Star Trek TNG - Season 1
Originally Aired: 1987-9-28
The new U.S.S. Enterprise and its crew set out "to boldly go where no one has gone before." [DVD]
- Picard orders yellow alert twice in this episode.
- This episode contradicts the inference made in TOS that the Eugenics war and the third world wars were in fact the same war because it implies that the third world war occurred decades later than the timeline established for the Eugenics war. (Unless, of course, the war lasted for a half century or something.)
- According to Data, in the year 2036 the "New United Nations" declared that no Earth citizen could be made to answer for the crimes of his race or fore bearers.
- In the year 2079 all "United Earth Nonsense" was abolished, according to Q. presumably during the third world war.
- The lights on the roof of the transporter pad are the same lights that were on the floor of the transporter pad on TOS.
- This episode (both parts) was nominated for the 1988 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.
- The nickname "Number One" Picard uses to refer to Riker is a reference to Captian Pike referring to his first officer by the same nickname from Star Trek's original pilot.
- The first panning over the Enterprise D.
- Data listing the synonyms for snooping.
- Data using Picard and Q's voice.
- Picard's declaration of his hatred for children.
- Geordi regarding his visor: "It's a remarkable piece of bio-electronic engineering by which I quote 'see' much of the EM spectrum ranging from simple heat and infrared through radio waves, etc, etc and forgive me if I've sat and listened to this a thousand times before."
- I like the reference to McCoy not wanting to use the transporter.
- McCoy's visit to the Enterprise and his interaction with Data.
- Picard saying to Worf, "do you intend to blast a hole through the viewscreen?"
As evidenced by the first part of the pilot, Star Trek TNG is a drastic change to the aesthetic of Star Trek. While the films that directly precede this episode had notably made progress in this direction as well, only Star Trek TNG travels the entire distance of solidifying Star Trek as Gene Roddenberry meant it to be. The most obvious change to this aesthetic is Captain Picard himself. I like the way Picard handles all of the situations he's been given. We're shown a much different type of captain than Kirk. Unlike Kirk, Picard strikes me as quite conservative, complacent, and far more confident. Vested solely in Picard, I feel the Federation's age and wisdom pouring out from him. Picard makes me feel like the exploration of space after so many years has become routine. The cliffhanger for this episode is convincingly presented, though the plot could have been slightly more interesting. Despite incredible acting by Patrick Stewart as Picard and John de Lancie as Q, at this point, Q looks no more interesting than any of the other "super aliens" presented on TOS, excepting of course that the plot surrounding him is at least original. I concede though that the writers were trying to introduce many of the new concepts TNG has to offer all at once. A dull plot is to be expected. Taken in this context, I regard this episode as most successful and indeed true to the spirit and aesthetic of Star Trek established by TOS. It manages to integrate itself into the existing continuity quite well while forging an image all its own.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-05-22 at 4:23am:
Some overall comments about a couple of things I noticed while watching TNG (and continued on to the next Star Trek series):
1) The inconsistent use of the communicators. Sometimes they touch the combadge to begin a conversation, sometimes they touch the combadge to end a conversation, and other times the communicators are never touched.
2) The "don't give a straight answer" syndrome. Picard will ask a direct question and the most common response will be, "I think you better get down here and see for yourself." This syndrome isn't limited to the TNG, I've seen it in the other Star Trek series and even other TV shows.
At the beginning, Picard calls Deneb IV a planet at the edge of "the great unexplored mass of the galaxy." The station there is named Farpoint Station. In other words, it's located out in the middle of nowhere. Yet the Enterprise picks up several of its officers there AND the USS Hood brings an aging Admiral McCoy to visit the Enterprise. So it's common practice for Starfleet to send officers all the way to "the boonies" just to visit another ship? It's not like the Enterprise picked up its officers at a midpoint somewhere. Farpoint Station isn't on the way to anywhere!
- From Bernard on 2007-09-16 at 3:28pm:
May I say firstly that this site is excellent, your thorough attention to all star trek series' shows how much time you have put into this, kudos!
I remember the first time I watched Encounter at Farpoint, I was 7 or 8 years old and I was fresh from seeing Star Trek III for the first time. I had seen little bits of the original series on re-runs so only had a general feel for that series not an in depth knowledge. But I was excited about this new series
I was engrossed in The Next Generation from the first five minutes of Encounter at Farpoint, the excitement and newness seems so tangible in my memory even now. Of course I have watched it again many times as a kid, adolescent and now adult and I realise that it isn't the greatest episode of star trek ever made but it will always be special remembered through the eyes of a child
As a side note, John de Lancie is remarkable as Q and I'm glad he became a recurring character throughout TNG, DS9 and Voyager
- From Michael B on 2009-12-20 at 9:12am:
As you say, the acting by Patrick Stewart and John de Lancie is indeed very good, and I also thought both Beverly and Will Wheaton to be believable, but the rest of the cast come off as amateurs. Eric Bana, in an interview about the latest Star Trek film, talked about how good the acting was in that film, and that they accomplished it by not letting the weight of their responsibility of upholding the canon rest on their shoulders. He said that when an actor does that, they freeze up. There are many "reaction shots" in this episode, and most of the actors look like a deer caught in headlights when asked for a reaction. I think is is mostly the job of the director to give the actors room to be comfortable, and I think it is one of the flaws of a television show such as this that the actors have no time to bond with a director, and develop a relationship of trust, since the director changes every episode. The acting certainly gets better as the series progresses, but I wonder if it would have gotten better faster, if they were given good, consistent, direction.
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-26 at 1:06pm:
I'm finding it difficult to review the first half separately from the second half, but I do have an issue for the problems section.
- The timing of Q chasing the Enterprise is odd. The Enterprise flees, and Q almost immediately follows. Several seconds later they announce that he is gaining on them, and he continues gaining for quite a long while. It is hard to believe he hasn't already caught them by now. Then they fire photon torpedoes, and it seems Q is way behind them. Eventually they separate the ship and turn to face Q, and the Enterprise waits for some time before Q arrives. Where has he been? Did he hit a stop light?
Originally Aired: 1987-9-28
At the trial, Q continues to denounce humans, while Picard defends his race. [DVD]
- Troi, when it's pointed out that she's a Betazoid counters with "I'm only half Betazoid. My father was a Starfleet officer," which is supposed to imply that she's half human. What a racist comment! Betazed is a member of the Federation. Surely quite a few Betazoids are Starfleet officers as well.
- Given Riker's reaction to the holodeck, we're to assume they're still very rare bits of technology since their introduction in TAS. Interestingly, they're all over the place in a few years.
- This episode (both parts) was nominated for the 1988 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.
- Riker trying to locate the holodeck and then his first interaction with Data. An experience he will come to remember.
- Wesley's abrasive first meetings with Picard.
- Picard's private meeting with Beverly.
- Picard solving Q's mystery.
As Picard's line at the end of the episode regarding the future missions of the Enterprise D being more interesting implied, the second part of the pilot episode of Star Trek TNG functions effectively as a preview of things to come but does little to rise above the meager premise of the plot established in the previous episode. Instead, rather than the plot of this episode, the remarkable details are the long term trends established here. Collectively, the two parter introduces many fascinating concepts that set TNG apart from TOS quite nicely. Among such details are long term plot arcs for the main characters, such as the relationship between Riker and Troi, Geordi's blindness, and Picard's history with Beverly and Wesley. Also, this episode sets the tone for some interesting new developments in the 24th century. I like the subtle technological improvements, such as the ship's saucer separation ability and the holodeck. Also, Worf, a Klingon crewmember which implies that the Federation has achieved peace with the Klingon Empire. This episode is most successful in establishing this aesthetic, but it seems the footwork necessary to do all this exposition has taken a toll plotwise. So, overall, collectively Encounter at Farpoint manages to be not much better than slightly above average. But, as Picard said, the really interesting stuff is yet to come anyway.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-05-22 at 5:17am:
This is the only episode where Riker and Troi communicate telepathically.
- The computer gives Riker directions to the holodeck: the entrance is the next hatchway on the RIGHT. Riker turns LEFT!
- While talking to Data in the holodeck, Riker comments that he looked up Data's record. He then asks Data if his degree is honorary. If Riker had read Data's record, wouldn't he have known the degree was earned?
- While in the holodeck, Wesley fall into a stream. When he leaves the holodeck, Wesley is still wet. If matter created on the holodeck can't exist outside the holodeck, shouldn't Wesley be dry?
- The alien ship attacks the Bandi city with energy pulses. Why didn't the alien just beam the energy down to its mate?
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-28 at 7:06pm:
The good part of this two-part episode is the interaction with Q. I like the scenes in the 21st century courtroom. The actual plot about the creature is rather pedestrian, not really of great interest.
Historically, I have to give this episode big props for being the pilot for a great show. But if you look at it as just another episode, it has some definite weaknesses. First, as Michael B pointed out in the comments to part 1, the acting hasn't hit its stride yet. Second, there were a number of elements that they later realized were mistakes and removed.
- The music is way too dramatic, going off like crazy at rather trivial revelations.
- The Ship Separation scene. I guess it seemed like a good idea on paper, but wow, what a waste of time! And that "headless" ship is ugly!
- Counselor Troi going totally over the top acting out her empathic connection with the creature.
- The doctor "confines" Geordi to sickbay yet he just walks out?
- The emotions Data displays while drunk are inconsistent with his programming. We can rationalize this by saying the virus was simply affecting his behavior and Data never felt emotion, but it's a stretch. Audience shouldn't have to come up with this stuff.
- I don't understand why everyone is impressed with Wesley. Wesley is directly responsible for the destruction of that other ship and taking over Engineering. I'm not sure how much thanks I'd be giving him if I were Starfleet.
- This episode is an homage/sequel to TOS: The Naked Time.
- When Data is looking up computer information, a brief screen flashes by depicting some sort of bird with Gene Roddenberry's head on it. The text in the corner reads "the great bird of the galaxy," which is a reference to a line spoken by Sulu on TOS referencing Roddenberry.
