Category Archives: Star Trek Review

REVIEW: Star Trek Voyager “Riddles”

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Tuvok and Neelix are returning from a trade mission aboard the Delta Flyer when Tuvok is attacked by a mysterious cloaked intruder. The attack leaves Tuvok with amnesia and as such he develops emotion and new interests. Meanwhile Janeway with the help of an alien official goes in search of the cloaked aliens in order to find the weapon that hit Tuvok to help the Doctor develop a way to heal him and restore who he was. However Tuvok is unsure as to whether he wants to return to his old self.

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The main purpose of this episode is to explore Neelix and Tuvok’s relationship by allowing Tuvok to close down his logical barriers and see things as Neelix does. I was uncertain how interested I would be with this but actually Tim Russ and Ethan Phillips both give wonderful performances that add real substance to the characters. It’s a testament to Ethan Phillips’ ability to emote despite the extensive prosthetics he is required to wear. The search for the aliens is relegated to a B-plot in this episode but is still interesting. All the way through however I suspected that Naroq’s people, the Kesat, were not as innocent as Naroq appears. This is something the writers of “Voyager” liked to do a lot but I was pleasantly surprised that for me at least the twist came that there wasn’t the twist I was expecting.

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This is one of Star Trek’s more touching episodes and is an exploration of our characters rather than space. We are mostly exploring Neelix’s persistent efforts to befriend Tuvok over the previous six years and how they have achieved very little. I have to admit when Tuvok realizes how he has behaved toward Neelix Tim Russ gave a very emotional performance and I was a little choked up. It showed that Neelix was a true friend even if that friendship wasn’t wholly returned. I was then infuriated by Tuvok at the end when he returned to normal and treated Neelix like normal. I left this episode disliking Tuvok immensely. For someone who is supposed to be emotionless he displays irritation regularly. One touch I did like, intentional or not, was Tuvok’s new found interest in cooking which was a nod to the season two episode “Tuvix”.

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Watching Naroq reminded me of Fox Mulder in the early episodes of “The X-Files” just far more annoying. That being said I have to say I was touched by his own sacrifice of his equipment at the end. The annoying enthusiasm we saw in the first half of the episode actually added weight to this sacrifice as I got the feeling he really was giving up his life’s work even after getting so close. Perhaps he had gone far enough with Voyager’s crew to satisfy his own curiosity.

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For “Star Trek: Voyager” this was an above average episode with a deeply personal feel to it; I find that episodes that revolve around Neelix and the Doctor are usually emotional ones. There could have been a bit more action with the aliens and it would have been nice to see them fully rather than just an outline but that’s me just being picky.

Thanks for reading…

REVIEW: Star Trek Voyager “Alice”

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HARRY KIM: It’s just an old rust bucket.

TOM PARIS: Are you kidding? Look at those lines, it’s a work of art. That ship wasn’t assembled, it was sculpted. I think I’m in love.

Voyager stumbles across a junkyard in space and Paris finds his latest love interest hidden among them in the form of a mean looking little shuttlecraft. He convinces Chakotay to buy the shuttle for him and he begins working on restoring it apparently with honourable interests. Soon however his work on the shuttle, which he names Alice after a lost love interest from his Academy days, becomes an obsession and he misses duty shifts and time with friends to keep working on getting Alice ready for flight. It becomes clear that there is more going on here than meets the eye but before Voyager can do anything about it Paris escapes aboard Alice before he is nearly killed by a particle fountain.   

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In a nutshell this is a Star Trek take on Stephen King’s “Christine” and it’s not just coincidental; Brannon Braga admitted that King’s work was a source of inspiration for this episode. If you are going to pay homage to the classic horror story about a possessed Cadillac then naturally it is going to be a Tom Paris focused episode. The montage of him fixing up the ship seem intentionally designed to resemble a mechanic working on a car with Paris on a trolley to slide underneath the ship (what could be sticking out of the hull to work on is anyone’s guess). I can’t help but feel this isn’t one of Robert Duncan McNeil’s best performances however and that’s a shame. In the similarly themed episode “Drive” (click here for my review) he seemed to have much more enthusiasm and I think the conflict with Torres in that episode made for a better story. I am not saying he doesn’t seem to be bothered but it just feels like he could do better. In fairness I think the script could have something to do with it also.

