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Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch (oh god no)

Started by Lemming, May 11, 2021, 02:05:41 PM

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Lemming

S05E06 - The Game

Riker becomes addicted to the world's shittest game, and is eager to show his friends.

- Riker's on Risa, having a raunchy time with a woman who has an arse for a forehead. Extended shot of them both gurning on a bed because the episode was running a minute or so under time, I suppose.

- ArseHead puts some kind of augmented reality headset on Riker, which reveals to him a CGI videogame in which the player thrillingly puts a disc inside a cone. When you do it, you get some kind of cool injection into your brain and proceed to the next level.

- Riker rejoins the ship, which is on its way to uncharted space (near Risa?!). To make matters even stranger, a shuttle with Wesley on it has arrived from the academy. Where the fuck are we?!

- Riker meets ROBIN LEFLER, who's so shit-hot at Engineering that Geordi's invented the rank of "specialist" just for her. Riker roams the ship trying to make people play the shitty cone game. He finds Troi mainlining chocolate to ward off the crushing dread she feels daily that her life's ended up like it has. Riker looks on blankly as Troi creepily explains her special technique for eating chocolate really slowly.

- Wesley arrives to discover a surprise party waiting for him, where everyone touches his face. Picard speaks Latin to him to test him. Latin?! In the 24th century? Come on.

- Troi is now a cone game addict like Riker, and takes Bev back to her quarters to show her it. Meanwhile, Wesley and Data bond over how hard they both got bullied at the academy. Lol @ their hilariously 1950s school experiences.

- Wesley meets Lefler as a result of loudly verbally complaining that the computer is broken. Lefler is really trying to make "Lefler's Laws" stick as a thing. Data goes to see Bev, who is now a CONE GAME FIEND, and she knocks him out with his off switch. The Game Bastards (Riker, Bev, Troi) converge in sickbay to to evil things to Data.

- While this disaster unfolds, a worse disaster unfolds in Picard's quarters, where he's invited Wesley for tea. Picard tells Wesley about his dull waste of a childhood, and the whirlwind romance he had with someone identified only as A.F.

- Geordi is assigned to investigate what's happened to Data, and instantly gets Game'd. Wesley discovers that everyone at the academy gossips about what a twat he is, and arranges a date with Lefler.

- Bev's got a headset for Wesley, but he's such a loser that he doesn't want to have fun with the evil-drugs-cone-game, and would rather go on a date with a rambling fool. Picking out his shittest jumper and brushing his hair in the worst possible way, he heads to Ten Forward and meets Lefler. They start talking about the game and agree that something's off about the fact that it turns you into a zombie as long as you have it on, and decide to investigate.

- The special virtual brain computer thing reveals that the game directly stimulates the brain and raises serotonin levels, and disrupts reasoning. Wesley decides to report this to Picard, but Picard is ALREADY GAME'D. Either that or he just puts the nearest headset on one second after being warned not to do it.

- First person perspective O'Brien mode! The greatest scene in Star Trek history!

- Lefler and Wesley are (probably) the only people left aboard who aren't addicted to CONE GAME. They realise how odd it is that Data - who would be immune from the game - was KO'd right as this all started happening. Wesley's deep knowledge of Soong-type androids lets him diagnose the problem in about three seconds, which Geordi couldn't do.

- The Enterprise rendezvous with another ship, and Picard gives the order to replicate tons of game headsets to convert everyone. Bev and Worf go to force Wesley and Lefler to play CONE GAME, but they're tricked when the kids just pretend to be CONE FIENDS. They spring their plan to save the ship.

- Picard reports to ArseHead, who is on the other ship. She gives the crew orders to spread the headsets to literally everyone everywhere. Nurse Ogawa is at level 47 in CONE GAME and is absolutely out of her mind.

- Lefler's fucked, she's been GAME'd. Everyone else emerges and Wes does some next-level parkour to escape the CONE FIENDS. Now Wesley's doing a TRUNK SLAMCHEST ROGA DANAR and evading security as he races through the ship using all his cool tricks and gadgets.

- Wesley's just too good and outwits security at every turn, and also almost traps Worf's head in a door. He's eventually caught and taken to the bridge, where he's held down and Clockwork Orange'd into playing CONE GAME. Data walks onto the bridge with one of those cheap strobe lights you can get for a quid at Bonny Street Market in Blackpool and cures everyone of game addiction. Under Data's instructions, the confused crew traps the alien ship in a tractor beam.

