Lynch's Spoiler Review: "In Theory"

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Timothy W. Lynch

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Jun 6, 1991, 2:52:11 AM6/6/91
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WARNING: The following article contains spoiler information about this week's
TNG episode, "In Theory". You should know the scoop by now: don't go any
further if you don't know or want to know what happens.

Hmm. Hardly thrilling, but a decent way to spend an hour. Quite watchable.

I have a feeling that if you boil the whole review down to a sentence or two,
that's gonna be it. It could've been better, but it was pretty good. At any
rate, here's a patented Tim Lynch Plot Synopsis :-) :

The Enterprise is exploring the Mare Oscurum, a "dark matter nebula," and Data
is working extensively with his friend Jenna DeSora. Jenna's just come out of
a lousy relationship, and Data appears to be everything she wants: kind,
attentive, solicitous, handsome..."perfect," despite his lack of emotions.
During one work session, she kisses him right before she leaves, leaving Data
quite puzzled.

As the Enterprise heads into the nebula (which is of much higher density than
past examples they've seen) to examine a class-M planet they've detected, Data
asks many people for advice on whether to pursue a relationship with Jenna.
Guinan says she doesn't like to give advice on first relationships. Geordi
says his advice is "find someone else to give you advice." Troi cautions him
to be _very_ careful, as Jenna could really get hurt, but then says that if he
tries, he'll have to be more than the sum of his programming. Worf tells him
to "conquer", not "pursue", but cautions that he doesn't want Jenna (who's in
his section) mistreated. Riker tells him of wonderful rewards, and tells him
to go for it. After all that, Data appears at Jenna's door with flowers. His
initial attempts are somewhat...unsubtle...but Jenna realizes he's trying his
best and lets herself be drawn in.

While Jenna tutors Data in the finer points of a relationship, the Enterprise
crew begins to discover a few problems. At first, they're minor: Data's cat
got out of his quarters and shouldn't have been able to, and Picard finds his
ready room's computer console under his desk and in pieces. Things get
stranger still when they finally reach the location of the class-M planet, and
find nothing at all--especially when moments later, it's there again.
Suddenly, there's a brief bout of atmospheric decompression in the observation
lounge, but no apparent hull breach. Once standard pressure is restored, they
go have a look and find no trace of what caused the damage, except for a few
tiny electric current in the windows, which are often evidence of a subspace
distortion.

After Jenna gets a little unnerved by Data's precisely calculated
solicitousness, and then his forced and deliberate "lovers' quarrel," Picard
decides enough is enough with these incidents (since more have occurred, but
none causing any injuries yet), and decides to analyze them from outside the
nebula. Unfortunately, before they can leave, a few more problems occur: a
science station blows out, then an engineering station. A structural failure
is detected between two decks, but when Geordi sends out a team, he quickly
finds that one of the members fell halfway through the deck, which then
resolidified, killing her instantly.

Data's figured out the problem: the high density of dark matter has caused
minor gaps in space, which are drifting randomly and causing major havoc
whenever they "blip" into this space. Sensors can be tuned to detect them,
but only at ranges close enough that the ship could never get out of the way
in time. Picard, in a shuttle, flies ahead to do so. The shuttle is
eventually destroyed, but Picard is rescued and they got far enough out that
they make a successful run out of the nebula. Finally, Jenna realizes that
she's just repeating her old patterns (breaking up with one unemotional man
only to get together with another), and severs her and Data's relationship.

Hmm. Well, I guess that'll do. Anyway, on to some commentary.

This was...okay. Not fantastic, but okay. I'm starting to think that
TNG should really steer clear of shows with two main, unlinked plots, though,
'cos they're really inferior compared to most of the single-plot shows (like
last week's "The Mind's Eye", for example). Granted, I'm coming off of the
high of "The Mind's Eye," and gearing up for "Redemption" in two weeks, so
this is easily falling into the trap of being something to look at while
waiting for the "good stuff", but I think there's more to it than that.

First, the good stuff. Both plots were probably a bit better than they had
any right to be. The "Data tries romance" plot is something that could have
been absolutely AWFUL, and much of it really wasn't. The "dark matter rifts
from hell" plot also managed to evoke shades of "Clues" in the early parts,
and of "Booby Trap" at the end. Both are good things to remind one of in my
opinion.

First, the dark matter plot. I just know that all the scientific sticklers
will be blasting the whole concept to smithereens this week, and to be honest
I'm a little less tolerant of this idea than many of the others TNG has used.
Granted, dark matter is one of these nifty astronomical concepts that at the
moment can be almost anything (trust me...I'm in cosmology; I hear about it
all the time...:-) ); but somehow I have problems believing that causing
spatial ripples of THAT form is one of them. (It's the drifting in and out of
this reality that gave me the trouble, actually; if they were talking about a
bunch of mini-black holes drifting around and causing havoc, that might make
perfect sense.)

But if you can get around that and accept it, much of the rest works. I was
happy to see that the damage was being caused by something that was simply a
natural effect of unexplored space, and NOT some sentient being for once. I
thought that putting Picard in the shuttle was an incredibly contrived idea (I
mean, neither Picard NOR Riker is all that expendable--put someone in there
whose primary training has been as a shuttle pilot! They do have some,
right?), but once he was in the actual escape sequence itself was pretty
gripping. Something of a mixed bag.

It was, however, handled very nicely once you steered around the plot holes I
mentioned. For a rookie director, Stewart did pretty well, particularly in
that escape sequence I mentioned. ("Now would be a good time, Mr.
O'Brien"...:-) ) I don't think he quite did as good a job on this outing as
Frakes did with his debut in "The Offspring", and he certainly didn't pull the
masterful job that David Livingston did last week, but he certainly showed
some promise. (One shot in particular stood out, but it was in the other
plot, so I'll get to it later.)

