Lynch's Spoiler Review: "Night Terrors"

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Amateurgrammer

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Mar 21, 1991, 2:18:01 AM3/21/91
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tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:
>WARNING: The following post contains critical plot information relevant to
>this week's TNG episode, "Night Terrors", so if you're skittish about being
>scared...go 'way.
Also, comments from -G...

>In brief: not quite a standout, but far better than I expected.
Hmm...I expected worse, but was hoping for better.

>First, the major flaw, so I can get it out of the way and talk about good
>things. The Enterprise needed an explosion, right? Er, guys--there's a WHOLE
>SHIP right outside for you to blow up (with a torpedo, if nothing else)! Now,
>it's quite possible that it may not have worked, but it should have been
>thought of.
Yeah, you're right on this one. But I also found that everything just seemed
to happen MUCH too slowly in this episode.

>But apart from that, I was quite pleased. To be more specific, I very much
>enjoyed the whole creepy atmosphere of the whole thing.
Yeah. The creepiness was good, but I still think it could have been much
better. I wanted to feel like Rod Serling would step out at any moment,
and the only time I felt that way was during the scene in Riker's quarters.

>Also, for once, for bleeding ONCE, Marina Sirtis turned in a standout Troi.
Hmmm. I didn't think it was that good, but then I hated the "dream sequence".
And I also didn't like the fact that she didn't recognize Hydrogen when she
saw it. That scene seemed poor.

>But just about everybody else was terrific, too.
Agreed, agreed, all agreed. With one exception...I didn't like Worf's scene
as much as you did. It was good, but a little...well...stilted, maybe.

>Let's see...what else...hmm. Technical was fine--I found the music well above
>the norm this week, particularly near the end (reminded me a little of the
>close of "The Battle", actually), and it was nice to see the Brittaine, not to
>mention some terrific shots of the Enterprise every so often.
Good music. Agreed on the FX, except for the CHEEZY Bussard Collecter effect.

>I'm sure there will be some comments on the "mental frequency" bit, though,
>so let me add something quickly on that:
>Yes, it's probably stretching the point a bit. I'm not a biologist (although
>my fiancee is, and she was uneasy about the concept), but it might be iffy.
I thought they should have been a little LESS technical here. A simple,
"The telepathic energies seem to interfere with the sleep cycles of non-
telepaths" would have been better than what they did. NEVER use scientific
terms when simpler ones will suffice. Don't overexplain.

>NEXT WEEK:
>Geordi might end up as a big blue glowing thingy. I'm frightened. :-)
Yeah, but did you notice the PREDATOR FX in there! Hmmmm...personal cloaks!

******************************************************************************
Glenn Eychaner - Big Bear Solar Observatory - eych...@suncub.bbso.caltech.edu
"Studies have shown that it is cheaper to build
things that don't work than things that do." -Jeff Nenow, BBSO

Timothy W. Lynch

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Mar 21, 1991, 2:04:50 AM3/21/91
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WARNING: The following post contains critical plot information relevant to
this week's TNG episode, "Night Terrors", so if you're skittish about being
scared...go 'way.

In brief: not quite a standout, but far better than I expected.

That sounds about right. If not for one major flaw, I think it could've been
extremely good--but I thought it was pretty good regardless. Here's what
happened:

The Enterprise enters an uncharted binary system in search of a science
vessel, the Brittaine, which has been missing for about a month. It finds the
Brittaine, intact but adrift...and all the crew are dead of extremely
unnatural causes.

All but one, that is. The scientific advisor, Hagan, a Betazoid, is alive,
although catatonic and withdrawn. While Troi tries to get through to him,
Geordi and Data try to restart the Brittaine's engines--but although
everything's working fine, there's no motion. Before long, Beverly tells
Jean-Luc of her findings--the crew of the Brittaine, with no apparent outside
influences, killed each other. Meanwhile, Troi has a nightmare, of floating
adrift in a fog with a voice saying only "eyes in the dark, one moon
circles..."

Four days later, with no answers in sight, and tempers mounting (O'Brien gets
paranoid about Keiko's alleged "affair" with another man, for example, and
Picard hears his ready room door buzz many times with no one there), Picard
decides to leave the area. Unfortunately, the engines suddenly fizzle out and
stop working, leaving the ship adrift. Data's analysis (SIX days later...)
shows that they're caught in a "Tychon rift", and need a large explosion
(greater than even the photon torpedoes can generate) to break free.

