Monday, September 30, 2013

Upcoming Craziness and Update

I know a title like that might make you think I'm changing URLs, but nope I am staying here at Planet Shannon. No need need to change any RSS's or Bookmarks, etc. But, I am actually *physically* moving in a few weeks, so things at the site might get a little jumbley, or slow, or behind...or who knows I might post more! Probably not though. Anyhow, as I often update posts more than write new ones, I thought I would share the state of things so it's easier to know where things are at.

Fall TV 2013 ~ Where to Watch TV Shows Online in Canada

I love having this resource and I hope that people find it useful. I will endeavour to keep it as up to date as possible but moving right during the Fall TV season might make that a bit of a challenge. Every week we get so many more new shows (and remember, it's not all shows - just want I'm interested in which is a *lot*). This is a big week for CBC shows and Murdoch Mysteries, Cracked and Dragons Den all start back up, and then we have the new show Played which looks interesting (and soooo Canadian). Plus Vampire Diaries comes back and the new show The Originals which I have a feeling we won't be able to watch online. I think it only tapers off....right after I move! Too funny. As I said, I'll do my best to keep it up to date.

Spoiler-Free Episodes Lists

I've created several of these episode lists for people to enjoy watching full series or seasons that are available online. Currently the show that is airing new episodes is Copper, but Beauty and the Beast starts back up on Oct 6, 2013. I will try and keep those 2 lists going strong during this time.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

I took a big break for me Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch over the summer, and I did recently get back into it it's just too hard to do the posts while prepping for the move. I would really like a complete set of posts for the whole series, so I don't want to watch them without sharing my thoughts. In the back of my head I can hear a voice saying "Just watch it and forget about the posts!", but I'm going to stick to my guns on this one. I do hope to start it back up in November and plan to have the re-watch complete by the end of 2013. Fingers crossed I can make that happen!

What I'm Reading

I started these posts in late summer, and have really enjoyed sharing what I'm reading. I probably will have one more post pre-move and then start them back up post-move. I don't know how likely I will be able to read while packing, but it may serve as a great in-between-boxes-break-activity. We'll see!

What to SEE the Packing and Such?

I've been sharing my journey of packing over on my YouTube channel. It started as Shannon vs The Stuff Year 2, but now has morphed into celebrating my I prep it for storage. That's where the journey is at the moment, but who knows where it will go!

So that's where things are at. I hope you understand that things are a bit zany, so updates might be a bit slower. Now it's time to get the box count from 16 to... more than 16!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

ST:TNG 6.14 Face of the Enemy ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

Troi takes the place of a Romulan in 6.14 Face of the Enemy.

Images Source: TrekCore

Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch continues with ...

