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Friday, May 24, 2019

Realm of Fear


TNG Season 6 Episode 2
Air Date: September 28th

Another Lt. Barclay episode. This time the Enterprise is performing a rescue operation on the USS Yosemite which got stuck in a plasma discharge between two stars. Lt. Barclay suggests that they link the transporters from each ship to facilitate transport, only when he is asked to join the away team, his transporter phobia causes him to have a minor meltdown. The USS Yosemeti appears abandoned with only one dead officer.

With Counselor Troi's help he is able to make the trip but on his way back he encounters a creature in the transporter beam which even bites him. He keeps it hidden at first but eventually it starts effecting him physically. Lt. Cmdr. La Forge and Doctor Crusher's only treatment for his injury is to enter the transporter one more time and be held in the beam for 30-40 seconds so the pattern buffer can remove some organisms that seemed to be caught in the transporter beam from the two stars.

Only when in the transporter beam, Lt. Barclay realize that what he was seeing wasn't these organisms but other people trapped in the transporter buffer on the USS Yosemite. He grabs on and brings him back. Worf and his security officers then do the same to get the rest.

I was able to relate to this episode more then most. I have a fear of heights that can be debilitating. When I visited the Eiffel Tower, I was unable to stand near the edge on the bottom third section let alone go to the top, even though they had fences to prevent me from falling. Lt. Barclay has a similar affliction in this episode regarding transporters. While the episode does have him face his fear, the reaction that he has in the episode is very similar to how I feel when I am up high.

The episode also gave us a perspective of transpiration we haven't seen yet. We get to see what it is like to be transported from the first person perspective.

Chief O'Brien

During the series Chief O'Brien has worn many different rank insignias. In the first episode he wasn't even playing O'Brien. Since then we generally see him with the rank of lieutenant, but in this episode I noticed he was wearing the rank of ensign. This was needed as Lt. Barclay needed to give him an order and he only has the rank of lieutenant junior grade. Right from the beginning he is referred to as Chief O'Brien though, and in DS9 his insignia shows him as a non-commissioned officer with the rank Chief Petty Officer.

Red Shirts

The engineer of the USS Yosemite was the only death in the episode. But I noticed that the crew of this ship were not Starfleet officers which was odd as it was a Starfleet ship. He was wearing a bluish grey jumpsuit.

Quotes

"The idea of being, deconstructed molecule by molecule, it's more than I can stand. Even when I was a child, I always had a dreadful fear that, if ever I was dematerialized, that I would never come back again whole. I know, sounds crazy, but" - Lt. Barlcay
"It's not crazy at all. You are being taken apart molecule by molecule." - Counselor Troi

"Commander La Forge wants some tricorder readings on those fluctuations." - Lt. Barclay
"We can do that from right here." - Chief O'Brien
"No, I, the transporter sensors may not be sensitive enough. Now, I'm giving you an order Mr. O'Brien." - Lt. Barclay
"Aye, sir. You don't mind my making an observation, sir? You forgot to bring a tricorder." - Chief O'Brien

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Time's Arrow, Part II


TNG Season 6 Episode 1
Air Date: September 21st, 1992

The season 6 premier and conclusion of Time's Arrow. With the senior staff in the 19th century they start looking for Lt. Cmdr. Data. Meanwhile they discover there are aliens travelling back in time to absorb human neural energy. They eventually find Data, and have a final encounter with the aliens in the mining cave. Only Samuel Clemens shows up with a colt and causes the aliens to escape back into their own time. The rest of the crew follows him including Clemens, but Captain Picard stays behind to help the Guinan from the past who got hurt. Data also lost his head in the blast sending his body into the future but his head remaining in the past.

Once back on the Enterprise they work out a way to destroy the cave to prevent the aliens from continuing their incursions into Earth's past. They also work to attach Data's old head and get it working. They eventually are able to get Picard back to the present and Clemens back to the past.

Generally time travel episodes have loop holes and flaws that make me dislike them and this episode is full of them. But the episode has character and charm and is filled with many interesting quotes. Many people criticize the episode for bringing back a cheesy take on Mark Twain but I personally really like the character and he had a lot of interesting things to say. He was effectively Guinan's opposite. In the episode Clemens asks if they are able to see Haley's comet from the ship, but what is interesting is Haley's comet was visible from Earth when Clemens was born and when he died.

One thing that Clemens said that I realized but never really noticed is that while the Enterprise does have a few non Human's in it, it is actually run by mostly Humans. It is something that was brought up by the Klingons in Star Trek VI as well. I always assume that since it is a Federation of planets that a Federation ship would be pretty diverse. Thinking about it, maybe each race creates their own ships. Vulcans do have their own ships, but do they identify them as Federation ships or Vulcan ships?

