Saga of the Jasonite

The continuing adventures of that eternal man of mystery…


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Star Trek episode reviews: Chain of Command, Part II, and Ship in a Bottle

Chain of Command, Part II

I reviewed Chain of Command, Part II some time ago, but it’s taken until my next vacation this week to have time to get around to Ship in a Bottle. I’m glad I did, I had been feeling overdue for some time. I also can’t stand this new block editor WordPress is using, so I’m still learning it. Please remember you need not wait until I post another announcement like this before checking, I will often review one episode and wait weeks before another one is written. Simply go to the most recently reviewed episode that you’ve read and see if the link is live for the next episode. Going to the season six page is also a good way to get an overview of where I am in the episode review process.

Chain of Command II is one of my favorite TNG episodes, pure and simple. Picard has been capture by the Cardassians, and he spends most of the episode getting tortured, in what is a candidate for his best performance on the show. Meanwhile back on the Enterprise things heat up between the Federation and the Cardassians, and between Jellico and Riker. There are three showdowns in this episode, and each of them is great!

This was the final episode aired before DS9 began, the last time TNG would have all the airwaves to itself. You may not know that David Warner, who played Gul Madred, took the role with only three days’ notice! Because he didn’t have time to learn all of his lines, including technobabble, he says “they wrote everything up for me. I don’t mind people knowing this. Every line I said, I actually was reading it over Patrick’s shoulder or they put it down there for me to do it.” Check out a lot more behind the scenes info in my full episode review.

Ship in a Bottle

Ship in a Bottle is a step down, as almost any episode would be, but it still an excellent episode in its own right. Professor Moriarty, last seen in Elementary, Dear Data, returns, and this time he’s out of the holodeck! Or is he? Following a couple of minor technical glitches Data and Geordi (who were having fun as Holmes and Watson) ask Barclay to fix the Holodeck and he inadvertently releases Moriarty. He’s somehow able to leave the holodeck, and takes over the ship, makes a demand of the crew, and all the while the Enterprise is close to the imminent collision of two planets!

You may not know the reason TNG didn’t use Sherlock Holmes during the intervening four years. TNG couldn’t use Holmes for years as Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate were irritated with Paramount because of the film Young Sherlock Holmes, and there had been a long legal battle. By this time however, everything has been resolved and they didn’t make Paramount pay too much to use Doyle’s characters. Check out more details in my full episode review if you like.

Thanks for waiting, and I’ll try to keep on schedule better in reviewing the next two episodes, the awful Aquiel and the excellent Face of the Enemy. However, my wife is 7 1/2 months pregnant, so all I can promise is my best!


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Star Trek episode reviews: The Quality of Life and Chain of Command, Part I

I took a week of vacation and was able to write two more episode reviews! It was nice to play a bit of catch up in these uncertain times. I hope everyone is doing well, and staying healthy. This time it’s The Quality of Life and Chain of Command, Part I.

The Quality of Life

The Quality of Life is a forgettable episode about Data investigating a group of robots, the exocomps, that he believes may be a new life form. This is in the context of independent researchers developing a new form of mining technology they want Picard to recommend to Starfleet. That’s really all I have to say about it, it’s not that remarkable an episode IMO. My favorite part of the episode is the poker game at the beginning.

This episode features the return of Beardy, AKA Geordi sporting a beard, for the third and last time of the TV series. First seen in The Outcast, and continuing in the previous episode, it’s on display most prominently this episode, even though the producers were totally against it. How did he get away with it? LeVar gave them terms they couldn’t refuse: he needed it for his upcoming wedding! Check out this and other cool stuff by reading my full review.

Chain of Command, Part I

The next episode, Chain of Command, Part I, is the last great two-parter on TNG. Things get going right in the teaser when Picard is relieved of command of the Enterprise and we get a new captain, Jellico, that nobody can stand. Meanwhile Picard, Beverly and Worf start training for a black ops mission like they are commandos. What’s up with these Cardassians that we saw in a couple of episodes last season? It’s a wonderful part one, and sets up the even-better part two!

Remember the Cardassians first appeared back in The Wounded, and we saw them again in Ensign Ro before appearing here. Brent Spiner has said this is his favorite two-parter of the series! You may not know Chain of Command was originally meant to be just one episode. Why did they change it? Check out my full review to read about it! There are also two funny stories the cast tells about this episode, read about them both in my review if you like.

That’s it for now. With luck I’ll get two more reviews out this next month. I hope everyone out there is staying healthy and taking good care of themselves!


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Star Trek episode reviews: Rascals and A Fistful of Datas

The good news is this post is only a little bit behind schedule! This post is to inform I’ve completed two more episode reviews. This time, it’s Rascals and A Fistful of Datas. These episodes are polar opposites in terms of quality.

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Rascals

Rascals is a candidate for the worst episode of the sixth season. Two of the worst tropes are seen this episode, together for the first time: adults are turned into kids, and incompetent Ferengi. That’s right, due to a transporter problem Picard, Guinan, Ro and Keiko (of all people) are turned into 12-yr olds. And wouldn’t you know it, the Ferengi show up in a Klingon battle cruiser and easily overwhelm the Enterprise crew right after! Who are the only ones who can save the ship? The tweens.

