Wednesday, September 28, 2016
The WSW Trek 25: #4-2
Previously: #25-21 #20-17 #16-13 #12-9 #8-5
Figured out my choice for number one yet? We're almost there. Any of these three could've been tops, too; they're practically flawless, in their own ways.
#4. "The Inner Light" (TNG). Earlier this year, when writer Morgan Gendel talked about this episode he wrote, he made the point that it was about "the peculiar benefits of being an outsider, some stubborn need to reside in your own box, not that other one over there that everyone else seems to like so much." I can see that. I think for me, though, it's the concept of the ep itself I find exhilarating: living a completely different life in minutes and then returning to the old life as if nothing happened. What must that feel like? How do you readjust? And how do you go on, knowing that second life is forever out of reach? It's as pure a science fiction concept as you'll ever find. What makes this ep work is, it doesn't dwell on the how. That's unimportant. What matters is what Picard feels throughout the experience, and that comes across crystal clear.
#3. "Favor the Bold"/"Sacrifice of Angels" (DS9). Serialized television drama has become commonplace now, but I can't begin to convey how it felt watching that format for the first time, on Deep Space Nine. The Dominion War arc was the culmination of the five years leading up to it, and this two-parter at the end was almost like watching a movie. It blew my little mind,
especially since I had little advance awareness of it - this was before I had the Internet, after all. I had Star Trek Communicator and TV Guide and that was it for foreknowledge! Modern audiences can't truly appreciate what that feels like because they're so tuned into social media and fansites blabbing everything before it happens. Watching the Dominion War unfold week after week, and not binge-watching all at once, made
this unprecedented experience special. That's why it means so much to me, then and now.
#2. "Yesterday's Enterprise" (TNG). I never had any great love for Tasha Yar as a character. She wasn't around long enough for me to form much of an attachment. That changed with this episode - which I saw before the one where she dies for the first time, not that it mattered. I've seen some debate as to whether her original demise was, in fact, "an empty death," as Guinan put it - after all, it was in the line of duty, if nothing else. But y'know what? It was a redshirt death against a two-bit monster-of-the-week we never saw again. This ep gave us a much better opportunity to see her as the courageous, selfless hero she was. This was a great Guinan ep, too. Her presence made all the difference, even moreso than Tasha. Wish we could've seen more of Rachel Garrett after this ep, but I like what we got. And Picard is Picard. History never will forget the name... Enterprise.