There was a scene where Captain Picard and the senior staff were pretending to be travelling actors and when they were asked what play they were doing, for some reason I remembered it was A Midsummer's Night's Dream. A play I have never seen or read but it stuck in my head for some reason.

At the end of the episode, Cmdr. Riker orders Chief O'Brien to beam up Captain Picard before they destroy the cave system. I am pretty sure we don't see Chief O'Brien in the episode at all.

Quotes

"Young man, I have a maxim that I have always lived by: no one is more qualified to write your story than you are." - Clemens

"This is the 24th century, we're on Devidia II, and you're not supposed to be here." - Cmdr. Riker
"Well, it seems to me I have as much right to be in your time as you had to be in mine. I wanted to see how you've conducted my future affairs." - Clemens

"I know what you say, that this is a vessel of exploration, and that your mission is to discover new worlds. That's what the, the Spanish said, and the Dutch, and the Portuguese. It's what all conquerors say. I'm sure that's what you told that blue skinned fellow I just saw, before you brought him here to serve you." - Clemens
"He's one of the thousands of species that we've encountered. We live in a peaceful Federation with most of them. The people you see are here by choice." - Counselor Troi
"So there're a privileged few who serve on these ships, living in luxury and wanting for nothing. But what about everyone else? What about the poor? You ignore them." - Clemens
"Poverty was eliminated on Earth, a long time ago. And a lot of other things disappeared with it - hopelessness, despair, cruelty." - Counselor Troi
"Young lady, I come from a time when men achieve power and wealth by standing on the backs of the poor, where prejudice and intolerance are commonplace and power is an end unto itself. And you're telling me that isn't how it is anymore?" - Clemens
"That's right." - Counselor Troi
"Well, maybe it's worth giving up cigars for, after all." - Clemens

"I'll see you in 500 years, Picard." - Guinan
"And I'll see you, in a few minutes." - Captain Picard

The Next Generation: Season Five


Finished Season 4. This season had a few major events happen that were outside of the show itself. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country came out in theatres. And we lost the creator of Star Trek himself, Gene Roddenberry.

When I watched the first season of Star Trek TNG, I knew it was the worst of the series but once I got through it I felt that it was underrated, and I do stand by that assessment. But it wasn't that the first season was horrible (there were a few episodes that fit that description but not most) but rather that the show just keeps getting better.

Season 5 is the best yet and if memory serves may be the best overall. There are serious episodes like Darmok, Inner Light and Ethics. Plot development episodes like Unification and Redemption Part II. Fun episodes like the Game,Cause and Effect and Disaster. 19 of the 26 episodes of the season I have marked as recommended episodes that I feel everyone should watch in my weekly summaries.

Red Shirts

Only one Starfleet Officer died on screen in uniform this season and she was wearing red.

Time's Arrow, Part I


TNG Season 5 Episode 26
Air Date: June 15th, 1992

In the season 5 finale, the Enterprise is called back to Earth to help with an investigation in some old mining caves uncovered in San Francisco. They found a few items expected for the time they believe the cave had people in it, but they also found Data's damaged head.

Captain Picard gets concerned over this and starts limiting Lt. Cmdr. Data's exposure to danger but as expected he does end up going back in time to 1893 San Francisco. Once there he uses his poker skills to earn money and starts building some kind of rudimentary tricorder so he can track down aliens that have been coming back in time to eat the life energy of people just before their natural deaths.

He eventually discovers that Guinan is on Earth at this time and seeks her out. He finds her at an event with famous people of the time including Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain).

Meanwhile back on the Enterprise (time seems to work in parallel) the crew is trying to reproduce what Data did to go back in time. Guinan approaches Captain Picard and urges him to join the away mission if he wants to be sure they meet in the past. The episode ends with the rest of the senior bridge crew going back in time.

Quotes

"Decomposition strongly indicates that life was terminated approximately five hundred years ago. That would be consistent with the other artifacts we recovered." - Lt. Cmdr. Data
Your head is not an artifact!" - Cmdr. Riker

" I have often wondered about my own mortality, as I have seen others around me age. Until now, it has been theoretically possible that I would live an unlimited period of time. And although some might find this attractive, to me it only reinforces the fact that I am... artificial.

