Mostly spurred by Random Trek, I’ve been re-watching Star Trek: The Next Generation (god help me) and this is it: the first episode I remember really enjoying.
The plot is slightly recycled from the original series episode, The Doomsday Machine, but it’s handled differently enough to be interesting and features that guy from Buckaroo Banzai as the holographic weapons salesman. I like Geordi being left in charge even if the setup is contrived. It also means that Picard is on the planet for once, where he should be. Don’t give us your regulations crap, Riker, we want the captain in the action. The role reversal with Dr. Crusher is good and I found the resolution clever.
Wesley is not in this episode which is, of course, a blessing. I’m finding that while, yes, he himself is annoying, what’s more annoying is how the adults treat him. The episode with Lore is ridiculous. Everyone suspects Lore is no good and yet when Wesley suggests he’s switch places with Data they’re all “Shut up, Wesley! Go to your room, Wesley!” Literally. He makes us hate the main characters for being overbearing asses. Which is not a good move half way into season one.
Season one is rough. There’s no denying it. But we stuck it out because we believed. We believed that after all of Star Trek’s troubles, it could have a decent television run. We wouldn’t have to be stuck with the wasteland that was sci fi television programming from 1970-1987. Episodes like this one rewarded our belief, even if the show wouldn’t find its legs until season three.