ext_2512: ([scrubs] no one understands relationship)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
I started watching this episode in March and was so horribly embarrassed that I peaced out for five months. Thank god for Netflix saving my spot.

Episode Notes: The last one from March is 'TAKING A BREAK BEFORE I LITERALLY HAVE TO DIE' )

Overall Reaction: I really, really, really have a massive embarrassment squick, and this episode TROMPS ALL OVER IT.

But, also -- although I know it is part of a pattern of self-destructive romantic choices -- I could not make sense of Jenna's behavior or expectations in this episode at all. Yes, Data presents as humanoid, and humans love to project emotions onto things, but what does Jenna think she is going to get out of a relationship from a person who is self-confessedly incapable of emotion? "This is all part of a program?" she asks incredulously at one point, and I just want to shake her and say, "HOW DO YOU THINK DATA EXPERIENCES THE WORLD."

If anything, I felt a cringey sort of empathy with Data in this episode. As someone on the ace spectrum, the experience of performing a relationship without understanding the feelings or urges driving the other person is too real for me. Of course, Data, NOT HAVING EMOTIONS, would probably not immediately grasp the reason for my empathy.

In theory [oh, damn, that's the name of the episode, but I've committed to saying it], I can appreciate the premise of the episode -- Data likes to explore what it means to be human! Of course he would want to experience romantic love too! -- but the actual experience of watching the episode was a world of nope.

Star Rating: **

Quote of the Episode:
"But I'm not capable of love."
"Then it's going to be a very unique experience." (Data and Guinan)
ext_2512: ([tng] bored)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
I watched this one while working out, and so I took no notes, but I will try and remember everything I noticed!

Episode Notes: Wingin' it. )

Overall Reaction: What a checkered history you now have with the Romulans, Geordi. Are you somehow irresistible to them, or just lucky?

I can't say I found this episode overwhelmingly compelling -- I'm always glad when there is movement in the intergalactic political scene on this show, but I'm also just never that interested in the Klingons? -- but it wasn't a hardship to watch either. I enjoyed seeing Geordi essentially having a showdown with himself all episode, as he constantly uncovered or foiled his own brainwashed agenda. I can't blame him for not being the one to ultimately put all the pieces together, because "I was the criminal and never knew it!" is a pretty unexpected end to a detective story. (I want than Sherlock Holmes fic now, though. Or the Holodeck adventure when Data is Holmes and Moriarty.)

The final scene, in which Deanna helps Geordi begin the painful process of rejecting his false memories and facing the real trauma that he has undergone, was very well done though. I feel like we don't often get to see Deanna and Geordi play off one another. They had a really lovely dynamic in this episode, and I appreciated getting to see Deanna really do the work of a counselor as she kindly, but firmly, led Geordi through the hard first steps of recovery.

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode:
"And that's all?"
"Yeah. Well, there was this..."
"Her name is Jonek."
"But, er... you wouldn't wanna hear about that. Better get ready for duty. Nice talking to you, Counselor." (Deanna, fishing, and Geordi, being a tease)
ext_2512: ([tng] i'm not lying)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night. )

Overall Reaction: Oh, boy.

Okay, so, I wrote a thirty page paper on queer representation (or lack thereof) in Star Trek when I was in college, and I watched a lot of episodes from the spin-offs for it. One of these was "The Host." I...did not have a lot of great things to say about it. (I didn't have a lot of great things to say about "The Outcast" as an example of queer representation on TV either, but I suspect than when I eventually rewatch it, I will have a lot of great things to say about Riker's constant willingness to step out of his comfort zone. I really do love that about him even if sometimes it leads to him allowing his doctor pal to insert her space lobster boyfriend into his abdomen.)

This episode is probably the prime example of media "pushing its boundaries" in a way that frankly just puts a giant neon sign on those boundaries that says "BOUNDARIES HERE APPROACH WITH CAUTION." It defines limits that the viewer may never have thought were there by being so limited in its imagination.

