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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Star Trek TNG Season 3 - Top 5 Favorite Episodes

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
This is what I signed up for!  The third season of Star Trek The Next Generation was fantastic!  There were so many memorable episodes that I really had trouble narrowing it down to five!  Somehow the characters and the storylines just really hit their stride, and I'm really impressed with how well the whole cast fits together.  I had trouble ranking these episodes from 5 to 1, so if you are surprised that a particular episode is ranked higher than another, let me just say this is not a ranking set in stone.  I will probably change my mind in a day or a week!

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!

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  1. s3!! when TNG finally finds it's stride and becomes great :)

    I have to admit I have a totally different list of top episodes from this season but that's the cool thing - there are so many good episodes to pick from.

    The Most Toys was the first episode I ever saw and it was too sad for 11 year old me and so it's kind of stuck in that place of not my favorite.

    But Menage a Troi was the second episode I saw and it's one of my favorites of the series :) I know it's kind of silly but again, 11 year old me, liked the humor and that Wesely Crusher saves the day and the romantic elements through the whole thing.

    And The High Ground! I love Finn and his impassioned speeches. But what he wants for his people isn't such a horrible thing and he cares so much and is willing to sacrifice so much though his methods are so wrong. I like that it isn't clear cut as to who the good guys and bad guys are.

    And Deja Q! I know you don't like Q but this is the first episode I ever saw him in and his arrogance is humbled and he has compassion on Data and he's funny the way he goes around insulting Picard and Riker. So, I brought this perspective of him into the earlier episodes and even though I don't like him as much in earlier episodes - I don't dislike him overall.

    Sarek is also a pretty good episode. And I like Sins of the Father pretty well.

    Yesterday's Enterprise is kind of one of the highlights, generally, of the series, but it's also sad and dark and apart from Guinan being awesome it wasn't one of my favorites.

    I can't wait for s4 and The Best of Both Worlds :)

  2. Yes Hollow Pursuits is so funny! I think it is really the humor of Barclay's holo programming that made this such a favorite of mine. :) I did see Barclay in another episode recently - you are right, it wasn't that great. It was the one where he became very smart and confident. I missed his shyness! :)

  3. Menage a Troi was a fun one! I'm not a big fan of Troi's mum, but because she's played by Majel, I'm always happy to see her if that makes sense! I'm glad you enjoyed Wesley's last minute save - I read that people were annoyed with his character at that time, but I can't see it - I think he's great!

    You mention some other great episodes too - The High Ground is a difficult episode, I really didn't agree with the methods used, so it made it difficult for me to like it as much. But it was interesting to think of Dr. Crusher as a hostage, and I liked how strong she was in the situation. And even though I don't like Q, I definitely think he's better in Deja Q, but... I liked these others better! :)

  4. The reverse is the same for me! I mean, I enjoyed the Star Wars films, but I find the science fiction-y aspect of Star Trek more appealing I think!

  5. I remember when The Best of Both Worlds first aired (ugh, I feel quite old!) and finding myself really into watching it even though I wasn't a big Star Trek fan (my mom was the Trekkie of the family, and TNG was her fave, lol). That was an awesome two-part episode, even for someone like me who didn't follow TNG regularly. The Borg creeped me out then, and they still do!

  6. Yesterday's Enterprise is a really good episode, and of course THE FINALE!!! Can't wait to hear you talk more about that later! They actually edited the two episodes together and released it as a feature length film not too long ago (plus remastered it for Blu-Ray), so I got it for my husband for his birthday last year. It's not as suspenseful that way, but still great! Personally I'm not a fan of Vash, but maybe you'll be happy to know she turns up again.

  7. I think it would have been really fun to see this when it first came out and have that suspense - I mean cool, after I got over the horror of having to wait so long to find out the conclusion! The Borg is an amazing villains - I feel like the most deeply disturbing villains are the ones who you just can't communicate with.

  8. Oh wow, watching it in the theatre would have been a great experience! And it is a great birthday present too - I'm sure I will watch this episode over and over some day - I already feel like watching it again!

    I did see the next episode with Vash who also turns up with Q, which might have helped with my not caring much for her character any more? But the episode was just okay for me - I wish they had just left her alone with Captain's Holiday.

  9. I just felt like she and Picard didn't go together. And yeah, I didn't get to watch it in theaters (it was like a one day thing) but that definitely would have been awesome!

  10. Ah I see- I agree! I think with that episode I really just enjoyed Vash and Picard as a one-off, they just had fun together, I didn't see them as very serious, so it was surprising how Vash seemed hurt that Picard didn't mention her in the Qpid story.

  11. I've watched all but the finale, and I think Yesterday's Enterprise is my favorite episode of the whole series so far. I love time travel, and I thought they did it beautifully. I liked how Guinan just had this vague sense of what was wrong... and I feel like she knew a little too much about Yar's death than would make sense, but I guess it was necessary for her to make the choice she does. I also loved the tiny touch of Wesley's being an actual ensign instead of just an acting ensign... it wasn't even acknowledged other than his uniform, but just a little taste of how things might have gone differently for him, and other young people, if the Federation were at war.

    I think my second favorite of the season is Deja Q, though. It was fun to see him dealing with being mortal, and I just loved the scene between him and the second Q (and the fact that it was Corbin Bernson made it even more hilarious).

    Getting ready to jump into Season 4 next week... I'll catch up with you yet!

  12. OMG that was Corbin!! I LOVE Psych and I totally didn't recognize him! I need to rewatch that scene asap! Can't believe I missed that!

    Sorry, was super surprised when I read your comment. :) Yesterday's Enterprise was a really great episode - they did so many cool things with the idea - it was like a mini reboot of the show, showing how it could be different. And there were lots of great touches to show the changes like darker lighting because more energy needed to go to defense. And it's so cool that the actress who played Yar was up for being on the show again.

    Can't wait to know your thoughts on this season's finale! :)

  13. Ha, yeah. If I only knew him from Psych I might not have recognized him because he is so young, but I've seen him in other older stuff too.

  14. I forgot to add I really think Next Generation gets better as it goes along! This is a fun season.

  15. I love Hollow Pursuits, it cracks me up every time..and I love Riker's face when Troi sees that he has such a huge crush on her..I sympathized with Barclay, though I feel they never do much with him in the series unfortunately after this episode..which is too bad!