The Rewatch 180: The Game

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 5.6 The Game (10/28/1991)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/35

Notable Guest Stars:
Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) – He’s back ladies and gentlemen.  And to save the day, although all he wanted to do was relax, and maybe have a nice date with the lady in engineering.

Ashley Judd (Robin Lefler) – Ashley Judd also returns for her second appearance as Robin, this time she gets to be running a project in Engineering as well as getting the attention of Wesley.

Patti Yasutake (Alyssa Ogawa) – Also a return.  Since she is on here several times, I’m going to retire her from Guest Star and put her down as reoccuring.

Katherine Moffat (Etana Jol)- Moffat was a child actress, staring in early shows such as The Nancy Drew Mysteries, and later she worked on several television programs including TNG, DS9 and for non-star Trek appearances Dukes of Hazzard.  Her last credits date from the late 1990s, so I am assuming she has retired or has kept to mostly stage work.

Review:

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The Rewatch 179: Disaster

Writer’s Note: You may notice that I skipped episode 178. Recently I lost my grandfather, and right now am not in the right kind of disposition to write a review of an episode about a woman who is grieving her son and uses Data as a way of still having him. One day I will write that review, so I left the number open. Instead, I have chosen for now to move on to episode I can emotionally handle. Without further ado…

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 5.5 Disaster (10/21/1991)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 1/1/35

Notable Guest Stars:
Michelle Forbes (Ensign Ro Laren) – This is her second episode as Ms. Ro, and she continues to be a great character, although maybe a bit too antagonistic.

Jana Marie Hupp (Lt. Monroe) – Jana might be better recognized as Mindy Hunter-Farber on Friends.

Erika Flores (Marissa Flores)- Flores is probably mostly known for being Colleen Cooper during the first three seasons of Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman.  Her most recent role was in 2009 on the show House.  It appears that she has retired from acting at this time.

John Christian Graas (Jay Gordon Graas)- Like Flores, he seems to have retired from acting, but not before several television and film credits including Kindergarten Cop with Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Also, like Flores, he appeared in Dr. Quinn, only as a guest star in 2 episodes named Charles. He currently (according to IMDB) a member of the Marine Corps.

Rosalind Chao (Keiko O’Brien) – This is her third appearance on TNG that I can remember.  She continues to be a reoccurring character, so this is the last time I’ll mention her as a “Guest” star.   But she’s awesome.

Review:

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The Rewatch 177: Ensign Ro

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 5.3 Ensign Ro (10/7/1991)
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/0/34

Notable Guest Stars:
Michelle Forbes (Ensign Ro Laren) – This is Forbes second appearance on TNG.  She originally appeared last season as the daughter of Timicin, but now has arrived at the character that will be her reoccuring character. 

Scott Marlowe (Keeve Falor) – Marlowe is a classic actor whose credits start in the 1950s.  He has appeared in many cult favorites, like Bonanza and Gunsmoke, as well as Daytime Soaps like Days of Our Lives.

Frank Collison (Dolak)-  The Cardassian Commander might be more familiarly seen in Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman as Horace Bing.  I actually had to figure out where he was in the episode because the makeup did a pretty good job.

Cliff Potts (Admiral Kennelly)- Potts may be found outside Star Trek in the films Silent Running and Little Women, so you can tell he’s not afraid to switch genres around a bit.

Jefferey Hayenga (Orta)- It was hard to find information on this actor, but he did appear in one of my least favorite movies, Prince of Pennsylvania.  If you ever want to see a great cast appear in a horrible film, watch that movie.  It also has Keanu Reeves and Fred Ward.  He will appear on StarTrek again both as Orta (DS9) and Dr.Yuris (ENT)

Review:

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The Rewatch 176: Darmok

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 5.2 Darmok
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/0/34

Notable Guest Stars:
 Richard Allen (Tamarian First Officer) – This is a reappearance of Allen, who played Kentor in “Ensigns of Command.”  He has since done guest work and voice work.

Paul Winfield (Dathon)- Winfield was an actor with accolades for his portrayals on both film and screen. He appeared in Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan as well.