Face of the Enemy
Season 6, Episode 14

  • Troi wakes up on a Romulan ship, and made to impersonate a member of the Tal Shiar, to ensure the safe delivery of a prominent Romulan who is defector to Federation hands.
    Character Focus:
    • Troi is obviously the focus here even though she is impersonated Major Rakal of the Tal Shiar. This is a great character episode for her, even though she didn't agree to any of it she shows a lot of courage and savvy.
    • On the Romulan ship we have Subcommander N'Vek who arranged for this all to happen, Vice-Proconsul M'ret who is to be transported and Commander Toreth, who is the Captain of the Romulan vessel and makes it very clear she isn't a fan of the Tal Shiar.
    • We also have a Stefan DeSeve, a human who defected to live among the Romulans.
    What I remembered about this episode:
    • I remember the shock of Troi being a Romulan! At least initially I thought somehow she had BECOME a Romulan (hey, on Star Trek anything is least at the beginning of the episode). I also remember her really throwing her weight around and being convincing as Rakal.
    What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
    • I find it unbelievable that Stefan DeSeve would have been accepted to live among the Romulans. They aren't super warm and fuzzy on outsiders. And he didn't seem either gutsy enough to defect, not subtle enough to be back. I found his character very confusing.
    • I also noticed this time how much more sympathetic the Romulans appear, especially through Toreth who continues to bring up how awful the Tal Shiar are and how hurtful they were to her and her family. I wonder if they are trying to show them less as enemies as a way to make The Cardassians the new bad guys.
    What feels different now, than then:
    • It's weird because now I really like shows that have long-arc stories and this clearly comes after the events in 5.07 Unification and 5.08 Unification (Part II) with Spock working towards unification of Romulans and Vulcans, but I'm not super keen on arcs-over-time in TNG. I don't even remember if this has a continued impact in TNG, DS9 or Voyager.
    • Very little time is actually spend on The Enterprise in this one.
    What remained the same:
    • It's a pretty uncomfortable episode. Troi is in a horrible situation, the stakes are very high and deception is needed at every turn.
    What I see differently:
    • I have mixed feelings on this one, because on one hand it's great to see Troi get an episode where she is the focus and it's not centred on a love story or emotional elements, but I don't like that it seems to be taken "more seriously" because it's a political based story with a lot of danger.
    • I totally recognized Carolyn Seymour, who plays the Romulan Commander Toreth; she pops up in Trek a fair amount and we've seen in TNG most recently in 4.15 First Contact as the forward-thinking scientist Mirasta Yale whose planet is on the verge of breaking the warp barrier. She's always so great to see. Fabulous actor.
    Great Quotes:
    • "I don't need your devotion, Commander. Just your obedience." - Troi, as Rakal
    • "People blame the military for the wars that we are asked to fight. But I think it is your kind, Major, that will be the death of us all." - Toreth
    • "We're not playing it your way anymore, N'Vek. I've been kidnapped, surgically altered, put in danger. I've gone along with all your plans; now *you* are going to listen to me!" - Troi
    Left off at:
    Troi is able to finesse the situation on the Romulan Warbird to let The Enterprise know it's her, and to track the ship so that both the defector is transported and she is rescued. Transporter saves the day!

    Images Source: TrekCore

    Sunday, September 15, 2013

    What I'm Reading ~ September 2013

    Now that we've hit the middle of the month, I thought it would be a good time to check in and share what I'm reading. I've been keeping up the habit of enjoying reading via my Kobo and think I got into a better swing of requesting/reading books from the library.  In other words, I actually finish the books before I have to return them! Woohoo! I hope I can keep that up. Let's see what got finished as well as a peek at what I'm looking forward to.

    Finished Reading

    Someday, Someday Maybe
    by Lauren Graham

    I absolutely adored this book. Adored. When I heard Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls, Parenthood) had written a book I wanted to read it RIGHT AWAY. Considering the length of the queue for it at the library, I certainly wasn't the only one who felt that way. The book is based on a fictional version of her experiences in the acting scene during mid-90's New York. I loved it on so many levels. Performing arts, check! Living in the city, check! Awesomely-but-not-overly descriptive, check! Female protagonist, check! Personal journey, check! One of the things I loved most about it was that the main character has a great sense of humour. I never think to read a book that's 'funny', but this one reminded me to keep that in the mix. I adored the main character from her determination to her worries and the craziness of life that happens in, around and in between everything else. It's one of my favourite books I've read this year, and a book I highly and widely recommend.

    The only thing I ran into that wasn't awesome, was that it included some images that were fun things like datebook pages with handwriting and such.  I love these departures from regular text, and love to pour over them. But, I read the book via my Kobo Mini and the screen was just too small to really enjoy (or sometimes read) these pages.  I know they are kind of a fun add-on, but not being able to fully enjoy them was a bit of a let down. This is the first time I've encounter anything like this while reading in eBook format.  I still loved and would highly recommend the book, and I might even want to get a physical copy for myself so I can dive into those pages as well.

    If this sounds like something you are interested, I strongly recommend checking it out.  You'll likely continue to hear even more about as their is also a TV adaptation in the works with The CW.

