Date: May 18, 2020
Season 6, Episodes 20 and 21
Musical Accompaniment: Fantasy Forest Music
Interstellar News: Today absolutely felt like a Monday, but the last two days each had a moment of unexpected awesomeness and I’m trying to hold onto those feelings.
Favorite Quote from “The Chase”:
Picard: But until we assemble it, we will never know its purpose.
Ocett: He’s right. As far as we know, it might just be a recipe for biscuits.
Nu’Daq: Biscuits? If that is what you believe, then go back to Cardassia. I will send you my mother’s recipe.A humorous conversation between three captains.
“The Chase” begins with the Enterprise on a three week mission evaluating protostars when Picard is called to the observation lounge and encounters his old archeology professor, Galen. The professor makes a compelling case to take Picard with him, but Picard turns him down and Galen leaves in his shuttlecraft. Suddenly a Yridian ship appears, they board the shuttlecraft, and start to tractor beam it in. Worf blows up the ship in one shot, to everyone’s disbelief, but Galen was mortally wounded and dies. Picard decides to say “to hell” with Starfleet orders and tries to figure out what all the mystery is about. The first planet is a bust, the second planet is undergoing a plasma reaction that destroys all life on it, and the third planet is where the Enterprise encounters two Cardassian ships and a Klingon vessel. They’ve all come to realize Galen’s found parts of a DNA puzzle written over four billion years ago, and they all have separate pieces.
Picard encourages them to cooperate, to which they agree initially, but Gul Ocett betrays the alliance and beams away as soon as the last piece is “found”. The problem is that Picard knew ahead of time and gave them misinformation, so they take Nu’Daq with them since his ship needs an hour to go. They arrive at the real location but are met by the Cardassians and the Romulans, who all start arguing over who should get the last piece. Picard and Crusher use that time to scrape off some rock-bed, put it in the tricorder, and then a message appears ala Leia’s message in A New Hope. The message is from a humanoid woman who explains that her kind is where many of those gathered originally came from and her kind hopes that their memory can be kept alive. The Cardassians and Klingons are disgusted but the Romulan captain is hopeful.
It was an absolute delight to see Picard geek out over archeology and also be right back in that student-teacher relationship that you never grow out of, no matter how old and important you get. There was also a fantastic scene between Nu’Daq and Data, and to be honest they guy who played Nu’Daq totally looked like he was having a blast. I also loved Gul Ocett who made not only an excellent Cardassian captain, but also put so much emotion in her performance. There was so much mystery and entertainment in this episode that the ending felt like a bit of a letdown, much like last episode. There was the promising bit from the Romulan captain, but he was kind of boring and dull. This episode did have a little bit of everything a good mystery needs, but I felt like the ending could have used juuuuuuuust a little more work and also, why was no one concerned about the Yridian ship? I’m sure there was a heavy loss of life and someone should have at least taken a look at the phasers. 6 more pieces of DNA to find for Picard!
Favorite Quote from “Frame of Mind”:
Data: Commander, I must compliment you on your performance this evening.
Data: Your unexpected choice to improvise was an effective method of drawing the audience into the plight of your character. You gave a truly realistic interpretation of multi-infarct dementia.
Riker: Thank you.Data always knows just what to say
“Frame of Mind” begins with crazy eyes Riker talking to a doctor who sounds an awful lot like Data, which is true because he and Data are rehearsing for a play. The Enterprise is heading on a rescue mission where Riker will have to beam down alone and undercover as a merchant, so he’ll spend the next five days preparing. His first stop is with Worf, who accidentally cuts him, which leads to a strange encounter in sick bay. He shares his uneasiness with Troi and keeps seeing the same strange alien around, including at the play. All of a sudden he finds himself in Ward 47, a psychiatric facility, on Tilonus IV where they tell him his life on the Enterprise is a delusion.
The rest of the episode is spent with Riker bouncing back and forth between the facility and the Enterprise. On the Enterprise he’s either getting ready for the play, rehearsing, or performing it. At the facility he is told that he’s there because he stabbed a man and they’re trying to figure out what happened. They decide to try reflection therapy where Troi, Worf, and then Picard all manifest as holographic images and tell the story of how Riker got there, but then so does that same alien who keeps popping up. Riker has decided the mental facility is real life, so he reacts badly when Dr. Crusher comes to visit and also when Worf and Data try to break him out. Eventually Riker figures out all of it is really fake and he wakes up in his merchant outfit while the aliens are doing a “neuro drain”. He escapes, beams back to the Enterprise, and then dismantles the stage in the what will be the best therapeutic catharsis.
Riddle me this Batman. Why is it that when Riker gets captured he always winds up in the damn hospital or has a total mind freak? So this episode kind of reminds me of the show Awake where the lead detective lives two realities, one where his wife survived the car crash and the other where it was his son instead. Riker is trying to figure out the whole time which reality is real, but he comes to realize everything is fake and he’s going to play out the last five minutes of “Schisms” where he rage quits and busts out of his captivity. I was also super stoked they mentioned Jung in this episode, as I totally studies him in graduate school. If you’ve ever taken a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test, it’s based on Jung’s work, though your type can change over time. I’m always an “ENTJ” but sometimes I score “ENTP”. But I digress. This episode sucks you in the minute it begins and had you guessing the entire time. Was his whole world a lie? What are they doing to him and why? Is Riker just really getting into method acting and turning into Heath Ledger after his performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight? None of these are true, aliens just hijacked Riker’s mind and he he-mans it out of there and then proceeds to do the only logical thing, tear that set down. 9 out of 10 dentists agree that Riker should choose their next brand of toothpaste.