Episode

244

Gambit

Picard is dead until he’s “Galen.” Riker has gone rogue. Then there’s the Romulan who’s not, and they’re all in search of an artifact that isn’t what it seems. How many gambits can fit into two episodes? Seriously, all of the gambits when we put Gambit: Part I and Gambit: Part II into the Mission Log.

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Discussion

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    Finally back to some Episodes. 🙂

    It’s been brought up a few times, why the hell is the Enterprise crew doing deep under cover, (that is not very good undercover work), investigations?

    The ending is a bit cheesy, and the weapon a bit lame, but enjoyable enough to watch. I get the idea of a physiological weapon but as a weapon of war it is pretty slow and only worked on one person at a time.

    • They should have emphasized that it could kill specific people from a distance like Cerebro a la X-Men…killing the captains of starships during battle would be a pretty nifty weapon…mind control too, but yeah, they sure rushed/crammed this episode. See my above comment please.

      • Dave Steph Taylor

        That could be a very valuable weapon.

  • CmdrR

    Pretty sure Jaglom Shrek (from Birthright Pt. 1) found some 24th century rogaine and changed his name to Yranac. The mask is identical to the one James Cromwell wore. And speaking of recycled… see also, the bit about Riker lamenting Picard’s death, chasing around like in Reunification Pts 1 & 2, the battle bridge, etc.. This ep feels very recycled. Also, the music is horrible. It becomes noticeable how lacking in melody later TNG music gets when it’s used to add fake drama to stretched out parts. Gambit feels like a one parter stuffed with pointless plot points to make it a two parter. Ah well, at least next week we can look forward to… oh… **sigh**

    • …cellular peptide cake…with MINT FROSTING?

      • CmdrR

        Cue up Tom Petty.

        • I don’t think he comes around here no more…

        • Reese

          Why? The video with Alice in Wonderland? Oh. Yeah. Never a big Tom Petty Fan.

    • Roger Birks

      I really like “Phantasms” personally…

    • I got Redemption and Unification confused there for a bit…but yup, I see the recycled aspect….sigh…S7. The alien actor…an Yridian? He seemed to be imitating James Cromwell !!

  • https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/28e317e37eccb1d6acda448ccc40b92aa4da0d674cc2794134567fdb1de0b454.png
    Star Trek: The Lost Years which is an Vulcan adventure after the last TOS episode but before Star Trek TMP is a key piece of this story. It is about the last battle of the Vulcan Civil War thousands of years ago and how Vulcans were fighting telekinetic/pyrokinetic/telephathic battles with each other and finally ended with the exodus of some Vulcans to the Romulus system, while most remained on Vulcan w Surak to study logic/ c’thia the mastery of emotion. The psychic energies or “katras” were stored in containers called “vrekatras” or something like that and could be transferred decades or centuries later….. Also key to read is “Spock’s World” which was about a Vulcan First 🙂 ,movement of isolationists who felt too much non Vulcan influence was ruining Vulcan. It also had my first exposure to “social media comment boards” like FaceBook, because the USS Enterprise has a BBS Bulletin Board System for crewmates to sell stuff, discuss politics or argue anonymously…so interesting to think of that book now…I think it came out in 1987? Anyway, just some context on some non-canon Vulcan lore….

  • So exciting was Gambit that my major memory of it has little to do with TNG itself, but with Jonathan Frakes appearing on The Chevy Chase Show on Fox at around the same time; even had a clip from Gambit Part I with him. Of course, if you were anywhere near a TV in late ’93 and watched it, you know that The Chevy Chase Show was a glorious slo-mo disaster as Fox tried to carve out its own slice of the late night talk show pie. Chevy Chase was not the man to lead that fight, however, and his interview with Frakes was particularly painful to watch – he’d done no prep work whatsoever, and either had or feigned having absolutely no Star Trek knowledge (or at least TNG knowledge) whatsoever. Not long into the interview, Frakes himself started cracking up at how badly it was going and stopped taking it seriously. I remember this vividly (partly because I was the late shift board op at a Fox station when The Chevy Chase Show was on)…and of course that means I can’t find it anywhere on Youtube. It was just awful, and was pulled in just a few weeks, replaced by reruns of In Living Color and a Rescue 911 ripoff hosted by Gil “Buck Rogers” Gerard, obviously still paying off the bill he ran up at Vegas in Space. (Bet you didn’t think I was going to bring this in for anything remotely resembling a relevant landing, did you?)

