The Rewatch 209: Chain of Command (1 & II)

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 6.10-11 Chain of Command (Part 1: 12/4/92  Part 2: 12/21/92)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/3/38

Notable Guest Stars:
Ronny Cox (Edward Jellico)- I know him best as Senator Kinsey, the thorn in the side of the Stargate program.
Natalia Nogulich (Alynna Nechayev)-
She will return as Nechayev several times over the course of TNG and DS9.  She has also appeared on the West Wing as an Israeli ambassador.
John Durbin (Gul Lemec)-
Durbin will appear on DS9 and Voyager as various characters.
David Warner (Gal Madred) –
David Warner previously was in the Undiscovered Country as Chancellor Gorkon.  He had also previously worked with Patrick Stewart on a performance of Hamlet.

Warning: This episode contains possible triggering content such as torture and gaslighting. When watching it has graphic torture scenes.  My review also references them, though I will not describe them in detail.

Review:

This duo has a lot to unpack. It’s a fairly important episode Franchise wise for a couple of reasons. There are several character development scenes in these episodes from a TNG standpoint. It also sets the stage for DS9, which will premiere next (and shall be Rewatch 209).

Admiral Nechayev comes onboard the Enterprise to surprise Picard with a special mission to go undercover and seek out a possible metagenic weapon which makes current biowarfare seem like toys. He is relieved of duty as Captain and Edward Jellico, a more by the book and militant style Captain is brought in to relieve him.

Jelico is a bit of a debate.  Some fans feel he was an amazing captain, others fell the opposite. I’ll get to my own opinion in a bit.  Regardless he makes an impression because as soon as he transports over, he starts to change the way the ship works. He wants them to switch up their duty schedules into four shifts rather then three.  Which honestly doesn’t quite make sense.  A four duty shift means six hour shifts. It would spread the crew more thinly, and also seems a waste of resources.  But he’s preparing for war, so perhaps he’s trying to make sure everyone is well rested in case of battle.

He also has requests of each department that sometimes borders on incompletable.  For example, despite Data saying it was an attainable goal, Geordi knows it will take the whole department two days of round the clock work to complete.  And Jellico removes part of the tema for security.

Isn’t there already a security department on board?

Its hard to tell with Jellico if he’s just being premptifully prepared or just has unrealistic expectations of his crew on an larger ship.  Either way it puts him at odds with Riker, who is more of a relaxed command structure kind of guy.  Which is good for the Enterprise because it’s a science ship, and he knows his crew and when to be more firm then others.  Might not be so great when it comes to militiarlistic situation.  That being said, Riker has already shown he can take command of those situations.  He did so in The Best of Both Worlds.

Jelico also makes Deanna wear a uniform, which is probably my favorite thing about this whol episode.  It always bothered me that Deanna never wore her uniform unless it was in an alternate timeline or the first episode.  It has been argued that she wears something to make her patients feel more comfortable, but always?

Meanwhile while Jellico and Riker are fighting (and Deanna playing mediator) Picard, Crusher and Worf are all sneaking into what is supposed to be a Cardassian lab.  Except it was just a lore to get Picard.  To get information about a planet they want. Information that Picard does not have.

Picard is tortured in this episode both mentally and physically.  He spends a portion of this episode strategically placed as he is nude.  They don’t shy away from the fact that this is in fact a torture scene. The most popular phrase to come out of this episode is “THERE. ARE. FOUR. LIGHTS.” It comes from when Picard is being tortured while being asked how many lights there are.  He is tortured to the point that he admits (later to Deanna) he almost gives up and says there are five lights just to get relief.

.I do think it is important that afterwards he goes to talk with Deanna. He seeks mental health services, instead of the usual “forget anything happened to him before this” situation that TV dramas seem to take as their go-to.   He’s seen seeing his therapist, even if it seems like he’s just sitting down with a friend. I think that is a very good sign.  I wish that TV shows would show their heroes seeking mental health help when they need it.

This episode develops Picard, as information of his past come to light. Some of which we already knew, some of which is new. It definitely showcases his character, and how he deals with things. He is rescued before he breaks down from the torture, but he still admits at least to Deanna that he was close to just believing there were 5 lights.

It develops Riker to a certain point, because it shows how willing he is to rebel when he doesn’t think the commanding officer has the best interests of the crew in mind.  Although I do think that he’s a little reactive in this episode, considering he himself has had to deny going back to get someone till after they finish something else.