Ashley Judd (Robin Lefler)- Ashley Judd has had a pretty good career, staring in movies such as Where the Heart Is, with her role as Robin Lefler her first major role.  She is also well known for her performing family, Naomi and Wionna Judd.

Review:

 This is probably one of the most quoted episodes of TNG.  It’s become its own meme even.  Its actually a pretty good episode with a simple theme:

What happens if the universal translator can translate words, but not their meaning.  The Crew can understand the Tamarians, but their statements make no sense as they are talking in metaphors.

Finally, the Tamarian captain has had too much, and despite his first officer’s complaints about the plan (The first officer is a lot like Riker in that regard) he has them send Picard and himself down to the planet. He figures putting them in danger might help convey language issues better.

Meanwhile Riker is perturbed, Data is drowning in research and Deanna yet again appears to be the senior diplomatic officer on board.  SURELY THERE IS A TEAM?!?

Overall I love this episode, and its really had to review because its one of those episodes where you want to go ‘Just go watch it.”

Interesting Notes:

  • Written Joe Menosky and Phillip LaZebnik
  • Directed by Patrick Stewart
  •  The Epic of Gilgamesh is an Ancient Mesopotamian epic, in particular the are of Sumeria.  There are several stories in this collection that are pieced together from various texts across the area and across the centuries.  You can read it here and here.
  • This episode took a long time between initial pitch and the final cut.  The pitch has little to do with the final episode, but in all honestly, that is a good thing.
  • Many people consider this one of TNG’s finest episodes.

Pros

  •  Stunning episode for Patrick Stewart, and the characterizations of Picard, Deanna, and to a lesser extent Riker (who really has a short temper in this episode)

Cons:

  •  Doesn’t speaking in metaphor hamper speech in a way?
  • Again, Deanna seems to be the sole member of the diplomatic team onboard Enterprise, which considering its main goals are finding new words and new friends (and studying things along the way), you would think would be well staffed.
  •  

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

The Rewatch 175: Redemption

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.26 Redemption Pt 1 (6/17/91) | 5.1 Redemption Pt 2 (9/23/91) 100th Episode!
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34 | 0/0/34

Notable Guest Stars:
Robert O’Reilly (Gowron) Gowron appears several times across TNG and DS9.  O’Reilly plays the character his complete run, and also performed the voice of Gowron for several video games as well.

Tony Todd (Kurn)-  Kurn, like Gowron will appear again on the franchise, again played by Tony Todd.  Todd is also known for being The Candyman.

Barbara March (Lursa)- Marsh is mostly known for her broadway work, and playing Lursa.  She would continue to play the character for several more epsiodes across the franchise.  She was married to Alan Scarfe, another Star Trek Alum.  She died of cancer in 2019.

Gwynth Walsh (B’Etor)- Walsh would continue to play B’Etor across the Star Trek franchise, as well as another character on Voyager. Like her onscreen sister, she has an established stage career.

JD Cullum (Toral)-  You may recognize Cullum from the film Glory, or television shows as ER and The Wizards of Weaverly Place. Surprisingly, Cullum was well into his twenties when he played the role of Toral, who appears much younger. 

Michael G. Hagerty (Larg)Hagerty is a long-term character actor, known for his roles on Friends, Shameless, and Medium.

Timothy Carhart (Christopher Hobson) Carhart has appeared in several popular movies, such as Ghostbusters, Thelma and Louise, and his appearances on CSI.

Fran Bennett (Shanthi)- a frequent actor on several soap operas, and television.

Denise Crosby (Sela)- Crosby once again appears as Sela, Tasha Yars daughter.  She would appear twice more as the character.

Review:

All through season 4 we have had an ongoing theme with Worf.  He lost his honor in the previous season due to the threat of a Klingon Civil War.  With Picard’s encouragement, and with the upcoming installation of Gowron as chancellor of the High Council, Worf sets out to clear his family name and regain his honor in the eyes of his people of birth.

Of course, nothing comes easily, especially when one needs to make a two partner episode.  The House of Duras is still around to muck things up, this time led by the lately departed Duras’ two sisters Lursa and B’Etor.  They put forth Toral, their brother’s son, as a candidate in his father’s place.  When Picard as arbiter declines the admission of Toral as a candidate, civil war ensues.