- Data correcting Riker about blown out vs sucked out regarding explosive decompression.
- Data is listed in several bio-mechanical texts.
- Data inquiring about another human expression. "Snoot full" was it?
- Data: "There was a young lady from Venus. Whose body was shaped like a penis."
- Yar and Data having sex and Data subsequently getting drunk.
- Picard and Beverly drunk.
- Data falling over thinking he'd be leaning on something. I wonder how Brent Spiner did that without hurting himself.
Showing the virus' effects by exaggerating Geordi's desire for normal sight was a great idea and provided great insight into Geordi's character. This homage to the original TOS episode is actually quite a bit more successful in my opinion because of that and many other small things such as Riker and Data reading their history and finding the TOS episode similarity. Also the characters were quite a bit funnier while drunk in this episode than in TOS. Though, that's a double edged sword. They were also too silly. Learning about Yar's history, Wesley's desires, and the doctor's attraction to Picard was great for character development, but the humor has a mild dismissive effect on all of this character development. Making a humor episode so early in the first season was not particularly smart.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-05-25 at 5:19am:
- Picard states in his log that he is concerned "at being in such close orbit" to the collapsing star. Later, when Data states that the downloading of the research information will be complete in forty-one minutes, Picard seems irritated at the length of time. If Picard is so concerned about the collapsing star, why doesn't he just lock a tractor beam on the Tsiolkovsky and pull it to safety? BUT WHEN Worf tells Picard he is getting strange readings from the star, Picard tells him to wait.
- Wesley blocks the door to Engineering with a repulser beam. Riker and the Chief Engineer spend their time trying to get past the beam, when they could just transport in.
- Data drunk ???
- Riker handles his "intoxication" surprisingly well (considering what it's doing to the rest of the crew) However, Picard gets intoxicated very quickly after only breathing Dr. Crusher's breath.
- Hundreds of crew members are intoxicated. But when Riker brings Troi to sick bay, Dr. Crusher wants to quarantine Riker??
- As Riker talks to Data about remembering someone "getting a shower with their clothes on," he sits down on the data entry section of the adjacent workstation. Wouldn't this be like sitting on a computer keyboard?
- From Bernard on 2007-09-17 at 4:24pm:
I enjoyed this episode as a 'getting to know us' episode, some great early character development that also paid homage to the original series. I agree that it is better than the original...
Unfortunately this episode really cannot stand up to repeat viewings, so that counts badly against it. Not a bad early effort though
- From TashaFan on 2008-09-07 at 11:38pm:
Two words: Tasha's dress.
- From Michael B. on 2009-12-20 at 2:11pm:
I thought the direction in this episode, by Paul Lynch, was much better than the first. The story may have contributed to better acting, as well, as the plot device called for everyone to "loosen up", it seems the actors were able to, as well. All in all, I felt that everyone was quite believable as a drunk, which is not the easiest trick to pull off.
- From CAlexander on 2011-04-05 at 9:15am:
In general, I thought the "drunken" performances were somewhat boring, I preferred the Naked Time. Except that I did like Dr. Crusher acting "half-drunk".
- I've always thought that Data was portrayed inconsistently in this episode, as if the conception of how he was built changed. Later shows with Data repeatedly make a point about how different he is from the rest of the crew, how it unaffected by things which affect every biological crewmember regardless of species. Yet here is affected by, of all things, water molecules which act like alcohol. They seem to be implying that he has a strong biological component in early episodes, yet in later episodes, whenever he gets damaged, there is never any sign that he is filled with water.
- I think it would be quite fair to be impressed by Wesley. He endangers the ship because he is infected with the water virus; that shouldn't be held against him, that isn't his fault.
- From Rob UK on 2014-01-17 at 8:20am:
Argghhhhhh!!!!! I just noticed Data is a sexbot, possibly even a prostidroid, he tells Tasha (much to her delight) he is programmed in multiple techniques, a broad variety of pleasuring?!?
Really Dr Sung???? What were you really up to with your fleet of manbot sex dolls?
Clearly when data joined the asexual almost androgynous Starfleet culture his sexbot functions were of little use so he adapted his programming to be of use.
Clearly i am having a laugh here but with a serious observation, I just started watching TNG from the beginning (again, lost count long ago) enjoying the good and the bad episodes equally as always, for some reason the suffering of going through a bad episode makes the next good one you watch all that more a piece of delicious sweet mind candy to gorge on.
- How could Data make the vocal mistake "includling?" Maybe his programming glitched? Still it seems unlikely.
- The primitives of this episode use the same transporters as TOS. Even the effects are the same.
- Data correcting Picard regarding the century of the gift.
- Data rambling about the details behind the transporter the primitives use, similar to the first episode when he was "commenting on everything."
- Picard and Beverly's conversation about her feelings about death and about Wesley. I especially liked Picard's reaction to her when she first brought up Wesley.
- Picard giving Wesley a chance. "Sir?" then "Sir?" then Picard says, "Is the whole ship deaf?"
- The scene where Data inadvertently insults the French in front of Picard is hilarious. Everything from Picard's reaction, the look on everyone else's face just before Picard goes off on Data, to Riker telling Data to "drop it."
- Riker hell bent on getting Picard not to lead the away team down to the planet and being struck down by Troi and Data. Good character consistency with Riker's history as a First Officer mentioned in the first episode.
- Data and Geordi regarding humor. Then Data thinking Picard is joking about analyzing the weapons.
- Picard stopping his ramble Data-style regarding his cynical view of the alien culture.
- I love Data being chauvinistic about how the weapons were made light so that women could use them.
Most people are more critical of this episode than I for some reason. I think it was a great example of quality Trek even if the premise was weak. The episode does suffer, however, from bad acting by the guests. But TOS had plenty of that in the regulars! We should be used to it by now. ;) All in all a solid episode. We get nice tidbits of character development. I like how Tasha feels right at home with violence which makes sense considering the impression we're getting regarding her past. I also like how Wesley was treated with respect for once. Finally, I love Picard's mystery plan and how Riker expresses his overt misunderstanding of it. The ending was well conceived and reminded me of a good chess match.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-05-27 at 3:49am:
- While presenting Lutan with the horse statue, Picard says that he is aware of the Ligonian culture's unique similarity to an ancient Earth culture that he "admires." However, later in the episode, Picard states that the customs of the Ligonian culture are the "same kind of pompous strutting charades that endangered our own species a few centuries ago."
- Just before the battle to the death, we are told: "The rules are known. Let combat continue until there is a victory. It will not be interrupted." But during the battle, when Yareena loses her weapon, Lutan stops the fight. I thought the battle would not be interrupted!! And why is Lutan stopping the fight to return the weapon to Yareena? Doesn't he want Yar to kill his wife so he can inherit her wealth?
- From Bernard on 2007-09-21 at 6:31pm:
Another good early effort, that holds up to repeat viewings well. Maybe I'm one of the few that agree with you there!
Probably one of two episodes where yar is brought to the fore.. she was an interesting enough character with a good background story just a shame denise crosby didn't hang in there for longer
one aside here, tng at this point is still very much working on the OS premise of 'planet of the week' episodes (coupled with the aliens that look identical to humans)
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-06 at 5:25pm:
I'm one who never liked this episode, but it doesn't seem quite as awful now as it did the first time I watched it. The basic concept is not that bad. I think my problems are twofold:
1. The acting from everyone is painful at the beginning of the episode. It felt like they hadn't gotten the hang of how to do TNG yet and were overreacting to everything in a way reminiscent of TOS, and this didn't work in the context of TNG.
2. The episode led up to the fight scene at the end, which I found to be quite underwhelming. When rewatching this I had no expectations for the fight scene so it didn't bother me.
- Armin Shimmerman, one of the Ferengi in this episode eventually goes on to play a regular Ferengi character on DS9 named Quark. He also guest stars as Quark in both TNG and Voyager making him one of very few characters/actors to play in at least one episode in all three series.
- The flag colors scene with Picard, Data, Yar, and Worf is great. We get character continuity with Picard embracing his French origins and Data not caring/understanding again. Poor Data.
- Geordi's reaction to Riker's plan to jump to Warp 9 then "come back fightin'" is great.
- Data in a Chinese finger trap and the reactions of Riker, Picard etc.
The Ferengi in this episode are absolutely offensive. Especially the giant zoom-in of the Daimon on the Ferengi ship. They also conducted themselves and spoke an an overly exaggerated retarded manner. Synonymous to trolls under a bridge in a child's story. Unfit for us adults watching Star Trek. The whole episode felt like an insult to my intelligence. While this is a very Trek-like episode with a great ending, the acting of the guests was absolutely horrible. The only redeeming qualities of this episode were the interesting ending and the fantastic continuity regarding the Ferengi; it's nice to see them after hearing allusions to them in the pilot episode.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-05-27 at 11:19am:
Changed Premise: during this episode, Troi says she "senses the Ferengi captain is hiding something." In the future episode "Menage a Troi," Betazoids cannot read Ferengi minds.
- Just after the force field seizes the Enterprise, something begins reading information from the ship's computer. When Data's workstation is shown, some of the information is being displayed upside down (i.e. the Klingon and Federation symbols.
- In Picard's first attempt to contact the Ferengi, he asks Yar to open hailing frequencies, and she quickly responds. Then Picard says, "At least we won't begin with weakness." Why would he say something like that with the hailing frequencies open? That is the last thing he would want the Ferengi to hear!
- When the away team beams down to the planet, Riker appears alone. He begins walking around and yelling for the others. Why doesn't he just use his combadge? It is true that Data later discovers the communicators are out, but Riker never even tried to use his.
