ST:TNG Treadmill Reviews #59 and #60: All Good Things…

No, I didn’t skip ahead to the series finale in season 7. But this will be my last entry in the ST:TNG Treadmill Reviews series, wherein I will cover the last two episodes I watched, but didn’t get around to reviewing earlier.

Why am I ending this? Three reasons:

  1. The weather is getting nicer and I’m prepared to run outside again. In fact, this afternoon I ran outside for the first time since Thanksgiving-ish.

  2. I had been losing steam on the treadmill. Even though I was still watching full episodes, I was finding it harder and harder to stay motivated to get past 3 or 4K — or sometimes 2K. On top of that, my timing was often bad, where as soon as I was done on the treadmill, it would be time for a shower and dinner, and not so much sitting around at my desk in sweat-soaked running shorts opining breathlessly on my blog.

  3. Our treadmill died yesterday.

The treadmill probably can be fixed, but with the other two factors having already piled up, that was definitely “strike three” for me to wrap up this blog series. Plus, 60 is a nice round number. The Babylonians thought so. As good a place as any to call it quits on a project I had concocted primarily to get myself through the winter without turning fully sedentary again, now that winter is (mostly) behind us.

Anyway… I’ve got two more episodes to review, so let’s get to it!


In Theory
Season 4 Episode 25
Original airdate: June 1, 1991

Netflix Synopsis

When a female crewmember is infatuated with Data, he decides to give a romantic relationship a try.

My Brief Review, What Passes for a Memorable Moment, and the Whole Episode Is About a Crew Rando, So Let’s Get It All Over With Under One Heading


No, actually, it’s not that bad. But I do feel a bit sorry for Lt. Jenna D’Sora. That is, I would have felt sorry for her if the very idea of getting into a romantic relationship with an android weren’t so obviously stupid. One thing I’ve always wondered: what does it feel like to touch Data? How skin-like is his “skin”? And how hard is whatever is under it? What’s his body temperature? Etc. Not to mention what it would be like to kiss him. Which she does. Repeatedly.

There are some highlights. Data programmatically instigating a “lover’s quarrel” — yelling “You’re not my mother!” Data ludicrously turning on his “seductive” chip or whatever. But for the most part this relationship story is not compelling.

Meanwhile, something completely unrelated and, once again, far more interesting (to me) than the personal drama we spend most of the episode dwelling on, is unfolding. The Enterprise is attempting to maneuver through a dangerous nebula. A “dark matter” nebula. I love how TNG went all-in on incorporating up-to-date cosmology and theoretical physics into storylines, even if sometimes it didn’t make any sense. I’m not sure if such a thing as a “dark matter” nebula exists, but if it does, I’d be surprised if a human spacecraft could interact with it at all without being destroyed. (But I may be conflating dark matter with antimatter. Oh did I mention that they somehow have developed a means of containing antimatter, which is how they power the ship?)

Would musicians in the 24th century really be using paper sheet music? A lot of us don’t even do that anymore now!

I forgot to mention, the episode starts with a woodwind quintet (!) performing in Ten Forward, featuring Keiko on clarinet, Data on oboe, and Jenna on flute. Plus two super-randos on bassoon and horn. (The bassoonist is a non-humanoid alien who would appear to be more at home in Mos Eisley.)

Anyway… a surprisingly weak episode this close to the end of the season, but it did air in June. May sweeps were already over, so they had to stick in one more throwaway episode before the exciting season finale cliffhanger!

Distance Rating: 2K

IMDb score: 7.2/10


Season 4 Episode 26
Original airdate: June 15, 1991

Netflix Synopsis

Both Capt. Picard and Lt. Worf must decide where their priorities lie as the Klingon Empire descends into civil war.

My Brief Review

Gowron is in it. Enough said.

Memorable Moment

Worf gets his honor back, which involves holding a nasty looking Klingon dagger by the blade, slicing into his hand, while Gowron says the magic words that clear his family name.

Crew Rando

Not a member of the Enterprise crew, but who’s that Romulan lurking in the shadows, conspiring with Duras’s duplicitous sisters? Gasp! It’s Tasha Yar! But… but… how??!