"I never knew how tough this must be for you." - Lt. Cmdr La Forge
"Tough? As in difficult?" - Lt. Cmdr. Data
"Knowing that you would outlive all your friends." - Lt. Cmdr La Forge
"I expected to make new friends." - Lt. Cmdr. Data
"True." - Lt. Cmdr La Forge
"And then to outlive them as well." - Lt. Cmdr. Data

"Have you ever heard Data define friendship?" - Counselor Troi
"No." - Cmdr. Riker
"How did he put it? As I experience certain sensory input patterns, my mental pathways become accustomed to them. The inputs eventually are anticipated and even missed when absent." - Counselor Troi


"Would either of you mind if I made a personal inquiry?" - Lt. Cmdr. Data
"Personal inquiry? No, go right ahead." - Counselor Troi
"I am perceiving an apparent change in the way others behave toward me. For example, people abruptly end conversations when I appear, just as you did when the turbolift doors opened. Is that an accurate observation?" - Lt. Cmdr. Data
"Not at all." - Cmdr. Riker
"Yes." - Cmdr. Riker/Counselor Troi
"You're right, Data. And it's not a very nice thing to do." - Counselor Troi
"It's just that our mental pathways have become accustomed to your sensory input patterns." - Cmdr. Riker
"I understand. I am also fond of you, Commander. And you as well, Counselor." - Lt. Cmdr. Data

"According to our best geologic estimate, the Earth is approximately 100 million years of age. Perhaps it is less, perhaps more." - Clemens
"Perhaps a great deal more." - Guinan
"Indeed. But regardless, it is ancient, in the extreme. Now, geology also tells us that man himself has existed but for a microscopic fraction of those years. Curious, isn't it? That the world got by for such a great, long while, with no humans around to fill up space. I suppose Mr. Wallace and his supporters would say that the Earth needed all that time to prepare itself for our illustrious arrival. Why the oyster alone probably required 15 million years to get it to come out just right." - Clemens
"But if the Earth is not alone and there are millions of inhabited planets in the heavens" - Guinan
"Quite my point. Man becomes a trivial creation, does he not? Lost in the vastness of the cosmic prairie, adrift on the deep ocean of time. A single one amongst countless others." - Clemens
"Some may argue that a diamond is still a diamond, even if it is one amongst millions. It still shines as brightly." - Guinan
"Someone might say that, dear lady, if someone thought that the human race was akin to a precious jewel. But this increasingly hypothetical someone, would not be me." - Clemens

"Eavesdropping is by no means a proper activity for a gentleman. Nevertheless, the deed is done!" - Clemens

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Inner Light


TNG Season 5 Episode 25
Air Date: June 1st, 1992

Imagine one moment you are living your life, and in another moment you are a different person in a different part of the world. What would you do. How would you act. Now imagine years go by and you are still this different person. Would you abandon who you were and accept your new reality? Ok, what about after 15 years, or 30? This is what happened to Captain Picard in The Inner Light.

The Enterprise discovers a probe that uses some kind of data beam to knock out Captain Picard. Over the course of around 25 minutes, Picard lives half a life on another planet as a man named Kamin, married to a woman he has never met. After 5 years he finally starts to admit to his reality and even has a family. Picard with children, not something anyone would expect to see.

He is around 45-50 years old when this episode starts and probably lives another 45-50 years. He has grand children and becomes a scientist, specifically trying to determine why the planet is in a drought only to discover that their star is going nova. At the end, his people build a probe that contains information on how they lived their lives so that someone else can remember them, specifically Picard.

The episode starts as an average Star Trek episode but as time goes on, Patrick Stewart's acting ability really shines. As he grows older he has to live with the loss of his friends and eventually his wife. I knew it was coming but I still shed a tear. In the very end, his friends and wife appear before him to explain the situation to him. When he wakes up, he realizes that he is back on the Enterprise but his old life is foggy.

Now imagine after living 30+ years as someone else you suddenly come back to your reality surrounded by your friends. You might remember them, but it would be a distant memory. Think back to a point in your childhood or even in your 20s (depending on how old you are now).

The final scene shows Picard playing the flute that they found in the probe which he learned to play in his other life.

In an episode of Rick and Morty they have a similar story in a arcade game called "Roy: A Life Well Lived".

