Monday, March 13, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 50 (Evolution)

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

One of the things that people have noticed about the Star Trek series, particularly The Next Generation, was that technology not only failed often, but that it often failed at the worst possible moment. Take this episode, for example. The Enterprise is in a binary star system waiting for one of the stars to explode. This opportunity, which comes along once every 196 years, will provide valuable scientific information. At the same time, the ship’s computer starts failing. A replicator produces a drink and keeps putting liquid in the glass. When asked to explain, the computer denies that the replicator is doing anything at all.

Wesley Crusher thinks that he may be responsible. He was doing an experiment with nanites, which are really small robots. One possible use is to do work in a human body at the cellular level. The ones that he was using seem to have gotten into the computer and started multiplying. They’re now eating away at parts of the ship, which is what’s leading to the various failures. Fortunately, the day is saved and the experiment goes on. However, it’s another example of things going wrong at the worst possible moment.

This was the premier for the third season. Dr. Crusher is back and with very little explanation and Dr. Pulaski left with none, whatsoever. The only time that Crusher’s return was dealt with was in how Wesley had to learn to become independent of his mother while she was away at Starfleet Medical.

This was an odd episode. We get to see that Wesley does occasionally screw up. Dr. Stubbs, who was the one doing the experiment, was a little odd, himself. He liked baseball, which doesn’t seem to be common in the 24th century. He confides in Wesley that he was a wonder child, much like Wesley is.

I’d give the episode three stars. It’s interesting to watch the first time because you want to know how it’s going to play out. (That’s why I left out the actual solution to the problem.) Replay value is very low, however, so this is another episode that I can recommend renting, but not buying. In fact, the episode is actually closer to two stars than to four, so I’d recommend waiting for it to come on TV if you have the time.

The Next Generation was kind of like someone that was pushed and is stumbling to regain their balance. The first two seasons were hit and miss. Here, it looks like the series is beginning to get a decent stride. I’d still recommend watching it from the beginning, mostly because you will miss out on some things. However, this is where the show starts to get consistently good, or at least better.

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