Friday, July 15, 2016

TNG Re-Watch: The Price-Deja Q

Over the last week I watched several episodes of TNG while I worked or, as it happens, didn't work. I don't have a lot of time to type for "reasons" and I'll get to those reasons (hopefully) at the bottom of this post. Anyway, this is a quick and dirty roundup of observations from Season 3 episodes 8-14.

The Price:
I spent this entire episode texting back and forth with my BFF about Troi's terrible taste in men. I've gone into this issue in (too much?) depth before. But this is my blog so I'm gonna harp on it some more. I love TNG and I really try not to be too hard on it but I do get frustrated when the thrust of just about every female crew-member-centric episode is about babies or children or some terrible/dangerous boyfriend. This is something that got a lot better in DS9 and heaps better in Voyager but The Price falls in lockstep with the bad boyfriend parade of TNG.
Soft synth music, overlong foot massages, "advice" about Troi's hair and clothes, macho conversations about who will "win" Troi, and, of course, BOOB CUTOUTS:
No amount of thirty-something-esque boyfriend drama can overcome boob cutouts. I'm sorry. Ultimately Troi does stand up for herself and her crew but this whole episode is just another example of TNG not really knowing what to do with this character. 

The Vengeance Factor: 
For some reason this one really stuck with me from the time I was a little kid. I'm not sure why. As an adult, the main thing I think when I watch this one is, why doesn't Yuta go down when she's shot with the phaser. It worked on the dude Riker inexplicably hit when he beamed in. I know she's been genetically altered but the fact that Riker has to keep hitting her with stun when... I don't know... someone could just get off their ass (ahem, Picard, ahem) and tackle her? And then he ultimately has to set his phaser to kill and disintegrate her? I guess this is dramatically more interesting and less messy in terms of TV-time wrap-up but Yuta's (probably unnecessary) death at the hands of Riker just unnerves me a little bit. 
The Defector: 
Welp, I love this one. Top to bottom, I think this is a swell episode and an early example of what TNG was capable of. This one has Shakespeare, a (not very) secret Patrick Stewart cameo, Romulans (I love the Romulans,) mystery and excellent speeches from Picard and Jarok. Go watch it. 

The Hunted: 
A dangerous convict escapes prison, boards the Enterprise, and is thrown in the brig so, of course, Troi senses his beautiful mind and seeks to help him. I make fun but this is actually a pretty decent try at getting to the heart of PTSD, soldier programming, and veteran rights and physical/emotional care upon their return. Watch this one in conjunction with Tennyson's "The Charge of the Light Brigade" and Kipling's "Last of the Light Brigade."  

The High Ground: 
Another foray into political territory has Crusher tending to the wounded after a terrorist attack when she is then captured by said terrorists. Like The Hunted (and most early TNG) this one makes a good attempt at showing both sides of a conflict within the early 90s network TV limitations. I've got to hand it to them for not cleaning this one up too neatly, not making either side too right or too wrong and I really love the dimensional shift transporters causing sickness. Of course, because it's a Crusher (read: woman) episode there must be a bad boyfriend somewhere so the main baddie falls for her and she uses that to her advantage. My favorite thing about this episode is this chick right here: 
She's caught up in the middle of all this nasty business and knows how awful and messy it is but she never wavers and, importantly, never falls for Riker. 

Deja Q: 
Initially I was just going to write about this episode but decided it would be "quicker" to do a round-up. That didn't really work out. This post is much longer than I'd intended. 
Anyway, Deja Q is a legitimately great episode. It has a lot going for it: 
1-Q shows up sans Q powers.
2-Guinan enters and tests #1. 
3-Data and Q form a brief but perfect friendship.
4-Several fantastic conversations regarding "humanness" happen. 
5-There is a MOON hurtling toward a PLANET. I don't know why this lights my christmas tree but it does.
Ultimately this episode has a lot of what's good about TNG. Crazy space problem, long discussions about what it means to be human, and heart. Another must-watch.

Speaking of what it means to be human. I'm having some more EDS related issues. Namely, my hands have been cramping up and aching like mad and there's not a lot I can do for them at this point. I've been wearing compression gloves, ring splints, rolling them, massaging them, soaking them in hot water, writing with fountain pens instead of regular pens etc. This stuff helps but the problem is still there. I saw my doctor about it yesterday but he doesn't know what's going on and he's referred me to a hand specialist—which will take at least two weeks to schedule—in the meantime, my ability to work is limited. Typing, drawing, writing is fairly agonizing so, until this gets taken care of, posts will likely be spaced out, short, or both. But know that I'm still here. Watching. 

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