    Harlequin Exploration Continues

    I've finished two Harlequins since I last wrote: Claimed by the Immortal by Rachel Lee from of the Harlequin Nocturne as well as To Sin with a Viking by Michelle Willingham from he Harlequin Historical. I enjoyed both of them and was able to see that both actually are mini-worlds, where additional books can tell the romances of other characters you encounter briefly in these stories.  Little did I know that would suck me RIGHT in.  I am already looking forward to the next book by Michelle Willingham, which sadly isn't coming out until February 2014.  So not fair.  But, she does have a great series of posts with videos and pictures from the book cover photoshoot here.  Who knew the historical romance would be the one to pull me right in?  It's totally not my thing.  But, the fact I enjoyed it inspired take on the challenge of trying one book from each of the different Harlequin categories.  Who knows, maybe there will be even more fun surprizes along the way.  We'll see how that flies. 

    Currently Reading

    by Veronica Roth
    Book Two in the Divergent Series

    It would be more accurate to say I'm in the middle of this one, as opposed to currently reading it as I haven't picked it up in ages. There is incentive to get back to it pronto as the third book in the series comes out in October, I want to make sure I get through this one before then. I was pulled into the first book, Divergent, very quickly. I found the segregated-by-faction where each faction has a different philosophical perspective on the world and you get to choose your faction, totally fascinating.  That's a long winded way to describe it, although it also fits under 'dystopian'.  The challenge I found with this series is that I'm not really connecting to the characters or understanding their motivations.  But, I still find the world interesting and want to see how it continues to play out.  And of course their is the film adaptation in the works to come out in 2014.  The disconnect is probably why I haven't finished this one yet. I actually might have to go back a few chapters to re-remember what's happened. Bad Shannon!  I should know by now it's always best to read all the way through!

    On the Horizon

    The Power of Six
    by Pittacus Lore
    Book Two of the Lorien Legacies

    This YA science fiction series holds a special place in my heart.  The first book is I Am Number Four, which was the first book and film I chose back when I was going a Book to Film Club.   I really enjoyed the first book in the series and recently when I was browsing at the library website I noticed that this series has four book already and I have only read the first!  Time to get back at it.  It's clearly not my first attempt to read The Power of Six, as I got it out as a Tree book last December and have gotten it in eBook format a few times since then.  Hopefully this time it will get read! Sometimes it takes a few tries, eh? 

    by Kelley Armstrong
    Book One in the Cainsville Series

    This is one series I am hoping to jump in early and as it was just released in August 2013 I might be able to do it!  I feel like I totally missed the boat on Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series, of which I did read Bitten but was intimidated to continue the 13-book series. So I decided instead of trying to catch up there, why not hit the ground running with Cainsville series?  That's the plan.  With Omens being described as contemporary gothic, I'm very curious to see how it plays out as that's not a genre I read a lot.  It was awesome to get this title so quickly from the library after it's publication date which is even more incentive to finish it by the return date.  I'm sure lots of people are in line to get their ereaders on this one!

    On a non-specific-to-a-particular-book note, I also would like to take a moment to celebrate that I'm pretty happy with my reading this year on the whole. I'm closing in on and looking to pass the number of books I read last year, which had dropped dramatically from previous years.  I know it's not all about the numbers, but it is nice to see that re-cultivating attempt at creating reading habits seems to be working. Sharing what I've read is definitely incentive to keep reading, so I really hope to keep that up as well.

    That's what's on my Kobo these days. What are you reading?

    Want to stay connected? Let's be friends on GoodReads

    Friday, September 13, 2013

    Fall TV 2013 ~ Where to Watch TV Shows Online in Canada

    I'm super excited for the Fall 2013 TV Season!  There are so many exciting new shows starting, as well as long-time favorites and even a few surprizing sophomores in the mix that have my eye.  We've already had the first set of shows crop up, and there will be more and more as the leaves turn and we get into sweater weather.  Over the past year, I've switched to watching a lot of TV online as as such I've decided to create a reference lists for where to find the shows.  This list will be updated throughout the fall as new shows become available at their legitimate Canadian Broadcasters websites including CBC, CTV, Global, CityTV, Space, Showcase, Slice and Food Network.

