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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 08 February 2018 at 7:39am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

TMP showed people screaming and dying mid-transport too.

"What we got back didn't live long.  Thankfully."

(still gives me chills to this day)
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 08 February 2018 at 8:45am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Yes, that creeped me out too.
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Byron Graham
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Posted: 08 February 2018 at 12:10pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Regarding the TMP transporter accident. I remember back in 1979 that McDonald's had a tie in with Star Trek Happy Meals. On the side of the box they were serializing the movie in comic strips. The box I remember getting was the transporter accident! Happy Happy Meal!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 12:55am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

“Man of The People”.


An episode with a rushed script written by numerous members of the writing staff, this one feels like less than it could have been. Certain elements and moments work very well, but it doesn’t quite provide a satisfactory conclusion, or a deep exploration of Troi. That being said, Marina Sirtis is quite wonderful, here, with her subtle changes in performance slowly leading to full-on erotic malevolence. The makeup effects are also (mostly) very effective. This is definitely a Troi we’ve never seen— smoldering with anger and lust, banging a random (and lucky!) Ensign and then rubbing it in Riker’s face, and wearing a knockout party dress and making a spectacle in Ten-Forward. Interesting to read that Sirtis’ reaction to seeing herself in the age makeup made her think to play the character as a “witch”, since that was exactly my own takeaway of her performance when I watched the episode.

Speaking of Riker, we get some nice, subtle exploration of the Riker/Troi relationship. Riker may come across as the show’s horn dog, but Troi is probably neck-and-neck with him in that area, and the scene in her quarters where she tries to provoke a jealous reaction from him is incredibly awkward. Riker’s pained reaction as he leaves the room is also very telling.

Altar doesn’t quite work as a villain, for me. I like the idea that he’s sorta-kinda like a serial rapist who had diplomatic immunity, but the script doesn’t really do enough with that idea. I agree with Michael Piller’s assessment that the episode should have focused more on a psychological explanation of Troi and her dark side, rather than shifting focus halfway through to Alkar and his use of the negotiations as a shield from punishment.

Still, for a rushed episode, this one engaged me throughout. Of course, the reason it was rushed was to accommodate the schedule of a very important guest-star, who will appear in the next episode... 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 1:23am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

“Relics”.


This episode is such a lovely and charming love-letter to an iconic and beloved character. It really shows how far TNG had come in terms of being able to embrace its roots after taking a few years to prove itself. Written by hardcore TOS fan Ron Moore, the story is positively dripping with reverence and wink-wink references to various TOS episodes and moments (“It is green.”, etc.).

Of course, there’s the continuity problem of Scotty thinking that Kirk is still alive, but the fact of the matter is that Scotty was included in GENERATIONS to witness Kirk’s “death” simply out of affection for the character, and in willful spite of the error (...and because Nimoy declined to appear).

The B-story with the Dyson Sphere is fun, too, although it serves mainly as a plot device to facilitate the A-story of Geordi and Scotty learning to respect each other. There were apparently worries among the writing staff that the audience might not like Geordi for initially being so dismissive of—and ageist to—Scotty, but I think both Geordi and Scotty are in-character. The trajectory of their relationship may be a little on-the-nose, but it still makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

For the opening scene, they pulled the original transporter sparkle effect footage out of storage, rather than recreating it, which is a lovely touch of nostalgia. Although, its appearance here is technically an anachronism, but I can’t complain. It’s a wonderful moment, and the very mention of a transporter being jury-rigged in such a way that even La Forge is baffled was surely a big clue for first-run viewers. As it happens, I was one of those first-run viewers, and I have a distinct memory of going to school the day after this episode first aired, and correctly answering a trivia question posed by the substitute teacher in charge of that day’s class (“How long was Scotty stuck in the transporter beam?”) in order to win something or other.

The best scene in the episode, of course, is Scotty seeing the holodeck recreation of the Enterprise Bridge (and it’s convenient that the computer knows exactly which vintage to recreate for maximum emotional/nostalgic impact), and talking with Picard about their first loves. It’s still a jaw-dropping moment when those doors open to reveal that classic set. Really cleverly done, too, with the establishing shot lifted from “This Side of Paradise” (as well as the viewscreen shot from “The Mark of Gideon”), and then having a partial Bridge set for the actors to work on. The partial set isn’t super-duper accurate, especially compared to the “Trials and Tribble-actions” and “In a Mirror, Darkly” (which, by sheer coincidence, also aired tonight on Heroes & Icons Channel) versions, but it’s still incredibly effective. 

James Doohan is lovely, and LeVar Burton also gets a lot of nice scenes to play, as the bond between engineers past and present slowly develops. The final scene is properly heart-warming, especially since this is, chronologically speaking, Scotty’s very last appearance. 

