Star Trek: The Next Generation (Season Two)
We’re back from the Final Frontier to take a gander at season two of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Like the previous article, I’d like to briefly touch on the episodes I liked the most, and why.
The Measure of a Man
I didn’t appreciate this episode until I watched it as an adult. The episode revolved solely around our mechanical friend, Data, and touches on a lot of the moral issues we face today.
It began with Commander Maddox, a cyberneticist, and his request to tear Data apart to figure out how he works. He argued that Data was too unique in that Starfleet would suffer a giant loss should he ever perish. He proposed to possibly build more androids, just like Data, so that this would never happen.
Naturally, everyone on the Enterprise resisted, but Riker was drafted to be to prosecutor against his will, and Picard came to Data’s defense when a hearing was called. Picard’s speech at the end of the episode, clearing Data of his obligation to go along with Maddox, still rings in my head today.This is a fantastic episode. It touches on rights, slavery, and everything related to what we know, or don’t know, about human sentience. Voyager does something similar in terms of an episode dealing with holographic rights, but that’s a story for another article.
Holy crap…an episode that actually features an alien that the Enterprise can’t defeat? Q appears out of nowhere as he’s often want to do, and takes the Enterprise for a spin into the Delta Quadrant. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because Voyager was stranded there on her maiden voyage. Anyway, Q felt that Picard needed a slap in the face and to prove that there were dangers out in the universe beyond his comprehension… and so, meet the Borg.
Half organic, half machine…this race has a collective consciousness and functions very similarly to that of a bee colony. Their primary goal is to assimilate organic and synthetic material into their society…or in other words, to turn you into one of them. Once they assimilate a person, they immediately learn all that they know and use whatever they can to improve upon themselves.
The Enterprise gets the crap beat out of them and lives are lost. The resolution was obvious, but there was still a bit of tension leading up to the end of the episode. Kudos for creating a ruthless enemy that will cause you to have nightmares.
“Peak Performance” wasn’t a bad episode…it revolved around how well some of the crew would react to a greater threat via war games. During the episode, Data must examine the challenges of coping with losing in a game of “Strategema” to a grandmaster player. It was a fun, light diversion.
Then there was “Where Silence Has Lease”, a weird but suspenseful episode that had the crew of the Enterprise running around like lab rats in a maze. It was one of the rare episodes where we got to see Picard initiate the auto destruct. One part of the episode involved Picard talking to “Data” (quotes for a reason) about death, and what his thoughts were on the afterlife…it actually inspired me to write a whole article on the subject.
“Time Squared” was a fairly good episode where the crew comes across a duplicate shuttle and Picard, learning that the Enterprise is doomed to be destroyed unless they can find a way to stop it. It kept me constantly guessing as to what the correct choice during the moment of truth should be. Picard was forced to face the worst aspects of himself as he tried to pry information out of his future self.
Season two wasn’t as bad as season one, yet there were plenty of episodes that I couldn’t watch in its entirety. In one, we followed Wesley around on some boyish crush that he had on a female governess from another world…I mean, c’mon. The season finale was one of those “rehash previous episode moments” and was downright dull. On the other hand, we got introduced to the Borg and got to see Data in a cowboy hat, so it didn’t turn out to be all that bad.
There are some that would argue that Doctor Pulaski, who only made it in as chief medical officer for one season, was better than Doctor Crusher. I have to admit, I’ll miss her rough / tough McCoy like tendencies.
Some of you may have noticed that throughout season one, the show went through multiple chief engineers and rarely showed engineering. They took Geordi off of the bridge and placed him permanently in engineering as chief engineer, which I thought was a great move. Mr. Reading Rainbow himself turned out to be a great fit for this role.
Stay tuned for a look at season three…whenever I get around to “making it so.”