    My TV tastes skew to shows that are science fiction, fantasy, paranormal and the occasional straight-up drama. I strongly prefer long-arc centric series that feature good-spirited characters. I also love a lot of non-fiction/reality shows from competition series to treasure hunting to the paranormal investigations. When new shows like these are available to watch online, I will update the list.  New series I am looking forward to checking out include Sleepy Hollow, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Originals (sadly not available online), Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Dracula and Almost Human; returning series I love include The Neighbors, Chicago Fire, Cracked, Grimm, Survivor, Lost Girl and Haven so when those go live (and hopefully they all will) I will definitely update the list.

    To know when shows expect new shows on the airwaves and online, check out these links to Fall 2013 Premiere Dates on Canadian Channels: Global, CTV and CTV Two, CBC, Showcase and CityTV (c/o

    • Atlantis (Series {Premiere) - Space *
    Can't find what you are looking for? For shows that are wrapping up in September, check the Summer TV 2013 post. You can also check individual Canadian TV broadcasters websites video pages:
    If there is a Canadian channel that streams TV shows you'd like added, just leave a comment below and I'll update the list.  There are a few shows that aren't available online in Canada like Supernatural and The Walking Dead (although the premiere episode is online). In general, episodes can be seen online the day after their premiere and usually 2-3 are available at a time.  There are some exceptions where I've noticed only 1 episode available at a time (like The Almighty Johnsons), however that looks like it might be the new normal for Global due to Global Go. On the other side of things Canadian shows and Canadian co-pro's can have their entire series available (Lost Girl, Rookie Blue, Beauty & The Beast, Copper, Haven, etc.) .  It's best to find and follow the the pattern that your show has, so you can enjoy it at it's own rhythm.
    * A few online viewing options do not have a specific page for watching a singular show, but rather a video player for watching any of their offerings (like Space and Discovery). In those cases I've put the link to the broadcasters website, as opposed to the show. Then either select the show if it's displayed prominently, or click their video library, select your show, the season and then the episode.

    Thursday, September 12, 2013

    ST:TNG 6.13 Aquiel ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

    Geordi falls for a real girl (through her personal logs) in 6.13 Aquiel.

    Images Source: TrekCore

    Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch continues with ...

    Season 6, Episode 13

    • When relay station is unresponsive and abandoned, The Enterprise if left has to solve the mystery of what could have happened to this 2-person outpost near the Klingon boarder.
      Character Focus:
      • Geordi, is the focus here as he does a lot of digging to solve the mystery of what happened on the station. He also ends up falling for the Aquiel Uhnari, whom we first see through personal logs that Geordi reviews and even though it's feared she's dead she actually shows up.
      • There is the mysterious Rocha, the other station personal who is referred to many times but never seen. And we can't forget Aquiel's dog Maura.
      • We also have the introduction of the idea of coalescent beings, which prove to be the actual culprit of the mystery. They literally co-exist with another being, but after a brief period of time need to re-coalesce. It's a very creepy idea.
      What I remembered about this episode:
      • I remember it feeling really creepy. There was a loneliness to the station being so isolated.
      • This one always stuck with me as it showed a different kind of life, or job, in Starfleet. Being 1 of 2 people on a relay station for months at a time. I mean, that's extremely different that what we see on The Enterprise, or even research vessels/outposts.
      What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
      • I kept on saying to the TV "Geordi, feed the dog!!" I mean, how long was Maura on the station all alone? She should have been hungry!
      • This one feels like a lot along the lines of The Original Series types of episodes, right down to the fact that a panel had 'absorbed' DNA in it. If I ever do a TOS re-watch I'll know which is known infamously to my family as the "Absorbed by Landru!" episode.
      What feels different now, than then:
      • This is I think the first time I likely saw this type of story, but since then I've actually seen it on other TV shows (that came after), as well as a film that came before. I won't spoil which film it is though, because it's a good one!
      • It's a good reminder that personal logs may indeed one day, be listened to!
      What remained the same:
      • I had no idea 'whodunnit'. And that's kind of embarrassing for a re-watch. For most of the episode I thought it was Aquiel, which would continue Geordi's bad luck, but turns out this time she was a real girl! With fuzzy memories.
      What I see differently:
      • I think Aquiel having fuzzy memories wasn't a great choice, and the whole "this item will make us closer" creepily reminded me of 5.12 Violations. Speaking of that episode, why didn't Aquiel talk to Troi? Seriously? Either to help with her memory or to deal with the emotional trauma? They do say her race has telepathic abilities, and often when that's the case Betazoids and the race-du-jour can't connect...but still.
      • I did think it was totally inappropriate for Geordi to be involved with Aquiel (Riker even took him aside!). And adding Morag into the mix to throw around the possibility of more people being the 'killer' just comes out of nowhere. Kinda murky this one is.
      Great Quotes:
      • "Am I what you expected?" - Aquiel, to Geordi
      • "I think you've let your personal feelings cloud your judgment." / "I'm not the one making judgments." - Riker / Geordi
      Left off at:
      Beverly figures out that the actual culprit is likely a coalescent being that takes over another life form. It likely arrived at the station as Rocha and in the end it wasn't Aquiel, or the Klingon Morag, but Aquiel's dog Maura! Maura attacks Geordi who phases the coalesced-dog to nothingness.

