TNG Episode Guide for Season 5

NEW NONFICTION: MIRROR TV GUIDE LISTINGS, TNG, SEASON 5 (05/07) AKA Through a Sunbeam Darkly Author: The Enigmatic Big Miss Sunbeam Code: TNG Rating: R for Language and Suggestive Situations.

100. Redemption II. Now Lursa (or is it B'Etor) turns her dark and mighty attentions to Worf. Worf looks absolutely stunning in Klingon drag, but there's just so much plot, and it's all Klingon plot. Seems like Jean-Luc and Gowron start dating during this episode.

101. Darmok. *sigh* A noisy episode. Don't aliens ever go to the mall or stand on the porch and scratch themselves the way we do down here? Why must they always have inexplicable intergalactic agendas? Captain Dathan (for it is he) is not the cutest thing under the sun, but he and Jean-Luc bond. Sort of. Then he dies. Jean-Luc wears a very nice-looking jacket. (Oddly enough, this episode was a pivotal plot point in a *New Yorker* short story a few years back.)

102. Ensign Ro. Fresh meat Ro Laren boards the Enterprise and Riker is jealous of her bewitching hold on JLP. Still, bewitching tho' she is, she's a Bajoran, and thus hard to whip up any interest about. See, I bitch and moan about aliens being too damn alien and along comes a species that's all too human and what do I do? I GET BORED! Because I am heavy bored by Bajorans. And you know why? Because they don't have one single characteristic! The two main Bajorans we know, Ro and Kira, are victims with spitfire personalities; well, that HARDLY makes sense. To tell the truth, a great deal of my life is spent trying to think of amusing japes to put smiles of the faces of you, yes, you, the rhapsodic rainbow of lovely ladies who make up ASCEM. So I was going to tease you with the idea of a Bajoran teevee show. But what would it be? A Bajoran ‘Bonanza'? A Bajoran ‘60 Minutes'? A Bajoran ‘Lamp Unto My Feet'? See how utterly plausible those are? Bajorans are as boring as humans! (Contrast this with my other offering: the Klingon ‘Andy Griffith Show'! Does that not rock! The Klingon Gomer! The Klingon Gooper! The Klingon Barney! The Klingon Floyd the Barber! And, of course, the Klingon Aunt Bee!!!! Or would it be Aunt Be'E!) That being said, I loovvve Ro; she is so gorgeous. And I love (a little more mutedly, but still) Kira. And I especially love the plump-armed tender-voiced Kai Ratched as so enchantingly embodied by Louise Fletcher. *sigh* There's probably a point here, but I don't know what it is.

103. Silicon Avatar. Great title. Riker chases a woman. And, *NO*, she did not have big breast implants and thus get nicknamed the Silicon Avatar. Now get your minds out of the gutter.

104. Disaster. You have shows for weeks where nothing happens and then there's something like this and everything happens: Data accuses Riker of wanting his body! Keiko goes into labor in Ten Forward! Worf says to her *you may deliver*! (Calling Dr. Klingon! Calling Dr. Klingon!) And Jean-Luc is trapped with (the horror the horror) THREE child actors!

105.The Game. THIS IS THE MOMENT, to paraphrase that song from Jekyll and Hyde. Because this is when I first realized hot sex could happen on TNG. Worf and Will are holding Wes's knees apart and Jean-Luc is leaning over, readying him to play their wicked little game. (Which involves things with large heads popping up and is followed by the soft orgasmic sigh of the players.) I was taping this show, and, as I watched it, my eyes literally jumped out of my head and walked around the room trembling. I could not believe it: I was staring in the heart of sexness, damp and breathless. That JLP didn't actually pull it out and make Wes take it like the little bitch he is . . . is just irrelevant! No surprise that the lush and pneumatic Ashley Judd was hovering on the perimeter.

106. Unification I. Whoa! Brilliant bedroom scene between Jean- Luc and Data. Data's got his back turned to Jean-Luc and keeps rather insistently peeking back at JLP over his shoulder. Jean- Luc tosses and turns, aware that Data's heated gaze is upon him. You say: so what? Well, just imagine this scene were in a James Purdy novel. See? Wow! Jean-Luc is on the verge of inviting Data into the bed with him when something happens. Bev also changes Jean-Luc and Data into Romulans (PEEEEEE-ESSSSS is the cutest Romulan imaginable: just gorgeous) (and Data's not bad either). (Bow down to Sunbeam! After all, I own both Playmate action figures: Romulan JLP and Romulan Data!) To add to your store of useless information, the captain of the Klingon sex- vessel they ride in is played by Stephen D. Root. I love Stephen D. Root: he was the weird blind disk jockey in "O Brother Where Art Thou". An amazing performance: his line readings there are the freshest ever. But of course I loved that whole movie: three hot boy prisoners in a Southern prison get out and form a bluegrass band! Delightful premise. Homoerotic tensions abound in "O Brother" too; my considered opinion is that Delmar was Pete's punk back at Parchman Farm. Yall rent the movie and tell me what you think.

