279. [TNG] The Offspring
SCORE: (5/5 stars)
[Fair warning up front: if you have ever lost a child, this episode is
probably going to hit you hard.]
It’s the first episode directed by Jonathan Frakes! He’ll go on to direct many episodes of TNG as well as the films First Contact and Insurrection. Because of this, a line of dialogue mentions that Riker’s out on personal leave for the majority of the episode. Data’s just returned from a cybernetics conference and has kept himself locked away in a lab during every off-duty hour. Finally, he is ready to showcase his new project to Geordi, Deanna and Wesley. They shuffle into the lab and find a brand-new android. Data introduces them to Lal… his child.
Picard is initially apprehensive about Data having constructed a new android, but every point he brings up, Data merely rebuts by comparing it to human procreation and parenting. It takes a while for our captain to warm up to the idea when Data’s procreation doesn’t involve passing on of genetic material (though Lal’s brain is copied from Data’s structure nearly identically) or emerging through a birth canal, but he eventually is able to come around to the idea. After all, Data is a life form. And life procreates.
Data intentionally creates Lal featureless and androgynous because he wishes it to choose its own appearance, and it eventually settles on the form of a human female. Data’s able to improve upon Soong’s external design and gives Lal more accurate color in the eyes and skin. Very quickly he begins to engage in parenting and teaching her about relationships, objects, senses, and what it means to be human… well, as much of it as he’s able to understand, anyway. Upon Wesley’s recommendation, he decides to send Lal to school so she can learn to socialize with other children, but it doesn’t go so well. They’re scared of her and laugh at her.
Lower Decks was a great episode. If you want to see more of that Vulcan, he has a recurring role on Voyager, although in TNG he's called Taurik and on Voyager he's called Vorik. It's been suggested they're twin brothers. Another thing you might not have noticed is the Bajoran Sito Jaxa was the very same cadet in Wesley Crusher's flight group when "not Tom Paris" made them cover up that flight accident.
Awesome! Yeah I really really loved the episode. And I did notice that she was the same cadet that was in Wesley’s flight group.
I can’t wait to get to Voyager and see him again! I was a hardcore TOS fan for the longest time in high school, and committed to the fact that there was no way any other series could compare. (A Star Trek hipster if you will.) I’ve only just started exploring the new series and I love them!
278. [TNG] Yesterday's Enterprise
SCORE: (5/5 stars)
Due to the nature of this episode, we get an early (and memorable) scene with Guinan introducing prune juice to Worf. “A warrior’s drink,” he proclaims, and forever more will he be drinking this drink and taking regular shits. But he’s called to the bridge because of a space thing that pops up nearby. They’re not able to accurately determine what the anomaly is until a starship passes through it… and everything changes.
The lighting is darker. The captain’s chair is alone and higher up. The uniforms are more military, with belts and shoulder straps and weapons galore. Riker and Picard have a much more adversarial relationship. And Worf is no longer at tactical… or on the starship. In his place is Lieutenant Natasha Yar. And the starship that just came out of the anomaly? Why, she’s just some old ship with the registry NCC-1701-C. That’s right, the Enterprise-C. She’s banged up like she just escaped from a fight, and the crew aboard have suffered heavy injuries and deaths.
Picard debates whether or not he should reveal to them what happened, but decides to tell Captain Rachel Garrett the truth. She’s traveled 22 years into the future, and what a future it is. The Federation has been mired in a two-decade-long war against the Klingon Empire, with billions dead and a Federation defeat looming on the horizon. You see, the Enterprise-C was protecting a Klingon outpost from a Romulan attack. But falling into the rift created by the Romulan weapons, they escaped into the future and the impact of the ship bravely dying in defense of a Klingon colony is no more. It seems like the fate of the Alpha Quadrant hinges on one little ship named Enterprise.