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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.

4 Comments

  1. K. Jones
    July 22, 2015 @ 10:27 am

    I feel like as these progress there'll be a constant theme of Michelle Forbes' chemistry with the existing cast. Even as I could see her being a match for Riker last episode, I suspect once I sit down and watch Power Play tonight I'll be on the same ship-train as you. But it's key that every time she plays off a new core castmember, she feels integral – she feels like she's filling a niche that was missing.

    And of course, it's because she is. She's filling the void left in Tasha's absence, that's essentially been a sucking chest wound for five years. Albeit, filling that hole and expanding it and doing it somewhat better, with more agency, gusto, and better writing. But so it goes.

    Another example of Season 5 giving us "Peak TNG". This episodes use of Keiko and Miles essentially does what last episode forgot to do – remembers that there's families on the Enterprise, and uses them as the prime example of what happens when all the space magick comes along.

    And this is some pure space magick, too. Demonic possession, lies upon lies, a literalized Planet Hell. We're finally back in immram or echtra territory. Actually a pretty great place for an empathic princess and a working class space Irishman to have a bad brush with the Otherworld.

    I'm quite eager to give this a watch specifically for the Burton, Forbes and Frakes performances, to see how the archetropes of teacher/heart of the ship and best friend/soul of the ship play with the fact that their closest BFFs are the ones taken over and violated by hostile aliens. Or to glean a little guilt in Frakes' performance, since as I recall his injury this episode is the thing that prevents his possession, right?

    Things to look out for.

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  2. K. Jones
    July 23, 2015 @ 5:44 am

    It was all there, I'm pleased to say, though because of the pace and urgency of the action events of the episode, nobody got much time to deal with their inner lives, and then poof, crisis over, back to normal, episodic storytelling.

    I did have a vague inkling of familiarity as I watched it though, and quickly looked into the tradition of demons pretending to be the ghosts of mortals. It's quite a common trope or folk legend in human stories, that we're not supposed to trust ghosts because they might be demons pretending to be ghosts.

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  3. K. Jones
    July 23, 2015 @ 5:46 am

    One thing I chuckled at was the sheer size of the device Geordi and Laren were lugging around. It's what can only be considered something of "retrograde futuristic", because nowadays the device used or attempted would be the size of a cellphone, with maybe a fiber-optic cable attached to it.

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  4. Daru
    August 31, 2015 @ 9:19 am

    Back & catching up after holidays and working away from home for the summer. So looking forwards to the posts from you to catch up on Josh!

    This is one of my fave episodes so thanks for highlighting what's great about it – and I ship Geordi and Ro too! What a good pairing.

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