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Star Trek TNG - Season 1 - Episode 17

Star Trek TNG - 1x17 - When The Bough Breaks

Originally Aired: 1988-2-15

Wesley and the other Enterprise children are kidnapped. [DVD]

My Rating - 1

Fan Rating Average - 3.21

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 43 17 12 18 9 17 24 4 4 6 3


- Little kids are expected to have a "basic understanding of Calculus" in the 24th century.

Remarkable Scenes
- Picard making up regulations on the spot and Data realizing it.
- Picard: "Data, find a way to defeat that shield." Data: "That may be impossible, sir." Picard: "Things are only impossible until they're not!" Data: "Yes sir." Then data gets this wonderfully puzzled look on his face.
- The various Picard-being-tortured-by-contact-with-children scenes.

My Review
Another identical-to-humans race. Somehow the children the Aldeans stole are going to continue their society. Obviously not genetically. So Aldea is to become a paradise for humans then in a few generations? The guest cast parents were overacting badly. Thankfully their screen time was short. And Raschala demands to keep the little girl? So much for their species being humble and non-greedy. Also, usually Wil Wheaton was great at playing Wesley, but he didn't do so well in this episode. Who knows, maybe the directing sucked or the guest cast/children were causing him issues. Wesley is actually pretty good usually. Some of the logic behind how the ozone atmosphere layer connects to the cloaking shield is a bit fuzzy, but acceptable with some liberal interpretation. My problem with this episode is mostly due to the premise. The method by which the premise played out was simply the nail in the coffin. Cliches, bad guest acting, idiotic aliens, and even a regular character did a bad job.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-02 at 4:03pm:
    - The Aldeans take only seven children. Will seven children be enough to continue a society?
    - How come everybody's got a cloaking device except the Federation? The Klingons, the Romulans, and now the Aldeans.
    - The Aldeans shield is capable of protecting and cloaking their planet. This isn't a spaceship. This is a planet. What about the gravitational displacement caused by the planet's mass? Scientists should have been able to calculate the existence of Aldea based on the gravitation disturbances caused by its orbit around its sun.
  • From The Professor on 2007-09-08 at 2:05pm:
    Seven people is certainly enough to maintain a society. Skipper, Gilligan, Professor, Mr. & Mrs. Howell, Ginger, and Mary Ann. The only other things you need are some monkeys, coconuts, bananas and the occasional visitor with a boat or an aircraft.
  • From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2008-09-20 at 12:45am:
    This is one of the better "children" episodes in Trek. Just watch Miri from the original series and you'll see what I mean. Which episode would you want to live out in real life?

    As far as the comment about the Federation not having a cloaking device, that is because the Federation refuses to use one. They see cloaking devices as being most useful for sneak attacks, not exactly part of the Federation's mission. They also want to appear with openess open, not hidden and deceptful, to other planets. Of course, there are exceptions.
  • From thaibites on 2009-09-12 at 10:14pm:
    I thought this was one of the better episodes. If you have kids, you'll be able to identify with it.
    As far as this being "another identical-to-humans race", what do you want? How about a bunch of Star Wars muppets that look silly and detract from the seriousness of this episode? Maybe they could've been like the lizard man in the TOS episode THE ARENA. Then the kids could just run around terrified and screaming. If you can't relate to someone's child being stolen, then you mustn't have much humanity. Maybe a little less computer time and more time interacting face-to-face with real humans would help...
  • From geld verdienen on 2009-09-20 at 12:31pm:
    what annoyed me most about this episode is that I was screaming the whole time GET THEM SOME OTHER KIDS, dont they have foster kids or poor people in the galaxy anymore? Tasha said otherwise. The must be millions you would embrace living it up on that planet.
  • From Cal on 2017-02-06 at 6:24am:
    The peace Treaty with the Romulans (Treaty of Alegeron) forbids the use and development of cloaking devices by the Federation.
  • From Maggi on 2020-01-16 at 9:19am:
    Strongly disagree with this one, this is one of the best episodes of S1 for me. I thoroughly enjoyed nearly all of it.
    Just as another reader already commented, it seems like utter nonsense that they don't even mention the idea of asking foster children if they would want to live there. Picard was way too "absolutely denying" and ultimately caused this to escalate since the Aldeans felt like they had no other options.

    Also I get that all the alien species looking like humans is bleh but c'mon its easy to accept under budget restrictions, etc. Feels like you have a base negative attitude towards every episode that has human looking alien.

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