      Images Source: TrekCore

      Monday, September 09, 2013

      Copper Spoiler-Free Episode List

      I'm a newcomer to the series Copper, and it keeps on catching my eye here...there...everywhere! I was considering diving into Season 2 but when I found out that the entire series is available to watch on Showcase, I thought it might be smarter to go back to where it all began. As I don't want to accidentally find out what's happening ahead of the game, I've created this Spoiler-Free Episode List for folks like me that may be a bit behind the curve (or for die-hard who can re-watch the series to their hearts content). Although the show is American-set and centric, it's filmed here in Toronto and is a Showcase Original Series, so I'm counting it as CanCon for the win. I hope this episode list is a helpful resource for Copper fans, new and old.

      If you are new to the series, here is a little be about what you can expect from the show description: "Copper, an American saga set in 1865 New York City, returns for a second season on the brink of Lincoln’s assassination – with shifts in politics and society altering the landscape for Irish immigrants and African-Americans. At the center, Detective Kevin Corcoran struggles to tame the wartime metropolis while wrestling with personal demons, including the betrayal of his wife and best friend. And when Tammany Hall’s outspoken General Brendan Donovan, returns from the Civil War to restore law and order in the Sixth Ward, loyalties will be bought and sold both uptown and in the slums of the Five Points as Corcoran, and those around him, fight to find their places in an unforgiving city."

      About Season 2 of Copper: "A powerhouse lineup of guest stars, including Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning actress Alfre Woodard, Billy Baldwin and Donal Logue, visit 1860s Five Points in the second season of Copper. The rugged crime drama sees Detective Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones) struggle to tame wartime New York City while attempting to build a future from the shattered remnants of his past. As new political and social forces appear in New York City, its people - Five Points' immigrants, uptown businessmen and a growing emancipated black population - strive to find their place in the American saga, be it for good or evil. "

      Copper stars: Tom Weston-Jones, Kyle Schmid, Anastasia Griffith, Franka Potente, Ato Essandoh, Kevin Ryan, Dylan Taylor, Kiara Glasco, Tessa Thompson and Donal Logue.

      You can watch the entire first season of Copper over at the Showcase website as well as Season 2 episodes as they are. In addition to the episodes to watch online at, they also have series information, episode guide, cast bios and character information. Plus, you can always check out Copper on Facebook.

      Copper ~ Season 1 Spoiler-Free Episode List

      Copper ~ Season 2 Spoiler-Free Episode List
      Season 2 of Copper began on September 1, 2013 on Showcase and airs Sunday nights at 9pm ET/PT. This episode list will be updated which each of the 13 episodes when they pop up online.
      It looks like Copper will be a 2-season only show, however it may continue on in feature film format.

        Friday, September 06, 2013

        Re-Thinking "Stuff"

        Yesterday I walked by this literal and tangible pile of stuff by the side of the road and I wondered about it.  Whose was it?  Did they get rid or it?  Was it a clear out to head off to school?  An old boyfriend who never came back?  Someones kid that is on to new interests?  Was it an active, and happy, decision to throw it away?   Or a grudging truth?

