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Star Trek TNG - Season 1 - Episode 23

Star Trek TNG - 1x23 - Skin of Evil

Originally Aired: 1988-4-25

Synopsis:
A strange entity taunts the crew with vicious pranks. [DVD]

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 4.94

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 24 20 22 16 15 17 12 24 9 41 10

Problems
- Geordi drops his phaser into the alien slime just after Riker is engulfed.
- The feasibility of the skin of evil alien is questionable.

Factoids
None

Remarkable Scenes
- Picard unrelentingly hounding the chief engineer.
- Tasha's death and the subsequent attempts to revive her.
- Notice how the second Riker is incapacitated, Picard takes the opportunity to plunge himself into immediate danger on the planet? (Again?) Something Riker would certainly object to?
- Data under control of the skin of evil.
- Riker all tarred. I bet Jonathan Frakes loved filming that.
- Data's commentary on the funeral.

My Review
This episode is the result of Denise Crosby feeling that her character had become too "Uhura-like," meaning always present but underutilized. This forced the writers to kill off her character abruptly. I'm not opposed to the abrupt death of a main character, however the manner in which Tasha died in this episode was wholly disrespectful. She was quite literally offed by sentient slime without warning, without drama, and without even the narrative focus. The dramatic center of the episode briefly shifts over to Tasha after she's attacked, but with people still in danger on the planet there is no time to grieve. Instead, we're treated to more painfully acted scenes with the evil slime. Then, at the end of the episode, we're treated to a bizarre "play this if I died" recording that Tasha made, complete with up to date commentary regarding everyone in the room! Did she update her personally-written eulogy just before going on every away mission just in case? Quite morbid and unrealistic, just like the alien slime that killed her. The only reason this episode is rated as high as it is is because Tasha's death scenes and funeral (especially ending the episode with the funeral) managed to touch me despite the overall lameness of the episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-05-11 at 10:16pm:
    This episode deserves a 7 because it is emotional. Sure, you don't get the typical Hollywood exaggerated death scene where the character has a heroic last stand right before they get hit by a weapon and gets to say some meaningful last words before they silently close their eyes as if they are falling asleep. What do we get instead? We get a cold, gritty, quick, unusual death. That is what a death in Starfleet would be like. The scene in sick bay is dramatic, and the funeral sendoff at the end was top notch. This episode deserves more than what others have given it.
  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-06 at 3:53am:
    Just after Armus engulfs Riker, the rest of the away team runs up to the edge of the "oil slick." When they stop, Geordi's phaser falls out onto the ground. Does this seem like a first-class holster design?
  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-10 at 2:28am:
    I forgot to mention, this episode has one of the worst examples of the "don't give a straight answer" syndrome (see my commentary for Encounter At Farpoint, Part I). Just after Armus rises from his "oil slick," Picard calls down to the away team and says, "What is it, number one? What are you seeing?" Riker responds, "Trouble."
  • From Evan on 2008-05-26 at 8:33am:
    I absolutely love the "death is that state in which one exists only in the memory of others, which is why it is not an end" line.
  • From Thorsten_Wieking on 2008-09-01 at 3:06pm:
    Regarding Tasha's final recording to her friends - I don't think that this is unusual to be that cuurent with events. In one DS9 episode, O'Brian mentions that he just recorded yet another final message for his wife and how many times he has done this before (just like the rest of the senior staff). So maybe Tasha indeed did make those recordings every now and than. After all, she came from a violent planet where death seemed to be the norm and hey - she works security. Remember the approx. lifespan of a red shirt in TOS? Maybe they have a special course at the academy for "To-be" security officers "How to record a touching eulogy about yourself", SCNR just kidding.

    Cheers
    Thorsten
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-23 at 11:51am:
    I'm not sure what to make of this episode. But I have to say, it really puts the nail in the coffin for the idea that the Captain can't beam down in dangerous situations. Tasha is killed by the monster, Riker is held hostage by it, and Picard then beams down alone so he can chat with the monster face to face!
  • From Jeff Browning  on 2011-10-20 at 9:26am:
    Hate to be contentious guys, but for me this was one of the worst TNG episodes ever. My main issue is the funeral scene. It's the worst example of TNG being overly sentimental, cloying, and corny that I can think of. Everytime I have watched this episode, I end up cringing.

    The one consololation was that they killed of Tasha Yar, who I found to be one of the most anoying major characters in early TNG. Fortunately, Denise Crosby does much better as a guest character, both in the reboot episode, and later in the two-parter at the end of Season 1 where she plays Tasha Yar's daughter.
  • From mattymjp on 2013-07-20 at 4:51am:
    This is the first season episode I remember the most from when I watched them as a 9 10 year old, for obvious reasons. I especially remember the shot of Riker's face in the oil slick, and that shot still holds up even today!

    Watching this again I was suprised how much I enjoyed it. I thought it was well written, especially the face off between Picard and Oil man. "I'm a skin of evil left here by a race of titans". Great stuff.

    And what happened to Marina Sirtis? Her acting up to this point had been awful, but in this episode she's amazing! Maybe with Denise Crosby leaving she knew she had a chance to increase Troi's screen time and she stepped up her game.
  • From Quando on 2014-09-25 at 1:43am:
    At the beginning of the episode, when chief engineer "Leland T. Lynch" is reinstalling the dilithium crystals to restart the engines he orders them to set the matter/antimatter intermix ratio at "25 to 1." But in the prior episode, Wesley's starfleet acadamy test established that "there is only one possible intermix ratio for matter and antimatter: one to one.". 25 to 1 will blow up the ship. Maybe that's why they fired Leland T. Lynch as chief engineer.

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