I do find it funny that all of a sudden he is the best pilot on the enterprise but we hardly ever see him fly anything.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by (Part One) Frank Abetemarco and Ronald D. Moore (Part Two) Frank Abetemarco
  • Directed by (Part One) Robert Scheerer and (Part Two) Les Landau
  • This episode has a homage to the George Orwell classic “1984”.In the novel, a character uses gaslighting to mentally manipulate someone into believing an alternate reality (five fingers instead of four, or in this case, five lights instead of four)
  • This episode was originally meant to be a one parter, but they decided to stretch it out into a two parter to help save on their budget.  In the end it ended up being a good decision because the story needed both parts.
  • David Warner was a last minute casting, as the actor who had been cast had to pull out for undisclosed reasons.  He had to have his lines held up because he had no time to learn them.  Considering all that, he did an excellent job.
  • This episode was meant to help establish the situation around DS9, with references to Cardassia’s history, and their removal from the Bajoran sector.  Solok was originally meant to be Quark, but it was decided against that when they got to the final script.
  • Abetemarco did research on torture responses with Amnesty international to get the scenes right. Patrick Stewart also made sure to do research into make this episode believable.

Pros

  • Excellent acting by Patrick Stewart.  This is perhaps one of the darker episodes of TNG and he did a great job in showing Picard’s struggle.
  • Excellent acting all around really.
  • Deanna Troi gets her uniform back. If nothing else, I thank Jellico for that.

Cons:

  • While I don’t think Jellico was a bad captain, I feel he could have saved himself some energy and figured out what was working on Enterprise before trying to alter it.  Many arguments can be made over his overall choices though.

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

The Rewatch 208: Quality of Life

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 6.09 Quality of Life (11/16/1992)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/3/38

Notable Guest Stars:
Ellen Bry (Farallon) – Her more recurrent roles include The Amazing Spider-Man, and St. Elsewhere.

Review:

This episode is interesting, though not the ones I would watch over again.  In it, Data discovers that the Exocomps, a computerized tool created by Dr. Farallon to help assist her in repairs and upgrades to her mining technology, has shown possible signs of life.

From a characterization perspective, its important for Data.  In this episode he seeks to find others like him who started life out as a mechanical yet have life. They never state in the episode whether they officially decide the exocomps are living, but at least he changes Farallon’s mind about treatment.

I honestly don’t have much comments to make on this one, so it’s a very short review.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Naren Shankar
  • Directed by Jonathan Frakes
  • LeVar Burton’s beard was being grown for his wedding so Geordi was able to have one for several episodes.  Apparently the production team figured Geordi was better cleanshaven, but I don’t think it matters either way.

Pros

  • Data characterization
  • The idea of AI developing out of super-learning computers.

Cons:

  • While I love Data, this season has been fairly Data heavy. Could we have some characterization development for another character?

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

The Rewatch 207: Fistful of Datas

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 6.08 Fistful of Datas (11/09/1992)
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/3/38

Notable Guest Stars:
John Pyper-Ferguson (Eli Hollander)- Ferguson guest starred on several US TV series over the years, but he also starred in “Hamilton’s Quest, a Canadian TV series.  Probably most notable to more recent audiences is his turn on Battlestar Galatica and its offshoots.
Joy Garret (Annie Meyers)-
She was most known for her role on Days of Our Lives (Jo Johnson) which she was concurrently playing at the time of this episode. This was one of her last performances before she died suddenly of liver failure in 1993.

Review:

Continue reading “The Rewatch 207: Fistful of Datas”

The Rewatch 206: Rascals

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 6.07 Rascals (10/30/1992)
Rating: 3.9/5
Redshirt Status: 0/3/38

Notable Guest Stars:
David Tristan Birkin (Jean-Luc Picard) – Birkin had previously played Rene Picard, Picard’s young nephew, in season 4’s “Family”. He still acts, but his main focus is in photography focused on topics related to war and the aftereffects.
Megan Parlen (Ro Laren) –
She appeared on the NBC series Hangtime.  She now focuses on documentary work, including one on the return from Iraq.  She also continued to do voice work.
Caroline Junk King (Keiko O’Brien)-
King currently works as a animation director and artist in Japan.
Isis Carmen Jones (Guinan) –
You may recognize her from appearing as the younger Delores in Sister Act, which also was released in 1992. Those are her only two credits on IMDB.
Hana Hatae  (Molly O’Brien) –
She would continue to play the part of Molly for the next few years, however this is her only appearance on TNG.
Mike Gomez (Lurin)-
Gomez has appeared several times on TNG, including as a Ferengi Daimon in “the Last Outpost”.  He has also appeared in the classic The Big Lebowski.
Tracey Walter (Berik)-
Walter often appears as sidekicks in his roles, and has quite a few well known credits.  Highlights include Death to Smotchie, Matilda, City Slickers and The Silence of the Lambs
Michael Snyeder Morta)-
Snyder has appeared in Star Trek several times, including as the Crewman Dax that Chekov prematurely blames for the boots.  He also just the previous season played a Ferengi named Qol.
Brian Bonsall (Alexander Rozhenko)-
Bonsall gets to act here on his own without Michael Dorn or Marina Sirtis.

