5. Hollow Pursuits
A very shy and socially anxious Lieutenant Barclay has a holodiction to the holodeck as a way to work through his frustrations. There are several reasons why I enjoyed this episode so much - Barclay was kinda cute in his painfully shy way and I really understood where he was coming from. I also loved how understanding Picard was in motivating La Forge to try and help Barclay instead of dismissing him. And Picard's slip of the tongue to Barclay was pure LOLz. Also Barclay's fantasy illusions in the holodeck involving the crew of the Enterprise was hilarious! Especially when Riker and Troi see their alternate versions. But the fluff side to the story was rounded out by the heartwarming efforts to help Barclay overcome his anxieties and I could see how being a part of the the Enterprise is like being a part of a big family.
4. A Matter of Perspective
After a clearly uncomfortable Riker returns from a trip to check on the progress of Dr. Apgar's research, the research station explodes killing Dr. Apgar. Riker is accused of murder, and a preliminary investigation is conducted through the use of the holodeck to view everyone's story of what happened right before the explosion. This was a wonderful whodunit, with such an interesting mix of conflicting stories, where the truth arises from delving in between the lines of what everyone says. I thought it was so interesting that Troi said everyone believed they were telling the truth and yet these stories were sometimes very different from each other. It's amazing how easily the human mind can rationalize or delude itself. I do wonder at what the truth of Riker's actions were on the research station - I mean, his version of how he acted was very proper, while Mrs. Apgar's story paints Riker as an almost rapist, so the truth is somewhere in between that? That's disturbing.
3. Captain's Holiday
After a grueling diplomacy mission, Picard is pretty much forced to take a holiday by Dr. Crusher, Riker and Troi. Picard beams down to a vacation planet and just wants to be left alone to read his book (word!!) but he becomes involved with a beautiful woman, a Ferengi, and two visitors from the future. The Indiana Jones vibe of this episode was really fun, as was the emergence of Picard's dry sense of humor. There's a bit of a mystery, and of course Picard gets to the bottom of it, and makes the right decision in the end. I loved seeing this whole new side to Picard because he is not quite so stiff as he usually is. Vash, the bold and feisty woman who forces Picard to come out of his shell, was also a great character to follow. And I loved that she was not always what she seemed.
2. Yesterday's Enterprise
An alternate reality comes into being when the Enterprise comes across a starship Enterprise from the past. A character who died in the first season is now alive, and the Federation is at war with the Klingons. What a complex episode! And how interesting to see the crew of the Enterprise in such a different situation - as a war ship rather than an exploration ship. I also loved that Guinan was the only person to realize that something was wrong, and on her word alone does Picard attempt to put things right. Seeing Yar again was another big surprise, as was how emotional I got from her dilemma once she realized she was not alive in the other reality. This episode had it all really - time travel, drama, and emotional depth. And a lovely romance between Yar and the first officer of the other Enterprise.
1. The Most Toys
A dastardly, awful, slimy man by the name of Fajo, engineers an elaborate kidnapping of Data so he can add him to his collection of rare objects. Can you tell that I was not a fan of Fajo? Obviously Data is my favorite character on the show, so seeing him in this episode as a captive and treated like an object was especially upsetting. Fajo is really clever, but it's so aggravating how he refuses to see the worth of other people. So in painting such a detestable character, I think this episode did a great job. It's interesting to see all the ways in which Data tries to get the better of Fajo as well as the ambiguity of Data's action in the end - did he or did he not try to kill Fajo? (Of course I think he is totally justified if he did!) The side plot of La Forge and Wesley trying to solve what really happened to Data was very exciting too, and it was so nice to see how much Data is loved and missed on the Enterprise.
To Be Continued...
The season cliffhanger finale -The Best of Both Worlds part 1 - was definitely the best episode of this season (I mean SO GOOD) but I really feel like it should be talked about along with part 2 which opened Season 4. So til the next season recap!