I have been going through Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray since Christmas. I currently started on the third season. I decided sometime ago to blog my top five episodes per season. I will say that I am more than satisfied with the quality of the Blu-ray releases so far.
5. Encounter at Farpoint, Pt. I & Pt. II
It was really hard to choose a top fifth episode. It was a toss up between the Encounter at Farpoint Parts I & II and the Lieutenant Worf centric episode Heart of Glory. In the end, I decided that Encounter was the better episode. Of course it started the whole series too.
In this episode we become acquainted with the characters of the Enterprise. Worf, Yar, Troi and Picard are aboard the Enterprise en route to pick up Riker, La Forge and Beverly & Wesley Crusher from Farpoint Station on Deneb IV. However the Enterprise crew is interrupted by an omnipotent asshat named Q and places all of humanity on trial (I actually love the character Q). The Enterprise undergoes saucer separation for the first time on screen (and no our favourite Betazoid/Human hybrid isn’t behind the wheel… this time…). The saucer under the command of Lieutenant Worf.
The saucer section manages to getaway and the stardrive is held on trial by Q masquerading as a Judge in a post-WWIII courtroom for a session of a kangaroo court. In the end they learn that Farpoint Station is a creature that had been suffering. The loved one came to rescue it. The Enterprise helps reunite them.
I love this episode because well. It’s awesome.
Am I seeing double?
The crew of the Enterprise comes to Data’s homeworld of Omicron Theta. It isn’t much of a homecoming for the lieutenant commander… They discover the planet lifeless, no colonists, wild and plant life remains. The away team led by no one other than Commander Riker beams down at the coordinates that the Tripoli discovered Data twenty-six years prior.
They eventually stumble across Data’s “Father” Doctor Noonian Soong’s lab. They discover a similar type android in pieces that looks identical to Data. They bring it back to the Enterprise and decide to assemble it. After the assembly of the “new” Android is complete the Android identifies himself as “Lore”. He tells them that he was built after Data and was made more humanlike.
Eventually we’ll find out that this is a lie. Lore informs Data that he was built first but because the human colonists feared him their Father Doctor Soong dissembled him and builds an “inferior” Android – Data. Lore eventually turns Data off and assumes his identity to lure the Crystalline Entity to the Enterprise to pay tribute. It turns out this entity was the root cause of destruction of Omicron Theta. It feeds on life.
Wes suspicions grow about how Data is acting and brings it forward to Picard. The Enterprise crew eventually learns of Lore’s ruse. Data and Lore fight like brothers do. Lore is beamed away.
I love this episode. It makes me wish that I too had an evil twin brother… -sigh-
3. Skin of Evil
And the goop monster enters
The Enterprise is set to rendezvous with Shuttlecraft 13 transporting Deanna Troi from a conference. The Shuttlecraft crashes into Vagra II. The crew of the Enterprise after a series of errors with the dilithium crystals is able to repair – because if you’re an engineer on a starship, you gotta be a bloody miracle worker.
When the away team led by no other but Commander Riker beams down to rescue the shuttlecraft. They come across a sinister entity known as Armus. Who was hellbent on torturing members of the Away Team and Deanna Troi. At one point he envelopes Riker. And another he downright murders Lieutenant Natasha Yar.
I loved this episode because it shows that space isn’t safe nor does everyone want to befriend you. It’s a dangerous place and gave room for awesome character development for the characters with the death of Natasha Yar.
2. Where No One Has Gone Before
Wesley Crusher wearing his hipster sweater. “Change your sweater, Wesley!” – Picard
In this episode we become acquainted with a recurring character known as The Traveler whom is important in the overall Wesley Crusher storyline. In this episode the Enterprise receives an experimental warp drive modification. Kosinski and his assistant come aboard the Enterprise.
Once they’ve installed the modification the Enterprise gets tossed across the universe to a neighboring galaxy designation M33 also known as the Triangulum Galaxy. They learn that it is Kosinski’s assistant The Traveler that caused the malfunction. The Traveler is exhausted and unsure if he has the energy to bring the Enterprise crew home.
Symptoms of this travel shows that they are see things that aren’t there. Like Picard’s mother, the rape gangs of Yar’s homeworld Turkana IV. They eventually return home to the Milky Way Galaxy with help from the Traveler assisted by no other but Wesley Crusher.
This episode is pretty detrimental for character development for two characters: Picard and Wesley Crusher. Picard learns that although Wesley Crusher is a child he is valued part of the Enterprise‘s crew. And for Wesley Crusher being promoted to acting Ensign.
I have watched this episode countless amount of times while I watched it syndicated, or on DVD and now on Blu-ray disc. Wesley was never really one of my favourite characters and he’s grown on me with my recent re-watch.
If this won’t give you nightmares… what will?
Captain Jean-Luc Picard receives a communique from an old acquaintance Captain Walter Keel to meet in secret. He is exposed to suspicious activity in the upper echelons of Starfleet. Picard returns to the Enterprise assigning Lieutenant Commander Data to investigate. They stumble across Captain Keel’s command destroyed with no survivors. Their investigation brings them to Earth. They learn that people do not seem to appear who they are. In the end, Admirals are being controlled by an alien race slug. Riker and Picard destroy the Queen.
This is my top favourite episode because I loved the conspiracy and something dark and sinister lingers in the galaxy which makes them a formidable opponent. My only disappointment is that this race’s story never continues, even though the story itself seems to be resolved.