414. [TNG] Inheritance

SCORE: image (4/5 stars)

While the Enterprise is working on stabilizing a planetary core so as its inhabitants don’t die, Data is introduced to someone he had no idea existed: his mother. Dr. Juliana Tainer, née O’Donnell, was Dr. Soong’s wife and a partner in his development of the Soong-type androids. Because his memory was wiped just before the Crystalline Entity attacked Omicron Theta, he has no memory of Juliana save for a few references to Dr. O’Donnell in the logs of the colony’s personnel.

As they work together to save the Planet of the Barely Visible Inhabitants, she fills him in on details of her life and his origins. He learns that she wanted him to be female, but Soong insisted on having a son and (presumably because he already had the mold from making Lore) made the head and then told her she could decide the gender. He also finds out that before Lore, there were three failed prototypes who all died the same way his daughter Lal did.

She reveals that she didn’t want Data to be made because of the disappointing failure of Lore. She feared building another would just create the same kind of sociopath. And when they were evacuating Omicron Theta to escape from the Crystlaline Entity, even though there was room on the escape pod, she chose to leave Data behind, because she loved him and feared that if he came with, she may have to disassemble him as she did Lore. After the escape, she and Soong drifted apart and eventually divorced.

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413. [DS9] The Alternate

SCORE: image (3/5 stars)

Odo is paid a visit from his totally-not-a-father-figure Dr. Mora, who years later still seems to be sporting the exact same slicked-back hairdo that Odo modeled his after. He’s come not only to check up on his prodigal son, but to tell him that he’s found a potential lead for Odo’s origin. Odo never enjoyed his time being poked and prodded in the lab, but he absolutely will jump at any chance to find out where he came from, so he requisitions a runabout to go into the Gamma Quadrant.

On a planet’s surface, they find what is essentially a silicon-based plant. As they are gathering samples, including a carved pillar which is strangely never addressed again other than to be used as set decoration, an earthquake is triggered, releasing toxic gas trapped within the planet. They have an emergency beamout but not before Dr. Mora and his Bajoran assistant fall very ill from breathing in the gas. They’re taken to the infirmary on DS9, as well as Dax (whose Trill physiology is less susceptible to the gas). Odo’s physiology is so unique that it appears he’s suffered no ill effects from the gas.

The silicate lifeform is placed under a level 5 security field as they study its rapid growth and change, but even this doesn’t seem to be enough as late one night they find the science lab has had an incident, and its container has been shattered. The sample itself is gone, but attacks made on several station personnel suggest that it’s still out and about and posing a threat to the station. Tracking it down, O’Brien is able to find the sample, but it is not the cause of these attacks—it’s dead.

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412. [DS9] Rivals

SCORE: image (2/5 stars)

A racquetball rivalry between Bashir and O’Brien heats up while an El-Aurian named Martus opens a gambling establishment across the way from Quark’s. The stakes could never be lower. This episode shapes up to be the dumping ground for dumb ideas that just refuse to leave the writer’s room as absolutely nothing is at stake and barely any character development is even had in the process.

Martus is an El-Aurian, but unlike Guinan (who was intended to be his mother until Whoopi Goldberg couldn’t make the episode) he uses his listening skills to con people. After Odo throws him in a holding cell for taking an elderly couple’s life savings to invest into his own business that promptly folded, he is given a small gambling device by a cellmate. He doesn’t know it yet, but the device alters the laws of probability to grant someone either good luck, or horrible luck. He starts out with quite the run of good luck himself, and after the elderly couple refuse to press charges in his embezzlement of their funds, he’s able to open up a gambling establishment right across the way from Quark’s, where he replicates larger versions of the gambling device for people to play.

Well, these larger versions have a much stronger effect, and suddenly everyone on the station begins experiencing runs of good and bad luck. Computer files delete themselves at random. 50 people simultaneously sprain ankles. And in a racquetball match for charity that Bashir and O’Brien were tricked into doing by Quark, the superior player Bashir makes mistake after mistake, while O’Brien has a nearly impossible run of good luck. Dax is able to identify that probability has been altered on the station, and they track it down to Martus’s gambling establishment and destroy the devices. Martus’s run of luck ends as he himself is taken for an asteroid mining con and the elderly couple decide to press charges after all. He negotiates with Quark, asking him to give him enough money so he can charter passage off this station before things get any worse for him.

