My father e-mailed me:
Did Gene Roddenbury know this?
[In France], the astronomer Jean Picard devided an impressively complicated method of traingulation [to determine distances, in this case the size of the earth] involving quadrants, pendulum clocks, zenith sectors, and telescopes (for observing the motions of the moons of Jupiter). After two years of trundling and triangulating his way across France, in 1669 he announced a more accurate measure of 110.46 kilometers for one degree of arc. This was a great source of pride for the French, but it was predicated on the assumption that the Earth was a perfect sphere--which Newton said it was not.
[In fact, it was later found that t]he Earth was forty-three kilometers stouter when measured equatorially than when measured from top to bottom around the poles.
from Bill Bryson, A Short HIstory of Nearly Everything (2003), pp.52-3.
Of course, Picard didn't use kilometers, which weren't invented for more than 100 years. They are a result of the French Revolution (begun 1789).--RAS
“The Inner Light” (5.25)
Picard saying he can’t imagine living without a wife and children. Interesting that doesn’t echo through anything in later episodes. Watching “Rascals” (6.7) when Crusher says he has a chance to have a second childhood i thought it would make sense for him to think “How many lifetimes am i going to live?”
“Man of the People” (6.03)
ladyvivien linked to a 1993 piece by a Mick Doherty called "Manifesto For An Empath" which discusses, among other things, 5 instances in which Troi is subjected to mind rape. I would count this episode as one of them, but interestingly it isn’t listed. The link is dead, now but can be accessed thanks to the beauty of the Wayback Machine.
Wow, watching this i kept thinking “This is so Harry Potter.”
It’s bad that when Riker first sees chibi!Picard my first thought was “Perving on the prepubescent Jean-Luc!” And when Crusher says he could go back to the Academy and he says “And share a room with Wes?” i thought there must be so much fic based on that AU.
“Quality of Life” (6.09)
Everyone talks about “Measure of a Man,” and i think i did see it as a child, but this is the episode i always think of when i think of the artificial life debate (which made it interesting to watch so many episode throughout the seasons this summer dealing with the question of what makes an entity alive and still not have this one show up until so late -- especially because Data and Dr. Crusher have that conversation, which is written as if they haven’t already had it a dozen times). While there are lots of episodes i recalled having seen as i rewatched this summer, this is one of the few episodes that would have come to mind if you had asked me before about which episodes i remembered from my childhood viewing. (And that incident that prompts the whole plot reminds me so much of I, Robot: “Runaround.”)
“Chain of Command” (6.10-6.11)
*shivers* This another one of the episodes i explicitly remembered from my childhood viewing. “The Best of Both Words” (which i may or may not have seen as a child) had its aftermath written into a number of episodes, but it is this two-parter Picard-trauma that i distinctly remember. This episode pains me. (Though when i rewatched it i realized that Picard’s torture takes up a minority portion of the hour and a half, it’s just that it’s all i remembered from my original viewing of the episode.)
“Face of the Enemy” (6.14)
ladyvivien, you got your butch!Troi :)
I very much beg to differ with Mick Doherty (see 6.03) that this is a mind-rape, or really any kind of rape. She was abducted, and yes her body was mutilated without her consent, but are we really going to get into "all transsexuals rape women's bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves" Janice Raymond Transsexual Empire territory?
And while i’m criticizing Mick, he says that "Power Play" “is the only episode in which she assumes command, even temporarily, of the vessel upon which she serves.” Um, excuse me? What about “Disaster” (5.05)?
Someone mentioned this episode in a comment on a previous TNG post, but i don’t remember what the context was. Bueller?
As it began i realized i had seen it (another one of those episodes i think of when i think TNG) but per usual i couldn’t remember much of what happened in advance.
Q wants to be Picard’s god. John-Luck Pickard! Fic in which Q calls Picard “Johnny”? “Morning, darling.” “We’re just friends, Q. Nothing more.” Until Picard’s response i actually thought Q was joking with the idea that they had slept together, rather than Q throwing Picard’s words about Marta back at him. Clearly i have a one-track mind.
And lo we cross over with Deep Space Nine which premiered a couple months prior. And Dr. Julian Bashir whom i don’t think i actually like on DS9 (of which i saw maybe a few fractions of episodes, of course) but "No one ever asked me if my hair grows or noticed that I breathe." hi i’m so writing slash. I love the dream stuff. Some of the most brill stuff to come out of TNG, i think. (And it gives me lovely additional directions for fic.)
“Did the table do something wrong?”
I kept remembering bits of this after it happened. The whole Data thing was much more prominent in my memory than the Worf stuff, though. Though honestly, watching it this time through, the Worf plot is an equally interesting one -- the choices/sacrifices/compromises we make, the question of whether forging a new future is worth eliding one’s history. TNG has an agenda, of course, (multiple ones, in fact) but i think this is one of its less heavy-handed. In part because of its ambiguities. Peace between Romulans and Klingons is the Star Trek ideal. The Klingon obsession with battle (and secondarily with honor) has always struck the human Federation as rather odd and old-fashioned. Worf’s repulsion at the evidence of Ba'el’s mulatto-ness is one of the more heavy-handed moments of the episode. But the return of the Klingons to their roots, which upsets the idyllic life they have lead, is presented as the triumph of the episode. (Klingons may embody many stereotypes/myths about those of African descent, but Romulans are evil. Klingons may be savages, but freedom is paramount.) And then Worf talks about knowledge and we see how of course it all fits in to Roddenberry’s moral universe so easily. Worf speaks about bringing the dangerous truth to the young people and it verges on heavy-handed but only because the analogy is so obvious.