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As for Alice; the little ship looked excellent. It was certainly a mean looking craft even though it was merely an extensive redress of the Type-9 shuttle. It is a testament to the skill of the art department that on such a tight budget as most TV shows like Voyager are that they could do so much. It does seem shockingly well armed however and it’s two shots against Voyager seem to be enough to blow up a few computer consoles on the bridge. As for the projection of Alice in Paris’ mind Claire Rankin managed to nail the creepy jealous girlfriend vibe down to a tee. She is genuinely unsettling and makes you feel awkward everytime she is on screen. 

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This was a premise that was wide open for a Star Trek homage. It is certainly an interesting one with enough technobabble in the first two acts to give us an explanation for what is happening without wondering if this is the first episode with a genuine ghost or demon. Sadly it is let down by a poor script that after a promising start can’t keep up the pace then goes in to fifth gear to wrap up quickly. Was it really necessary to waste minutes with Kim and Torres moaning to one another about Tom’s latest obsession? I would much rather devote that time to develop more of Alice’s motivation for going to the particle fountain which she calls “Home”. We never get an explanation as to why she wants to go there so desperately.

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But perhaps the biggest thing that really gets on my nerves about this episode is Chakotay’s line;

We already have a full compliment of shuttles. 

No you don’t! In the previous five years Voyager had lost numerous shuttles. Now, on a Galaxy-class ship like the Enterprise-D that wouldn’t really be a problem but for the relatively minuscule Intrepid-class Voyager still 50,000 light years from the Alpha Quadrant they must surely be on their last one or two shuttles by now. Why didn’t the writers proceed on the lines of they needed a new shuttle? It surely wouldn’t affect the story in anyway. This just reflects the biggest problem I had with Voyager during its entire run and that is the stories rarely reflect the fact that this is a crew far from home. Many of the stories are like TNG episodes in terms of resources used when the need for resupply should have been a recurring theme throughout the show and not just in the first series. To really balls it up though this episode later has Chakotay saying he cant spare certain resources because they are in short supply in the Delta Quadrant. Come on! Make up your mind. With regards to the shuttlecraft debacle the answer could be that if they could build the Delta Flyer then they could build new shuttles too but where is that in the dialogue – nowhere. Also where is Neelix’s ship?

There; rant over.

In conclusion this was a slightly below average Star Trek episode. It had an excellent premise and good start but it failed to keep it together. Its a real shame. 

REVIEW: Star Trek DS9 “In Purgatory’s Shadow”

Tony Wilkins reviews one of the pivotal episodes of DS9’s story. WARNING: Spoilers!


 

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A mysterious Cardassian signal from the Gamma Quadrant found to be from Enabran Tain, the former head of the shadowy Obsidian Order, leads Garek and Worf through the wormhole to trace it’s origins. Instead what they find is the start of a series of events that will reshape the Gamma Quadrant.

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“In Purgatory’s Shadow” is one of the pivotal episodes of Deep Space Nine. It marks the start of the events that will lead to the Dominion War that will dominate the show’s final two seasons and give fans some of best action sequences and most gripping drama Star Trek has ever seen. On it’s own too the episode offers twists, turns and thrills so let’s delve in to “In Purgatory’s Shadow”. Harking back to the first time I saw this episode I was thrilled with the teaser where we see Garek trying to steal a Runabout only to be thwarted by none other than Dr Bashir. I thought this was a wonderful point in their relationship whereby after five years of trying to convince the good doctor that not everybody is as enlightened as the Federation Garek himself would bare witness to Dr Bashir learning when to trust him and when not to. I loved it and Garek too admits how impressed he is. Unfortunately of course in hindsight we now know that this wasn’t Dr Bashir at all but one of the founders. It made sense but it ruined the fun of seeing Bashir become a bit more of the spy we have always wanted him to be. On the note of Bashir being replaced by a changeling I know this is a polarizing plot point for a lot of people since we learn that for a certain number of previous episodes it was never Bashir. I personally thought this was a good angle but the only problem I have with it is that Odo never caught on with this changeling when we have seen him recognise others in the past. This must have been a very good changeling.