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411. [TNG] Parallels

SCORE: image (4/5 stars)

Aboard the shuttlecraft Curie, Worf is returning home from a bat’leth tournament where he won first place. He’s a little hesitant when he notices Riker following him to his quarters because it’s his birthday and he fears Riker’s planned a surprise party for him, which Riker vehemently denies until Worf discovers he’s a filthy liar. As Worf deals with dozens of guests in his quarters, he begins noticing things are… a little off. The cake appeared to be chocolate, before changing yellow. Picard couldn’t make it to the party, but is suddenly there and “wouldn’t miss it.”

The subtle changes, accompanied by dizziness, continue as the day goes on. The Argus Array has stopped relaying data and they pick up evidence that the Cardassians have been tampering with it, since it’s only 3 light years from Cardassian space. At first, they pull data that shows that a Galor-class Cardassian ship was tampering with it. But when they encounter the ship, Picard and Riker have no clue what Worf’s talking about when he mentions the data pulled from the array, and further examination shows that there were no records of this at all.

Dr. Crusher tells Worf that he suffered a concussion in the bat’leth tournament, which he took 9th place in now, and is probably suffering memory loss as a result. He’s not willing to accept that at face value, though, especially when the next change causes him to move from where he was to the bridge as a Cardassian ship begins attacking them. Unfamiliar with the control layout on the console, he’s unable to raise shields in time and the Enterprise suffers damage to key systems. Geordi is injured and taken to sickbay.

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410. [DS9] Sanctuary

SCORE: image (4/5 stars)

A damaged ship comes through the wormhole and its passengers are beamed aboard DS9. The universal translator doesn’t seem to work for their language, and they immediately attach to Kira despite the language barrier, following her gestures to go to sickbay to treat burns as well as a basic tour of the shops and quarters while the UT works on their language. Eventually, the translation kicks in, and the apparent leader, Haneek, explains that they are called the Skreeans, and they have come in search of their fabled homeworld of Kentanna, a planet of sorrow beyond the Eye of the Universe.

Runabouts go to the Gamma Quadrant to attempt to contact other Skreean ships since they are intent on colonizing a world beyond the wormhole, while minor cultural clashes arise. The Skreean are a female-dominated polygamous society who believe that the men-folk aren’t capable of leadership, because they’re too emotional. They don’t have much in the way of currency since they’re refugees who have only recently been freed from enslavement by a race that got conquered by the Dominion, whatever that is. Because of this lack of currency, they tend to loiter without buying anything, which certainly puts Quark on edge, and their skin tends to flake, leaving disgusting cleanup in Quark’s bar. (Maybe they should invest in one of those self-cleaning systems like the Enterprise has.)

Haneek, although just a simple farmer herself, is chosen to be leader of her people because she’s the one who found the wormhole. Sisko promises to help them find a good planet to colonize, and believes he’s found one in Draylon II, but Haneek has already set her sights on a planet of sorrow much closer: Bajor. She petitions Bajor for emigration of all three million Skreeans to the uninhabited northern peninsula. (Because it wouldn’t have a name, would it? No, it’s just the “northern” peninsula, grumble grumble.) They are turned down because the peninsula’s arability was decimated by the Cardassians, and Bajor can barely sustain itself, let alone a group of refugees who they’d feel responsible for if they can’t make the farms work.

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409. [DS9] Second Sight

SCORE: image (2/5 stars)

Sisko is in a somber mood. It’s the fourth anniversary of the Battle of Wolf 359 and the death of his wife. He takes a late-night stroll of the promenade and meets a gorgeous woman named Fenna. They talk about the stars and Sisko points out Bajoran constellations, but just as conversation is getting good, Fenna vanishes. Sisko can’t find her anywhere. He runs into her a few more times but she is very secretive about her past and why she keeps vanishing, but he knows that it’s been 4 years since he got any and she is definitely looking cute, so he puts Odo on the case to find out who she is.