Picard, realizing that one of the two top officers needs to keep hold of his
sanity, sends Riker off to a nap. Unfortunately, neither one gets any rest:
Picard hallucinates in the lift and comes to the bridge screaming like a baby,
and Riker feels snakes on his leg moments after getting into bed. After a
brief conversation with Data in which Data suggests the deflector burst (a la
"The Best of Both Worlds") as a possibility, Picard tells Data that he'll need
to help Picard out more and more as this continues.

After Bev has a brief hallucination, she figures out what's wrong: except for
Troi, no one has had any dreams since this began, and the dream-deprivation is
driving them all slowly insane. As unrest builds in Ten-Forward (with a
crewman, Gillespie, deciding he'd rather go down fighting than quietly in his
room), the deflector burst is tried, and fails miserably. After this, Worf,
feeling that his fear makes him no longer a warrior, tries to commit suicide,
but Troi stops him and takes him to sickbay.

Finally, after Data's been appointed Acting Captain, Troi figures out that her
nightmares are not dreams, but _messages_. There's another ship on the other
side of the rift, and its beings are trying to communicate telepathically on
Troi's mental frequency (thus jamming out all humanoid REM frequencies at the
same time). After some study and a bit of good fortune, Troi and Data realize
that the other crew needs hydrogen from the Enterprise in order to create the
necessary explosion. As Data does this, Troi communicates to the aliens that
they should release the catalyst, and both ships are freed.

Hey, now that was nice and short. Now, onwards to some comments:

First, the major flaw, so I can get it out of the way and talk about good
things. The Enterprise needed an explosion, right? Er, guys--there's a WHOLE
SHIP right outside for you to blow up (with a torpedo, if nothing else)! Now,
it's quite possible that it may not have worked, but it should have been

thought of. And while the REM-deficiency might have made Picard or Riker or
Worf punchy enough not to think of it, Data has no such excuse. Bad, BAD
problem--because that gets you out of the hole right there.

But apart from that, I was quite pleased. To be more specific, I very much

enjoyed the whole creepy atmosphere of the whole thing. (Of course, it helps
that a very jumpy friend of mine was in town for this one...:-) :-) ). I
almost expected to see that Rob Bowman had directed this one. He didn't--Les
Landau, of "Sins of the Father" and "Family" fame, did, but he did a good job
with it.

Also, for once, for bleeding ONCE, Marina Sirtis turned in a standout Deanna
Troi. This is quite possibly the only time in TNG history that Troi has been
feeling pain/nervousness/etc. and NOT gone into screaming ninny mode. Rather
the reverse--she looked like hell at the end, but still had her wits about
her, flustered though they were. Bev was far more hysterical than Troi was
(which makes sense, too, since she was hallucinating and Troi wasn't); and
Gates did almost as good a job as Marina this time 'round. Kudos to the two
usual weak links.

But just about everybody else was terrific, too. Riker and Data were fine, if
nonexceptional. Worf's one major scene was very well played--it was
interesting to finally hear Mike Dorn put something other than anger and
annoyance into his voice, and it worked for me. And Picard--oh, Picard.
Damn, but Patrick Stewart is good at looking haggard when he needs to. And
boy oh boy, he did not look at _all_ good by the end of all this. The major
weak link was probably Keiko, who wasn't particularly interesting in her 2
minutes of screen time (although I rather enjoyed O'Brien's scene in
Ten-Forward right afterward). Guinan had some good moments, too, particularly
her last scene--but that's unexpected enough that I won't say much about it.
(I will say that it worked for me. Hell, doesn't EVERY bartender have a gun
stashed under the bar? :-) )

Let's see...what else...hmm. Technical was fine--I found the music well above
the norm this week, particularly near the end (reminded me a little of the
close of "The Battle", actually), and it was nice to see the Brittaine, not to

mention some terrific shots of the Enterprise every so often. I'm sure there

will be some comments on the "mental frequency" bit, though, so let me add
something quickly on that:

Yes, it's probably stretching the point a bit. I'm not a biologist (although
my fiancee is, and she was uneasy about the concept), but it might be iffy.

