Monday, July 27, 2009
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Friday, June 20, 2008
Troi and Worf’s hallway kiss is interrupted by a frenetic Picard, still in his sleeping garments and convinced that he is slipping back and forth in time. In all time jumps, he is being heckled by a rag-tag group of humanoids that no one else can see. As he becomes more aware, he suspects that an anomaly in the Devron system may be the key. In the future, he seeks help from Geordi, Data, and Dr Crusher. The jumps are being caused by Q, who put Picard and humanity on trial in the first episode of the series (Encounter at Farpoint), and has been judging humanity and the Enterprise ever since. Judged as having failed the test of ‘usefulness’ by the Continuum, humanity has now been sentenced to death. But it is not the Q that will pass sentence; Picard’s creation of the anomaly will cause disruption to the beginning of human life on earth.
This episode was co-written by Ronald D Moore and Brannon Braga.
It’s a Braga script, so it has to have alternate realities or time travel, but Moore helps to ground it.
This is an ambitious and marvelous episode, filled with great lines and wonderful drama and action, marred only by the fuzzy logic of time travel.
Riker states that Starfleet tried to decommision the Enterprise, but that one of the perks of being an admiral is that you can choose your own ship, inferring that he singlehandedly was able to avert the decommission. In a military system, it seems unlikely that any one admiral could wield this much power.
• The bridge design of the Pasteur (Beverly’s ship)
• Picard’s wonderful delivery when he gets Worf to allow them into the Neutral Zone. Patrick Stewart jumps seamlessly from yelling to whispering, and it’s all note-perfect
• Riker’s from-below attack on the Klingon battle cruiser
Worf: I have always found the Black Sea at night to be a most…stimuating experience.
Troi: Worf! We were walking barefoot on the beach, with balalak music in the air, ocean breeze washing over us, stars in the sky, a full moon rising, and the most you can say is ‘stimulating’?
Worf: It was…very stimulating.
"Within a matter of minutes you have accumulated over two days worth of memories."
- Dr Crusher to Picard
"It’s time to put an end to your trek through the stars – make room for more worthy species."
- prophetic words from Q to Picard
"Q’s interest in you has always been very similar to that of a…master and his beloved pet."
- Data to Picard
Worf: You have always used your knowledge of Klingon honor and tradition to get what you want from me.
Picard: Because it always works, Worf! Your problem is, that you really do have a sense of honor, and you really do care about trust and loyalty! Don’t blame me for knowing you so well.
Worf: Very well! You may cross the border. But – only if I come with you. I am familiar with the Neutral Zone.
Picard: Terms accepted.
Picard: Q? What is going on here? Where is the anomaly?
Q: Where’s your mommy? I don’t know!
"Mr Data, you are a clever man…in any time period."
Picard: What about my crew?
Q: The anomaly, my ship, my crew, I suppose you’re worried about your fish, too. Well, if it puts your mind at ease, you’ve saved humanity – once again.
Picard: Thank you.
Q: For what?
Picard: You had a hand in helping me get out of this.
Q: I was the one that got you into it – a directive from the Continuum. The part about the helping hand, though – was my idea.
The Enterprise responds to a distress call from a Cardassian ship under attack from Federation ships piloted by the Maquis. Ro Laren, having just recently rejoined the Enterprise, is chosen to infiltrate the Maquis because of her Bajoran heritage and her previous problems with Starfleet. But Ro may be torn between her allegiance to Starfleet and her growing sympathies for the anti-Cardassian cause of the Maquis. The cell leader of the Maquis becomes a father-figure to Ro and a strong bond forms; when he is killed by a Cardassian sniper, his deathbed wish is for Ro to take his place.
Ensign Ro Laren (Michelle Forbes) guest stars, returning to the Enterprise after a stint in tactical training. Picard mentions to her that she is in good shape, and there appears to be some chemistry between them. Ro is certainly outwardly grateful for Picard’s support.
It makes for a great scene, but just why does Ro choose to be a pretend prostitute to talk to Picard in the bar? Couldn’t they have come up with some other way of getting close enough to have a quiet conversation?
