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Star Trek: The Next Generation 2.11 (Contagion)

270px-STContagionCast:
Colm Meaney (Miles O’Brien)
Carolyn Seymour (Sub Cmdr. Taris)
Thalmus Rasulala (Captain Donald Varley)
Folkert Schmidt (Doctor)
Dana Sparks (Tactical Officer)

Writers: Beth WoodsSteve Gerber

The USS Yamato (the sister ship of the Enterprise, also a Galaxy class ship) is destroyed by a virus that also infects the Enterprise.  The source of the virus appears to be the planet Iconia, an ancient, almost mythic race.  The planet is in the Romulan Neutral Zone, so Picard orders them to go there.  When they arrive, the Enterprise starts to suffer system failures – transporters, life support, replicators and so on.  Picard beams down to the planet, as a Romulan ship catches up with them.  However, the Romulans are also suffering from system errors that cripple their ship as well.

Picard, with Data and Worf on Iconia, solve the riddle of the Iconians – it was said that they travelled the stars without ships, and Data discovers the gateways they use to do this.  Worf and Data move back to the Enterprise through a gateway as Picard sets the self destruct (to stop the Romulans getting the technology).  He leaps through the gate and appears safely – on the Roluman ship!

This is actually a highly enjoyable episode.  The destruction of the Yamoto (and all hands) at the start is quite shocking, considering the ship has the same mix of families and crew as the Enterprise herself.  The Romulans are nice to see – their ships are still breathtaking – and the Captain of their ship is played by the awesome Carolyn Seymour, who was Abby Grant in the original BBC Survivors TV series (she also appears later in this series, once as a Romulan again and another time as another alien.  She can also be seen in a couple of episodes of Voyager).  She is a great actress, and gives some gravity to the situation.

The system failures aboard the Enterprise are quite scary, although they are overcome rather easily – they do something we have all done when our computers have a virus – turned it all off and reloaded all the software.  Although it happens pretty quickly, so we can assume that the Enterprise doesn’t use Windows!

The end, where the Iconian base is exploding around Picard, and he faces either dying or going into one of the gateways and ending up who knows where, is rather tense, although again it is rather convenient that he ends up on the Romulan vessel.

But, all in all, an engaging story with nice humour and some good performances.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 5
Score: 7.5/10

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May 18, 2009 Posted by | chief o'brien, cloaking devices, destruction of a starfleet ship, iconians, romulans, system failures | | 5 Comments

Star Trek: The Next Generation 2.10 (The Dauphin)

dauphinCast:
Colm Meaney Miles O’Brien
Whoopi Goldberg Guinan
Paddi Edwards Anya
Cindy Sorenson Animal Anya
Jennifer Barlow Ensign Gibson
Mädchen Amick Anya as Teenage Girl
Peter Neptune Aron
Jamie Hubbard Salia

Writers: Leonard MlodinowScott Rubenstein

After a pair of excellent episodes, The Dauphin is a bit of an anticlimax.  It’s not that it’s horribly bad, like most of the first seven episodes of the season, but it’s not that great either.

It’s a basic plot.  The Enterprise is taking the next ruler of a planet from a planet (Salia) where she has been hidden until she is ready to rule.  Her only company on this world has been her protector, an old woman called Anya.  Anya, it turns out, is a shapeshifter and will do anything to protect Salia – even if the threat is relatively minor (for example, she orders a crewman with a mildly contagious disease to be killed).

Meanwhile, Wesley and Salia seem to like each other.  Wesley, not having had much experience with the opposite sex, goes around asking people for advice on how to approach her, and this gives us two of the best scenes in the episode.  The first is when Worf describes Klingon mate attraction techniques (complete with roar) and seems to get rather carried away.  The second is when Riker uses Guinan to demonstrate his chat up lines, but they both get so carried away they ignore Wesley who leaves in disgust.

We do not initially know that Anya (and later Salia) are shape shifters, but it is not a major shock.  Anya is very well played, and although she is a small woman you seriously get the impression that she could take on Worf.

The scenes between Wesley and Anya are quite nice, but it is still not all that substantial an story for the character.  Wesley is hard to use well, and they very rarely manage it.

So, an average tale, made slightly better by the couple of humorous scenes in the  middle.  It is something this show can sometimes do very well.

Oh, and in case you don’t know, the episode title is a French historical allusion – in France, the Dauphin was the title given to the heir apparent of the throne of France from 1350 to 1791, and from 1824 to 1830.  See, you learn something from this!

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 5
Score: 6/10

May 17, 2009 Posted by | chief o'brien, formless creature, guinan, monsters, shape shifters | | 4 Comments