However, without definite evidence that it was WRONG, I can go with it. In
particular, I can go with it because if you believe that there is some sort of
"fundamental frequency" for REM brainwaves, everything else they used in the
show follows nicely. One small stretch works for me, as long as everything
else doesn't require any greater ones.

Well, I think that may be about it. This is rather shorter than usual, but
(a) I've got a very early plane to catch tomorrow morning, and (b) my body's
finally decided to let itself catch all the diseases I couldn't get last week
during finals, so I'm beat. Anyway, I'd definitely say it's worth
seeing--just forget that there's another ship there, and you're fine. :-)
The numbers, then:

Plot: 5. The "blow up the ship" concept really hurt here.
Plot Handling: 9.5. Majorly creepy, precisely as intended. It only misses
the 10 because it automatically invites comparison to MASH's "dream"
episode, which nothing beats. :-)
Characterization: 10. Awfully nice--when even Marina turns in a standout
performance, something's gotta be right...
Technical: 9. Nice-looking stuff, and not bad on the science.

TOTAL: 33.5/4 ---> 8.5. Not too shabby...not too shabby indeed.

NEXT WEEK:

Geordi might end up as a big blue glowing thingy. I'm frightened. :-)

Later, folks.

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
"Snakes...why did it have to be snakes?"
--if you can't place this, too damn bad :-)
--
Copyright 1991, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free to ask...

Susan L. McConihay

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Mar 21, 1991, 10:07:03 PM3/21/91
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In article <1991Mar21.0...@nntp-server.caltech.edu> tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:
>WARNING: The following post contains critical plot information relevant to
>this week's TNG episode, "Night Terrors", so if you're skittish about being
>scared...go 'way.
>
>In brief: not quite a standout, but far better than I expected.
>
>That sounds about right. If not for one major flaw, I think it could've been
>extremely good--but I thought it was pretty good regardless. Here's what
>happened:
>
{A whole bunch of stuff deleted}

>First, the major flaw, so I can get it out of the way and talk about good
>things. The Enterprise needed an explosion, right? Er, guys--there's a WHOLE
>SHIP right outside for you to blow up (with a torpedo, if nothing else)! Now,
>it's quite possible that it may not have worked, but it should have been
>thought of.

Well, how about the fact that the ship is still ,well,
relatively "ship shape" ? Doesn't the Federation still
need a lot of ships to make up for the ones the Borg
destroyed ?

Susan

--
**********************************************************
Susan McConihay * "Reality - what a concept"
mcco...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu *
**********************************************************

Timothy W. Lynch

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Mar 21, 1991, 11:53:40 PM3/21/91
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Oy. I spent one lousy day (and I mean one LOUSY day) on a plane, and suddenly
EVERYBODY's talking about "Night Terrors"...:-)

mcco...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu (Susan L. McConihay) writes:
>In article <1991Mar21.0...@nntp-server.caltech.edu> tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:

>>WARNING: The following post contains critical plot information relevant to
>>this week's TNG episode, "Night Terrors", so if you're skittish about being
>>scared...go 'way.

>>First, the major flaw, so I can get it out of the way and talk about good
>>things. The Enterprise needed an explosion, right? Er, guys--there's a WHOLE
>>SHIP right outside for you to blow up (with a torpedo, if nothing else)! Now,
>>it's quite possible that it may not have worked, but it should have been
>>thought of.

>Well, how about the fact that the ship is still ,well,
>relatively "ship shape" ? Doesn't the Federation still
>need a lot of ships to make up for the ones the Borg
>destroyed ?

That's certainly a possibility--Michael's come up with several others. I
don't necessarily think there was no reason not to, but I think the idea is
so swooningly obvious (at least, I was yelling it at them around 8:20) that
they should have mentioned and then dismissed it, to get on to other things.
But hey, that's not so bad...:-)

Tim Lynch

KX...@psuvm.psu.edu

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Mar 22, 1991, 6:32:06 PM3/22/91
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>First, the major flaw, so I can get it out of the way and talk about good
>things. The Enterprise needed an explosion, right? Er, guys--there's a WHOLE
>SHIP right outside for you to blow up (with a torpedo, if nothing else)! Now,

A friend of mine came up with the same idea about two seconds after they
decided they needed a large release of energy. I've seen some good reasons
why detonating the Brittaine would not have worked, but it should at least
have been brought up and discussed by the bridge crew.