Now, for the Data/romance plot. The plot itself was tight, in that I don't
think it really had any holes to speak of, but I don't think this one was
handled all that well in a few places. Two of the longer scenes in this
plotline, the initial seduction and the "lovers' quarrel" scene, were
extraordinarily awkward to watch. I realize that they were supposed to be
uncomfortable (that was, after all, the point), but this time I'm on the other
side of the fence I was on in "Galaxy's Child": I couldn't get past my
discomfort enough to get into theirs. This was especially true for the whole
"lovers' tiff" bit; I realize that a lot of the show was somewhat lighthearted
(and pleasantly so after last week's white-knuckler), but Brent did a little
too much schtick there and not enough Data. (The most interesting part of
that was that he sounded and acted a bit like Lore, right down to the singing.
Hmm...are we seeing a slight progression of character, or simply a limit to
Brent Spiner's range? Hopefully the former.)

Some of that storyline was quite wonderful, however. The sequence of Data
asking for advice from everyone was wonderful--it reminded me of Wes doing the
same in "The Dauphin", which was just about the only part of that show I
really enjoyed. Everyone seemed to work pretty well and in character in this;
okay, who else was shouting "Lech! Lech!" at Riker by the end of that
sequence? Time for Bev to surgically remove that smirk. :-) And the one
shot I absolutely loved of that whole sequence was Picard's little "oh, Lord,
he's finally found me" look when Data comes to ask him for advice; that whole
sequence was probably the highlight of the show. ("Captain, I would like to
ask--" "Yes, I've heard, Data. And I will be delighted to offer any advice I
can on understanding women. [disgruntled look] When I have some, I'll let
you know." Hee-hee!)

Characterization was actually the best part of the whole show. Jenna seemed
fairly well done (at least, she certainly got across to me that she'd just
finished a bad relationship), and this was the first time I've really enjoyed
a scene with Keiko and O'Brien as a married couple. Picard's bit above was
not just good direction--it was also very proper Picard. The only character
whom I thought was a little overdone (apart from Data in one or two scenes)
was Worf, in Picard's ready room. His not agreeing with or understanding
Picard's lightheartedness about the "perhaps we have a poltergeist!" was fine,
but I thought he was just a bit too paranoid. Ah, well.

Effects- and music-wise, I have virtually no complaints. In fact, the shots
of the Enterprise in the nebula (particularly of it swooping along behind the
shuttle) were among the best shots of the _ship_ I've seen in a long time.
The music was again done by Jay Chattaway, who did the rather nice music for
"The Host", which was a little more attention-grabbing than most. (The music
when Picard first discovers his ready room problems in particular made me sit
up and take notice, but most of it was actually pretty decent.)

A few small comments:

--The return of Data's cat. Spot the Kitty--sounds like the sort of game show
you'd find on Monty Python. :-) Seriously, I'm always glad to see the cat.
And the small "hello, Spot!" at the end of the show was actually a nice sad
little finish. (Data clearly doesn't know enough about cats, though, if he
seriously expects such a little thing as a locked door to keep Spot inside.
Doesn't he realize that cats really run the universe? :-) )

--Only a few seconds of Bev, and that only down to a little past
shoulder-level. Guess Gates is really starting to show. That's a pity,
because I think she'd have some interesting words on love and relationships
for Data, between Jack and Odan.

--"Honey, I'm home!" ??? Between this and "Dinosaurs", that phrase is
suddenly getting a new surge.

--Before anyone goes crying that Geordi seemed way too cheerful for someone
who was just conditioned in the last show, check the stardate. If 1 SD = 1
day, we are talking a month here, so it shouldn't be weighing on his mind
every minute any more. (If he ran across some Romulans and didn't react
accordingly, however, that's a far different story, of course.)

Well, that should just about finish that up. In sum, it wasn't a bad way to
spend an hour. It was hardly one of the best shows of the season, but it was
pleasant, usually humorous, and only had a couple of scenes which made me
cringe. (Why do I suspect, though, that the opinions on this show are going
to run the entire spectrum?)

The numbers:

Plot: 6. Data gets 8, the dark matter gets 4.
Plot Handling: 6. That's what both get.
Characterization: 9. Pretty good.

TOTAL: 7.5, with a half-point for good visuals and music. Could be a lot
worse.

NEXT WEEK: A rerun of Devil's Due. I think I'll just tune in for the preview
for "Redemption", thank you very much.

Tim Lynch (Cornell's first Astronomy B.A.; one of many Caltech grad students)
BITNET: tlynch@citjuliet
INTERNET: tly...@juliet.caltech.edu
UUCP: ...!ucbvax!tlynch%juliet.ca...@hamlet.caltech.edu
"The cat's out of the bag."
"Spot?"
--
Copyright 1991, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free to ask...

Mr. Smiley Face

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Jun 6, 1991, 10:45:59 AM6/6/91
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tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:
>WARNING: The following article contains spoiler information about this week's
>TNG episode, "In Theory". You should know the scoop by now: don't go any
>further if you don't know or want to know what happens.
>
>Hmm. Hardly thrilling, but a decent way to spend an hour. Quite watchable.
>
>I have a feeling that if you boil the whole review down to a sentence or two,
>that's gonna be it. It could've been better, but it was pretty good. At any
>rate, here's a patented Tim Lynch Plot Synopsis :-) :

(plot synopsis omitted, since those who will be reading this probably already
read Tim's synopsis, too :)
>quite puzzled.