The USS Prometheus is docked with a brilliant but narcissistic and egomaniacal terraformer named Gideon Seyetik. Kira can’t stand him, but dammit, he’s just so enthusiastic about his work that I can’t help but enjoy watching him brag about himself. He has made artwork out of countless planets, and for his next trick, he’s going to reignite a dead star. He invites the senior staff to dine with him and his wife, Nidell… who looks identical to Fenna, yet acts like she’s never met Sisko before. The next time he sees her as Femma, he confronts her, but she doesn’t know anything about Nidell or Seyetik either.

Sisko decides to tag along on the Prometheus to observe the solar reignition and to get to the bottom of the whole Nidell/Femma thing, especially since Odo’s investigation turned up that nobody from the Prometheus had come aboard DS9 at any point except for Seyetik. When Femma appears on the ship to Sisko, he has Dax scan her, and she shows up as nothing but pure energy. They take her to Seyetik to find out what’s going on, and discover Nidell in a deep sleep that she can’t wake from. What’s more, Seyetik sees Femma and instantly knows who and what she is: a psychic projection of Nidell. He’d thought she’d never return, but here she is, and she’s been growing stronger, leaving Nidell comatose and dying. If she doesn’t wake in the next few hours, she never will.

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408. [TNG] Force of Nature

SCORE: image (2/5 stars)

The Enterprise is passing through a corridor in space that requires some precise maneuvering due to the nature of spacetime in the area. They are investigating the disappearance of the medical transport Fleming, and a Ferengi marauder was sighted in the area. Suspecting it may have something to do with the disappearance, they track it down and find it adrift and unresponsive. When they move into tractor range, the Ferengi fire on them. They’re able to quickly disable the Ferengi weapons, and Picard talks them down from a paranoid position.

Using his legendary diplomatic skills, he trades a repair team to get the Ferengi operational again for sensor data regarding the last known position of the Fleming. They head for it and find a debris field consisting mostly of materials used in starship construction; this is likely where it met its end. Just then, a small object in the debris field powers up and fires an energy pulse that disables most major systems on the Enterprise, and two people board the ship in Engineering. They claim that warp travel is killing them.

The two aliens, Rabal and Serova, are siblings and scientists who have been researching the effects of warp travel on subspace and have determined that this region of space encompassing their homeworld is being damaged by spacetime distortions. If it continues, their planet will be made uninhabitable. Rabal is willing to work with the Enterprise crew to verify their findings, but Serova is impatient and believes any attempt to “take time to study” her findings are merely a delay tactic. When Picard refuses to capitulate to her eco-terrorist demands, wanting evidence for her claims, she gets fed up, returns to her ship, and deliberately triggers a warp core breach, killing herself in the process.

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207. [HIMYM] Last Forever

SCORE: image (1/5 umbrellas)

NINE YEARS.

I have waited NINE YEARS FOR THIS.

NINE FUCKING YEARS.

The finale is a bit chronologically disjointed (thanks for helping out the ChronoMom blog, guys… *eyeroll*) but I’ll try to flesh it out as best as possible.

At the reception, Ted’s getting ready to say his goodbyes to the group of friends he’s spent a decade with, when he glances over and sees the Mother playing bass at the reception. He instantly falls in love, you can tell, because it’s Ted Mosby and he’s instantly fallen in love with 50 women by this point in the series so he’s got the face down pat. But he shoves the thought in the back of his mind because in 24 hours he’s going to be in Chicago, so it’s not worth pursuing.

He leaves the reception giving everyone a tearful goodbye (and a high five to end all high fives with Barney, which explains why his hand is injured at the train station), and talks to that elderly woman he was sitting next to, presumably giving her a cliffnotes version of 9 years of stories. She tells him he ought to go back to the reception and talk to that bass player, but he’s not going to. She insists that the universe is trying to send him a message… which is true, because she points out that the Mother happens to be there at that very train station.

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407. [TNG] Attached

SCORE: image (3/5 stars)

While beaming down for a diplomatic mission to a species that’s applied for Federation membership, Picard and Crusher don’t materialize at the site they should have. This planet is home to two species, the Kes and the Prytt. The Kes control about 75% of the planet and are the ones applying for membership, while the Prytt are xenophobic and isolationist to the extreme and want nothing to do with anyone, even the Kes, let alone the Federation.

And it is in one of their dungeon cells that Picard and Crusher wake up in, finding implants at the base of their skulls that will sync to their brain wavelengths and be able to extract information from them. The Prytt believe the Kes are getting the Federation to wage war on them, and they intend to get the truth of it out of the Starfleet offiers. Too bad they’re wrong.