        I've been thinking about stuff recently.  As it, our tangible items.  The books on my shelves, the films in their cases, the clothes in my drawers.  Cutlery. CDs.  Figurines.  Things old an new.  Things that have always been mine and things that showed up one day.  Things that were borrowed and things that never returned.  Items that are cherished, and others that remain a mystery.  Chipped ceramics and stunning crystal.  Things that have been carefully cared for and others that weathered through many storms.

        I've pared down a lot over the years and have often felt like I need to or should do that more.  In fact it feels inevitable and continuous, this paring down.  With every seasonal or Sunday clean it's feels like I should "get it together" and pare down more. But I don't know if I feel that way anymore.  At some point, my stuff is *my stuff*.  Often messy, but also often loved. 

        Who would have thought that one option would be a way to keep it instead?  It's not necessarily what I'll do, but I never realized I could choose to keep it. It might be too much, impractical and a pain in the butt.  But it is an option.  Who knows, there could be a way to make it all work.  I never considered that.  But now I am.

        Amazing how your perspective can change at any time.

        ST:TNG 6.12 Ship in a Bottle ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

        It's a holodeck revenge with Moriarty's return in 6.12 Ship in a Bottle

        Images Source: TrekCore

        Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch continues with ...

        Ship in a Bottle
        Season 6, Episode 12

        • A malfunction on the holodeck leads to the unleashing of Moriarty, a holodeck character who achieved self-awareness. When Moriarty learns there is still no escape from the holodeck for him he takes control of The Enterprise from the holodeck.
          Character Focus:
          • Moriarty, whom we first saw in 2.03 Elementary Dear Data is the focus here. He cunningly takes over the ship and demands a resolution to his holo-captivity for both himself and the love of his life, Countess Barthalomew.
          • Fighting to outwit Moriarty, we have Picard, Data and Barclay; as well as an unbeknownst-to-himself version of Geordi .
          What I remembered about this episode:
          • I remember that this one ended up that Moriarty and his lady friend sailed off into the sunset, but didn't know they were tricked into their own bottle.
          What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
          • I feel like there is a bit of a mis-step in the logic, mostly that several different people in the holodeck in different locations and it feels like they've got to far enough away from each other that it would be a problem. I know there is the "Moriarty is a genius" vibe, but it still didn't quite sit right with me.
          • This one hurt my brain a little. If I think back, Moriarty first fools them pretending to do what he can't actually achieve and they in turn pretend to do that which he wants, however in the end nothing changes except perception. Ouch! Brain! Ouch!
          What feels different now, than then:
          • I actually couldn't remember exactly what was going on in this one, I wasn't a big re-watcher of the 'holodeck adventures' episodes. I did remember where it started, and where it was going to end, but I forgot that Moriarty tricked Picard to giving up the command codes and had him, Data and Barclay stuck in a holodeck as opposed to roaming the ship.
          • I was thrilled to see Barclay! I didn't think he was in any more episodes after the holodeck-fantasyland-introduction (3.21 Hollow Pursuits) and then gets-a-big-brain one (4.19 The Nth Degree), and scared-of-the-transporter-monsters one (6.02 Realm of Fear). I really like his character on the re-watch, much more than when I originally watched the show.
          • The 'fake' Geordi was darn convincing!
          What remained the same:
          • Although the idea is fascinating and Moriarty is clever, it's a pretty dry episode. I enjoyed it mostly for Barclay, and trying to figure out what was going on but it's not a big stand out. I did like Countess Barthalomew, she's very firey.
          • I do think it's pretty cool to bring back a character that was on just one episode and bring up the effect that those choices and actions had over time. They don't really deal with it, but to present that question itself it still pretty cool.
          What I see differently:
          • I was shocked that one minute Moriarty was all like "ah, crime is a thing of my past" and then minutes later was okay with letting The Enterprise get sucked into the gravity well of a possible new sun being formed.
          • Although the philosophical question about whether or not Moriarty is an individual as he has self-awareness, in the end they certainly don't treat him as such. Sure, he's holding the ship hostage but they do just put him 'back' in the program.
          Great Quotes:
          • "Forgive me Captain, but that feels more like a threat than a compromise." - Countess Barthalomew
          • "But they made me too well, and I became more than a character in a story. I became self-aware. I... am alive." - Moriarty
          • "Somehow... I have to find a way of giving him what he wants." - Picard
          Left off at:
          Picard, Data and Barclay trick Moriarty and Countess Barthalomew to be "transported" so that they can exit the holodeck, when in fact they are placed into a self-contained program that lets them roam the universe yet they won't know they aren't corporal. Of course, The Enterprise gets away from the 2 planets colliding just in the nick of time!

