Thursday, November 10, 2016

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 24 (We'll Always Have Paris)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

The first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation was hit or miss for me. There were a few good ones, but a lot of them were lacking in at least one area. “We’ll Always Have Paris” is a prime example of that.

The Enterprise is going about its business when everyone onboard experiences the same moment over again. (For Picard, this anomaly happens while he’s fencing.) When Picard gets to the bridge, the Enterprise receives a distress call on behalf of a scientist named Manheim. Captain Picard recognizes the voice; it’s Jenice, a woman that he was in love with many years ago. He was supposed to meet her at the Blue Parrot Cafe in Paris, but he left her waiting there in favor of joining Starfleet. Now, she’s married to the scientist that’s in trouble. He’s been working on the relationship between gravity and time; in so doing, he’s ripped the fabric of our universe and it’s up to the Enterprise to figure out how to fix everything.

It’s not often that I can do a plot summary in one paragraph. In this case, it’s due mostly to the lack of any real plot. The relationship between Picard and Jenice isn’t really done well. It looks like it was done to show that Picard had to make a choice between being a Starfleet officer and being “ordinary,” as it was put in the episode. (A recurring theme in Star Trek seems to be the choice Starfleet officers have to make between career and family.) Picard would go on to have other love interests, pretty much all of which were done better.

Then, there are the time-related anomalies. The one at the beginning of the episode wasn’t the only one. Picard, Commander Riker, and Science Officer Data meet their doubles when entering the turbolift. All three enter without incident. When the turbolift stops, the doors open to reveal the three of them waiting for the turbolift. (It helps not to think about it too much. Why didn’t they see themselves the first time they were waiting for the turbolift? Also, after the doors close, the three that are waiting for the turbolift have a conversation about the anomalies getting worse. So far as I can tell, this is only for our benefit.)

The episode deals mostly with the anomalies. As with the relationship aspect of the episode, there will be other episodes that deal with anomalies and time-related issues better than this one did. Overall, this was a very skipable episode. The acting by the regulars is beginning to take shape as the actors are becoming more familiar with the roles and the roles are becoming more defined. The guest actors weren’t that great. A lot of the other Epinions reviewers complained about Michelle Phillips as Jenice. I had more of a problem with Rod Loomis as Dr. Paul Manheim. He was supposed to be torn between two worlds. Granted, it’s not something that most people have a lot of experience with, but his performance seemed to alternate between overdoing it and trying not to overdo it.

The only reason I thing that it’s memorable is that it’s so not memorable. If you’re watching the episodes on tape, do yourself a favor and don’t buy this one. If you’re watching them on the season set, you might want to save this one for when you have nothing else to watch. 

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