All posts by Beau

95: The Chase (6.20)

Synopsis:  The Alpha Quadrant almost turns into The Brady Bunch.

Memory Alpha Summary:  Maury Povich would have a field day.

Review:  Now this episode is sci-fi at its most complex.  In a very scientific and, frankly, cool way, we discover why most of the species the Enterprise run into look very similar in shape.  They are all descendants of an ancient species, of course.  Unfortunately, the writers painted future Star Trek writers into a corner, as many species in both the Gamma and Delta quadrants also just happen to look like humans.  But it doesn’t negate what they did here.  It’s really not that terribly moving of an episode, probably because it is so deep in discussions about DNA.  But it was cool to see the Federation’s three primary enemies all in one place “working together.”

96: Elementary, Dear Data (2.03)

Synopsis: Pulaski questions Data’s mystery-solving cajones, and Geordi tells the computer to beat Data.

Memory Alpha Summary:  The series, as they say, is afoot

Review:  The first episode with Professor Moriarty is solid, if really slow.  It only picks up once Moriarty appears, who is played brilliantly by Daniel Davis.  There’s not much conflict here, especially since it becomes clear early on that Moriarty is more interested in leaving the holodeck than harming anyone.  But at least he was able to tell Pulaski that he planned on filling her with crumpets all while keeping a straight face.

97: Hero Worship (5.11)

Synopsis:  Another orphan boy with typical child-acting skills for the crew to save and psychoanalyze.

Memory Alpha Summary:  Data proves to be a better father than Worf

Review: It’s fun to watch Data interact with this boy who is imitating him.  Also, Troi doesn’t do too terrible of a job explaining his condition and prognosis to the rest of the crew.  The final countdown, when Data saves the day by hypothesizing that the Enterprise must drop its shields in order to save the day is kind of fun, although no technobabble explanation is really given as to why his theory works other than “the other guys didn’t do this, and they died.”

I love when Timothy said he destroyed his previous ship, The Vico, when he fell and his arm hit a control panel.  The Enterprise crew explains to him that there are safety protocols in place so this doesn’t happen.  If that’s the case, how come Wesley amongst others were able to overtake the ship the first couple of seasons without using command codes?

98: Identity Crisis (4.18)

Synopsis:  Geordi is close friends with a woman and doesn’t fall in love and blow it.

Memory Alpha Summary:  And that’s not even the identity crisis

Review:  A plodding episode that it short on excitement but still has some sweet special effects.  The best part is Geordi running simulations on the holodeck and slowing figuring things out, simultaneously creeping himself out.  But I wasn’t moved at all by the ending.  I never truly bought this deep friendship Geordi had with this woman from years back, and the climax where she saves him is painfully slow with obvious dialogue.

99: Qpid (4.20)

Synopsis:  Q comes back to taunt Picard, as does his ex.

Memory Alpha Summary: Picard of Thieves?  Steal from the Ferengi, give to the…nah, I got nothing.

Review:  A really silly, pointless episode that is pretty good fun anyway.  The beginning is a bit dull, plodding, and pedantic until Q arrives and reminds Picard that he’s dull, plodding, and pedantic.  And Vash’s whining is wholly unbecoming of her and I don’t blame Picard for being annoyed.

Nottingham is where it’s at.  Costumes, fighting, the whole works.  I just wish the two actors who actually were trained in swordfighting (Gates and Marina) were allowed to do so instead of fighting with clay pots.

A huge laugh out loud moment goes to Worf.  It’s sad he’s used for one-liners in most episodes, but this one was worth it.

Sir, I must protest!  I am not a merry man!

Survivor X, Week 18: Triumph of Tragedy

With seven players remaining, there is no such thing as an easy opponent.  Everyone left could get published and I’d buy whatever they wrote.  This week we had to write a fictional story about a real, historical tragedy in history, and the character who goes through it.  It was our choice whether or not the protagonist lives or dies.

Sitting up in the hospital bed, he first noticed the IV protruding from this left arm.  He then noticed a baseball resting on the tray beside his bed.  An instinctual impulse to grab it led to an unfortunate series of shockwaves, knocking what little wind he had out his lungs.  Unsure why he was here, but sure he needed to see that baseball, he took more a measured approach on his next attempt.  Slow and steady won the race this time, as the tip of his middle finger was able to roll the ball off the tray and onto his lap.  There was writing on the ball, the first letter barely smudged.

YOU LUCKY GUY, JACK!

Jack?  Was that his name?  It didn’t ring a bell, but neither did anything else.  In fact, he had no idea why he was here, or why he was in so much pain.

Below the compliment was a signature.  It took him a bit, but the name came to form.  He heard a stranger’s voice—his own—sound it out.

“Candy Maldonado.”

He remembered.

***************

“Fucking ay!  I managed to score you a ticket and you don’t show up until the 4th inning?”

“Sorry, man,” he said, annoyed.  “I was with an important client.  And you know how traffic is this time of night.”

“Pfffttthh.  You’re missing a good one, too.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Reuschel’s retired nine straight, and Uribe scored last inning to tie the game.”

“Awesome.”

