It could go like this.
But time constraints. Ya know?
You’re right. And I agree. I liked that callback.
“Encounter at Farpoint”
I wasn’t quite prepared for how much I’m loving this episode. I’m not quite done with it yet, but after 2 or 3 days of getting through this long episode, I wanted to get some of my thoughts down before I forget.
The episode is really exciting and riveting, even when I know what’s going to happen. It’s really written well in terms of getting the audience to want to know more about what’s going on. Q, as first encountered, is very menacing. He’s quite different from later encounters during the series. I love that he goes through a few historical outfits that the audience is familiar with, and then one that we’re not familiar with. He’s suddenly got bags under his eyes, he looks exhausted, and he’s feeding himself drugs through a tube while wearing this gray padded jacket with a padded hood. Whoever came up with this outfit really needs to get an award. We see this outfit later in the courtroom scene, and you can see that it makes sense that this sort of soldier outfit should look kind of shoddy and cheap. After all, these are soldiers from a post nuclear holocaust world where they “killed all the lawyers”.
I thought it was a pretty exciting sequence where Picard runs from the Q (I had forgotten that this was even possible!) long enough to separate the saucer section at dangerous speeds, and then to turn around and surrender from the battle bridge. I really like the little character touches. Worf not wanting to command the saucer section because he thinks he’s running away, and being reprimanded for it by the Captain. Yar being impulsive and making bad suggestions, and forced to think about that by the Captain. Counselor Troi looking scared out of her mind as she signals their surrender to the Q.
I really like the courtroom scene. The mostly dark scene, with a rabble mob. The judge approaching under a beam of light. The levitating chair that slowly approaches. We even get a chair cam from his perspective as he approaches the accused. “Shoot them if anything comes out of the Captain’s mouth except the world ‘Guilty’”. The low rent look of the drugged up prison guards, as mentioned above. It kind of reminds me of cheap post apocalyptic movies from the 80s like “She”. But I find that vision of post-apocalyptic earth to be much more interesting one than the crap we saw in the movie “First Contact” in the Zephryn Cochrane section of the movie, which wasn’t menacing or interesting in any way. Here we see post-apocalyptic Earth as something scary, and I appreciated that. The little eagle symbol on the wall seems very appropriately fascistic.
Now, it was mentioned above that this trial of humanity that Picard negotiates is kind of weak to be based on what’s actually going on at Far Point Station, which is not much. While that’s somewhat valid once you know what’s going on, but there’s a few things that I felt kept the Far Point mystery a decent one. The most important is that the show itself keeps the pressure on, with a visit from Q showing he’s watching their every moment. The stakes are high, even if without Q this would be just a trifle episode. But with the high stakes, it becomes a lot more interesting. But the other thing that really makes the episode shine in this section is the music score. This episode could have ended up feeling really cheap and amateurish, but it feels kind of epic and very exciting at times because of that music. When Counselor Troi is crying in empathy for the pain and loneliness she’s feeling from the station, they play a solo violin piece in the background that gives it the appropriate gravity. When a ship approaches the Enterprise in orbit before they cut to commercial break, the score jumps in enthusiastically with a heavy dose of drums and violins.
Last year I saw the “How they made this” special for how they made the movie Home Alone. And the most memorable part of that was when Chris Columbus admits that it was an okay movie the way they put it together, but when he lucked into meeting the great John Williams, and had the guts to give him the movie and beg him to provide the score: that’s when it went from an okay movie to a special movie, after the John Williams score got added.
I feel the same way about this opening episode. The Jerry Goldsmith score really elevates what could have been a very pedestrian episode without it. But with the combination of these good actors, and the decent script and excellent score, I feel this is a really great episode. Hopefully I’ll get to finish it tonight, and find out if Q gets a more positive look of humanity once he’s seen them resolve the situation at Farpoint.
My girlfriend started her Trek experience with Voyager, then watched DS9 and Enterprise. She’d never seen TNG.
I put together a list of episodes to watch in Season 1 and 2 for her. Even I was surprised at how many I had her skip. A few really bad episodes left on the list because of plot elements/character developments/Yar deaths.
After S3 started, there were still some really poor episodes (crewmembers devolving into giant spiders, anyone?), but nothing I flat out said “do not watch this!” like I did with so many S1/S2 eps.
