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Star Trek TNG - Season 1 - Episode 02

Star Trek TNG - 1x02 - Encounter At Farpoint, Part II

Originally Aired: 1987-9-28

At the trial, Q continues to denounce humans, while Picard defends his race. [DVD]

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 4.83

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- Troi, when it's pointed out that she's a Betazoid counters with "I'm only half Betazoid. My father was a Starfleet officer," which is supposed to imply that she's half human. What a racist comment! Betazed is a member of the Federation. Surely quite a few Betazoids are Starfleet officers as well.

- Given Riker's reaction to the holodeck, we're to assume they're still very rare bits of technology since their introduction in TAS. Interestingly, they're all over the place in a few years.
- This episode (both parts) was nominated for the 1988 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

Remarkable Scenes
- Riker trying to locate the holodeck and then his first interaction with Data. An experience he will come to remember.
- Wesley's abrasive first meetings with Picard.
- Picard's private meeting with Beverly.
- Picard solving Q's mystery.

My Review
As Picard's line at the end of the episode regarding the future missions of the Enterprise D being more interesting implied, the second part of the pilot episode of Star Trek TNG functions effectively as a preview of things to come but does little to rise above the meager premise of the plot established in the previous episode. Instead, rather than the plot of this episode, the remarkable details are the long term trends established here. Collectively, the two parter introduces many fascinating concepts that set TNG apart from TOS quite nicely. Among such details are long term plot arcs for the main characters, such as the relationship between Riker and Troi, Geordi's blindness, and Picard's history with Beverly and Wesley. Also, this episode sets the tone for some interesting new developments in the 24th century. I like the subtle technological improvements, such as the ship's saucer separation ability and the holodeck. Also, Worf, a Klingon crewmember which implies that the Federation has achieved peace with the Klingon Empire. This episode is most successful in establishing this aesthetic, but it seems the footwork necessary to do all this exposition has taken a toll plotwise. So, overall, collectively Encounter at Farpoint manages to be not much better than slightly above average. But, as Picard said, the really interesting stuff is yet to come anyway.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-22 at 5:17am:
    This is the only episode where Riker and Troi communicate telepathically.

    - The computer gives Riker directions to the holodeck: the entrance is the next hatchway on the RIGHT. Riker turns LEFT!
    - While talking to Data in the holodeck, Riker comments that he looked up Data's record. He then asks Data if his degree is honorary. If Riker had read Data's record, wouldn't he have known the degree was earned?
    - While in the holodeck, Wesley fall into a stream. When he leaves the holodeck, Wesley is still wet. If matter created on the holodeck can't exist outside the holodeck, shouldn't Wesley be dry?
    - The alien ship attacks the Bandi city with energy pulses. Why didn't the alien just beam the energy down to its mate?
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-28 at 7:06pm:
    The good part of this two-part episode is the interaction with Q. I like the scenes in the 21st century courtroom. The actual plot about the creature is rather pedestrian, not really of great interest.

    Historically, I have to give this episode big props for being the pilot for a great show. But if you look at it as just another episode, it has some definite weaknesses. First, as Michael B pointed out in the comments to part 1, the acting hasn't hit its stride yet. Second, there were a number of elements that they later realized were mistakes and removed.
    - The music is way too dramatic, going off like crazy at rather trivial revelations.
    - The Ship Separation scene. I guess it seemed like a good idea on paper, but wow, what a waste of time! And that "headless" ship is ugly!
    - Counselor Troi going totally over the top acting out her empathic connection with the creature.
  • From Amiable-Akuma on 2017-06-01 at 8:35am:
    I agree that the Bandi city stuff is more boring, cheaply-manipulative, and less-interesting than the Q stuff - but upon re-watches it has grown on me. The saccharine ending feels more genuine to me now and I enjoy how the guest-actor who plays Groppler hams it up.

    -Note how in the holodeck scene, a clear "stuntman given makeup/hair to be Data" is used for that entire significant sequence where Data springs into action and pulls Wesley from the water. I find it odd that Brent Spiner couldn't at least perform the part where he is jumping down the hill quickly to get there. Maybe Spiner tried it several times and didn't look as smooth as the stunt-performer?

    -There's at least two shots in the 2nd half of this two-parter where Counselor Troi is standing, and her "official" skirt is shown to be absurdly short. I kind of love it. Shows that the 80's and Starfleet had an "innocently" sexy vibe.

    -Note Troi's headband, hair, and uniform in general. Odd seeing her introduced as such, given that her classic "cleavage" unitard and style becomes so familiar to her

    -Finally, Marina Sirtis' acting as Troi bothered the hell out of me when I first saw this, especially the director's choice to linger so much on her "feeling the emotions" scenes. It felt cheap, corny, unnecessary. But I'm over it now. I realize it's part of the silly charm to her character and that's all a means to an end for many storylines, etc.

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