About the only complaints I have with this episode are the technobabble retroactively put into Scotty’s mouth regarding “The Naked Time”, the apparent misreading of the friendly ribbing between Kirk and Scotty in STAR TREK III (“Relics” indicates that Scotty really did fudge his repair estimates in order to inflate his reputation, which doesn’t seem to be what that moment in ST III was going for), and the oft-cited blooper where Scotty and Geordi beam off of the Jenolan while its shields are still up.

Easily one of my favorite episodes in all of TNG, and maybe even one of the very best, too...although it’s hard to be objective with this one!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 12 February 2018 at 12:03am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

“Schisms”.


A so-so episode with some strong moments, and a good amount of tension and creepiness. This is TNG’s take on the phenomenon of alien abduction claims, which is a neat idea for a story, but also lacking in strong execution. The best part of the episode is the gradual build-up of the mystery, and the use of the holodeck as a forensic tool to reconstruct the abductees’ (conveniently composed mostly of senior staff members) memories. The body horror concept of Riker’s arm being severed and reattached is properly creepy, too.

The episode ends rather unsatisfactorily. No doubt because the ending was left open, but was never followed up on, not unlike “Conspiracy”. The mystery/horror elements can only carry the episode so far, and when the time comes for some kind of answers and resolution, there are precious few.

That all being said, this episode, if nothing else, gave us Ode to Spot. Which is both awesome and hilarious.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 12 February 2018 at 12:08am
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 13 February 2018 at 1:38am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

“True Q”.

A fun and funny episode which adds some new shadings to the nature of the Q and how they conduct themselves. Of course, John De Lancie brings his usual playfulness to Q, and he has some choice one-liners, as usual (such as referring to Riker as “Number Two”). He and Picard acting like a bickering couple as they try to work out how to proceed regarding Amanda is hilarious. The best of any any Q episode is his interactions with Picard, and that relationship is really what makes the character more than just a Trelane knockoff created to pad out TNG’s pilot movie.

Beyond all that, this one’s pretty straightforward. Fun, simple, and entertaining, if not very deep or dramatic.
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 13 February 2018 at 11:28am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

All of the above, plus Olivia d'Abo. Yes, please.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 14 February 2018 at 12:29am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

“Rascals”.


In theory, this should probably be a Jump The Shark episode, but it ends up being rather fun and amusing. It almost gives off a TOS vibe, what with the crazy plan to retake the ship. Some good laughs in this one, too, with Chief O’Brien (making his last proper TNG appearance) nervously trying not to feel like a pedophile, Picard throwing a tantrum in order to see Riker, and a Riker using even more fictional technobabble than the usual stuff to confuse and distract his guard. 

The de-aging of the characters lends itself to some interesting moments (such as young Picard running his hand though his hair, and then old Picard running his hand over his bald head), and the child actors all acquit themselves reasonably well. Clever casting choice to bring back the same actor who’d previously played Picard’s nephew, too. 

All in all, it’s a gimmicky episode which shouldn’t really work, but somehow does. There are some little nice character moments in amongst the wackiness.
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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 14 February 2018 at 1:00am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

All of the above, plus Olivia d'Abo. Yes, please.


Ditto. With her cousin Maryam, what a family. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 15 February 2018 at 1:02am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

“A Fistful of Datas”.


Another “holodeck gone wonky” episode, but a fun one. This might also potentially be considered a Jump The Shark episode, what with the very slight story and overly-familiar, holodeck-centric premise, but it’s entertaining in its own wacky way. Seeing the gang kick back and play around in the Ancient West does make for a nice change of pace, and Brent Spiner is clearly having a ball playing multiple roles.

Could be worse, has been worse.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 15 February 2018 at 8:47am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Worth it just for The Enterprise riding into the sunset!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 15 February 2018 at 10:43am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Yep.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 16 February 2018 at 12:55am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

“The Quality of Life”.


Some interesting ideas, and a proper ethical dilemma, but this episode feels, I dunno, a bit undercooked. I like how the relationship between Dr. Farallon and Data develops. She starts out liking Data and being eager to work with him before becoming annoyed and frustrated as he explores his theory about the Exocomps. However, the episode leaves this relationship feeling somewhat unresolved. 

Of course, Data’s insubordination and lockout of the transporter lend themselves to the fridge horror of having an android in any sort of position of authority aboard a starship. And, conveniently, it’s all swept under the rug by the end of the story. That being said, the idea of a Data advocating for the Exocomps (and being inspired to do so by Picard serving as Data’s own advocate in “The Measure of a Man”) is really interesting and potent.

We again have La Forge sporting a beard (the opening poker game scene’s beard discussion is a lot of fun, too), apparently due to LeVar Burton wanting to have one during his real-life wedding. As the story goes, he preferred having a beard, but the producers didn’t want La Forge to have one. So, he didn’t, at least until the movies came along. 

