I know I'm literally years too late commenting on this, but I just wanna say that the start with Garak obnoxiously clapping for way too long is one of the funniest things that's happened on my TV screen in such a long time.
I loved/hated that last scene. It hurt, but also good God, wasn't it haunting, indeed? And isn't SirPatStew amazing?
I have been romping through TNG for the most part and sometimes catching up on these old reviews, but I HAD to come read this one because I KNEW there would be ALLCAPS screeching, and Mark, you did not disappoint.
I knew Picard was assimilated at some point (... I think I've seen movies that come later in the TNG sequence?), so I figured this might be when it happened. As soon as he was abducted I was like welp here we go. That reveal at the end was still incredibly creepy, though. Not least because I love Picard a lot and seeing him like that hurt.
Just popping in here four years late to say I loved this episode, I love the closure for Tasha (Tashaaaaaaa), I love Guinan just being AWESOME (I love Whoopi so much she's so good, also every time she comes on screen I'm weirdly calmed), and I adore that Picard just implicitly trusts Guinan even when Guinan cannot articulate what is wrong, just that SOMETHING is wrong. Picard/Guinan brOTP and a half.
Oh, and WorfxPrune juice is canon ♥️
I was planning to watch TAS anyway, but you just made it even more of a must-watch. (Yes, I know I'm actual years late 😹
Also, this was a damn good episode, not just in the context of Trek, but in the context of being a tense, clever, affecting, funny television episode. I was very impressed indeed.
That cat is plotting a series of grisly murders.
This is a wholeass mood. (Yes, I know I'm really late commenting, but I just had to say YES.) He's remarkably subtle when the script calls for it, and generally speaking his acting suits whatever the script calls for. Much less hammy than I remembered.
The Landru plot and this one, I kind of wish we found out more of what was going on behind these machines being in charge. It always seems like someone has previously meddled in a given society, which also seems like it would be a considerably better argument in favour of breaking the whole "not meddling" thing. It would be more interesting to look into who and what had previously meddled in these societies to make them stagnate. Or hell, actually make the malevolent force more than a random computer that was there because they need a plot device for the episode. (I've lost track, but I feel like there may even be another episode with the same plot??)
I keep expecting someone to say "Wait! Someone has already meddled with this society in order to come up with this system that is causing such stagnation!" but instead we just get "humanoid races are not meant to stagnate, let's change everything so they will be forced to progress." HOW ARE SO MANY PLANETS CONTROLLED BY MACHINES, ENQUIRING MINDS NEED TO KNOW? WHY IS NO ONE ASKING THIS QUESTION?
ALSO Eliot and Hardison are SO MARRIED