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Star Trek TNG - Season 4 - Episode 08

Star Trek TNG - 4x08 - Future Imperfect

Originally Aired: 1990-11-12

Riker awakens to find that 16 years have passed. [DVD]

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 6.14

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- Riker's "wife" Minuet is actually the holographic woman from TNG: 11001001.
- Andreas Katsulas, who plays Tomalak in this episode later went on to play G'Kar on Babylon 5.

Remarkable Scenes
- It's fun trying to notice all the small differences in the pseudo future. Beverly's hair, the communicators, a Ferengi helmsman, and more.
- The computer being slow.
- Geordi without his visor.
- Data in red.
- Riker's son... Jean-Luc
- Riker getting on everybody's case when he found out the deception.
- Riker telling Picard to shut up.

My Review
This episode is simply put, cute. I like the funny looking alien at the end and the innocence of the whole thing. It made for a fun episode, but the circumstances leave much to be desired. All this buildup about a Romulan conspiracy left me hoping for a Romulan ending. We didn't get it. Maybe the Romulans were the invaders that obliterated Ethan's people? But we're never told. As a result of these circumstances, I found this episode largely disappointing.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-08-19 at 2:03pm:
    - In Riker's future, Troi has left the Enterprise to work at Starfleet command. Was he lying when he tells her, "I can't imagine you ever leaving the Enterprise"? Evidently he could image her leaving, since Riker's thoughts are driving the holographic generators!
    - Troi says Riker will sign the new treaty between the Federation and the Romulan Empire. Riker will sign the treaty? He's just a captain of a starship. Leaders and diplomats sign treaties, not captains.
    - Everyone shows signs of age in the "imperfect future." Everyone, except for Ogawa. She looks unchanged.
    - When the boy takes Riker to his secret hiding place, he pulls out plans that he made of the tunnels. In the long shot, the plans are made out of a transparent plastic. In the close-up, the plans are on a thick white paper (not transparent.)
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-20 at 9:25pm:
    I generally liked watching this episode, it was interesting and suspenseful until the ending. The ending itself, however, was quite disappointing. A good plot twist should make the preceding events make perfect sense. But the second plot twist doesn't any sense out of the events before the first plot twist. If the alien boy just wanted a companion, why the convoluted future which seemed to be trying to get Riker to trust the Romulans and betray the location of Outpost 23? It seemed like the writers built up an episode that would require a really clever ending to make sense of, then couldn't think of a clever ending.
  • From tigertooth on 2011-05-30 at 8:48pm:
    I really liked the double-twist of the ending. To answer CAlexander, perhaps the kid knew that Riker would sense that this wasn't real, so he concocted a double-twist figuring that Riker would see through the first one, but not realize there was a second layer of deception.

    Also, it was a kid. Maybe he wasn't the most cunning adversary Riker has ever faced.
  • From rwe on 2011-08-17 at 4:14am:
    The only real shortcoming of this episode is the true appearance of the alien at the very end. It is ridiculous. It's like one of the aliens from Close Encounter of the Third Kind, complete with large bug eyes and long, twitchy fingers, but even more ludicrous.

    The episode itself was very well done, even though it doesn't really tie into any ongoing arcs or story lines (so it's essentially what the reviewer would call filler).

    I like the new look of the uniforms and seeing people in new positions - "Admiral" Picard for instance. The very concept of having the entire star trek TNG universe instantly moved forward 16 years was great (even though fraudulent).

    The revelations and plot twists were excellent. Just the first one about it all being a Romulan deception would've been satisfactory, but the writers up the ante and twist it all one more time in the end. Really quite fantastic.

    I like the clues about it all being a hologram - how the ship's computer was lagged and how Troi couldn't come up with a fully convincing reason for leaving the Enterprise... I do take some issue with the main clue, the one about Minuet...'s a bit fuzzy how the holographic process (whether it's Ethan doing it, or the equipment itself, or some mixture of the two, it's not clear) could recreate everything and cast the Enterprise crew so perfectly, and yet screw up on Minuet.

    But maybe it makes sense, I don't even know. In any case, this is a fun episode.
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-09-30 at 7:09pm:
    A couple of issues:

    1. At the beginning of the episode, Geordi says he is detecting traces of "organic gases, including nitrous oxide, hydrogen sulfide, and methane". Of these three, only methane is organic. The other two are inorganic.

    2. The ability of the alien to scan Riker's thoughts and construct a false reality was only partially explained. The alien shows Riker the devices ( similar to holoemitters ) that allow the alternate reality to be created. But the ability to scan Riker's thoughts is never explained.
  • From Jason on 2011-10-14 at 5:02pm:
    Great overall episode, but the last 30 seconds with the reveal of the alien is one of the most unintentionally hilarious things I've ever witnessed.
  • From Axel on 2018-05-31 at 10:33pm:
    Yes, the alien looked ridiculous, but keep in mind this episode was produced in 1990. People had been watching Spielberg movies for years, and were used to seeing aliens like this. Digital animation was still a long way off, and TV shows with limited budgets usually had to dress up their aliens in costume. I don't really knock this episode much for the true appearance of the alien, although I did laugh as well when I first saw it. Or maybe it was when I heard it speak using its natural voice.

    Anyway, the ending is a disappointment but it was an interesting concept and had a fairly gripping plot for about 95% of the episode. The part where Riker first discovers that he's in a fantasy was really well done, and featured some nice continuity with 11001001. I give it a 6.
  • From CAlexander on 2019-04-01 at 12:13am:
    I re-watched the episode carefully and realized another factor that makes no sense. If Ethan's goal is to spend more time with Riker, adding the Romulan plot to the fantasy is counter-productive, as it causes Riker to spend more time dealing with the "negotiations" and less time with his "family".

    Nevertheless, I do quite enjoy the first 75% of the episode and the whole idea of waking up in the future.

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