Thursday, December 11, 2014

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 6 Archive & Reflection

Images Source: TrekCore

My rewatch of Season 6 was dramatically different than any other season, as it spanned a year and a half to watch it. Various reasons come into play here, and I almost didn't come back to this project and thought it would be better to either stop watching it, or stop sharing that I was watching it. And I couldn't. I just couldn't. To not finish felt possible, but to keep watching and not share? That's just not the Shannon way. It took a bit to get back into the groove of it, but I did hit my stride again, after decided to change how I'm sharing the experience. I don't know why sharing it is so important to me, but it is. So here we are.

I usually do pretty comprehensive summaries of the seasons, looking at different themes, additions or changes to the cast, and fun geeky insights. Given that I watched a third in the Spring of 2013, another third in Fall of 2013 and the final third here at the end of 2014 it's challenging to see it from that perspective. I'm still going to try my hand at that, but it might be a little less precise than usual even if I still put a lot of heart into it.

Bad joke, I know. There aren't too many jokes in the sixth season as it's quite a dark one filled with abductions, holodeck programs going awry and a few ominous 2-parters. It does have several of my favourites though, including the story behind Picard artificial heart in 6.15 Tapestry, time stopping in spherical pockets in 6.25 Timescape and the great baryon sweep episode of 6.18 Starship Mine. The one lighthearted one I can think of is 6.07 Rascals where Picard, Ro, Keiko and Guinan are transported into kids, and has the fabulous scene of a kid-version of Picard demanding to see his Dad "Now, now, now, now, NOW!"

The six season also includes some of my favourite of the series, including scary ones including 6.05 Schisms where aliens are abducting crew members through a subspace rift and experiment on them, but it doesn't come to light until the affected crew members recreating it on the holodeck. I still find that one scary. We also get to see the fascinating imagery of Data's dreams in 6.16 Birthright, Part I. But of my all time favourite Trek episodes is in season six, and it isn't an easy watch, it's the one where Picard is captured and tortured by Cardassins in 6.11 Chain of Command, Part II. Or "There are FOUR stars" as I tend to call it.

We also have some great Riker episodes this season including 6.21 Frame of Mind where it starts with him in a play about someone whose sanity is challenged, and then he appears to be in that position on an alien planet. It's so scary! And it's such a brilliant performance by Jonathan Frakes, I think my fave of his of the series. I also really enjoyed watching 6.24 Second Chances, where a second Riker appears 8 years after a transporter malfunction. It has some not great same-actor-1-shot moments, but I enjoyed the themes it explored much more on this rewatch than I have previously. It's a fascinating concept: how would you react to meeting your double?

There also were a few doozies this season, including a coalescent being pretending to be a dog in 6.13 Aquiel, Beverly pulling together scientists to hear our a Ferengi on his metaphasic shielding technique in 6.22 Suspicions and a clone version of the legendary Klingon Kahless appearing in 6.23 Rightful Heir.

As always, there are some wild character moments and guest stars throughout the season. It's quite a season for Troi, she's overtaken and has the life drawn from her in 6.03 Man of the People, switches to standard Starfleet uniform at the request of the relief captain in 6.10 Chain of Command, Part I and goes undercover as a Romulan in 6.14 Face of the Enemy. One of the biggest oh-my's of the season for me was when Picard has a romantic relationship on the ship in 6.19 Lessons.

Guest stars are abundant in season 6, and we even two Trek crossovers! Scotty from The Original Series appears 6.04 Relics and Bashir from Deep Space Nine comes aboard in 6.16 Birthright, Part I. For reoccurring guest stars, we get to see Barclay (rightfully) fearful of transporter in 6.02 Realm of Fear and then helps out with a pesky Moriarty 6.12 Ship in a Bottle. Q stops by to help out a coming-of-age Q in 6.06 True Q and messes with Picard in 6.15 Tapestry. We end off the season with an appearance from Data's brother Lore in 6.26 Descent.

