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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.


  1. Ross
    June 26, 2015 @ 12:49 am

    So… Technically this is exactly the essay that goes here about this episode. But there is a part of me that is a little bit sad this didn't turn out to be a gonzo posts based around making fun of Stephen Ratliff.


  2. Froborr
    June 26, 2015 @ 4:15 am

    I agree with every single point you make here… and as a result I like the episode, because (as is sadly not often the case) the bad bits are also the unmemorable bits, and the good bits are the ones that stand out in my memory. I actually initially responded, "Wait, what bridge plot?" until you went into detail, and then I forgot that any regulars other than Troi were in it until you brought up O'Brien and Ro. The Worf/Keiko bits I remember as a thing that happened, but no specifics.

    But Picard and the kids in the turbolift, and the Geordi/Crusher scenes? Oh yes, I remember those vividly–even in color, which my memory rarely is, but I remember the crackling green of the fire, the pink of Number One's outfit, and so on. Those parts of the episode were excellent, and made enough of an impression on me to drown out the bad.


  3. Froborr
    June 26, 2015 @ 4:16 am

    Also re: Dirty Pair being able to do this kind of story better, I have seen exactly one episode of Dirty Pair, the first one. And yes, they did do it better.


  4. SK
    June 26, 2015 @ 4:24 am




  5. Neo Tuxedo
    June 26, 2015 @ 4:25 am

    The Worf/Keiko bits I remember as a thing that happened, but no specifics.

    I remember "You may now give birth" because PAD called back to it in his DS9 novel The Siege (which I'm nominating for a Myriad Universes post; in particular, there's nothing about Meta's actions and statements that's inherently incompatible with the show's revelations about his species). And yes, I'm another one who was initially surprised that Josh could do an entire post about this episode without going into more depth on Marissa. Either he's saving the Ratliff oeuvre for a Myriad Universes, or he was genuinely unaware of it; the latter is actually more likely, given how confined the Ratliff hatedom was to the Internet.


  6. elvwood
    June 26, 2015 @ 4:58 am

    Me too! I remember this as a fun episode, because I remembered those same two bits and forgot the rest.

    But…yeah. Having been reminded of the bridge plot, I don't think I'll be watching it again soon.


  7. Jacob Nanfito
    June 26, 2015 @ 8:59 am

    "There's a discussion to be had about how challenging this series is finding it to do just plain “fun” episodes every once in awhile, both due to external fan pressure to be “serious” and due to the fact that, frankly, I think this creative team is pretty poor at comedy (which is almost criminal considering the cast are comic geniuses)."

    Hmmm … I've never thought about this before. Did TNG ever do any explicitly "comedy" episodes? I can't recall any. That's a shame. It would've been fun to see them experiment with tone and do something lighter. I always loved it when shows like The X-Files would do episodes like that … I even enjoyed some of the DS9 Ferengi comedy episodes.

    As you say, it would've been fun to see the TNG cast tear into something like that.


  8. T. Hartwell
    June 26, 2015 @ 9:46 am

    "Q Who" is I believe the most recent example of a straightforward comedy episode (and was pointedly reviled here).


  9. T. Hartwell
    June 26, 2015 @ 9:46 am

    Excuse me, that should be "Qpid", not "Q Who". Too many Q's…


  10. Jacob Nanfito
    June 26, 2015 @ 11:40 am

    Oh … I must have erased that from my memory. Well, too bad we never got a good comedy episode then.

    Also — I just finished watching "Disaster" with my kids, and I thought it was a great episode. I think it was the first episode of this show my kids actually connected with and they stayed engaged and interested. My daughter, in particular, really liked seeing the kids work together to help Picard and Troi as Captain. I think all of the different segments highlighted some great utopian unity, cooperation, and overcoming challenges. As a parent, I'm glad to have shown it to them.

    Although I think it may have been my 8 year old's first glimpse of where babies come from. Oops….

    And I thought Worf and Keiko's interactions were funny. I took Worf's ineptitude more as culturally driven and, of course, Dorn is hilarious.


  11. K. Jones
    June 30, 2015 @ 3:22 am

    I like Disaster a lot. I feel like the idea of separating characters who don't always get to interact into interesting vignettes, within the context of a bottle show, was a pretty crafty idea. Certainly not all of the beats are as strong as others.

    Geordi/Beverly immediately popped into my head as an overdue, but perfect pairing. Picard's stuff is good. Riker/Data isn't exactly breaking new ground (in fact, immediately before that it's Riker/Data/Worf) but I think Riker's friendly concern sells Data's ridiculous plan.

    Deanna and Laren have some portrayal issues – though O'Brien is pretty on point in those scenes, fairly effortlessly slotting back in as a Tac Officer whenever he's on the bridge and Worf isn't. The Keiko bit is a little ridiculous, though the stuff prior to the obligatory childbirth comedy act where she's just helping Worf do triage to injured crewmen was quite lovely.

    Even with a few misfires here, the season is at least still going pretty strong. At least until "The Game" comes along.


  12. Daru
    July 6, 2015 @ 10:35 pm

    O really remember well and adore the turbo lift scenes with Picard and the children as one of the highlights of the show for me – Stewart's ability to make the scenes really heartfelt is special indeed.

    Beverly and Geordi – brilliant together!

    "frankly, I think this creative team is pretty poor at comedy (which is almost criminal considering the cast are comic geniuses"

    Aye I agree – even though there are issues with the Keiko and Worf scenes – Dorn's delivery (no pun meant!) does hint at Worf's comic potential.


  13. Daru
    July 6, 2015 @ 10:38 pm

    And yeah it does not make sense at all that Worf would be ineffectual as I am pretty sure all crew would have appropriate training in alien biology and all its aspects.


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