of portrait. Modigliani's work is much, much more compelling, with the eyes that draw you right into the painting (versus Picard's flat ovals) and the beautifully expressive curves, but Picard's captures some of that appeal.


Overall, I would say that his painting has some appeal and that my gut reaction when I saw it for five seconds on the screen was positive. It needs much more richness of color and texture, but I like the face, the background, and the vase as a counterpoint to the face. It starts to fall apart when you reach the shoulders. The deficiencies in the color are most evident in the drapery in the bottom right-hand corner, which has no depth at all, and in the uneven flesh tones on the figure's torso. I like something about the angularity of the torso, but the arm is a hot mess, and it could all do with a bit more of Modigliani's sinuous grace. Leger and Fauvism have got nothin' to do with it.

Also, Picard is clearly one of those people paints all faces to somehow recall his own face a little. The painting looks like it should have some horrifying name like "Maman."






Hahahaha, wow, I am running on really very little sleep today and this is what results. But Picard should have asked me for a critique; I was much nicer than Data! (I wouldn't have brought his mother into it.)
ext_2512: ([misc] red balloons)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Riker Wanted for Murder One )

Overall Reaction: I love a good murder mystery! I was just reading over my earlier episode reactions and I know that that statement is directly contradicted in a previous Voyager review, but that was different! That was bad noir pastiche! This played with the idea of subjectivity and different perspectives on the same event, and I even like the one kind of shitty due South episode that does that! This was an actually slightly good murder mystery!

Slightly. I can only give it a slightly because nothing about the different perspectives was resolved. We can only assume Riker's is the most accurate, because we are meant to side and sympathize with him, but what are we supposed to make of Deanna's assessment that Manua Apgar was not being dishonest in her recollections? There is a pretty big difference between coming onto a man and being rejected and having a man try and rape you, and it would be pretty hard to confuse the two. That is not a misunderstanding or a different interpretation, as her earlier memories of him checking her out could be; it is a completely different event.

Are we supposed to think that she is deeply delusional? Perhaps grief-deranged? Are we supposed to believe the assistant's representation of the scene and assume that both Riker and Manua were remembering things in the best light for themselves after having been mutually involved? That would be the best answer, but, although I call Riker a lech a lot, he's not self-deluding; I doubt he'd reimagine himself as an unwilling partner if he actually made out with the scientist's wife. Which leaves us in a bit of a narrative pickle, and also leaves me in a pretty dissatisfied place with the episode's handling of what is essentially an accusation of attempted rape -- it doesn't call Manua a lying bitch trying to ruin Riker's life, for which I am grateful, but Riker's perspective is clearly privileged because we know him and the other characters love and trust him. Without any clear explanation for her memory of the events, Manua's hung out to dry.

Still, toss me some twisty narrative techniques and a bit of suspense and I am usually there, so did get a kick out of the episode.

Star Rating: ** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"While suggesting the free treatment of form usually attributed to fauvism, this quite... inappropriately attempts to juxtapose the disparate cubistic styles of Picasso and Léger. In addition, the use of color suggests a... haphazard melange of clashing styles. Furthermore, the unsettling overtones of proto-Vulcan influences..." (Data, trying to be tactful in his assessment of Picard's art -- personally, the brief glimpse I saw reminded me of Modigliani and didn't strike me as horrendous, but I admit I wasn't paying any attention. ...Just enough attention for my brain to dredge Modigliani's name out of my memory and draw a comparison, obviously.)

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