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Star Trek TNG - Season 2 - Episode 14

Star Trek TNG - 2x14 - The Icarus Factor

Originally Aired: 1989-4-24

Riker is reunited with his estranged father. [DVD]

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 4.26

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 15 11 11 23 35 27 18 11 2 13 2

- Riker's father at one point mentions falsely that this is the first time Riker has been offered a command.

- This episode establishes that the Federation had an armed conflict with the Tholians 12 years ago.
- 2nd time (at least) Riker refuses a command on screen.

Remarkable Scenes
- Worf yelling at Wesley.
- Data exploring Wesley's curiosity about Worf.
- Worf to Data: "With... all due respect... BE GONE! ...sir."
- Pulaski regarding Kyle Riker: "Did he ever tell you why he never remarried?" Riker: "What woman would have him with an ego like that?" Pulaski: "I would have, in a cold minute."
- Picard "crudely" spelling out Riker's choices to him.
- Data to O'Brien: "If I were not a consummate professional and an android, I would find this entire procedure insulting."
- O'Brien: "That's right. The animal's head exploded [literally from the pain]."
- Troi's discussion of barbarism with Pulaski.

My Review
The game Riker played with his father was silly and the resolution of their problems was hastened too much. I also don't like how no real reason was given for Riker's last minute refusal of command. Not that I wanted to see him go, but the whole episode just seemed to end abruptly. I do like, however, how one episode after Riker bitched about his father to Pulaski, there's an episode involving him. I wonder if Pulaski blew the whistle on him. ;) On the other hand, the events leading up to Worf's "celebration" of his right of ascension nicely made up for the silly father/son adversarial plot.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-27 at 4:34am:
    - Picard and Riker are both fascinated with the fact that the first officer of the Aries can speak forty languages (and it is an amazing feat). But who really needs to speak multiple languages anymore? The Universal Translator takes care of that, right?
    - At the very end of the episode, Wesley says, "Breaking synchronous orbit." But the shot of the Enterprise just before, shows the ship moving in one direction and the planet in an other.
  • From Rob on 2008-04-13 at 4:40pm:
    I would disagree only with your placing the statement that Riker's father wrongly states this is Will's first offer of command under "Problems". Rather, I think it could be placed under "Factoids" as we already know that Will hasn't spoken to his father in quite some time. The point that Kyle doesn't know that Will has already turned down a command promotion by this point speaks to this estrangement (not that I think this wasn't just a writer's error, but still....)
  • From Keen on 2009-07-17 at 3:50pm:
    It was also mentioned in the episode: "Time Squared" that the Federation shuttle craft does not have warp drive.
  • From rpeh on 2010-08-25 at 12:41pm:
    Your review hits the nail on the head here. Riker vs Riker was boring, although Anbo-jyutsu is worth mentioning as one of the three most stupid ideas any TNG writer had. The Worf B-story was much more interesting, and it was nicely done. I'd have preferred it if his friends had been wielding the pain sticks themselves, but I suppose that wasn't likely given how shocking it was.

    I'll give the Riker plot 2 and the Worf plot 7. Minus 1 for Anbo-jyutsu and averaged, makes a 4.
  • From James on 2011-03-27 at 1:57pm:
    Almost nothing happens in the episode. It's extremely boring. Probably the funniest part is the joust game: the outfits and set design are unbelievably bad, and I love the way it's introduced as "the ultimate evolution in the martial arts". It's funny that this aired just a few months before American Gladiator started.
  • From CAlexander on 2011-04-05 at 9:54am:
    Oh God, not Anbo-jutsu! It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't have to declare it to be "the ultimate evolution of the martial arts". I still feel compelled to mock that every time I see it.

    In general, the main plot about Riker and his father had its heart in the right place, but I thought the execution was too hokey to take seriously. I liked the little B plot about Worf, though.
  • From Inga on 2012-01-02 at 8:52am:
    I agree with others so I won't repeat the points mentioned.

    I'd like to add a point of my own that I don't like the conversation between Troi and Pulaski. "Despite human evolution there are still some traits that are endemic to gender." Then the bit about father-son relationship, and lastly "It's almost as if they never really grow up at all." What? Am I the only one who finds this insulting to men? I thought people of the 24th century got over the 'men are hunters and women are homemakers' idea.
  • From Bronn on 2015-03-13 at 1:57am:
    Eh, I actually like this episode for the most part. Though your point about the resolution for Riker is well-said-he just decides, off screen, that he's not going to accept the command. Then boom, off we go.

    The Anbu-Jitsu game was unintentionally hilarious. Riker's dad calls it "The ultimate evolution in Martial Arts," which is something that you'd only hear in a farce. Yet it's played completely seriously in a way only Star Trek can. But there's a hint of subtlety tied in: during Worf's ceremony, Data mentioned that it's important for warriors to state their deepest emotions under extreme duress. Then Riker and his father start shouting their deepest emotions during their match, which connects the resolution of the two plots.

    Things I really liked:
    -The connection between the two plots, and how the family issues of Worf and Riker share similarities, despite their extremely different backgrounds
    -I love seeing early O'Brien, just as a reminder that the writers maintained a quality B-cast. Colm Meany just shines in any little scene he's in.
    -I actually liked the conversation between Pulaski and Troi. There was a subtle connection between Crusher and Troi since they each shared a history with the Captain and First Officer, respectively, but it was seldom remarked. This helped establish a connection between Pulaski and Troi that really helped Pulaski's character. However...

    Things I didn't like
    -The gender-bashing during said conversation. Though if you look at Troi's relationship with her mother, it really echoes many of the things she says about fathers (always seeing their children as young, trying to control too much-does that sound like Lwaxana at all?)
    -The interpretation of events at the beginning. Wesley is babbling away at someone who is clearly thinking about something else, and the fact that Worf tells him to go away is taken as a sign that Worf has a problem. To me, the way Wesley was chattering DEMANDED someone tell him to shut up, but of course, it's Wesley Wonder-Boy, so he was right. Speaking of which, with all this talk of family, how come the fact that Wesley is separated from his mother and also lost his father not even an element this episode? It would have made for a nice subtext, but seems a missed opportunity.
    -The cause of the rift between father and son. Will says, "It should have been you who died!" but he didn't ever know his mother. We never learn how she died. His father says that Will was all that kept him going, but then he apparently abandoned Will when he was 15-how do those two ideas connect? There is some information missing, which is regrettable because this season offered a lot of teasers about Riker's relationship with his father (in "A matter of Honor" and in "Time Squared.")

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