As Riker works with Mauric, a leader in the Kes government, on searching for the two missing officers, they are suddenly slipped a tricorder by a guard (who turns out to be a Kes operative) that contains an escape route and begin following it. As they navigate through the caverns they find themselves in, they discover that the implants in their skulls are causing them to hear each other’s thoughts.

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406. [DS9] Necessary Evil

SCORE: image (5/5 stars)

Quark pays a visit to Bajor to meet a client, Pallra, a fellow station inhabitant during the Occupation. She hires Quark to break into her late husband’s old storage and retrieve. She can’t go herself, because she’s still Odo’s prime suspect in her husband’s murder 5 years ago. She leaves just one instruction for Quark: don’t open the box. Of course, Quark follows the eleventy-first rule of acquisition: always look in the box. He finds a list of names and then a laser beam fired into his chest, from a mercenary that Pallra hired.

Quark is barely clinging to life in sickbay, holding on only by a shred of hope that he’ll come back before Rom can take all his profits. Odo’s on the case, and while Rom is certainly a prime suspect in the attempted murder of his brother since he’d get the bar, a good-cop bad-cop routine with Sisko as good-cop gets Rom to recall part of a name he saw on the list of names, and who Quark’s employer was.

Since Pallra was involved with this affair, it brings back Odo’s memory of investigating her husband’s murder. It was the first investigation he ever led on the station. Gul Dukat brought him on specifically because he was seen as an outsider, without allegiance to the Bajorans or the Cardassians. Odo takes to the role very well, and narrows down the list of suspects to two people: Pallra, the widow who hardly seems grieving, and the woman Pallra accuses of being her husband’s mistress: a young woman named Kira Nerys, just arrived on the station

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Delayed due to Diablo

Sorry folks, Diablo 3’s expansion came out tonight, so I’m having to postpone this review until Thursday so it’s not half-assed. The episode deserves better than I could give it with divided attention.

405. [DS9] Rules of Acquisition

SCORE: image (3/5 stars)

Grand Nagus Zek has arrived at Deep Space Nine to open trade negotiations with a Gamma Quadrant species. He hopes to obtain a large quantity of tulaberry wine for resale in order to cement the Ferengi as a business power in the Gamma Quadrant, and he’s chosen Quark to lead the negotiations. Quark’s been getting a lot of sound advice from one of his waiters, Pel, and strikes up a business relationship with the fellow Ferengi, much to Rom’s jealousy and chagrin.

But there’s something nobody knows about Pel. Pel is a woman. According to Ferengi law, the “females” are not allowed to wear clothing, participate in business, or even leave the house. Pel’s as Ferengi as they come, however, and she wasn’t going to let a little thing like institutionalized gender oppression stop her. So she fashioned a pair of lobes (Ferengi women have much smaller ears), wore a vest that bound her breasts, and started making a profit for herself, and Quark, who she secretly loves. (Dax is able to see this quite easily, of course.)

Negotiations with the Dosi don’t go as planned. Quark is told by Zek to negotiate for 10,000 vats, but the Dosi are both unwilling to trade for more than 5,000, and insulted that they have been given Quark to negotiate with rather than the Grand Nagus himself, who seems much more busy futilely pursuing Kira’s affections. When they break to confer with their people, Zek tells Quark that he’s changed his mind and he wants 100,000 vats of tulaberry wine now. Quark doesn’t think he can even get the 10,000, but hey, Zek’s the boss. When he mentions it, the Dosi are so offended they leave the station and return to the Gamma Quadrant.

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404. [TNG] Dark Page

SCORE: image (3/5 stars)

Lwaxana Troi is aboard the Enterprise, and for once, she’s actually performing diplomatic duties! She’s been teaching a telepathic species how to use verbal communication. They’ve expressed interest in joining the Federation and know that they would need to be able to speak verbally to communicate with the vast majority of species, as their telepathy only works on other telepathic species.

But something seems to be weighing on her and taxing her. She suffers frequent headaches. She actually bows out of arguments with Deanna. And she seems to have an odd demeanor around the 12-year-old Kirsten Dunst. Despite concerns from one of the telepaths that Lwaxana has a “darkness” in her mind and Dr. Crusher’s recommendations that Lwaxana refrain from using her telepathy due to being overtaxed, she uses it in the arboretum when Kirsten accidentally falls in the water, and the sight of this event causes her to fall into a coma.

