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: ([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] 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] guh)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Shit, I forgot I hadn't posted about this. )

Overall Reaction: I don't remember very much about watching this episode (I'm really glad I decided to keep a note of all the tags I wanted to use for once), but from what I do remember it's an affecting episode about grief, and I really like Worf's role in it. And Gabriel Damon as Jeremy was very good and only made me say, "HEY, it's SPOT CONLON!" like four times.

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode:
"I'm told that your father is also dead."
"Yes, sir. He died five years ago, from a Rushton infection. I'm all alone now, sir."
"Jeremy, on the Starship Enterprise, no one is alone. No one." (Picard and Jeremy Aster)
ext_2512: ([ad] they never did)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
A chronological retrospective of some favorite moments from season one of TNG.

So, you know, there are no icons from "Code of Honor."

Preview:


64 icons under here! )

These are, as ever, up for grabs -- I just like a comment if you're taking any.
ext_2512: ([slih] nobody's perfect)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: I just took some extra strength Tylenol and that shit knocks me out, so let's see if I'm coherent here, okay? )

Overall Reaction: I think this episode teaches us many important lessons, including:

1) Don't judge people by their verbal skills, or they might steal your chief engineer.
2) Kids these days. No appreciation of fine literature. Or history.
3) Picard is a badass. Motherfucker was IMPALED, AND HE LAUGHED. And then talked about it while eating little fucking sandwiches like getting impaled was a goddamned tea party. Hot damn, son.
4) But even when you're a badass, it's kind of silly to let your embarrassment over a medical issue put your health at risk. Just let Pulaski do the surgery, JL.

Star Rating: ** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"No problem. Where women are concerned I am in COMPLETE control." (Wesley, being hilarious)
ext_2512: ([ats] she's the brainy type)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Wow, this episode made me a horse girl. )

Overall Reaction: I have a well-established track record of loving Data-centric episodes, but this might be the exception to that particular rule. It was such an incredible fuck up from start to finish, from the little girl who clearly never received any ONLINE SEXUAL PREDATOR education, to all of Data's well-meaning but uncharacteristically stupid actions, to the ultimate, intrusive mind wipe of the child. One thing I like about TNG is how seriously it treats the Prime Directive, but situation here was so ill-conceived that it was hard for me to become invested in the conflict. Moments of it were sweet and enjoyable -- the girl was fairly endearing, as was (and ever is) Data, and I obviously enjoyed Picard in this episode -- but I think it could have been a much stronger venture.

Star Rating: ** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"He has brought a child on my ship, and on my bridge." (Picard, literally the angriest I've ever seen him)
ext_2512: ([tos] STRONG SPOCK)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Wesley Crusher is a racist. )

Overall Reaction: You can tell that this was a good episode because Data was barely in it and Q was nowhere to be seen, and yet I was still riveted. The episode, aside from being about Klingons (yay!) and being pretty damn exciting, actually highlighted the things I like best about Riker -- because, for all my gentle mockery, I do usually like Riker. He is, as I have said before, probably the best diplomat aside from Deanna aboard the Enterprise, and certainly the most active explorer. Picard's face lights up when he finds a new form of life (see: the sentient diamond earrings in "Home Soil"), but he is somewhat ill at ease when it comes to actually interacting with, well, people of any species; Riker leaps right in with a refreshing gusto. He slips into a scanty, shimmery outfit with a cheeky grin in "Angel One", he dives into an attempt at dating a genderless person in "The Outcast" (okay, maybe I'm just proving he's a big slut), and, here, he doesn't taste Klingon food like a 10-year-old being told to try the beets -- he scoops up handfuls of raw worms like they're bar snacks. O'Brien says he would be nervous to serve aboard a Klingon vessel; Riker leaps at the opportunity. His enthusiasm and unflappability (unless someone is flirting with Deanna, of course) are admirable.

This episode also made me appreciative of how closely in check Worf must keep himself living amongst and serving under humans -- no wonder he has no sense of humor.

Finally, I am amazed that Riker resisted Klingon female sex, but he did find a boyfriend, so it's all good.

