So, I embarked on my TNG Season 2 quest with marked trepidation. My head had been filled with somewhat negative thoughts (“Dr Crusher isn’t in it”; “just get through it – it gets WAY better mid-Season 3”), so my expectations admittedly weren’t very high. At least it’s only a short season of just 22 episodes I thought to myself (thanks to a writer’s strike I’m reliably informed). Well, I have to say I was quite pleasantly surprised…
Right, first things first, let’s just get this one out of the way: Pulaski. The Star Trek equivalent of Marmite.
I have to admit, I disliked her immensely from the very beginning (hate is a strong word), and although I had somewhat warmed to her by the time we got to the likes of “Pen Pals” and “Samaritan Snare” (where she had begun to show an iota of compassion), I just couldn’t gel with her. It wasn’t so much that I missed Beverley Crusher, I just really didn’t like the way she treated Data. And as I’m sure you’re all pretty aware of my absolute love for the yellow-eyed one by now, this understandably didn’t sit very well with me.
I read in Larry Nemecek’s TNG Companion that Pulaski was “created somewhat in the image of Bones McCoy, as crusty and transporter wary”. This translated very well, and I guess it made sense, but she just was not my cup of tea.
I was under the impression that she actually did fall down a lift shaft (who started that rumour?) and was shamefully a little disappointed when that failed to materialise. She did however score a brownie point or two when she enjoyed ‘Klingon tea’ with Worf in “Up The Long Ladder” – kudos girlfriend, kudos!
On a similar but slightly different note – no longer my least favourite character, Wesley, was SO much less annoying in Season 2? In fact, I’ve actually really rather started to like him. It was great to see him as just a normal hormonal teenage boy in “The Dauphin”. (Perhaps they realised that they totally overplayed the “boy genius” thing in the first season?) I think I would actually go as far as saying he’s turning in to one of my favourite characters (sorry @TheeeRealBigDan, forgive me?!)?
Pulaski aside, there were actually some really great additions to the cast in Season 2, like Riker’s beard (= yummy!) and Guinan – I LOVE her!! She’s so all-knowing and mysterious?! I can’t wait to find out more about her, especially the history between her and Picard! And the introduction of the Ten Forward lounge bar was genius! For similar reasons, I loved “The Royale”– seeing the characters in a somewhat “normal” (20th century) and informal setting, makes them seem far more real? I can just imagine walking in and sitting down for a beer with… now there’s a thought – who would you most like to sit down for a drink with in Ten Forward? I think I’d have to choose Geordi – I bet he’s a right laugh after he’s had a few? I could see us getting up to all sorts of mischief…
There were also some terrific “character building” episodes in Season 2. I have to admit “The Child” weirded me out a little bit, and seemed a somewhat strange choice for a season opener? Yes, I know that this was a rehashed TOS script due to the aforementioned writer’s strike, so we’ll forgive them, and it was great to see a Troi-centred storyline.
There was plenty of soul-searching from Picard in episodes like “Where the Silence Has Lease” and the positively mind-blowing “Time Squared”, whilst I really enjoyed catching a rare glimpse of vulnerability in him in “Samaritan Snare”. (That, and the most awkward shuttle craft journey EVER with Wesley – LOL!) Fantastic to see Dixon Hill again in “Manhunt”, an episode made all the better with the reappearance of the fabulous Majel Barrett – that woman gets all the best lines?! I literally LOLed out loud when right at the end she casually points out that the fish people are in fact assassins! We don’t see enough of Lwaxana Troi in my opinion!!
Riker somewhat stepped out of Picard’s shadow as a leading character in “A Matter of Honor” and “Peak Performance” and it was great to learn more about his family history in “The Icarus Factor” (forgetting the absolute gross-out fact that Pulaski totes did “it” with his Dad!). It wasn’t long however before he was back to his old sleazeball self – the Riker we all know and love – in “Up The Long Ladder”.
