Top 10 Best Star Trek Episodes #8: Tapestry

tapestryQ was introduced in the series pilot as a villain, sort of like Roddenberry’s idea of what he imagined God to be like, a chaotic despot with no regard for humanity. However, by the third season, Q evolved. In the episode “Q Who”, he became human and learned to see how much humans value each other, even those who annoy them. In fact, my theory is that it’s Data’s actions in that episode that inspired Q’s motives in this episode.

Here we see a different side to Q, one I like more than how he started off. To me Q is at his best when he is chaotic neutral rather than chaotic evil. He does what he wants, but not for evil intent. He does it instead to teach Picard something he should have learned from his youth.

The episode builds on something that was revealed in season 2: Picard’s artificial heart. He had to have a transplant at an early age in order to lengthen his life after a moment of egotistical weakness made him value his pride over his life. Since then, he had often wished he hadn’t made that near-fatal mistake. Especially at the start of this episode when he learns that the very thing that saved his life so long ago is now killing him.

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Top 10 Worst Star Trek TNG Episodes #9: Who Watches the Watchers

When I posted my Top 10 Worst episodes from the original Star Trek, I included “The Apple”, in which Roddenberry raved about how religion impedes scientific progress and we’d be bored in the Garden of Eden. In the 80’s, Star Trek TNG’s second season was in full swing, and Roddenberry proved he still hadn’t moved on past his rants he had during the heyday of peace, love, and hippies.

In Who Watches the Watchers, once again Roddenberry brings up an old argument. He says that the Vulcans are so much better than 20th century Earth because they outgrew the “superstitions of old”. When they mistake Picard for a god, we get the worst of his speeches, where Picard tells us just how awesome atheism is.

So why do these kind of Star Trek episodes bother me? Is it just because I’m Christian? Actually no. They bother me because they go against what the ideals of the Federation are. Starfleet’s future is supposed to be one where aliens of all races and cultures band together for common goals, defending themselves against common enemies and engaging in altruistic reform. One would think that all cultures would also include a future where religion would still exist. And it does. In Deep Space 9, we see that at least the Bajorans managed to progress far enough to develop warp core technology despite having religion. And so did the Klingons. It’s a total contradiction.

Fortunately, this is the last episode in the Star Trek franchise that would address this bugbear. Perhaps the writers that continued on realized that it was an argument that people grew tired of hearing.


Top 10 Best Star Trek TNG #9: Ship in a Bottle

shipinabottleThis is an episode that I think isn’t talked about much, and I have to ask why. It’s well-crafted, and it has a great premise.

Before I start talking about this episode, I have to talk about a couple episodes that precede it. First is “Elementary, Dear Data”. In that episode, Data and Geordi are playing Sherlock Holmes on the Holodeck with Dr. Pulaski, who replaced Dr. Crusher for the second season. Geordi got sick of Dr. Pulaski constantly ribbing Data about his only following the script of what normally happens in a Sherlock Holmes mystery and not doing actual detective work. (Dr. Pulaski, just because Data doesn’t have emotions doesn’t mean he has to put up with your attitude. I can totally understand why Geordi was annoyed with you. Man I hated Dr. Pulaski) So to prove a point, he asked the computer to create an opponent based on Professor Moriarty for Data to defeat. The result is a completely self-aware version of the brilliant criminal. He’s like the Holodeck on God Mode. The only reason he stops is that Picard convinces him that it would be in his best interest, that someday they may learn a way for him to leave the Holodeck. This would lead some elements that would be explored with Star Trek Voyager’s Emergency Medical Hologram.

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Worst Star Trek TNG Episodes: Skin of Evil

skinThe first 2 seasons of TNG are universally regarded as the worst part of the show’s history. If you want the whole sordid story of why these seasons are such a mess, I suggest watching  Chaos on the Bridge, the 1-hour documentary about the beginnings of the show.

One of the biggest problems with the first season is definitely Tasha Yar, played by Denise Crosby, who was chief of security in that season. We know very little about her, and she was one of the few characters who didn’t get a spotlight episode in the entire history of the show. This is her only spotlight, and–spoiler alert–she dies! Is it any wonder why Denise Crosby wanted to leave?

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Top 10 Favorite Star Trek TNG Episodes: Lower Decks

lowerA few years back, I reviewed what I considered were the best and worst episodes of the original Star Trek. While I was writing those posts, I had started rewatching the 80’s version, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Now that I’m on the final season, I’ve decided to do a retrospective for this series as well (And DS9 fans, your day is coming. I’m in season 5 of that now.

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