    Some of the location/stunt work was better than average – the phaser fight on the planet that ends with Riker being kidnapped was quite a bit more dynamic than usual. I seem to recall reading that they set up some interactive lighting arrays so that there would be real reflected light, captured in-camera, supposedly originating from the painted-in-later phaser beams. They were make a really game effort to get away from the “fire your phaser and stand perfectly still because the beam has to come out of that fixed point and we can’t afford to move it around” style of locked-off shot that had been the norm all the way back to TOS.

    I really liked the moment where the directed seemed to linger on Worf as the weapon’s discharge passed through him, as if to emphasize, “Hey, if anyone’s gonna screw up this ’empty your mind of aggressive thoughts’ thing, it’s gonna be ol’ Worfles over here.” Obviously he’s come a long way from drawing a phaser at Q’s image on the main screen.

    I think it was CmdrR who singled out the music in this episode as being awful…yeah. Not going to argue there. I’m a soundtrack guy, and I’ve gotten every Trek soundtrack release that’s been done, and while listening to the music without sound effects and dialogue really reveals lots of layers in many cases, most of Jay Chattaway’s work suffers badly either in the show or as a standalone listening experience – it’s like he wrote a program to randomly sequence the same handful of dissonant chords for every episode he scored. Some of the credit for that has to go back to Rick Berman, though, as he wanted the music to be “wallpaper”. I interviewed McCarthy in ’93 and he had this to say:

    “…as far as big, sweeping, melodic things go, we tend to avoid those. You know, there’s some flak from the fans, they say they’d rather hear some big melodic stuff and so forth and so on, but if the producers don’t want it, you don’t do it. You know, it’s a simple rule of keeping the job, what the boss wants is what you do!”

    The fact that Chattaway was now regularly scoring episodes because they had let Ron Jones go in season 4 had to be weighing on their minds. Chattaway had done Tin Man, Inner Light, A Fistful of Datas…the guy could do music…but he also played it awfully, awfully safe to hang on to the gig.

    (Sorry, I could sit here and go on about Star Trek soundtracks, and other soundtracks, all day until I foam at the mouth and fall over backwards.)

    Other than that, I got nothin’. I could tell you about how I once had to have my whole Gol Bladder taken out because it was full of Gol Stones, but…naaahhhh.

    • these types of weapons…like S3 “The High Ground” really highlight how slow the phasers are. In fact in an episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, a 20th century machine gun is found and you can obviously see how much more deadly rapid fire projectile weapons are!! “V” showed the human resistance how to kick ass with the right bullets!! hahaha…yes, I definitely recall the phaser fight as a step up!!

    • terrible decision to neuter the composers…I loved the BOBW CD I got at some ComiCon or Trek Con in the early 90s…EPIC!

      • Some of McCarthy’s stuff kicks butt as well. I highly recommend the two TNG compilations that have been released by La-La Land Records.

      • bigorangemichael

        I feel like the music for much of modern Trek became very vanilla after season four of TNG.

  • DesertDweller79

    I find these episodes so boring. Even your podcast about this episode could barely hold my attention. THis whole episode almost doesn’t even feel like Star Trek to me. I just remember it as “that weird episode with Picard and Riker pretending to be other people, with really no point”.

    I really find these two bad primarily due to the writing. They are slow, plodding, and so many scenes are pointless.

    I much prefer next week’s episode. Even though it is also pointless I quite enjoy several of the weird scenes.

    • Roger Birks

      This was a good episode. Not brilliant. It was great seeing Data as Captain again! The opening teaser is a big stretch. I do not for a second believe anyone would think Picard was killed off! So that was a weak, maybe lazy plot point to begin with. But its enjoyable and a highlight from Season 7.

    • I see what you mean..it is different because of the swashbuckling space pirate trope. Treasure!! That’s pretty much all it is…fair criticism.

    • Robert Hackett

      Wait until they get to Sub Rosa. Ooo Wee are we in for a “treat.”

      • Konservenknilch

        At least that’s one of those baffling “what were they thinking?” so-bad-it’s-good episodes.