>I
>thought that putting Picard in the shuttle was an incredibly contrived idea (I
>mean, neither Picard NOR Riker is all that expendable--put someone in there
>whose primary training has been as a shuttle pilot! They do have some,
>right?), but once he was in the actual escape sequence itself was pretty
>gripping. Something of a mixed bag.

Actually, it seemed rather predictable to me. I pretty much figured
the only way to get real tension was to have something bad happen to
Picard and the shuttle, and that he would almomst die, but get saved,
which it did.

>It was, however, handled very nicely once you steered around the plot holes I
>mentioned. For a rookie director, Stewart did pretty well, particularly in
>that escape sequence I mentioned. ("Now would be a good time, Mr.
>O'Brien"...:-) ) I don't think he quite did as good a job on this outing as

That quote bothered me because it came almost straight out of TOS's
"The Doomsday Machine" ("Engergize... Uh, Scotty...? Anytime now, Scotty...")
Not that I mind similarities between the old show, but this was too
close for my taste.

>too much schtick there and not enough Data. (The most interesting part of
>that was that he sounded and acted a bit like Lore, right down to the singing.
>Hmm...are we seeing a slight progression of character, or simply a limit to
>Brent Spiner's range? Hopefully the former.)

I doubt they'll do anything with this. It was more experimentation on
Data's part, as part of the new program he wrote, which he deleted at the
end of the show. Plus, I think we as the viewers saw more into this than
the writers may have. While we see what you've mentioned, I think the
writers (just based on how they reverted back to the "Data doesn't know
any better jokes") just looked at it as part of this show.

>Some of that storyline was quite wonderful, however. The sequence of Data
>asking for advice from everyone was wonderful--it reminded me of Wes doing the
>same in "The Dauphin", which was just about the only part of that show I
>really enjoyed. Everyone seemed to work pretty well and in character in this;

I agree quite strongly here, but I think it was done better than in "The
Dauphin" (which I didn't mind so much as you :). In the Dauphin, it didn't
seem like Wesley really did anything with the advice, whereas here it seemed
like Data listened to everyone, and made a decision from it. Very well done.

>okay, who else was shouting "Lech! Lech!" at Riker by the end of that
>sequence? Time for Bev to surgically remove that smirk. :-) And the one

*raises hand*

>shot I absolutely loved of that whole sequence was Picard's little "oh, Lord,
>he's finally found me" look when Data comes to ask him for advice; that whole
>sequence was probably the highlight of the show. ("Captain, I would like to
>ask--" "Yes, I've heard, Data. And I will be delighted to offer any advice I
>can on understanding women. [disgruntled look] When I have some, I'll let
>you know." Hee-hee!)

From what I could see through my static/snowstorm problem, I enjoyed that
as much as you did.

>not just good direction--it was also very proper Picard. The only character
>whom I thought was a little overdone (apart from Data in one or two scenes)
>was Worf, in Picard's ready room. His not agreeing with or understanding
>Picard's lightheartedness about the "perhaps we have a poltergeist!" was fine,
>but I thought he was just a bit too paranoid. Ah, well.

But then again, isn't Worf _always_ a little too paranoid? Granted, I
think this is an overdoing each time, but hey, at least they're consistent :)

>--"Honey, I'm home!" ??? Between this and "Dinosaurs", that phrase is
>suddenly getting a new surge.

I saw that line coming, but I like it just the same.

>Well, that should just about finish that up. In sum, it wasn't a bad way to
>spend an hour. It was hardly one of the best shows of the season, but it was
>pleasant, usually humorous, and only had a couple of scenes which made me
>cringe. (Why do I suspect, though, that the opinions on this show are going
>to run the entire spectrum?)
>The numbers:
>Plot: 6. Data gets 8, the dark matter gets 4.
>Plot Handling: 6. That's what both get.
>Characterization: 9. Pretty good.
>TOTAL: 7.5, with a half-point for good visuals and music. Could be a lot
>worse.

Maybe I was just too upset about the static on my tv screen to appreciate
this episode as much as you (no sarcasm there, honest). We get it here again
Saturday, so I'll check it out again and maybe recall my "4".

>"The cat's out of the bag."
>"Spot?"

Another great line... :)

-Josh Laff :)
--
_______________________________________________________________________________
"I thought I had wavy hair | Josh Laff: e-mail to: |
Until I shaved. Instead, |jal4...@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu| # #
I find that I have _straight_ hair | Have a nice day! _______| _ _
And a very wavy head." |_________________| | |#\_____/#|
- Shel Silverstein, "A Light in the Atic"| (217) 328-1134 | \#######/

Mr. Smiley Face

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Jun 6, 1991, 12:30:02 PM6/6/91
to
>tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:
>>WARNING: The following article contains spoiler information about this week's
>>TNG episode, "In Theory". You should know the scoop by now: don't go any
>>further if you don't know or want to know what happens.

>>I
>>thought that putting Picard in the shuttle was an incredibly contrived idea (I
>>mean, neither Picard NOR Riker is all that expendable--put someone in there
>>whose primary training has been as a shuttle pilot! They do have some,
>>right?), but once he was in the actual escape sequence itself was pretty
>>gripping. Something of a mixed bag.

>Actually, it seemed rather predictable to me. I pretty much figured
>the only way to get real tension was to have something bad happen to
>Picard and the shuttle, and that he would almomst die, but get saved,
>which it did.

Almost forgot: there's also a way to take care of this... Have Ensign
Redshirt (or would it be Ensign Goldshirt in this case?) Pilot the
shuttle. This way, Picard's not at risk, Riker's not at risk, and we
don't know if they'll get the Ensign out in time (after all, only main
characters in security can die and come back to life in TNG :).

