Star Trek TNG review: Lonely Among Us

6 Jan

So I’ve been getting into the hilarious world of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Keep in mind, I really like the series, but I can’t deny there’s a certain amount of looniness in every single episode, and the levels of cheese are beyond knee-deep.

In this one, we have two rivaling peoples, the snake people in cashmere, vs. the dog people who really like to eat.  It’s supposed to be humorous and has absolutely nothing to do with the real plot.  Of course the snakes and the dogs hate each other and spend a lot of time plotting against each other en route to their peace conference.

In the meantime a mysterious presence is on the ship, that possess computers and people.  Basically it’s an energy entity that goes from thing to thing trying to get back home.  Whenever it’s in the ship, the ship doesn’t work.  Naturally nobody can figure out why the ship just stops functioning now and then, so of course Data decides to emulate Sherlock Holmes, because nobody’s better known to solve engine trouble like him.

Troi is my favorite character, because usually she’s not very useful, and one wonders why the captain feels like she’s helpful in any way.  She mostly says things like “I sense they’re hiding something” though never can say WHAT they are hiding.  In this one she gets to hypnotize Doctor Crusher with an ipad, and she speaks of her experience being possessed by the force.  It’s incredibly stupid and reveals almost nothing.  Oh, also, these people all have memory lapses, and they try to hide them for absolutely no reason, even the Doctor.

Also there’s a whole discussion once the Captain gets possessed of whether they should remove him from duty.  The Doctor doesn’t want to do it on psychiatric grounds, and Riker doesn’t want to do it because there’s no known threat yet.  I think we’re supposed to see this as a double bind, but the Captain turning around from a peace conference to do some mysterious research would be enough to do more than hand wring I would think.

There are things that are an absolute hoot though, like the whole crew being trapped by electricity and how it’s painfully obvious that they are waving their hands in the air at nothing.  Or the multiple reaction shots that  occur when anybody does or says anything.  And how the whole crew finds everything that Data does a hoot, while they also universally find Wesley annoying and in the way whenever he chooses to speak.

And what’s up with Wesley’s sweater anyway, did Beverly Crusher make it for him or something?  It’s this ill-fitting baggy rust orange thing that’s covered with quilting in odd parts.

In the end the Captain teleports himself out into the energy cloud, but cannot merge with it.  (It’s unclear whether the captain chose to do this, or if he kind of had to.)  When they bring him back he remembers nothing.

All in all I find the episode a moderate amount of cheesy fun, though it’s not good, by anybody’s standard, so just keep that in mind.

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