I remembered that it was her, and so I recognized her voice, and was not at all surprised when she appeared at the final moment of the episode. Eventually I will get around to watching season 5 so I can be reminded of what happens next!

Distance Rating: 4K

IMDb score: 8.5/10

ST:TNG Treadmill Review #58: The Mind’s Eye

The Mind’s Eye
Season 4 Episode 24
Original airdate: May 25, 1991

Netflix Synopsis

La Forge is brainwashed by the Romulans and ordered to assassinate a Klingon ambassador.

My Brief Review

This is a pretty great episode that I don’t remember ever having seen before. We haven’t had a lot of Geordi attention in season 4, so it’s nice to have an episode that features him.

It starts off like a number of other episodes, especially in this season: a crew member (in this case, Geordi) is in a shuttlecraft, far away from Enterprise, when a Romulan warbird uncloaks in front of him. Bad news! Why they ever let shuttlecraft fly outside of visual range of the Enterprise, I’ll never understand. Something bad always happens.

The Romulans beam Geordi aboard their ship, send a half-assed Geordi lookalike in a cheap knock-off VISOR to take Geordi’s place on his trip to an engineering conference on Risa (another place where something bad always happens), and proceed to undertake an aggressive behavioral reprogramming process on Geordi, while also hacking his VISOR to allow them to transmit orders directly into his brain.

The intrigue is all focused on getting Geordi to assassinate a Klingon colonial governor (not an ambassador… the ambassador is there, but — spoiler alert! — he’s in cahoots with the baddies), thereby destroying the Federation/Klingon alliance and plunging them into war, to the benefit of the Romulans.

Ultimately Data figures out that Geordi’s shuttlecraft had been tampered with by the Romulans, and he pieces things together — far more slowly than I would expect his positronic brain to be capable of, to be honest.

It’s probably worth mentioning (gasp!) that I’ve never seen The Manchurian Candidate and leave it at that.

Memorable Moment

There are plenty of interesting moments, including when Geordi unknowingly hacks the Enterprise’s transporter system, and then innocently joins in the effort to try to track down who did it. My favorite random bit of weirdness though is when Geordi is summoned to the Klingon ambassador’s quarters, where he tells him how he should commit the assassination. The ambassador is sitting down in front of a massive Klingon feast, and here’s the bit I just can’t get over. He very carefully unfolds a cloth napkin and places it in his lap before digging in. What true Klingon would do that?!

Crew Rando

They aren’t real, but during Geordi’s reprogramming, he’s put into a simulation of Ten Forward, where he is ordered to assassinate Chief O’Brien. After an initial hesitation, he goes through with it, and then asks O’Brien’s two companions if he may join them. They agree without reluctance, Geordi pushes O’Brien’s lifeless body aside, picks his chair back up, sits down and drinks O’Brien’s drink! Damn! (Is that really how the Romulans think humans would react in that situation?)

Distance Rating: 3K

IMDb score: 7.8/10

ST:TNG Treadmill Review #57: The Host

The Host
Season 4 Episode 23
Original airdate: May 11, 1991

Netflix Synopsis

Dr. Crusher falls for a visiting ambassador, only to discover that he’s not quite what she thought.

My Brief Review

Spoiler: He’s a parasite living inside a symbiont host. The host body dies, he gets transplanted into Riker’s body so he can continue mediating a dispute between two moons, everything works out in the end, and his permanent replacement host is… a woman! Gasp!

Beverly is totally fine falling in love with an alien with forehead ridges… as long as it’s a straight relationship. eyeroll Sometimes Star Trek’s efforts to be socially progressive are a bit ham-fisted, and often they don’t age well, much like their tech. In some ways, we’ve come farther both socially and technologically in 30 years than the writers anticipated in 300.

And in other ways… not so much.

P.S. Yes I skipped another Lwaxana Troi episode. Ugh.

Memorable Moment

That rose Odan gives Beverly is pretty sad, I have to say. At least they show it later in full bloom, and that’s what makes Beverly decide she can… uh… handle a night of passion with Riker.