“The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth -- whether it’s scientific truth, or historical truth, or personal truth.”
-Picard to Wesley in “The First Duty” (TNG 5.19)
“Starship Mine” (6.18)
When the people come to start doing stuff on the Bridge as Picard is leaving, it was as if suddenly the Director had called Cut and everyone came on stage to rearrange the set.
Oh Nella Darren. Yourloveissodorky. I kept being all squeeish in spite of myself. But i’m sorry, you’re just not allowed to get with my captain. Though you make him so happy (though almost unnaturally so), and that is of the good. Mmm... shoutout to “The Inner Light.” It felt wrong to allow her to try out the flute (which was forgiven later when he agrees with my interpretation that that experience was precious to him and that it is rare that he shares it with someone), but then they did the duet thing and it’s such a good metaphor, with the new and the improvising and all. “I may not be as precise as a computer, but I think you’ll enjoy it a bit more.” *coughs* OMG, and Crusher wants to rip her face off. No one is allowed to tell me that Gates McFadden can’t act. Anyway, Darren, you’re allowed to have dorky platonic love with Picard (though all those shots of your hands make me think “Picard, don’t you wish you had a cunt?”) but no kissing. Sorry, ma’am. And yet he’s almost so boyishly earnest it’s darling. I’m rather indifferent to the character herself, but it’s skill that the plot itself makes me actually enjoy the relationship despite myself.
“The Chase” (6.20)
42. That’s all i’m saying.
“Frame of Mind” (6.21)
Oh, Nazi Germany and Dr. Mendell.
That scene wherein Lore accesses the fingernail emotion chip and reduces Data’s emotional intake? Is one of the scenes dominant in my memory of TNG. Even though i have very little memory of the rest of this two-parter (though i remembered the scene at the end with the chip in the box). I kept expecting it to show up in earlier episodes with Brent Spiner characters when i was rewatching in order this summer.
Metaphasic shielding! I heart continuity.
One could drive small spacecraft through the plotholes in this episode (some were alleviated, but others exacerbated, by the end-twist), but i really adore some of the dialogue.
Riker: If I didn't know you, I'd say you were procrastinating.
Worf: Klingons do not procrastinate. It is a tactical delay.
Worf: I do not see why it is necessary to wear these ridiculous uniforms.
Worf: They look like dresses.
Riker: That is such an outmoded, sexist attitude. I'm surprised at you. Besides, you look good in a dress.
[This is me, coughing discretely.]
Picard and Voval have hot hot sex on the shuttle ride back to the Enterprise, right? I mean, someone has ficced this, right?
Was i the only person getting a Misery vibe during the crazy!captor!Anna bits?
Mad Data-love in this and the previous episode.
Data: Come in.
Geordi: Data. Still working?
Data: No. I have finished adjusting the interface. I am now waiting for Commander Riker to finish moving the probe. Do you need to be comforted?
Geordi: No! I was passing by and wondered what you were up to.
Data: I am using the time to catch up on my study of poetry.
Geordi: There's nothing on the screen.
Data: That is not entirely correct. While the display is currently blank, this emptiness has a poetic meaning. Therefore, it cannot be considered "nothing" as such.
Geordi: Says who?
Data: The ancient Doosodarians. Much of their poetry contains such lacunae or empty spaces. Often, these pauses measured days, during which poet and audience were encouraged to acknowledge the emptiness of the experience.
Geordi: A few Starfleet Academy lectures seemed that way.
Data: Are you certain you do not wish to talk about your mother?
Geordi: Why would you say that?
Data: You are no doubt feeling distress. While you claim to be just passing by, that is most likely an excuse to discuss this uncomfortable subject. Am I correct?
Geordi: No, Data. Sometimes "just passing by" means just passing by.
Data: Then I apologize for my premature assumption. This particular poem has a lacuna of 47 minutes. You may experience the emptiness with me, if you wish.
Geordi: Thanks. You know, Data, maybe you gave up a little too easily.
Data: I do not understand.
Geordi: When I said, "Just passing by means just passing by", I really didn't mean it.
Data: Then my assumption was correct. You do wish to speak of your mother.
Geordi: Am I crazy to think that she's still alive?
Data: Your sanity is not in question. However, your evaluation of the available information is biased.
Geordi: She's a starship captain. She's gotten out of impossible situations before. Why is this any different?
Data: Disappearances like that of the Hera rarely end with the safe recovery of ship and crew.
Geordi: That makes me feel much better! Look, I'm sorry, Data. I didn't mean to snap at you.
Data: I am not offended. You are upset. Your reactions are not surprising.
lacuna ... Dawn, negative space, “The Body”!