Saga of the Jasonite

The continuing adventures of that eternal man of mystery…

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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.


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.



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.


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Star Trek episode reviews: Time’s Arrow, Part II and Realm of Fear

times-arrow-part-ii-hd-359 Time’s Arrow, Part II

I know I know, it’s been weeks and weeks since my last post. I just keep myself in the habit of apologizing I suppose. Good news though, the first two episodes of season six have been reviewed!

Time’s Arrow, Part II is a fairly solid episode, much like part one, and is real ensemble episode. Like part one, it’s pretty good but not great. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) is convinced Data is bringing infernal technology to ruin the past, but changes his tune after a trip to the future on the Enterprise. After a sort of time-shell-game with Data’s head, the old one gets put on his body, and the poorly explained hole-in-the-head aliens get wiped out.

You may not know that the week this episode was shot was the same week the DS9 folks were shooting their pilot. This episode won two Emmys: one for Costume Design and another for Sound Editing. As I’ve said repeatedly, this episode is not how Picard and Guinan formed their special bond. It’s certainly how they first met, but the meeting in Picard’s lifetime is where they drew together. We will likely never have that story. Check out more info in my full review.

realm-of-fear-hd-355 Realm of Fear

Realm of Fear is a Barclay episode, the third of his five total appearances on the show. The Enterprise crew are trying to solve the mystery of the USS Yosemite, caught in the plasma stream from a red giant to a white dwarf star. Barclay has a big transporter phobia, and this works in everyone’s favor because he becomes obsessed with this worm-like creature he sees while he’s being transported. Things get a bit over-explained toward the end, but otherwise a decent episode.

This is one of only two episodes where we see a first-person view of being transported. You’re curious to know what the other one is, aren’t you? You’ll have to check out my full review to find out! I also talk about how they got that big worm to move, and a particular scene that was shot four times in a row to give us the illusion of greater room on the starship sets.

That’s it for now, thanks for hanging with me at my recent snail’s pace. Next up will the next two episodes in season six, Man of the People and Relics!

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Star Trek episode reviews: The Inner Light and Time’s Arrow

At long last! After more than a year’s work, season five of Next Gen is complete! I was hoping to get it finished last week but getting your house painted tends to get in the way. In any case, welcome to the announcement of the last two reviews for the fifth season.


The Inner Light

The Inner Light is, frankly, my favorite episode of all time. Bar none, this is one I look forward to the most, and still has the greatest emotional effect. The Enterprise encounters a probe in space. It tethers itself to Picard via some sort of invisible beam, and he passes out. Waking up on a planet he’s never heard of, he lives the next 30 subjective years of his life living the family life, before we discover what it’s all about.

This episode won all sorts of different awards, including the Hugo; a distinction only four episodes in Star Trek history have won. You may not know that Patrick Stewart’s son actually played his on-screen son in this episode, or that by the end of the episode Patrick was wearing 16 pounds of make-up, which had to be applied starting at 1am! Check this out and read my full review to learn more.


Time’s Arrow

Time’s Arrow is the season-ending cliffhanger for season five. The Enterprise is recalled to Earth, where a scientist takes Picard and Data to some uninhabited caves since the 19th century and shows them Data’s severed head. A lot follows: time-traveling human-killing aliens, Data playing poker in the 1800s, Mark Twain, Guinan, and it ends with most of the rest of the crew stepping into a time portal.

Time’s Arrow was not slated to be the season-ender. In fact there wasn’t a two-parter planned at all. The producers got wind that with the wind-up of Deep Space 9, a lot of fans were thinking TNG would end after season five. They ordered a cliffhanger to let the masses know TNG would indeed continue! On that note, DS9 fans will be able to spot Marc Alaimo in this episode as well. Check out other tidbits, along with a lot more in my final full review for season five.

I’m leaving for vacation tomorrow, and plan on taking a few more weeks off before starting season six. Thanks for all my readers who stuck with me through the 26 episodes and 15 months it took me to get my reviews out. I will continue!

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Star Trek episode reviews: I Borg and The Next Phase

Two more reviews are ready to go! I’m doing my best to power through the end of season five. I figure I’ve been working on this season for too long now, and I’m just ready to finally be done with it. Bad weather, a sick family and a sick self have slowed me down a bit, but my goal is to be finished in two more weeks.


I Borg

I Borg is a terrific episode that manages to somehow do the impossible: make the Borg more relatable. The Enterprise crew find a lone survivor of a crashed Borg scout ship and bring him on board. A plan is hatched to use it to infect the rest of the Borg with a virus that will annihilate them, but Geordi and Beverly start to have second thoughts as they see doubt, vulnerability and an emotional presence in him. First Guinan, and then even Picard have to wrestle with their conscience as they know a full Borg ship is on its way.

Jonathan del Arco, who portrays Hugh, was one of those that auditioned for the role of Wesley Crusher. I can see how he may have a been a finalist, given the finely wrought performance he turns in. The title has reference to Asimov’s I, Robot, which I thought was a cool touch. Check out my full review for lots more info and feel free to leave your own comments if you like.


