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Top 10 Episodes: Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 7

Top 10 Episodes: Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 7

The final season of quite possibly the most popular of the Star Trek spin-offs.

While the quality of the episodes may have fallen off a bit during the later seasons, this certainly didn’t mean the show still couldn’t turn out some beauties during it’s last hurrah. Aside from wrapping up the obvious, we also got some closure when it came to a few supporting characters as well, in Wesley and Ro.

Here are the Top 10 Episode’s of Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 7.

10. Phantasms

Data is experimenting with “dreaming” which happens to coincide with the arrival of some interphasic organisms that exist just beyond our visual spectrum.

For any fans of Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?  this episode would seem to infer that no…they do not. Data’s dreams – which turn into nightmares – seem to consist mostly of his crewmates being devoured by other crewmates, as well as a trio of rather surely miners intent on taking Data apart.

The visualizations in this episode are the real draw, and while they certainly aren’t the most artistic dream sequences ever conceived of and shot, they are interesting.

And don’t forget – it’s “with mint frosting.”

9. Eye of the Beholder

TNG goes murder/mystery, with a sci-fi twist.

A pretty compelling episode, with Troi taking the lead. During the course of a suicide investigation, she unwillingly becomes a witness to an unsolved murder that happened many years ago on the Enterprise during the years of it’s construction. The only problem now is, due to her abilities, she’s reliving it – and it may end just as bad as before.

It does throw the audience for a bit of a loop, trying to figure out exactly what is going on. Private Drake from Aliens plays the unsettling Lt. Pierce, and he does it well. “Eye of the Beholder” also plays up the growing but not totally believable relationship between Worf and Troi.

8. Gambit, Part I

Riker and the gang find out that Captain Picard has died in what appears to be a bar fight. The hunt for the truth begins.

Riker’s pursuit of justice is admirable, and his best scene might be dealing with a man who may have information as to what happened to the Captain, but is asking perhaps a bit too much in return. We are introduced to some mercenaries, led by the very confident Baran; someone who isn’t afraid to lead by fear. (If any member of those mercenaries were looking directly at Riker when he first see’s what he thought was his dead Captain, surely they would think something was up based on the fact that Riker’s jaw is on the ground in surprise??)

Picard’s turn as a “bad boy” isn’t overly convincing to those of us who’ve been watching him for the past seven years, but luckily it’s enough to fool Baran and the rest of the crew. Watching Picard and Riker exchange both insults and fists with each other is a rare treat.

7. Gambit, Part II

The resolution of what Part I started.

The highlight of the episode probably has to go to former NBA star James Worthy playing the part of the towering Klingon. His “interactions” with Worf and Crusher are fantastic. Gates McFadden’s ability to play awkward humor is underrated. We see more of the Riker vs. Picard cover here, and you have to hand it to the Enterprise crew for their restrained reactions at seeing Picard alive and well when he beams over with the mercenaries.

Not the biggest stretch as far as make-up goes for guest star Robin Curtis playing Tallera. She had already appeared with the pointed ears as a Vulcan in Star Trek’s III & IV as Saavik, taking over Kirstie Alley’s role.

A final fun moment as the episode closes has Data hauling Riker off to the brig for several infractions during his time undercover. Is he joking around?? We can’t tell, and neither can Riker.

6. Attached

A great episode dealing with something that’s been hinted at on rare occasions since the show began: the mutual attraction between Picard and Crusher and what is happening there. Are they going to pursue a relationship, are they not?

Through a unique set of circumstances, Picard & Crusher are kidnapped and have been outfitted with devices that enables the two to hear each other’s thoughts. Can you imagine having every one of your thought’s monitored or heard by someone else? Can you further imagine being in that scenario while stuck with someone you like or have loved for years? That is the situation going on between the Captain and the Doctor in this case. It makes for a very intimate sharing of thoughts, and it is interesting to see how these two deal with the situation.

Not to be overlooked is the performance of the character Mauric. He and his people’s complete lack of trust in anyone else and need for tight security at all times makes for some funny moments.