107. Unification II - Okay, our boys get to Romulus. Sela seethes around, and Pardek's there too, looking like a Surinam toad. Lot of double-crossing. I had some hopes that the cute Romulan would turn out to be their Gorbachev and things might get interesting on Romulus: no luck. But the main thing is SPOCK!!!! According to gossip, the goon TPTB producers felt Nimoy played Spock as too zoned out. Well, screw ‘em! Clearly, Spock and Kirk have had a terrible falling out; Kirk's gone off and married Antonia but, before he and Spock could make up (the fondest wish of each of them), Jim's killed on the Enterprise B, and Spock tries to channel his enormous grief into patching up things with the Romulans. The mood he radiates to me is best summed up in "Monody", a poem by Herman Melville about Nathaniel Hawthorne: To have known him, to have loved him after loneness long; And then to be estranged in life, And neither in the wrong; and now for death to set his seal – Ease me, a little ease, my song.

*sigh* and neither Jean-Luc nor Data, fresh as they are, can replace his ineffable Jim.

108. A Matter of Time Okay, there's this guy, see, and he says he's from the future and he's doing a random sampling of the past and he wants everybody to fill out questionnaires (to which Worf says: "I HATE QUESTIONNAIRES" thus restoring everybody's faith in his Klingonness). Max Headroom plays the guy and he's pretty animated, so that's okay. Jean-Luc tries to taunt him into revealing the future and he won't and then Max and Bev have a elephantine courtship and it turns out he's not from the future, but the past! Well! My word! Data has some cute moments; Monsieur Headroom wants to take Data back to his world as a sort of living souvenir, much as you or I might take a cutting from the begonias in the parking lot of Graceland.

109. New Ground. The camera swoops down on double doors which open and reveal Worf standing there in a lovely creation. "Welcome to this Week's Klingon Playhouse!" he intones. Tonight Worf goes all wussy when his foster momma brings back Alexander. Alexander steals a lizard (I think) and is ratted out by his schoolteacher and then the schoolroom catches on fire and Brent Spiner tries to pretend that he is lifting an amazingly heavy beam and does not, despite his enormous theatrical gifts, convince us. Well, looks like Alexander is here for keeps. I bet Jean-Luc LOVES that.

110. Hero Worship. Another one of those ABC Afterschool Specials where Data saves a kitten. It's a perfectly nice episode: Data paints, Brent acts, Enterprise zooms. But I have to quote Mystery Science Theatre 3K: is this touching? Or boring?

111. Violations: Riker rapes Deanna!!!! Worth it, worth everything just to see Riker rape Deanna! Why have a monstrous piece of manflesh like Frakes around if he's not going to get some action! Turns out it's all a dream. Or something. Hey, in another dream, Jean-Luc puts on a hairpiece and floats around Jack Crusher's body. Are the ship's stores contaminated with ergot? Nope, it's just the Ullians, that fun-loving brain-wavin race who have calamari glued to their temples. A most amusing people: when they aren't imagining having other people having sex (hey, wait a minute!) they wear Family Dollar mops on their head! JLP's hairpiece is much more plausible; odd, though, how the hair diminishes his handsomeness. His beauty is as pared down as that of the pyramids, and they certainly don't need toupees.

112. The Masterpiece Society. Moody lethargic master race (which seems to consist of TWO people) has its own planet. Deanna fools around with one of them, and Ron Canada is the other one. Canada played Iago to Lord High Pee S's strange color-reversed *Othello* in Washington D.C. a few years ago. I think that version of *Othello* is boiling up on the surface here; among other things, Jean-Luc is furious with Deanna for shacking up with the other guy. You little whore, he seems to say, I can't leave you alone for five minutes without your giving it up for the mailman and the mailman's dog. Then he snarls, take down those panties, bitch, Admiral Spanky is docking here tonight. *Sigh* That one scene makes this a reasonably nice ep.

113. Conundrum. Oh, no! An episode with MPD! Yes, the Three Faces of Ep! A) It's a comedy! Uh-oh! Those zany Enterprisians have all got amnesia! Jean-Luc thinks he's Riker, Worf thinks he's Jean-Luc, and Data becomes the new Guinan! B) It's a rompdeelyicious sexfest when outer space's sultriest babes turn up in Riker's lustpad two at a time! C) It's a searing indictment of man's inhumanity to man when the crafty Sataarans enlist the forgetful Enterprise crew into slaughtering the Lysians! A deeply strange episode. Oh, I love this though: see, the crafty Sataarans plant a faux first-officer who lures the crew into his scheme. He fools everybody too, and you know why!? Because he embodies the two basic characteristics of first officer-tude - he's both Doughy and Wooden. (Riker, Chakotay, and Al Gore: Doughy Yet Wooden. Wooden yet Doughy. You Know I'm Right.)