- From Bernard on 2007-09-30 at 8:10am:
I don't rate this episode very highly now, but I do find it to be a bit of fun and at the time I thought it was fascinating. Probably because of the following;
A good glimpse at a new race that have some kind of genuine technology and menace (not for long though)
Riker gets something of a centre stage while picard is stuck on the ship (something that happens many times over the first 2 seasons)
The start of this episode is great, the tension created by following the unknown ferengi (which soon evaporates as the story unfolds)
overall not a terrible outing for me, but too many weak points
- From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-20 at 5:51am:
An interesting, if small, detail: In early TNG when establishing communications, Star Fleet personnel say "open a frequency". Later this shifts to "open a channel". Not sure for the reason for this change, but "open a channel" sounds better to me.
- From Jim on 2011-12-25 at 9:28am:
Geordi's reaction to Riker's plan to jump to Warp 9 then "come back fightin'" is far and away the worst line and the most poorly delivered line in the entire series.
Originally Aired: 1987-10-26
The crew is sent a billion light years from their own galaxy. [DVD]
- LaForge says "we're passing warp 10!" Sounds like instrument failure to me, since warp 10 is infinite speed on the TNG scale. Data contradicted him seconds later that they were "off the scale." So that works. Thanks Data. But then they shoot themselves in the foot again. Geordi says it would take "over 300 years" to get home. Uh? Geordi? It's gonna take a lot longer than that to cross three galaxies. Sure his statement is technically correct. It will indeed take over 300 years! But still it leaves the viewer with an inaccurate impression of how long it takes to cross galaxies. My estimates place their travel time at a whopping two million years at approximately warp 9. You also have to worry about how they replenish fuel during the travel time BETWEEN the galaxies they travel through. The trip back with conventional warp is for all intents and purposes impossible.
- Also, a subspace message traveling millions of light years in only 50 years also seems too fast. I'll let that one slide though as it's less important and I don't actually know how fast subspace communications actually are.
- At one point in this episode we can hear the warpcore booming very fast, but behind Wesley, we can see the light which is apparently supposed to cause the booms only moving at the regular slow speed.
- When Picard calls Wesley to the bridge at the end of the episode, he appears seconds later, as if he was waiting in the turbolift waiting for the call!
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy in Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series.
- As others have said before me, Kozinsky is so wonderfully obnoxious.
- I like Wesley in this episode. He's confident and useful to the story.
- The humor is well placed in the episode. I especially like the viola scene along with Picard walking out into space from the turbolift. The music, including that viola scene, is great in this episode.
This episode had a great premise that was ruined and then just barely saved. The problems are numerous but the great moments keep the episode from failing miserably so it balances out for me. My biggest problem with the episode was the continual jumping around all over the universe rather than stopping the madness and realizing that traveling through three galaxies was enough shock value for one episode. Think of all the stuff that Picard could have done exploring that galaxy while his officers and the Traveler prepared for the return trip! That would have made for a far more interesting episode. Nevertheless, despite how wasted this premise was, it was well executed in some ways. I liked Kozinsky's obnoxiousness and I love how after Riker treated Wesley horribly he realized what he had done and apologized honestly. Wesley got the respect he deserved here. So all in all, lots of good stuff, lots of bad stuff, and they sort of meet in the middle.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-05-27 at 12:27pm:
After the first test, Data tells Picard that it will take a subspace signal "fifty-one years, ten months, nine weeks, sixteen days .." to get back to the Federaton. Nine weeks and sixteen days? What calendar is Data using? Why not fifty-two years, three weeks, and two days?
- From Bernard on 2007-12-03 at 4:09pm:
I like this one, but it could and should have been so much better. The guest characters are excellent too.
- From CAlexander on 2011-02-17 at 9:23am:
I thought this episode was fairly successful, especially by first season standards. In many of the early episodes the characters seem unreasonably obtuse just to move the story along, but here their decisions mostly made sense. I liked how everyone knew Kozinsky's equations were nonsense, but since they worked on other ships, they had no choice but to let him try them. I liked how Picard decided to skip the science after the first trip and concentrate on getting back home. That is what I would have done, if I thought I had discovered a new warp formula; the potential military and scientific value of nearly limitless warp speed would far outweigh the value of one more scientific survey. I liked the pacing of how the first trip takes them far, and the second takes them some else totally different, and the way Picard comments on how he could believe the first, but not the second. Riker's dismissal of Wesley seemed rather obtuse, but I like how he admitted his mistake. The main down side: I wasn't that fond of the "super-Wesley" idea when I first saw the episode, and it doesn't seem any better now.
- From Jason on 2011-07-15 at 2:16pm:
I agree with Wil Wheaton from his Season One reviews: this is the first episode that is not "a stinker", and it's leagues beyond the five episodes that precede it. That this site ranks it a 5, while Code of Honor gets a 6, means that my tastes and Kethinov's are incompatible. Still, it's fun to read through this site's reviews.
Excellent quibble by DSOmo, by the way.
- From Omcn_7 on 2012-01-24 at 11:47pm:
On first viewing (when I was a kid) this was one of my favorite episodes for the series. I watched it so many times I wore out the tape. :)
As an adult viewing this episode I remember why I liked it but it doesn't have quite the same appeal. However I give it a 9 because of how much enjoyment I had as a child. I think this is the very episode that made a trek fan out of me for life.
Watching again I noticed one error. Kozinsky mentions that being out this far they have an excellent chance for scientific discovery, to which Picard replies and we report our findings how and to whom? I am not certain this is consistent with Picard's character. In later episodes it would seem to me that Picard is out there to discover, period, regardless of if he can report it to Starfleet or not. The man is kinda a loner.
- From Trekkie on 2012-07-07 at 1:06pm:
One of my favorite TNG episodes.I just wish they could have explored the far away galaxy more.It would have been cool to see all the civilizations that inhabited some of the planets.
- From dms on 2012-09-22 at 2:00am:
In my opinion, this is the best episode in the series up to this point. While the Picard turbolift scene was surprising, the scene that really struck me was the one with his mother.
One of the problems you did not mention was that some of the "hallucinations" are visible to everyone, but others only appear to the person having them.
Kozinsky I thought was over-the top. A little bit too much of Wesley also. The actor playing the Traveller did a good job though.
- From SJ on 2013-03-03 at 10:20pm:
Remarkable 1980's futuristic fashion in this episode:
Wesley's sweater. Did grandma knit that, or did he swipe it from Bill Cosby? Possibly worse than his infamous rainbow GrrAnimals suit.
Redshirt ballerina's Jhericurl.
Redshirt dude's manskirt uniform.
Factoids: Chief Engineer Argyle was later sent to by the Traveler to the Star Wars universe, where he assumed the name Porkins and tragically died in the battle of the first Death Star.
- From Oren on 2014-02-02 at 10:18pm:
One of the most memorable episodes of my younger years. Watching it now that I'm older doesn't have the same impact but as a teenager the mysterious episodes, those with a sense of wonder where some thing go unexplained, were my favorites. Both the Traveler and the far away galaxy ignited my imagination during and after the episode.
- When Worf first freaks, Beverly asks the injured crewman who tried to help restrain him "are you okay?" He never responds and doesn't move much but she doesn't seem to care.
- This is the first TNG episode to feature a crewman death.
- Data mimicking Sherlock Holms.
- The ending and Picard's reaction to everything.
This episode annoys me in the sense that we've got a perfectly good plot already with the aliens that hate each other that is largely ignored so we can have energy-life-form-of-the-week. Though, in a way, I was glad to see the aliens take a back seat because they were just as annoying to me as the wasted opportunity was. Why did the writers have to make those aliens so stereotypical? It IS possible to create poor Federation candidates without making them 1. ugly and 2. retarded acting. The episode is however largely entertaining and both plots nicely strung together even if they are both weak. Slightly below average episode.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-05-27 at 11:21pm:
When Dr. Crusher wanted to talk to Worf about his memory block. His response, "I still don't remember having one." :)
- The entity controlled Picard orders a course change of "9-2-5 mark 3-7." No wonder the crew is suspicious!! The episode "Datalore" states that headings have a maximum of 360 for each number.
- I have a problem with the "transporter retaining Picard's physical pattern in the transporter buffers" idea. Data reconstructs Picard using that pattern. In essence, the transporter has duplicated Picard. With this theory, when someone dies on an away team, the crew could just use the transporter to duplicate the person (just as they were before beaming out)
- From Bernard on 2008-01-10 at 4:32pm:
The fact that I still like this episode shows it can stand repeat viewings well (for me anyway)
I love Patrick Stewart in this episode, and the meetings held by the rest of the crew to discuss the possibility of removing picard from command are great.
Unfortunately thesse details do not save the episode from being average.
Oh, and nice appearance by o'brien in this episode (who still doesn't have a name yet)
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-23 at 7:44pm:
I thought it was clever that the mysterious malfunctions were caused by an alien entity trying to communicate a desire to get home and not knowing how to do it. I was confused about why Picard beamed into space, though; they talked as though he wanted to become an energy being, but all I saw was the alien mind-controlling him.
Responding to DSOmo: While the transporters retain the pattern of Picard, they need the "energy essence" of the real Picard in order to recreate him. They state that the process won't work unless energy-Picard has found his way into the transporter circuits so he can be re-integrated with his body. (Maybe it works like reuniting Spock's katra with his body in Star Trek III).
- Why the hell did they ever even land on that planet in the first place? These guys seem somewhat unaware of space travel and warp drive. Making first contact with these people sounds like a Prime Directive violation to me.
- Picard talks during transport. I don't see how this is possible.
- Worf: "Nice planet."
- I love Riker and Worf talking about sex and how Worf claims he'd have to restrain himself so as not to injure any women he'd be with because they're not Klingon women and how Riker says if Worf were any other man, he'd think Worf was bragging.
- Picard: "Data, don't babble." Data: "Babble, sir? I'm not aware that I ever babble, sir. It may be from time to time I have considerable information to communicate and you make question the way in which I organize it..."
- Data's faux pas with Beverly regarding motherhood.