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Garek and Worf have some of the best scenes in this episode and I think it’s largely due to the setting. There’s something about being taken off the station and put in the cramp confines of a Runabout that brings out the most enjoyable moments for me. We saw it many times throughout the series such as with Sisko and Dukat when they were investigating the Maquis and then Sisko again but with Eddington hunting for missile silos in the badlands. It’s as if putting them in that tiny ship allows the viewer to block out everything else and focus on these two individuals. In this episode I loved how Garek proves he can even manipulate the otherwise stoic Worf to disobeying Sisko’s orders about crossing in to Dominion space. I did love the line Worf had before they set off when Sisko asks if he was joking about killing Garek at the first sign of betrayal to which Worf replies, “We shall see.” I will admit even now I wonder if Worf was joking or not.

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And now, as General Chang put it during Kirk’s trial, we come to the quintessential devil in these matters; Dukat. I have said it many times; Marc Alaimo as Gul Dukat was one of the best casting choices in all of Star Trek. The man was born to play Dukat and I honestly don’t think there is a Dukat story or even a scene that I don’t like. He is just such a thrilling character and while his role is downplayed a little in this episode perhaps to increase the surprise that will come in the next episode he still has some wonderful scenes. I found this episode sad however in that having given everything up for his daughter Ziyal that he now finds himself having to abandon her on the station knowing his plans will call for DS9’s eventual destruction. Worse still it’s because she loves one of his sworn enemies. It was also sad to see how his relationship with Kira takes a turn for the worse because of the situation although both these relationships will be rectified quite quickly.

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The real tease of this episode is the Dominion fleet that Worf detects and everything points to a full on invasion of the Alpha Quadrant. Of course this turns out to not be entirely true but it was nevertheless exciting. Continuity is always a highly sought after prize amongst Trekkies and I have to give this episode credit for mentioning the losses Starfleet has taken to the Klingons and the Borg in the previous year. In by doing this Sisko is of course referring to the Borg incursion we see in “Star Trek: First Contact”. The plan to seal the wormhole was not as thrilling a plot point however. We all knew it would fail because we still had Worf and Garek in the Gamma Quadrant and they stumble across the real Bashir too so that’s three characters that would be trapped there. Also we knew that the writers weren’t finished with the celestial temple story so there was more to be told there. This was a classic case of Trek writers trying to mislead the viewers forgetting that Trekkies know the universe and the order of things.

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So now let’s move on to the internment camp. I was really pleased that this episode went some way to explain what happened to a handful of surivors from the Cardassian and Romulan fleet that attacked the founders in the previous season. Again it helped expand the continuity of the series establishing the show as a bigger story. As much as it was shocking to find out Bashir had been replaced by a changeling it was also great surprise to see the real General Martok technically for the first time. This is another thing we have to be thankful to this episode for as it gave us yet another character that would become well loved by fans. One scene I have always found intriguing was Tain’s death scene. I always knew that Tain and Garek had a pseudo father/son relationship but I don’t believe that what they were talking about was true. I personally think it was more of a final chance for two great spymasters to exercise their talent for deception one last time. That’s what I believe anyway and I would never want a final answer on it either way. I prefer the mystery.

This was definitely one of DS9’s best if purely for the fact that it sets up so many plot points for the future. A lot happens in this episode but as a credit to the writing and direction it doesn’t feel constricted or forced together as happens in so many other pivotal episodes of shows such as this.

