Saga of the Jasonite

The continuing adventures of that eternal man of mystery…


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Star Trek episode reviews: In Theory and Redemption

In Theory

I’m happy to declare that with this post I’ve finally finished reviewing the fourth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation! Consider that I published the season four overview page on July 11, 2016 and the first episode review of season four on July 22nd of the same year. This has been a labor of love for me for over a year. At least it happened quicker than season 3, which I started in 2013 but didn’t finish until 2016!

The two reviews I’ve just completed are In Theory and Redemption, episodes 25 and 26 of season four. One is a good episode, the other is a great one. In Theory is enjoyable but often overlooked, while Redemption is one of the most celebrated episodes in TNG.

In Theory is all about Data’s love life. He gets a girlfriend who’s frankly on the rebound and ultimately gets the shaft like we sort of assumed he would, but it’s a really enjoyable ride getting there. This is one of the funniest episodes in the series, as we watch Data do his level best to be a good boyfriend, with about as much success as you’d expect. There is a plot B, but nobody cares about it.

Speaking of plot B and the “dark matter deformations,” not even the writers wanted to do it but they were required to do something with the ship. Ronald Moore said that on TNG, they could do quite a bit with the characters on the show, but they always had to include something about what the ship was doing, which wasn’t the case on DS9. Check out my full review for more.

Redemption

Redemption is an episode that’s been a long time coming. Starting back in season 3 with Sins of the Father, and later with Reunion, we were hoping there would come a day when Worf would get back his family’s honor. For my money this is the second best cliffhanger in Star Trek, and just an outstanding episode. Picard is asked to finish arbitrating Gowron’s succession as leader of the High Council, only to discover that Duras’s sisters have plotted to challenge him by advancing Duras’ son to the same position. All heck breaks loose because the house of Duras has so much power that if Picard doesn’t acknowledge his legitimacy there will be a Klingon civil war. Worf gets caught up in all of it, and his brother Kurn, and…let’s just say it’s a great episode that has something for everybody, culminating with the final camera shot on a Romulan that looks a lot like Tasha Yar!

Redemption was originally intended to be the season three finale, but it got pushed back because everyone was excited about the Borg. Justifiably so! Ronald Reagan visited the set while they were shooting this episode,  and the cast and crew celebrated this being the 100th episode–even though it’s actually the 99th. How do I reconcile this? Check out my full review for this and other behind the scenes info.

No one is more ready than me to move into season five and review not only Redemption part II but also the whole rest of the series. I’ll get started soon on the season five overview–always a lot of work–so follow my blog to read it the day I post it!

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Star Trek episode reviews: The Host and The Mind’s Eye

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The Host

Okay episodes 23 and 24 of season four are here, we’re almost finished the season! I’ve reviewed The Host and The Mind’s Eye, two decent but somewhat forgettable episodes, and probably a step down from the previous two I reviewed.

The Host introduces us to the Trill, a race Star Trek fans would see in every single episode of Deep Space 9 in the character of Jadzia Dax, played by the slightly loopy Terry Farrell. Odan, the Trill in our episode, is the son of a distinguished ambassador sent to mediate between two moons of a planet, one of which has discovered a new power source that will harm the other one. While taking a shuttle to the planet Odan is shot at and fatally injured, and only then do we learn his secret: there’s a parasite inside Odan which is the actual guy, the physical body is just a host! How will Beverly Crusher, who’s been having all kinds of sex with him, adjust when Riker volunteers to temporarily host Odan during the mediation?

One of the first things you’ll notice is the make up is very different for a Trill in this episode than we’ll ever see again. His face is lumpier and there are no dots. This is a Beverly-centric episode, and the director had to hide the fact that Gates was pregnant at the time. This is why she’s in her medical frock in virtually every scene. It’s a pretty decent episode, but not one TNG fans will say is a highlight of season four. Check out other behind the scenes info as well as an interview with Gates about this episode in my full review.

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The Mind’s Eye

The Mind’s Eye is more watchable IMO. This is a Geordi episode, and he’s in a shuttle pod heading to the well-known pleasure planet Risa for a conference. He’s unwinding for the 3-hour trip when a Romulan warbird de-cloaks and captures him. He’s then brain washed for the purpose of assassinating a Klingon governor, in the hopes of ending the Federation-Klingon alliance.