The Edo acted unbelievably and unrealistically lame. Normally I like Wesley, but he also really sucked in this episode. Though he improved quite a bit at the end, being willing to sacrifice himself to save the ship. The Edo's punishment laws are equally unrealistic. I did like the question of whether or not to violate their own prime directive and the fact that the god-things are keenly aware of the said rule. The dilemma of the episode was certainly intriguing, but the idea behind the episode is ruined by the lame Edo, their lame god, and the highly routine ending.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-05-28 at 2:02pm:
- How can Yar review the Edo's laws and customs, but not know the price for violating them (one punishment for any crime)?
- Picard tells Troi that he wants to speak to Dr. Crusher personally about what has happened to Wesley. When Picard returns to the Enterprise, Dr. Crusher stops him and demands to know what he is going to do about Wesley. She states that she read the away team report. What away team report? The away team is still on the planet. Even if they had made the report from the planet, Picard just told the away team that he wanted to handle the situation.
- There is a simple solution to the Prime Directive dilemma in this episode. Picard already used this solution in "Code Of Honor." Why not let the Edo inject Wesley, watch him die, beam him back to the ship, warp away, and resuscitate him? At one point, Riker took a syringe from a mediator, they could have used it to make an antidote.
- From Bernard on 2008-01-15 at 7:46pm:
There are not many episodes that I rate as lowly as this one.
I find it insulting to my intelligence that picard and the crew spend the latter portion of the episode worrying over breaking the prime directive when by the very fact they have revealed themselves to such a primative culture is surely against the prime directive in the first place!
Other than that, there are a few small delights such as the first time worf describes something as merely 'nice'. A few nice moments for Gates McFadden to sink her teeth into, and in my opinion Wil Wheaton does remarkably well with some atrocious dialogue.
- From Sherman on 2016-06-30 at 3:55am:
I've been watched everything on this list and read every review after I watched an episode and out of everything this episode stuck with me the most because of the absolute law and the captains decision to ignore the prime directive and just take Wesley with him.
- How can Troi sense anything from Bok? Betazoids can't read Ferengi. Maybe she was just bluffing to seem important to the captain.
- Why was the Stargazer still intact after Picard abandoned it? Why would anybody abandon a starship that wasn't about to explode or something? I can accept that there may be any number of reasons why this would be the case, but it should have been explicitly explained.
- Bok beams through the Stargazer's raised shields. Maybe they had the exact frequency or something.
- A line from Beverly in this episode implies that the common cold has been cured.
- Riker labeling Data as "second hand" merchandise.
- Kazago: "As you humans say, I'm all ears."
- Wesley finds the answer to Picard being mind controlled and receives no gratitude! Hilarious.
- Kazago informing Riker that he's relieved Bok of his command.
This episode would have been far more interesting if 75% of it wasn't dedicated to the buildup to Picard's mind controlled abduction. During this unusually prolonged exposition, we are subjected to more terrible acting by the Ferengi, save perhaps the few short but welcome moments in which Riker and Kazago play off each other quite well. Indeed, I found the rapport that the two first officers seemed to innately share with each other most satisfying, a nice counterpoint to the eventually revealed relationship between Bok and Picard. While I do enjoy the plot of this episode quite a bit and I find this to be one of the most memorable season 1 episodes, the dreadful pace and constant rehashing of the Picard + headache + Beverly scenes was unnecessary. Instead, I'd have shown more information about Picard's history with the Stargazer and perhaps a more direct conflict between Bok and Picard concerning historical events. I didn't feel that Bok's character was ever quite properly fleshed out, nor his motives all that well thought out. Indeed, his first officer quite effortlessly deposes him for that reason. So instead of primarily a fascinating look into Picard's history, we get yet another way for the Ferengi to make fools of themselves. Though, as an aside, I found it highly amusing that Bok was deposed primarily because the mission he had embarked on innately lacked profitability. ;)
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-05-28 at 3:29pm:
Changed Premise: Troi senses "considerable deception on Bok's part and danger." In future episodes, Betazoids cannot sense Ferengi thoughts.
- Why didn't Picard set the autodestruct sequence on the Staegazer? Why did he abandon it and just let it drift through space for anyone to discover?
- While Data figures out a defense for the Picard Maneuver, he says, "... a vessel in the Picard Maneuver might seem to disappear ..." The vessel doesn't seem to disappear, it seems to be in two places at once!
- Why didn't Riker grab the Stargazer with a tractor beam before it flew off? He had plenty of time!! A lot happens from the time Riker finds out Picard is under some kind of mental control to when the Stargazer flys out of tractor beam range (including a very very long speech by Bok)
- From Bernard on 2008-01-16 at 5:36pm:
I think this is a pretty decent first season offering, I only wish they had done more on Picard and his Stargazer days later on in the series. The pityfully one dimensional ferengi 'bad guy' does nothing to help this episode though...
They (the series producers) seemed very eager to bring in the new race, the ferengi, but this is the second occasion when they just failed to give them any real character. Oh well, give it six years and we can watch them come into their own in DS9.
- From tigertooth on 2011-02-17 at 9:37am:
It seemed to me that they gave away the mind control thing to the audience way too early. Would have been better if Picard had no trouble before the Stargazer came around, but then started acting erratically. One could interpret that as him being afraid of his past.
Data discovers that Picard attempted to tamper the logs on the Stargazer, and finds the log that says he destroyed a defenseless vessel. This causes the crew to suspect Picard, and Picard to suspect himself -- and the audience doesn't yet know the true answer. We later learn the false log got there because, instead of the Ferengis faking the log, Bok mind-controlled Picard into re-recording it.
Also it would have been nice if when we were in Picard's Stargazer cabin, he found some things he left behind and reminisced on them -- fleshing out more history. But instead we just got another "Ow, my head!" scene.
It might have been nice if the aliens involved in this story weren't Ferengi. Especially at this point, they were so clearly "bad guys" that there's no way to establish doubt (Kazago's last action did show another side of the Ferengi, but it was too late to help this episode). Maybe it could have been some alien species with some degree of mental powers in order to help explain the mind control device.
- From g@g on 2012-02-05 at 9:50pm:
1) How did Riker know Picard took his phaser with him on the Stargazer? For that matter, *why* did Picard have his phaser? He was last reported "resting," hardly a good reason to be armed, - although that might have been some kind of ruse. Still, Picard's movements before he transported were controlled by Bok's "thoughtmaker," and Bok would hardly want to make his job more difficult by arming Picard... Neither the fact that Picard was armed or that Riker somehow knew about it makes any real sense.
2)Beverly makes some odd statements. First of all, she says that cases of headache have been rare ever since the "brain has been charted." The thing is, and I know this from personal experience, many if not most headaches have very little to do with the brain.-They're a result of muscular tension, either in the actual face and scalp muscles (like the Temporalis), or more likely in the neck and shoulder muscles, especially the Sternocleidomastoid, the Scalenes, and the Trapezius. So long as human beings rely on these amazing but fault-prone sinewy tissues for movement, there will, at best, be occasional cases of headaches. The only one on board who is actually immune is Data.
retty cool episode. Esp. liked the human-farengi first officer connection here.
- "Drink not with thine enemy. The rigid Klingon code." Uh, Klingons do this all the time. Perhaps the "code" only applies to situations of capture.
- This is a most unfair criticism, but Wesley ten years older looks nothing like the real actor ten years later. ;)
- A line from Q implies that the Federation defeated the Klingon Empire.
- Q: "Your species is always suffering and dying."
- Q calling Worf "Macro head with a micro brain."
- Q and Picard quoting Shakespeare.
- Worf: "More like vicious animal things."
- Q appearing in Data's makeup and costume.
- Worf and Wesley briefly dying, then Riker using the power of the Q.
- Data casually throwing heavy debris about.
- Riker refusing to resurrect the little girl with the power of Q.
- Picard: "What is this need of yours for costumes, Q? Have you no identity of your own?"
- Worf's reaction to Picard accusing Q of being a "flim flam" man.
- Geordi: "Worf, is that your idea of sex?"
- I love Picard confirming that yes, Riker should feel like an idiot for everyone refusing his supernatural gifts.
A solid episode with fantastic continuity with the rest of the series so far. In this episode we're given a solid motivation for why Q is so interested in humans, where he comes from, and what his relationship to the rest of his species is. It seems Q is a renegade of sorts, or at least an oddball among his own people. His fascination with humanity might perhaps be his own, as it appears that his people yanked him away as he attempted to break his word to Picard. Beyond that, we're given a fascinating piece about Riker, even if some dramatic concessions are made forcing him to act slightly out of character at times, even if for only brief moments. More interesting to me are the various tidbits of character development spread about. Such as the detail that Worf has no contact with his people or Yar's clear emotional fragility and Picard's special understanding of that, despite my dislike of the "penalty box" scene. I like the idea that humanity is actively evolving and may one day surpass the Q and I think this overt exposition adds much to the subtext of the relationship between Q and Picard established in the pilot episode.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-05-28 at 7:16pm:
Main Bridge Design: The big curved railing on the main bridge looks great. Unfortunately, the railing is also very impractical (which is very evident in this episode). The captain sits in front of the railing, while the security people are behind it. To protect Picard, Worf needs to run down the ramp a little ways and then jump over the railing! Not the best layout to ensure the captain's safety.
- From Bernard on 2008-01-16 at 7:45pm:
TNG does 'where no man has gone before', but for me it's not as good as the original series despite the excellent john de lancie.
Too many characters are acting out of character, except the consistantly written picard. I love the interaction between him and Q it is delightful as always
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-21 at 11:33pm:
I found this episode too simple-minded. Q wants to corrupt Riker. So he gives him Q powers, then puts his friends in a situation where he has to use his powers to save them. It immediately becomes clear that the Q power has unhinged Riker's mind. Not very sporting of Q, poor Riker never stood a chance. Eventually he decides to give everyone their greatest wishes. But everyone refuses – naturally, since the whole situation is just a big creepy Q game and refusing is the only way to rescue poor Riker's mind. Riker is saved, end of story. No interesting decisions or actions at any point in the story.
The combat scenes with the animal-things are rather stilted and unnatural, especially the way Wesley runs forward to get killed. On the other hand, maybe this is a positive - it sort of acts as an artistic way to emphasize that the confrontation isn't real, but merely a game concocted by Q.