- With the day saved by Data Ex Machina, Wesley's going back to the academy, but not before sharing a kiss with Lefler.

This is about the most boring idea ever for a plot, but the episode kind of works despite it. Seeing Wesley again is an odd novelty considering how low-key the episode is, and his team-up with Lefler is more or less enough fun to carry the episode. The game isn't really as creepy or threatening as it needs to be for the episode to work, you only really get a proper sense of danger right at the end when Wesley gets ambushed in Engineering and then held down on the bridge.

It gets worse the more you think about it - Wesley literally shows up out of nowhere, saves the ship all by himself* as he often did in the past, then fucks off again. Had it not been for his freak arrival, everyone would have been game zombie'd.

*couldn't Lefler have somehow escaped (faked addiction, I guess?) and reactivated Data? That would make his abrupt arrival at the end less stupid, and offer a nice twist in that this time Wesley nearly got fucked and it was the other genius kid who saved the day.

The lack of a sense of creeping danger isn't helped by the fact that most of the addictions take place off screen. Who got Picard to try it? How did they hook it up to Geordi's VISOR? Who made Worf, of all people, try the game? How laughably convenient is it that Wes and Lefler were just miraculously the last people not to try the game, before they even suspected anything was up with it? Maybe if we saw the crew fall one by one and the ambushes to forcefully make people play the game happened a bit earlier on (to Picard and Worf, probably) then there'd be a bit more momentum to the plot before Wesley's big dramatic run near the end.

4/10, not a strong episode but could have been worse.


daf

Quote from: Lemming on November 23, 2021, 03:58:02 AM*couldn't Lefler have somehow escaped (faked addiction, I guess?) and reactivated Data?

I assumed that this is what actually happened : Lefler was faking her addiction at the end (either in collaboration with Wesley, or she spotted that Worf and Riker were about to make an arrest, so "Plan B" went into action)

Plan B : So while everyone is focused on re-capturing Wesley, she can slip off to re-activate Data. When he's captured, Picard says something like "You led us on quite a chase" - which is what made me think that this was a ruse - he was deliberately leading them away so Lefler could do the Data rebooting.

Hang on, I'll have a quick re-watch of the end . . .

. . . well, on reflection, she probably is really addicted at that point . . . however, she's not shown on screen at all during the chase, so there's nothing to suggest my initial reading is impossible . . . just slightly improbable.

My version is most likely wrong - as they would have re-capped the plan a bit during their final scene together to make it obvious this is what was going on - but I think it still just about works, if you want it to.

The Culture Bunker

Quote from: Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse on November 22, 2021, 10:56:13 AMI can answer this - Data's heavy. He weighs about 100kg, assuming I read that somewhere and didn't hallucinate it. Take his head off and you've still got +90kg of what's now dead weight. Riker'd have to shove/drag it and get dangerously close to the field in the process. Then both Riker and most of Data are fried and Data's just a head sitting there while the ship explodes.
There's an episode where Worf is able to sling a non-functioning Data over his shoulder without too much trouble - Riker is a big lad, surely Klingon's aren't that much stronger than humans?

Wonderful Butternut

Quote from: The Culture Bunker on November 23, 2021, 08:41:02 AMThere's an episode where Worf is able to sling a non-functioning Data over his shoulder without too much trouble - Riker is a big lad, surely Klingon's aren't that much stronger than humans?

They're meant to be quite a lot stronger than humans.

Although the actual strength they demonstrate on screen varies on a plot convenience basis. The boarding scene in Way of the Warrior is a good example of piss weak Klingons.

daf

105 | "The Game"



Ooh, I Could Crusher's Mate

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Highlights :
• Riker Sex-Face (groooo!)
• Fudge-o-phile Troi's Ace Rimming
• The Birthmark Sketch
• Lefler's Long Laws List
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Other Bits :
• Data Deception Discussion
• The Groundskeeper Boothby Sketch . . . Update!!
• 3D chess #9 : Blurry background space-filler
• Palm Torch #7 : Data The Flasher
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Score :

The Culture Bunker

Quote from: Wonderful Butternut on November 23, 2021, 09:18:49 AMThey're meant to be quite a lot stronger than humans.