-Josh Laff :) (After all, I have to keep up with my quota of non-serious
postings, too, don't I?)

Michael Rawdon

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Jun 6, 1991, 1:12:52 PM6/6/91
to
In <1991Jun6.0...@nntp-server.caltech.edu> tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:
>WARNING: The following article contains spoiler information about this week's
>TNG episode, "In Theory". You should know the scoop by now: don't go any
>further if you don't know or want to know what happens.

>This was...okay. Not fantastic, but okay. I'm starting to think that
>TNG should really steer clear of shows with two main, unlinked plots, though,
>'cos they're really inferior compared to most of the single-plot shows (like
>last week's "The Mind's Eye", for example).

DEFinitely.

> Granted, I'm coming off of the
>high of "The Mind's Eye," and gearing up for "Redemption" in two weeks, so
>this is easily falling into the trap of being something to look at while
>waiting for the "good stuff", but I think there's more to it than that.

We can just go back and look at some other parallel plot stories for evidence
of that. :-)

>First, the good stuff. Both plots were probably a bit better than they had
>any right to be. The "Data tries romance" plot is something that could have
>been absolutely AWFUL, and much of it really wasn't.

But on the other hand, much of it really was, IMHO.

> The "dark matter rifts
>from hell" plot also managed to evoke shades of "Clues" in the early parts,
>and of "Booby Trap" at the end. Both are good things to remind one of in my
>opinion.

They reminded me of the episodes SO much (right down to Bev being the first
person to notice something wrong on the ship, as she was in "Clues") that it
just seemed like an out-and-out rip-off of those episodes. There just wasn't
anything new and worthwhile here, as I see it.

>First, the dark matter plot. I just know that all the scientific sticklers
>will be blasting the whole concept to smithereens this week, and to be honest
>I'm a little less tolerant of this idea than many of the others TNG has used.
>Granted, dark matter is one of these nifty astronomical concepts that at the
>moment can be almost anything (trust me...I'm in cosmology; I hear about it
>all the time...:-) ); but somehow I have problems believing that causing
>spatial ripples of THAT form is one of them. (It's the drifting in and out of
>this reality that gave me the trouble, actually; if they were talking about a
>bunch of mini-black holes drifting around and causing havoc, that might make
>perfect sense.)

I think TNG should stay away from trying to give pseudo-scientific explanations
for these bizarre events, especially since they sometimes seem like they're
being drawn from some pop science magazine that a writer read and thought was
neat. (I've written a few stories like that, and they DON'T work, in my
experience.)

It might actually be better if they took more of a fantasy approach to these
phenomena and just fiat them into existence. "We have these black globules
out there that seem to be wandering warp bubbles. We've never encountered
anything like them before, and they seem inexplicably bound within this
nebula." (Why does that give me the image of a giant, 3D pool table? :-)
If they give the viewers less to complain about, then the viewers are going
to complain less (or is that a tautology?). Then they can just have some
throwaway line about having a science vessel assigned to investigate the
phenomenon or something. Seems simple (if not quite polished enough to be
broadcast. :-)

>But if you can get around that and accept it, much of the rest works. I was
>happy to see that the damage was being caused by something that was simply a
>natural effect of unexplored space, and NOT some sentient being for once.

Yah. I wish TNG would have more "space is dangerous" episodes, especially
since they seem able to handle horror rather well. (Maybe it's because the
juxtapositioning of the nice, neat, bright corridors of the Enterprise and the
horrors we see in episodes like "Night Terrors" and "Identity Crisis" creates
an especially chilling effect. I think that's what did it for me when that
crewman was killed here.)

>I thought that putting Picard in the shuttle was an incredibly contrived idea
>(I mean, neither Picard NOR Riker is all that expendable--put someone in there
>whose primary training has been as a shuttle pilot! They do have some,
>right?), but once he was in the actual escape sequence itself was pretty
>gripping. Something of a mixed bag.

Yeah, a decent enough sequence, but as you said, an incredibly contrived bit
about Picard in the shuttle.

Better than putting a pilot in the shuttle, it occurs to me that it might
be even better to have it controlled remotely, perhaps by Data or the ship's
computer. If they have a ring of shuttles around the ship, then they could
take in a heck of a lot of data about the globs around them, and with the
computer processing it and Data piloting the ship, what could go wrong? Plus,
no extra risk of lives, especially not of command rank.

>It was, however, handled very nicely once you steered around the plot holes I
>mentioned. For a rookie director, Stewart did pretty well, particularly in
>that escape sequence I mentioned. ("Now would be a good time, Mr.
>O'Brien"...:-) ) I don't think he quite did as good a job on this outing as
>Frakes did with his debut in "The Offspring", and he certainly didn't pull the
>masterful job that David Livingston did last week, but he certainly showed
>some promise. (One shot in particular stood out, but it was in the other
>plot, so I'll get to it later.)

Gee, I thought Stewart was supposed to direct "Redemption". Guess I need to
pay closer attention to those press releases. :-)

I thought he did a competent job, as well. Actually, I thought during the
show that the direction seemed reminiscent of that in "The Mind's Eye", just
not as strong overall. (Weaker material to direct doesn't really help,
though.)

Picard's line "Now would be a good time" struck me as a less amusing variation
of Kirk's "Gentlemen, I suggest you beam me aboard" from "The Doomsday
Machine". Kirk's exasperation (a sort of "why me?" attitude) made the TOS
version more effective for me. (Better music helped, too. :-)

>Now, for the Data/romance plot. The plot itself was tight, in that I don't
>think it really had any holes to speak of,

I could go along with that. But then, I don't think it was a plot worth
presenting, in the form it was presented.