The Next Phase

The Next Phase is in the same league as I Borg. The Enterprise responds to a distress call from a Romulan scout ship about to explode, and saves them. It comes at a cost, however: the apparent deaths of Geordi and Ro. What really happened is that they became insubstantial, invisible and unnoticeable to everyone but each other, thanks to the Romulans and their experimental phasing cloak technology. There is a lot happening in this episode, and it’s all good.

The effect of having Ro and Geordi walking through solid objects as well as people was extraordinarily difficult and lengthy at the time. It was supposed to be a bottle episode to save money, but ended up being one of the most expensive episodes of the season due to the effects. The technology in this episode is indirectly related to the wonderful seventh season episode The Pegasus, as an astute viewer will understand. Michelle gave an interview where she named this episode as a turning point for her character as well. Check this out and other cool stuff in my full episode review.

That’s all for now. Thanks for all those exercising patience with my blog entries, I hope the faster pace is more palatable. Next time I’ll be posting my review for the final two episodes of season five (at last!): The Inner Light and Time’s Arrow.

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Star Trek episode reviews: The Perfect Mate and Imaginary Friend

Luckily for me I was able to write two reviews in as many weeks! I hardly ever have the time to do that, so I’m getting this post out as quickly as I can. I’ve just completed reviews of episodes 21 and 22 of season five, The Perfect Mate and Imaginary Friend.


The Perfect Mate

The Perfect Mate is a solid episode that features practically the first appearance of Famke Janssen ever, alongside her co-star Professor X–I mean Captain Picard. The premise of this episode is simple:  Kamala (Famke) is a metamorph, an empath able to become the exact sort of woman any man wants simply by being around them, and has been raised to be the mate of the ruler of a neighboring world, with whom they have been at war for a long time. Is it ok for her to be given as a gift to a man she’s never met, or should the Enterprise intervene?

You may not know that Kamala’s makeup was the primary inspiration for the Trill makeup on DS9, not the actual Trill from The Host. Check out the story behind this, as well as Famke’s story about Patrick Stewart giving her the best acting advice she’s ever received in my full review.


Imaginary Friend

Imaginary Friend is a definite step down, and is one of the worst episodes of season five. The Enterprise is investigating a unique kind of nebula, but who cares about that, this story is all about a young girl who has an imaginary friend. An energy alien comes on board and poses as the friend, and we all have to follow the alien in disguise manipulate a young girl and plan to destroy the ship.

There’s not a lot of behind-the-scenes info to be had here, other than listing all the previous episodes where we have energy aliens invading the ship. At this point it’s an over-used trope that leads to maybe the most forgettable and boring episode of the season. This is the first time we learn about Geordi’s parents, who will come into play later on, and did you know a certain writer chose this script instead of doing a Q episode this season? Learn who the culprit was, as well as spotting a scene where Patrick’s goofing off in this episode was captured on camera by reading my full review.

That’s it for this time. Next time I’ll be reviewing I Borg and The Next Phase, two very enjoyable episodes to watch. Hope to post them soon!

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Star Trek episode reviews: The First Duty and Cost of Living

Last time I was back on track, this time I’m behind again. I guess having a second child and keeping a practice up and running takes more time than I thought. Throw the holidays into the mix and I suppose it was inevitable I get behind. Still, there’s no better way to start off a new year than with a new post about two episode reviews I’ve completed! This time I’ve reviewed episodes 19 and 20 of season five, The First Duty and Cost of Living.


The First Duty

The First Duty is an exceptional episode that features another guest appearance by Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher. The setting this time is Starfleet Academy, and there’s been a fatal accident. Wesley is covering something up, Picard discovers what it is, and Wesley is forced to make a difficult choice between the truth or his friends and fellow cadets.

The First Duty features Ray Walston, Wil Wheaton, and Robert Duncan McNeill who would go on to play Tom Paris on Voyager. Robert compares the character he played in this episode and the one he plays on Voyager, and I reveal the secret reason he wasn’t allowed to reprise Locarno. Check out both in my full review.


Cost of Living

Cost of Living is a huge step down from the previous episode. The Enterprise picks up some metal parasites, and Lwaxana comes on board and announces she is getting married! Unfortunately it’s to a prudish, Victorian-age dude who is probably the worst fit in the galaxy for her. She bonds with Alexander, and he and Worf are having some friction. Everything turns out for the best, and it’s not that interesting.

This is the fourth of a total of eight episodes that the character of Alexander Rozhenko is used, and after the fifth season he’s hardly ever seen at all in TNG. This episode won two Emmys: Costume Design and Makeup, and was nominated for a third, Hair styling. I’d also forgotten there’s a dancer in this episode who does a good impression of the Orion Slave Girl dance from way back in The Cage. Get full details of my thoughts, and share yours, in my full review.


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Star Trek episode reviews: The Outcast and Cause and Effect

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.


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.


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.