Sunday, 3 November 2013

Star Trek #3

Next Generation Favourite Episodes - Season Three

The great and highly-anticipated return of Star Trek to the small screen resulted in a tentative first season, a decent (and better) second season, but it was in this third season that the show really found its feet. The sexiest redhead in Starfleet returned to the Enterprise's sickbay for one thing, which means everything is now present and correct as far as the crew is concerned, but the episodes reached a greater consistency in quality too.

The selection this time around includes the usual spatial anomalies, questionable alien policies, a powerful and scary race of whom nothing is ever seen again, as well as the increasingly common sight of Klingon and Romulan ships. The crew get their fair share of action too - Captain Picard scores, Data gets stolen, and Counsellor Troi even gets her kit off (although sadly so does her irritating mother)! It's a great and varied season then, and the best one yet. Here are my favourites:

Who Watches The Watchers (Episode 4)

This splendidly-named episode sees the Enterprise arrive at a Federation planet to resupply an observation outpost which is being used to monitor a proto-Vulcan culture around a Bronze Age level of development. However, the outpost also needs to be repaired as the hologram used to conceal its location has malfunctioned. This leads to a native spotting the outpost, falling in shock, and being taken to the ship to be treated only to deliriously spot Captain Picard. The doctor then wipes his memory and sends him back, but... he remembers it all anyway and starts a religious movement among his people of which Picard is God! As a concept it's been done before but it's still great fun watching the captain desperately trying to prove, first to the patient, then to his people's leader, that he's just some guy. It's an interesting one as well though - any primitive society would be in awe of a more advanced one. The question is: who would enjoy it?!

The Defector (Episode 10)

The first Romulan episode of the season was the seventh, a decent Enemy Mine-inspired affair, but I prefer this one in which the Enterprise encounters a Romulan shuttle fleeing from a pursuing Warbird across the Neutral Zone. Aboard is an apparent defector who's come to warn the Federation that the Empire is putting the finishing touches to a huge base on the edge of the Neutral Zone from which they will then launch an invasion. Eeek! The defector - a lowly logistics clerk named Setal, supposedly - is looked upon with suspicion but his claims are investigated anyway, and there appears to be some truth to them, and that's before Setal reveals himself to actually by Admiral Jarok, a high-ranking and previously un-Federation-friendly officer. Unsurprisingly there are no sub-plots involved here with the Romulan(s) taking centre stage as Picard battles with him to release more detailed information regarding the supposed invasion. Could they really be about to invade or is it another elaborate Romulan ruse? You do find out but not until the very end of the twisty episode.

Yesterday's Enterprise (Episode 15)

This episode begins the same as several before it and numerous others after it - with the discovery of a 'spatial anomaly'. Of course, the buffoons aboard the Enterprise haven't learnt from their previous encounters and just have to check it out; as they're doing so, they're startled to find the USS Enterprise emerge! This is the Enterprise C though, and its emergence triggers a change in the timeline turning the Enterprise D into a dark and gloomy place devoid of families. It soon transpires that the Enterprise C was caught in the anomaly just before it indirectly began the peace process with the Klingons. Rather than doing that though, it was instead brought forward in time where the Federation has long been at war with the crinkly-headed oafs, and the only person that seems to know something has changed is Guinan. After she makes Picard aware of her concerns he's faced with a dilemma - leave the Enterprise C where it is and continue the war they're losing, or send it back to its certain destruction. Hmmm. The most notable thing about this episode is the temporary return of Tasha Yar who, in this timeline, was never killed by the ink monster in the first season, and ironically it's probably her most interesting episode yet. It's a great episode generally though, filled with more questions than it answers. It even has Shooter McGavin!

Sins of the Father (Episode 17)

In a switcheroo of 'A Matter of Honour' (second season), it's the Enterprise that receives a Klingon exchange officer this time in the form of Commander Kurn who's to act as First Officer and whose strict disciplinary regime soon grates with those under him, and he's particularly hard on Worf... until he soon reveals himself as his long-lost brother! He doesn't come with good news though - their long dead father has been blamed for collaborating with the Romulans allowing the Khitomer Massacre, a treasonous charge which Worf decides to answer in person before the High Council. It turns out his accuser is Duras whose family name would come to be very familiar over this season and the next, and the episode also shows us the Great Hall on the Klingon homeworld complete with angry-looking High Council. It's a great episode in its own right but it also, unusually for TNG, sets up a lot of stuff for future episodes too. Poor old Worf never has it easy; pile it on and join the Council in turning your back on a traitor!

The Best of Both Worlds Part 1 (Episode 26)

After the horrifyingly bad finale the second season received, the producers had a lot to make up for this time around. The attempt to do so resulted in half of TNG's first two-part episode which is today among the most famous of all episodes, and rightly so! After Q idiotically introduced the Borg to Starfleet in the last season they have apparently been hurriedly attempting to make second - and more destructive - contact. The result is initially the loss of a few mere colonies but the Enterprise's inevitable confrontation with them brings them face-to-face with what turns out to be another Borg Cube. This one, however, is headed straight for Earth, but not before seizing Captain Picard and turning him into 'Locutus of Borg' - a move that also, not coincidentally, gave the cybernetic cretins access to all of Picard's vast Federation tactical knowledge and defence information, facilitating an invasion. Tune in next season for the nerve-jangling conclusion...

Look out for my Season Four picks soon!


  1. I agree 3rd season found it's feet. But because I've watched above episodes so many times, I wont watch again with exception of Best of Both Worlds! Looking forward to yr s4 review & s5 being released on BD end of this month..... :)

  2. Hey buddy! Yep, I've watched most episodes lots of times, that's why I'm only picking my faves for these features. I've already gone through S4 and made my picks! I've no interest in seeing TNG on Blu Ray though - even big budget Hollywood films rarely look much better to me :|

  3. I finally have access to all the episodes! In addition to above episodes, I especially enjoy Booby Trap, Offspring, Tin Man and Most Toys! :)

  4. Yep, they're all good episodes too. I particularly enjoy Data's defiant attitude in Most Toys! Maybe it's time to watch some of them again :P