> but I don't think this one was
>handled all that well in a few places. Two of the longer scenes in this
>plotline, the initial seduction and the "lovers' quarrel" scene, were
>extraordinarily awkward to watch.

The latter was so awkward I had to get up and leave the room. I'm really,
really tired of Data's "drawing from history" schtick, and it was used
extraordinarily poorly here.

> I realize that they were supposed to be
>uncomfortable (that was, after all, the point), but this time I'm on the other
>side of the fence I was on in "Galaxy's Child": I couldn't get past my
>discomfort enough to get into theirs. This was especially true for the whole
>"lovers' tiff" bit; I realize that a lot of the show was somewhat lighthearted
>(and pleasantly so after last week's white-knuckler), but Brent did a little
>too much schtick there and not enough Data.

He did much too much schtick in my opinion. I could have done without all of
it - every single bit. Not one bit of it got a chuckle out of me.

>Some of that storyline was quite wonderful, however. The sequence of Data
>asking for advice from everyone was wonderful--it reminded me of Wes doing the
>same in "The Dauphin", which was just about the only part of that show I
>really enjoyed.

It seemed terribly routine to me. I liked the bit with Guinan, but everything
else (excepting Picard's line) seemed like a waste of time to me. (I noticed
that Data completely ignored Troi's advice that Jenna would care for what he
is, not what he's pretending to be.)

> Everyone seemed to work pretty well and in character in this;
>okay, who else was shouting "Lech! Lech!" at Riker by the end of that
>sequence? Time for Bev to surgically remove that smirk. :-)

It's scenes like that that make me marvel that he's attained the rank that he
has. Blecch.

> And the one
>shot I absolutely loved of that whole sequence was Picard's little "oh, Lord,
>he's finally found me" look when Data comes to ask him for advice; that whole
>sequence was probably the highlight of the show. ("Captain, I would like to
>ask--" "Yes, I've heard, Data. And I will be delighted to offer any advice I
>can on understanding women. [disgruntled look] When I have some, I'll let
>you know." Hee-hee!)

Yep, I liked that one. :-)

>Characterization was actually the best part of the whole show. Jenna seemed
>fairly well done (at least, she certainly got across to me that she'd just
>finished a bad relationship),

Whew - I thought she was incredibly cardboard. Nothing more than a plot
device, really (or, perhaps a better phrase would be that she WAS only a
variable for Data to have to deal with). The only time I got the impression
that she'd just finished a bad relationship was when she ended the one with
Data.

> and this was the first time I've really enjoyed
>a scene with Keiko and O'Brien as a married couple.

I think the word "Yecch!" is all I really need to say here to express myself.
:-)



>Effects- and music-wise, I have virtually no complaints. In fact, the shots
>of the Enterprise in the nebula (particularly of it swooping along behind the
>shuttle) were among the best shots of the _ship_ I've seen in a long time.

There was a nice shot from below and to the side inside the nebula which was
nice, too.

>The music was again done by Jay Chattaway, who did the rather nice music for
>"The Host", which was a little more attention-grabbing than most. (The music
>when Picard first discovers his ready room problems in particular made me sit
>up and take notice, but most of it was actually pretty decent.)

It was, like most TNG music, there. The only real observation I made about
it was that it somehow seemed louder than usual. Other than that, it seemed
like par for the course.

>--The return of Data's cat. Spot the Kitty--sounds like the sort of game show
>you'd find on Monty Python. :-)

What, is this stand-up week for r.a.s reviewers or something? :-)



> Seriously, I'm always glad to see the cat.
>And the small "hello, Spot!" at the end of the show was actually a nice sad
>little finish. (Data clearly doesn't know enough about cats, though, if he
>seriously expects such a little thing as a locked door to keep Spot inside.
>Doesn't he realize that cats really run the universe? :-) )

I thought that was mice. :-)

>--Before anyone goes crying that Geordi seemed way too cheerful for someone
>who was just conditioned in the last show, check the stardate. If 1 SD = 1
>day, we are talking a month here, so it shouldn't be weighing on his mind
>every minute any more. (If he ran across some Romulans and didn't react
>accordingly, however, that's a far different story, of course.)

But then again, if 1 SD = 1 day, then it's been almost ELEVEN YEARS since
Picard and Riker joined the crew around the time of "Encounter At Farpoint".
(Which would mean Wes Crusher is in his late 20s by now!)

>Well, that should just about finish that up. In sum, it wasn't a bad way to
>spend an hour. It was hardly one of the best shows of the season, but it was
>pleasant, usually humorous, and only had a couple of scenes which made me
>cringe. (Why do I suspect, though, that the opinions on this show are going
>to run the entire spectrum?)

Got me. I found it largely contrived and cliche, as I said. It almost seems
as though most of the show has an anticedent somewhere in Trek. Not a show
I'm planning to watch again anytime soon.

>The numbers:

>TOTAL: 7.5, with a half-point for good visuals and music. Could be a lot
>worse.

A 7.5 is about a B, which is, of course, much, much higher than the D+ I gave
it. (A D+ is about a 3 or so.) It could still be worse, but lord, it wasn't
good, IMHO.

--
Michael Rawdon
Internet: raw...@rex.cs.tulane.edu Bitnet: CS6FECU@TCSVM

"...I guess I'd rather have mediocre Star Trek than none at all."
- A friend, about the TNG episode "Legacy"

Dave Schaumann

unread,
Jun 6, 1991, 1:54:45 PM6/6/91
to
In article <1991Jun6.1...@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>, jal41820@uxa (Mr. Smiley Face) writes:
>tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:
>>WARNING: The following article contains spoiler information about this week's
>>TNG episode, "In Theory". You should know the scoop by now: don't go any
>>further if you don't know or want to know what happens.