Thanks for reading…

 

REVIEW: Star Trek Voyager “Drive”

Tony Wilkins looks at the danger involved in having a Pussycat Doll take part in a shuttle race


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While testing the rebuilt Delta Flyer, Tom and Harry (everytime I say that I keep thinking “Where’s Dick?”) stumble across the beautiful Irina in her race oriented shuttle. Thus begins the story of how the crew of Voyager find themselves participating in a ceremonial race to celebrate peace amongst previously warring groups of factions but alas there is a plot afoot. At the same time B’Elaana starts questioning whether her relationship with Tom is worth saving.

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This episode has been viewed in two ways. Firstly it has been called “NASCAR in space” for the race element and secondly it is known as being a sequel to the earlier Paris-shuttle-obsessed episode “Alice”. To be honest neither of those descriptions are accurate. The race, despite a high speed start, feels more like a yacht race than NASCAR despite the collisions which were supposed to be exciting. As for the similarity to the previous episode they both take place in shuttles and that’s it.

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This is an enjoyable romp. I don’t think it was ever supposed to be taken as a serious episode despite the efforts to do so in the third act and beyond. I would never say that this is one of Star Trek Voyager’s best episodes but it is one I do like watching. I have always thought this episode was probably inspired by the pod racing in Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace and indeed when the racers set off it does look very similar. From there on it becomes more like the yacht racing I said earlier but that’s not a criticism. I think shuttle racing probably would be more like this. Neelix’s commentary was delightful although I thought the gag about Tuvork and his security report was a little contrived. I also have to give the episode credit for actually giving the race a bit of meaning with the history of conflict being replaced by sporting events. For a real world comparison the Olympics have always been events where politics (in theory at least) are put aside in the name of friendly competition.

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The story of Tom and B’Elaana’s faltering relationship actually started to bore me after a while and I think is probably the weakest aspect of the episode. We start off learning what a bad boyfriend Tom is and because he threw the race away to prove he loved her they are married in the end? I think that was terrible. B’Elanna has a big scene with Neelix where she gives all the reasons in the Delta Quadrant for ending the relationship. I’d buy that their relationship was back on track by the end but B’Elaana should have said “Yes” but then given him a long engagement to make sure they are right for one another. The whole thing was rushed and I hate that.

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Cyia Batten’s Irina joins the long list of beautiful women who Harry falls for right before she is found to be evil. Yes – the young Ensign is shockingly unlucky in love during his time in the Delta Quadrant. Irina’s sole purpose in this episode is eye candy for red blooded males who might be getting a bit tired of Jeri Ryan. She has almost no backstory and hence no established motive for why she wants to sabotage the race other than she is a racist. What she does have is yet another tight fitting bodysuit. The Voyager costume department went all out on their apparent bodysuit fetish in this episode having Irina, Tom, Harry, B’Elaana and the aliens all wearing clothes so tight that the actor’s sweat couldn’t even escape. I am sure being a Pussycat Doll Cyia Batten was used to such costumes.

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In summary this is a fun episode at times but there is too much going on with effectively three different stories all clumsily interwoven. I do have a soft spot for it because I love the idea of space racing but I think it would have been better as an early DS9 story with Bajorans, Cardassians and a DS9 team racing. I think this because we would already know so much of the history and hostility it would add more weight to the story. That’s my two cents on it anyway.

Thanks for reading…

REVIEW: Star Trek Enterprise “Cold Station 12”

Tony Wilkins continues his review of probably the best story arc of “Star Trek: Enterprise”, that of the Augments, with part 2. WARNING: This will contain spoilers (it’s about time I put one of these in the intro).


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“Cold Station 12” has the unenviable task of being the middle segment of the arc. There have always been risks with three-parters and more often than not it is a week middle episode. In the case of the Augment arc however this is largely irrelevant as the first episode concentrated so much on the Orion rescue story that it effectively had a stand alone feel to it. It is safe to say therefore that “Cold Station 12” is really where the Augment story arc truly begins with no more side stories. True we needed the introduction of our newest characters in “Borderland” but know we can get on with it.