An illustrative anecdote: when I finally had to watch High School Musical, also for a college course, I was struck by the song "Stick to the Status Quo." In it, the school queen bee watches in panic as her carefully constructed social order seems to be crumbling. Students, inspired by the basketball player and the brainiac who are daring to sing on stage, begin to share their freakiest confessions. And I thought, as I watched this scene, "Wait. You mean I am supposed to be ashamed of being the kind of crazy reprobate who both likes to do homework and to groove to my tunes? That is something I am supposed to feel bad about and that people will reject me for? This is the outer bounds of socially unacceptable behavior?" It made difference so tame and then patted itself on the back for its willingness to celebrate "doing your own thing," all the while sending the subtextual message that even these tiny transgressions against the status quo would be noticed and policed and shutting off the possibility of bigger, unimaginable transgressions.

In my Starfleet, the Starfleet of my dreams, the one I was taught to expect, it would never have occurred to me that gender and sexuality would still be so rigid in the 24th century. "Perhaps, someday, our ability to love won't be so limited," Beverly says -- referring, in theory, to her inability to cope with Odan's changeable physical form -- and I had sort of thought that that someday might have come already in Star Trek. However the episode tries to frame Beverly's conflict, however reasonable that internal conflict might be, what we see is her able, bizarrely, to accept her love when he is temporarily in the body of one of her closest friends, but unable to fathom the idea of being with a woman, because her ability to love is too limited. I see her saying that Star Trek isn't ready for me.

I have no doubt that this episode was well-meaning. But I want more than well-meaning, or I want nothing at all. I can work with nothing; not enough is just depressing.

Finally, I'm never ever ever going to win this fight with sci fi shows but...it's not okay to sleep with your friend's body when he isn't home? Also now I'm never going to be able to get rid of the mental image of Riker and Crusher macking on each other, so. Thanks for that.

Star Rating: **, for some good scenes and Picard hugs; ZERO, for at all satisfying queer content

Quote of a Different Episode:

SPOCK: Her attitude when she approaches you is profoundly different than when she contacts us. Her appearance is soft, gentle. Her voice is melodic, pleasing. I do not totally understand the emotion, but it obviously exists. The Companion loves you.
COCHRANE: Do you know what you're saying? For all these years, I've let something as alien as that crawl around inside me, into my mind, my feelings.
KIRK: What are you complaining about? It kept you alive.
COCHRANE: That thing fed on me. It used me. It's disgusting.
MCCOY: There's nothing disgusting about it. It's just another life form, that's all. You get used to those things.
COCHRANE: You're as bad as it is.
SPOCK: Your highly emotional reaction is most illogical. Your relationship with the Companion has for one hundred and fifty years been emotionally satisfying, eminently practical, and totally harmless. It may indeed have been quite beneficial.
COCHRANE: Is this what the future holds? Men who have no notion of decency or morality? Maybe I'm a hundred and fifty years out of style, but I'm not going to be fodder for any inhuman monster.
SPOCK: Fascinating. A totally parochial attitude.

This scene from the Original Series episode "Metamorphosis" completely reinforces the gender binary, but, still. This is the Starfleet that I want to imagine. What a totally parochial attitude, Beverly.
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

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: ([tng] picard/q)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
First off, you can't have a recap without Captain Picard in his shorty pajamas:

Oh, and why not:

Episode Notes: Was I drunk when I watched this episode, or just DRUNK WITH HAPPINESS? )

Overally Reaction: Yesssssssssssssssss. I love Q and I love Vash and they will make marvellous mischief together. This episode makes me so happy.

I really like the prickly relationship between Vash and Picard -- how uncomfortable he is to have her in his space, how hard it is for him to allow himself a non-professional life, but how much he is still trying because he is so hopelessly charmed by her. I love that this is his type, all button-pushing and brash and flirty, sitting in his Captain's chair in her slinky black dress.

