11.03.2011

Star Trek TNG: Kenholic Log Zero-Zero-Six

 
Bringing Montgomery Scott (Mr. Scotty) into the 24th century. A Western. An 'it's a wonderful life' episode feat. Picard with Q as Terrence. Double Q episodes this season, in fact. Some epic overacting by Troi, including one for a romulan spy thriller. A Deep Space Nine cameo. Picard has a Rambo/Home Alone moment on the Enterprise complete with a crossbow of all things. Two [pre]inception-esque episodes. An easter egg of sorts [see trivia section of this post] with implications for Voyager! Too awesome.

Unlike seasons 4 and 5 which had largely been filled with time distortions and nebulous space entities pretending to be ghosts, there was a certain gamesmanship displayed in many of the plots for season 6, often interjected with bits of humor. Golden bits like this exchange from Picard to Q: "I refuse to believe that the afterlife is run by you [Q]. The universe is not so badly designed!1!!11" and "If I'm really dead, then my only regret is dying and finding you [Q] here!!11 For better or for worse, it's adapted a more sci-fi mystery theatre feel for many of the episode, but I rather like it. Story elements from previous seasons are brought back as well, i.e. Moriarty from S1, Spock's Movement from S5, Picard's Flute from S5, and multiple run-ins with the major powers.  Additional focus was given to many of the main crew.  Many episodes this season focused less on team efforts and more on individual, character-centric dilemmas.  A few Picards, a few Datas, Worf, Riker, LaForge, Troi (even Barkley) got ~2 each, with Crusher getting one a piece.  It seems a lot of work was done to deepen existing lore; a lot of internal exploration at the cost of expanding externally.  

Season 6 also answered one of the bigger questions in my mind about the Star Trek universe that had been nagging me since Season 3: why most of the species in the universe are "humanoid" shaped with eyes, ears, noses, arms, legs, etc. Shouldn't the universe be more diverse in form? Where are the talking dragons or killer bunnies? I'd seen this episode long, long before. Watching this series in sequence has given this particular episode some pretty cool perspective. 

With one more season to go, I dare say that Season 6 has been the best of them all, where the show has finally hit a good stride.  With all of its highs, however, there must be something to balance it out for the sake of human drama. Picard definitely had a rough year. Within the span of this season (one year of his life): he is stripped of his command, captured by cardassians and tortured endlessly, nearly assassinated by an explosive device, fell in love but had to order her to the brink of death for the sake of a mission, lost his beloved archaeology mentor ("the father that understood [him]"), fought for his life aboard the enterprise with nothing but found objects.

All of which leads me to my favorites for this season:

S6, 4: "Relics".  Mr. Scotty!
S6, 6: "True Q".  Q comes back for the first time in 2 seasons.
S6, 12: "Ship in a Bottle".  Enterprise vs. Moriarty part 2.
*S6, 14: "Face of the Enemy." Troi has an adventure aboard a Romulan ship.
*S6, 15: "Tapestry." Picard and Q explore Picard's regrets in the afterlife.
S6, 18: "Starship Mine".  Picard is Rambo.
S6, 20:  "The Chase." Hunt for the DNA program.
S6, 21: "Frame of Mind." Riker can't distinguish fiction and reality.
S6, 25: "Timescape." Some nice tricks in this one.

Trends:

  • Season 6 really dug deep and made good use of their previous body of work.  They referenced past incidents as possible solutions to current dilemmas.  Excellent.
  • Picard and Q are this series' odd couple.  Always good times.
  • Worf is pretty damn powerful politically, even if he sucks as a security officer (I think his accuracy with a phaser on the bridge is only 25%).
  • Gowron (leader of the Klingon High Council) is also a pretty damn cool character.
  • Riker's by-the-book character is nicely accentuated when contrasted to his "younger", wilder version, a clone created eight years; possibly showing the evolution of his character over time.
  • I don't know who has the worst luck with women, Geordi or Picard.
Trivia:
  • I saw Tuvoc of Voyager fame (Tim Russ) play Devoc in epi. 18.
  • Speaking of Voyager, the Enterprise extrapolated that the Borg trans warp conduits originated from the Delta Quadrant.  The kicker is that this fact was never mentioned via dialogue, but only shown for mere seconds on a close up shot of a science station display.  Transwarp conduits play a major factor in Voyager almost a decade later. Pretty cool, eh?!?!?  These little things are exactly the golden nuggets that I hoped to find by re-watching all these. 
  • [Observation: They could scan for them, and access them.  Given this knowledge, why couldn't Voyager do the same from the get-go to get back to Alpha Quadrant?  Maybe I will find out later when I get to Voyager]
  • A "runabout" class shuttle is used in ep. 25.  I think this shuttle originated from Deep Space Nine.
  • Stephen Hawking shows up to play poker with Data.
  • Data apparently gets off on destroying Borg.  We already know that Picard does.
  • I think this is the first season (maybe only?) where Q shows up twice.
  • This season marks the 12th+ time I've seen the Enterprise next to the same Excelsior class ship ccg sequence.  It makes me believe that the Federation is made up of 80% Excelsior class ships.


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