<--Season 4b Season 5b-->
In its fifth season “The Next Generation” had hit its stride. We don’t see any more truly goofy episodes, but at the same time there is less experimentation—less risk being taken. Most of the fifth season episodes that are numbered among the greats of the whole series come in the second half, but there are still some good thought provocations among these first 13:
Episode 1: “Redemption II”
As is often the case with second-parters, this one fails to match the tone and weight of the season finale. The most interesting aspect of the show—Data’s turn at command—is hardly explored.
Episode 2: “Darmok”
Episode 3: “Ensign Ro”
This series was written and produced in 1991. When one thinks of the historical context the world was experiencing, some of these stories both make more sense and at the same time seem somewhat naïve about the way the world really works. More on that in a couple of episodes.
Episode 4: “Silicon Avatar”
For some reason I always connected the title of this episode to the Crystalline Entity. It wasn’t until this viewing that I realized the title is referring to Data. Don’t know how I missed that. Other than that this is a standard if somewhat compelling debate about revenge.
Episode 5: “Disaster”
The writers place a bunch of characters in a difficult situation and then write them out of it.
Episode 6: “The Game”
Episodes 7&8: “Unification”
Episode 9: “A Matter of Time”
This episode has a feel of mystery so thick that the viewer is never really taken in, so the twist when it comes is anticipated. Despite that and the ever-present and annoying time-travel problems it is an entertaining story. The debate at the end has an important feel to it, until you realize it is a huge “what if” discussion that has no real implications.
Episodes 10: “New Ground” and 11: “Hero Worship”
Two episodes exploring the challenges of parenting and helping children. Aren’t they sweet? One of the “best” moments in Trek (and not in a good way) is when Riker carries those ridiculous animals out of the fire.
Episode 12: “Violations”
A surprisingly straight forward mystery about a serial rapist and an acknowledgment that evil is something that is real and that we will never overcome or outgrow on our own.
Episode 13: “The Masterpiece Society”