Quotes

"This sapling is planted as an affirmation of life, in defiance of the drought, and with expectations of long life. Whatever comes, we will keep it alive, as a symbol of our survival." - Batai

"Was your life there so much better than this? So much more gratifying, so much more fulfilling, that you cling to it with such stubbornness?" - Eline
"Eline" - Captain Picard
"It must have been extraordinary. But never in all the stories you've told me... have you mentioned anyone who loved you as I do."- Eline

"I'd like to ask your permission to build something." - Kamin
"Kamin, you've built your telescope, your laboratory, you don't need my permission for something new." - Eline
"In this case, I think I do." - Kamin
"What is it?" - Eline
"A nursery." - Kamin

"I always believed that I didn't need children to complete my life. Now I couldn't imagine life without them." - Kamin

"A good scientist doesn't function by conjecture." - Kamin
"A good scientist functions by hypothesizing and then proving or disproving that hypothesis. That's what I did." - Meribor
"Hey, why don't you spend more time with that young man Dannick?" - Kamin
"You are changing the subject." - Meribor
"No, I'm not. I'm just hypothesizing, that he's in love with you." - Kamin

"Seize the time, Meribor. Live now. Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again." - Kamin

"The rest of us have been gone a thousand years. If you remember what we were, and how we lived, then we'll have found life again. Now we live in you. Tell them of us, my darling." - Eline

"Don't forget these. I won't put them away for you again." - Eline
"Yes, ma'am." - Kamin
***Years Pass***
"Remember, put your shoes away." - Eline
"I promise." - Kamin
***Eline passes away***

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Next Phase


TNG Season 5 Episode 24
Air Date: May 18th, 1992

The Enterprise responds to a distress call from a Romulan science vessel. The ship is suffering from a warp core containment issue and during transport back, Lt. Cmdr. La Forge and Ensign Ro get into a transporter accident. To the crew, they never made it but they actually reappeared in different parts of the ship out of phase and cloaked.

They perform their own investigation and discover that the Romulan's were experimenting with a theory that they were working on a new type of cloak that also moves the ship into another phase which would make them impervious to all weapons. They even fight a Romulan they find in this other phase.

Lt. Cmdr. La Forge discovers that they can create chronoton radiation that Lt. Cmdr. Data was investigating which helps him realize what is happening and how to get Geordi and Laren back.

The episode is a prequel to an episode where Riker's old captain is working on a similar cloacking/phasing device.

Quotes

"In almost all societies, it is traditional to say a ritual farewell to those you call friends. I never knew what a friend was until I met Geordi. He spoke to me as though I were human. He treated me no differently from anyone else. He accepted me for what I am. And that, I have learned, is friendship. But I do not know how to say goodbye." - Lt. Cmdr. Data

"Captain. I don't believe this. I'm dead. You can't even hear me, and I'm still intimidated by you." - Ensign Ro

"Are you saying I'm some blind ghost with clothes?" - Lt. Cmdr. La Forge

"Ensign Ro was a Bajoran. Her beliefs should be reflected as well. However, their death rituals are quite complicated." - Lt. Cmdr. Data
"Oh, please, not the death chant." - Ensign Ro
"The Bajoran death chant is over two hours long." - Lt. Worf

"I don't believe this, they think we're dead and they're having a party?" - Ensign Ro Laren

I, Borg


TNG Season 5 Episode 23
Air Date: May 11th, 1992

The Enterprise responds to a distress signal from an uncharted system where they find the remains of a Borg scout ship with one surviving adolescent Borg. Doctor Crusher insists on trying to save it and Captain Picard reluctantly agrees. Once he has recovered to the point of consciousness the Borg starts acting very typical, saying things like "You will be assimilated" and "Resistance is futile". But separated from the collective the it starts taking on a personality of it's own and can actually be reasoned with. He befriends Geordi and even takes on the name Hugh.

This creates a conflict for the crew as they were planning to try to use Hugh as a virus in the Borg collective hoping to destroy every single Borg with one stone throw. Effectively genocide, but the Borg are considered so evil that there doesn't seem to be a choice. But Hugh's indiviualality makes it hard for even Guinan and Picard to use him like this. In the end they can only hope that Hugh's individuality rubs off on the Borg changing them for the better. Hugh wants to stay on the Enterprise but does volunteer to return to the Borg knowing that the Borg would do everything they could to retrieve him.

The episode is named after an Isaac Asimov series of short stories called "I, Robot" which deals with the ethics behind building robots and how to prevent them from being evil.