Lursa and B’Etor have no fondness for their brother, although it might have been more for sure.  They certainly had very little fondness for their nephew.  Like their father they had found allies in the Romulans, and with their help seem to be beating Gowron at every battle.

This episode pairing is not only big as far as arc goes (The Klingon Civil War has been brewing for seasons), but also for individual characterizations.

Picard we get to see in the role of stragegist, trying to weave a net without breaking the Federation’s non-involvement clause.  He has to thread a diplomatic thread without breaking it.

Worf’s characterization is really defined in this episode.  His story arc over the first four seasons was always dealing with him and his Klingon heritage and beliefs.  In this episode he does that, but he also comes to recognize that growing up with Humans has given him alternative methods that make him not quite the perfect Klingon, but perhaps the perfect Worf.  It shows the fundamental differences between he and Kurn, raised differently but still both Klingon at heart.  And perhaps it makes Gowron understand him better.

It also is a good episode for Data, who finally gets to command his own ship, however briefly.  This does bring up the question – why hasn’t Data been given promotions?  Is no one seeking him out as a first officer?  His record is great, so I don’t see why not.  He does, perhaps, have to work on his “bedside” manner so to speak.

This episode is also a good episode for exposure to Klingon culture.  We see Klingons amongst themselves, and Worf as a way to compare their culture.  Worf is a bit more focused and a bit more conservative about violence then his companions. He’s a bit prone to being an introvert in a species are pretty much all extroverts.

We also get to see more of Sela, who first appeared two episodes prior when Geordi was being brainwashed to be an assassin.  She explains her existence, what happened to the Tasha Yar of the Enterprise C, and clearly has a lot of parental issues.

Story wise, this was wonderfully written, and flows quite well as a two-parter.  It has political intrigue, action sequences, powerful female characters, character growth and development, and some very good acting on behalf the cast.

The only issue I have is Toral.He quite literally is a child.  Given the way the Klingon’s grow, its quite possible he’s as young as five or six years old. I guess it surprises me that the Klingon’s are treating him like an adult already.  He has served no time in the military or any other facet of the Klingon culture except to be a child about his heritage.  So I applaud Worf for spearing his life but what are they going to do with him?  I realize he comes back later in the franchise, but I still wonder what the aftermath of this situation was.  Was he taken into foster care, like Worf and Kurn were?  Was he left to his own devices?  Given the attitudes I’m leaning towards the later, but we shall see when he returns.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Ronald D. Moore
  • Directed by Cliff Boyle (pt1) and David Carson (pt 2)
  • Ronald Reagan visited the set during the filming of part one.  He commented (According to memory Alpha) that Klingons reminded him of Congress.  Which, I can’t blame him. 
  • According to Piller, this was meant as a third season cliffhanger set, but they pushed it back for Best of Both Worlds.  I’m glad because it allowed them to develop the background of the episode and I think they were better off for it.
  • The two episodes were not written together, which is interesting as they flow quite well.  The second part wasn’t written till everyone came back from summer break.

Pros

  •  Well Written, well-acted
  • Characterization
  • Klingon Culture exposure
  • More of an exposure on how the quadrant works.

Cons:

  • There are some inconsistencies within the Klingon Government.  Gowron states that no woman could sit on the council, which is odd considering how generally equal the species seems to be in regard to genders.  But previously he had offered K’heylar a spot, and as we will see in the next film, there was once a female chancellor.  I’m going with Gowron has not see a woman sit on the council in his lifetime more then it’s an actual rule.
  • I can’t imagine why a species that makes sure to have extra armor around their spine would build armor that leaves the chest uncovered. But perhaps I am miss reading the Duras sisters as having armor on. Or perhaps it’s a Klingon way of saying I’m so good at my job I can bear my heart and you couldn’t get to it.

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

The Rewatch 174: In Theory

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.25 In theory (06/3/91)
Rating: 3/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
Michelle Scarabelli (Jenna D’Sora) Scarabelli is most known for her role on Alien Nation.  She has more recently been seen on Supernatural.