>Actually, it seemed rather predictable to me. I pretty much figured
>the only way to get real tension was to have something bad happen to
>Picard and the shuttle, and that he would almomst die, but get saved,
>which it did.

Yah. Anyone besides me think that the old "transport them out before
the explosion at the last second" plot device is used up now?

We've seen it now in "Doomsday Machine", where it worked great (IMHO),
and in "Heart of Glory", which wasn't that great, but it was a nice
acknowledgement of a great scene from TOS. And now we have it again
in "In Theory", where it comes off as nothing more than a rip-off of
what worked before.

Or how about this:

Picard : Transporter room -- Engage!
O'Brian: I can't lock on! Too much peudo-science mumbo-jumbo blocking
the beam!

<external shot of a ship exploding>

Picard : Well, did you get him?
O'Brian: No.
Crusher: He's dead, Jean Luc.

[on Data asking Riker for advice]:


>>okay, who else was shouting "Lech! Lech!" at Riker by the end of that
>>sequence? Time for Bev to surgically remove that smirk. :-) And the one
>
>*raises hand*

Personally, I said "Of *course* Riker's going to say 'go for it'!" :-}

>>Well, that should just about finish that up. In sum, it wasn't a bad way to
>>spend an hour. It was hardly one of the best shows of the season, but it was
>>pleasant, usually humorous, and only had a couple of scenes which made me
>>cringe. (Why do I suspect, though, that the opinions on this show are going
>>to run the entire spectrum?)
>>The numbers:
>>Plot: 6. Data gets 8, the dark matter gets 4.
>>Plot Handling: 6. That's what both get.
>>Characterization: 9. Pretty good.
>>TOTAL: 7.5, with a half-point for good visuals and music. Could be a lot
>>worse.

I think I agree with this. 'C' for the "dark matter" plot, 'A' for the
"Data" plot -> 'B' overall.

Dave Schaumann | There is no cause so right that one cannot find a fool
da...@cs.arizona.edu | following it. - Niven's Law # 16

I am *not* Sir Phillip Sidney!

Horowitz, Irwin Kenneth

unread,
Jun 6, 1991, 3:29:50 PM6/6/91
to
In article <27...@amethyst.math.arizona.edu>, da...@cs.arizona.edu (Dave Schaumann) writes...

>In article <1991Jun6.1...@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>, jal41820@uxa (Mr. Smiley Face) writes:
>>tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:
>>>WARNING: The following article contains spoiler information about this week's
>>>TNG episode, "In Theory". You should know the scoop by now: don't go any
>>>further if you don't know or want to know what happens.

>>Actually, it seemed rather predictable to me. I pretty much figured
>>the only way to get real tension was to have something bad happen to
>>Picard and the shuttle, and that he would almomst die, but get saved,
>>which it did.
>
>Yah. Anyone besides me think that the old "transport them out before
>the explosion at the last second" plot device is used up now?
>
>We've seen it now in "Doomsday Machine", where it worked great (IMHO),
>and in "Heart of Glory", which wasn't that great, but it was a nice
>acknowledgement of a great scene from TOS. And now we have it again
>in "In Theory", where it comes off as nothing more than a rip-off of
>what worked before.
>
When I first saw this scene, I too thought of the scene from "The Doomsday
Machine," but just now, I was reminder of the scene in STIV, where Chekov
uses almost exactly the same line ("Scotty, now would be a good time") as
he is being surrounded by U.S. Marines armed with nasty looking M-16 rifles.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Irwin Horowitz |"Suppose they went nowhere?"-McCoy
Astronomy Department |"Then this will be your big chance
California Institute of Technology | to get away from it all!"-Kirk
ir...@romeo.caltech.edu | from STII:TWOK
i...@deimos.caltech.edu |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr. Smiley Face

unread,
Jun 6, 1991, 4:16:44 PM6/6/91
to
raw...@rex.cs.tulane.edu (Michael Rawdon) writes:
>>WARNING: The following article contains spoiler information about this week's
>>TNG episode, "In Theory". You should know the scoop by now: don't go any
>>further if you don't know or want to know what happens.
>
>>I thought that putting Picard in the shuttle was an incredibly contrived idea
>>(I mean, neither Picard NOR Riker is all that expendable--put someone in there
>>whose primary training has been as a shuttle pilot! They do have some,
>>right?), but once he was in the actual escape sequence itself was pretty
>>gripping. Something of a mixed bag.
>Yeah, a decent enough sequence, but as you said, an incredibly contrived bit
>about Picard in the shuttle.
>Better than putting a pilot in the shuttle, it occurs to me that it might
>be even better to have it controlled remotely, perhaps by Data or the ship's
>computer. If they have a ring of shuttles around the ship, then they could
>take in a heck of a lot of data about the globs around them, and with the
>computer processing it and Data piloting the ship, what could go wrong? Plus,
>no extra risk of lives, especially not of command rank.

Which brings up another question... Why not send out probes?

>> Everyone seemed to work pretty well and in character in this;
>>okay, who else was shouting "Lech! Lech!" at Riker by the end of that
>>sequence? Time for Bev to surgically remove that smirk. :-)

>It's scenes like that that make me marvel that he's attained the rank that he
>has. Blecch.

Actually, those scenes make me think he slept his way to the top... :)

-Josh Laff :)

Timothy W. Lynch

unread,
Jun 6, 1991, 5:01:29 PM6/6/91
to

>>WARNING: The following article contains spoiler information about this week's
>>TNG episode, "In Theory". You should know the scoop by now: don't go any
>>further if you don't know or want to know what happens.