Quotes

"You will be assimilated." - Third of Five
"Yes, but before that happens, could we ask you a few questions?" - Lt. Cmdr. La Forge

"Do I have a name?" - Third of Five
"Do you want one?" - Lt. Cmdr. La Forge
"A name." - Third of Five
"I'm Beverly, he's Geordi, and you" - Doctor Crusher
"You." - Third of Five
"You." - Doctor Crusher
"No, no, wait a minute - that's it: Hugh! What do you think?" - Lt. Cmdr. La Forge
"You?" - Third of Five
"No, not you. Hugh." - Lt. Cmdr. La Forge
"Hugh." - Third of Five

"We are Borg." - Hugh
"Aren't you gonna tell me you have to assimilate me?" - Hugh
"You wish to be assimilated?" - Hugh
"No, but that's what you things do, isn't it? Resistance is futile?" - Guinan
"Resistance is futile." - Hugh
"It isn't. My people resisted when the Borg came, to assimilate us. Some of us survived." - Guinan
"Resistance, is not futile?" - Hugh
"No. But thanks to you, there are very few of us left. We're scattered throughout the galaxy. We don't even have a home anymore." - Guinan
"What you are saying, is that you are lonely." - Hugh
"What?" - Guinan
"You have no others. You have no home. We, are also lonely." - Hugh

"If you're gonna use this person" - Guinan
"It's not a person, dammit, it's a Borg!" - Captain Picard
"If you are going to use this person to destroy his race, you should at least look him in the eye once, before you do it. Because I am not sure he is still a Borg" - Guinan

"The sense of individuality which he has gained with us might be transmitted through the entire Borg Collective, every one of the Borg being given the opportunity to experience the feeling of singularity. And perhaps that's the most pernicious program of all. The knowledge of self being spread throughout the Collective, in that brief moment, might alter them forever." - Captain Picard

Monday, May 20, 2019

Imaginary Friend


TNG Season 5 Episode 22
Air Date: May 4th, 1992

Ensign Daniel Sutter is transferred to the Enterprise and enlists Counselor Troi's help in dealing with his daughter Clara's imaginary friend. Troi tells him it is healthy, especially since he has had so many transfers lately and she is just using the imaginary friend as an anchor, a friend that never goes away.

When the Enterprise enters a nebula to chart it which is inhabited by an energy based life form. This life form explores the ship and eventually takes on the role of Clara's imaginary friend Isabella. She then learns what human's are like from the eyes of a child. And what she learns is that human's are mean to Clara since they don't let her do what she wants.

Isabella's friends show up and start attacking the ship, but once they discover that Isabella is not imaginary, Captain Picard confronts her and explain that kids are the most important thing and that they have rules not to be mean but to keep them safe. Isabella understands and they stop attacking the Enterprise.

When the Enterprise is under attack, we can see what the nebula really looks like and it almost seemed like the Enterprise was trapped in a spider's web. I don't know if it looked like as cool originally or if it is just the updated effects.

Quotes

"If the other grown-ups don't understand, how come you do?" - Clara
"Well, maybe because when I was your age, I had one." - Guinan
"You did?" - Clara
"Mmm." - Guinan
"What was she like?" - Clara
"It wasn't a she." - Guinan
"What was he like?" - Clara
"It wasn't a he." - Guinan
"It?" - Clara
"It was a Tarcassian razor beast. It had dark brown fur and gold eyes and huge spiny wings, and it would fly past so fast nobody could see it but me." - Guinan
"Sounds scary." - Clara
"Oh, it was. Especially when he smiled." - Guinan

"I was going to protect you, Clara. I liked you. But now I don't care. Now, when the others come, you can die along with everyone else." - Isabella

"You are seeing this ship, all of us, from a unique perspective, from a child's point of view. It must seem terribly unfair and restrictive to you. As adults, we don't always stop to consider how everything we say and do shapes the impressions of young people, but if you're judging us, as a people, by the way we treat our children, and I think there can be no better criterion. Then you must understand how deeply we care for them. When our children are young, they don't understand what might be dangerous. Our rules are to keep them from harm, real or imagined, and that's part of the continuity of our Human species. When Clara grows up, she will make rules for her children, to protect them as we protect her." - Captain Picard

The Perfect Mate


TNG Season 5 Episode 21
Air Date: April 27th, 1992

The Enterprise is hosting peace talks between the Kriosian and the Valtian, two planets that share a common ancestry. The fighting between the worlds started because of the two leaders fighting over the same woman. It turns out the peace talks will be the Kriosian providing the leader of the Valtian the perfect mate.

Captain Picard only learns about this when a Ferengi who was rescued during the episode tries to steal some Kriosian cargo, which turns out to be a woman. This woman, Kamala is to be given as a bride to the Valtian leader. She has a rare ability which they call an empathic metamorph. She has the ability to mimic the perfect mate for whomever she meets. She emits pheromones which makes her near irresistible. Eventually she has to imprint herself onto someone which forms her final personality.