On a positive, the scenes that stick in my memory are Q interacting with Riker (rather than Picard), and the "penalty box" scene with Yar, which was unexpected.
- From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-20 at 7:05am:
This episode, as well as TNG: Adventure at Farpoint, further elaborates one of TNG's principle themes: That humanity is evolving into some sort of semi-divine state, similar to the Q Continuim. While very common in new-age metaphysical movements (including Bahai of which Gene Roddenberry was a member) the idea is utter nonsense scientifically.
All evolutionary processes require a life-and-death struggle, as I have said on other posts. Star Trek TNG completely misses this point, where other Sci Fi fictional works get it perfectly. (Two examples being Dune by Frank Herbert and Dragon's Egg by Robert Forward.)
While there is some support for the idea of altruism evolving in species (including the human race, see for example The Moral Animal by Robert Wright), all evolution is nonetheless grounded in a brutal, selfish process. That's just the way it is. TNG seems to think that it we all are simply nice to each other and get along, we will evolve into gods. Sorry, folks. Ain't gonna happen.
- From g@g on 2012-02-04 at 9:39pm:
Early in the episode, when Picard finds himself alone on an unresponsive ship, he yells "Turbolift control, do you read?!"
"Turbolift control" ? Seriously?
Can you imagine the kind of log entries they must write in "Turbolift control"? "Today, I heard that Commander Riker gained total control over matter, space, and time - and Captain Picard outwitted the godlike Q. Turbolift 2 is functioning properly, but 3 is running a little slow."
WTF. "Turbolift" control? The image of a "liftman" is anachronistic even in the 21st century... Yet, somehow, 350 years later, even on the flagship of the Federation we still need someone to run the elevators? So much for that infamous "human compulsion" to grow.
- Majel Barrett plays Lwaxana Troi in this episode. She was Gene Roddenberry's wife.
- Armin Shimerman who goes on to play Quark on DS9 was the Wedding Gift Box.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy in Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series.
- Lwaxana is so wonderfully arrogant.
- Wyatt and Troi discussing Betazoid marriage ceremony compromise.
This episode's poor rating is due mostly to it's unremarkable plot that seems to have been strung together from a series of totally unrelated threads. The episode's name is "Haven" yet we see virtually nothing of the planet nor do we learn anything about its people beyond the fact that they're friends of the Federation. Then we have the Tarellians. They are an obvious allusion to what Earth would become if the cold war had heated up. We do, however, get more insight into Troi's and Riker's previous relationship which is interesting. We also get the first mention of the a Betazoid marriage ceremony which becomes something of an infamous Trek joke--in a good sense. All things considered, this episode focused too much on Troi and relationships and too little on the Tarellians and Haven. A jumbled mess.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-05-28 at 9:47pm:
Data: "Could you please continue the 'petty bickering'?" :)
- The slow approach of the Tarellian ship ... as the vessel draws closer, the tension increases. Picard calmly waits for the plague ship while the Haven government is going crazy. He even allows the ship to get within transporter range. Why doesn't Picard take the Enterprise out of orbit and meet the incoming ship?
- For a chameleon rose, it doesn't change colors very much. During the time Troi is holding the rose, she becomes visibly upset and embarrassed, the rose stays white.
- When we first get to see Ariana on the viewscreen, there is a man to her right, sitting in a chair. The chair is made of several spheres. In future episodes, this chair will be seen in Worf's quarters.
- From Joey Poole on 2007-07-12 at 10:41am:
While I agree with many of the concerns listed in the main review, I have a real soft spot for this episode. Lwaxana Troi is a great character, and this is a good introduction to her. As pure entertainment, this episode works, due mostly to the interaction between Troi, her mother, and Picard. I also like Riker's reaction to the whole marriage business. I view it as one of the "humor" episodes, and one of the best of those at that.
My only real problem with this episode is the lame, seemingly random connection between Wyatt (who's a bit of douchebag, by the way) and Ariana. Plus, for the dying remanants of a people killed off by an incurable plague, the Tarellians don't seem very sick.
- From Bernard on 2008-01-19 at 1:20pm:
I don't treat this episode with too much scorn, it is to me... average.
The main problem for me is that I do not care about the terellians or wyatt. If you do not care about either of those by the climax of the story then to me the whole build up has been pointless.
I do however love majel barrett as lwaxana, and also Mr. Homm. Some really funny bits in this one too as Datas role in comedy is used to good effect here as the perfect straight man.
- From djb on 2008-01-24 at 10:05pm:
It's true that this episode is not one of the best, but what I find absolutely remarkable about it is this dialog:
Lwaxana: "Now the answer to the puzzle of Arianna and you is so simple, it's too simple for most humans to understand."
Wyatt: "Too simple."
Lwaxana: "Of course. It's something they all know instinctively yet go to great effort to reject or build complicated superstitions about. All life, Wyatt, all consciousness, is indissolubly bound together, indeed, it's all part of the same thing."
I was amazed and extremely pleased to find such a fundamental mystical truth exposed in a relatively agnostic TV show!
- From thaibites on 2009-08-13 at 10:37pm:
This is one of the worst TNGs I've ever seen. It's one of those episodes where they need to take a break and save some money. Lwaxana is the most unlikeable character in the ST universe. As an American, I've gotten enough bossy, ignorant, demanding white women to last me a lifetime. I certainly don't need it when I just want to be entertained!
- From CAlexander on 2011-02-20 at 1:18am:
This episode suffers from a common problem - two plots, one of which you wish they had left out completely. I had no real problem with the wedding plot, it is OK. But the Terellian plot is quite inadequately developed.
- Totally agree with DSOmo that Picard should have tractored the Terellians long before they reached Haven.
- No reasonable explanation given for the central point of the episode, the connection between Wyatt and Ariana.
- No explanation given for why the Terellians appear perfectly healthy. I can explain this (the virus lies dormant until it kills you), but I shouldn't have to, the episode should have done so.
- It is unclear what the Terellian motivations really were. They make a point of rejecting all communication as they come to infect Haven, then when they are stopped, they start chatting as if they are pleasant people who had done nothing suspicious.
- From Omcn7 on 2012-01-28 at 1:58pm:
Ariana? Please stop the hair. I have nightmares about the hair. Wyatt is a moron to want to go with this freak hairdo women. I thought this episode was great for the character development. However, as many have said the plot was sub-par in the least.
- Wesley says the program could abort and everyone inside could vanish? What? He probably meant Picard's program could be irreversibly damaged.
- When the holograms disappear after walking off the holodeck it sure takes a while. No part of them should be able to exist outside the holodeck for ANY length of time, much less several seconds and a pretty disappearance animation and famous last words.
- This episode first aired on my third birthday.
- This episode was supposed to come after the episode in which the Bynars upgrade the holodeck. If this is what had actually happened, there would have been some nice continuity with holodeck upgrades if they hadn't changed the order.
- This episode won an Emmy for Outstanding Costume Design for a Series and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Cinematography for a Series.
- This episode won the 1987 Peabody award.
- Picard doesn't know what Halloween is.
- I love Picard's fascination with holodeck detail, such as the cars and his excited ranting about the experience afterward to his senior staff when they're supposed to be having a briefing about their diplomatic mission.
- Joe DiMaggio's streak will stand unsurpassed until 2026, Star Trek predicts. We'll see. ;)
- I love how everyone reacts to the holodeck so carelessly until they realize things are messed up.
- Beverly swallows gum.
- Picard with a cigarette.
- Data with a lamp not realizing he unplugs it. When it gets plugged back in for him, the look on his face suggests he fixed it himself. Data the oblivious.
- Picard's last minute performance in insectoid language is fantastic.
This is the first episode to use the "malfunctioning holodeck" cliche. But since it was first I don't count off from it's score for it. Otherwise this would be a 4. After Picard gives the successful greeting, I'm annoyed by everyone's attention shifting to the holodeck adventure. Surely such discussions should wait until after all diplomatic business is completed? But nope, they give the greeting and fly away. This is acceptable, and is accepted by all characters in the episode, but I just see it as a poor aesthetic. The episode focused too much on the holodeck and not enough on the aliens. Nevertheless, it was a fairly successful holodeck episode and the B plot of the aliens was sufficiently interesting albeit neglected. One thing I really liked about this episode is how our 20th century historian character redshirt didn't die.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-05-30 at 2:41am:
- The crew works the whole time trying to get the doors open to the holodeck. Does it have some kind of shield or force field? Why can't Picard and the others just be beamed out of the holodeck?
- Matter created on the holodeck cannot exist outside the holodeck. However, during Picard's first visit, he is kissed by a woman. When he leaves the holodeck and goes to the bridge crew briefing, the lipstick remains. Shouldn't it have evaporated?
- From Bernard on 2008-09-01 at 4:37pm:
The very first 'holodeck episode'! Certainly a landmark, but is this what we want to be watching? Star Trek OS used to just do parallel earth episodes to tell this kind of story.
I would rather have seen one of the other characters being the subject of this episode as Patrick Stewart seems to have had the monopoly on most episodes upto this point.
Where this one really falls down is the virtually non-existant B plot, so the A plot has to hold our attention...
- From Jeff Browning on 2011-09-19 at 1:33pm:
Another problem. Picard is kissed by a woman in the holodeck and has lipstick on his face after leaving the holodeck. Not possible.
- From Kethinov on 2011-09-20 at 3:18am:
Not necessarily, Jeff. It's possible the lipstick was real, replicated matter. There has always been speculation for some time that the holodeck combines both photons and forcefields with actual matter produced via replicator technology to enhance the realism. This hypothesis goes a long way toward explaining any number of similar continuity errors across a number of other episodes as well.
- From g@g on 2012-02-07 at 7:02am:
I have to comment on the humour in this episode, which was top notch. Data was maybe a little over the top (although his scene at the very end, esp. Picard's reactions was amusing), but Beverly was pretty much hysterical. As soon as she put on "period dress," everything she did and said had perfect comedic timing.