The episode gets even better (of course) when the crew are unceremoniously dumped in Sherwood Forest by Q. They are supposed to be learning something, but damned if I know what. That really isn't the point of this episode. The humor is top-notch. Everyone has great moments (everything Worf does! all of Picard's faces!), but Vash really shines. Her pragmatism and self-reliance are so welcome in a love interest character, and she puts a delicious tweak on the Maid Marian story -- and a fantastic kink in Q's plans. I appreciate that Vash like Picard, and wants to be with him, but she is unapologetic about pursuing her own interests. In fact, she is ruthlessly self-interested. She does not need him to save her.

I'll still with my (possibly drunk) assessment: "in love in love in love."

Episode Rating: *** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
ext_2512: ([actors] books are fun!)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Guess who's back (back again)? Broccoli's back (tell a friend) )

Overall Reaction: My first thought was OH MY GOD IT'S BROCCOLI and my second thought was IS HE GETTING REAL THERAPY? PLEASE TELL ME HE'S GETTING REAL THERAPY. I'm not sure he is getting real therapy, and if he is, it's still from Deanna, which seems counterproductive to me. But I honestly did enjoy this episode. Dwight Schultz is a solid performer, and I feel a great deal of empathy for Barclay. The Flowers for Algernon plot is always an interesting one, and it was entertaining to see him waltzing around the Enterprise, imperiously correcting Einstein and greatly improving his Cyrano de Bergerac performance.

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode:
"Has Mr. Barclay done anything that could be considered... potentially threatening?"
"Well... he did make a pass at me last night. A good one." (Picard and Troi)
ext_2512: ([ds9] kira)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: All my notes were about rank pips.

Overall Reaction: Oh my god, Geordi had a lady friend! An unfraught lady friend! She calls him her "little brother" and she gives him not so great dating advice and there's hugging and she saves him with the power of friendship! No kissing! Even Geordi shamefully misrepresenting himself as a swingin' bachelor with his pick of the ladies could not sour this experience for me.

Also there was a plot, but I watched this last September or something. I'm just trying to power through my backlog so I can watch a new episode tonight.

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode:
"You know I'm not a threat. The others, Mendez, Brevelle, they don't exist as Humans anymore. But a part of you still does. You're not one of them yet, Geordi. I can help you if you'll just trust me. I know what's going on inside of you - the war you're fighting with yourself. Your Humanity slipping away. The instinct to run. It's overpowering. But they know how to beat it now, Geordi. Look at me! I've come back, Geordi. Let me take you back, too." (Susanna, being a friiiiend)
ext_2512: ([tng] deanna is horrified)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Overall Reaction: The only notes I have in the episode say "oh god creepy creepy" and "stop making Keiko and Miles' relationship always terrible" and then the rest are about everyone's fashion choices. WHY DO I KEEP LETTING SO MUCH TIME PASS BETWEEN WATCHING EPISODES AND POSTING. Fail, Emma. Fail.

Here, have some screencaps of horror and horr...ible fashion:

And finally, Troi looking as tired as I was when I watched this episode:

I remember liking this episode -- it was atmospheric and unsettling and it gave Deanna something to do -- but I got nothing else.

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode: "This is a little souvenir I picked up from Magus III. That was setting number one. Anyone wanna see setting number two?" (Guinan, being a badass with a gun)
ext_2512: ([tng] where there's a whip)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
No notes, because everything I has to say deserves to be said outside of the cut.

Overall Reaction: Watching this episode was like being stabbed over and over again in the heart.

1) The action plot of meeting an incredible new creature...and killing it, was actually very well-done. Picard's happy little face on encountering a new lifeform is what Trek is all about. But, still -- they killed a pregnant mother. And then the baby imprinted on the ship because it had no living parental figures. WHY WOULD SOMEONE EVEN WRITE THAT STORY.

2) The romance plot gave me lots of feelings, too. Feelings of "WHY," and "WHY GOD WHY," and "STOP PLEASE STOP," and "I am so grossed out, so grossed out."