(Oh, and you know that Captain's going to be relieved of duty in twenty seconds now that Riker's done him the discourtesy of sparing his life.)

Star Rating: *** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"If Klingon food is too strong for you, perhaps we could get one of the females to ... breastfeed you." (Riker's Klingon boyfriend, prompting the question -- why doesn't this WHOLE SHOW take place on a Klingon vessel?)
ext_2512: ([wedding wars] in it to win it)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: She's just a simple country doctor. )

Overall Reaction: Of all my "TOS did it better" episodes, this is the most "TOS did it better" of the bunch. (Other, of course, than "The Naked Now".) People must have aged at an unnecessarily accelerated rate dozens of times in TOS, including the good old country doctor they seem so intent on modeling Pulaski after. Honestly, how many aging diseases can there be? We've already got the adrenaline-cured one (how had I forgotten that Chekov's fear preserved him? really, Chekov?) and whatever's affecting Jack.

That aside, who didn't call that the creepy, telepathic, unnaturally sexually mature children were the source of the problem?

The thesis of this episode appeared to be "genetic engineering: a terrifying and terrible thing."

Star Rating: **

Quote of the Episode:
"God knows I'm not one to discourage input, but I would appreciate it if you'd let me finish my sentences once in a while." (Picard, stone cold fox)
ext_2512: ([misc] feminism)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
I was thinking about doing a season one recap, but "Oh lord, it gets better than this, right?" pretty much sums it up. If the mood strikes me, I might revisit Next Generation's illustrious first season, but for now -- let's look to the future.

Especially because I have ENDLESS SNARKY ASIDES about this episode.

Episode Notes: And here they are! )

Overall Reaction: Pretty much I only had to see the summary to know that this episode would be a hot mess. Who thought that a forcible impregnation plot line would be a good idea?

This episode was ridiculous -- hilariously so -- but beneath all the "Picard can't deal with babies" and "Data has inappropriate reactions to human experiences" and "Worf says hilarious things in a gruff deadpan" and "Riker can't handle Deanna having the sexual life that he himself richly enjoys" (OH WAIT) and other bits and bobs that make up my enjoyment of TNG, I just found this episode deeply problematic.

Deanna is an intelligent, emotionally mature woman living in the 23rd century. She is an empath and a counselor. She is surrounded by her thoughtful, affectionate coworkers and has a female physician. THIS SHOW IS WRITTEN BY PRESUMABLY INTELLIGENT PEOPLE. And yet no one thinks that, hey, perhaps FORCIBLE IMPREGNATION could be a traumatic violation of Deanna's bodily integrity? Deanna is so blissed out about this whole thing that I can only hope that the alien creature is exerting some sort of emotional sway over her, possibly narcotic. And in the aftermath of the impregnation, Deanna is subjected to a debate over what should be done with her body by two male crewmen (admittedly, they're the security officer, who has legitimate reasons for concern, and Data, who's an android, but still) and the blazing, irrational jealousy of Riker, an ex-boyfriend who certainly enjoys recreational sex wherever he can get it. Perhaps he's just surprised because accidental pregnancy has been eradicated in civilized society. Or maybe he's just a dick. (Seriously, he's the most diplomatic person in the show -- he can let anything go. UNLESS DEANNA DARES TO GET PREGNANT.)

The first issue is resolved by Deanna, who shuts down Worf and Data's debate over what to do with her abnormally fast-growing foetus, but the second issue continues throughout the episode, relatively unremarked upon. When Worf walked in during the middle of Deanna's childbirth, I was willing to dismiss it as a necessary security precaution (especially when Pulaski made a comment to the same effect). Data asked permission to be present and, in his own endearingly inept way, actually provided some emotional support for Deanna. But when Riker spied on her childbirth through a window? And Deanna's only response was an affectionate, "Were you here all along"? My head may have exploded. Did Deanna give up her right to privacy when she dared to become impregnated by an alien being in her sleep? And does she need to look so happy about it?