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So let’s break it down. The episode is named after the facility where the embryos for the Augments were stored after the Eugenics Wars (presumably they were moved there from a facility on Earth after Zefram Cochrane’s warp flight). It is Soong’s plan to steal the rest of them and raise them elsewhere but in order to do that he must penetrate the station’s defenses. The station is now under the command of Jeremy Lucas, the man we have seen Phlox writing to in several episodes. Lucas holds out from revealing the security codes until Enterprise can arrive but despite Enterprise’s interference Soong escapes with the embryos.

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This episode is really the story of Soong learning what his ‘children’ have become without his guidance. You can’t help but feel for him at times as you watch the fatherly pride he had in “Borderland” start to break down as he sees the truth. It begins with him learning that Malik has killed his brother who was the former leader of the Augments but Malik lies about how it happened and while Soong suspects this he refuses to face that truth. As they take the station he starts to learn the cruel side of Malik and the Augments and this is topped by the discovery of ‘Smike’ – the Augment who was not good enough to stay part of the group back on the planet. This was one of the best aspects of this episode as Soong goes from being an unlikeable character to one that plays on your sympathies. Soong’s journey in this episode is crucial to a point that will arise in the final episode.

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In my review of “Borderland” I said that Star Trek Into Darkness felt like it was linked to the Augment arc in some way. Nowhere is this more clear than in a scene early on in this episode where Soong is discussing ways of getting in to Cold Station 12 with his ‘children’ and Malik recommends destroying the life support system and waiting for everyone to suffocate so they can walk in (in space suits presumably) unopposed. Now when I see this scene I can hear Benedict Cumberbatch’s Khan Singh saying,

“I shall walk over your cold corpses”

It is uncanny how both Khan and Malik had a similar plan and while I know it wasn’t a deliberate link I do like that it is there.

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This was an above average violent episode for Star Trek. Whereas in most episodes characters get a punch and have a slight cut on their faces in this we see Lucas get a real beating with numerous cuts and bruises while suffering severe pain from internal injuries. If that wasn’t enough we also get a scientist getting killed in horrific fashion by one of the diseases stored there. It’s worth mentioning that a lot of this was cut out for airing in the UK so there were censors worried about it in what is still considered a family show. I would not say that the violence was gratuitous but was the right amount to serve its purpose of forcing Lucas to reveal the codes and to help further divide Malik and Soong.

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The action sequences in the asteroid field between the Bird-of-prey and Enterprise were stunning to watch and I would go as far as to say they are one of the best looking of the entire series. Sadly they are short in length as the bulk of the action happens on Cold Station 12. One continuing criticism I have of Star Trek Enterprise as a series is that Scott Bakula can’t do tough in my honest opinion. So everytime he appears to be sacrificing himself I just don’t believe it like I would if it was any of the other four captains. I hate saying it because I was a huge fan of Scott Bakula during his Quantum Leap days but he was not suited to the role of a Star Trek captain. He just doesn’t carry the authority of Patrick Stewart or Avery Brooks.

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This episode had some wonderful scenes to it. Of particular note for me was the scene in which Captain Archer discusses Denobulan uses of genetic engineering and how it has benefited their race. We can see already how we get from Earth’s total ban on genetic engineering in the 22nd century to how in the 24th century Federation policy is that it is to be used to correct birth defects and tackle diseases thanks to Denobulan influence. The same happens with the Vulcan’s non-interference directive becoming the prime directive.

This was a good episode with a lot of drama. It really was Brent Spiner’s episode and it’s to his credit that this one worked so well. Watching all three episodes back to back you really see why Soong decides to make the decisions he will make in part 3 and Malik’s growing rebelliousness is an obvious portent for the future. In truth it was obvious from the start as you ask “Will Augments so disgusted by ‘normal’ people really follow someone who isn’t an Augment forever?”

