ST:TNG 2.22 Shades of Gray ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

Images Source: TrekCore

Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch continues with the Season 2 finale which could otherwise could be described as a Trek clip show!

Shades of Gray
Season 2, Episode 22 (finale)

  • While on a geological survey on a first mission to an undiscovered planet, Riker is bitten by an unknown entity and a microorganism attaches to his nervous system.  Doctor Pulaski treats him by activating parts of his brain that stimulate memories and emotions to combat the microorganism.
Character Focus:
  • Riker is clearly the focus here, with his life in danger for the majority of the episode and the fact that we see numerous clips of him from the first two seasons of the series. 
  • With the exception of flashbacks, very few other characters play an active role in this episode but both Pulaski and Deanna are at Riker's side treating his condition and supporting him along the way.
What I remembered about this episode:
  • I remember being actively worried that Riker might actually die in this one on the first watch, and I will also admit that I felt Deanna was over dramatic and device-y to have us 'know' what he was feeling.
What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
  • Holy smokes, Riker's been through a ton of crazy things!  You'd think this episode would be in one of the later seasons giving the breadth of experiences, especially the life-endangering ones, that Riker has been through.
What feels different now, than then:
  • I think this might have been the first 'clip show' type of episode I'd seen at the time, now we see them a lot more but then it felt weird. 
  • I had no idea this one was a season finale, I wonder if it was received as a 'wow, look at all those cool episodes' or a 'what the heck, this is all clips from shows I've seen!'
What remained the same:
  • Although I've come to appreciate Deanna's character more and more from the rewatch, this one does feel device-y to have here there to 'translate' Riker's emotions; oddly I don't find it as cheesy for her to be there for him, but it's just he emotional-translator thing that kinda freaks me out.
What I see differently:
  • I was actually looking forward to this one, even though the clips could be repetitive because I've just seen all these episodes, it was still really cool to watch.  
  • I was actually looking forward to 'spotting the clips', and even more than that I noticed *these* also happened to be episodes I rememebered better than others on the rewatch!  I wonder if there is a connection.  
  • There are TONS of clips, from at least 17 episodes, and have a lot of awesome moments from wooing Guinan in 2.10 The Dauphin to the footwashing of 2.18 Up the Long Ladder, plus he got attacked a lot: from 1.05 The Last Outpost to 1.25 Conspiracy and of course absorbed in black goo by the evilness of in Armus in 1.23 Skin of Evil.  Then there is more proactive actions like setting the ship to self destruct in 1.15 11001001 or his Klingon tour of duty in 2.08 A Matter of Honor.  Oddly they didn't use anything from being kidnapped and clone-attempt from 2.18 Up the Long Ladder, but I guess they had more than enough to choose from!
Great Quotes:
  • "Doctor said she was getting bored; I just thought I'd give her a challenge." - Riker
  • "Captain, one of the things I've learned on these voyages, and on this ship and from you... is that most life forms act out of an instinct for survival, not out of malice." - Riker
  • "My great-grandfather once got bit by a rattlesnake. After three days of intense pain... the snake died."- Riker
Left off at:
After Pulaski and Troi determine that strong, primal emotional cause the microorganism to lessen their reaction and honing in on them eventually eradicates the activity and existence of the microorganism in Riker who is on the road to a full recovery.

Images Source: TrekCore


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