“The Icarus Factor” also provided a great insight in to the character of Worf, where we learnt about his Age of Ascension. In fact, there were some great Klingon/Worf centric episodes in Season 2 – “The Emissary” immediately springs to mind – where of course we meet the gorgeous Suzie Plaxton, aka K’Ehleyr for the very first time (another amazing, albeit brief, addition to the Season 2 cast). I’m really interested in learning more about Worf/Klingons, such a similar and yet starkly different species, relatively new to the Federation’s list of allies. I can’t wait to learn more about them – are there any good books out there about this?
It was awesome to see Geordi take centre-stage for a bit in “Q Who” and “Samaritan Snare”, and although I can’t really put my finger on why, “Loud as a Whisper” was possibly one of my favourite episodes from Season 2 – I really enjoyed it.
As always I really enjoyed the Data-licious episodes, of which there were plenty in Season 2! “Elementary Dear Data”; “The Outrageous Okona”; “The Schizoid Man”; “Contagion”; “Pen Pals”. But O.M.G. “The Measure of a Man” – what a fantastic, thought provoking episode – BRAVO! Very well played by all those involved, particularly Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart – cracking job guys?! When Data talks about Tasha… *grabs a tissue just thinking about it
And I LOVE that we’re seeing more of Colm Meaney!! (IT’S COLM MEANEY!!!)
So, last but certainly by no means least… The Borg. Need I say more?
Well go on then, this is a “season review” after all… They. Are. EPIC. Although their appearance in Season 2 was brief, it was enough to totally scare the bejeezus out of me! They are so frickin’ horrible. I think I mentioned this in my guest spot on The Engage Podcast (thank you guys!!), but I remember TrekkieGirl Sam making us watch First Contact all those years ago, and although I wasn’t really a fan at the time (shock horror!), I can remember being absolutely, genuinely terrified! The thought of walking amongst them, not being seen unless you engage them, just totally freaked me out! To face an enemy that has such a blatant disregard for life, concerned only with the continuation and improvement of its own species – using up what it can and then swiftly moving on? There’s just no escape. Just watching the ship regenerate in front of our very eyes, whilst still giving chase… knowing that it’s only a matter of time before they (we) encounter them again – simply terrifying – I can’t wait to see what happens next! They really hit the nail dead-square on the head with the Borg I feel. Naughty meddling Q though eh?! But great to see John de Lancie back!
One more thing before I go…
I am currently reading “A Stolen Life” by Jaycee Dugard. She was abducted by paedophile Phillip Garrido in 1991 and held captive for 18 years.
In her book she remembers watching Star Trek:
“I loved the old Star Trek series that was usually on late at night, too. Eventually I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. What I like about Star Trek was that even though there was still crime in the universe, it didn’t exist on earth. I liked that the earth had been cleaned up. I especially liked that future because I felt I didn’t have one.”
That Star Trek was in some way of solace, an escape, to that poor little girl, torn from her family, alone and terrified, subjected to unimaginable depths of abuse and depravity… well, literally brought a tear (or several) to my eye. I was recently asked what “life lessons” I had learned from the Star Trek franchise ? I replied that anything is possible when “we have eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions”, and that I strive to live by this motto every day. Anyone that read my Season 1 review will know that this is one of favourite quotes (good TiTties – gold star!). Star Trek makes me want to be a better person, to help others and to right all the wrongs in the world. Okay, admittedly pretty big #lifegoals, but at least I’m aiming in the right direction? And if we all did that, then hey, maybe the world would be a better place…
So, to pose the same question to myself in this blog as I did in the last: did Season 2 leave me hungry for more? Most DEFINITELY!! I cannot wait! My transitioning into a fully-fledged #Trekkie has begun. Bring. It. On.
Oh, and sorry to be controversial but I actually enjoyed “Shades of Gray” – I guess it’s the old romantic in me?! (“Troi and Riker up a tree, K. I. S. S. I. N. G.”)