Show, I want to like Geordi LaForge. I really do. And, when he is not interacting with women, I usually do. But his discomfort with women is not charming or relatable; it is adolescent, and frankly a bit disturbing. He is a Nice Guy (TM) -- he feels he is entitled to a woman, but can't accept the fact that the woman he wants might be a real person with her own needs or desires that don't perfectly mesh with his own. He spends most of this episode alternately punishing Dr. Leah Brahms for not being his fantasy girl or coming on much too strong because of some false sense of intimacy from the Holodeck. She, on the other hand, is initially brusque -- even rude -- but she quickly acknowledges that she that she made hasty judgements and resolves to take Geordi on his own merits; she behaves, after their first meeting, with polite professionalism. Geordi plays soft jazz at her.

This episode wants me to see this as "they both made prejudgements! They both learned about each other and came to work as a team! They finish each other's sentences, it's charming!" I just can't go there. I appreciate that Leah is married, and so Geordi isn't rewarded with romance -- he does have to acknowledge the difference between fantasy and reality. But it's not some cute foible that can be aw shucksed off. His behavior was creepy and inappropriate and if I were Brahms', I'd have written him up for more than fucking with my engine design. She was right to feel violated when she found out about the Holodeck program, and she shouldn't have had to get over it.

Star Rating: **, but purely because I think Leah is great and the space whale plot, while SOUL CRUSHING, was pretty good

Quote of the Episode:
"All right, look. Ever since you came on board, you've been badgering me. And I've taken it. I've shown you courtesy, and respect, and a hell of a lot of patience. Oh, no, no, no, wait a minute! I've tried to understand you, I've tried to get along with you. And in return, you accused, tried and convicted me without even bothering to hear my side of it. So, I'm guilty, okay? But not of what you think! Of something much worse. I'm guilty of... reaching out to you. Of hoping we could connect. I'm guilty of a terrible crime, Doctor. I offered you friendship." (Geordi, UGH UGH UGH UGH UGH UGH)
ext_2512: ([tng] lecherous)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Riker? More like RiKirk. By which I mean Riker fits Kirk's reputation as an intergalactic hussy better than the Captain does. )

Overall Reaction: I always enjoy seeing Riker go into diplomat mode, and this was no exception. It was interesting to see how the Federation approaches an intentional first contact, and even more interesting that the aliens decided they weren't ready to be part of an intergalactic community yet.

It's been a few months since I watched the episode (oops), so I don't have much else to say, but I thought this was a solid venture.

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode: "My world's history has recorded that conquerors often arrived with the words, 'We are your friends'." (Good point, Sampa)
ext_2512: ([dcu] amused)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
I watched this LITERALLY EIGHT MONTHS AGO. Moving back from England and getting a job and becoming internet famous for my silly Buffy limericks and going through a thousand new fandoms just...took a lot of time away from my Trek viewing? But now my J.J. Abrams-related rage has only one cure, and it's more cowbell TNG.


+ I dig Guinan flashing her garters in Dixon Hill. Also, I was just reading an old article, and I really love that Whoopi Goldberg apparently called Gene Roddenberry up to demand a role on the show because Nichelle Nichols was such a role model for her when she was a kid.

+ There is a wormhole.

+ The Asian nurse who's in the background of a bunch of episodes got a name! That I did not write down.

+ Something something stalemate.

OH OH OH, okay, this is the one where everyone is all, "Is Data messing with us? I THINK HE'S LYING," but then we find out he did it to save their lives and they all willingly erase their memories.

I think I liked it?

Star Rating: *** seems like a good guess

Quote of the Episode:
"Geordi is super concerned about this beard thing." (Me, mysteriously, in my notes)
ext_2512: ([marvel] objectification)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
All I remember about last night after not falling asleep until almost 9AM: describing "The Wounded" as a poetic title.

I don't...not stand by that?

