Date: May 15, 2020
Season 6, Episodes 14 and 15
Musical Accompaniment: Coccolino Deep – Autumn in Love
Interstellar News: It’s been a day. Season 6 may have started off with some pretty crappy episodes but these two were mighty fine.
Favorite Quote from “Face of the Enemy”:
Troi: Your cowardice does not befit a Romulan soldier.
Toreth: People blame the military for the wars that we are asked to fight, but I think it is your kind, Major, that will be the death of us all.It’s not every day a Romulan captain makes an impression on me, but daaaaaaamn.
“Face of the Enemy” opens with Troi who is suddenly a Romulan, what the actual fuck? N’vek tells her it’s imperative that she follow instructions or they’re all going to die, which she does well and with greater authority as the conversation with Captain Toreth continues. N’vek has given Troi the appearance and name of a Tal Shiar officer and her mission is to get some high ranking Romulan defectors over to a cargo ship and then Federation space. When the cargo ship arrives Troi detects deception and N’vek blows up the ship, which means they have to change their plans.
Back on the Enterprise they receive a man named Deseve who had betrayed the Federation but has now returned. He carries with him a message from Spock to be delivered to Picard, sending them to rendezvous with the cargo ship. When they arrive they only encounter the ruins of the cargo ship but then pick up the trail of the Romulan vessel. Toreth tries to play chicken with the Enterprise and Troi siezes the opportunity to take command of the Khazara. She interfaces with Troi and takes a shot at them while also transporting the defectors. Toreth calls them on it, kills N’vek, and is about to interrogate Troi when she is beamed off and arrives safely on the Enterprise.
This, my friends, is why Deanna Troi needs more screen time. She’s not only an excellent counselor but she’s amazing at undercover work, I mean just look at how she took to the role of the mysterious stranger in “A Fistful of Datas“! In all seriousness, this was a fantastic episode. We start with just as much knowledge as Troi has and she pulls herself together with very little information, making the most informed decision she can at the time. The longer she is on the Khazara the more she gets into her role, but she never forgets she’s really a Starfleet officer. Picard plays his role beautifully and never falters for even one second, and it’s no wonder he never plays poker with the crew. I will say that when Toreth is relieved of duty but then figures out two seconds later that they’re traitors is a little tooooo convenient, but the episode needed to end. You also totally know Troi is going to get beamed off, I mean she even assumes the beaming position! Another good sequel to a former season episode. Overall, 8 sparrow’s eggs for Troi and Picard.
Favorite Quote from “Tapestry”:
Picard: You are not God.
Q: Blasphemy! You’re lucky I don’t cast you out, or smite you or something. The bottom line is, your life ended about five minutes ago, under the inept ministrations of Dr. Beverly Crusher.
Picard: No. I am not dead. Because I refuse to believe that the afterlife is run by you. The universe is not so badly designed.Picard giving Q quite the tongue lashing.
Picard’s Poetry: “The pity is that I had to be impaled through the back before I learned that lesson.” and “I would rather die as the man I was than live the life I just saw.”
“Tapestry” begins with a seriously injured Picard and Dr. Crusher doing everything she can to make sure he doesn’t die, when suddenly we’re in Kings Cross Station. Picard reaches out to the figure in the light who is, surprise, Q! Q asserts he is God and Picard is dead. He “proves” it to him by showing him his disapproving father and the events that led to Picard receiving his artificial heart. Expressing regret, Q beams Picard back in time and tells Picard that nothing will change in the future if he wants to change the outcome. In fact, if Picard can avoid being stabbed Q will send him back and repair his heart otherwise Picard will spend eternity with Q in limbo.
Picard is 21 and a newly minted Ensign with two best friends, Marta and Corey. Corey plays a game and loses to some cheating Nausicaans and swears revenge. Picard can’t seem to talk him out of it but eventually does, though he alienates his friend in the process. Picard and Marta flirt, kiss, and do a whole lot more, which Marta regrets the next morning and now she pulls away from Picard as well. The Nausicaans interrupt the trio’s final farewell and Picard pushes Corey out of the way, cementing the end of his friendship with the other two. As he didn’t get stabbed, Q transfers him back to the Enterprise, except he’s now a junior officer with no ambitions. Q explains how important that brush of death was to Picard’s life and career but gives Picard a second chance where he is transported back once more to fight the Nausicaans and gets stabbed, but this time he wakes up with Crusher standing over him. Picard and Riker debrief and Picard realizes that Q gave him a priceless gift. Picard then begins to tell Riker about another encounter from his youth and away we go.
Another fantastic Q and Picard episode, which is welcome because the last one was not spectacular. We get an interesting flashback, an insight to why Picard is the man he is today, and a rare glimpse of Q being benevolent and kind. There are bits of humor (waking up next to Q), bits of sadness (alienating his friends even for the “right” reasons), and lots of introspection on the part of Picard. We all muse about what changes we might have made knowing then what we know now, but in reality everything in our life is a learning experience. Learning we don’t do well in a certain setting, finding out we are different people throughout our lives, and learning everything all the time. I doubt I would be where I am today if I chose to go to a different middle school than the one I went to, it was a pivotal decision that had a cascading effect on my life. We also get more call backs to earlier episodes, like when it was established that Picard has an artificial heart.
This episode also made me notice something else. Lately we’ve been getting more shirtless Picard scenes and seeing his more romantic side. I think this was done because someone decided they needed to even up the “seeing the captain’s chest” and Kirk was beating Picard soundly in this category. It also made me realize something else. I think Kirk resigned himself to never having a family and it was likely something he never really wanted. Even when he he had a son, or almost had a family, we never really saw him reminisce… not even for his own brother. There was a little after his son died, but that was for the movie plot and he was much older at the time. In contrast, Picard is seen with the flute from his time during “The Inner Light” or being mindful of those he had lost, like in “Darmok“. I think Picard wanted a family but didn’t know how to balance it with his ambition, and also knew as a captain he would need to be responsible for a whole ship and didn’t want to be compromised.
Wow, so I totally went in an unexpected direction and ranted a bit. Anyway, very minor flaws in this episode and Q was almost as perfect as he’s ever been. 9 inflatable flailing arm dudes for this episode.