A small criticism is that perhaps this entire episode, main plot included, was just a little too funny, a little too light-hearted. Comic relief is good, but it would've been nicely contrasted against something more serious. As it was, with the mysterious "insect species" that never made it on screen, talked with a strange pseudo-Japanese accent about pseudo-Japanese honor and greeting rituals in its funny native tongue... well, it was all a little too much like a parody of itself.
But I enjoyed it nevertheless.
- From Bronn on 2012-12-19 at 7:16pm:
Anyone else thing it's weird that this won a Peabody Award for 1987 when it didn't air until 1988? I mean, that's not a typo, and I can understand why things like this sometimes happen, but it sure is awkward.
- From Dstyle on 2013-08-06 at 1:11pm:
So if there's a small army of engineers sitting outside the holodeck, desperately trying to get it open and get Picard out, where are they when the doors open and the holograms walk out? And why doesn't Picard hurry out of there to get to the bridge once the doors open?
- In "Encounter at Farpoint, Part 2" Data uses a contraction when he says, "I can't see as well as Geordi."
- In "The Last Outpost" Data uses another contraction: "I'm."
- In "Justice" Data says "I'm" right after being accused of babbling.
- This episode contains more nice continuity thanks to Wesley and Data about how the common cold has been eliminated in the 24th century.
- At the end of this episode, Picard mentions that the Enterprise is overdue for a computer refit. This is a reference to the upcoming episode featuring the Bynars. It was supposed to be the very next episode, but unfortunately the airing schedule was rearranged, disturbing the flow of continuity a bit.
- Riker objecting to Picard's desire to lead the away time to Omicron Theta.
- Data's off switch.
- I love the helm tutorial reassuring us that space is not flat like ocean water and that one can fly up, down, diagonal, etc.
- Data and Lore in Data's quarters.
- Geordi: "Captain, I'm picking up a bogey coming in on a five o'clock tangent." Way to use slang there, Geordi!
- I like when the doctor gets phasered, she runs away with her arm literally on fire! I wish they used that effect more often on Star Trek.
- I also like how the phaser beam is transported along with Lore.
This episode was a well conceived, fascinating character piece for Data, a character which up until now has been most mysterious and unusual. In addition to being loaded with wonderful tidbits and details about Data's construction and history, it is simply a pleasure to watch Brent Spiner play his evil self. I can't help but compare this episode most favorably with William Shatner's performance in TOS: The Enemy Within. Unfortunately, while this is one of the more memorable and exciting episode of TNG's first season, it suffers from a few deficiencies. Firstly, Lore's blatant evilness was overdone. For example, his twitching was annoying and irrelevant. Surely they could have found a better way to differentiate Data and Lore.That, and Lore's desire to please the crystalline entity is nonsensical. We are never given his motivation. Finally, I hate how Picard and Riker treat Wesley in this episode. "Shut up Wesley!" After the Traveler has told Picard that Wesley is unusually smart? Sigh. Anyway, the episode is still quite above average and absolutely pivotal to Data's character arc. Definitely one not to miss.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-05-30 at 4:41am:
- Near the end of the episode, Lore goes to a cargo bay and contacts the crystal entity. Lore tells the entity to attack the ship the instant the shields drop (for the beaming out of a tree). Then the fight between Lore and Data occurs. The fight ends when Data tosses Lore onto the transporter pad and Wesley beams him into space. Does the entity care what object beams out? Either way, the shields must drop. Since Lore told the entity to get ready for the beam-out, why doesn't it attack?
- There have been a few episodes where Data has used a contraction. Like you said above, "it's not a big YATI." However, they spend this entire episode telling us that one of the differences between Lore and Data was that Lore used contractions and Data didn't. At the end of the episode, Picard asks Data if he is all right. Data responds, "Yes, sir. I'M fine."
- From Bernard on 2008-09-02 at 7:50pm:
One of my favourite first season episodes, I too love Brent Spiner here and in many episodes. Good insight into his past and into his character.
You have mentioned above already, but I have to repeat one of the funniest things I have ever heard Geordi say,'Captain I'm picking up a bogey coming in on a five o'clock tangent'... really?? Care to supply co-ordinates? Gets me every time, I love it.
The scene in the turbolift with Lore and Worf is quite disturbing also.
- From Jumbo on 2009-08-07 at 1:52am:
The "Shut up Wesley!" was horribly out of character, but also hilarious. I was laughing so hard I had to pause my DVD when Picard and Beverly yelled at the poor kid. That scene is one of the main reasons I love this episode so much :)
- From Rubin on 2010-06-27 at 8:12pm:
First thing I noticed was that "Dr. Noonian Soong" sounds an awful lot like "Khan Noonien Singh"...
- From CAlexander on 2011-02-27 at 9:47pm:
I particularly like the first half of this story, when everything is mysterious and they are learning about Lore. I also like how uncomfortable they are about offending Data, that seemed like a nice human touch.
You are right about the twitching being annoying and irrelevant. All it does is waste screen time; the story would have unfolded in exactly the same way without it.
- From Percivale on 2011-11-30 at 12:26pm:
Many people point out that Picard and Riker's treatment of Wesley was unreasonable. Over the top? Yes. Unreasonable? no.
Wesley did have a reasonable suspicion. But, if you pay attention, he never actually states this in uncertain terms to his superiors. Instead, he passive-aggressively expresses frustration that everyone else is trusting Data. This is socially unproductive, inefficient behavior in general, but it is universally not accepted in authority-based organizations like Star Fleet.
I would say that this is a refreshing instance where the writers understood how healthy, authority-based organizations work. Sadly, the officers' reactions really are over the top, once again demonstrating the writers' notion that setting boundaries is "mean."
- From g@g on 2012-02-06 at 5:49pm:
I actually *liked* how Picard yelled at Wesley to shut up. It was uncharacteristic and kind of shocking. What I didn't so much like was how he was still arrogant and unapologetic even after he was proven wrong, at the end.
But the initial outburst - that whole scene was quite nice. Not only did Picard yell at Wesley, (even though Wes had a valid concern and was being quite polite about it) but he also practically shooed a protesting Beverly off the bridge. It was a subtle demonstration that the master of composure and diplomacy is very very human, and prone to losing it a bit on his own bridge, under special circumstances.*
* Fair to say that a giant life-consuming crystal thing edging its way into your shields while your second officer is dealing with doppelganger issues certainly qualifies as special...although, relatively speaking, he'll face worse in the future.
- From Alexander Uziel on 2013-12-15 at 6:15pm:
Wesley: Have you got a cold?
Data: A cold what?
Wesley: It's a disease my mom says people used to get.
These little bits are scattered throughout the first couple of seasons and they are noteworthy, not simply for the fact that they are flatly contradicted by repeated trek episodes after the second season, but because they highlight the utopian influence of Gene Roddenberry in the writing room. Gene was constantly rewriting scripts in the first season, usually to conform to his more idealistic, utopian philosophy. The writers fought against this and it wasn't until the piller/taylor/moore staff came aboard that this sort of stuff was minimized.
Also, these exchanges are kind of annoying since they are just so blatant and out of place that it sounds like Roddenberry was preaching to the audience.
- From tigertooth on 2016-08-07 at 10:24pm:
If Noonien Soong is well known, how was Data in Starfleet for decades without anybody noticing the resemblance? Especially given that Soong was known for working on a positronic brain?
- There is a glitch in the Elected One's opening lines when the visit begins. She calls the cast "representatives of the star fleet Enterprise." Since when is the Enterprise a star fleet and not a starship?
- They want to find the survivors by searching for an element not natural to the Angel One world. Why don't they just use the sensors to find human life signs? Maybe the Angel One aliens are too similar to humans to differentiate? They sure look a lot like humans anyway which is too common in Trek unfortunately.
- Data tells us that only Starfleet officers are bound by the Prime Directive. This is confirmed by other characters as well by their behavior. So uh, ordinary citizens are allowed to give antimatter to bronze age cultures then? There's no justifying this one. The episode is wrong. We can quietly forget about this though as not being a Prime Directive issue but more a "doing what's right" issue because the Odin survivors consider themselves Angel One citizens. But it's a stretch. It doesn't matter anyway seeing as how the episode had no serious consequences.
- They leave at the end of the episode at warp 6. But data timed their departure assuming they'd leave at maximum warp.
- This episode features the first mention of TNG Romulan movements.
- Riker submits to local apparel. Yar and Troi laugh at him like a bunch of giddy school girls.
- Picard sick humbly and reluctantly obliging to the doctor's orders.
- Geordi in command and loving it. "Make it so."
- Worf sneezing.
- Riker was so wonderfully tolerant of the Elected One's unceasing arrogance.
- Riker's martyr speech was fantastic.
- Data's facial expression when Riker gives him a pat on the shoulder.
- Picard's hoarse voice.
This episode opens with a ridiculously horrible cliche. Here we have something almost worse than an identical-to-humans race: an identical-to-humans-all-except-one-small-detail race! Also how wonderfully unoriginal that one of the male aliens is named Trent. And one of the female's names is Ariel! And the reverse chauvinism in this episode is just as offensive as the regular chauvinism that was in Code of Honor. Despite this, the episode improves greatly as it moves forward. Riker puts on a great show with his martyr speech and the episode's ending thrives on it. I absolutely loved the ending, even if it is somewhat unremarkable, it nevertheless is a fine example of Trek at it's best: making a (positive) difference. I also loved the virus B plot creating havoc and the Romulan C plot creating extra urgency. My only annoyance with this is that the Romulans are never shown and the Romulan incident in question goes undocumented. But it would have had to have been a two parter for that. The episode isn't without it's problems and cliches, but it was skillfully done and greatly entertaining. It'd easily be well above average if not for some careless writing creating technical problems.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-05-31 at 11:45pm:
- More matter leaving the holodeck, a snowball hits Picard as he is walking by.