Also, despite having no real anthropomorphic features, the Exocomps still manage to be super-cute!  


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 16 February 2018 at 12:56am
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 17 February 2018 at 12:49am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

“Chain of Command, Part I”.


Now we’re talkin’! This two parter is among the series’ best, and I have fond memories of watching it in first run. Intrigue, great gust-stars, strong character moments, and a Ron Moore teleplay (with the usual sparkle that his scripts possess). In a rare instance, the “A” and “B” plots are intimately interconnected, and so the overall episode is a smooth and engaging one. 

We have the great Ronny Cox as Captain Jellico. The thing about this guy is that he’s good what he does, but he’s a little too cold and impersonal (despite his use of the senior staff’s first names so as to provide the illusion of casualness and friendliness). I’m sure we’ve all had the experience depicted in this episode: You have a great, friendly boss and a solid, casual-yet-professional way of doing a job...and then you get a new boss. A by-the-book boss. A boss who doesn’t want to be friends. A boss who wants things done a certain way, harshes the mellow of the staff, and shakes things up. An argument could be made that, in some ways, TNG is sort of like a workplace drama in space, in that we see how the crew operates on a day-to-day basis. This episode very much captures that feeling of what it’s like to suddenly have a less-than-likable boss take over.

We also have Troi finally getting back to wearing a standard duty uniform, which she hasn’t done since her “cosmic cheerleader” outfit in the pilot. Marina Sirtis was reportedly very happy to finally get to wear the uniform, and it’s a good look for her. 

Of course, bringing the Cardassians (and the mention of their recent exodus from Bajor) in was obviously an attempt to lay groundwork for the imminent premiere of DS9. Interesting to read that the part of Solok was originally written to be Quark. Funny, I got more of a Han Solo vibe...

And, while he only makes a cameo, we also have the great David Warner (making his third TREK appearance) as Picard’s soon-to-be-torturer. Strange as it is to say, I’m looking forward to rewatching all that stuff.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 17 February 2018 at 12:50am
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 17 February 2018 at 1:57am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Greg, when i watched these two episodes originally, i
had that exact work situation, a well respected, firm
but friendly boss and a no nonsense hard ass, guess
which one had the respect of the workforce and could get
us to do things over and above the norm for him?
Brilliant episodes all the same, and a storming
performance from Patrick Stewart.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 19 February 2018 at 12:56am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

“Chain of Command, Part II”.


Easily one of the best episodes in the entire series, an an all-around amazing hour of television. It’s sort of shocking to learn that the previous episode was stretched from a self-contained episode into a two-parter  primarily as a cost-saving measure (by having Part II be essentially just two guys in a room). The story is just more of Riker and Jellico butting heads, and Picard being tortured by Gul Madred. That’s pretty much it. It’s immensely effective and memorable.

When you have two fantastic actors like Patrick Stewart and David Warner going head-to-head, it’s a treat. Add to that a great script (which Amnesty International consulted on), and you get magic. I’m amazed to learn just how much Patrick Stewart threw himself into the story, and how he insisted that the subject matter not be treated lightly. I’m even more amazed to learn that David Warner was cast at the last-minute, and read most of his dialogue off of cue cards.

Ronny Cox again does an excellent job as Jellico. I love that fact that he’s presented as merely having a different command style from what our heroes are used to (“Get it done!” vs. Picard’s “Make it so!”), rather than being portrayed as a villain. It’s also nice to see how the Riker/Jellico plot subtly parallels Picard and Madred’s. Jellico is just much more civil in his attempts to bend Will to his will!

It sounds horrible to say, but the scenes of Picard’s torture are great. Well-written, beautifully acted, and deeply engaging. Of course, it all comes down to Madred simply being a sadist who simply wants to break Picard. The strategic data he seeks is secondary to his desire for psychological control. The episode really twists the knife by giving Picard his iconic victory moment—

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EAdGhMRBbzY


—and then snatching it away when Picard reveals that Madred really did break him, and that he really did believe he could see five lights. Of course, this episode again puts Picard through what would ordinarily be a completely life-changing event, only to stick him back on the Bridge and in command in the final scene. This being episodic TV, the reset button necessarily gets hit. A classic TV storytelling conceit, but this one surely gives viewers pause, in terms of internal story logic. 


That aside, this is one of my favorites (which also sounds horrible to say), and I have vivid memories of watching it in first-run. 

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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 19 February 2018 at 1:48am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

The crowning moment for this episode (and IMO the entire series) happens after Picard turns to Madred and says his iconic "There. Are. Four. Lights." line.   

As he's walking away two Cardassians attempt to help Picard walk and he forcefully shrugs them off.  Picard is having none of it, a complete body language "eff off".  As far as I'm aware this little bit was an unscripted ad lib by Stewart.  Incredibly effective when you consider the revelation made in the denouement.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 19 February 2018 at 2:02am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Yes, that simple bit of action is such a perfect grace note for the scene (and the episode). Brilliant choice.