5. Genesis

A bit of a crazy concept, but also one helluva freaky episode, fully highlighting make-up artist Michael Westmore’s talents.

An unknown strain is spread on the ship causing the crew to “de-evolve” into different species with a humanoid twist. Picard and Data (who had been away during the initial infection), return to the ship and must find a way to reverse the process, thereby miraculously returning all our heroes into their human form. (Somehow. Without a physical trace of what they had just gone through. Ah, how tidy television can be sometimes.)

The creatures that we see throughout the episode are definitely what steals the show. Whatever Worf turns into is absolutely frightening, and the scene with the Spider-Barclay is a true jump-out-of-your-seat moment. Some of the brilliance of the direction in this installment (props to Gates McFadden who was taking a turn behind the camera!) was keeping some of these monsters in the shadows, and not ever being able to see these characters head on. It definitely added to the creepiness of “Genesis”.

4. Pegasus

Riker may be in some hot water as his former Captain (now Admiral Pressman) shows up with plans to continue dangerous experiments that let to mutiny and the deaths of many Federation officers: developing a Federation cloaking device.

The original ship in question was called the Pegasus, and after years of thinking it had been destroyed it’s recently been found: with most of the ship inside solid rock. Turns out this isn’t exactly your standard cloaking device. Riker is put in an awkward position – keep Captain Picard in the dark about what happened all those years ago and go along with Admiral Pressman’s dangerous plans, or come clean about his past and the role he had in the whole operation – which could lead to a court martial and kicked out of Starfleet.

A highly entertaining story, boosted by the great performance of John Locke – sorry, Terry O’Quinn. There is also some good cat and mouse with the Romulans going on as well.

3. Parallels

What if every decision you made, the opposite of whatever you chose to do actually happened anyway, in an alternate universe? Can you imagine the number of different universes there would be??

Worf has the disorienting experience of visiting many of those universes, as an accident causes him to move from one timeline to the next. As we’ve touched on before, it’s always fun to see shows we are familiar with in a different light. What if the bridge looked like this? What if this crew member was doing this now? Having Wesley back in one universe was a great touch, and seeing a timeline where the Borg had taken over what was left of the Federation was a great “what if” scenario as well.

(What a fantastic visual seeing dozens of Enterprise-D’s in one shot was!)

2. Lower Decks

This one will tug at your heart strings by the end of the episode.

A great concept, following the officers who AREN’T part of the senior staff and seeing what life is like near the bottom of the ranks. We get to know several of these characters rather well. The mirroring of the poker games between the senior officers and ensigns is a fun sequence. You can’t help but smile with Ben as he has the freedom to move from the junior game to the senior game without the pressure of playing with people he’s trying to impress.

Ensign Sito Jaxa is the star of the show though. Continuing the character we first met in Season 5’s “First Duty”, she has a hint of vulnerability to her, which makes the scene when she stands up to Picard all that more satisfying. The mentor/protegee relationship between her and Worf is completely believable. Picard’s address to the crew at the end is gut wrenching, and the scene to close out the show with Worf and the junior crew will get you right in the feels.

1. All Good Things…

The best series finale in Star Trek history? It’s definitely part of the debate.

“All Good Things” was a great bookend to “Encounter at Farpoint”, the series premiere. Having Q return again in the courtroom setting worked out perfectly, and his overall message to Picard rings true. While it was tough to really recreate our heroes as they appeared 7 years prior (aging actors through make-up is one thing, but making people look younger is a different beast. Nice move cheating a younger Riker minus the beard), it was entertaining to see a potential timeline and where our characters end up. For those Farpoint sequences, having Tasha Yar make a return was a great touch, there’s no doubt about that.

The last scene may be the best. After all these years of the senior staff getting together and Picard keeping his distance to maintain his authoritative figure, it’s fantastic to see him sit among not only his peers, but his friends and join them in a hand of poker.

“…and the sky’s the limit.”

Well played, TNG. Well played.

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