Although the actual strength they demonstrate on screen varies on a plot convenience basis. The boarding scene in Way of the Warrior is a good example of piss weak Klingons.
Could be why I thought they weren't all that - aggressive, yes, but I presumably saw enough Klingons getting duffed up to conclude they weren't all that more durable/stronger than humans. For example, in the episode where Riker serves as first officer on a Klingon ship, he's able to give one cheeky upstart a right good doing over. Manages to easily block a punch and everything!

Wonderful Butternut

In that case the violent act seems like a ritual to prove who's in charge, almost as a matter of procedure, rather than a genuine contest of combat ability (as with Dax chucking a Klingon out "her" chair in the mess hall when she serves aboard the Rotarran, which the Klingon meekly accepts rather than even attempting to fight back.) It's enough for Klag that Riker has the guts to 'be a Klingon' and hit him, even though Klag could likely snap his neck, to demonstrate his authority. It only gets serious when they start telling each other they're dishonourable Targs who are unfit to command.

It's worth noting Riker has to go to sickbay after Kargan, the Captain, whacks him at the end of the episode, whereas Klag is basically uninjured from Riker hitting him at the start.

mothman

Robin Lefler is one of those fan favourite characters despite only appearing, what, twice? She then became one of the regulars in the "New Frontier" book series with a story arc I won't bother to summarise but it can be looked up on Memory Beta.

If PIC or LDS brought her back I suspect that backstory would be ignored, so general Trek fans would be happy but NF fans would be furious.


Mr Trumpet

I remember finding The Game really horrible and disturbing as a kid. The idea that you can't trust the people closest to you, that everyone with any power is working against you and there's nobody you can appeal to... still really unpleasant things to think about.

MojoJojo

Everyone's very blasé about Data falling into an unexplained coma. It's almost as if they know he's a main character so will be fine by the end of the episode.

I think the game works best when it's an opium metaphor, but it just feels a bit weird when they start deactivating their friends and handing the ship over to aliens. Maybe having the headset speaking to them while in a trance would connect the two? Might be a bit cheesey.

One of the ones I remember first watching, mainly because the closeup of Lefler panting while pretending to use the game created some exciting new feelings in teenager me.

Riker's getting an easy ride for falling for a spies trick and almost getting the federation taken over.


mothman

Quote from: Mr Trumpet on November 23, 2021, 10:17:58 PMI remember finding The Game really horrible and disturbing as a kid. The idea that you can't trust the people closest to you, that everyone with any power is working against you and there's nobody you can appeal to... still really unpleasant things to think about.

I got this feeling from watching the DS9 episode "Whispers." Everyone is acting so creepy throughout.
And then...
I rewatched the episode almost immediately - a rarity for me. And once you know the twist, you see that everyone is behaving normally - apart from knowing, and acting in the way you'd expect if you knew that's not the real O'Brien!
[close]

Lemming

S05E07 - Unification Part 1

When Spock takes an unauthorised trip to Romulus, Picard is deployed to investigate.

- In memory of Gene Roddenberry. Apparently a twat by all accounts, RIP anyway.

- It's another secret meeting with an admiral! Picard's been selected for an important mission - Spock has gone AWOL and been spotted on Romulus, and Starfleet fears that he's defected. They haven't been this angry with him since that time he went AWOL and ran off to Talos IV and nearly invoked the death penalty (lol).

- Sarek is too ill to meet with Picard, so Not-Amanda is sent instead, who arrives wearing another one of her trademark sick-as-fuck headbands. Turns out Spock's relationship with Sarek somehow got even worse since Journey to Babel, and they haven't spoken in years.

- Sarek's condition is worse and now he lies around all day going "ooogh" and "uurrrgh". He snaps out of it for a bit when Picard arrives and tells Picard to find Pardek, a Romulan senator with whom Spock has maintained a good relationship for some time.

- Picard equips his jacket and flies off to Qo'noS to ask Gowron for help. Worf says that Gowron's started a revisionist movement that erases the Federation from the story of his rise to power. Picard ends up yelling at some underpaid clerk who works for the High Council, and harasses Gowron into giving him a cloaked ship.

- Bev decks Picard and Data out with stupid ear prosthetics and hairpieces. They go to Romulus aboard the Klingon ship, while ACTING CAPTAIN RIKER goes off on some boring mission to discover what's going on with the wreckage of a Vulcan ship. One minute into the mission and he gets frustrated with an obstructive junkyard owner and delegates the entire mission to Troi.