Pamela Winslow (Ensign McKnight) – Winslow is a repeat guest actor, playing the second of the three episodes she is seen as McKnight.

Review:

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The Rewatch 173: The Mind’s Eye

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.24 The Mind’s Eye (05/27/91)
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
John Fleck (Taibak) Fleck appears in three Star Trek series, including playing a reoccuring role on Star Trek: Enterprise as Silik, a Suliban agent they often come across. He has also performed in Babylon 5, a contemporary of TNG and DS9.  He also is known as being a part of a suit against the National Endowment of the Arts and wining in the Supreme Court.

Larry Dobkin (Kell)- Dobkin was a director, actor, screenwriter, and radio personality.  He originally entered the Star Trek world as a director, filming the episode “Charlie X”.  He has a long list of credits, including getting to play Simon Templer in the earlier TV/Radio productions of The Saint.

Denise Crosby (“voice of Romulan commander”)–  Crosby is back, but this time playing Sela, Tasha’s daughter.  Of course we don’t know that yet, so she is only “The voice of the Romulan Commander” at this time.

Edward Wiley (Vagh)- Wiley will appear once again in Star Trek on DS9 as a Cardassian.  He has several film and television credits, and worked with quite a few other Star Trek Alum

Review:

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The Rewatch 172: The Host

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.23 The Host (05/11/91)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
Franc Luz (Odan) Luz does not appear to have an extensive credit list, but he did have a credit for the movie When Harry Met Sally.

Nicole Orth-Pallavicini (Kareel Odan)  She has several credits to her name, mostly character acting on various TV shows through the years.  She appeared as an extra in the TV show Smash, which is another one of my favorites.

William Newman (Kalin Trose) Newman is a theater and film actor, as well as a veteran of the US Armed forces.  His film credits include Mrs. Doubfire and My Name is Earl.  Unfortunately, Newman died in 2015.

Barbara Tarbuck (Leka Trion) Tarback was mostly known for her soap opera roles, including Jane Jacks on General Hospital.  She unfortunately died in 2016.

Review:

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The Rewatch 171: Half a Life

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.22 Half a Life (05/06/1991)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
David Ogden Stiers (Timicin) Stiers has been in many television shows, but perhaps he is best remembered as Charles Winchester III from M*A*S*H.  He has also appeared as a Replicant on one of my favorite shows, Stargate Atlantis.

Michelle Forbes (Dara) Forbes was a star on Guiding Light, but more importantly she would return to TNG as a reoccurring character Ensign Ro Laren.

Terrence E. McNally (B’Tardat) McNally is no longer actively doing acting work, and now is known for his radio work hosting Free Forum .He also wrote and produced the film Earth Girls are Easy(1988).

Carel Struycken (Mr. Homn)  Lwaxana is once again accompanied by her valet, Homn, better known as Lurch from The Adams Family Films.

WARNING:  This episode involves discussion of euthanasia and ritual suicide.

Review:

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The Rewatch 170: The Drumhead

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.21 The Drumhead (04/29/1991)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
Jean Simmons (Norah Satie) – Jean Simmons is a classic film actress and has quite a respectiable list of credits.  She also worked with Jonathan Frakes in North and South which he was filming before and during the first couple seasons of TNG.  They enjoyed working together and apparently, she was also a Trekkie so this was a good episode for both of them.

Bruce French (Sabin Genestra) – He is known for his role as Father Lonigan on Passions.

Spencer Garrett (Simon Tarses)– Garrett appears on Trek several times and will appear again on Voyager.  He has also been in projects involving Star Wars, MCU (Iron Man 3), and Avatar.  He is also the son of actor Kathleen Nolan.

Earl Billings (Thomas Henry)– Billings is a character actor who has appeared in several television shows over the years, including Cold Case and How I met Your Mother

Ann Shea (Nellen Tore)- This was Shea’s first credited role according ti IMDB.  She would also star as Valarie on ER for several episodes as Valarie, a caretaker in the hospital day care.

Henry Woronicz (J’Dan)–  Woronicz will appear on Trek again in Voyager.

Review:

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