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Top 10 Episodes: Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 5

Top 10 Episodes: Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 5

Season 5. The show is still on an upswing, we’re introduced to Ensign Ro, Wesley comes back for a visit and we get to see an old friend to further connect TNG with The Original Series.

The introduction of Ro made sense, as the bridge never had a permanent helmsman once Geordi left for Engineering after season 1. She is a rough-around-the-edges type character that definitely mixes up the dynamic on the bridge and brings some welcome conflict to spice things up.

Here are the Top 10 Episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 5.

10. Redemption Part II

Here we get the resolution to the Klingon civil war.

Everything comes to a head in a final stand the Federation makes, trying to foil the Romulans’ plan to re-supply Klingon focres. (Romulans and Klingons working together?? Pfft. It will never work or happen again…..welllllllll, until DS9.) Even though the main story line still centers around Worf, Data gets an opportunity to shine in the B-story. It was good to see Data stand up for himself and make a case that he is fully capable of commanding a starship (which apparently has one of the smallest bridges ever).

9. Conundrum

An interesting episode where exposure to a probe wipes everyone’s short term memory and they are coerced into attacking an inferior species by an alien posing as part of the bridge crew.

It’s fun to see everyone try and establish their roles on the ship once they’ve lost their memory. Worf automatically assumes he’s in command because he is more “decorated” than anyone else there. Data as a bartender certainly seems like a waste of talent & resources. (You think they would have caught on to that one sooner.) What’s most fun to watch is the sudden burgeoning attraction between Riker and Ro. Which of course only gets more interesting once Riker and Troi realize they have a connection as well.

Pfffft. Riker. You dog.

8. The Game

A really fun episode. Wesley is back for a visit to the Enterprise during a break from the Academy, and this happens to coincide with a fad that is sweeping the Enterprise. A game has been brought back by Riker from Risa, and it’s having some rather debilitating effects on the crew that they are unaware of. Luckily Wesley warms up to a young Ashley Judd (making her on-screen acting debut), and together they save the day. (Fortunately at this point Judd isn’t the overrated, annoying over-actor she grew up to be. She’s actually quite good in this.)

The underlying conspiracy-like feeling on the ship is fun, especially when Worf and Riker are acting almost like two heavies from a movie as they relentlessly hunt down Wesley.  It’s fascinating to see how the crew can go about their daily routines, quietly following subliminal orders without ever cluing in until Data shows up to snap everyone out of it.

Anyone else notice once the crisis is over no one turns to Wes to say, oh I dunno, “Thank you”??

7. Unification Part I

We say goodbye to a long standing member of Star Trek lore, and get re-acquainted with an even bigger one. Both just happen to be Vulcan.

Word is that Ambassador Spock has defected to the Romulans, and Picard and Co. are put on the case. While trying to pick up his trail (along with Spock’s motivation for the drastic move), Picard visits a dying Sarek in hopes to get answers. It’s a touching scene between the two, and Patrick Stewart plays it perfectly. As the episode progresses Picard and Data get transport on board a Klingon vessel, and are made up to look like Romulans. (Looks like Kirk is no longer the only Enterprise Captain to be made to look like their pointy-eared foes.) While Picard and Data are off on their mission, Riker and the Enterprise are looking into the disappearance of a Federation ship from a shipyard run by a fantastic character named Dokachin.

Klim Dokachin.

His performance is hands down the best of the episode. His utter lack of interest in Riker or the Enterprise is great, and then his sudden interest in Troi and the Enterprise is even better.

The final scene is crafted perfectly to get you hooked for part two. Seeing Spock again is always a satisfying experience.

6. The Next Phase

A cool idea and fun story, despite a few flaws.

The Enterprise answers a Romulan distress signal, and in their attempt to affect repairs, Ro and Geordi appear to die in an accident. As it turns out however, a new Romulan weapon that is still in the development stage renders the two officers both cloaked AND able to pass through solid matter. Meaning they can walk through doors, bulkheads…people.