Anyone who enjoys classic movies knows this is an ode to The Manchurian Candidate, a terrific film from the 60’s. I highly recommend it for those who don’t mind watching things in black and white. This is also the third time we get to see through Geordi’s VISOR, from his POV. Do you recall what the other two are? Check out my full review and you’ll learn that and a few other things.

That wraps up this blog entry. We really are near the end of season four–finally! There are only two episodes left. My next entry will cover In Theory and Redemption, two excellent episodes, before leaving this season and moving on.


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Star Trek episode reviews: The Drumhead and Half a Life

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The Drumhead

I’ve completed two more reviews, this time it’s episodes 21 and 22 of season four, The Drumhead and Half a Life. The second half of season four is turning out to be stronger than the first half, as I consider both of these to be good episodes.

The Drumhead involves an investigation into probable sabotage with a famous retired admiral. They find a traitor, but what starts with sabotage turns into a witch-hunt and before you know it Picard himself ends up being on trial. It’s a very well-written episode, with some wonderful social commentary, though some might find it slow-going at first.

Two cast members, Michael Dorn and Jonathan Frakes named Jean Simmons as their favorite guest star. It’s not hard to imagine why, she’s one of the more acclaimed actresses in the last century, and I personally own the 1948 Hamlet with her and Laurence Olivier (my favorite actor of all time). Her character, Admiral Satie, accuses of Picard of violating the Prime Directive nine times while in command of the Enterprise. Check out my full review as I try to break down which times these might be, along with other behind-the-scenes info.

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Half a Life

The following episode, Half a Life, is in my estimation just about as good. This episode too, can act as social commentary. A scientist is trying to revitalize the dying sun of his world, and hopes are high until they accidentally make it supernova. Whoops! Having failed the scientist and his new girlfriend, Lwaxana Troi(!), can’t settle down together because on his planet people commit ritual euthanasia when they turn 60. There is a great discussion about the right to die with dignity versus living because the elderly can still contribute much to society.

For those M*A*S*H fans out there, this is your episode to see Major Charles Emerson Winchester III as an alien! If you’re not a Majel Barrett fan, she’s actually pretty good in this episode. Peter Allan Fields wrote this episode, and he’d go on to write my single favorite Star Trek episode ever, as well as probably the great DS9 episode ever. Blink and you’ll miss Beverly Crusher in this episode. She was visibly pregnant by this point and she literally has one line. Check out some snafus as well as other stuff you might not know in my full review.

Until next time! I also wanted to point out, if anyone has any requests for information or anything else, please let me know and I’ll do my best to oblige.


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Star Trek episode reviews: The Nth Degree and Qpid

The Nth Degree

After a gap in my reviews, owing to engaging in the biggest move of my life, I’m back to my TNG reviews! This post is to announce I’ve completed two more reviews, episodes 19 and 20 of Season Four, The Nth Degree and Qpid. In contrast to my last post, which consisted of reviews of two of the weakest episodes of season four, I’m happy to have reviewer two of the better episodes.

The Nth Degree is about Barclay essential becoming a super genius after investigating an alien probe in space. He helps the crew out of danger, repairs a huge Federation telescope single-handed, becomes a best of an actor, argues theoretical physics with Einstein, and happens to take over the Enterprise in the process. He ends up being brought back down to earth in the end, but it’s a great ride.

Did you catch the 2001: A Space Odyssey reference in this episode? Or the in-joke hidden in the equations on the blackboard that Einstein was writing on? Check out my full review to learn what they are.

Qpid

Qpid is a big fan favorite, where we have Q–and the captain’s old girlfriend Vash–subjected Picard and Company to engage in a Robin Hood fantasy. The kicker is Q is doing it as a favor to Picard, who feels he owes him his life back when he lost his powers. Why? He’s trying to teach him how stupid and deadly love can be. Almost the entire episode is great, and is a refreshingly light and fun 45 minutes.

Did you know that Patrick was dating the actress who plays Vash when they were filming this episode? I’ll bet his wife didn’t approve! Jonathan Frakes got injured while they were filming the rescue, so much so that he had to be taken to the ER. There’s other stories and anecdotes from the actors of what happened behind the scenes in my full review, and leave some comments if you like.


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Star Trek episode reviews: Night Terrors and Identity Crisis

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Night Terrors. And Deanna’s butt.