Review:

Continue reading “The Rewatch 206: Rascals”

The Rewatch 205: True Q

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 6.06 True Q (11/02/1992)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/3/38

Notable Guest Stars:
Olivia d’Abo (Amanda Rogers) – d’Abo might be recognized as Karen Arnold, the character she played for seven years on the Wonder Years. Which oddly enough, I don’t think I’ve watched other then clips.  Might have to do that one of these days.
John de Lancie (Q) – He’s back, back again.  Still causing trouble, still judging humanity.

Review:

Continue reading “The Rewatch 205: True Q”

The Rewatch 203: Relics

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 6.04 Relics (10/12/1992)
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 1/2/37

Notable Guest Stars:
James Doohan (Montgomery Scott)-  He’s Mongomery Scott.  Need I say more!

Lanei Chapman(Sariel Rager)-  Chapman has been a reoccuring minor character on the series, appearing in two episodes in season 4, and two episodes in season 6.  Oddly enough the episode Geordi references in this episode was one of the episodes where Rager appeared.

Erick Weiss (Ensign Kane) – This is Weiss’ second appearance on TNG, but not his last for the series.

Review:

Continue reading “The Rewatch 203: Relics”

The Rewatch 202: Man of the People

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 6.03 Man of the People (10/5/92)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 1/1/36 (resurrections tally 2)

Notable Guest Stars:
Chip Luca (Ves Alkar)- Luca is a reoccuring Star Trek Actor, with one of his final roles being on ENT.  He also appears in Voyager.
George D. Wallace (Simmons)
– As well as being a WWII vetran, Wallace starred in Broadway plays and musicals.  He also appeared in Gunsmoke and other popular westerns.
Lucy Boryer (Janeway)-
She is best known for her time on Doogie Howser, MD.

Review:

Well, it didn’t take long before I had an episode I disliked. To be fair to this episode, it was made quickly as a fill gap solution when the next episode had to be delayed, so perhaps it didn’t have the time to be developed.

I’m just tired of storylines where women are victims of subservice.  There are three women in this episode who are victimized by Alkar.  He forces his will on these women.  I understand that this is supposed to be a new take on the Dorian Gray story,  but it comes off as another form of rape. These women loose their autonomy, their minds, and their lives. 

My uncomfortablness with how they went about this is also enforced by the fact that Alkar victimizes only women.  He had a male attendant, but somehow, Ihe’s not to be seen when Alkar needs a emotional bag holder. It wouldn’t make it much better (it would still seem a bit like a rape analogy) but it wouldn’t seem so targeted at women.

That being said, Marina Sirtis did an excellent job with what she was given.  Its also interesting to compare her aging make-ups to her actual person now.  She certainly has aged better then they would allow for.  But then so did Picard in “The Inner Light.”

Basically 90s aging make-up was not quite accurate.  But that’s okay.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by several Staff writers, then polished and woven together by Frank Abatemarco
  • Directed by Winrich Kolbe
  • According to IMDB, this episode was made in a rush to fill the space as originally they meant to film Relics, but scheduling issues pushed the filming back.
  • This episode has a Janeway, but not “Janeway.”  She’s off being a commander or Captain elsewhere in the Federation.
  • This episode was inspired by “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde.

Pros

  • Deanna episode!
  • Imzadi content
  • Alkar gets  his comeuppance.

Cons:

  • Why do so many episodes for Deanna involve her being a disposal unit for people’s emotions/assaults
  • “Receptacles”.  Yeah, I’m as disgusted as Picard at that terminology. Also I would have felt better if it wasn’t just women he was victimizing. 

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

The Rewatch 200: Time’s Arrow (1 & 2)

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 5.26/6.01 Time’s Arrow (6/1/1992)
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/35

Notable Guest Stars:
James Hardin (Sameul Clemens)- Hardin is a long-term character actor, with credits spanning from the 1960s well into the 1990s.  He will appear in other episodes within the franchise. His most known role may be that of Deep Throat on the X-files.  He is also the father of Melora Hardin, who may be more well known.
Michael Aron (Jack London) –
According to IMDB, Aron had a short career from 1989 to 1998.  He has appeared in later roles, usually playing himself.  Since 1998 he has been running Mojotown, a multimedia Agency, as well as the Mojotown Project which is a charity that provides creative services to other charities.
Marc Alaimo (Frederick La Rouque) –
Marc Alaimo is a reoccuring Star Trek actor, and this is not his first appearance on TNG. His main role on the franchise will be Gul Dukot in DS9
Alexander Enberg (Young Reporter) – 
While not a major player in this episode, he does continue to play an ongoing role in Star Trek as Vorik in Voyager.  He also happens to be Jeri Taylor’s son, so creativity must run in the family.

Review:

Continue reading “The Rewatch 200: Time’s Arrow (1 & 2)”