Episode Notes: Anyway, about this episode. )

Episode Notes: This was fuuuuun. Ardra brought some old school Trek flavor to this -- she's exactly the kind of person Kirk would have run across and probably kissed for the greater good.

Picard manages to resist kissing her, but, honestly, she's kind of his type. Oh, I don't think he's secretly pining for her, but she's just the kind of brash, outrageous figure who really gets under his skin, and that kind of fascination walks a fine line between outrage and attraction. (See: Vash, Q.) Sadly, Ardra ruins her chances by being a touch too "obvious and vulgar" (snap, Picard!), being a total charlatan, and also attempting to enslave an entire civilization.

So instead we just get to see Picard school her in the court of law. (Side note: do Starfleet officers have to pass the bar? I get that Kirk was apparently a giant nerd, but it seems incredible that we've now seen so many crew members serve judicial functions.) It's just as over the top and funny as you could hope, with the added bonus of getting to see Picard try and pep talk the enslaved civilization into self-esteem -- what did Ardra do for them, anyway?

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode:
"Please do not take any offense to these questions, Captain. You know how fond I am of you."
"Sustained. The advocate will refrain from expressing personal affections for her opponent." (Ardra, Picard, and Data, the best judge ever)
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: ([tng] data)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Going to the lj-cut and we're going to get married. )

Overall Reaction: Well, this is probably the worst Data episode yet.

Oh, it's not terrible. It's just...flat. I'm used to episodes about him that really illuminate something about his nature, like "Measure of a Man", or show him growing as he learns more about where he comes from and who he is. This is just a fairly standard "Data is comically baffled by human behavior" episode, especially in the Keiko/O'Brien wedding subplot, which -- I'm with you, Data. I am baffled by Keiko's behavior, and when I realize that this is how the show introduced her, I am less than impressed. Even if calling off your wedding the day before were not "childish and selfish," as O'Brien rightly puts it, having an android deliver the message definitely qualifies, and she shouldn't get to laugh it off with no explanation to her utterly perplexed mechanical friend at the end. Sorry, Data.

The learning-to-dance subplot is similarly uninspiring. Data...picks up dancing adequately! By observing and replicating! Okay, then! The surprising highlight was actually Beverly's horror at the possibility of -- once again -- being known as the "Dancing Doctor."

The final subplot, involving a Romulan spy impersonating a Vulcan ambassador, was the most successful, probably because it is the most serious. Rather than merely showing "Data doesn't understand those wacky humans!", it showed how Data's observational and processing skills differ from our own, how makes sense of the world and draws conclusions about the people in it without the benefit of emotional cues. Data, having left the false ambassador's chambers after a tense, suspicious interview, remarks in voice-over that, "I have often wished for the sense that humans call intuition, or instinct. Since Vulcans are incapable of lying, I must accept the Ambassador's explanation as the truth. But I would still prefer a... 'gut feeling' to back up this conclusion." Watching him navigate his chosen world without that "intuition" is interesting.

In the sense of fairness, I will say that I caught this on TV last summer and enjoyed it more then -- for casual viewing, it is an engaging enough episode, as most Data-centric episodes are. At this point in his character arc, though, and during a mostly above average season, it is a little disappointing.

Star Rating: ** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"There are still many human emotions I do not fully comprehend - anger, hatred, revenge. But I am not mystified by the desire to be loved - or the need for friendship. These are things I do understand. " (ILU Data)
ext_2512: ([tng] deanna is horrified)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com

Overall Reactions: Deanna, girl, when you lose your empathic skills you go to hot mess territory fast.

They took "therapists make the worst patients" and ran with it in this episode. Deanna was pretty harsh with everyone after losing her empathic abilities, to the extent that I kind of liked it when Riker -- who'd just been hanging around being supportive -- kind of stone cold shut down Deanna's self-pity party. Although I like Deanna (regardless of any fun I may have had at the expense of the way the show sometimes uses her special senses), she can seem irritatingly composed and understanding from her position of superior understanding, and I think Riker hit the nail on the head with his "aristocratic" comment.

