Star Trek TNG - Season 7 - Episode 16
- Nice to see Beverly in command.
- Data having lost his memory.
- Troi's "Riker bashing."
- Troi discussing her desire to gain rank.
- Data's physical. Data is an "ice man."
- Data lifting the anvil.
- Troi's holodeck simulation, getting herself killed.
- Data contradicting the school teacher about fire and water being elements.
- Troi arguing with Riker about being cut out from the tests.
- Troi ordering Geordi to his death in the simulation.
- Data proving the concept of radiation.
- Data losing his skin.
- Data impaled.
This is a very intelligently written episode giving us one plot where Data has to prove the concept of radiation to a primitive culture and another where Troi has to face ordering someone to their death to pass a promotional test. Both plot threads are interesting, and given a nice share of time. Troi's testing reminds me quite a bit of the one which Kirk faced and cheated on as mentioned in Star Trek II. And while sending Data into backward cultures is starting to become a cliche, it was handled well in this episode.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-06-19 at 9:50pm:
This a cleverly written episode. The pro-science arguements are woven into the plot seamlessly. Each scene is intriging and fun to watch. The things that happen are unusual, such as Data getting inpaled, Troi taking a test on the holodeck, people handling radioactive metal. What a great episode! My only complaint is that the protagonist blacksmith was a one dimensional character. If it wasn't for that I'd give it a 10, instead I'll give it a 9. I am surprised that people don't talk about this episode more.
- From Wing Fat on 2007-10-11 at 11:01pm:
You list no problems with this episode, but I think the fact that Data can (after a brief recovery period) speak high-level English but doesn't know what the word "radioactive" means could be considered a problem. Regardless, I loved this episode and consider it one of the best from Season 7.
- From JRPoole on 2008-10-30 at 10:42am:
This is a personal favorite. I absolutely love the scientist/teacher lady, especially her insistence on empirical knowledge, even if her "empirical" knowledge is dubious.
As for Wing Fat's comment above, I don't think this is much of an issue. I see it as a universal translator thing. I think it's meant that Data is conversing with the natives in their own language, partially via the UT and partially via his own innate ability to learn and decipher languages. The fact the the magistrate calls the English language something like "these symbols" seems to indicate this. Then again, you have to sort of suspend disbelief with UT issues anyway, and this episode is far from the worst offender in that category.
- From djb on 2009-01-30 at 3:59pm:
As Kethonov pointed out, it's good to see Crusher in command; I'd say it's good to see more women in command in general (this reminds me of what a shame it was to lose Yar in season 1).
I also like seeing Troi's more "professional" side; the producers finally wised up in season 6 and had her start wearing a regular uniform. I think the writers have done a disservice to Troi throughout the series (up until season 6 and 7) in keeping her character and dialogue relatively confined to her "counselor" role, where in fact she is also a lieutenant commander, a rank which is no small feat to obtain.
I like the continuity with Season 5's "Disaster," wherein she found herself in command and was definitely in over her head-- and that she wants to become a more capable officer.
The only reservation I have about this is that this highlights one of the necessarily unrealistic things about this show-- that everyone continues to get promoted but the senior staff/crew stays the same. In real life, people would get transferred (and killed) more often.
Now, of the seven main characters, we have one captain, two lieutenant commanders, one lieutenant, and three commanders! Also interesting how both Crusher and Troi outrank Data, who is technically third in command. How does that work?
As for the other plot, it's great to see Data be Data even without knowing who or what he is-- all by himself he discovers radiation and a cure for radiation poisoning, which no other character could have done. This whole section was very well written!
As for the antagonist blacksmith... some people just are one-dimensional. The guy was a jerk!
- From Drake on 2010-11-29 at 2:11pm:
This was the very first episode i ever saw
- From Mike on 2017-03-27 at 9:17pm:
Solid episode, and good continuity for the Troi character with TNG: Disaster. I agree that it's nice when the series puts different characters in command positions, like Data in Redemption and Gambit, Crusher here and in Descent, etc.
Regarding the promotion issue: Starfleet is written like a loose combination of a futuristic organization based on Federation principles, old Earth naval traditions, and a space exploration agency like NASA. I don't think promotion needs to be shown happening at the pace it would in, say, the U.S. Navy (which is very fast in comparison). Promotion in Starfleet seems to be as much about a person's desire to go into the next rank as it is about whether Starfleet is ready to promote the person. Take Riker passing up numerous promotion opportunities. A person's career is more in their own hands. Plus, even in the modern U.S. Navy, medical personnel may hold a certain rank, but aren't typically placed in command situations (the same goes for lawyers, chaplains, etc). It makes sense that Starfleet would allow you specialize in medicine, science, engineering or security, and only go for the command rank when you want to.