It’s time for Craggus’ Trek Trek Phase II Omnibus – Vol.21 – smoke ’em if you got ’em!

Here’s your weekly Omnibus Edition of Craggus’ Trek Trek Phase II covering Season 6 episodes 16 to 22:

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#StarTrekTNG S6E16 - Birthright, Part I ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The start of one of TNG's most tedious and ramshackley constructed two-parters. It's the kind of two-parter we'd have got back in season two if they did them. In fact, it's not really a two-parter, it's one and a half episodes' worth of turgid Klingon POW drama with a bonus half episode cross-over with DS9 that wastes Doctor Bashir and sees Data putting in an early audition to be the three-eyed raven. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We're back to raking through the ashes of the Khitomer massacre from which all of Worf's backstory seems to be sourced as rumours surface of survivors of the original massacre, possibly even Mogh, Worf's father. Meanwhile, Data encounters Doctor Bashir tinkering with some alien doodah without authorisation (almost as if the chief of security was otherwise occupied). Worf goes off on another of his wild goose chases and Data gets zapped by said alien doodah, triggering a dormant dream program put there by Doctor Soong. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ As the Klingon POW drama fills the whole of the next episode, I'll focus on the Data subplot for this episode (which isn't mentioned at all in part 2). The dreams are suitably surreal and veteran Trek director Winrich Kolbe gives the episode much needed interest by finding new and innovative ways to shoot the standing sets but there's no getting away from the fact the HD upscaling is mercilessly unforgiving and so while Data gets all misty eyed over visions of his doppelgängdad all the audience get is an answer to the question: 'Do androids dream of unconvincing stunt doubles?' ⭐⭐ #StarTrek #TheNextGeneration #birthrightpart1 #CraggusTrekTrekPhaseII #StarTrekTheNextGeneration #deepspacenine #alexandersiddig #siddigelfadil #doctorjulianbashir #data #doctornooniansoong #khitomermassacre #klingons #worf #michaeldorn #brentspiner

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#StarTrekTNG S6E17 - Birthright, Part II ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Although Mogh is not amongst them, Worf still finds much to quarrel with the survivors of the Khitomer Massacre until he's distracted by the half Klingon/ half Romulan Ba'el, daughter of his jailer Tokath. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ To its credit, the episode devotes a significant amount of time and effort to fleshing out these refugees and their lives of voluntary captivity. The trouble is, their very reasonableness makes Worf look like a racist asshole. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Thus he spends much of the episode trying to 'Make Klingons Great Again' while the Romulan camp leadership react with increasingly strained tolerance until the threat he presents is so severe they feel they have no alternative but to sentence him to death. Their decision to do it by dramatic firing squad gives Worf just the platform he needs to incite the young Klingons he's been radicalising to rally around him and reject their friends and family. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Ultimately, we have a Star Trek story where one of our heroes finds an idyllic, diverse settlement of Romulans and Klingons living together in peace and systematically destroys it because it offends his sense of racial purity. What an IDIC. ⭐⭐ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #StarTrek #TheNextGeneration #birthrightpart2 #CraggusTrekTrekPhaseII #StarTrekTheNextGeneration #worf #michaeldorn #racism #romulans #klingons #IDIC

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#StarTrekTNG S6E18 - Starship Mine ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It's #DieHard on the Enterprise albeit as the Captain, Picard can hardly claim to the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. Also, this is definitely not a Christmas movie. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Of course, to the gang planning to raid the Enterprise from precious trilithium, Picard is very much in the wrong place at the wrong time but they don't know who they're dealing with initially thanks to Picard's claim to be Mr Mot the barber. The episode moves along at (an ocasionally literal) breakneck speed, all the better to prevent you from dwelling on the fact this is yet another episode which illustrates just how absurdly easy it is to take over the Federation flagship. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It's a fun, action-orientated episode giving Picard the lion's share of the action while the rest of the crew are relegated to attending awkwardly dull drinks reception. It's just a pity that while Picard takes on the John McLane role, he's not given a Hans Gruber of his own to yippee-ki-yay against. It does, however, feature a pre-Voyager Tim Russ making the first of several pre-Tuvok appearances in the franchise. ⭐⭐⭐ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #StarTrek #TheNextGeneration #starshipmine #CraggusTrekTrekPhaseII #StarTrekTheNextGeneration #diehard #patrickstewart #timruss #isdiehardachristmasmovie