Just about everything in this episode is wrong. I happily tear it a new one in my full review. As for trivia, we do get an indirect reference to how old Guinan might be. This is also the last time we see Keiko, and we won’t see O’Brien again until the series finale. The whole family relocates to DS9 the following month, Trek-time. Check all this stuff out in my special evisceration review!

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A Fistful of Datas

A Fistful of Datas is just about as good as Rascals is bad. It does use another TNG trope, that of a Holodeck malfunction, but there’s a whole lot of fun this time around. Alexander drags Worf into the Holodeck to play out his program of being a sheriff and deputy in “the ancient West”, when an experiment Geordi and Data are conducting goes a bit awry. Before you know it, most of the bad guys are looking like Data, with all his abilities, and a lot them want to kill Worf! It’s just fun to watch from beginning to end.

There are a lot of in-universe references that I detail in my full review. Also, for reasons unknown, Geordi’s beard makes a comeback! Patrick Stewart directed this one, and he must have had a memorable time because the crew were only given one day to shoot all of the exteriors for the episode. I talk about that, as well as how this episode changed how Holodeck episodes were done from here on out in my review. I even include an anecdote Michael Dorn gives about Patrick and “more smoke!” that’s worth checking out.

That’s it for now. If I can keep to my schedule, in another month I’ll have reviews completed for Quality of Life and Chain of Command, Part I.


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Star Trek episode reviews: Schisms and True Q

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Schisms

I am getting into the habit of apologizing for the delay between posts and episode reviews. Between football season and holidays it has been a difficult few months. With the upcoming new year, however, I hope to be back to reviewing an episode biweekly. Let’s hope.

Schisms is an episode that starts out great, and ends not-so-great. At first all we know is that Riker is super-sleepy, but this evolves into an alien abduction episode triggered by Geordi probing a little too deeply into subspace. There is a great creepy vibe for much of this episode, with Riker finally venturing into the heart of the beast, but it falls a bit flat when we find out they’re just  bunch of fish monks. For me one of the best moments is Data reciting his cat poetry.

There is honestly not that much trivia for this episode. For those who care about Mott the barber, this is his very last appearance! If you want to know who impersonates him later in the season, or when we get to hear Data’s poetry again, please read my full review. It’s probably a little better than the episode! You also get to learn what the word schism means.

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True Q

True Q is about the same quality. A young intern is visiting the Enterprise, and she has the surprising ability to make puppies appear, move cargo containers and even stop warp core breaches with a single gesture! Q himself shows up and says he’s testing to see if she’s a real Q or not, and if not then he’ll have to kill her. There are a few good moments, but it sort of stumbles across the finish line.

Olivia D’Abo should be known to any child of the 80’s, as Karen Arnold of The Wonder Years. This is also the final episode that Q appears to the Enterprise crew, from now on he only appears to and speaks with Picard! Check out more trivia and my always-incisive commentary by reading my full review.

That’s it for this round. Next time I’ll be posting my reviews for the abominable Rascals and the far superior A Fistful of Datas. Keep checking back, more are coming!


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Star Trek episode reviews: Man of the People and Relics

It’s been even longer for this post than the last one. All I can say is, I haven’t been in a position to have dedicated time to put in the energy and resources I use in reviewing a TNG episode properly. I aim to rectify that! Thanks for your continuing patience.

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Man of the People

Man of the People is just a mess. It’s my lowest rated episode of season six so far, and there won’t be many rivals. There’s an ambassador, Alcar, who the crew saves in the teaser, who’s job it is to mediate peace talks between two warring nations (a recycled idea from Loud as a Whisper). His ‘mom’ dies and after Troi shares a ritual, starts becoming just as jealous, possessive and bitchy as she was. Troi also starts aging very rapidly, and it turns out Alcar is using her as the receptacle for all his negative emotions. They hatch a plan to get him, they win, and it’s all stupider than it sounds.

Turns out that this episode was written in a big rush, because Relics was supposed to be shot this week, but Doohan had a scheduling conflict. All of a sudden they had a week with no episode written so the writing team crapped one out to fill the week. Take a look at other behind-the-scenes stuff, including a massive plot hole I spotted by checking out my full review.

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Relics

Relics is about 100 times better. Who does the Enterprise find dematerializing from a transporter pad on an old Federation transport ship? Scotty! Scotty adjusts (badly) to life in the 24th century, and the crew investigate a real Dyson sphere. We get to see Scotty in action again, and he delivers just about everything could want from a great guest appearance. This episode is gold from beginning to end.

James Doohan–may he rest in peace–was not originally well-disposed to Next Gen. He had some unkind things to say about it, and it wasn’t until his family sat him down and had him watch the show that he really began enjoying it, and agreed to be on the show. The crew of the show actually recreated a portion of the original Enterprise bridge just for this episode, and it comes out perfect! Take a look at my other thoughts and behind-the-scenes info by checking out my full review.

Next time I’ll be reviewing Schisms and True Q! Stay tuned.