Star Trek 276: Masks

276. Masks

FORMULA: Darmok + The Schizoid Man + The Inner Light

WHY WE LIKE IT: A grand scientific puzzle.

WHY WE DON'T: Nasal Evil Data rides again.

REVIEW: A surprise. Remembered as a bit of science fantasy with clay masks and equipment turning into styrofoam blocks, I now found it to be a lot more like Darmok. And didn't I love Darmok? Indeed, it has the same sense of Picard working out a culture and a way out of his dilemma using anthropology and archaeology, certainly more interesting than the use of less "human" sciences, which almost inevitably veer into technobabble. His interpolations are all very interesting, and not everything is explained, giving the viewers space to imagine the world of Masaka for ourselves (if the Sun is Death, then perhaps a planet orbiting a red giant, and so on).

It's a good episode for Brent Spiner as well with a number of characters to play. Sure, sure, there's the usual evil voice of Masaka and even of Ehat (though as a trickster clown figure, he's good fun, such as when he's astride the warp core). The old man whose bones were fashioned into the world, the victim so afraid of Masaka... creepy and unsettling transformations. The coda about Data having been an entire civilization is a bit much however.

The Enterprise is transforming too, and the amber glow covering most scenes is nicely atmospheric, but the palm leaves and foam blocks are less effective. The symbols roaming the computer are well realized, as is the rogue comet itself, and the masks. The bit at the beginning with Troi's artistic expression class features a nice clay PADD (as well as the kid Eric first seen in Liaisons), but somewhat ignores the fact Data's been a pretty creative painter in the past. So not a perfect episode, but a surprisingly strong one.

LESSON: The Enterprise computers need a firewall.

REWATCHABILITY - High: A viable heir to Darmok, with a fascinating cultural puzzle and an intriguing use of Data.

0 comments:

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like (21) Activities (23) Advice (71) Alien Nation (34) Aliens Say the Darndest Things (8) Alpha Flight (21) Amalgam (53) Ambush Bug (46) Animal Man (17) anime (50) Aquaman (70) Archetypes (14) Archie Heroes (10) Arrowed (20) Asterix (9) Atom (29) Avengers (57) Awards (33) Babylon 5 (140) Batman (675) Battle Shovel (13) Battlestar Galactica (131) Black Canary (22) BnB 2-in1 (40) Books (59) Booster Gold (16) Buck Rogers (2) Buffy (6) Canada (68) Captain America (69) Captain Marvel (54) Cat (156) CCGs (37) Charlton (12) Circles of Hell (6) Class (11) Comics (3921) Comics Code Approved (12) Conan (15) Contest (13) Cooking (15) Crisis (77) Daredevil (33) Dating Kara Zor-El (5) Dating Lois Lane (23) Dating Lucy Lane (13) Dating Princess Diana (11) DCAU (404) Deadman (9) Dial H (128) Dice (10) Dinosaur Island (16) Dinosaurs (66) Director Profiles (9) Doctor Who (1670) Doom Patrol (21) Down the Rabbit Hole (7) Dr. Strange (17) Encyclopedia (28) Fantastic Four (55) Fashion Nightmares (19) Fiasco (14) Films Within Films (6) Flash (80) Flushpoint (86) Foldees (12) French (49) Friday Night Fights (57) Fun with Covers (56) FW Team-Up (37) Galleries (9) Game design (25) Gaming (111) Geekly roundup (750) Geeks Anonymous (45) Geekwear (13) Gimme That Star Trek (58) Godzilla (52) Golden Age (419) Grant Morrison (75) Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction (8) Green Arrow (50) Green Lantern (85) Hawkman (38) Hero Points Podcast (13) Holidays (238) House of Mystery (15) Hulk (44) Human Target (8) Improv (32) Inspiration (45) Intersect (5) Invasion Podcast (44) Iron Man (49) Jack Kirby (85) Jimmy Olsen (74) JLA (93) JSA (23) K9 the Series (30) Kirby Motivationals (18) Krypto (202) Kung Fu (97) Learning to Fly (11) Legion (128) Letters pages (6) Liveblog (12) Lonely Hearts Podcast (21) Lord of the Rings (18) Machine Man Motivationals (10) Man-Thing (4) Marquee (88) Masters of the Universe (8) Memes (38) Memorable Moments (34) Metal Men (4) Metamorpho (64) Micronauts (1) Millennium (71) Mini-Comics (2) Monday Morning Macking (6) Movies (454) Mr. Terrific (3) Music (72) Nelvana of the Northern Lights (8) Nightmare Fuel (21) Number Ones (59) Obituaries (40) oHOTmu OR NOT? (73) Old52 (11) One Panel (279) Outsiders (165) Panels from Sheena (5) Paper Dolls (7) Play (74) Podcast (468) Polls (5) Questionable Fridays (13) Radio (18) Rants (20) Reaganocomics (8) Recollected (11) Red Bee (26) Red Tornado (10) Reign (563) Retro-Comics (3) Reviews (52) Rom (116) RPGs (536) Sandman (19) Sapphire & Steel (37) Sarah Jane Adventures (69) Saturday Morning Cartoons (5) SBG for Girls (4) Seasons of DWAITAS (100) Secret Origins Podcast (8) Secret Wars (25) SF (30) Shut Up Star Boy (1) Silver Age (365) Siskoid as Editor (33) Siskoid's Mailbox (10) Space 1999 (51) Spectre (20) Spider-Man (100) Spring Cleaning (15) ST non-fiction (19) ST novels: DS9 (8) ST novels: S.C.E. (19) ST novels: The Shat (2) ST novels: TNG (9) ST novels: TOS (11) Star Trek (1695) Streaky (2) Suicide Squad (36) Supergirl (89) Superman (1058) Supershill (11) Swamp Thing (23) Tales from Earth-Prime (7) Team Horrible (4) Teen Titans (81) That Franchise I Never Talk About (53) The Orville (29) The Prisoner (5) The Thing (54) Then and Now (4) Theory (51) Thor (52) Thursdays of Two Worlds (43) Time Capsule (8) Timeslip (7) Tintin (23) Torchwood (61) Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms (5) Toys (63) Turnarounds (7) TV (192) V (6) Waking Life (1) Warehouse 13 (9) Websites (102) What If? (103) Who's This? (191) Whoniverse-B (11) Wikileaked (3) Wonder Woman (82) X-Files (245) X-Men (100) Zero Hour Strikes (22) Zine (5)