          Images Source: TrekCore

          Wednesday, September 04, 2013

          ST:TNG 6.11 Chain of Command (Part II) ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

          How many lights? Picard remains a prisoner at the hands of the Cardassians in 6.11 Chain of Command (Part II).

          Images Source: TrekCore

          I'm keeping the flowing going and that means the Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch continues with ...

          Chain of Command (Part II)
          Season 6, Episode 11

          • We pick up where things were left off in 6.10 Chain of Command (Part I) with Picard captured by the Cardassians and Captain Jellico in charge of The Enterprise trying to stop a Cardassian incursion.
          What it's really about:
          • The power of the strength of character of Picard, plus this is a huge shift in how the audience sees The Cardassians.
            Character Focus:
            • Picard is clearly the focus here, as the majority of the episode involves him being a prisoner of the Cardassians, including being drugged, tortured and attempted to be broken.
            • The Cardassians as a whole, but in particular Gul Madred who serves as Picard torturer.
            • Captain Jellico is also important in this episode as he's in charge of The Enterprise and makes some pretty bold moves including relieving Riker from his duties as First Officer and promotes Data who gets to appear in a red shirt (and survives the episode!)

            Images Source: TrekCore

            What I remembered about this episode:
            • The affect of this episode. I think this episode affected me like no other, and for that it may be the single most memorable episode of the series. I so strongly remember the strength, intelligence, and even compassion of Picard through this horrific experience of being tortured. He never caves in, always remains dignified and continues to quote the violations that are being carried out.
            What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
            • Gul Madred isn't actually doing anything other than trying to break Picard. The use a truth serum on him very early so it's clear Picard has told The Cardassians all he knows, yet Gul Madred continually picks at him, from all different angles and with many different tactics. And he really wants Picard to succumb to his will and state there are five lights, when there are only four.
            What feels different now, than then:
            • It's strange, because when I saw this episode it might have been the first time I saw a TV show with torture in it which now is so rampant on TV. But rewatching it, I realize what stuck with me was the power of resistance, of staying with the truth and not breaking under someone else's will.
            • I really am surprized that Riker and other crew members didn't mount a rescue to get Picard. I kept waiting for that to happen, but in the end Jellico negotiates for Picard's return as a casual add-on to demands of the Cardassians to withdraw.
            • I found the hostility between Riker and Jellico very uncomfortable, but I loved how they actually clear the air and lay their objections of one another out on the table. I loved that Riker takes him to task for not creating an environment of trust nor being able to inspire the crew.
            What remained the same:
            • It's very shocking. From what happens to Picard, to Riker being demoted, to the huge reveal that The Cardassians can be both cunning and vicious this one really shakes things up.
            • Patrick Stewart's acting is brave and formidable.
            • I think this is one of the most iconic episodes of TNG, by that I mean it's one where you can say one line and every fans knows which episode it is.
            What I see differently:
            • There is an air at the end of the episode that what Gul Madred was doing wasn't necessarily a-okay by his own people, who when come to collect him are annoyed at Picard's condition. I can't tell if I feel like is saying something about Madred's character or if it feels just confusing.
            Great Quotes:
            • "When children learn to devalue others, they can devalue anyone - including their parents." - Picard
            • "I won't order you to fly this mission." / "Then ask me." - Jellico / Riker
            • "Here's your ship back, just the way you left it... maybe a little better." - Jellico to Picard
            • "There... are... *four*... lights!" - Picard
            Left off at:
            Jellico prepares The Enterprise to go in and heavily place mines on Cardassian ships that are where they aren't suppose to be, and demands they leave the area and return Picard, and Picard is returned to The Enterprise in the nick of time. The command of the ship is handed back from Jellico to Picard, and later Picard reveals to Troi that he also said, and saw, five lights.

