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Star Trek Episode of the Week: Justice

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

This week’s Star Trek episode is mined from that seemingly bottomless pit of hilarity, season 1 TNG.

Plot: This episode begins with Riker reporting back from an away mission to the newly discovered planet Rubicun III. He describes the planet as beautiful and inhabited by extremely human-like aliens. Dr. Crusher suggests shore leave on the planet for the crew, and Geordi is especially excited about the idea, noting that the inhabitants have a special fondness for others. In other words, Geordi thinks he might have a shot at getting laid. Things quickly fall apart once the crew goes down, however, when Mr. Liability himself, Wesley Crusher, falls into a garden, crushing some plants, and winding up with a death sentence. Picard dicks around with some energy being which is the local god, and eventually beams Wesley up despite the prime directive.

Character Development: In this episode, we learn that Worf is made uncomfortable by the sexual advances of those who cannot handle the harsh reality of Klingon mating rituals.

Forehead of the Week: Aside from being one of my favourite fast food joints, Edo is also the name for the humanoid race which populate Rubicun III. They are a bunch of free-spirited sex-lovers who protect their way of life by dishing out executions with enthusiasm.

Memorable Quote: “They certainly are… fit.” – Riker, describing the Edo, in typical Riker fashion.

Star Trek Episode of the Week: The Naked Now

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

This week’s Star Trek Episode is another first season TNG classic, The Naked Now, in which we learn that, yes, Data is fully functional.

Plot: The episode begins with the Enterprise encountering a mysterious ship full of frozen people, with signs that a “wild party” had taken place aboard. After they return from investigating this ship, the away team begins exhibiting strange behaviour, and soon spread a dangerous intoxication throughout the crew. Soon, everyone is acting crazy, in a fashion not dissimilar to drunkenness. Tash Yar decides to bang Data, who is somehow also infected, Crusher and Picard start flirting, and Wesley Crusher decides to take over the ship from engineering. Eventually, Doctor Crusher figures out that the intoxication affected the old Enterprise crew as well, and uses the same antidote they used to fix everybody up. Somehow, his mother is robbed of any recognition, and Wesley Crusher is named the hero of the episode.

Character Development: In this episode, we see the beginning of Yar’s startling sexual appetite.

Forehead of the Week: There aren’t really any new aliens in this episode, so I’m going to name the strange intoxicant which spread throughout the crew. What the hell is it? How is so little of it able to affect so many? Since Crusher only created an antidote, shouldn’t every new visitor to the ship be affected by the minimal amount of residue kicking around?

Memorable Quote: “And, henceforth, a dessert course shall precede and follow every meal, including breakfast.” – Wesley Crusher, in his role as acting captain.

Star Trek Episode of the Week: Code of Honor

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

This week’s Star Trek Episode is that first season TNG classic Code of Honor, in which the crew encounters a group of racially stereotyped African “aliens.”

Plot: The Enterprise visits Ligon II, the only source of a vaccine needed to cure a plague on a Federation planet. Negotiations break down with Ligon leader Lutan when he kidnaps Tasha Yar, who he is impressed by. Lutan decides he would like to make Yar his primary wife, and so his current main wife challenges Yar to a fight to the death. Yar wins their battle, and the two are immediately beamed to the Enterprise where the wife is revived. Lutan gets out of his marriage because his wife technically died, everybody gets married to somebody else, and they all live happily ever after. Or something.

Character Development: In this episode, Tasha Yar is shown to be both a strong warrior, capable of battling a deadly racist stereotype, and an open minded sexual being who admits to an attraction to her kidnapper.

Forehead of the Week: The Ligonians are the real stars of this episode, their lives as ridiculous stereotypes has been described as having a “1940s [view of] tribal Africa” by one disgusted TNG writer. The episode was not initially planned to be such a racist clusterfuck, but the director decided to make all of the Ligonians black, a decision for which he was fired by Roddenberry during production of the episode.

Memorable Quote: “That is from an obscure language known as French. Counting coup…” – Data, explaining why his supposedly French Captain has an English accent.

Star Trek Episode of the Week: Caretaker

Welcome to the new Shufflingdead feature “Star Trek Episode of the Week.” I thought I’d kick off this new feature with a classic, the two-part Voyager premier called “Caretaker,” in which it is revealed that Voyager will be an awful series.

Plot: Deep within the Delta quadrant, the Caretaker’s Array grabs Voyager and the Maquis ship Val Jean, lifting them out of the interesting DS9 plotline, and thrusting them into their own, much more absurd, much worse written story. The episode concludes with Janeway forced to decide whether to save herself and her crew from a 70-year trek back to the Alpha Quadrant and allow the Caretaker’s Array to fall into the hands of a species totally irrelevant in the larger scheme of galactic politics, the Kazon, or to blow up the Array and make herself feel like a good person. She chooses the latter.

Character Development: In the span of a few days, the crews of Voyager and Val Jean go from being sworn enemies to trusting allies. This is helped, in part, by Tom Paris of Voyager saving the life of Val Jean’s captain, dedicated Maquis member Chakotay. Paris repeatedly calls Chakotay, a man of Native American descent, an “Indian” during this rescue, because, apparently, even the 24th century has its problems with political incorrectness. Chakotay seems to forgive Paris for his racist remarks, and a new friendship is born.

Forehead of the Week: There are a number of new species featured in this episode, including the Kazon, Ocampa, and Talaxians. I have to give this episode to the Talaxians, and their poster-child, Neelix. This whisker-endowed rainbow coloured force for comedy relief tricks Janeway into rescuing his “love,” Kes, and still manages charm his way into becoming a regular member of the cast.

Memorable Quote: “Do you always fly at women at warp speed, Mr. Paris?” “Only when they’re in visual range.” – Stadi and Tom Paris. This dialogue established Paris as the Kirk/Riker of Voyager.

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