>> Granted, I'm coming off of the
>>high of "The Mind's Eye," and gearing up for "Redemption" in two weeks, so
>>this is easily falling into the trap of being something to look at while
>>waiting for the "good stuff", but I think there's more to it than that.

>We can just go back and look at some other parallel plot stories for evidence
>of that. :-)

I've been thinking about that--there are a few good multi-plot ones, but the
only ones I can think of had links between the two ("The Emissary" is my
usual example, as I'm sure you remember by now. :-) )

>>First, the good stuff. Both plots were probably a bit better than they had
>>any right to be. The "Data tries romance" plot is something that could have
>>been absolutely AWFUL, and much of it really wasn't.

>But on the other hand, much of it really was, IMHO.

Some of it was very uncomfortable, but I think I enjoyed most of it more than
you did.

>I think TNG should stay away from trying to give pseudo-scientific explana-
>tions for these bizarre events, especially since they sometimes seem like

>they're being drawn from some pop science magazine that a writer read and
>thought was neat. (I've written a few stories like that, and they DON'T work,
>in my experience.)

True, but that's because you're in the sciences. The average viewer isn't
going to object unless it's something blatant--I haven't talked to my fiancee
about this yet, but I doubt she happened to have any big problems with the
dark matter stuff, being a biologist and not a physicist. (Blatant errors like
subatomic bacteria are a different story, but fairly low-level errors are the
sort of thing that only a small percentage of the viewers will catch.)

I rather like seeing them try to explain it--they are, at least, trying to get
it right.

>Better than putting a pilot in the shuttle, it occurs to me that it might
>be even better to have it controlled remotely, perhaps by Data or the ship's
>computer. If they have a ring of shuttles around the ship, then they could
>take in a heck of a lot of data about the globs around them, and with the
>computer processing it and Data piloting the ship, what could go wrong? Plus,
>no extra risk of lives, especially not of command rank.

Hmm. Certainly a thought. I thought there was a semi-decent argument for
having someone pilot the shuttle manually, but putting Picard in there is
a really really dumb idea. :-)

>Gee, I thought Stewart was supposed to direct "Redemption". Guess I need to
>pay closer attention to those press releases. :-)

Forget the press releases, Michael--try looking at the writing and directing
credits *listed on the screen* next time. No advance knowledge necessary.
:-)

>Picard's line "Now would be a good time" struck me as a less amusing variation
>of Kirk's "Gentlemen, I suggest you beam me aboard" from "The Doomsday
>Machine". Kirk's exasperation (a sort of "why me?" attitude) made the TOS
>version more effective for me. (Better music helped, too. :-)

Oh, I far preferred this one (no big surprise). Both were fun, though.

>> I realize that they were supposed to be
>>uncomfortable (that was, after all, the point), but this time I'm on the
>>other side of the fence I was on in "Galaxy's Child": I couldn't get past my
>>discomfort enough to get into theirs. This was especially true for the whole
>>"lovers' tiff" bit; I realize that a lot of the show was somewhat
>>lighthearted (and pleasantly so after last week's white-knuckler), but Brent
>>did a little too much schtick there and not enough Data.

>He did much too much schtick in my opinion. I could have done without all of
>it - every single bit. Not one bit of it got a chuckle out of me.

Well, if I remember correctly, you've never liked it much, even back as far
as "The Offspring", which had a fair amount of it as well. Some of it went
very overboard, but Data being Data was usually fine for me--Data being someone
else is getting old.

>> Everyone seemed to work pretty well and in character in this;
>>okay, who else was shouting "Lech! Lech!" at Riker by the end of that
>>sequence? Time for Bev to surgically remove that smirk. :-)

>It's scenes like that that make me marvel that he's attained the rank that he
>has. Blecch.

(Obligatory Cheap Shot alert) Well, things like that always seemed to
work for Kirk...:-)

>>Effects- and music-wise, I have virtually no complaints. In fact, the shots
>>of the Enterprise in the nebula (particularly of it swooping along behind the
>>shuttle) were among the best shots of the _ship_ I've seen in a long time.

>There was a nice shot from below and to the side inside the nebula which was
>nice, too.

Yes. Nearly all of the "ship in the nebula" shots were excellent--I knew there
was SOME reason to have those running lights. :-)

>> Seriously, I'm always glad to see the cat.
>>And the small "hello, Spot!" at the end of the show was actually a nice sad
>>little finish. (Data clearly doesn't know enough about cats, though, if he
>>seriously expects such a little thing as a locked door to keep Spot inside.
>>Doesn't he realize that cats really run the universe? :-) )

>I thought that was mice. :-)

You clearly don't own a cat, or you'd have been set straight on that score a
LONG time ago. (And no, my cat didn't force me to say that. Really. Honest.
:-) )

>>--Before anyone goes crying that Geordi seemed way too cheerful for someone
>>who was just conditioned in the last show, check the stardate. If 1 SD = 1
>>day, we are talking a month here, so it shouldn't be weighing on his mind
>>every minute any more. (If he ran across some Romulans and didn't react
>>accordingly, however, that's a far different story, of course.)

>But then again, if 1 SD = 1 day, then it's been almost ELEVEN YEARS since
>Picard and Riker joined the crew around the time of "Encounter At Farpoint".
>(Which would mean Wes Crusher is in his late 20s by now!)

This is an old question. From things given in the shows, it's always seemed to
me that within a single story, 1 SD = 1 day. But then the problems you
mentioned come up, yes. At least the later stories actually have later
stardates--we've made a LITTLE bit of logic in 25 years. :-)

>>Well, that should just about finish that up. In sum, it wasn't a bad way to
>>spend an hour. It was hardly one of the best shows of the season, but it was
>>pleasant, usually humorous, and only had a couple of scenes which made me
>>cringe. (Why do I suspect, though, that the opinions on this show are going
>>to run the entire spectrum?)