That's actually what I enjoyed in this episode. Not because I like seeing Deanna "brought down," but because I like seeing her get really worked up about something. I like anytime Deanna seems something other than the perfect unflappable therapist, whether she's teasing the Captain or grumping at Will (probably for calling her "aristocratic", shouldn't have done that, buddy) or reverting to petulance when faced with her mother -- or lashing out because she feels scared and powerless. This episode was like the opposite of the hilariously terrible episode "The Child", where Deanna faced an even freakier experience with a blissful doped-out equanimity. I like when Deanna gets to be human, even when she isn't being that likeable. (Though I could have used a little more likeability -- the A.V. Club's review of the episode notes that "'The Loss' requires us to feel both appalled at Troi's behavior and sympathetic at the anguish she's experiencing, and it's so much better at the former that the latter is nearly impossible," which is both harsh and accurate.)

This wasn't a great episode -- or even a terribly good one, I still don't really know what happened in the plot and it was really too brief to deal adequately with the reality of living with disabilities -- but there have been much worse Deanna ones. Maybe some better ones in the future, though?

Star Rating: ** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"Is this how you handle all your personnel problems?"
"Sure. You'd be surprised how far a hug goes with Geordi - or Worf." (Deanna and Will, who is clearly an amazing supervisor)
ext_2512: ([actors] i am wonderful)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Overall Reaction: ...Oh, sorry, I just got totally distracted reading about why Wil Wheaton left the show. I guess "wanted to take movie roles" is acceptable, though I also would have accepted a mere, "It really really sucked to be a teenager playing a character everyone in the universe hated."

On that note, I'm going to try and be nice about Wesley now that he's leaving, and not to dance gleefully at his abrupt departure. Much.

All of my notes were actually about him this episode, so there was nothing for me to put above. My notes were even mostly nice! If you ignore the one that says, "why would you want to be in a tiny shuttle with a way too happy Wesley for days," that one was a little harsh. Also the bit where I just wrote "FUUUUUUUU WESLEY."

I'm sorry, this was going to be nice! It will be nice! Here is the nice: I thought this was a not too annoying send-off for Wesley. Yes, he did some mysterious I'm-a-super-genius problem solving, but it was local problem-solving rather than Enterprise-saving, and so I'm going to forgive it. Also, I didn't understand it because they didn't even make an effort to explain what was going on there so I really feel unequipped to judge.

I'll also forgive his slightly whiny snark, because the miner guy was an asshole and deserved the whiny snark.

Wesley also had some nice emotional scenes with Picard, who I'm not convinced really cares about Wesley, but I am convinced that Wesley really cares about him and sees him as a paternal figure, and so Wesley's worry about him and attempts to be brave for his sake and his desire for Picard's approval and all the swirling teenage emotions he went through rang true. UGH, I DON'T KNOW, I DON'T GET WHY ALL THESE ADULTS GIVE THEIR TIME AND ENERGY TO CARING ABOUT THIS TEENAGE BOY, WHY IS HE SO SPECIAL, PLEASE JUST GO GROW UP AT STARFLEET WESLEY. No, wait, that got mean again.

This was a perfectly acceptable episode, and it also means Wesley is henceforth relegated to guest star, so...

Star Rating: ** 1/2 for the episode; * star for my attempts not to be mean, I am so sorry, he just brings out the senseless character basher in me

Quote of the Episode:
"Sir... you don't know this. No one knows this. Because I've never told anyone. All of the things that I've worked for - school, my science projects, getting into the Academy... I've done it all because I want you to be proud of me." (Wesley, I'm pretty sure everyone knew that)
ext_2512: ([tng] bored)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: I'm surprisingly overwhelmed with Riker affection. )

Overall Reaction: This was a pretty fantastic Riker episode! Both in the sense that it was a great episode about Riker and that it was a great episode for Riker -- few people would have rolled with the punches with as much equanimity as he did here.