 

REVIEW: Star Trek The Next Generation “The Pegasus”

Tony Wilkins reviews the Star Trek The Next Generation episode “The Pegasus”


Admiral Eric Pressman of Starfleet Intelligence arrives aboard the USS Enterprise with a secret mission for Picard and Riker. Pressman and Riker’s former ship, the USS Pegasus, once presumed destroyed has resurfaced and is in danger of falling in to Romulan hands. While the Enterprise searches an asteroid belt (with a Romulan Warbird close by) Picard begins to uncover that there was a mutiny onboard the Pegasus before it was destroyed and that Riker is deliberately hiding facts from him leading to one of their most fiery confrontations of the whole series. Upon discovering the Pegasus the Enterprise-D becomes trapped inside an asteroid after the entrance is closed off by the Romulans. It is then Riker finally reveals the truth; the Pegasus was testing an interphasic cloaking device in violation of a treaty the Federation signed in good faith. Picard fits the device to the Enterprise-D and uses it to escape the asteroid but not before revealing the truth to the Romulans.

“The Pegasus” is one of my all time favorite episodes of The Next Generation. It is one of the most military episodes that the show ever made and the whole affair plays out like a classic Cold War submarine story such as “The Hunt For Red October”. Like the Tom Clancy novel there is a new weapon that both sides are trying to get their hands on. Ron Moore who wrote the episode actually cited “Raise the Titanic” as his primary inspiration for the story and we can clearly see the comparison.


This episode would not have been so interesting had it not been for Terry O’Quinn’s guest performance as Pressman. O’Quinn had been used to playing a high ranking US Navy officer as a recurring guest star in JAG and so brought the authoritarian persona with him quite well. Pressman joins the long list of Starfleet Admirals who have gone mad but it was O’Quinn’s performance that made this one all the more believable and give a higher quality to the role. At times he makes some valid points which gives you some sympathy with the character although that sympathy soon disperses when you hear that he is quite remorseless about the loss of his former crew in trying to achieve the goal of giving Starfleet cloaking technology. A little known fact is that there were efforts to have O’Quinn reprise the role in future episodes of Deep Space Nine although that ultimately failed to blossom.

While this has been cited as one of Jonathan Frakes’ best episodes I have always seen it more as one of Picard/Riker’s best. The conflict that arises between the two over Riker’s refusal to reveal the truth to Picard is what makes this so fascinating to watch. Given that it was the last season the two actors now knew how to work off one another and it showed brilliantly. The scene in Picard’s quarters is one of the most tense moments between them ever seen on screen. It’s interesting to note that while Gene Roddenberry was alive he strictly opposed such character conflict believing humans had evolved beyond such petty arguments. This is why there was little character conflict in the early seasons but writers such as Moore felt this limited their ability to tell good stories and I have to admit that judging by this episode and a few others I have to agree. Even with our closest friends and colleagues there will be times we wont agree and to be true to life you have to show this.

One of my favorite scenes was watching Picard talking to the Romulan commander when the Enterprise arrives in the asteroid field. It has all the usual political double talk with both sides not saying much directly but indirectly there is a mutual understanding of the rules of the game. It really enforces my opinion that this plays out like a good Cold War story. It’s like the Soviets saying “we’re JUST conducting a test of our newest missile” when in reality what they are saying is “look at our newest missile; if you cause trouble this is coming your way.”

Perhaps the biggest contribution to the Star Trek universe this episode makes is the revelation about why when Starfleet often appears more technologically advanced than either the Klingons or Romulans do they not have cloaking technology? The real reason from a writer’s perspective is that cloaking technology is seen as a tool of the villain but having a treaty prohibiting the technology was a good way of explaining it in-context even if it does feel a little stretched. Sticking to the Cold War analogy it would be akin to the US signing a treaty preventing it from deploying nuclear missile submarines. I loved the fact that the cloaking device itself is largely transparent; it’s like saying even the components are cloaked. An interesting sidenote is that in the expanded universe of the Star Trek:Titan novels it is revealed that all Federation ships carry schematics for building cloaking devices hidden within their databanks should the Romulans ever start a war thereby nullifying the Treaty of Algeron. This is similarly implied on-screen in the final episode of The Next Generation, “All Good Things” where in the future scenes the Romulan Empire is under Klingon occupation and as such Federation starships now have cloaks.

