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Star Trek TNG - Season 2 - Episode 02

Star Trek TNG - 2x02 - Where Silence Has Lease

Originally Aired: 1988-11-28

The Enterprise is engulfed by a mysterious hole. [DVD]

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 4.65

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- An opening leading back to normal space appears 1.3 parsecs away and Picard orders the ship to go through at Warp 2. At this speed it would take months to make it to the hole. We have to assume the 1.3 parsecs figure is incorrect.
- Why was there no one in Engineering when they started the auto destruct sequence?

- Picard describes the Christian and Atheist versions of death to the fake Data then and dismisses them both!

Remarkable Scenes
- Worf kills stuff like in the opening on the holodeck even more violently every day.
- I love Worf and Picard's interaction about the probe disappearing. "Recommend we go to Yellow Alert, sir." And Picard saying totally confused: "Why?" Worf's story afterward was great.
- More insults to Data from Pulaski.
- Data: "Captain, sensors show nothing out there." Geordi: "Sure is a damn ugly nothing."
- Pulaski: "Isn't that a bit like curing the disease by killing the patient?" Riker: "It's better than doing nothing." Pulaski: "Why do I get the feeling that now was not the best time to join this ship..."
- Picard: "Abort auto destruct sequence." Computer: "Riker, William T., do you concur?" Riker: "Yes, Absolutely. I do indeed concur wholeheartedly." Picard: "A simple yes would have sufficed, number one." Riker: "I didn't want there to be any chance of misunderstanding." Picard: "Of course. You have the bridge."

My Review
This episode has lots of suspense but just as much confusion at the beginning. Pascal's death was wonderfully acted. One of the better small guests of the series. And where did Wesley go? He was on the bridge but then he gets replaced mid episode by this anomalous Pascal character. Why? I'll tell you why. They needed a redshirt to kill. That's why. Wesley then conveniently retakes his station after redshirt guy dies. I find it distasteful that Pascal's death was not more consequential. Other than that, this episode is interesting, but nevertheless it felt more like the writers were just trying to waste some time. A well done waste of time though.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-10 at 11:44am:
    - In the episode "Hide and Q," Riker calls a meeting of the bridge staff, and Dr. Crusher shows up. But in this episode, Dr. Pulaski comments that she isn't a bridge officer. If Dr. Crusher had bridge officer status when she served as chief medical officer on the Enterprise, shouldn't Dr. Pulaski have that same status?
    - Nagilum notes that some of the humans have a different construction - they are female. To further its examination, it spins Dr. Pulaski around to examine her. Personally, given the choice of "dancing" with Pulaski or Troi, I'd picked Troi. I guess Nagilum has different tastes in women. ;)
  • From Daniel Blessing on 2009-09-18 at 10:46am:
    I think another fact to add to the "Problems" section would be this; When they enter the "Hole" or "Void," w/e you want to call it, they attempt to escape but they believe they may not actually be moving at all. They drop a "beacon" in order to get a fixed point of reference. This beacon is broadcasting sound tones. The greater the distance the ship travels from them, the softer they get and longer in between tones. However, they are traveling at warp speed.. Faster than even the speed of light. How then could these updated tones be making it back to the ships computer? We all know that sound does not even come close to the speed of light. At one point Picard orders the increase to warp 2. There is no way that sound waves should be making it back to the ship in the form of telemetry. I have no explanation for this or any way to rationalize it.
  • From rpeh on 2010-08-24 at 8:38am:
    This episode could have come straight from TOS. Weird space phenomenon? Check. Floating head thing? Check. Red shirt death? Check. Do-or-die solution from the captain? Check.

    It's quite a good episode, as one would expect from the guy who co-wrote Wrath of Khan. I'll give it a 7 for the suspense, the mystery, and the overall acting quality.

    @Daniel Blessing - sound can't travel in a vacuum at all. Presumably they were using radio of some kind.
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-21 at 12:22am:
    A solid episode, not great, not bad. I agree with rpeh that the plot is very TOS. But the understated way everything plays out is quite the opposite, totally TNG.
  • From Splonkadumpocus on 2011-03-30 at 4:32pm:
    Why is it that Starfleet captains continue to fly their ships into mysterious space anomalies all the time? Shouldn't they realize by now that doing that is never a good thing?
  • From Inga on 2011-12-27 at 9:28am:
    -Nagilum calls everyone on the bridge by their last name except for Geordi

    DSOmo: I think Pulaski was a random choice. However, the fact that he did not acknowledge Troi as another being with a different "structure" still puzzles me.

  • From a2a on 2012-02-14 at 1:52am:
    This was not so great... I mean, it wasn't bad, I just think it's a little overrated, on the whole. This new creature was sort of like a disembodied and not quite as well-read, not quite as clever version of Q... wasn't it? Semi-omniscient, semi-omnipotent (oxymorons, I know), eternal, curious about humanity but also critical of its uglier aspects... We've seen this, no?