- Because Troi is a HANDSOME WOMAN, the guy agrees to help. He takes command of the ship and gets the helmsman to lay in some coordinates while Captain Riker is reduced to giving stupid confirmatory hand signals.


- Riker pretends to be abandoned trash. Meanwhile, Picard tries to sleep on a shelf while Data looms behind him.

- Klingon ships seem to have lights in the floor, rather than ceiling. Maybe to make you look scarier. Sarek's dead, by the way.

- Riker gets into a fight with a smuggler. Worf does his signature "I was ordered to fire a gentle phaser to disable their weapons but somehow I fucked it up and they've all been killed in a massive explosion" maneuver.

- Picard and Data giddily put their awful Romulan makeup on. Now looking utterly laughable, they head down to Romulus to try some street food. They're apprehended by security forces after about four minutes, and taken to Paramount's standard styrofoam cave set.

- But they weren't Bad Security Forces, they were Pardek's Secret Good Security Forces! He's brought Picard here to see Spock.

Here's the real question. You know how Spock's always wearing purple eyeshadow? Is that meant to just be his weird alien skin, or does he actively choose to apply eyeshadow? I remember Kirk and Sulu wear it at times too, maybe Bones also. Maybe it was some wild 2260s fashion trend. Kirk has a makeup table with concealer on it in his quarters in "The Enemy Within", so I guess everyone was out to look fucking fantastic back in those days, hence the beehive haridos and such.

As with most Star Trek two-parters, this sort of feels to me like a solid (but not great) story has been padded to stretch out the runtime. But luckily, with Jeri Taylor and Michael Piller working on the script, there's at least a bit of comedy and some nice characterisation to keep things going. Picard trying to sleep while Data glares into the back of his head is an episode highlight, and the Zakdorn junkyard guy is a bit of fun.

So, not bad. It feels padded but it doesn't drag, if that makes sense, which it doesn't.

I can't really remember the second part, except for it having Sela, so it'll be a surprise! 6/10


daf

106 | "Unification I"



Woke up this morning and my Spocky was gone
Oooh Wee, Slurpy-Slurpy Soup-Soup

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Highlights :
• Baggy-Cheeked Junkyard Prick
• Data's Picard Piquing Standing Sleep-Stare
• The Romulan 'Two Soups' Sketch
• Squee Me Up Spocky!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Other Bits :
• Melty Metal Mystery
• The Vulcan Mint Sketch
• Sarek's Sloping Stonebed
• Klingon Hitch-Hike
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Score :

Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

"Don't you two look sweet? Be careful, android. Some Romulan beauty may take a liking to you. *sssllllsssss* Lick that paint right off your ears."

"I am sorry if I was disturbing you, sir. I will not look in your direction." (turns body, then head)

Wonderful Butternut

You think Data would've thought to break line of sight of Picard by going around the corner and then turning his unnecessary breathing programme off (unless he needs it for cooling or something).

Also Sarek's dementia scene hits right in the feels.

MojoJojo

Quote from: Lemming on November 25, 2021, 02:04:12 AMS05E07 - Unification Part 1


As with most Star Trek two-parters, this sort of feels to me like a solid (but not great) story has been padded to stretch out the runtime. But luckily, with Jeri Taylor and Michael Piller working on the script, there's at least a bit of comedy and some nice characterisation to keep things going. Picard trying to sleep while Data glares into the back of his head is an episode highlight, and the Zakdorn junkyard guy is a bit of fun.

So, not bad. It feels padded but it doesn't drag, if that makes sense, which it doesn't.

Yeah, I agree with that. Not much happens really, but it lets the actors have fun making fun scenes. I was going to say it shows they've built the universe up well, but really it's a shame they didn't learn how to setup things like this. For example, there's a really entertaining Gowron envisioned in this episode, but we never got to see them.

My main issue with this one is that Nimmoy is supposed to be a big deal, but when I was young I didn't know who he was enough to care and now it's just a point in his career.

mothman

Given how much fanfare they made of having Nimoy and Doohan appear in episodes, it amuses me that Kelley appeared in the actual pilot episode and hardly anything was made of it.

Lemming

S05E08 - Unification Part 2

Picard learns more about Spock's mission to Romulus, and reveals a (completely nonsensical) plot.