I do have to pick some faults with the episode though in the interests of fairness. Being a technogeek my first complaint was the USS Pegasus itself. I know they had to use a previously established class as a cost saving measure but why the Oberth-class? It is probably the most uninteresting Starfleet design ever. Given that Pressman describes the ship as a prototype technology testbed for systems installed aboard ships like the Enterprise-D wouldn’t it have made more sense to use the Ambassador-class model or even an Excelsior-class to imply the common belief that modernized Excelsiors were still being built in the mid 24th century (which explains why 80 years after the original Excelsior there are still vast numbers of the class in service and still putting up a good performance against the Dominion). Apparently a new design was considered hence Pressman’s line but this was dropped at the last minute on cost grounds.

My second criticism of the episode comes with the scene where the Enterprise goes inside the asteroid. I understand the reasoning behind it with regards to the story and drama but was it really necessary to endanger the crew and their families (who seem to be onboard occasionally by this point) like that? Surely it would have made more sense to separate the saucer section and take the engineering hull in. This would have the advantage of reducing the mass of the ship so the engines wouldn’t have to work so hard in the gravitational sheer and keeping the vast majority of the crew/families out of danger. The real answer of course is that this would not make for good storytelling because the separated saucer section could have prevented the Romulans from sealing Picard and co. inside the asteroid.

Those things being said; I can overlook them. This was a fascinating story and is one that perhaps best plays out better as a repeat when you feel like you too are now hiding the secret of the cloak along with Riker and Pressman. Would I have wanted to see Pressman again? No, it is better to have appeared in one good episode than in several possibly mediocre ones and Terry O’Quinn’s performance will leave this episode a legend in its own right. Its just a shame it was sullied by the last episode of Star Trek:Enterprise.

Why?????

Thanks for reading…

REVIEW; Star Trek: The Next Generation “Yesterday’s Enterprise”

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I have been a fan of Star Trek for as long as I can remember. I first started watching it in the late 1980s when Star Trek The Next Generation was still going through its maturity phase of Seasons 2 and 3. Star Trek has evolved a long way since then and there are countless moments or episodes that stand out. I have often been asked what my favorite episode is and in truth I can never decide. I therefore often compile lists of my favorite episodes. These lists tend to change from time to time but one episode above all others has always appeared on that list. I am referring to “Yesterday’s Enterprise”.


Season 3 will be remembered by most for its penultimate episode “Best of Both Worlds Part 1” but hidden in among the series was this gem. It has often been remembered simply as the one where Tasha Yar comes back but it’s much more than that. Although 41 minutes occur in an alternate timeline there are several moments that set up important plotlines for later episodes.

So let’s begin.

The episode begins simply enough with Worf sitting alone in Ten Forward when he is approached by Guinan insisting he try a drink. This drink would prove an almost religious experience for Worf for it is the first time he tries Prune Juice; a drink that would later become a trademark of the character as he describes it as “A warrior’s drink“. Worf is called to the bridge as the crew stumble across a temporal anomaly. A ship appears from the anomaly and everything changes. The Enterprise-D takes on a menacing tone, Wesley Crusher is wearing a uniform, the other ship turns out to be the Ambassador-class Enterprise-C and Tasha Yar has replaced Worf entirely.


This scenario seems a little tired now as we have seen it several times since but back then it was new and interesting. Before the opening credits we already have a sense that in this new timeline things are not great even though we know nothing of it yet except for the aforementioned changes. This is such a compliment to the production values of this episode. Having seen the altered credit sequence of the mirror universe episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise I can’t help but wish they had done something similar here too.