Sorry for the long break between posts, life has gotten pretty crazy the past month or so. It’s actually going to continue for another month at least, so I’ll keep up with this as best I can. Today I’m announcing the completed reviews for episodes 17 and 18 of season four, Night Terrors and Identity Crisis. Neither one are particularly good or memorable episodes, thought Night Terrors at least had an interesting premise.

Night Terrors is about the Enterprise getting caught in a Tyken’s Rift in a binary star system while investigating a science vessel that stopped reporting back. They’re not only unable to leave, they are for some reason unable to dream, and this is slowly driving everyone mad. The only one unaffected by this (other than Data) is Troi, who has strange nightmares, which might be the key to the whole mystery.

A blooper here is the spelling of Brattain. Some genius spelled it wrong while putting the decals on the model of the ship, and we get an up close look at it several times during the episode. Also, there’s an in-joke for the dedication plaque on board the bridge of the Brattain referencing Gilligan’s Island! Check out my full review to learn more.

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Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis is the next episode. Galaxy’s Child, Night Terrors and this are probably the low-point of season four. Geordi’s old Lieutenant from an away team mission he was on five years ago is back to say that the other members of their team have all abandoned their posts and disappeared. D’oh! Guess who’s next?

The makeup from this episode is pretty great, though LeVar Burton probably isn’t a fan: it took 21 hours from the time they started putting it on him until it was finally all off. Keep an eye out for a hot new ensign in this episode, she was the 1990 Miss Universe winner! Take a look at my review to see my full analysis, and feel free to write your own comments.


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Star Trek episode reviews: First Contact and Galaxy’s Child

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First Contact

I’m getting a little quicker at writing and posting my reviews! This time I’ve reviewed episodes 15 and 16 from season four, First Contact and Galaxy’s Child. First Contact turned out to be much better than I recalled it, while Galaxy’s Child stayed just as lackluster as I remembered.

First Contact is about just that: first contact with a planet that’s about ready to discover warp drive. Riker has gone down to meet with the team, but ends up in the ER after a riot rocks the city. The twist is, this entire episode is from the perspective of the people from the planet.

This episode, #88, is the exact halfway point in the TNG series. Bebe Neuwirth, who played Frasier’s wife Lilith, has a great cameo that is hilarious! For Mass Effect fans, the actress who voiced Doctor Chakwas plays a major character in this episode, see if you can find her. Check out my full review for more tidbits as well as a full analysis of this good TNG entry.

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Galaxy’s Child

Galaxy’s Child is the next episode, and it’s a definite step down. There are two plots here. The first is the Enterprise crew, after accidentally killing a space-born life form, find a way to cut its young free only to find the little bugger has attached itself to the ship. Plot B features the return of Dr. Leah Brahms, Geordi’s ‘holodeck helper’ from Booby Trap. Only now she’s here in the flesh and she can’t stand him!

This episode features CGI prominently for the first time since Datalore, and it’s been updated for the Blu Ray version. I discuss this and the double meaning of the title along with a deleted scene in my full review. Feel free to check it out and comment if you like.


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Star Trek episode reviews: Devil’s Due and Clues

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Devil’s Due

It’s been over a month, but I’ve got two more episode reviews finished. These are episodes 13 and 14 from season four, Devil’s Due and Clues. I’d say overall they’re of a roughly equal caliber, which is middle of the road.

Devil’s Due is about a planet that’s gone nuts because their version of the Devil has returned to enslave them all. She’s a pretty hot looking devil, sure, but enslavement isn’t so good, right? The Enterprise is just there to pick up the people running the Federation science station, but then Picard gets a bee in his bonnet about debunking her, we’re along for the ride as they go for each other.

What may blow your mind here is that this is the single most-watched episode of TNG up to this point. Not even the pilot got ratings as high as this one! Want my theory on why? Click here to check out my full review and I’ll tell you.

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Uh, Clues. Not to be redundant.

Clues begins with the Enterprise being sucked into a wormhole, the entire crew getting knocked out except Data. They were only out for 30 seconds he says, but more and more “clues” point to it being a whole lot longer than that. What happened? Why would Data cover it up? The mystery builds until all is revealed in the fairly disappointing climax of an otherwise enjoyable episode.

What you probably don’t know about this episode is that the script was written by a Trek fan. He submitted it, Michael Piller liked it and had Joe Menosky punch it up a bit. Kinda makes me wish I’d taken a shot at a script myself, even though I was only a teenager at the time. Click here to check out to read my full review and tell me what your thoughts are.