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#StarTrekTNG S6E19 - Lessons ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If music be the food of love, Picard's about to go on a crash diet. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When a feisty new head of stellar cartography is assigned to the Enterprise, Picard finds himself smitten with her forthright attitude. He's further enamoured when he discovers she has a penchant for music and invites her to his quarters to show her his Ressikan flute and enjoy his fingering. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Unfortunately, the course of true love never did run smooth and it's not long before Picard finds himself favouring her departmental requests and reluctant to assign her to any missions which may be dangerous. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Lessons is a bittersweet love story which benefits from a warm - if not sizzling - chemistry between its two leads and while it gives Stewart an opportunity to play a very different side of Picard, it's hard not to wonder if it's a little *too* different. It seems so unlike the Picard we've come to know and admire to have his head turned so easily and his heart to overrule his head (especially when he just recently ensured he was stabbed through it so he could live a life of risk) when it comes to his duty as Captain. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Wendy Hughes delivers a wonderful performance, though, as Lt Cmdr Nella Daren and although her relationship with Picard was doomed by their mutual devotion to duty, it's still a shame we never get to see her again. ⭐⭐⭐ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #StarTrek #TheNextGeneration #lessons #CraggusTrekTrekPhaseII #StarTrekTheNextGeneration #patrickstewart #jeanlucpicard #wendyhughes #nelladaren #ressikanflute #fingering

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#StarTrekTNG S6E20 - The Chase ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When Picard's old archaeology teacher drops in for a visit, he brings a special present for Picard: a near mint (not in box) Kurlan naiskos playset with all the action figures but it's a bribe. Professor Galen wants Picard to take a leave of absence and accompany him on an archaeological expedition of galactic import. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Although tempted, Picard declines the offer and Professor Galen departs in his shuttle, only to be fatally attacked by a Yridian vessel. Investigating the attack, the Enterprise crew discover that Galen was indeed onto something - something the Romulans, Klingons and Cardassians are also keen to get their hands on. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It's a bit of a thrill-ride episode with a dash of Indiana Jones swashbuckle (albeit in a very stuffy Starfleet archaeological way) as the crew follow a treasure map of clues to arrive at the answer to one of the universe's most burning questions: why do all aliens in Star Trek look like humans with stuff glued to their faces? It turns out the answer is a bit like #Prometheus, but without the killer bugs, mad android and profoundly stupid space explorers. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This is the first episode ever to feature all four headline Trek races on screen at the same time (Humans, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians) and while the mysterious and unnamed alien progenitor is played by Salome Jens who would go on to play the Founder in Deep Space Nine how wild would it have been for them to have been the same character? ⭐⭐⭐⭐ #StarTrek #TheNextGeneration #thechase #CraggusTrekTrekPhaseII #StarTrekTheNextGeneration #klingons #romulans #cadassians #salomejens #Kurlannaiskos #archeaology

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#StarTrekTNG S6E21 - Frame of Mind ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Pity poor Riker. All he's wanted to do this season is get a bit of kip but as he's busy rehearsing for Dr Crusher's latest and, apparently, most disturbing play he finds himself suffering from some kind of psychotic break and his concept of reality literally starts to fracture around him. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ A bravura script from Brannon Braga, this one really puts Riker through the wringer and cleverly flips the premise of last season's #FirstContact on its head by creating a situation where Riker may or may not be undercover on an alien planet and may or may not be insane and delusional (although because we've watched the previous 145 episodes we can be reasonably confident he is a starship commander and not a crazy person). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Frakes really ups his game in this episode and it's becoming more apparent that Riker's a character who's at his best when he's pushed to the ragged edge. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #StarTrek #TheNextGeneration #frameofmind #CraggusTrekTrekPhaseII #StarTrekTheNextGeneration #jonathanfrakes

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#StarTrekTNG S6E22 - Suspicions ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Merry Christmas! And what could be more Christmassy than a bit of Agatha Christia on the telly? Well, hold on to your medical tricorders because Dr Crusher fancies herself something of a Miss Marple in this technobabble tale of murder most foul! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Attempting to help Dr Reygar, a Ferengi scientist who is developing revolutionary metaphasic shielding, Dr Crusher invites a group of other scientists to the Enterprise to peer review the work. But when the test pilot, a Takaran scientist named Jobril is killed during a failed experiment, it seems the technology may be a dead end. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The plot thickens, however, as Dr Reyga is found murdered and Dr Crusher discovers evidence suggesting the test flight had been sabotaged. Determined to find the culprit, Crusher begins an investigation which threatens to end her Starfleet career. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It's a cute murder mystery and Gates McFadden clearly relishes the opportunity to do more than press a hypospray to other people's necks and while it's no Knives Out, the solution to the whole mystery is still satisfyingly twisty. ⭐⭐⭐ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #StarTrek #TheNextGeneration #suspicions #CraggusTrekTrekPhaseII #StarTrekTheNextGeneration #MerryChristmas #GatesMcFadden #MurderMystery #WhoopiGoldberg

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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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