With the aid of the telepaths, Deanna enters into Lwaxana’s mind to find what dark secret is eating away at her mind, but she has to contend with layer upon layer of defenses she’s putting up. Violent dogs, Picard ordering her to break the link, and a vision of her father who died when she was seven distracting her. After being initially rebuffed, Deanna gives it a second go and is able to unearth the secret that Lwaxana has buried for so long that it’s harming her psyche: she had a daughter before Deanna, who drowned in a dream at the age of 7. Deanna convinces her that her sister Kestra’s death was not Lwaxana’s fault, and she needs to remember her as she was when she was living, not how she died. Lwaxana begins the healing process by telling Deanna about the sister she never knew she had.

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403. [DS9] Melora

SCORE: image (2/5 stars)

DS9 has been assigned a new cartographer (which makes very little sense, since there are already Federation starships exploring the Gamma Quadrant that can easily outrange a runabout). Her name is Melora Pazlar, and she comes from a planet with very low gravity. So low, in fact, that regular gravity cripples her. In 400 years’ time, we still haven’t constructed a strong enough mechanical exoskeleton to fully help someone walk, despite that technology being just around the corner today. She still wears one for some semblance of help, along with a walking cane, but Bashir prepares a wheelchair for her while they work on making Cardassian station design a little more handicap-friendly.

Melora has developed a very aggressive and assertive personality. She hates how sitting in a wheelchair makes her look to other people, and she insists on no special treatment beyond that which is absolutely necessary. She even wants to go on a solo runabout mission to the Gamma Quadrant for star mapping, and any time someone offers help or suggests she might need it, she instantly goes for the verbal attack (something Bashir calls her out on). After the initial confrontations she makes with anyone in a Starlfeet uniform, Sisko approves her runabout mission, with the caveat that Dax accompanies her.

>Bashir wines and dines her once he’s able to get her to lower her hostile demeanor. They grab some grub (literally grubs) at the new Klingon restaurant on the Promenade. I can’t help noticing that the restaurant is simply a set redress of the replimat, but at least the Klingon chef is fat. Never trust a skinny chef. She takes him to her quarters and shows off her skill at hanging from a wire and pretending it’s moving around in microgravity, despite her clearly making a curving motion in the air while freefloating. (You’d have to flap your arms pretty hard to achieve that.) Bashir is terrible at microgravity but Melora shows him the ropes, and then they start making out, and presumably other things based on the way the camera pans away from them. Is sex in microgravity even possible without harnesses to assist?

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402. [TNG] Phantasms

SCORE: image (4/5 stars)

Since Data activated his dream program 9 months ago, he’s been using it on a regular basis. But recently, he’s begun experiencing a new part of the program: nightmares. Incorporating the new warp core installation (oh jeeze, they just put a new engine in this thing? That’s gonna suck for Starfleet’s budget when it blows up in a year) to his unconscious mind, he sees three turn-of-the-century workmen sabotaging a plasma conduit, and when he tries to stop them, they dismantle him.

He discusses the dream with Geordi, who says that nightmares are part of the dreaming experience and nothing to worry about. That night, Data has another dream in which he sees a bunch of disturbing imagery. Dr. Crusher is drinking liquid out of a straw sticking out of Riker’s face. Worf is eating a cellular peptide cake with mint frosting, cut out of Deanna Troi’s cake body. There is a ringing coming from Data’s torso that Riker insists on him answering. The workmen are there same as before, and tell him to be quiet when he emits a high-pitched noise from his mouth. Then he takes a knife and begins to cut a piece of cake out of Deanna’s shoulder, as she screams.

Deanna encourages Data to continue pursuing the nightmares despite their disturbing nature, because they are evidence of his evolving and developing psyche, and they are definitely a step on his road to becoming more human. She brings up Freudian dream analysis in what the imagery might mean, and Data takes that to heart by consulting with Freud on the holodeck. Of course, Freud has a field day with a metal man who desires to eat his mother and is sexually impotent, but he doesn’t provide a lot in terms of actual help to Data.

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