Star Trek: The Next Generation (1989) – Manhunt, and The Emissary

Captain’s log: stardate 42859.2

Between last week’s episode Up the Long Ladder, and the first episode this week, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier opened on 9 June, 1989. It was also the only Trek movie I never saw in the theatre. ten days later, on 19 June, (days after I graduated high school) Manhunt aired and proves to be a bit of a slapdash episode written by Tracy Torme.

The plus side of the episode is we get to Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) assume the role of Dixon Hill, a private investigator in a holodeck program. The downside of the episode is the reason for his visit.

Lwaxana Troi (Majel Barrett), the mother of ship’s counsellor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) has returned. While not a bad thing if the story is solid, it can be a truly trying experience should it not be a good story.

The Enterprise is ferrying groups of diplomats (one of whom is Mick Fleetwood – unrecognisable under prosthetics) to a conference on Pacifica, and Lwaxana is among them.

She is also going through ‘the phase’ – an increase by fourfold of her sex drive – and she has her eyes on Picard, who ducks her in the holodeck.

When she shifts her attention to Riker (Jonathan Frakes), he too finds his way to the holodeck… until she discovers them there.

While there are some nice comedic moments, and the dress uniform hints at the change in the uniforms to come, while paying homage to previous Starfleet uniforms, the episode isn’t the strongest, which is sad, because at this point the series should be rocking.

The Writers’ Strike at the time caused some serious problems in script production, and it’s obvious that the series suffered for it, even as the second season came to a close.

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Captain’s log: stardate 42901.3

The teleplay for The Emissary was penned by Richard Manning and Hans Beimler, adapted from an unpublished story by Thomas H. Calder. It features the return of Suzie Plakson, last seen as a Vulcan, but this time appearing as the Klingon emissary K’Ehleyr.

The episode first aired on 29 June, 1989 and has the Enterprise picking up a small probe carrying K’Ehleyr who has been assigned to deal with a Klingon warship whose crew has been held in stasis for the better part of seventy years.

When they wake, they will believe they are still at war with the Federation, and K’Ehleyr with Worf’s (Michael Dorn) help must stop them, and invite them to live honourably in the 24th century.

I quite like this episode and love that Worf and K’Ehleyr get to take centre stage, and it’s interesting to watch their relationship develop, and learn a bit of their history together, and how they both perceive the Klingon Empire

It’s solid, entertaining, gives Dorn’s character a lot of screentime and sets up some nice continuity for the future.

Thursday season two comes to a close as the Human Adventure continues…

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