- Spock tells Picard to fuck off and that Starfleet shouldn't be messing with his personal mission. Picard brings the conversation to a screeching halt by informing Spock of Sarek's death.

- Spock explains that he's here to help a growing movement on Romulus of people who want to learn more about Vulcan philosophy. This could apparently lead to reunification between the two worlds. He also talks incessantly about Kirk, since every interesting thing in his life revolved around Kirk in some way and they were also in love.

- Picard starts following Spock around like a lapdog, and meets some more of his allies. Meanwhile, Riker enters a SPACE BAR and befriends a woman with four arms, who was married to the smuggler who Worf accidentally blew up last episode. She's delighted by this and lets Riker play some shitty tunes on her piano, and tells him to watch out for a fat Ferengi who'll be coming in a few days.

- Pardek brings Spock to meet PROCONSUL NERAL, who says he's really excited about reunification, and that the Romulan senate is collapsing due to its mishandling of literally everything that's ever happened. But it's a TRICK and he's actually working with Sela, who was symbolically trapped in a closet for the whole scene.

- Picard yells at the rest of the underground movement in a cave and loses all his popularity points. Spock tells Picard to stop acting like Sarek, which leads to a mini-argument.

- While Data and Spock hack into the ROMULAN CENTRAL NET or whatever it's called while chatting about their car-crash lives, Picard goes to take off his terrible disguise.

- Worf's honour levels are recharged when the bar singer delivers a heroic performance of a Klingon opera. The Ferengi they were warned about arrives, and Riker strangles him for a bit and ruins everyone's good time. He tells them where to go next on their meaningless quest to find out more about the Vulcan ship. Troi finally asks what the point of this whole subplot is.

- Sela answers that question by showing up in the Secret Rebel Cave and holding everyone at gunpoint. Turns out Pardek is a traitor who has given everyone away. Sela says that she's planning the Romulan conquest of Vulcan (lol) and forces Picard, Data and Spock up to the Interrogation Office. She details her entire devious plan to the gathered protagonists.

- Spock refuses to comply and it turns out he didn't have to anyway because Sela has made a PROGRAMMABLE HOLOSPOCK. I like how this is said to have taken some time and effort, and yet it's notably worse than something you could rig up in the holodeck in four seconds using voice commands.

- Sela goes out for a piss or something and returns to find that the PROGRAMMABLE SPOCK has turned into a PROGRAMMABLE RIKER. Spock and Picard emerge from HOLOWALLS to knock out the guards and force Sela's surrender. PROGRAMMABLE SPOCK's message has also been edited to warn Riker of the Romulan invasion force. It turns out Data can do the Vulcan nerve pinch.

- A warbird shows up and kills all 2000 soldiers in the invasion force, rather than let them be captured. Shit!

- The underground Romulan movement pledge to continue their tradition of ineptness and not getting anything done. Spock decides to stay with them so he can lead them into more traps. Before leaving, Picard and Spock do a mind meld, presumably resulting in Picard receiving Spock's ultra-classified, beyond-top-secret memories of standing on the hull of the Enterprise with explosions and pew-pew lasers going on all around him while his sister Michael Burnham flew a special angel suit into a timewarp thing.

Spock is good to watch and I like the oddly un-Trek-like SPACE BAR, but the rest of the episode is ridiculous. Sela is planning an invasion of Vulcan? Like, just Vulcan? She's invading one planet in Federation space? The pointlessness of this is even pointed out and then quickly brushed aside. Sela is just incompetent and easily vanquished by a fucking holo-projector. The entire plot is completely stupid and, unlike the first part, it really dragged for me. 4/10, just for some of the Spock stuff.


daf

107 | "Unification II"



Rebel rebel, Square shoulder Pads
Rebel rebel, You look like your Dad
Rebel rebel, How could they know?
Spock Tricked! Mind Meld? . . . Go!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Highlights :
• Cornish Pasty-faced Pianist
• Riker's Smooth Jazz Tinkle
• Worf's Hideous Klingon Opera Racket : MAYLOTAAAAAAARRGH!!!
• Blonde Bob Yar's Cupboard Surprise
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Other Bits :
• Five-handed Andorian Blues
• Android Neck Pinch
• Fat Ferengi Fish Fracas
• The Riker Holo-Hair Sketch
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Score :

Blumf

Any episode that has Klingon opera gets a 10/10 from me.

Shame Yar spawn's plan was dumb.