le gasp, a double-post!
This week's episodes and my takes on them, as promised:
TOS: This Side of Paradise (Season 1, episode 24)
This episode brings into question just what a "paradise" is. The society in this story seems like a paradise at first: everyone lives in harmony and works together for their mutual benefit. They want for nothing. But therein lies the problem: the human spirit cannot thrive without conflict or something to strive for. Their society is stagnant and will never become more than it is. The episode also points out that a paradise that is imposed on everyone is no paradise at all--it does this by showing what happens to Spock when he's "indoctrinated," and the pain his behavior while "indoctrinated" causes him after he's freed. This is a really good way to tie a thematic point together with character development.
TNG: Q Who (Season 2, episode 16)
This is an amazingly haunting story about hubris which also happens to introduce a famous boogieman, the Borg. In the face of an unbeatable foe, Picard is forced to admit that he's not invincible. I think the most interesting part of this episode, though, is Q's moral ambiguity. Is he just a mean prankster who wants to put Picard in his place, and causes unnecessary deaths to do so? Or does he know that the Borg will encounter the Federation sooner or later, and wants to give them a heads up so they can prepare for war? If so, did he actually help? Maybe the Borg wouldn't have discovered the Federation for years if not for this episode, and the Federation would have advanced enough in that time to put up an effective fight. Or maybe the Borg would have advanced even faster than the Federation, so the only solution was to give them a kick in the pants.
I also really like the scenes between Q and Guinan--they do a great job of making you wonder what on earth the deal is with those guys.
Anyway, have fun watching, and be sure to tell me how wrong I am about everything I said!