Saga of the Jasonite

The continuing adventures of that eternal man of mystery…

Star Trek episode reviews: The Outcast and Cause and Effect

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I feel like I’m back on track now. I’m getting more sleep now that our baby sleeps through the night (mostly). I did want to make an apology though. I routinely encourage those who visit my site to leave comments if they like, whether on these overviews or on the full episode review pages. However, starting in the fourth season I have not enabled comments on any of those pages! Rest assured this has been resolved, and every review page now has the ability to leave a comment. Please let me know if I have missed any! Alright, here come reviews for episodes 17 and 18 of season five, The Outcast and Cause and Effect.

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The Outcast

The Outcast isn’t the most exciting, or even the most interesting of episodes. The androgynous J’naii race feature here, and the Enterprise is ostensibly helping them find and rescue a missing shuttlecraft with two crew members inside. Really though, it’s about Riker and a J’naii having a forbidden love *yawn*.

The Outcast, is of course, about homosexuality, or I suppose, any sexuality other than heterosexuality. There isn’t much behind the scenes info here, except for LeVar Burton. He really wanted to grow a beard. The producers said fine, we’ll try it once, and let him have it in this episode. Then they said no, it isn’t working. He does get a little bit of stubble on two subsequent episodes, but he won’t see a full beard again until Insurrection. Click here, or the photo above to access my full review.

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Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect is about seven orders of magnitude more awesome. The teaser is probably the best ever: within a minute the Enterprise blows up and everyone dies! Other than Mass Effect 2 I’ve never seen such a thing, and I love it. The crew are caught in a time loop–okay a “temporal causality loop”–for the entire episode, and each time the ship is destroyed. How do they learn about it? Poker!

Poker features more prominently in this episode than any other, and it’s amazing. It’s also amazing that they are able to keep the audience’s attention in filming essentially the same event over and over again. You may not know that instead of just filming the ship and overlaying it with an explosion, they actually blew up a model of the Enterprise. According to the writer, network affiliates were flooded with calls that something was wrong with the broadcast because they kept getting the same footage over and over again! Check out more trivia and behind the scenes info by reading my full review.

That’s it for this time. Next post will be covering the excellent The First Duty, followed by the questionable Cost of Living.

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