>Got me.

Probably because they are. There are, so far, two strong negatives, one
weak negative, one weak positive (mine), and one private strong positive I know
of. Numerically, I think we've already run from 3-10. Quiet stories like
this always seem to do that.

>I found it largely contrived and cliche, as I said. It almost seems
>as though most of the show has an anticedent somewhere in Trek. Not a show
>I'm planning to watch again anytime soon.

But, on the other hand, not a show I'm going to leap up and turn off either.

>A 7.5 is about a B, which is, of course, much, much higher than the D+ I gave
>it. (A D+ is about a 3 or so.) It could still be worse, but lord, it wasn't
>good, IMHO.

It wasn't WONDERFUL, but it was a pleasant diversion given that finals just
ended and I now have to pack up and move. :-)

Tim Lynch (Cornell's first Astronomy B.A.; one of many Caltech grad students)
BITNET: tlynch@citjuliet
INTERNET: tly...@juliet.caltech.edu
UUCP: ...!ucbvax!tlynch%juliet.ca...@hamlet.caltech.edu

"Between the pen and the paperwork, I know there's passion in the language.
Between the muscle and the brainwork, there must be feeling in the pipeline..."
--Suzanne Vega, "Big Space"

ph60...@sdcc14.ucsd.edu

unread,
Jun 6, 1991, 8:39:53 PM6/6/91
to
In article <1991Jun6.0...@nntp-server.caltech.edu> tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:
>--Before anyone goes crying that Geordi seemed way too cheerful for someone
>who was just conditioned in the last show, check the stardate. If 1 SD = 1
>day, we are talking a month here, so it shouldn't be weighing on his mind
>every minute any more. (If he ran across some Romulans and didn't react
>accordingly, however, that's a far different story, of course.)

If one SD = one day, then each season = 1000 SD = about three
years. This is not at all consistent with the way Wesley aged
during the first three seasons (9 years?!) of the show. (On the
other hand, if we assume that 1000 SD = one season = one year, then
about five years passed between "Space Seed" and TWOK. Hmm. Then
again, if we try to calculate the length of a stardate from Kirk's
birthdate given on the tombstone in "Where No Man Has Gone Before,"
and assume Kirk was in his early thirties at the time... Oh, never
mind.)
Furthermore, if stardates are in chronological order, then Yar
was alive and well after her encounter with Armus (and no, I'm talking
about YE), and Wesley put in a lot of time as navigator before his
promotion to acting ensign in WNOHGB. My advice is to ignore the
stardates.

Tony

Michael Rubinstein

unread,
Jun 10, 1991, 1:30:12 PM6/10/91
to
>>>>> On 6 Jun 91 06:52:11 GMT,tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch)

L> WARNING: The following article contains spoiler information about this week's
L> TNG episode, "In Theory". You should know the scoop by now: don't go any
L> further if you don't know or want to know what happens.

L> Hmm. Hardly thrilling, but a decent way to spend an hour. Quite watchable.

L> --Before anyone goes crying that Geordi seemed way too cheerful for someone
L> who was just conditioned in the last show, check the stardate. If 1 SD = 1
L> day, we are talking a month here, so it shouldn't be weighing on his mind
L> every minute any more. (If he ran across some Romulans and didn't react
L> accordingly, however, that's a far different story, of course.)

Wasn't this episode originally supposed to air BEFORE "Mind's Eye"? That
was how I had it copied from Vidiot's posted schedule some months back.
I figured that Geordi's seeming lighthearted normalcy this episode was
because his capture and brainwashing hadn't happened yet.
I would be disappointed in the writers otherwise. "Mind's Eye" clearly
established Geordi as dangerous; I wouldn't have him simply resuming his
duties as before so quickly... not even a month later, unless I'd gotten
to SEE some heavy deprogramming, which I was looking forward to.

L> Tim Lynch (Cornell's first Astronomy B.A.; one of many Caltech grad students)
L> BITNET: tlynch@citjuliet
L> INTERNET: tly...@juliet.caltech.edu
L> UUCP: ...!ucbvax!tlynch%juliet.ca...@hamlet.caltech.edu
L> "The cat's out of the bag."
L> "Spot?"
L> --
L> Copyright 1991, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free to ask...

--
Michael Rubinstein
rbns...@bucsf.bu.edu
DISCLAIMER: The opinions above are solely mine, and I refuse to mark
them with IMHO's. If you can't tell fact from opinion, you should be
running for office instead of reading news.

Timothy W. Lynch

unread,
Jun 10, 1991, 2:56:36 PM6/10/91
to
rbns...@bucsf.bu.edu (Michael Rubinstein) writes:

>Wasn't this episode originally supposed to air BEFORE "Mind's Eye"? That
>was how I had it copied from Vidiot's posted schedule some months back.

Perhaps, but that may have been changed (and probably was) long before they
even started filming.

>I figured that Geordi's seeming lighthearted normalcy this episode was
>because his capture and brainwashing hadn't happened yet.
>I would be disappointed in the writers otherwise. "Mind's Eye" clearly
>established Geordi as dangerous; I wouldn't have him simply resuming his
>duties as before so quickly... not even a month later, unless I'd gotten
>to SEE some heavy deprogramming, which I was looking forward to.

A month later would strike me as okay. A week, no, but a month, yes. What
I'm really going to insist on is that Geordi's recent problems be mentioned
in a relevant way in "Redemption", because Geordi now has very good reason to
react very poorly towards the next Rihan he sees...

Tim Lynch

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