He disengaged from his friend and surveyed the field.  There was a runner on first.  He couldn’t tell who.  He heard the crowd react.  It was a wild pitch.

“Go go Mitchell you shithead go!”

So it was Mitchell on first.  Now on second.  He turned to his friend.

“You know, I don’t think he heard you.”

“Lighten up, dude.  It’s just a…oh shit, look out!”

He turned around in time to see a foul ball hurtling towards him.  He raised his hands up in defense.

****************

He looked at his hands.  They appeared fine, quite unlike his right leg, which was in traction.

He looked at the ball again.

“Nice catch!”  He looked up to see a doctor approaching.  “So, how are we doing?”

“Fine, I guess.”

“Who’s the current President?”

He racked his brain.  “Reagan?”

“No, but you’re closer now.  Last time I asked you said Ford.  Okay, well, your vitals look good.  Nurse tells me your pain has subsided.  Lookin’ good.”

“Doc, do I have amnesia?”

The doctor sighed.  “Too soon to tell.  It could be the anesthesia from the surgeries, but it’s unusual for a patient to not remember their name.  Still don’t?

He shook his head.

“I’m not too worried yet.  And hey, if you don’t get your memory back, maybe you can play center field next week.”

He hated funny doctors.

“So how’d you get that autograph, anyway?”

He remembered.

*******************

Flying down the road, his mind wandered.  He wished he could go straight home.  But he had to fly out to Seattle in an hour for another client and wouldn’t be back until Tuesday.  Even worse, he was out of gas.  The next exit had a Shell station.

As he squeezed the pump, his mind raced.  He’d need to double-time it to the airport if he didn’t want to hurry inside the terminal.  And then there was presentation he didn’t know how to finish.  The gas pump was unbearably slow.   He looked at the man at the next pump over, who also seemed a bit impatient.  The man caught him staring.  Oh, shit!  He recognized him.

“Um, hi.  I don’t mean to intrude, but is your name…Candy?”

The man flashed his white teeth in a broad smile.  “It might be.”

“Wow.  Well, uh, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”  He extended his hand.  Candy shook it.  “Hey, I caught a foul ball you hit tonight.”

“Really, man?”

“Yeah!  Would you autograph it for me?”

“Heh.  Sure thing, man.”

He practically threw open his passenger door and found the ball.  He couldn’t believe his luck.

*********************

“Hey you, wake up!”

His eyes fluttered several times before he opened them.  The voice appeared to come from a pretty woman standing over him.

“Nurse?”

“No, silly.  It’s me.  The doctor said we could finally see you.”

“Oh…”  He looked her up and down.  Nice body, too.

“So! Just look at the mess you got yourself into.  You’ll do anything to get attention, won’t you?”

He said nothing.  Turning his head, he saw someone else on the other side of the bed.  A young man, maybe ten or eleven.  He squinted his eyes.  Nope.

“Oh,” the woman said.  “The doctor said you might…”

“I don’t remember.  Who are you?”

“I’m your wife, Denise.”  She choked back tears.  “And this is your son, Jack.  Oh Michael…”

He looked at his son, hoping beyond hope he’d remember.  He picked up the ball.  “I guess this is for you.”

***********************

The trip was a success.  Michael had secured another client, and he had an autographed ball for his son.  As he cruised down the Nimitz Freeway, he turned on the radio.  The legendary voice of Jack Buck greeted him.  He grinned.  Sure, the Giants were down two to nothing, but they were at home now.  And Garrelts was pitching.

A loud thunk jolted Michael.  He wondered if he hit something. Turning his focus back to the road, he looked ahead.  The southbound lane of I-880 was above him.  And now it was falling.

Spooky: I have no idea why it took me so damned long to figure out what was going on here – I know a boy of about 14 died when he was hit with a foul ball a few decades back, but given that I knew the players mentioned here, I should have come up with it (this is the earthquake during the 1989 World Series, for the uninitiated). I loved the story’s construction, told effectively out of order, which fit the theme of the victim’s confusion. This was another astonishingly strong week, Survivors, and I’m left clueless about where Immunity should go.

DK: Yeah, of course I have a soft spot for baseball. I was too young to experience following this event when it happened, but as a piece of baseball history it’s pretty satisfying in a story form here, and these flashback intercuts are also pretty effective for unpeeling the way Michael’s situation took place.

Once again I wrote something that turned out better than I thought it would.  From the beginning I knew I wanted our hero to have an autographed baseball for his kid, and shortly thereafter I threw in the flashbacks.  My biggest decision was whether or not the player would be from the A’s or Giants, and which one at that.  I decided on the Giants, as I hated those A’s teams as a kid, and even in retrospect many of their batters don’t have solid reputations.  Matt Williams or Kevin Mitchell were more recognizable, but I felt their names were too boring.  And if I’m a kid?  I want the autograph of the dude with the awesome name.  I loved Candy Maldonado when I was a kid and I barely saw him play.

I didn’t win immunity, but I’m not dissatisfied.  The competition is really amazing.  And this week’s winner made Spooky hug his daughter.  Here’s hoping there’s no earthquake in Phoenix this week.

100: The Loss (4.10)

Synopsis:  Troi goes blind, becomes a raging bitch, becomes whole again, and then nice again.

