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Star Trek Episode of the Week: The Last Outpost

Image: Star Trek: The Next Generation. Copyright CBS Paramount Studios.

This week’s Star Trek Episode is “The Last Outpost” in which the Ferengi are introduced as a bunch of half-witted gibbering apes. Last week’s episode was “Encounter at Farpoint.” If you’re wondering where “The Naked Now” and “Code of Honor” are since I’m supposedly covering these things in order, I already wrote about them, here and here.

Plot: During the Enterprise’s pursuit of a vessel believed to be carrying stolen Federation property manned by the yet-to-be-encountered Ferengi, both ships become stranded above an unexplored planet. Both crews suspect the others for their troubles, and things come close to blows before away teams from both ships discover that their problems are being caused by an outpost established by an ancient space empire on the nearby planet.

Character Development: In this episode, Data encounters a foe beyond even his mental capabilities, the mighty Chinese finger trap. The fact that he is playing with one during a briefing with Captain Picard, and that he cannot solve it despite his supposedly vast knowledge of physics, indicates that the android still has things to learn when the lessons conveniently mirror concurrent events.

Forehead of the Week: This episode introduces an alien race which has been a Star Trek staple ever since, the Ferengi. A great amount of time is allotted to building up the Ferengi as menacing enemies before they are even shown. Eventually, a Ferengi’s giant face is seen on the view screen of the Enterprise, where his grotesque features and sharp teeth look imposing. Later, once the Enterprise crew encounters the Ferengi in the flesh, they learn that they are greedy and incompetent. The Ferengi run around grunting and screaming, flailing their arms around like monkeys, and generally act as non-threatening as possible.

Memorable Quote: “Merde.” – Captain Picard speaking French because the writers were already out of ideas to use the French aspect of his character.

Star Trek Episode of the Week: Encounter at Farpoint

December 26, 2010 Star Trek Episode No Comments

Image: Star Trek: The Next Generation. Copyright CBS Paramount Studios.

Welcome back to the no-longer-on-hiatus Star Trek Episode of the Week. I plan on slamming through every episode of Next Generation from beginning to end. That means that this week, I will be covering the series’ debut, “Encounter at Farpoint.”

Plot: On its way to check out Farpoint Station, a potential trading partner for the Federation, the Enterprise runs into a giant psychedelic chain link fence. The crew does its best to demonstrate the capabilities of the Enterprise to the TV audience, but simply cannot escape this threat.

It turns out a being of incredible power, Q, is behind the antics. He wants to put humanity on trial for being a “grievously savage race.” Picard eventually talks him into testing that claim by allowing the Enterprise to continue on its mission to Farpoint and reviewing the findings.

Character Development: This episode introduces us to the new crew of the all new Star Trek: The Next Generation. We discover that:

  • Data is an android who has graduated from the academy and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander, yet behaves like he’s never been around humans before.
  • Geordi’s eyes don’t work, but he has a visor that gives him special visual powers.
  • Riker has already nailed Troi, and may soon be moving on to the other women checking him out.
  • Picard is a hard-ass who hates children, his crew, and pretty much everyone else.
  • Wesley Crusher is an annoying twat.
  • Worf is a Klingon and behaves like one.
  • Tasha Yar is without interesting character traits that can be developed in further episodes.

Forehead of the Week: That’s got to be the Bandi of Deneb IV. This species is primarily known for its abuse of giant space jellyfish for fun and profit. They are very similar to humans in appearance, although they tend toward long, scraggly hair and miserable facial expressions.

Memorable Quote: “Let’s hope they find you as tasty as they did their past associates.” – Picard, discussing the dangers of the Ferengi. Apparently Quark has an appetite for more than just Latinum.

Star Trek Episode of the Week: Distant Origin

This week’s Star Trek episode features a clumsy allegory for the ongoing conflict between religion and science, and demonstrates a staggering misunderstanding of evolution. It’s one of the best episodes of Voyager season three, and it’s called “Distant Origin.”

Plot: In “Distant Origin,” two members of an alien species known as the Voth try to prove a genetic connection with the humans of Voyager. It quickly becomes evident that this is entirely real, but their theory is controversial in their society. Eventually, the Voth scientists must retract their claims, despite overwhelming evidence and a stirring speech from Chakotay. The iron will of religious fervor triumphs.

Character Development: This episode features precious little, even relative to most Voyager episodes. Chakotay briefly plays wife-swap with some aliens where he reminds us that he is an historian.

Forehead of the Week: This episode prominently features the Voth, a so called “saurian” species of aliens originally evolved from the Hadrosaur dinosaur. Their ancestors left Earth to escape the mass-extinction-causing meteor strike which wiped out the rest of the dinosaurs.

Memorable Quote: “Was it beautiful?” – long lost Earthling Forra Gegen, foolishly deluding himself about the quality of his home planet.

Star Trek Episode of the Week: Rise

Voyager season three continues to churn out classics. This week’s episode is “Rise,” in which an alien planet’s not-so-natural disasters work to bring old married couple Neelix and Tuvok closer together.

Plot: “Rise” begins with Voyager attempting to protect an alien planet from a swarm of asteroids with a mysterious origin. Tuvok and Neelix are sent down to the planet along with a contingent of locals to help rescue a scientist who might have some answers. Neelix is wary of the trip, concerned that he’ll be unable to win the affection of his estranged lover, Tuvok.

Thanks to some hard work and good fortune, our heroes are once again able to save the day. It is ultimately discovered that the asteroid shower was part of an invasion tactic by the Etanian, another alien race which engineers natural disasters to drive away enemies and invade their planets.

Character Development: Even aliens want what they can’t have, and that’s certainly true for Neelix. With his romance with Kes dwindling, Neelix has decided to start things up with Tuvok again, hoping to impress him by taking on more productive tasks and standing up to the Vulcan’s harsh sarcasm.

Forehead of the Week: That would be the Nezu, who couldn’t seem to figure out that the asteroids bombarding their planet were artificial without Voyager’s help, even though the fake rocks were easily opened and contained obvious mechanical parts.

Memorable Quote: “I’ve been assigned to Lieutenant Tuvok’s team, and no matter what I do, I can’t seem to please him.” – Neelix, expressing concern at his inability to fellate the stern Vulcan satisfactorily.

Star Trek Episode: Warlord

I’ve decided to focus on Voyager episodes, it’s just too convenient a source of humor to even bother with other series right now. This week’s episode is the forgettable season 3 outing “Warlord.”

Plot: In this episode, Kes, the USS Voyager’s least interesting resident, finds her mind taken over by Tieran, an alien who has managed to transfer his consciousness from one being to another as a means of survival while on a centuries long quest to restore himself as ruler of his home planet. Kes battles Tieran within her mind, and is ultimately able to weaken him enough to give the valiant crew of Voyager the opportunity to rescue her.

Character Development: Kes expresses frustration with Neelix that can’t be entirely explained by the insane cabbage-headed alien living inside her brain. The incident is left unresolved, a rarity for Voyager, and the audience is given hope that their insipidly dull relationship may be coming to a close.

Forehead of the Week: That clearly goes to the Ilari, the six-nostrilled cabbage heads whose political drama conveniently occupies the crew of Voyager, passing the time for another week. Aside from physical appearance, they are, strangely enough, exactly like humans.

Memorable Quote: “I love plants, flowers, anything that grows. Some of the times I felt most content were those spent watching the seedlings grow in the airponics… ” – Kes, still being boring as shit, even when her brain is occupied by an evil alien

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