Star Trek #1609: The Bounty

CAPTAIN'S LOG: On the run, the Titan heads for the Starfleet Museum.

WHY WE LIKE IT: Geordi! All the ships! Data!

WHY WE DON'T: Wait, why don't you just steal the Bounty?

REVIEW: While I've been down on Picard's obsession with nostalgia, this is where it kicks into high gear and I can't help but fall for it. It has Easter Eggs from every show, but more importantly, it concentrates on TNG nostalgia, returning a couple of characters to the fold so that, in the end, everyone who was in the cast for the whole 7 years are in the episode. Still on the run, the Titan picks up Raffi and zen Worf (who is not only funny, but makes Riker funny), and heads for Daystrom Station's Section 31 vault so they can find out what the Changelings stole. But patrols catch up to them, at which point the episode bifurcates into two separate missions, as the Titan leaves an away team behind and tries to get help from the Fleet Museum.

Following the particular strand gives us Commodore Geordi La Forge and his other daughter Alandra (played by Burton's real life daughter), who's none too happy about all this - and has a strained relationship with first daughter Sidney - but is still the warm human being he's always been. Beverly gets a hug. Shaw is super tongue-tied when he meets his engineering hero, lovely. There is some fun to be had with the Sidney-Jack flirtation as they get into trouble together and their dads react, and some understanding between parents and children is achieved. Concepts that will turn out to be very important are laid in (Geordi was against it, but ships are networked now, so you can't hide your transponder signal, and what's that Alandra says about Hangar Bay 12?). And then the geekgasms as Seven and Jack look at all the cool ships from franchises past. Some have criticized this as too coincidentally being ships we followed on other shows, but they do throw in the the New Jersey (which would be the Constitution-class Picard has seen in this very Museum, according to Relics) and there are plenty of unknown ships in the graphics. Plus, the omniscient camera makes us watch these crews' adventures because they are the most legendary! So what are you griping about? One ship that certainly raises an eyebrow is the HMS Bounty from Star Trek IV, and I thought for sure this was their out: A bird-of-prey would certainly have NOT been networked with the rest of Starfleet, and it seemed weird to just steal its cloaking device and dangerously install it aboard the Titan. But if I'm being honest, I would have criticized this as the WRONG kind of nostalgia. Perhaps I still feel burned by Season 2's too-overt ST IV homage. With hindsight, we know why they couldn't steal a whole ship here - they're keeping that for later and events make them run before it can happen too soon.

Meanwhile, Daystrom Station has its own cool eyebrow-raising Easter Eggs: A Genesis device, a tribble (so that's where it's mouths are!) and Kirk's remains (I'm less happy about this because it turns out what the Changelings stole was PICARD's remains, which makes the facility too much of a mausoleum for famous captains). Raffi, Worf and Riker must deal with the A.I. protecting the vault, who at first appears to be Moriarty. A GREAT fake-out! It would make sense that at some point in the future, he'd be taken out of his "ship in a bottle" and repurposed by the likes of Section 31, so we believe it. But there are other clues: A holographic crow, a song played note by note, and if you were listening carefully (or repeatedly, especially with hindsight), when the A.I. is first hacked, it greets them with three different voices. One of them is Data's, which may also be overlayed over some of Moriarty's lines. The song is Pop Goes the Weasel, giving us the beat we SHOULD have had in Nemesis when B-4 had an earworm. The one character I didn't think we'd get back, we DID. Data is found in a new synthetic, humanish body (like Picard's but it can be plugged into a computer and project images from its eyes), which also contains B-4, Lore, Altan Soong himself and Lal (beautiful). Ther personalities are at war in there, but we do get a brief moment with Data himself before that creep Lore shows up. Geordi's reaction to seeing his old friend is touching. Picard, however, keeps his distance. The mission comes at a cost: Riker is captured and tortured by Vadic, then thrown into a cell with Deanna, a threat in and of itself, though I don't think the show ends up doing much with this.

There's some excellent dialog throughout, and the episode is built on the season's theme of parents and what they gift their children. At first, Jack is resentful about his diagnosis of irumodic syndrome passed down from Picard (though that scarcely explains his powers), but eventually has to agree that a lot of his better traits are his father's. Geordi doesn't like Sidney being in danger, but she got her sense of duty from him. And then there's the new android as Soong's child and gift to the world. And in an oblique way, all the references to the past remind us that one Star Trek begat another and that Trek another.

LESSON: You can't be upset at your kids being like you.

REWATCHABILITY - High: Well I'm always up for a heist, but The Bounty has strong dialog, themes, and nostalgia, completing our set of TNG returnees.