As with the past few seasons, we end on a cliffhanger with 6.26 Descent. I remember this one clearly so it's not too tense to go from one season to the next, but I'm very much looking forward to diving into the seventh and final season. Until there, here's text and image listing of my archive for the sixth season.

Archive of Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Six Posts
6.01 Time's Arrow, Part II
6.02 Realm of Fear
6.03 Man of the People
6.04 Relics
6.05 Schisms
6.06 True Q
6.07 Rascals
6.08 A Fistful of Datas
6.09 The Quality of Life
6.10 Chain of Command, Part I
6.11 Chain of Command, Part II
6.12 Ship in a Bottle
6.13 Aquiel
6.14 Face of the Enemy
6.15 Tapestry
6.16 Birthright, Part I
6.17 Birthright, Part II
6.18 Starship Mine
6.19 Lessons
6.20 The Chase
6.21 Frame of Mind
6.22 Suspicions
6.23 Rightful Heir
6.24 Second Chances
6.25 Timescape
6.26 Descent

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 6 in Pictures

Images Source: TrekCore

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

ST:TNG 6.26 Descent ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

The Borg (and more) are up to trouble in the Season 6 cliffhanger of 6.26 Descent.

Above Image Source: TrekCore

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

Descent (Part I)
Season 6, Episode 26

Descent into what you say? Could it be darkness? Could be! This is the one where Data feels his first emotion: anger. This happens when he killed a Borg that was attacking him. He later also admits to feeling pleasure when the Borg he killed, died. Very concerning. All of this is wrapped up with a Borg bow when they have attacked a Federation outpost and then the away team when they come to investigate. The Borg are acting very differently, having names instead of designations and being concerned for fellow Borg members. It's been a while since we've seen the Borg, and Picard gets a big talking too from an admiral who chastises him for not planting the program to destroy the Borg in 5.23 I, Borg. We also see a familiar face at the end of the episode when Lore shows up, we've not seen him since 4.03 Brothers where he implants himself with an emotion chip meant for Data and then disappears.

As a rewatch, it's not as engaging of an episode because very quickly I knew which one it was and in particular what the cliffhanger would be. Also, a lot of the mystery of what is going on with the Borg and how they travel by transwarp conduit systems is something that I also remembered, so I'm just waiting for them to figure it out. There are also a few unbelievable moments like Picard talking so frankly about their plan with the Borg in the room, and then a scene with security personnel in the room when the Borg convinces Data to basically do bad things, yet we never see that he's picking up on this. I know it's a TV thing where you pretend other people can't hear the conversation that's clearly in the room, but it makes it less believable. Also seeing Geordi sit where Troi usually does and have access to Engineering info from the console was kind of bizarre.

What I did find interesting on the rewatch was the character development, especially with Data trying to reconcile his first experience with emotion. There are some great scenes with Geordi and with Troi, where Data tries to makes sense of what is going on. We also get to see Beverly left in charge of The Enterprise when they plan for extensive searches on the planet Data and a Borg landed on. That was really cool, I remember being very suprized and impressed by this one first watching and I look forward to this moment when it pops up in rewatching as well. I also enjoyed seeing them on a planet that feels very old school Trek with a brightly colour sky and familiar yet slightly different terrain as oh-so many other planets.

As with The Next Generation tradition for several seasons now, we are left with a cliffhanger. Will the sons of Soong destroy The Federation? It's on to Season 7 to find out!

Above Images Source: TrekCore

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

ST:TNG 6.25 Timescape ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

Pockets of time gets The Enterprise in a bind in 6.25 Timescape.

