…and so I said “Crusher? I barely even like her!” Craggus’ Trek Trek Phase II Omnibus – Vol.17

Here’s your weekly Omnibus Edition of Craggus’ Trek Trek Phase II covering Season 5 episodes 14 to 20:

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#StarTrekTNG S5E14 - Conundrum ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When the crew of the Enterprise awake to find their memories completely wiped, the stage is set for an intriguing mystery. But there's a fox in the henhouse with the mysterious Commander MacDuff suddenly part of the chain of command. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ MacDuff might as well be called MacGuffin as the sinister scheme revolves around him and his attempt to use the mind-wiped crew to carry out a devastating first strike against his species' enemies. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ While everyone else is trying to solve the mystery of the missing memories, horndog Riker basically goes door to door through the ship to make a list of crewmembers he'll be back to pick up later before deciding it's simply easier to make a move on Ensign Ro instead. It's a fun episode and a great slow-burn reveal as the characters act on some of their instinctual beliefs in the absence of their memories. It's enjoyable enough that you don't really stop to question why an alien powerful enough to brainwash an entire Galaxy-class starship would need to get someone else to do their genocidal dirty work in the first place. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #StarTrek #TheNextGeneration #conundrum #CraggusTrekTrekPhaseII #StarTrekTheNextGeneration #michelleforbes #ensignro #commandermacduff

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#StarTrekTNG S5E15 - Power Play ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ TNG does 'Return To Tomorrow' except this time there's no Sargon and everyone's a Henoch. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When the Enterprise picks up a faint distress signal, it looks like they might have discovered the resting place of the USS Essex, lost some 200 years ago. When Troi senses life beneath the storm-wracked skies of the M class moon of Mab-Bu VI, Picard sends an away team to investigate as the sensors are useless. But the shuttle is forced into a crash landing and when the away team is retrieved by Chief O'Brien's transporter pattern enhancers, they aren't the only things brought back to the ship. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Essentially a bottle show driven by a hostage plot, it's elevated by how much the cast is enjoying playing against type, especially Marina Sirtis who's having a ball as the lead villain here. Colm Meaney makes for a good henchman and it's a testament to how good an actor Brent Spiner can be that his evil-possessed-Data isn't simply a retread of Lore. There's plenty of tension and drama and, for once, everyone in the cast gets something to do. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ There are no lofty themes at play, no philosophical musings here, it's a refreshingly straightforward action thriller. Great stuff! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #StarTrek #TheNextGeneration #powerplay #CraggusTrekTrekPhaseII #StarTrekTheNextGeneration #marinasirtis #brentspiner #colmmeaney

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#StarTrekTNG S5E16 - Ethics ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ To injure your spine and be permanently paralysed once may be considered a misfortune, for it to happen twice looks like carelessness. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This time, Worf is clobbered by some poorly stacked crates and before you can say 'have you had an accident at work that wasn't your fault?' he's flat on his back in sickbay and asking Riker to help him kill himself. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In the absence of an evolutionary space Jesus to help him out this time, Worf is left to pin his hopes on the experimental treatments of visiting Doctor Toby Russell. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Despite Worf's centrality to the plot, this is actually a Dr Crusher episode and it's not one of her best. She's so pious and sanctimonious from the get-go that - given how many times she's done risky or untested things to save the day herself - it's really hard to sympathise with her position and she comes off as just being a jerk to the visiting Dr Russell. Instead of letting the ethical uncertainty over Russell's methods evolve organically, Crusher ensures the story rams them down our throat time and again, so what could have been an interesting exploration of medical ethics in extreme circumstances ends up being a lot of long-winded scenes of Doctors sulking at each other. ⭐⭐ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #StarTrek #TheNextGeneration #ethics #CraggusTrekTrekPhaseII #StarTrekTheNextGeneration