I loved the glimpse of the "future" Enterprise that we got -- I'm a giant sucker for time travel, amnesia, and both flashbacks and flashforwards, so I am not exactly having a surprised feeling -- which felt grounded and plausible, even if there was something ever so subtly off about it. The episode struck a very nice balance between giving us an Enterprise that could be, that never quite tipped too far into wish fulfillment to be possible (peace with the Romulans was obviously stretching it, but peace with the Klingons would have seemed impossible to Kirk), and suggesting that something not right was happening.

The fake-out was also handled extremely well, I thought. All the pieces that made Riker and us add up to Romulan plot were perfectly in place -- the establishment that the Enterprise was on the edges of the Neutral Zone at the beginning of the episode, the sliminess of Andreas Katsulas as Ambassador Tomalak that no one but Riker seemed to see, the bits of critical information the Enterprise was missing. In almost any other episode, this would have been a ploy to find out the location of a secret Federation base, and the familiarity of that plot successfully misdirected me from any suspicion that something different was afoot. Even science fiction's tendency towards plot holes worked in the episodes favor, causing me to ignore the logical inconsistencies that finally led Riker to the truth.

In short, I found this a very enjoyable episode plot-wise. I also loved it for its character moments, though! It was an especial pleasure to see Riker be such a wonderful father. Not...everyone...on the Enterprise takes to it so naturally. In the past three episodes we've seen Picard go into an awkward introvert freak-out over caring for a teenager, Worf be unable to acknowledge his own child, and Beverly actually hug Wesley after he made her vanish into an inter-dimensional bubble! Awkward parenting all around! But Riker doesn't freak out about discovering that he has a child (though he looks sad that he's lost his son's childhood and that his son has lost the father he knew), and he acknowledges the difficulties of their position while affirming his commitment to be the best father he can and to be their for Jean-Luc Jr in every way possible. I found their conversation in the lift sincerely touching, and I liked that care carried over to the ending, when Riker's (justified) suspicion gave way to empathy.

I make fun of Riker -- a lot -- but this episode highlighted all that's best about him as a character, while also delivering a nicely satisfying sci fi plot.

Also, lolllll, Riker realizing he's in a constructed reality because his dead wife was his holodeck gf. Finally his lechery serves him well!

Star Rating: *** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"Captain... perhaps it would be best if we discussed this--"
"Shut up!"
"I beg your pardon?"
"I said 'shut up'. As in 'close your mouth and stop talking'!" ('Ambassador' Picard and 'Captain' Riker -- this was honestly the most shocking thing ever shown on the program)
ext_2512: ([tng] sass brigade)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: I'm too bummed out to be clever. )

Overall Reaction: I love K'Ehleyr. I'm glad to see her again. She is beautiful and sassy and amazing and super smart and she does all this research and is always two steps ahead of Worf who is trying so hard to be long-suffering and noble. Oh, baby.

Therefore, I hate that she dies.

Hate. Hate hate hate.

And I'm not all that thrilled that she died leaving a SUDDEN SURPRISE CHILD, because I'm not sure what this show needed was a baby (even if for now Alexander is stashed on Earth).

And I still don't care about Klingon politics except inasmuch as they cost us all an AWESOME LADY. Screw you, Klingon politics!


It's a pretty well-done episode, and while episodes about Klingon culture are never going to be my favorite, I do like seeing Worf struggle with finding his place within that culture and I really like the alternative perspective K'Ehleyr gives us on mediating human and Klingon identities. I just could have done without the fridging.

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode:
"He knows nothing of our ways!"
"Our ways? You mean Klingon ways, don't you?"
"He is Klingon!"
"He is also my son and I am half Human. He will find his own ways. Why the sudden concern? You won't even acknowledge that he's yours." (Worf and K'Ehleyr, discussing Alexander)


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My (Continuing) One Summer Mission

August 2014



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