- When the Enterprise begins to search for the survivors, Picard orders Geordi to break fixed orbit. If the Enterprise is in fixed orbit, it would remain above a given location on the planet's surface. However, the shot before Picard's order shows the planet turning in one direction and the Enterprise flying in another.
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-02 at 1:05am:
I found the acting of the denizens of Angel One, and the shipwreck survivors, to be boring, and I didn't care about any of them. And the side plots weren't interesting at all - they get sick, they get better, they fly away. I was, however, amused by Riker going native, and his ending speech was good.
- From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-20 at 8:43am:
This is the first episode to feature Riker's propensity to be a manwhore. He has absolutely no compunction about jumping into bed with any reasonably attractive female. Of course, this makes him the stud of TNG, at the expense of Picard who is, in live stock terms, a "shy breeder". I.e., Picard has intimacy issues. Both themes get played out later in future episodes, e.g., TNG: The Game for Riker and TNG: Captain's Holiday.
- From dubton on 2016-07-24 at 3:28am:
Having sex while this episode plays in the background is, by far, my greatest fantasy. All criticism, in the interest of diplomatic relations, is forfeit. We have muuuuuuuuch to discuss and set phasers to sttttuuuuhhhhh-unnnnnnnnn
- From Rick on 2017-02-23 at 8:06pm:
It is my understanding that the Prime Directive does not apply to non-Starfleet personnel. The Federation is all about freedom and equality, so I do not think they would have this overbroad restriction on the liberty of all of their citizens. What right or jurisdiction would the Federation have over the actions of its citizens hundreds of lightyears away on non-Federation planets? None of course.
- This problem is common in many TNG episodes, but I hate how the red alert sound doesn't match the red alert lighting.
- The auto destruct sequence seems overly rigid to be practical. And 5 minutes is too short. Especially when you have to start it from engineering and stop it from the bridge. Fortunately, the system is later changed.
- Why is the computer voice inconsistent in this episode? The Bynars?
- The title of this episode when converted from binary to decimal is actually 201.
- This is the first episode to mention Parises Squares.
- This episode establishes some great and kind of interesting continuity with starfleet rank. The starbase's highest ranking officer is a commander. Picard outranks him as a captain. This is continuous with the DS9 series and other TNG episodes.
- This episode was originally intended to come before The Big Goodbye, which would have been far more appropriate. But oh well. This is acceptable.
- When Data orders the ship to be auto piloted out of the star base, a lot of other reviewers bitched about how they could save half the ship by detaching the saucer. But in less than 4 minutes? I don't think so.
- This episode won an Emmy for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series.
- The Bynars working aboard the Enterprise.
- Worf taking the Parises Squares game so seriously.
- Riker: "Keep notes. This may be valuable to scholars in the future." Geordi: "Really?" Riker: "Well think about it. A blind man teaching an android how to paint? That's got to be worth something in somebody's book."
- Riker playing with the settings of the woman on the holodeck.
- Minuet and Picard talking in French.
- Data "awaiting inspiration."
- Picard and Riker valiantly trying to save the ship.
Riker's jazz indulgences along with Picard and Riker being seduced by the holodeck was a bit overused in this episode. And I'd have preferred it if we learned more about the Bynars. Still, this episode is a real action packed and highly interesting thriller. The technobabble at the end is annoying, but the episode is still largely entertaining and, well, just good. The greatness of the episode largely overwhelms its minor flaws.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-06-02 at 12:04pm:
Worf: "If winning is not important, then, Commander, why keep score?" :)
- The Bynars were planning on abducting Riker, not Picard. Minuet says to Picard at one point, "your being here was just a fortunate happenstance." But when Riker started downloading the information, he couldn't do it alone. It took both him and Picard to get the transfer started. It took two people to reactivate their computer, and the Bynars only arranged for Riker to stay?? If Picard hadn't "happened" along, everyone on their home world would have died.
- The autodestruct clock is composed of LEDs. It looks "out of place" on the Enterprise.
- When Picard and Riker try to board a turbolift, a sign flashes, "Access Denied." But the computer voice says, "Bridge Access Denied." How does the computer know that they wanted to go to the bridge?
- From djb on 2007-12-13 at 4:11pm:
Continuity error: In this episode, when Picard and Riker initiate the auto-destruct sequence, they agree that there is only one option for time: five minutes. In episode 2x02, they both initiate the auto-destruct sequence again, and are given an option of how long before it detonates, and choose 20 minutes. Was this feature upgraded at some point?
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-03 at 4:38pm:
I really like this episode.
- When I first watched the episode, I thought it was a cool concept that the Bynars somehow made Minuet transcend the normal holodeck limitations and become something Picard and Riker had never experienced before.
- This is the most believable "take over the Enterprise" plan I can remember seeing; it wasn't one of those plans that a 10-year old child could see through and defeat.
- I generally liked the execution of the evacuation and the retaking of the bridge; they didn't feel overplayed or underplayed.
- I especially liked how they didn't feel compelled to use the cliche of having the self destruct dramatically count down until the last possible second before being switched off.
- From g@g on 2012-02-07 at 8:30am:
Altogether great episode. The whole docking triumphantly at the starbase thing sets up some great contrast for the ship later being hijacked and warping away, while the crew watches on helplessly, and its captain and commanding officer begin to awaken from an elaborate ruse.
Also, I noticed some excellent subtleties, which I have to assume were intentional. At about 31 minutes, Riker and Picard walk *in perfect lockstep* to the weapons room (I mean that literally), to discuss their "absolute agreement" about setting the self-destruct sequence. That's just excellent.
A few minutes later, at 34:50, as they're about to beam onto the bridge they simultaneously take a deep breath and lower their shoulders. Again, a nice touch (this one may or may not have actually been choreographed) that emphasizes the synchronized two-man command/crew/fighting machine they've now become.
And, of course, it takes both of them working simultaneously, as a pair, to access the Bynars filesystem. I hadn't quite realized just how neatly all of that fits together...
So, good episode.
PS Minuet is fascinating - a hint at future highly sophisticated holographic life (the Doctor and other "photonics" in Voyager, or that whole holographic village in DS9).
PPS Riker is enjoyably irreverent and sort of piggish in the beginning (calling Jeordi blind, telling the computer Blondes and Jazz don't mix, and instructing it to make the girl "more sultry,"). I think I like this rough-edged Riker of the early seasons...
Good stuff all 'round.
- From John on 2012-03-04 at 9:42pm:
While the second half of this episode is quite good, the first half, nearly all of which consists of introducing Minuet, is incredibly boring.
On re-watching it, I found myself skipping the first half entirely.
4/5, because only half of it is worth watching, and the half that is is good but not great.
- From Rick on 2014-07-27 at 12:02am:
Your first problem is not entirely accurate. You state that Minuet's comment that Picard being a fortunate happenstance means that the Bynars didnt contemplate the fact that they needed Picard and Riker. You misinterpret Minuet's comment though. The Bynars noticed Riker taking an interest in Minuet so they used her as a distraction to keep Riker. The Bynars would have then looked for a different way to distract Picard but it was "fortunate" (as Minuet said) that Picard fell prey to the same distraction. I hope this clears up your confusion.
- Why didn't Riker object to Picard going down with the Admiral? At least he seemed moody about it... And at least he almost barely kinda tried to question it the second time Picard beamed down...
- The Admiral's wife's Jealousy yet her contradictory desire NOT to acquire her husband's newfound youth is so perfect.
- The Admiral's "interpretation" of the Prime Directive is great.
- Data: "Their phasers sir, they're set to kill." Picard: "Thank you Mr. Data, I have heard that sound before."
A most unremarkable and dull episode. The one-two combo of an annoying guest and the total lack of a secondary plot makes the episode seem to drag. In much the same way of many bad original series episodes, this episode takes itself way too seriously which further makes it unpalatable. I feel like the whole time I'm watching the episode, I'm supposed to care about it far more than I do, which detracts from the experience even more. Beyond that, the usual round of cliches. An alien race that looks exactly like humans and a high ranking starfleet official does something stupid. Quite a stinker.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-06-02 at 2:42pm:
- A bridge crew can relieve the captain if they unanimously agree that the captain is acting oddly. Also, a doctor can relieve the captain if the doctor thinks the captain is medically unfit for command. Shouldn't the same thing apply to mission commanders? Picard finds out that Jameson: 1) took double the recommended dosage of an alien drug 2) confesses to a direct violation of the Prime Directive (giving weapons) 3) proposes a raid that Picard thinks is questionable. Yet, Picard acts like he has no other recourse but to obey.
- the drug is "radically changing the cellular structure of his body and rewriting his DNA." Doesn't it seem likely that the drug would also wipe out the scar tissue in Jameson's body?
- The transporter pad certainly isn't wheelchair-accessible. Jameson, who is confined to a futuristic wheelchair, is beemed on to the transporter pad. How does he get off the pad?
- When Picard and Riker leaves the bridge to greet Jameson, look very carefully, Picard contorts his entire face just before he enters the turbolift (an outtake??)
- From Jeff Browning on 2011-09-20 at 2:10pm:
The Admiral's wife (we never learn her name) had some of the worst acting and most annoying dialog in Star Trek history. The Admiral is plagued with advanced Iverson's disease, a degenerative, incurable and terminal disease that rob it's victim of quality of life before it kills him. The Admiral finds a potential cure that incidental makes him young while saving his life. Is his wife pleased? Not at all. Why? Because she wants to spend more time with husband (while watching him die horribly). It stretches credulity.
- From Inga on 2011-12-21 at 6:12am:
Jeff, the Admiral's wife's name is Anne. She was called by her name a couple of times in the episode and at the very end, just before he died, the Admiral called her "Annie with the golden hair"
- From John on 2012-03-04 at 11:03pm:
I think maybe what Jeff meant was that we learn her name, but we don't care enough to remember it, because this episode sucks.
- Little kids are expected to have a "basic understanding of Calculus" in the 24th century.
- Picard making up regulations on the spot and Data realizing it.