Another brilliant acting choice of Stewart’s is that, upon a rewatch of the episode (and having already seen Picard’s admission during the coda in the ready room), you can actually see the moment where Picard believes that there are indeed five lights.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 19 February 2018 at 2:03am
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 20 February 2018 at 12:28am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

“Ship in a Bottle”.


A very clever, fun, and long-overdue follow-up to the second season’s “Elementary, Dear Data”. This episode really does feel like a legitimate continuation of that story, and Barclay was the perfect choice to accidentally set Moriarty free. Although, one does wonder why Moriarty’s program wasn’t given some kind of security code in order to prevent that from happening. Heck, given the fact that Moriarty somehow achieved consciousness in his first appearance, the Enterprise-D probably should have been recalled to spacedock and its computer system relegated to an object of scientific study.

Of course, the wonky science from the original Moriarty episode is still necessarily at work, here, but you just gotta get past it and enjoy the ride. Daniel Davis again turns in a charming-yet-menacing performance. The story gets very INCEPTION-y, what with the simulation of a simulation within a simulation. Moriarty’s plan is really quite clever, and I love that fact that nearly half the episode takes place on the holodeck without Picard and the others realizing it. And, the final resolution to the problem—pulling the same trick on Moriarty—is a lovely ending both for the episode and the character. I suppose we can only assume that Moriarty was subsequently either lost or destroyed during the events of GENERATIONS.

I do find myself wondering whether Picard’s little meta speech about the Enterprise-D itself possibly being a “simulation” wasn’t a little too meta and cutesy, though.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 21 February 2018 at 12:25am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

“Aquiel”.


A very “meh” episode, with a few good moments. Poor Geordi just has terrible luck with women, but it kinda works out pretty well, this time, since his faith in Aquiel’s innocence turns out to be justified. That being said, the episode starts out seeming like Geordi is (rather creepily) falling for a dead woman, and then a murder suspect. It bucks the percentages that things work out well for him, this time.

The episode has some nice twists and turns, although the Law of Economy of Characters implicates the dog right from the opening teaser. This episode is also very much TNG’s riff on Carpenter’s THE THING, but the reveal of the coalesce the organism feels more like a late-Act info-dump cheat than an “Ah-ha!” moment.

Definitely the weakest episode of the sixth season, thus far. The potential was there for a good mystery story, but it really fails to be engaging or interesting, despite some good moments.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 22 February 2018 at 3:46am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

“Face of The Enemy”.


A very entertaining and fast-paced episode which is full of intrigue. Nice to see Spock and his plotline from “Unification” finally followed up upon. The opening teaser is nearly as effective as the one from “First Contact” (the episode, not the movie), and Marina Sirtis gets to strut her acting skills by acting as Troi acting as Major Rakal.

Interesting to learn that the Romulan Commander was originally written as male, and that they eventually attempted (unsuccessfully) to get Joanne Linville to reprise her role from “The Enterprise Incident”. The idea of a human Starfleet officer defecting to Romulus only to have second thoughts is also intriguing, and I kinda wish more had been done with that subplot. Indeed, this episode hints at backstories and politics which are never entirely fleshed-out, but serve very well as world-building.

All in all, I enjoyed this episode a heck of lot more than I remembered from seeing it in first-run. An interesting role for Troi, strong performances, and intrigue galore. Good stuff.

This episode also marks the first appearance of Ponytail Worf!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 23 February 2018 at 1:11am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

“Tapestry”.


A great and fun little episode. Another great Ron Moore script, and one which follows up on an intriguing bit of Picard’s backstory from “Samaritan Snare”. This is very much another IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE for Picard, but it’s presented in a very different way. The basic message is simple, yet effective: Our mistakes help shape us into who we are, and taking risks is important. Sometimes doing the “right” thing may not end up bein the best thing, in the long run.

John DeLancie gets to play the usual zingers and mischievous moments as Q. My single favorite moment in the episode is when Picard wakes up in bed next to Q. Followed by his appearance as the flower delivery man.

It’s also very amusing to see how disgusted Picard is with his life as “Lieutenant” Picard. Life could certainly be a heck of a lot worse than serving as a scientist aboard a starship, but Picard acts like he’s been condemned to a truly wretched existence, which says a lot about his character.
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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 23 February 2018 at 1:14am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Tapestry is one of my favourites. I love the way Riker looks at Picard when he asks about a command position. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 23 February 2018 at 1:24am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Outside of the context of Picard’s rather dire situation, it’s really a very funny little scene. Riker and Troi trying to be nice to the guy who wants a job beyond his apparent skillset and ambition.

According to Memory Alpha, a planned scene with Geordi and Lieutenant Picard in Engineering would have indicated that Geordi basically treated him like Barclay.
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