ext_2512: ([music] lady)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Not too much under here. Most of it went in the overall reaction. )

Overall Reaction: Any episode that opens with Deanna sighing "My mother is onboard" is probably going to be one I like, but this one surprised me with its dramatic power. Majel Barrett is capable of taking Lwaxana to a very vulnerable and moving place (as she does in the DS9 episode "The Forsaken", when she finally has a very authentic moment with Odo in a stopped elevator), something that one might not expect from the frequent one-note jokiness of the character. Her awareness of her age (however much she may defy it most of the time!) and of loss is one of the things that can bring real poignancy to the character, and make you appreciate how much she throws herself into enjoying every moment of her life the rest of the time. She's a bit of a whirlwind, but she isn't stupid and she feels things deeply. I loved her scene with Deanna, where they got to commiserate about her grief over the loss of Deanna's father and over the loss she is about to face.

David Ogden Stiers is also fantastic, in his role as the scientist who falls in love with Lwaxana's vivaciousness just as he is reaching the point when his society has elected that "elders" must die with grace and dignity, to spare the future generation the burden of caring for them as their minds and bodies weaken. His romance with Lwaxana, which makes him begin to question the traditions he has cherished, is touching -- I may or may not have gone full Cher Horowitz at some point and said, "Old people can be so sweet!" -- and he plays the character's internal conflict in an understated but powerful way.

This is how I like my Trek -- maybe not resolving anything, but taking on a serious subject from a variety of perspectives and giving us a moving, humanistic story.

Star Rating: *** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"As people aged, they... their health failed. They became invalids. And those whose families could no longer care for them were put away, into... deathwatch facilities, where they waited in loneliness for the end to come, sometimes... for years. They had meant something; and they were forced to live beyond that, into a time of meaning nothing. Of knowing that they could now only be the beneficiaries of younger people's patience. We are no longer that cruel, Lwaxana." (Dr. Timicin, explaining his people's customs; breaking my heart)
ext_2512: ([tos] STRONG SPOCK)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
LAST POST ABOUT AN EPISODE I REMEMBER ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT.

Episode Notes: Well, I remember one or two things. )

Overall Reaction: The main impression this episode left on me is one of feeling really, really bad for that part-Romulan kid? How old was he, twelve? He sounded like he was from Ohio. How can you hound this child, Sister Sarah Brown.

Hm. This...is an incredibly tense, well-paced episode. Jean Simmons was excellent, as always. But is it wrong of me to feel that we get to see female admirals so rarely that seeing this one be such an irrational ball of daddy issues made me uncomfortable? For her father to have been a paragon of reason whom Picard holds up to humble her publically, to reveal her as a paranoiac fanatic... I don't know. It didn't sit well with me. It was an interesting, powerhouse role for a talented actress, and Simmons dominated the episode, but I'm so tired of seeing women in authority undercut as hysterical harridans. Star Trek obviously has counterexamples, but -- not as many as you might want, at this point in its run.

Star Rating: ***, because it was still very well-done

Quote of the Episode:
"Would it surprise you to learn that you have violated the Prime Directive a total of nine times since you took command of the Enterprise? I must say, Captain, it surprised the hell out of me." (Fair point, Admiral Satie)
ext_2512: ([ds9] awkward first date)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: I believe in two things: discipline and Star Trek. )

Overall Reaction: Ouch. Ouuuuuuuuch. My heart.

This is a really good episode about the after-effects of war, about what it does to the people who fight. I actually thought that "The Wounded" was a nice poetic title for it, because that is what both Miles and the disturbed Captain Maxwell, his old commanding officer, are -- they are carrying around a wound that does not heal.

Miles, perhaps because he is faced with the worst case scenario of what happens when you don't move on, begins to make some overtures towards dealing with his past in this episode. After initially rebuffing the Cardassian officers who are aboard the Enterprise while they investigate Maxwell's apparently random attack on a peaceful Cardassian outpost, Miles approaches one of the Cardassian men to make amends in Ten Forward. That scene, where he speaks frankly about the horrible things he witnessed during the Federation-Cardassian war and reveals that it is not the Cardassians that he hates, but what he became when fighting them, is incredibly effective.

Captain Maxwell's trauma from his experiences in that war -- the anger and the pain he has lived with for so many years, after the loss of his family, and his profound inability to readjust to peace -- turn him from an admirable Starfleet officer to a vengeful reactionary. His attacks put the new alliance between the two empires in jeopardy, and also have a clear effect on the Cardassians aboard the Enterprise, who seem genuinely shaken by the loss of life. (Well. They had facial expressions and seemed to show real emotion. Cardassians are pretty hard to read.) They're also shocking for the audience -- it is rare to see the kind of body count he racks up on Star Trek, and all before we actually meet the man.

When we do meet Maxwell, his pain is painful to see, but it is also clear how far gone he is in his grief. He seems too far gone for reason...which makes it all the more powerful when Miles is able to beam aboard Maxwell's ship and find some connection with the commander he still deeply respects. Their quiet moment of union, singing the song of a comrade who fell in the war, is a beautiful denouement to the episode.

And then, in the last thirty seconds of the episode, we have the clear-eyed Picard challenge his Cardassian guest on the "harmlessness" of the ships and settlement that Maxwell attacked -- which both sets up the potential for future conflict (which I gather is coming soon on DS9...?) and establishes Picard as a total badass excellent foil for the Cardassians. You know that Cardassian has never respected Picard more than at the moment he revealed that he was onto their machinations all along but did exactly what needed to be done without letting on.

Star Rating: *** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"When one has been angry for a very long time, one gets used to it. And it becomes comfortable, like... like old leather. And finally... becomes so familiar that one can't ever remember feeling any other way." (Picard)
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)

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