During the episode Picard spends a lot of time with her and falls for her as she does for him. At the end of the episode she tells him that she imprinted on him, and while she can fake being the perfect mate for the Valtian leader.

The episode starts with the ethical quandary of someone being given to someone else as tribute. Effectively a form of slavery. Kamala is played by Famke Janssen who also played Jean Gray in X-Men with Patrick Stewart. This was her acting debut.

One of the Ferengi is played by Max Grodénchik who played in the episode "Captain's Holiday" as a Ferengi and he eventually plays Quark's brother Rom. In all his Ferengi roles he wears the same prosthetic.

Quotes

"Mr. Worf, escort our Ferengi guests to quarters. Not too close to mine." - Cmdr. Riker

"My body is producing an unusually elevated level of what you would call pheromones. The effect can be quite provocative. Perhaps you sense it." - Kamala
"Aah. Unfortunately I'm not an empath." - Cmdr. Riker
"Oh, I think you're more empathic than you admit. At least when it comes to women." - Kamala

"Do you find me unattractive?" - Kamala
"I find you unavailable." - Captain Picard

"Penny." - Doctor Crusher
"What?" - Captain Picard
"For your thoughts. Penny for your thoughts." - Doctor Crusher
"Do you have one?" - Captain Picard
"I'm sure the replicator will have one on file." - Doctor Crusher

"I must admit, I'm curious." - Ambassador Briam
"Curious?" - Captain Picard
"I was chosen for this mission for a very simple reason. I'm 200 years old. The temptations of a beautiful metamorph do not easily reach me, and yet I would be lying if I were to claim that, even at my age, they do not reach me at all. But you, you worked with her, side by side, for days. How could you resist her?" - Ambassador Briam
"Ambassador, have a safe trip home." - Captain Picard

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Cost of Living


TNG Season 5 Episode 20
Air Date: April 20th, 1992

The Enterprise gets infected with a metal eating organism after destroying an asteroid heading to a populated planet. The organism starts turning critical systems into a gelatinous substance. They race to an asteroid field with high concentrations of the metal they are eating and barely make it before life support systems completely fail.

But this was the scifi part of the plot. The main story of the episode revolves around the difficulties between a parent and a child. Lt. Worf is having problems getting Alexander to do what he is told and Councelor Troi's mother shows up to attend a wedding, hers. In the end she shows up to her wedding naked, as is Betazoid custom but her fiance's customs strictly prohibits it and the wedding is called off.

Quotes

"What would you like your father to promise, Alexander?" - Counselor Troi
"No yelling." - Alexander
"I DO NOT. I do not yell." - Lt. Worf

"I will not have that woman continuing to use this ship for her convenience simply because her daughter happens to be one of my officers!" - Captain Picard
"Apparently, Deanna being on board is only part of the reason." - Cmdr. Riker
"The other reason being?" - Captain Picard
"She thinks the honor of giving away the bride should fall on you." - Cmdr. Riker
"Permission for an on-board wedding is granted, Number One. Nothing would please me more than to give away Mrs. Troi." - Captain Picard

"And you are doing this to your own child, Mr. Woof?" - Lwaxana
"It is Worf, madam." - Lt. Worf

"Deanna, I love you, but you do make everything sound like an epitaph." - Lwaxana

"A Klingon never breaks his word." - Lt. Worf

"The boy is unreasonable." - Lt. Worf
"Well, of course he's unreasonable. He's a child!" - Lwaxana

The First Duty


TNG Season 5 Episode 19
Air Date: March 30th, 1992

The Enterprise heads back to Earth so Captain Picard can give the commencement speech when they hear news that Wesley Crusher was in a piloting accident. He broke his arm and had some minor burns but one of his squadron mates died in the accident.

They hold a hearing to determine what caused the accident and the squadron leader, Cadet Nick Locarno claimed they were performing a Yeager loop when Cadet Joshua Albert panicked and veered into his squadron mates. But during the hearing they were able to find an image from a saturn research station that showed the squadron were not in the proper formation.

Lt. Cmdr. Data and Lt. Cmdr. La Forge were doing their own analysis when they discovered that each of the ships had opened a manifold that would only be done during maintenance and the only reason to do that would be to ignite the drive plasma. Captain Picard realized that this is what they were trying to do and confronted Wesley. In a moment of guilt Wesley turned on his friends and told the hearing what really happened.

Locarno pleaded with the Admiral that he was the only one to blame getting him expelled but saving the rest of the squadron.

