I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Star Trek TNG Season 5 - Top 5 Favorite Episodes

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Spock!!  This was the TNG season I was most looking forward to when I first started the series.  Spock returns in a special mid-season two-parter titled Unification.  And I watched it.  And Unification does not feature anywhere in my list.  The idea was great really - Spock trying to bring the Romulans and the Vulcans together, and obviously this provides some basis for events in the recent Star Trek films (continuity yay!) but I was mostly bored with all the filler when Spock was not on-screen.  And Spock was just so-so when he was on-screen.  I did love a certain scene involving some holograms.  And Data now able to wield the Vulcan neck pinch.  But overall, I thought the episode was just okay.  Maybe I had too many speculations and hopes and dreams for Spock's return.

And I should mention that "I, Borg" was a GREAT episode, but it didn't make my top 5.  I kinda feel sad that they de-villanized the Borg in this episode.  I mean, it's great for the Star Trek philosophy of tolerance, progress and acceptance, but sometimes you just want the bad guys to be the bad guys.  I guess that's what we have Romulans for.  (I felt the same about the Klingons and Worf in the beginning too - although of course now I really like Worf!  The Klingons in general, eh.  *shrugs*)

5. Disaster

What I love the most about this episode is how Picard and Troi are put in situations they are very uncomfortable with, and they absolutely own it.  There's been an accident that severely damages the ship and cuts off the bridge from the rest of the ship, and traps Picard in a turbolift with three kids visiting the Enterprise.  Troi is made the commanding officer and her inexperience is a hindrance, but her compassion helps her make the right decisions.  And Picard handles these scared children like a pro. It's so heartwarming to see him make them face their fears and act.  Even to defy his orders when he wanted them to go to safety and leave him behind.  

4. Cause and Effect

Timey whimey epsiodes will always be high on my list and in this one, the Enterprise is stuck in a time loop they can't seem to get out of.  Events leading up to the Enterprise's destruction keep repeating themselves until the crew finds a way to break free.  The intricacy of creating a story that has so many repeating scenes but with little changes to lead up to the reveal of the whole story seems very difficult to do.  In some ways this reminded me of the episode of Community called 'Remedial Chaos Theory' (although that had multiple timelines and not a repeating time loop).  I also enjoyed how they got out of the loop with some ingenious symbolism and the use of Data's unique brain.  And the repeated destruction of the Enterprise is chilling.  I do wonder though - was Kelsey Grammer's appearance at the end intended for some effect?  It was so surprising!

3. The Next Phase

Having just recently re-watched the movie Ghost (and the musical), it was really surprising to see this episode embody some of the same sensibilities.  La Forge and Ensign Ro are involved in a transporter malfunction and believed dead, however the two wake up on the Enterprise and no one can see or hear them.  And they can walk through walls.  This was an exciting episode, and interesting that La Forge was so sure they weren't both dead.  It's fantastic rationality in a situation that must seem pretty scary.  And the moment when it's revealed that there is a Romulan who is also in their same condition was sensational.  I was like Oh sh*t!  

2. Power Play

While investigating a distress signal on a seemingly uninhabited planet, alien beings take over Data, Troi and O'Brien.  And they attempt to take over the ship.  Now doesn't that sounds like a recipe for awesome?  Seeing the three of them as the bad guys was so much fun for me - especially cause Data can be a real bad-ass with his whole superior strength and intellect.  But it was nice to see Troi in a different light because she is normally so relentlessly nice and understanding.  And Picard does such an exemplary job of handling the difficult situation of trying to get the entities out of his people, while also keeping the hostages safe.  Lastly, it was really touching that O'Brien's love for his family was messing with the alien being inside of him.  The way in which everything came together - in character contrast and suspense - worked really well for me. 

1. The Game

So if I liked things taking over Data, Troi and O'Brien and making them into bad guys, then this episode was an absolute delight!  Because everyone gets taken over, except for Wesley Crusher until the very end, and Data.  This game is doing something to people's brains that's not just the good times of gaming, and it's up to Wesley and his new crush to figure things out.  The insidiousness of a game taking over all these characters I love, especially our always dependable Captain(!) was pretty shocking.  It's wonderful though that the young'uns - Wesley and Ensign Robin - were smart enough to know that something was wrong and were able to stay uncorrupted for so long.  And they were really the ones to save the whole crew.  I did kept mentally berating Wesley to fix Data already so he can help everyone, but then, at the last minute, Data has a serious hero moment so I was very happy with that.  This was the most satisfying episode of the season for me!  (I have to say though that game graphics really went downhill in the 24th century! Haha)

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  1. LOL, I know, I would have not played this game just because the graphics were so bad! :D I'm glad you are a fan of The Game too! It was so much fun for me to watch that episode!

  2. Some great choices here. I do agree about Unification - it never quite matched the hype though I do like it. Darmok and Inner Light both top my list from this season though. :)

  3. Darmok was a great episode! I was so intrigued by the idea of language using just metaphors! Inner Light was also a great episode, but I think it made me too sad overall - first that Picard was not rescued and he was waiting for so many "years", and then because he lives this full life and it's not real. That just seems messed up for that civilization to put him through that! I think I'm getting too protective of Picard. LOL

  4. Aww this was great! I love how they integrated Star Trek and Frasier so well! It's too bad Kelsey couldn't have been in it too!

  5. It's so long since I've watched any TNG and this list is making me want to get the DVDs immediately! I remember loving 'The Next Phase'. Actually, I remember loving most of this list :D

  6. Ooh, interesting that it's a bit of a similar parallel-type thing to Ghost- I'd be interested in watching it just to see what goes on there, now that I've watched Ghost. It sure sounds like an interesting episode!

    I find that image, with the children, to be so hilairous! Look at that side eye!

  7. I don't think I cared much for The Game except I LOVED Ashley Judd with Wil Wheaton and wish she had been a reoccurring character and they could have a cute relationship! DIstaster - Picard with those kids! That was priceless.

    I'll be curious as to how you feel about the Borg in Voyager. All I'll say is there is a lot of Borg in the later Voyager seasons.

  8. Yes, I really like Inner Light! It is sad though, but one thing I like about it is it actually seems to affect Picard (of course, becoming Borg did too). It just seems like so many important things get glossed over in TNG, as much as I like it, that's why I love DS9 so much, because you see a lot of aftermath.

  9. I'm glad if these posts encourages people to rewatch the series! I feel like many of these episodes bear up well on re-watching. They have so many ideas that are interesting to explore!

  10. It is too bad that Whoopi Goldberg wasn't in The Next Phase episode - that would have been great to see! I hope you'll enjoy that episode - it has so many great moments!

  11. I was surprised to see a young Ashley Judd and was hoping to see more of her in the later seasons - but I guess she doesn't come back - now I'm almost to the end of the 7th season. Uh-oh, I hope I will like the Borg in Voyager! Although with all my talk about wanting them to be villains, I'll be afraid if they are even scarier! LOL

  12. Oh - and totally forgot to share this on the Kelsey Grammar point: http

  13. I love the Game as well! LOL I totally agree on the graphics front..totally have dated!