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#StarTrekTNG S5E17 - The Outcast ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Holy moly, where to start? TNG boldly wades into the ethical and moral arguments around LGBTQ rights and forced conversion therapy and decides to centre this story around…Will Riker? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Yikes. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Don't get me wrong, this could have been a bold move but given Riker's history as a straight-down-the-line horndog with an eye for the ladies, it feels curiously abrupt for him to fall for a boyish, androgynous alien, especially as it happens so quickly and with so little chemistry. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ While this episode now plays very differently in today's more enlightened and diverse understanding of sexuality than it did in the early nineties, it still does a decent job of articulating the core issues but then delivers a devestatingly downbeat ending (which it always had to do unless the writers were really going to open up a huge can of Prime Directive worms). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In a way, this episode was a long-overdue direct address of LGBTQ issues within Star Trek but in another way, it was a huge betrayal of the same topic by centring it around Riker and then never following it up as character development or evolution. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Up until this point, Riker had been resolutely, almost obnoxiously, heterosexual. He then 'falls in love' with an androgynous, boyish alien (still played by a woman though) and is enraged and upset when she is given treatment to make her asexual once again. From this potentially life-changing sexual awakening, Riker returns to his previous behaviour and never expresses any inkling of non-cishet leanings ever again. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If this episode was to mean anything, it should have brought a permanent change to Riker or been about another character altogether. Why not Geordi? After all, he's the one with a conspicuous new beard in this episode. ⭐⭐⭐ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #StarTrek #TheNextGeneration #theoutcast #CraggusTrekTrekPhaseII #StarTrekTheNextGeneration #lgbtq #asexual #androgynous

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#StarTrekTNG S5E18 - Cause and Effect ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This is a brilliant episode of Star Trek The Next Generation which takes a simple sci-fi premise and uses it for maximum eff- ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This is a brilliant episode of Star Trek The Next Generation which takes a simple sci-fi premise and uses it for maximum eff- ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This is a brilliant episode of Star Trek The Next Generation which takes a simple sci-fi premise and uses it for maximum eff- ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This is a brilliant 3pisod3 of Star Tr3k Th3 N3xt G3n3ration which tak3s a simpl3 sci-fi pr3mis3 and us3s it for maximum 3ff3ct - and also features a great cameo from Kelsey Grammer. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #StarTrek #TheNextGeneration #causeandeffect #CraggusTrekTrekPhaseII #StarTrekTheNextGeneration #dejavu #timeloop #kelseygrammer

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#StarTrekTNG S5E19 - The First Duty ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Wesley's Starfleet future is on the line is this very special episode of Saved By The Court Martial Bell. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Called back to Earth to deliver this year's commencement address at Starfleet Academy, Picard's return coincides with a serious accident which leaves Wesley injured and one cadet dead. Although it initially seems like pilot error, as Picard digs a little further, it transpires that there may be a cover-up at work. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It's a solid enough episode, elevated by it featuring so many notable appearances. It's our first-ever glimpse of Starfleet Academy itself and its legendary groundskeeper Boothby and features future Voyager mainstay Tom Paris himself Robert Duncan-McNeill. It's disputed whether or not the Voyager character was originally intended to be Cadet Locarno from this episode but another of the shamed cadets did reappear later in TNG's Lower Decks: Shannon Fill's Ensign Sito Jaxa. Makes you wonder what the actress who played the fourth cadet Jean Hajar did to piss off the producers. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I've often wondered if it was meant to be a back-door pilot for a proposed Starfleet Academy series but the fact they chose such a talky morality play argues against it. ⭐⭐⭐ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #StarTrek #TheNextGeneration #thefirstduty #CraggusTrekTrekPhaseII #StarTrekTheNextGeneration #RobertDuncanMcNeill #NicLorarno #SitoJaxa #StarfleetAcademy #WilWheaton

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#StarTrekTNG S5E20 - Cost of Living ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Lwaxana Troi brings her own version of #90dayfiancee to the Enterprise but begins to have second thoughts as her stuffy husband-to-be and his stuffier master of protocol come aboard and start cramping her style. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Meanwhile, Troi is working with Alexander and Worf to help the fractious pair deal with each other and the interference of Troi's free-spirited mother doesn't help with Worf's agenda of chores, duty and responsibility. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Meanwhile, the rest of the crew are busy dealing with some sparkly space parasites which they probably brought on board deliberately so they could avoid touching the other two storylines with a barge pole. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It's another of those occasional TNG missteps where it almost feels like an anthology show made up of various discarded or alternative draft b-stories wrapped up together to make an episode's running time. It's also definitely one of the episodes which forms the basis for the 'Alexander episodes are terrible' hypothesis. ⭐⭐ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #StarTrek #TheNextGeneration #costofliving #CraggusTrekTrekPhaseII #StarTrekTheNextGeneration #brianbonsall #majelbarrett #lwaxanatroi

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Tune in next week for the next Omnibus or follow @TheCraggus on Instagram to get Craggus’ Trek Trek Phase II directly in your feed. 🖖

 

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