So once we have come to terms that we are in a new timeline we start learning a few things. Firstly this new timeline has been created as a result of the Enterprise-C not getting blown up 22 years earlier and Guinan’s sixth sense tells her the ship has to go back although she can’t tell us why which is an almost certain suicide mission. As the episode progresses we learn that the Federation is at war with the Klingons and eventually Picard reveals that they are just months away from surrender. Captain Garrett of the Enterprise-C decides to do the honorable thing and lead her ship back but is killed in a brief battle with the Klingons before she can do so. Then finally under the captaincy of the helmsman, the brash Lt. Castille, and along with this alternate Tasha Yar the Enterprise-C returns to its own time to be destroyed and repair the timeline. Worf is back and everything is right with the universe.

It’s difficult for me to put a finger on what it is about this episode that makes it one of my favorites. I never liked Tasha Yar very much and so seeing her again was not really appealing to me although it really did make me feel like I was watching an episode set in an alternate universe (something similar episodes often failed to achieve). The sad part is though I really liked this Tasha. Denise Crosby gave her a heart and that is probably the biggest tragedy in this episode – we saw what Tasha could have been not the forgettable character she was in Season 1.


I have to get this out of the way – I adore the Ambassador-class Enterprise-C. I am so glad they didn’t just reuse the Excelsior-class model which they had done several times for other starships. It really made this Enterprise feel as unique as the Enterprise-D even though we had no real idea of its history. The bridge is another redress of the battle bridge set but I don’t care. It looked the part and really made me feel like I was on a ship from the end of the so-called movie-era of Starfleet. That being said I don’t understand why the crew were portrayed without the undershirt and belt of the movie-era uniforms. It just made them look half dressed.

Captain Garrett really felt like a proto-Janeway in her few scenes. She felt very real and had that gung-ho attitude that comes with being captain of the Enterprise. Lieutenant Castillo on the other hand, while he had a lot of screen time, has never endeared me as much as Garrett. I do like him but I would have been happier if Garrett had remained alive long enough to command her ship at the end.


Some of the biggest changes of this timeline are perhaps the most subtle and are only really picked up upon after watching the episode several times. Picard and Riker at times feel like they are very distant with one another as though they have a history of conflict. Thats understandable in the high stress environment of a ship at war and again gave what are in-effect ‘new’ characters a lot of depth. Every set aboard the Enterprise-D has a darker tone reflecting the scenario. The repeated PA announcements also make it feel like a US or Royal Navy destroyer in war. One thing I never liked was Picard’s “military log” however. Starfleet had been through wars before the timeline split after Narendra III and kept the “captain’s log” so why change it now?

The climax of the episode is of course not the battle at Narendra III but rather the battle to get the Enterprise-C back to its own time. Patrick Stewart has had some great lines during his time as Picard and I plan to list my favorites in a future post but in this episode he gives one of the best lines he had given at least to that point.

Let’s make sure history never forgets the name…Enterprise.”

God, everytime I hear that the hairs on the back of my neck go up and to see him as the last man on the burning bridge firing the phasers was such a powerful image that has stayed with me for years. The battle is slow paced compared to the battles of the Dominion War in DS9 giving it a real old-world naval battle feel reminiscent of an Horatio Hornblower novel. We are left with the impression that the Enterprise-D is just moments from destruction when the timeline is restored. Even though it doesn’t happen, of all the moments when we have thought the Enterprise-D was going to go up in flames this was the one time it felt most real.


I can’t leave this review without talking about the consequences of this episode. Even though they are oblivious of these events the Enterprise-D run in to the half-Romulan Sela, alternate Tasha’s daughter. Sela was a very two dimensional enemy at times but she was at least interesting and went some way to absolving Denise Crosby of ditching the show early on. My only regret with Sela is that she did not make an appearance in Star Trek: Nemesis. I would have preferred it to be her rather than Commander Donatra.

So there it is one of my favorite episodes of all time. It had everything; drama, action, tragedy, traditional sci-fi themes. It also had very notable performances by Denise Crosby, Whoopi Goldberg and Patrick Stewart. I sometimes wish we could have learned more about the Enterprise-C but when I really think about it the myth this episode created will always be better than anything thats portrayed and I am happy with that.