Hello and welcome to To Boldly Go, where I weekly review every episode of Star Trek over the next few years.
TNG: Half a Life
A Lwaxana Troi episode… Welp, straight to the bottom of the pile you go. Where were you last week, when I needed a bad episode?
The plot is… Eh, it’s okay, but I certainly won’t care for it in the future: Lwaxana Troi falls in love with a scientist who comes from a culture where everyone has to die at 60. A debate about it rages back and forth, before Lwaxana finally accepts the inevitable. The end.
This episode… Eh, it works fine as a moral debate about the pros and cons of euthanasia, and neither side is ever presented in the right, but at the same time it’s just a little bit too flawed to work as a proper debate. Part of the problem comes from the fact that the situation doesn’t really work. Killing the old at 60 makes no real sense, and since that’s not what euthanasia is actually about, it becymes more of an abstract debate with no clear message or moral.
So does that make the episode bad? The answer is… Eh. It’s not bad, but it’s no masterpiece either. The problem always comes back to Lwaxana Troi, and how little I like her. Maybe with another character I’d have gotten aboard, but with her I can’t help but be more frustrated than anything else. Since I don’t have that connection her I can’t say I’m really that interested in seeing her struggles, and her emotional breakdown means nothing to me.
So this episode really depends on how much one likes Lwaxana. If you like her, then you’ll like this episode. If you don’t, you ain’t gonna be won over. I loathe her, so this episode goes to the bottom to the list as per the norm.
DS9: The Quickening
It says something that I watch a Deep Space 9 episode about a plague and fully expect it to end sadly. Shows you how pessimistic the show is.
The plot is pretty simple: Dax and Bashir land on a planet where a plague is in full effect, Bashir tries to find a cure, and the most he can do is find a vaccine to save the children. The end.
This episode… Is pretty good, all things told. It’s the story of Bashir, and since Bashir is an interesting character, it is in turn a good story. The doctor character in Star Trek is interesting because it’s always the same character. While your captain or your engineer or what have you can change and have different attributes highlighted, but with the doctor, it’s always going to be the same: a person that cares about the sanctity of life and will do whatever it takes to preserve said life. It’s very one-note, sure, but it’s a good note.
But Bashir is an interesting character because of the arrogance associated with him. He does have a touch of pride, and since pride become before a fall, it works out for the best here. Having him beat himself up for his failures is interesting to watch, as is his story about why he wanted to become a doctor in the first place. As an exploration of the character, it works.
Ultimately, much like the previous episode, it comes down solely to whether you like the character or not. I like Bashir, so I like this episode. If you don’t, this episode may be able to convince you, but I wouldn’t put money on it. Still, if you want to see a Star Trek story with the doctor as the lead done right, this is the one for you.
A rather underwhelming Borg episode that isn’t bad, but certainly isn’t going to blow anyone away… Yeah, seems about right.
The plot is okay: The Doctor’s holo-emitter gets infused with Seven’s Borg nanites, and ends up creating a new artificial life form, a Borg from the 29th century. They try to teach the Borg (One) individuality, but when the Borg collective catches up, he sacrifices himself to save Voyager. The end.
This episode… It’s funny, cos this is the third episode to focus on one particular character in some way. First we have Lwaxana, then Bashir, and now Seven. But given how most episodes seem to feature Seven these days, that’s hardly a surprise. It also shows how limited the Borg are as an on-going threat. Here they’re gotten rid of with such little fanfare that it ultimately feels a bit of a let-down. We know the Borg drone can’t stay aboard Voyager, we know it’s going to end in tears, so it really ends up becoming a waiting game for the story to just resolve itself. Add to that the annoying detail that the Doctor never actually gets his emitter back, and you’re left with an episode I’m lukewarm at at best.
At the end of the day this is just an okay episode, and it’s frustrating I have so many okay episodes after having so many good ones last week. Still, that’s the way the cookie crumbles, and at the end of the day it’s not terrible. I just can’t help but feel let-down by it all.
ENT: Demons/Terra Prime (Parts I & II)
A group of people using fear of outsiders to stir up panic and dissent amongst the populace to get their way? Good thing this is a piece of fiction, otherwise in real life we might put them into a position of power.
The story is pretty good: A conference of aliens is interrupted by a woman claiming to know a half-Vulcan, half-human baby, a clone of a child by Trip and T’Pol. They go to investigate on a moon mining colony, only for the colony to turn into a spaceship and travel to Mars. With a weapon capable of blowing up a city, they tell the aliens to leave, but fortunately Archer and co get on board and save the day. The episode ends with Archer giving a speech that this is the start of the final frontier.
This episode… Yeah, the real world parallels are pretty obvious, and are even more relevant a year into Trump’s presidency. And that really was Enterprise in a nutshell, wasn’t it? A whole bunch of morals for the 21st century, with the Cold War parallels being replaced with War on Terror ones instead.
Still, this set of episodes are pretty good, and send Enterprise out on a high note. It ends with the start of the Federation, a good of place as any to start. It’s a fine ending, one that’s worth a watch.
And yes, I know there’s one more episode after this… Trust me, we will be getting to that disaster.
First: ENT “Demons/Terra Prime (Parts I & II)
Second: DS9 “The Quickening”
Third: VOY “Drone”
Fourth: TNG “Half a Life”
First: DS9 & TAS 67%
Second: TOS 63%
Third: ENT 62%
Fourth: VOY 59%
Fifth: TNG 47%
So there you have it. Another week of Trek. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Till next time.