This episode... it was so bad it was funny, hard to get worked up over. But it failed, on so, so many levels.

Star Rating: * 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"And who will tuck him in at night?" "C'mon, Commander..." "I will accept that responsibility." (Riker, Wesley, and Worf, in what is probably the funniest exchange to ever involve Wesley Crusher ever)
ext_2512: ([caligula] um wut)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Overall Reaction: Surpisingly, I really enjoyed this Wesley-centric episode (enough, even, not to give it an "even wil wheaton hates wesley" tag), especially the opportunity to see some of the entrance procedures for joining Starfleet, which remains a tantalizingly mysterious place to me (guys, why didn't you call meeeee when I was sixteen, why). Plus, who doesn't want some G-rated teen romance with their space drama?

(That said, I literally cannot remember a single thing about the plot on the Enterprise. I think it involved a kid who wanted Wesley's position in the testing? Who got reprimanded? After he stole something? No, really, I do not think I looked at the screen during those bits. The Sims 3 is a cruel mistress, but it helps me weed out the non-essentials in life. Like TNG B-plots.)

Anyway, I think we learned many important things in this episode. Starfleet likes to psychologically torment its applicants: not surprising. Wesley needs to grow up and is sometimes not better than everyone around him: surprising only to him, and a good lesson for him. Picard failed his first entrance exam: surprising and WONDERFUL!

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode: "It's a good thing you're cute, Wesley, or you could really be obnoxious." (the girl who isn't Ashley Judd who finds Wesley cute)
ext_2512: ([pushing daisies] rawr)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Overall Reaction: Hey, look, a not totally annoying Wesley episode! Not interesting enough that I have any miscellaneous notes on it, but not annoying! In fact, I found the children almost endearing. I would go so far as to say...heart-warming. Good work, show!

My favorite part was how Picard remains terrible with children, though. LOVE IT.

Star Rating: ** 1/2

Quote of the Episode: "Humans are unusually attached to their offspring."
ext_2512: ([bop] interwebs)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: 01000011 01001100 01001001 01000011 01001011 )

Overall Reaction: Joking about Riker's enjoyment of physical pleasure and it's ill effects in the last episode aside (really, he didn't do anything I wouldn't have done), um, there is no excuse for this. Riker, baby, KEEP IT IN YOUR PANTS. PLEASE. Your yen for a swinging 1950s chick and your total hard-on for a holograph distracted you and allowed the ship to be stolen out from under your nose. The Aliens of the Week (Binar? I don't even bother trying to remember aliens' names unless they have a crewmember on the Bridge, are at war with the Federation, or are the Horta) counted on Riker's manwhore tendencies.

If I reluctantly pry myself away from my criticisms of Riker's hormones (I do not hold the Captain accountable, he is genteel), I must say that this was actually a very strong episode, with an above average alien race. It's much more fun to criticize Riker, though.

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode: "I should not have been painting." (Data, on priorities)
ext_2512: ([misc] glee)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Under here! )

Overall Reaction: I, along with pretty much every other sensible Trekkie, have a soft spot in my heart for Q episodes, and they have historically been the only Next Generation episodes I have actually sought out and purposefully watched. This one was new to me, because my Trek buddy [livejournal.com profile] myhappyface deemed it not interesting enough to merit viewing, and I agree that it is a weak Q-vehicle. In the range of S1 episodes though? This one is pretty darn good (and does (SPOILER ALERT!) a good job in making the series finale a no-brainer). It introduces the characters well, even if it's odd seeing future major players be sideliners here, and delivers classic Trek omnipotent-being-presents-moral-test entertainment.

Star Rating: *** out of ****

Quote of the Episode:

Picard: Using the same strength you showed with Captain De Soto, I would appreciate it if you could keep me from making an ass of myself with children.
Riker: Sir?
Picard: I'm not a family man, Riker. And yet, Starfleet has given me a ship with children aboard.
Riker: Yes, sir.
Picard: And I, uh, I don't feel comfortable with children. But since a Captain needs an image of geniality, you're to see that's what I project.

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