5. Sub Rosa
This episode was a refreshing surprise, since I wasn't expect what felt like an old-fashioned ghost story on this show! Of course it has a logical explanation but with the setting of a planet made in the image of Scotland, and the fear that Dr. Crusher needs some serious help because she's being controlled by this apparition-like entity, this has the feel of a good old-fashioned Victorian ghost story. It's pretty creepy as well, because Dr. Crusher is so changed and so dependent on this ghost, and it's very unsettling to see her this way. I did enjoy how Picard seemed especially upset with Dr. Crusher and her new beau too - they really need to be a couple already!
4. Lower Decks
They did something really different in this episode by focusing on four junior members of the Enterprise crew. This story revolves on their perspective and I really loved seeing this new side to the Enterprise and how the other officers saw their command crew. This episode works on so many levels, because we see a bit of how the bridge crew must have been as junior officers - trying to work their way up in Starfleet - and we see how insular our view of the show has been with just the bridge crew as our perspective. There really is a lot going on in this ship. Just as a little thing - I was surprised that junior officers shared quarters! I thought there was enough room for everyone to have their own quarters! I do love it when there are glimpses into the mundane realities of working on a ship like the Enterprise, and it was a bonus that this episode created such well-rounded new characters to carry the whole episode. Not happy that this episode had a sad ending by the way. I can see why they did it, but I don't have to be happy about it.
3. Gambit Part 1 & 2
This episode begins with Riker and company thinking Picard is dead. And from a fate that seems pretty final. So that's a nice shocking opener. Of course that is not the case, and the investigation into what happened to Picard makes for a wonderful spy thriller story when Riker is captured and has to pretend to not know Picard. This two-parter episode changed up the usual formula of the show in a great way because Picard has to be such a different person, and the introduction of new characters and shaky alliances made for some great suspense. Even though we know that Picard is a formidable person, I love that there are still more ways to reinforce that. And normally a resolution like the one this episode had would seem hokey or even a cop-out to me, but it was so well done in this - the clues were all there, and it made complete sense.
2. All Good Things
This was the feature length series finale, so they had to make it very special. There's time travel in which we get to revisit the first episode of the series (so cool!) and also a future where all the crew have settled into separate lives. I definitely wanted to know more about why Picard and Beverly didn't make it as a couple, but there are more important issues in this episode. Unfortunately it's the return of Q, and while I love everything that this episode did in terms of revisiting and examining the past seven years of the show, I just don't like Q. Him or his people - I don't see why humans need to be extinguished when no one is bothering to do away with the Borg?? Hello Q people there's a bigger problem! Talk about small minded. And for a being that is timeless, why is 7 years the absolute limit for a whole species to advance? That doesn't seem like a long time at all. Their logic is specious. I will say Q made me laugh for like the first time ever when he showed up as an old man which I guess was making fun of Picard being old too. ANYWAYS. I loved this episode for it's intricate plot, for the three different timelines and for seeing Picard have to work for respect in one timeline, have it in the second, and have it gained back in the third. Picard is such a remarkable captain - and it's good to see the crew trust so much in him. This was a lovely send-off episode.
This episode was super creepy! The crew is being devolved into different stages of their evolutionary past, and that already is a terrifying concept. Just to see Picard's face when Data tells him it will happen to him was scary. I do wonder why some people stop devolving at certain stages. But the way the Enterprise is this safe port when Picard and Data leave, and then becomes a dark and threatening place when they return made this a wonderfully atmospherically creepy episode for me. Especially when characters that we know and love are dangerous and out of control. Also I realize Picard and Data as a team is kind of my favorite thing. (Which means I super love Star Trek First Contact, but more on that later...) The effects, directing and lighting in this episode was on point I thought - it contributed so much to a great, tense episode. By the way, I thought what Troi was turning into was the most disturbing thing... until we saw Lt. Barclay turning into an arachnid. I'm with you Picard, I would freak out too.
Star Trek The Next Generation Series Break-down:
Favorite season: Season 6
Favorite episode: The Best of Both Worlds 1 and 2
Favorite character: Data!
Favorite aspect of the show: The character development and interpersonal drama
Update on Q: I was watching this reunion video of the cast at a convention on youtube, when John de Lancie showed up and I got all emotional that Q was joining them. So I guess I reluctantly accept him now? Geez, Q is so annoying though.