Friday, August 31, 2012

The Chain of Command

Workshop week has ended and now the first time I go into work will be the first day of school! I am always amazed how fast this week flies by but regardless of how fast it goes the highlight is always open house night! I had such a great time yesterday meeting my new students and reconnecting with my returning kiddos. I had some truly fun conversations with my families and it really helped to remind me why I love this job and it also reaffirms my passion for working with my students. One of the fun parts of the night also happened to be that almost all of my returning families asked me about my weight loss and had very positive words of congratulations for me.

Elliptical Machine- Miles: 7.09, Calories: It stopped counting at 999 but I think it would have been around 1200.

Today I was determined to have an intense workout and I was faced with a two part episode so I decided to simply watch both of them today. I was on the treadmill for about 85 minutes straight.

The Chain Of Command, Part 1
Picard receives a private communication from Starfleet command ordering him to relinquish command of the Enterprise and begin working on a secretive mission. Picard, Crusher, and Worf begin training in a simulated underground cavern but only Picard knows what the real mission is and he can’t tell the other two yet. Meanwhile Picard’s replacement, Captain Jellico comes on board and assumes command after a formal ceremony in Ten-Forward. Before Jellico even takes command of the ship he starts making changes and immediately rubs everyone on the staff the wrong way but in particular Commander Riker. Picard and company get set to head out on a shuttlecraft and finally he reveals the mission plan. It seems that Starfleet believes the Cardassians are building a biological weapon and they have been sent to investigate. Picard was chosen because the project involves Theta waves of which he is somewhat of an expert on. The three arrange transportation into Cardassian space on a Ferengi transport and being exploring the underground caverns on Celtris III. The three find the weapon center but it is revealed to be a ruse and Picard is captured while Crusher and Worf escape. Meanwhile on the Enterprise, Jellico is trying to negotiate a treaty for a few planets between Federation and Cardassian space with a Cardassian Gul.

The Chain Of Command, Part 2
Picard has been brought to a Cardassian interrogation center and is to be interrogated by a Cardassian named Gul Madred. Picard and Madred enter a lengthy cat and mouse game of interrogation in which Picard is treated like absolute shit and put through physical, mental and starvation torture. Picard refuses to cooperate of course and really annoys the Gul to a point where the Madred reveals a story of his youth to Picard in which Picard turns on him and uses the information against him to agitate him further. The two men continue to play a tough game of cat and mouse throughout the episode. Meanwhile on the Enterprise negotiations with the Cardassians are not going well and Jellico’s relationship with Riker is going even worse. He eventually relieves Riker of duty finding him an inappropriate and unfit first officer.  LaForge and Data find that the Cardassian ship has some hull degradation which came from a nearby nebula. They piece together the information and determine that the Cardassians want to invade a nearby planet Minos Korva and are hiding in a nebula. All of the sudden they need to lay mines on the ships in the nebula and the only one who can do it is Riker. Jellico and Riker have a heated and honest discussion in which true feelings are shared but in the end Riker pilots the ship. Jellico has caught the Cardassians red handed and orders them to leave Federation space and to return Picard. Picard and Madred have a final confrontation in which Madred attempts to finally beat Picard down but he fails and is revealed to be a mentally broken man himself.

This is one of the finest episodes of the entire series and it really contains a lot of good action, wonderful acting, and powerful writing. The episode starts to set the Cardassians up to the characters they become in Deep Space Nine. It is interesting to me because the villains in Star Trek have always represented something else, the Klingons were meant to portray the Soviets, I think the Romulans were meant to be the Chinese and it is my belief that the Cardassians are meant to stand for the rise of Military dictatorships that seem to have sprung up in the early 90’s in South America, Africa, and the former Eastern Block. Madred makes clear reference to the Cardassians formerly being a peaceful people who were disjointed and then the military took over and they are now prospering but not in a totally peaceful society. The show also contains a few fun elements too. 1- Troi is back in a Starfleet uniform for the first time since the pilot episode. 2- Data is in a red command uniform for a while because he becomes the first officer when Riker is dismissed. 3- Ronny Cox as the asshole and insecure Captain Jellico, what a great performance and presence in the show. 4- Patrick Stewart proves that he was a bit of a fox in the early 90’s! He spends several scenes nearly naked or completely naked and he looks pretty damn good in nothing! 

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