It’s fun to watch the crew’s reaction to their apparent “death”, and the struggles Data has to come up with an appropriate memorial service for his two fallen comrades is touching. You can’t help but agree with Geordi when he’s trying to get through to Data – all these patterns can’t be random. Why didn’t he use his finger and treat the console like sand and write a message to Data? And the big question: why were their feet or boots impervious to being phased? How did they not just pass right through the decks of the Enterprise and out into space? True, we’d have no show, (and that would be the end of Ro and Geordi) but still.

This also continues to show the audience: you shouldn’t trust a Romulan. Ever.

5. Power Play

Troi, Data and O’Brien become possessed by the consciousness of deceased aliens and try to take over the ship.

In a nutshell, the story doesn’t seem overly appealing. However, it is quite an entertaining episode. Troi plays the badass leader rather well, and the possessed Data takes every chance he can to get under Worf’s skin. Using O’Brien as the third antagonist was another big step for his character, as he was starting to get used more and more before he and Keiko made the move to Deep Space Nine. Once again, Captain Picard shows his ability for diplomacy, negotiation, and thinking ahead. Moving the hostages to the cargo bay is good sequence.

4. Unification Part II

A very satisfying ending to what Part I started. It was heavy on the Spock content, which was great, and we also got another visit from Sela.

It was nice to see how smoothly Spock’s character worked alongside the “newcomers” in Picard and Data. Having an icon from The Original Series could have been a distraction, but the story was very well told and there were moments where Spock shined, and others where he worked well in the background. The moments with Data on the Klingon ship and then with Picard at the episode’s end were highlights.

Let us not forget about what the rest of the crew was up to either. Worf has a fantastic scene where we get one of our earliest exposures to Klingon Opera. (Me-looooooooo-ta!!) And then Riker with the “fat Ferengi” is a great moment as well.

3. Ethics

One wouldn’t normally associate a Worf episode with feelings of sadness and being on the verge of tears, but “Ethics” delivers exactly that.

While Worf certainly is the focus of this story, it is actually Dr. Crusher who has some extremely strong scenes. Worf’s young son Alexander, is also very effective. The seeds of the start of something more between Worf and Counselor Troi are planted here, as it is she he asks to take care of Alexander should anything happen to him. Crusher’s treatment of the unethical Dr. Russell is played perfectly, and is one of the few times we get to see Crusher really take charge of her sickbay and the staff under her “command”.

The scene that really takes the cake though is when she has to break some bad news to Alexander and Troi. You can see it written all over her face as soon as she walks in the room and crouches down to face Alexander. Coupled with how intense the surgery scene was just previously, you can’t help but be caught up in the moment with these characters.

A very powerful moment from Season 5.

2. Darmok

A fantastic installment that deals with one of the most basic instincts: communication.

Picard and Co. come across a species who (to them) appear to be speaking in complete gibberish. The Captain’s counterpart, Dathon, (played wonderfully by Paul Winfield, who also appeared as Captain Terrell in The Wrath of Khan) recognizes their inability to get through to our heroes and purposefully strands himself & Captain Picard on a nearby planet’s surface – which is also inhabited by a dangerous creature. It is the hope of Captain Dathon that their shared experience in this hostile environment will force the two to learn to communicate with each other.

Dathon’s plan works, even though it ends up being a lethal one. It is his death that makes everything he did so poignant, and has a great effect on Picard, as well as us the audience. The stories they shared around the campfire was a great scene, and watching Picard slowly interpret and learn what Dathon is saying is ultimately satisfying. A great episode.

1. Cause and Effect

If you’re not a fan of stories that deal with time (or in this case repeating the same moments of time), then perhaps this episode isn’t for you.

If you are though -this one is a gem.

One thing is for sure, with a teaser that has the complete destruction of the Enterprise before the credits roll, how can you not come back after the commercial to see what the heck happened? Crusher is the first to notice that she is experiencing deja vu, and as we see the same sequence of events unfold over and over again, more and more of the crew start to clue in. The use of the poker game is perfect to help our characters realize what is going on, and it’s cool to see how many times the same lines of dialogue can be delivered with subtle variations. Worf’s reaction to Riker’s bet of 50 is so small yet so good, and Kelsey Grammar may have the shortest guest spot in the entire series.

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