            Images Source: TrekCore

            Tuesday, September 03, 2013

            ST:TNG 6.10 Chain of Command (Part I) ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

            With Picard on a secret mission The Enterprise in handed over to a captain who walks to the beat of a different drum in 6.10 Chain of Command (Part I).

            Images Source: TrekCore

            Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch returns! I know it's been months and months since I've written, but that is because it's been months and months since I've had a chance to get back to The Enterprise. Let's see what the crew gets up to in ...

            Chain of Command (Part I)
            Season 6, Episode 10

            • Picard, Beverly and Worf train for a secret mission, The Enterprise changes hands to Captain Jellico whose first mission is to negotiate with The Cardassians who have had increased activities and look like they may begin an incursion.
              Character Focus:
              • Captain Picard, Beverly and Worf are definitely at one forefront here, as they spend a lot of the episode training for and then undertaking their secret mission.
              • Captain Jellico is introduced in this episode, and he demands the crew to adapt to his style and needs very quickly, for which they get a little prickly about.
              • We also see a bit of a backhanded reflection of Riker is this one, who previously has been offered commands and seen as very capable, but in this case Starfleet doesn't even offer him The Enterprise and Jellico isn't impressed with him at all.
              • We also see Troi pushed back a bit with Jellico not heeding to her recommendations, and he asks her to be more formal and wear standard uniform (side note: this isn't the first time we see this as there if a fake-future version of her that Riker sees in 4.08 Future Imprefect).
              • Also, The Cardassians play a huge role here as it suspected they are are using a biological weapon, and the secret mission is to go into Cardassian space and discover & destroy the weapon.

              Images Source: TrekCore

              What I remembered about this episode:
              • Although I recognized which episode this was right away I mostly remember what happens in Part II, so much so that I didn't realize it was a 2-parter.
              What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
              • It feels like this one is a "if The Federation went to war, we'd have to be this rigid" kind of vibe to it.
              • The episodes with the Cardassians in TNG are very interesting to re-watch, because you know so much more about them especially after DS9. It's weird to think when this episode originally aired we barely knew anything about them. They were introduced in 4.12 The Wounded, at which point there is an inkling that they might be up to no good but it's left open-ended.
              What feels different now, than then:
              • Beverly woos over a Ferengi for them to get transport! I totally forgot that, and it's a bit odd.
              • I actually feel a bit for Jellico, I know the situation is harsh and no one (save for Data) is receptive to him, but we do see through Troi that he isn't confident in what he's doing but he still knows how to do it.
              What remained the same:
              • It's a bit of a hard watch because everyone is uncomfortable all of the time. Picard can't tell Beverly and Word what they are all training for, no one wants Jellico there, everyone is worried yet what is to come is not clear.
              What I see differently:
              • It's pretty surprizing that folks are so resistant (and vocal) about Jellico's orders. Sure, it's a quick change of hands and we all love Picard but um, he is ... The Captain. For the moment.
              • I actually found the mind games that Jellico plays with the Cardassian Lemec to be quite entertaining and strategic. Making Lemec wait, acting irrationally towards him while he's aboard but then congenial when his aides arrive, it's all very fascinating. Too bad Lemec completely outplays him.
              Great Quotes:
              • "You're not afraid of bats, are you, Worf?" - Beverly
              • "I want this ship ready for action, and I don't have time to give Will Riker or anyone else a chance. And forgive me for being blunt, but the Enterprise is mine now." - Jellico
              • "The trouble with wolves is that... sometimes in the fight for dominance, one of them ends up dead." - Troi
              Left off at:
              It's a trap! There is no metagenic weapon, and The Cardassians created this elaborate plot specifically to capture Captain Picard. Although Picard, Beverly and Worf do figure out it is a trap, only Beverly and Worf escape leaving Picard in the hands of The Cardassians who say he will answer their questions, or die.

              Images Source: TrekCore

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