Above Image Source: TrekCore

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

Season 6, Episode 25

I knew which episode this was almost instantly. I was just waiting to see the bowl of fruit on the table as confirmation that this was the one where there are pockets of space time that are moving at different speeds. I love this episode. There is so much mystery and it's quite eerie, but not so much that it's too scary for me. That's probably exactly why I love it! We also get to see a few breaks in character as Picard gets giggly with a space-time version of decompression sickness, Troi is the authority of the technical aspects of Romulan ships, and Data's linear thinking is very limiting to coming up with solutions. Plus, we even find out that Riker doesn't get along with cats and get to see both Troi and Picard do impersonations!

The episode splits the cast up, putting Troi, Picard, Geordi and Data together and coming back from a conference via Runabout. They come across moments where time freezes, and determine there are oddities with the space time continuum all around them. The Enterprise is not at the rendezvous point, and when they do get to the ship it and a Romulan ship are frozen in time and appear to be engaged in battle.

I will admit I was shocked the first time I watched this episode as we see The Enterprise blow up and then it goes to commercial. When the show returns, time moves backwards and then stops again with The Enterprise in one piece but frozen again. I think it was the first time I realized they weren't going to ever blow up the ship on the show, and felt a bit annoyed. Now when I watch things I know in general a move that big isn't going to happen, so I don't get as drawn in. I don't actually think that's a good thing but it is a true thing.

One of the things I love about this one is all of the false assumptions made by viewing the frozen in time Enterprise. Initially it looks like a Romulan attack, but in fact it's an evacuation and the Romulans on the ship are helping the Enterprise crew. It's funny how well I remember the episode, but I totally forgot how this phenomena happened or what happened at the end of the episode. I guess that's because it's a creative fix and everything goes back to normal. I really thought that the Romulans were up to something, but it was aliens taking over their bodies who had young growing in the Romulans warp-core equivalent. That part I totally forgot. Ah, well, At least I enjoyed more time!

Above Images Source: TrekCore

Monday, December 08, 2014

ST:TNG 6.24 Second Chances ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

Another Riker appears in 6.24 Second Chances.

Above Image Source: TrekCore

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

Second Chances
Season 6, Episode 24

Ah, the double Riker one! Season 6 is just full of Riker goodness. In this episode we have The Enterprise going to a location where Riker was 8 years ago and led an evacuation but was inaccessible until now. When they beam down, they find Riker...a second there. Somehow due to a transporter malfunction/oddity of the area he was materialized in 2 places at the same time.

I'm a fan of Riker, so this one is a joy to watch. It is also really fascinating to watch from a character perspective. What about each of them is the same, and what has changed? How does being alone for 8 years change someone? Do they have the same motivations, ideas, desires? And the newly discovered Riker was trapped and alone from so far back that it was before he was on The Enterprise and was still involved with Troi. Seeing how they approach their relationship, and if they could have or even want a relationship, is a compelling storyline.

I enjoy this episode a lot more seeing it now as rewatch, I remember being very disappointed with it when it first came out as it's placement in Season 6 is absolutely horrible. Here we have a second Riker appear through a transporter malfunction, and it comes right on the heels of 6.23 Rightful Heir where Kahless was cloned from blood that was fifteen centuries old. So, we have two episodes about doubles back-to-back. And they are true doubles, no These are pretty far fetched stories on their own, but to have them right after each other it's makes you do a double take (pun intended!).

One of the reason I love doing this rewatch is because I can see this episode on it's on merit and enjoy the things I enjoy, like the new Riker court Troi through a scavenger hunt or seeing Riker being challenged by his own personality which is easy going to others but not between his two selves. There is also a great scene with tons of tension between the two Rikers during a very telling, poker game which has Worf and Data as innocent bystanders.

I find the idea of this episode both fascinating and scary. And it's wild that when it ends there still are two of them, although the newly found Riker will go by the name Thomas and decides to leave The Enterprise to go on assignment elsewhere. Poor Riker, he's really been but through the ringer this season. Whether it's being abducted or coming across himself, this has been a very complicated time for him.

Above Images Source: TrekCore

December 2019 TBR

Happy December All! It's time to look at the books I plan on reading in December. I have three different things I'm working on...