Great Small Moments in Otherwise Bad TV Episodes

I started typing this up in the OT, but then I realized it would make a pretty good discussion topic on it’s own.


Last night, I continued my rewatch of Star Trek TNG with one of the most infamous episodes: “Code of Honor.” It’s pretty dire, I’m not gonna lie. But there were a few moments (largely separate from the main plot, and all involving Data) that I really enjoyed.

First, we get what I believe is the first real interaction between Data and Geordi, and it’s perfect. Their friendship is one of the best on the series, and it’s fully formed from the get-go. The scene is completely superfluous–Data visits Geordi in his quarters, where he’s disappointed to see Geordi is not using a “more efficient” razor of Data’s own design to shave with. They have a brief discussion about the “human factor” and things possibly being “too efficient,” and then Data attempts to tell a joke. That’s pretty much it, but the actors really do a great job of selling their friendship and making it feel natural.

Second is the following exchange, after Yar is kidnapped:

Lt. Commander Data: What Lutan did is similar to what certain American Indians once did called ‘counting coup’. That is from an obscure language known as French. Counting coup…

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Mr. Data. The French language, for centuries on Earth, represented civilization.

Lt. Commander Data: Indeed? But surely, sir…

Commander William T. Riker: [sotto voce] I suggest you drop it, Mr. Data.

I really just loved seeing Picard’s French pride coming through.  They don’t often highlight Picard’s heritage, and it’s easy to forget that he’s supposed to be French.  Seeing Jean-Luc visibly annoyed by Data referring to the “obscure” French language was a nice little touch, as was Riker stepping in (struggling to contain is amusement, as usual).

Lastly, we have this exchange, in which Picard is speaking to Data and Geordi:

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: By our standards, the customs here, their… code of honor, is the same kind of pompous, strutting charades that endangered our own species a few centuries ago. We evolved out of it because no one tried to impose their own set of… I’m sorry, this is becoming a speech.

Counselor Deanna Troi: You’re the Captain, sir. You’re entitled.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Hmm – not entitled to ramble on about something everyone knows. Carry on.

I think it’s great that the show was self-aware enough (in it’s third episode no less) to realize how ridiculous it is for Picard to be making a grand speech about Federation ideals to members of his own crew.  I’m sure that there are times when those grand moralistic speeches are aimed at the crew–after all those speeches are built-in features in Star Trek, but it’s so smart to have the Captain stop himself and say “you know all this already, why am I saying it now?”

What about you guys?  Are there any other not-very-good to downright awful episodes of your favorite shows that you can still find bits of greatness buried inside?  Are those bits enough for you to make it through the crap that surrounds them, or do you still have to skip those eps?