I love that Mariner in Lower Decks knows all of the adventures of earlier characters and views them as heroes.
I feel like that a pretty common trope in Star Trek (sci-fi?) writing where they reference 2 things from history the audience knows and then a 3rd from our future. Is there a term for that?
Nice write up. I can’t wait to see what you think of The Naked Now.
You can see a lot of examples from Star Trek here.
“The Naked Now”.
Well that was just a fun episode. And also, I can see clearly why this episode never aired in Qatar back in the 80s. The Enterprise goes to rescue the Tchiakovsky, who is sending bizarre messages. The setup gets underway quickly. The away team beams over and finds a room full of frozen naked people who got frozen to death in the middle of an orgy. And somehow someone opened an escape hatch on the bridge?
Anyway, Geordi comes back infected first. He just wants to be able to see with real eyes! There’s a bunch of scenes here that just ploddingly move the plot along, but I found a lot of scenes really fun. When Geordi hangs out with Wesley, and Wesley describes how he’s created a mini-tractor beam, it’s kind of cool, but then he goes on to describe how he’s cobbled together Captain Picard’s voice messages over the intercom in a way that he’s created deep fake AI so that he has created a security risk on the Enterprise, I just started laughing out loud.
The premise is people exercising poor judgement. They find a solution pretty fast from the old Enterprise, but it doesn’t work. And suddenly things get serious in a heartbeat, and the music kicks in! And yet, with Wesley taking over Engineering, it’s all still so funny. I can’t take any real serious nitpick or objection to this episode. In the first episode Dr. Crusher was soooooo prickly. Her character is so stiff, it was really funny to see her come on in such a playful way toward the Captain.
Another thing that really made me laugh is toward the end when the actions being displayed is Wesley “doing things in his head” that the Chief Engineer says it would take weeks to program, and Data putting in those chips, and the music sounds like an action scene from Superman. I couldn’t stop laughing, the juxtaposition of the two things was just so funny.
Anyway, a great second episode, I thought. They’d already had us spend enough time in the first episode to get to know these characters a little, I didn’t think it was too early to just have a light hearted episode to have a little fun with these people. But still have Jerry Goldsmith score the episode as if it’s serious drama. Brilliant.
You are MUCH more forgiving than I am.
I’m having a hell of a time trying to get through Code of Honor. It’s so aggressively annoying. Ugh.
Aw man, I was looking forward to seeing you get all the way through the first season with nothing but good things to say.
Yeah. That was a tough slog.
Code of Honor
This episode is… problematic. We could argue whether it’s full on racist, but in my opinion, the signals are there and it was a bit of an uncomfortable watch. The Lignonians(?) are not as technologically advanced (although the do have transporters) but they are “proud” and bound to some really bizarre rules when it comes to protocol.
There are clearly shades of Amok Time here especially with the scheming of Spocks Bride-To-Be mirroring the plans of Lutan. But where Amok Time succeeds because we get a peek at Vulcan ritual, this one fails because the Ligonians are played as buffoonish. All Picard ended up doing was bro it up with Lutan and essentially say, “Women. Am I right?” Yuck.
Oh yeah. And Wesley gets to hang on the bridge with his big old sweater.
Deanna tricks Tasha into admitting that she secretly liked the fact that Lutan desires her. The fuck?
My wife commented that the big fight to the death looked like something out of the old Buck Rogers TV Show.
The whole thing is very American Gladiators too.
The whole thing is very bad, too.
I’ve watched TNG using so-called guides that told you which episodes you should skip. Seemed like a good idea with so much Star Trek ahead. After watching Picard I wanted to replace a more recent image of characters with a good one so I went back and watched episodes that I’ve skipped.
But this episode I’ve heard so much about that I will not watch it. I’d also want to erase my memories of that board game episode form Deep Space 9.
I have no memory of this episode. For the best, I guess.
Your brain’s selective memory function is still working fine.
I don’t know if it’s selective or early onset Alzheimer’s. I prefer your thing. :)
That goes without saying. I always skip this one on rewatches.
Move Along Home isn’t that bad. It’s no Profit and Lace. Hell, among first season episodes I think the one with Rumpelstiltskin is worse.