This is the second last episode that Wesley Crusher is in, and sadly each one he has been in since his departure has been really good. The actor that played Locarno eventually becomes a regular on Star Trek Voyager as Lt. Tom Paris who has a very similar history to Locarno. In my mind I retcon them as the same character.

The episode also is the first character to have Boothby, the groundskeeper of Starfleet Academy. He is mentioned a few times in other episodes.

Quotes

"I would never have graduated if you" - Captain Picard
"You made a mistake. There isn't anybody among us who hasn't been young enough to make at least one." - Boothby
"Nevertheless" - Captain Picard
"You did what you had to do, what you thought was best. I just made sure that you listened to yourself. You needed to get your bearings. I knew that. The important thing is what you did with your life afterwards, seems you did okay. That's enough thanks for me." - Boothby

"Can you tell me what manoeuvre this is?" - Captain Picard
"It's a Kolvoord Starburst, sir." - Cadet Crusher
"Five ships crossing within ten meters of each other and igniting their plasma trails. One of the most spectacular and difficult demonstrations of precision flying. It hasn't been performed at the Academy team in over a hundred years. Do you know why?" - Captain Picard
"It was banned by the Academy following a training accident, sir." - Cadet Crusher
"An accident in which all five cadets lost their lives. I think that Nicholas Locarno wanted to end his Academy career in a blaze of glory. That he convinced the four of you to learn the Kolvoord Starburst for the commencement demonstration. If it worked, you would thrill the assembled guests and Locarno would graduate as a living legend. Only it didn't work, and Joshua Albert paid the price. Am I correct? Cadet, I asked you a question. Am I correct?" - Captain Picard
"I choose not to answer, sir." - Cadet Crusher
"You choose not to answer? But you've already given an answer to the inquiry, and that answer was a lie." - Captain Picard
"I said the accident occurred after the loop. It did." - Cadet Crusher
"What you neglected to mention was that following the loop your team attempted a maneuver that was the direct cause of the crash. You told the truth up to a point. But a lie of omission is still a lie. Do you remember the day you first came aboard this ship? Your mother brought you on the Bridge." - Captain Picard
"Yes." - Cadet Crusher
"You even sat in my chair. I was annoyed. Presumptuous child playing on my ship. But I never forgot how you already knew every control, every display. You behaved as though you belonged on the Bridge. And then later when I decided to make you an acting ensign, I was convinced you could be an outstanding officer. I've never questioned that conviction, until now. The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth. Whether it's scientific truth, or historical truth, or personal truth. It is the guiding principle upon which Starfleet is based. If you can't find it within yourself to stand up and tell the truth about what happened you don't deserve to wear that uniform. I'm going to make this simple for you, Mister Crusher. Either you come forward and tell Admiral Brand what really took place, or I will." - Captain Picard

"Yesterday I testified that the crash occurred following a Yeager Loop. That is not entirely true. We performed the loop as planned. Afterwards, we broke formation and attempted a Kolvoord Starburst. We knew it was prohibited, and we knew it was dangerous, but we wanted to do something spectacular for the commencement demonstration. We pushed Josh into it even though he wasn't ready. We thought we could do it. We thought we could do anything. We were wrong, and Josh died." - Cadet Crusher

"Mister Locarno has been expelled." - Captain Picard
"They should have expelled all of us." - Cadet Crusher
"So Commander Albert believes. And they very nearly did. Mister Locarno made an impassioned plea for the rest of you. He said that, as squadron leader, he'd convinced you to attempt the Kolvoord maneuver, and then to cover up the truth. He asked to take full responsibility." - Cadet Crusher
"So Nick did just what he said he'd do. He looked out for the team, made what he felt was the best decision. That's a lot more than I can say for myself." - Cadet Crusher

Cause and Effect


TNG Season 5 Episode 18
Air Date: March 23rd, 1992

The Enterprise is caught in temporal causality loop when they encounter a spacial distortion. A old Federation starship emerges and crashes into the Enterprise destroying both ships. Then the last day repeats itself.

Each iteration does seem to have an effect on the last though. Everyone on the ship starts experiencing deja-vu. In a poker game, Doctor Crusher is able to predict the cards that will be dealt. Lt. Cmdr. La Forges visor causes him to experience dizziness. Doctor Crusher also hears voices in her quarters which in the later iterations she is able to record.

With this recording they are able to determine they are in the time loop and they are able to send a primitive message back to Data which he uses to determine that Riker's suggestion during the encounter was the right one saving the Enterprise.

The other ship was the USS Bozeman which was stuck in their own time loop for 90 years. The captain of the Bozeman was played by Kelsey Grammer.