114. Power Play. Where's Colm Meaney's Oscar!!!!!! What a great actor! Okay, he's no Big Lord HimalayaKing Stewart Patrick, but he's still great. In this one, evil lightning bugs take over the souls of Colm, Deanna, and Data and make them mean. Gotta say: Colm, Deanna, and Data are satisfactorily mean. They make everybody go to Ten Forward where Colm is particularly menacing! But brutal as those lightning bugs are, they are essentially . . . lightning bugs and about that bright. Jean-Luc talks them into flying away. Jeez, Jean-Luc, how hard can it be to outwit lightning bugs!

115. Ethics. Worf dies. See, he's messing around down in the storeroom and a big old can of elements falls right on top of him. This paralyzes him and he has to wear shiny fab Pajamas of the Future and he decides to kill himself because he's paralyzed and . . . something happens, I forget exactly what, but it doesn't really matter, because, even though he dies, he still snaps out of it!!! Seems Klingons have redundant anatomies! Dog my cats! Is that handy or what! Worf does have an extremely slashy moment when Riker comes to say good-bye, Riker whispering that he's going to miss the thundering beef of Worf's big one and he doesn't know what he'll do now (probably just become the most prized boy whore on Deep Space Umpteen -- where a wandering Klingon sings, *Riker, you're a fine girl, what a good wife you'd be, but my life, my love, my lady is the Klingon homeworld dootdootdootenydoot*), and then Deanna comes in and seconds those emotions. But, since Worf snaps out of it completely, there was really no point to this episode WHATSOEVER!

116. The Outcast. It fries my doughnuts in the worst way when TPTB decide that, if the audience wants gay action, we'll give them gay action, but it will be in the form of WOMEN ON WOMEN. Oh, for God's sake, ALL I WANT TO SEE IS BIG HOLLYWOOD MOVIE STARS GET THAT BITCH THANG GOING ON (BUT ONLY IF THEY ARE MEN.) DS9 was the worst with all its so-called lesbo eps. Yawnoovius. See, Riker hooks up with an androgynous phys-ed major from another planet named Soren (the phys-ed major, not the planet). But the King of All Phys-Ed Majors doesn't want Riker's seed despoiling his minions, so some things happen. Boring Soren and Riker have an unhappy ending in that Riker doesn't get to spend the rest of his life with this piece of cellophane.

117. Cause and Effect. Foxy ep. Ship blows up every twelve minutes. Bev looks at a plant. Boom! The usual gang plays poker. Bang! Jean-Luc leafs through a book! Crash! Through the crafty science of script writing, they finally figure out they're going to blow up. Yeah, the end is near and nobody rushes to get laid! (What the hell does Starfleet put in its food!) Collide! Happy ending! Kerblooey!

118. The First Duty. Wes screws up and it's supposed to be a big deal. All the Sunbeam clan love it when Boothby says: "Jean-Luc, what happened to your hair?" (I bet we still say this to each other about twice a month). Also, we get introduced to the prototype of Tom Paris, Nick Locarno (I always thought that Robert Duncan McNeill had a fugitive resemblance to Lee Harvey Oswald). (Odd, now that I think about it, Ed Lauter plays a dead guy's father in this ep and I always associate ED LAUTER with Lee Harvey Oswald too! Ed starred in "Executive Action", about JFK's assassination; old Ed was the REAL assassin, you know, the one over at the grassy knoll). (Of course, I'm probably influenced by the fact that Robert Duncan McNeil and Lee Harvey Oswald both have three names. Then again, I don't confuse with them with David Lee Roth. Or Pliny The Elder.)

119. Cost of Living. Horrid Lwaxana ep. First off, there seems to be an attempt at "fun" on the holodeck with a liberated colony of free-living 1950's Big Sur types. Shudder. It's the kind of "prepackaged" fun of a Chuckie Cheese. Lwaxana keeps threatening to doff her duds! And then she does! And gets into a hottub with Worf and Alexander and some others! Since Lwaxana's mere presence has the weirdest dampening effect on everybody's sexuality, what is the point of this grim scene!!? Flaccid hot tub scene, listless nudity. BTW, if Riker were to attempt that whole hot tub/naked dancing thing with Alexander, Congress would be passing "Alexander's Law" quick as bugs. Sexism, pure and simple.