Memory Alpha Summary: As if she had much empathy to begin with.

Review:  While nothing in this episode feel disingenuous (in fact, it really is a hard and honest look at what it’s like to be disabled), I just don’t care about Troi, so I don’t care about her plight.  The scene that really makes this episode not suck is when Riker confronts her, calls her aristocratic and a control freak. Granted, this is also the same guy who pouted every time Troi had the nerve to date someone in the first three seasons.  They really were made for each other.

Money Quote (after Riker hugs a very depressed, isolated Troi)

“Is this how you handle all of your personnel problems?”

“Sure. You’d be surprised how far a hug goes with Geordi…or Worf!”

101: Datalore (1.13)

Synopsis:  Lore tells everyone that his brother Data cannot use contractions (except for when he did before this episode, and except for when he’ll slip up later) and otherwise is found to be kind of a meanie-head.

Memory Alpha Review: The Parent Trap…in space!

Review:  Spiner gets to shine, playing two characters at the same time.  The crystalline entity also gets to shine, literally.  And, once again, the bridge crew wave their collective dicks at Wesley, a fellow bridge officer, and refuse to listen to anything he says.  Seriously, what is up with Tasha Yar?  She’s head of security, yet Wesley makes some glaringly obvious observations and precautionary recommendations that she fails to?  Ugh.  You know, I used to hate Wesley.  Now I kind of like him.  He actually stands up to Picard, which apparently nobody else has seemed willing to do since Farpoint.

102: Justice (1.08)

Synopsis:  When the Edo aren’t making love at the drop of a hat (any hat), they are trying to execute Wesley for disturbing some plants.

Memory Alpha Summary:  Rhu_Ru’s favorite link on the internet.

Review:  For me the most bipolar episode of the series, with some of the worst and some of the best moments in season one.

Let’s get the bad out of the way first.  This entire episode is Picard’s most blatant, inexcusable violation of the Prime Directive in the entire series.  He makes first contact with a society that is obviously in early stages of development and have never been in space before.  As if their arrival didn’t disturb them enough, he takes an Edo girl upon the ship to face her own god, scaring her to death.  When she says she’s afraid, Troi, the ship’s COUNSELOR, tells her there’s nothing to worry about.  You’re a FREAKING PSYCHOLOGIST, and you’re telling this innocent girl that beaming onto a starship and seeing her god is nothing to worry about?  As a licensed social worker, I say “Fuck off, you patronizing windbag.”

Also, I am getting really tired of everyone calling Wesley, “The boy.”   It must happen at least four times in this episode.  It was cute in the beginning, but he’s since been promoted to an acting ensign.   The disrespect his own crew shows for him is sickening, and it does nothing but put a divide between him, the crew, and the viewer.  When his superiors dismiss his desire to give his opinions on the matter of his own execution, he essentially tells them to bugger off, and I did a little cheer for him.

I get all this out of the way because there are a few things that make me smile here, and so far during the first season I’ve been crabby.  It might be the only episode of the whole series that Crusher acts like she cares more about her son than her hair.  She shows some real emotion and yells at both Picard and Data, and both of them deserve it.  At least Picard doesn’t talk down to his bridge officers in this episode (well, except Wesley of course).

Speaking of Data, his realization that he babbles is freaking gold, and the funniest scene during the first season.  The one expected difficulty with working with an android is managing social etiquette, and Brent Spiner is able to encompass this perfectly into his character.

The final conversation Picard and Riker have with God is pretty good.  “When has justice ever been as simple as a rule book?” is a salient point that is pretty basic but very relevant still in our times.  Black and white lenses neither dominate our society nor the Federation, and this crew will eventually improve at looking at things in shades of grey.

One thing that bugs some people and not me is how Wesley acts in this episode.  When propositioned by a barely clothed Edo girl, he gets bashful and scared.  When caught damaging the flowers, he proudly stands up, puffs out his chest, and says, “I’m with StarFleet.  We don’t lie.”  Yes, these things make him seem like kind of a douche, but they also make him sound like a normal 15-year old boy who has led a pretty sheltered life.  It’s much better than the precocious, know-it-all twit we usually see.

The writers took a ton of chances during season one and they misfired quite a bit.  While Justice is not even in my top half, it ranks this high because it avoids the one thing I criticized Too Short A Season of being, and that’s boring.  And it avoids it in spades.

103: Tin Man (3.20)

Synopsis: Betazed prodigy Tam Elbrum goes looking for a heart.

Memory Alpha Summary:  And some courage by the looks of it

Review: I’m reminded of our scientist from Evolution who told Troi to stop looking into his soul.  He would not have been a Tam fan, who can not only read all thoughts, but can’t stop reading them.  Naturally, he has great difficulty in social situations.  Naturally, he makes a friend in Data, whom he can’t read.

Unfortunately, despite a race with the Romulans to find Tin Man, an organism that doubles as a human spaceship, there is not a lot of heart in this episode.  The script is decent, and the conclusion is tidy, but it’s not really all that tense and not really all that moving.

I do like when Picard changes his intended time for a briefing just because Tam read his mind.