Quotes

"All hands abandon ship! Repeat: all hands abandon" - Captain Picard

"Captain's log, stardate 45652.1 - The Enterprise has entered an area of space known as the Typhon Expanse. We're the first Starfleet vessel to chart this unexplored region." - Captain Picard

"Sometimes I wonder if he's stacking the deck." - Cmdr. Riker
"I assure you, Commander, the cards are sufficiently randomized." - Lt. Cmdr. Data
"I hope so." - Lt. Worf

"How'd you know I was bluffing?" - Cmdr. Riker
"I just had a feeling." - Doctor Crusher
"I guess it's better to be lucky than good." - Cmdr. Riker
"It's the way your left eyebrow raises when you're bluffing" - Doctor Crusher 

"At first I thought the catwalk was spinning. As it turns out, it was me. I was lucky Ensign Fletcher was there to grab me; it's a long way down to the bottom of the warp core." - Lt. Cmdr. La Forge

"Captain, do you know what year this is?" - Captain Picard
"Of course I do. It's 2278." - Captain Bateson
"Perhaps you should beam aboard our ship. There's something we need to discuss." - Captain Picard


The Outcast


TNG Season 5 Episode 17
Air Date: March 16th, 1992

Cmdr. Riker is helping the J'naii people find a missing shuttlecraft in a  pocket of null space. He worked closely with a J'naii named Soren to map the space using a shuttle by shooting phasers into the pocket so they can define it's boundaries.

The episode isn't about null space and rescue operations though. The J'naii are a race that has no gender. But spending time with Soren. Riker learns about how their society works. At one point in their history the J'naii did have gender but many years ago they evolved beyond that construct and found different ways to reproduce and interact. Riker initially thinks that this would be more boring and less "pleasurable" but Soren quickly discounts these misconceptions.

Where the episode takes a turn though is that Soren tells Riker that some J'naii still experience a gender identity and that she identifies as female and is falling for Riker. She tells Riker that her people don't tolerate this and if she is ever caught they would surgically and chemically change her to become like everyone else, "normal".

Once the shuttle crew are rescued, one of the J'naii leaders recognize that Soren is acting odd around Cmdr. Riker and they put her on trial. They determine she needs to be altered. Riker attempts a rescue operation but is too late.

While gender identity is a large part of the topic of the episode, I felt that the episode was also bringing the issues of homosexuality to light. I was 14 when this episode was made and using the term "gay" was a typical insult I would hear people used by friends and acquaintances in school. Even today this episode is still relevant. We hear stories of politicians supporting conversion therapy and whether true or false, it is still being talked about.

There is one big message that I take away from this episode, and it is something I have come to live my life by. Everyone has the right to do whatever they choose as long as they are not hurting or imposing themselves on others. If two people want to love each other, or identify in some way, that is their business and we as a people should not interfere. It is kind of a parallel to the prime directive.

Quotes

"My parents were pilots. I was flying with them before I could walk. As soon as I was old enough, I entered flight school. Krite was my instructor." - Soren
"He had a good student." - Cmdr. Riker
"H"? Commander, there are no he's or she's in a species without gender. " - Soren
"Okay. For two days, I've been trying to construct sentences without personal pronouns. Now I give up. What should I use, it? To us, that's rude." - Cmdr. Riker
"We use a pronoun which is neutral. I do not think there is really a translation."

"I notice you tend to have longer hair, and you arrange it more elaborately. And you apply color to your bodies." - Soren
"Color?" - Doctor Crusher
"You put color on your mouths. And your eyes, your cheeks and your fingernails. The men don't." - Soren
"That's true." - Doctor Crusher
"Then it is up to women to attract the men?" - Soren
"Oh, no. Men want to be attractive too, believe me; they just go about it differently." - Doctor Crusher
"No color." - Soren
"No color. They like to pretend they're not doing anything to attract a woman, even when it's the most important thing on their minds." - Doctor Crusher

"I remember when I was very young, before I knew what I was, there was a rumour in my school that one of the students preferred a gender, in that case, male. The children started making fun of him, and every day they were more cruel They could tell he was afraid and somehow that seemed to encourage them. One morning in class, he appeared, bleeding and in ripped clothes. He said he had fallen down. And of course the school authorities found out and took him away, and gave him psychotectic treatments. When he came back, he stood in front of the whole school and told us how happy he was now that he had been cured. After that, I realized how dangerous it was to be different. And once I got older, and knew what I was, I was terrified. I have had to live with that fear ever since. " - Soren