Because Picard does not trust Ro, he insists that Riker accompany her on the mission by saying that he is a relative. When next we see Riker, he has been surgically altered to look like a Bajoran. We saw earlier that Ro was not immediately accepted into the Maquis until her story was checked out. Is it plausible that the Maquis would not run some kind of security check on Riker to ascertain if he truly is a relative of Ro, or can we assume that because Ro has been accepted (merely a few days ago) that the Maquis will believe anything she says without question?
• Picard and Ro’s scene of love and confrontation: Ro, posing as a prostitute, debates whether she can fulfill the mission, and Picard threatens with a court martial, all related in whispered caresses
• Picard’s steely look of anger and disappointment at the conclusion
Admiral Nechayev: No Balarian canape this time, Captain?
Picard: I thought twice was pushing it a little.
"But I’ve known since I’ve first met you, that in your heart, you’re one of us."
Data’s Shakespearean holodeck program is interrupted when a steam locomotive suddenly appears and almost kills the android and Captain Picard. Soon, other events point to someone or something controlling the ship.
This teleplay was written by Joe Menosky, from a story by Brannon Braga.
The episode has a great concept (that the ship itself could spawn intelligent life), but the pacing made it feel as if they were trying to stretch out a 15 minute idea into 42 minutes. There are way too many ‘cute’ holodeck scenes.
Everyone is an expert on ancient history in this episode. Picard knows much about Shakespeare, and Picard and Crusher share trivia about the Orient Express.
• Data holding off the taxi with one hand
"The intelligence that was formed on the Enterprise didn’t just come out of the ship’s systems. It came from us; from our mission records, personal logs, holodeck programs – our fantasies. Now, if our experiences with the Exterprise have been honorable, can’t we trust that the sum of those experiences will be the same?"
- Picard to Data
Damon Bok, a vengeful Ferengi who blames Picard for the murder of his son and tried to kill Picard in the episode The Battle, returns in a holographic projection. He threatens to exact revenge by murdering Picard’s son, a son Picard did not know he had.
This episode shines because Patrick Stewart is given numerous lengthy lines and scenes, and he has never been better. His subtle intonations and glances can paint a thousand words.
Ken Olandt is excellent as Picard’s son, Jason. Olandt has continued to guest star in minor roles on television (through to 2004) and to executive produce many (minor) television shows.
This is a top-notch episode from beginning to end, with crisp acting by every single cast member. It’s got drama, mystery, twists, suspense…this is the closest they have come to perfection since The Best Of Both Worlds.
In the previous episode, Firstborn, the Enterprise found the time and resources to pursue revenge for Worf alone. Here, faced with the threat of murder of a boy who might be his son, Picard immediately heads for the boy’s home planet. Does Starfleet grant Captains this much leeway – to choose their missions at their whim based on personal need?
• The long, slow, talky, and completely brilliant scene, dialogue, and acting with Patrick Steward and Ken Olandt in the holodeck cave.
Jason: If I’m not your son, is this person still going to want to kill me?
Picard: I doubt it.
Jason: In that case, you won’t mind my saying that I hope you’re not my father.
Picard: I found out that…Jason has a criminal record. It..it’s nothing very serious; it’s only…petty theft and so forth. But I can’t help feeling that if I had been part of his life then he wouldn’t be so troubled now.
Beverly: Maybe. But why waste time blaming yourself for not being there? Just be here for him now.
Picard: It looks as though we may have found out how to locate Bok’s ship. This could all soon be over.
Jason: You came all the way up here to tell me that?
Picard: Jason, isn’t there some way that I can be a father to you? My own father and I were estranged. He wanted me to stay at home and tend the vineyards, and I wanted to join Starfleet. And he died before we could come to terms with that. I regretted that all of my life. I don’t want the same thing to happen to you and me.
Jason: You don’t understand. I’m not anybody you’d want for a son. Trust me, if you knew, you knew anything about me, you wouldn’t be trying so hard.
Picard: You’re so wrong.
Jason: Oh, really?
