In the twenty-third episode of the seventh season of The Next Generation, who got high and made this episode happen? If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.
Is this episode “good”? I asked myself this after I finished viewing “Emergence.” I sat on the couch, and I tried to first understand what I’d seen. So, a glowing bendy straw somehow gets on the Enterprise, begins to give the ship an intelligent consciousness, then births another glowing bendy straw. Meanwhile, it latches on to the holodeck as a source of… I don’t actually know. I still don’t understand the holodeck sequences in terms of biology or evolution or anything. Regardless, this lifeform uses the holodeck to act out a mash-up of a ton of utterly uninteresting Holodeck adventures.
The train is cool, I’ll get them that.
Y’all, I just wrote a review for Deep Space Nine where I opened said piece with a promise that eventually, I won’t have to compare The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. They are their own entities, and I respect that. And yet, coming off of “The Wire,” I can’t help but feel like I’ve been reminded of just how ridiculous the Star Trek universe can be. Now, Deep Space Nine is not exempt from that either, and don’t even get me started on The Original Series. I think my main issue with “Emergence” is that a lot is promised to us, very little is given in the end, and it feels weird for the sake of it. I love absurdity, and I’m not going to pretend that there wasn’t entertainment value in the consistent weirdness of this episode.
But that entertainment felt hollow in the end. Yes, this is partially a symptom of the reset button that’s always hit in the final moments of this show. However, “Emergence” is unbelievable. That is a tall claim to make when this show regularly does some off-the-wall shit. Some episodes infuriated y’all, but pleased me to no end. I recognize how subjective this is! So, the science behind this episode might totally work for you, but it is downright nonsense to me. I can talk at length about how I genuinely don’t understand how those nodes appeared in the first place, or I can talk about how I don’t understand how they spread, or I can talk about how I don’t understand how they were able to generate their own force field. (Go around the forcefield??? Why couldn’t they just drill a hole like two feet away and go in from the side? Was there depth to the field or was it just one square of force field power? WHO FUCKING KNOWS?) I can talk about how someone – literally anyone – SHOULD HAVE PICKED UP THAT BENDY STRAW CREATURE AND CHUCKED IT OUT AN AIRLOCK OR SOMETHING. Okay, that’s actually a terrible idea, since the ship would have probably revolted. Don’t kill strange baby aliens, y’all. BUT STILL. There’s just such a strange logic to everything that happens here, and I couldn’t buy it. Was it cool to watch sometimes? Sure!
BUT AT WHAT COST? Oh, there is a cost here, y’all. You know what it is? Having to sit through an episode that tries to get me to believe that a giant amalgamation of BENDY STRAWS is an emergent life form. Why? Why did it look like that? Why did the image on the cards look different? How did it glow? Could someone use it to drink up a milkshake? How was it able to support its own weight and stay upright? Is Cargo Bay 5 the “womb” of the Enterprise? Why did it show up there? When the nodes “died,” where did they go? Did they just disintegrate? Because if you are trying to get me to believe that the Enterprise was a living creature for a bit – even one that dies upon procreating – then where did the detritus go? Does that creature reproduce asexually? By some other means? Are there other Bendy Straw creatures out there? Do they pair up? Are they just as obsessed with really bad Holodeck adventures, too? WHO WAS THE KNIGHT IN ARMOR SUPPOSED TO BE? What about the farmer? Or ALL THE WOMEN WHO NEVER SPOKE ONCE?
I can’t. I seriously can’t.
The video for “Emergence” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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