    Also, I kept waiting for Warf's crazy animal instincts to come to some kind of climax or resolution or plot point, but it never happened. It sort of felt tacked on and disjointed... I mean, he almost attacked Riker on several occasions, yet this wasn't explained and didn't go anywhere?

    Finally..., and this might be my own fault, but I don't understand what's with this new doctor and what happened to Beverly... This might be just me though cause I may have literally missed something (skipped some lower-ranked episodes).
  • From tigertooth on 2017-03-20 at 9:57pm:
    When they're sitting around the table to come up with solutions, Worf says that 30%-50% casualties are acceptable in battle. That seems to suggest that he's leaning towards the idea of giving up the crew members. But there's no chance in hell Worf would advocate for anyone to die without honor. Clearly they were still figuring out the Worf character.
  • From Mike Chambers on 2020-09-02 at 12:37am:
    Decent episode for season two, but I'm pretty sure Naglium could have just turned off the auto-destruct on a whim considering his powers...

  • From Azalea Jane on 2021-07-12 at 11:57pm:
    - Picard presents Christian and atheistic viewpoints on death as if they're the only two philosophies! It's true that Islam and some other religions have a similar viewpoint, but still, that's a bit narrow for Star Trek. Many religions and sects have different philosophies from either of those. Also, some atheists believe in a soul or afterlife, and some theists don't. God and the soul/afterlife are related but separate questions.

    - Data says his sensors show nothing there. Yet, clearly, the visual sensors are picking up something. The speakers on the bridge are playing back an audio signal from Nagilum that was picked up by some microphone, somewhere (ignoring, for a moment, the problem of sound propagating through space.) Or is Nagilum creating a collective visual and auditory hallucination for everyone? Perhaps he is messing with the screen and speaker outputs?

    - Nagilum notices Pulaski's anatomy is different from Riker, Picard, etc, but doesn't notice Troi or what appear to be at least two other female bridge crew members behind tactical. Kind of weird. It's a bit annoying that male and female are inadvertently framed here as "normal" and "different". To me it would seem more consistent with Nagilum's character that he would notice several different organ configurations among the bridge crew and remark on that. Not only are there at least two human reproductive configurations present, there is also a Klingon and a Human-Betazoid hybrid, both of whom would have internal anatomy different from that of full humans. I did appreciate Pulaski's comment about "minor differences" between sexes, though. :)

    - Nagilum threatens to kill up to half of the crew, we go to commercial break, then we're in the observation lounge? What, is Nagilum just patiently waiting for the senior staff to confer before he starts offing the crew? Or was he killing crew members one by one the whole time they were meeting?

    - Haskell's death bothered me profoundly. Not only did they introduce a redshirt specifically just to kill him, but "random Black character with no arc pointlessly dies" is such a historically common and harmful trope that I really wish TV producers would try to consciously avoid it. I know it was 1988, don't @ me. Where was Wes during that act? It seems they took out Wes and added Haskell just to avoid killing Wes. Haskell's only purpose was to deliver a few plot point lines and then die. Then Wes conveniently returns and nobody mentions it again. The humor and happy music at the end of the episode reinforce how little Haskell's death is regarded. Lazy writing strikes again! They could at least have had Haskell on from the beginning and then brought Wes on to replace him after he's killed. Or they could have killed any of the bridge extras that were already there the whole episode and made it both more believable and less obnoxious. They could have showed Wes witnessing a death, which could have been a good part of his character development. Or they could have killed Pulaski and Season 2 would have been marginally better, ha!

    - Speaking of Pulaski, why is she even on the bridge? She just wanders on and hangs out there the rest of the show. Was she summoned? Did she come of her own accord even though she's not a bridge officer? Why would a medical doctor's expertise be needed instead of, say, that of any number of astrophysicists on board? Would you send an injured crewmember to Stellar Cartography? I know, I know, they wanted to give Muldaur something to do. Eh.

    This ep isn't the worst; I like some of the themes it explores, and despite Nagilum's comical appearance, the "conscious void in space" is an interesting premise.

    Data emotion-spotting: Data looks quite vindicated when Pulaski reluctantly affirms he is "alive." Pulaski's a such a tool!

    @Daniel, I noticed the same thing. I think the tone we hear is an audio representation of a subspace signal emanating from the probe. The further away the signal, the lower a tone is played, to simulate the doppler effect.

    Beyond this place there be dragons!
  • From Ensign Ro bummer on 2021-08-13 at 2:57am:
    Haskell bothered me, too, because it seemed so obvious and redshirty, so I paid attention in the following episodes. They put a new guy on that position nearly every second episode. So Haskell was not just put there to replace someone who can't die.

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