Jason: Let me spell it out for you! I’ve been in trouble since I was a teenager. I lie, I steal, I use people. Eh-tha...I’m a criminal! That’s what your son is.
Picard: I know.
Jason: You do.
Picard: Oh yes. I know…all about your troubles with the Kerrin authorities.
Jason: You do.
Picard: It doesn’t make any difference, Jason. You’re still my son. And like it or not, I’m your father. I don’t know what that means…it means something. There’s some…connection.
Picard: But one thing is clear: you’ll never look at your hairline again in the same way.
Worf is disappointed when his 13 year old son Alexander refuses to begin the process of becoming a true Klingon warrior. Captain Picard suggests exposing Alexander to more of the Klingon culture by attending a festival on a nearby colony. There, they meet a Klingon called K’Mtar, who was sent by Worf’s brother Kurn to check on Alexander’s progress. K’Mtar attempts to become a mentor to Alexander, to encourage him to take the path of a warrior. But K’Mtar also hides a secret.
James Sloyan gives an excellent performance as the Klingon K'Mtar. He would later guest-star on a number of DS9 and VOY episodes.
Unfortunately, someone decided that K’Mtar would telegraph his treachery by the way he reacts when it becomes evident that the Enterprise is going to find the Duras sisters.
Although the structure of the episode is poor, there is still a bit of emotional depth achieved when we realize we are looking at a future version of Alexander. I just think they took too long to arrive at this point.
The Klingon colony is a small village with a square, and no animals, motorized vehicles, etc. (you know the drill by now). Although I must mention that some of the outdoor sets and structures are quite different than the normal village sets.
After Worf is attacked by other Klingons, why does the Enterprise become involved in tracking down his attackers? Worf states that he must retaliate, but isn’t this really a Klingon family or ‘house’ matter? Is it really suitable for an entire starship to get involved to be commandeered for this purpose?
Is Alexander truly so concerned about avoiding the death of his father that he will kill an earlier version of himself? Surely this would be considered a most dishonorable thing to do in Klingon culture.
• The moment when it is revealed that K'Mtar is actually a time-travelling Alexander
"Someday, if you work hard, you will become a warrior, a Klingon warrior, and you will always feel safe, because you will know how to defend yourself. And I’ll tell you something else: if anyone ever tries to hurt your father again, you will be able to fight at his side and make sure nothing happens to him. What do you think of that?"
- K'Mtar to Alexander
"Yes. Lursa and Betor: big talk, small tips."
- Quark to Riker
"If this was real, he’d be dead by now."
- K'Mtar to Worf regarding Alexander (and, since they are on the holodeck, he could have said, "If he was photonic, he’d be home by now." J)
K’Mtar/Alexander: It is a futile struggle [for peace]; I cannot change things.
Worf: You have already changed things more than you realize.
K’Mtar/Alexander: The boy I was has not changed.
Worf: But I have. You have given me a glimpse into my son’s future. And I know now that he had his own destiny. And I believe it will be a great one.
Wesley Crusher comes aboard the Enterprise on a vacation from Starfleet Academy, and he is bored, arrogant, and even less likable than before. Meanwhile, Picard is ordered to use force, if necessary, to move a group of native american indians from a colony on a planet that is now claimed by the Cardassians. To Wesley’s surprise, one of the native americans claims to have foretold Wesley’s coming two years ago.
This episode was written by Ronald D Moore.
Moore does a good job of researching native american culture. It’s a typical Moore script, filled with war and the threat of war
Unfortunately Will Wheaton’s efforts to appear pensive and thoughtful always come off as ‘catatonic’. His acting has not improved and perhaps even deteriorated with time; he was marginally better when he was younger. He also improves here once he needs to show (restrained) passion for the colonists.
Need I mention that the native american village on Darvon has the familiar earth tones, open square, no motorized or wheeled vehicles, no animals, etc.?
"What you’re doing down there is wrong. These people are not some random group of colonists. They’re a unique culture with a history that pre-dates the Federation and Starfleet."
- Wesley Crusher