120. The Perfect Mate. First ep of any Star Trek I ever saw. (Ah, I remember it well; I was in an Atlanta hotel on a rainy Saturday in August 1992, and I immediately knew what was up.) In this ep, well, lotta stuff happens, but mainly there's this alien sex-o-morph who is affianced to a weird tribal king but she gets prematurely unwrapped and, after cruising all the available male personnel, falls in love with *surprise surprise* Jean-Luc Picard!!! There's an incredibly sexy scene the night before JLP has to give Kamala up to the weird tribal king. It's clear she wants it, he wants it, but they can't have it. Odd that fandom hasn't played with this very much. And the shocking thing is that she's not inappropriate for him! Unlike Jenice and Vash and Phillipa, she doesn't repel! She seems pretty cool. Sure, Bev's steamed but as much by the implicit prostitution of the situation scene as anything else. (My theory about that night together is that Jean-Luc and Kamala play teen games: we won't go ALL THE WAY. So there's ooooodles of hot tongue action and finger play and alternate but nonetheless effective orifice usage. No cell of the other's body is left unstimulated. Jean-Luc can barely walk and his skin is surprisingly chafed and tender. Kamala made it clear to him even as he plunged helplessly for the last time into her amazingly tender alternate-nether flesh that she would fulfill her duty of marrying that little alien king in his leopardskin pillbox box. Jean-Luc mournfully accepts this.) At one point, Kamala even gets Riker all hot and bothered, so he says he's going on up to the holodeck. Does that mean the holodeck is a universally accepted jerk-off joint? And so what fantasy would Riker unspool? (I think it's the one where holograms of Data and Wesley play panty-free French maids to Riker's home-from-the-jungle big-game hunter, but what do I know?)

121. Imaginary Friend. Little girl with imaginary friend fools around in botany port. Jean-Luc gets dad-like and says don't make me come down there. She does. He does. Imaginary playmate is evil. Well, that's different.

122. I, Borg AKA Free To a Good Home. I love how mechanical men (Data, Hugh) are like kittens in that they intuitively gravitate to those who will take good care of them (Geordi). Plus I got to hand it to Viacom/Paramount: Hugh Borg is a hottie!

123. The Next Phase. Geordi and Ro die! Aw, too bad! Life goes on, as Riker plays the trombone. I am not aware of a sexual subtext to the death or the trombone (though it seems as if there should be). Oh, yeah, they don't really die. They just seem dead. You're telling me. And there's Romulans too.

124. The Inner Light. The Feel-Good Jean-Luc Movie of the Year! Mainly, Jean-Luc meets a woman worthy of him, Aline of Ressika! He loves her and he loves her brand of stew. Suspicious JLP (taking a big spoonful): "it's . . . delicious." Aline (dimple, beam, dimple): "You always say that!" Too bad everybody dies in the end, including the toddlers. PeeEssoovius has a buhrilliant moment at the end: see, he's been brainnapped to live a lifetime on this dead planet but he finally snaps out it and finds himself back where he started from, on Ye Olde Enterprise with Riker at his knee. The look Sir Pee gives Frakes when he tries to re- orient himself to his changed universe is just . . .so, so [sobsobsob]. . . real. *SIGH* (It's presumptuous for a sub-minion such as my lowly Sunbeam self to say this, but I wonder if this episode is an eerie attempt at a valedictory biography of His Royal Highest Hotness King Pstewarty: see, Jean-Luc's life forks in this ep between being Jean-Luc Picard, Captain of the Starfleet Enterprise, and being a devoted husband! And being a devoted husband in a small non-outer-space-y type of place! And being a father of two! And they're a boy and a girl! And the boy subtly goes bald! And in the alternate life, he's a weaver! Of course, before TNG, back in cute little England, Our Man was a devoted husband, father of two, boy and girl, boy went bald. PS's real- life momma was a weaver, too, in the textile mills of Northern England. Oh, to add EVEN MORE to your store of useless knowledge, PS's real-life momma was named Gladys. Elaine Dundy in her fabbyswoonful book "Elvis and Gladys" points out that the two greatest sex symbols of the twentieth century had mothers named Gladys, i.e. Elvis and Marilyn Monroe. Hmmmm. Hmmmmoooovius. Well, back to reality, maybe The Man is saying that, yes, he is emphatically choosing to be a part of Starfleet as Jean-Luc Picard, but his former life will always be a part of him. Idn't that sweet! Honestly, PS is just KING OF TNG.)

125. Time's Arrow I. Didn't I tell you that Mark Twain character was optimumly irritating! Give us a break, TNG! Still I like Whoopi kinda of swanking about the 1890's, although the other guy doesn't seem very Jack-London-y. (FYI, Jack London was a commie.) Mostly, I hate the bum at the start who gives Data bum hints; clearly a creepy community-theater actor, he generates a whole forcefield of inauthenticity that threatens to topple our whole suspension of disbelief. Oh, yeah, the plot concerns Data's detached head and a race of people genetically kin to Bug- Zappers.

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