      • bigorangemichael

        I wonder if this will be like Spock’s Brain was on TOS. We expect them to deride it, but they find some decent messages, morals, etc. in there.

        • Robert Hackett

          My biggest problem with episodes like “Sub Rosa”, is the producers wanted to have a more Dr. Crusher centered episode. I think she is a great character, but by the last season, they should have been able to produce and write something better than that. The whole plot line in just plain stupid and insulting. “Remember Me” is also Dr. Crusher centered, but far better.

  • gizmochimp

    I thought it was great that Data took a stern approach to dealing with Worf. He likely has many “programs” of management style and can apply them based on the crewman he’s dealing with. Data might recognize that Worf (being Worf), would respond most effectively with that very no-nonnse leadership approach. If it were Troi or someone else he might have taken a different tact.

    • Dave Steph Taylor

      It’s almost as if he is human 😉

  • Reese

    Inevitable Intersection? Coincidence? H&I is playing Gambit “Part II” tonight at 8:00 Central Time (three minutes from now). Cool. Refresh the watch while you listen to Mission Log.

  • nathankc

    Not sure how I’ve never heard something like this before but Ken blew my mind with the “he’s in charge, but he’s not a leader” – as a dad, that’s a huge personal takeaway for me from this podcast.

    • Pete2174

      yeah.that line made me think too.

    • Dave Steph Taylor

      Anyone who works in the corporate world has seen examples of both.

  • Pete2174

    I liked this one. A better S7 episode

    • at last….!…but buckle up..some rough ones ahead…BRACE YOURSELVES!!

      • Pete2174

        And that’s sad. Given that the end of TNG is so close.

      • John Anderton

        I was hoping you were exaggerating.

  • “Make it so….”- Jean-Luc Picard
    “Engage!” Jean-Luc Picard
    “Get it Done….” Captain Edward Jellico
    “Execute!” Commander Kurn Klingon Defense Force

    • “Git’er done!” Captain Will Riker

    • John Anderton

      Didn’t Lynch actually say initiate?

  • “Admrial Chekote” aka “Skymarshal Diennes” from Starship Troopers! Bruce Gray https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/673628e34171fff8e301778c3215b6a0cbd1ac8fd977b1f16b041a27e2e9d355.png

  • Scrappy

    Thoughts on this episode:
    1. Anyone else find it weird that, in part 1, Tallera moved closer to whisper to Baran yet everyone on the bridge can still clearly hear her.

    2. My first thought when I saw the Klingon walking was that he was on stilts.

    3. A few little things reminded me of my favorite episode In the Pale Moonlight (which I have seen at least 10 times). The way Riker pushed the guy against the wall and threatened to send him to the Klingons is similar to what Sisko did to Grathon Tolar. Data calling the replicated Klingon blood wine a “good approximation” is similar to what the Romulan senator called the replicated Romulan ale.

  • Robert Hackett

    If you grew up when I did, one of the great character actors you grew up with was Richard Lynch. If you want to see him at his most vile(best), watch the 1980 made for TV movie Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story. Not a great movie, but boy is he creepy and weird. (The real life character he plays was executed in the gas chamber at San Quentin).

    Although they are not canonical, I must also recommend the books already mentioned. When I was in Germany in the Army in 1988/1989, I loved those Star Trek Pocket Books. One that has not been mentioned is The Romulan Way, by Diane Duane and Peter Morwood. It describes in detail why the Romulan faction split away and what led them to become so xenophobic. Everyone they encountered on their journey murdered and betrayed them, leading them to adopt a belief of us and no one. The Organians are mentioned and it is alluded to just how powerful they truly are.

    These books are better stories than most TV episodes showing the Romulans.

  • John Anderton

    TNG cannot do action well. Whether it is the poor budget, or the lack of suspense if the major characters can’t change or die, or simply the contrived story. This would have made a good one hour episode, I think, although story seemed take unearned twists. Why didn’t Picard just stun Lynch and take the torture weapon from him?

    And what is with the great weapon? It seemed slower than you average phaser. Much slower, in fact.

  • https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9c90c92e34e7bbb77ec5a79d5bc84b8fa9b37154951fa065a2e057bf8df70005.jpg Home Video release Trivia : Interestingly enough – for some unexplained reason, Paramount selected this Episode to represent TNG in “The Greatest Battles ” Star Trek VHS Box set