But I think the most memorable moment for me is when we first see the planetary system where this negotiation is taking place. It’s a planet with two large moons, and all three are class M. The humanoids originated on the central planet but colonized the two moons centuries earlier. It’s a very interesting concept I would like to see more done with, as opposed to the main focus of the episode. Once again.

Crew Rando

Nurse Ogawa makes another appearance in this episode. I think she’s the only non-regular we even see in this episode.

Distance Rating: 2.23 miles

IMDb score: 6.5/10
#irunwithmaud #finishtherun

ST:TNG Treadmill Reviews #55 and #56: Wherein I am beginning to lose steam for this project

Over the weekend I ran on the treadmill twice and watched ST:TNG as usual, both times. In this case I watched Qpid (S4E20, 4/20/91, IMDb 7.3/10) and The Drumhead (S4E21, 4/27/91, IMDb 8.4/10).

Both were good episodes that I enjoyed, but my timing was bad, and I did not have a chance to write my blog entries immediately after watching them.

“Qpid” (featuring Q, of course), was the kind of episode I might typically hate, but I actually found it exceedingly entertaining, with Picard as Robin Hood, leading his band of Merry Men to rescue Maid Marian (Vash, from the episode where Picard punches a Ferengi in the face). The episode even pays homage to one of the funniest moments in Animal House.

And then we had “The Drumhead,” featuring Jean Simmons (who I recognized best from having just seen her in an old episode of Miss Marple that I watched a week or so ago) as a witch hunt-leading admiral. The episode, once again, felt very timely with what’s been happening in the U.S. politically in recent months. When episodes like this originally aired, I saw them as symbolically representing tyrannical governments of the 20th century, but I foolishly maintained an “it would never happen here” mentality. Now I know better. So I didn’t exactly enjoy this episode, but I found it compelling.

Sorry for breaking the formula with this review; I’m just trying to get caught up!

ST:TNG Treadmill Review #54: Check out the big brain on Barclay!

The Nth Degree
Season 4 Episode 19
Original airdate: March 30, 1991

Netflix Synopsis

When assigned to investigate an unknown probe, Lt. Barclay receives an unexplainable boost of confidence and a vast increase in his knowledge.

My Brief Review

I often skip the Lt. Barclay episodes. I just can’t handle his twitchy nervousness and I have trouble believing someone so pathologically insecure could manage to get promoted to Lieutenant and score an assignment on the Federation’s flagship. But this episode stands apart, because for half of it, Barclay isn’t himself.

Who is he then? While investigating a mysterious alien probe that has knocked out a telescope array at the edge of Federation space, Barclay gets blasted with a beam of energy and is suddenly a confident super-genius. Which predictably goes to his head. Eventually he enters the Holodeck, not for one of his typical escapist fantasies, but to have the ship’s computer build a neural interface so his brain can merge with the computer itself.

This kind of thing has been done before (and since), but it’s still a pretty solid episode. I was reminded of Flowers for Algernon as Barclay’s IQ swelled. And there are definitely traces of HAL-9000 in Barclay/Computer’s interactions with La Forge as he’s trying to configure a bypass to the ship’s controls. “I’m afraid I can’t do that, Geordi.” OK, he doesn’t actually say that line exactly, but he might as well.

Memorable Moment

There were several moments in this episode that piqued my faded memories of this episode from high school, but the one that stands out the most is certainly when the giant floating head of the aged hippie Cytherian appears on the Enterprise bridge. I feel like the 10 days Enterprise supposedly spends with them would have made for an interesting episode — or at least a few minutes’ worth of this one. But I suppose the writers or special effects designers ran out of ideas for how that all would work.

Crew Rando

Barclay himself, of course! I understand it’s a practical matter in casting and production of a TV series, but it feels weird that Barclay is a full-fledged member of the crew, one of Geordi’s best engineers (according to Geordi himself in this episode), and yet we only ever see Barclay in episodes that are about him. It’s hard to suspend disbelief.

Distance Rating: 4K

IMDb rating: 8.1/10