>Ten-Forward right afterward). Guinan had some good moments, too, particularly
>her last scene--but that's unexpected enough that I won't say much about it.
>(I will say that it worked for me. Hell, doesn't EVERY bartender have a gun
>stashed under the bar? :-) )

You've got to be kidding! It looked like some effects man (or woman --
let's not be sexist here) went to Toys are Us, picked up a He-Man lazer
zapper, and then went apeshit with gold spray paint. Even the optical
effects were downright poor. Cheesy effects like those worked in a show
like Dr. Who, but it just looks bad on Trek. Dumb, and unnecessary. To
me this didn't even work as comic relief.


On the plus:

The characters began to look more and more haggard as time went by. Shows
the make-up people were on top of things.

I definitely liked the "thriller" feel they gave the episode.

Much better than "Galaxy's Child."

>Plot: 5. The "blow up the ship" concept really hurt here.
>Plot Handling: 9.5. Majorly creepy, precisely as intended. It only misses
> the 10 because it automatically invites comparison to MASH's "dream"
> episode, which nothing beats. :-)
>Characterization: 10. Awfully nice--when even Marina turns in a standout
> performance, something's gotta be right...
>Technical: 9. Nice-looking stuff, and not bad on the science.
>
>TOTAL: 33.5/4 ---> 8.5. Not too shabby...not too shabby indeed.

Yeah, I'd say 8 or 8.5 is just about on par. I'd rate the plot a little
higher, and technical would certainly be lower.


All IMHO,

Eric

Chengi Jimmy Kuo

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Mar 22, 1991, 7:21:38 PM3/22/91
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>>Well, how about the fact that the ship is still ,well,
>>relatively "ship shape" ? Doesn't the Federation still
>>need a lot of ships to make up for the ones the Borg
>>destroyed ?

>That's certainly a possibility--Michael's come up with several others. I
>don't necessarily think there was no reason not to, but I think the idea is
>so swooningly obvious (at least, I was yelling it at them around 8:20) that
>they should have mentioned and then dismissed it, to get on to other things.
>But hey, that's not so bad...:-)

Nah, the Federation still has its complement of science ships. This was a
science ship. They're easy-come, easy-go. :-)

Jimmy Kuo

PS. As for the hydrogen and its relation to "chemical reaction," the H could
have been used for fusion. There was no mention what the other ship would
use it for. Maybe they had the Paladium! :-)
--
cj...@locus.com
"The correct answer to an either/or question is both!"

Uncle Mikey

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Mar 23, 1991, 11:40:02 AM3/23/91
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In article <91081.18...@psuvm.psu.edu>, KX...@psuvm.psu.edu writes:
[You've got to be kidding! It looked like some effects man (or woman --

[let's not be sexist here) went to Toys are Us, picked up a He-Man lazer
[zapper, and then went apeshit with gold spray paint. Even the optical
[effects were downright poor. Cheesy effects like those worked in a show
[like Dr. Who, but it just looks bad on Trek. Dumb, and unnecessary. To
[me this didn't even work as comic relief.

I may be reading too much into this, BUT, has it occurred to anyone that the
gun was SUPPOSED to look cheezy, and that effects were ALL it was supposed
to do? We didn't actually see the thing cause any damage--just some noise
and lights. Which is all Guinan needed--remember, these are dream-deprived
people, not thinking straight.

Quite honestly, I DO believe that Guinan keeps a REAL gun behind the bar,
but that wasn't it :-)


=-=-=-=-=-=
"Can I help it if I have arguments with my body parts and lose?"
--Lizard Hazard, President CUSFA

Uncle Mikey

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Mar 23, 1991, 11:42:36 AM3/23/91
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In article <cjkuo.6...@fafnir.la.locus.com>, cj...@locus.com (Chengi Jimmy Kuo) writes:
[Nah, the Federation still has its complement of science ships. This was a

[science ship. They're easy-come, easy-go. :-)

Take a good look at that "science ship". She might not be mega-powerful by
24th century standards, but that was an Avenger/Reliant class ship--the same
class ship that gave our own favorite Big-E a pounding in STII. A little bit
of refitting for modern weapons and let Geordi loose on her engine room for
a few months and she could hold her own quite nicely...

Of course, against the Borg, she'd be toast :-)

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