- Picard: "Data, find a way to defeat that shield." Data: "That may be impossible, sir." Picard: "Things are only impossible until they're not!" Data: "Yes sir." Then data gets this wonderfully puzzled look on his face.
- The various Picard-being-tortured-by-contact-with-children scenes.
Another identical-to-humans race. Somehow the children the Aldeans stole are going to continue their society. Obviously not genetically. So Aldea is to become a paradise for humans then in a few generations? The guest cast parents were overacting badly. Thankfully their screen time was short. And Raschala demands to keep the little girl? So much for their species being humble and non-greedy. Also, usually Wil Wheaton was great at playing Wesley, but he didn't do so well in this episode. Who knows, maybe the directing sucked or the guest cast/children were causing him issues. Wesley is actually pretty good usually. Some of the logic behind how the ozone atmosphere layer connects to the cloaking shield is a bit fuzzy, but acceptable with some liberal interpretation. My problem with this episode is mostly due to the premise. The method by which the premise played out was simply the nail in the coffin. Cliches, bad guest acting, idiotic aliens, and even a regular character did a bad job.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-06-02 at 4:03pm:
- The Aldeans take only seven children. Will seven children be enough to continue a society?
- How come everybody's got a cloaking device except the Federation? The Klingons, the Romulans, and now the Aldeans.
- The Aldeans shield is capable of protecting and cloaking their planet. This isn't a spaceship. This is a planet. What about the gravitational displacement caused by the planet's mass? Scientists should have been able to calculate the existence of Aldea based on the gravitation disturbances caused by its orbit around its sun.
- From The Professor on 2007-09-08 at 2:05pm:
Seven people is certainly enough to maintain a society. Skipper, Gilligan, Professor, Mr. & Mrs. Howell, Ginger, and Mary Ann. The only other things you need are some monkeys, coconuts, bananas and the occasional visitor with a boat or an aircraft.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2008-09-20 at 12:45am:
This is one of the better "children" episodes in Trek. Just watch Miri from the original series and you'll see what I mean. Which episode would you want to live out in real life?
As far as the comment about the Federation not having a cloaking device, that is because the Federation refuses to use one. They see cloaking devices as being most useful for sneak attacks, not exactly part of the Federation's mission. They also want to appear with openess open, not hidden and deceptful, to other planets. Of course, there are exceptions.
- From thaibites on 2009-09-12 at 10:14pm:
I thought this was one of the better episodes. If you have kids, you'll be able to identify with it.
As far as this being "another identical-to-humans race", what do you want? How about a bunch of Star Wars muppets that look silly and detract from the seriousness of this episode? Maybe they could've been like the lizard man in the TOS episode THE ARENA. Then the kids could just run around terrified and screaming. If you can't relate to someone's child being stolen, then you mustn't have much humanity. Maybe a little less computer time and more time interacting face-to-face with real humans would help...
- From geld verdienen on 2009-09-20 at 12:31pm:
what annoyed me most about this episode is that I was screaming the whole time GET THEM SOME OTHER KIDS, dont they have foster kids or poor people in the galaxy anymore? Tasha said otherwise. The must be millions you would embrace living it up on that planet.
- From Cal on 2017-02-06 at 6:24am:
The peace Treaty with the Romulans (Treaty of Alegeron) forbids the use and development of cloaking devices by the Federation.
- Apparently, unlike TNG: The Naked Now, nobody bothered to do a historical lookup, as everyone seems surprised at the idea of non-organic life even though silicon-based life was featured prominently in TOS: The Devil in the Dark.
- This episode establishes (implicitly) that the Genesis device was ultimately a failure, as traditional terraforming techniques are used.
- Data dodging and eventually destroying the drilling laser.
- Worf, facing Geordi: "But is it alive?" Computer: "Probability high." Worf, facing computer terminal: "I wasn't asking you."
- The aliens referring to the crew of the Enterprise as "ugly bags of mostly water."
This episode, like the previous one, but less so, is dull and annoying. Plot-wise, it's fairly average, but some remarkable oversights drag this episode down a bit. Firstly, in an episode all about terraforming, I would have wanted to see some information about the Genesis device presented in this episode. Even though it was probably declared a failure and disregarded, for continuity's sake it would have been interesting to see it talked about. This is not necessarily a technical problem; it makes sense that the details concerning the events surrounding the testing and use of the Genesis device were probably classified and buried after the events of the original series films. More annoying is how surprised everyone was acting regarding inorganic life. Clearly the events of TOS: The Devil in the Dark are not classified. That episode should most definitely have been referenced. Beyond this, there is little to distinguish this episode. The acting of the guests was of unusually high quality and the overall idea behind the episode was interesting, if rehashed. However I tend to prefer TOS' version of this episode far more. The inorganic aliens of this episode, when they finally got a chance to play a role, weren't that interesting and I found the monotone translations of the universal translator unnecessary. Overall, this episode largely failed to live up to its potential.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-06-03 at 1:52am:
- Removing water from the crystal life form kills it. There is no salt water in the med lab. Shouldn't it have died as soon as it left the planet?
- The woman terraformer told the away team that the planet has a balanced day and night. How does the crystal survive on the surface of the planet at night?
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-06 at 6:09pm:
Until the discovery of the microbrain, this episode was great. But I totally agree with you, I was annoyed by the lack of continuity. It wasn't just that they were surprised by the inorganic lifeforms, but they kept repeating over and over how unbelievable it was. And it wasn't just the Horta they were ignoring, but a long history of energy-based lifeforms. "Lonely Among Us", in the same season, featured a life form more alien then this; if it isn't even composed of matter, it certainly isn't organic! Equally annoying is that the technobabble about the capabilities and limitations of the organism is full of inconsistencies, such as those noted by DSOmo.
- From Jeff Browning on 2011-09-19 at 7:46pm:
Huge science problem. Geordi states that the light pulses from the microbrain consist of "positively and negatively charged ions". Light consists of photons. Ions are made from normal matter. Light cannot consist of ions.
- From Inga on 2011-12-23 at 8:48am:
-Why didn't Geordi switch off the power when Data was attacked by that laser drill?
-Why did everyone leave the med lab when the aliens first tried to communicate with them?
- An expert shuttle pilot candidate steals a shuttle and immediately plunges it into the planet's atmosphere accidentally? Not sure how credible that is. Sure it could happen, but that's a little sloppy writing.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy in Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Series.
- Worf and Wesley's chat about the testing is great.
- Picard saving Jake by talking him through the shuttle maneuver.
- Wesley's psych test.
This episode is kind of a mixed bag. First the bad. Both the conspiracy and the starfleet testing in this episode seemed highly unrealistic. But if we set that aside, we've got plenty of good as well. This episode has great continuity with previous episodes regarding Remmick's interrogations. Wesley getting pissed during the test was a little strange. "Do you want this to become violent?" That was a little too far. But acceptable. The best part of the episode is during Remmick's interrogations of various crewmembers in the briefing room. The way they wove the Remmick's questions and the answers of different crewmembers together was great. And Picard is getting noticeably better with children. I liked him with Jake and later with Wesley.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-06-03 at 2:40pm:
Remmick: "You don't like me, do you?" Worf: "Is it required, sir?"
- When the shuttle begins heading toward the planet, the bridge crew runs through the options. Yar says he is out of transporter range. People are beaming up and down from the planet. Doesn't it seem reasonable that the Enterprise could beam someone out of a shuttle that sits between it and the planet?
- After giving his report to Admiral Quinn, Remmick walks to the door - actually he almost runs into it - and then turns. The door doesn't open. For the next few moments, Remmick stands with his back very close to the door. Then, before he even begins to turn, the door opens and Remmick leaves. How did the door know exactly when to open?
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-09 at 12:40pm:
- The entire scene with Jake and the shuttle seemed very forced. The shuttle leaves, then two seconds later, it is beyond tractor and transporter range, even though both it and the Enterprise are next to the planet. That is hard enough to believe by itself. But the Enterprise can move, and is faster than a shuttle, so how can they be so helpless?
- Wesley's "Do you want this to become violent?" comment was part of the test. He knew he was supposed to act rude towards that species of alien, so that is what he was doing. If he was a bit overboard in his attempts to act discourteous, that fits well with his character of being enthusiastic but young and unpolished.
- Remmick's paranoid questioning was interesting in that he seemed just as irrational to me as to the crew during the episode, but at the end I could see how it might make sense to "be the bad cop" given what he was ordered to do. However his misbehavior during the shuttle incident was not so easily forgiven; is a good Starfleet officer really going to obstruct the crew during a life-or-death situation?
- From 0mcn on 2012-01-30 at 1:47am:
No else said it so I will. Finally an alien that looks like an alien. No wonder they were nominated for best makeup. Not only that but part of his costume is a device that helps him breathe (or does something for him) so yes this makes me happy. :)
- From a2a on 2012-02-08 at 4:09am:
I thought this episode was excellent. Some major and minor points: 1) Remmick was a great character, especially in light of the episode's resolution and his final attitude towards the enterprise 2) The "invisible" segue's between the interrogations was a nice touch 3) The inside of the academy enrollment process made for a compelling side-plot 4) The unannounced tests were interesting 5) There was an almost kafka-esque scene with Wesley in a dram room with a single chair, supposedly undergoing some mysterious examination he knows nothing about... and for a little while nothing else happening. Just him, the chair, an empty room, and undefined anxieties. 6) The music was excellently dramatic throughout (including during the aforementioned scene).
Problem number 1: Mullet.
Mullets will apparently be back in style in the distant future. This is not very likely (and not really a proper problem either).
- From Quando on 2014-09-30 at 9:13pm:
This approach to administering the Starfleet Academy entrance exam is idiotic. There are four people taking the exam at this particular starbase, and they have decided in advance that they will accept exactly one candidate - the highest score of the four - regardless of how well or how poorly any of the candidates end up doing. Talk about grading on a curve! What if two of them are geniuses, but one of them scores higher by a single point? Tough luck for the second place genius; it's off to the dilithium mines for you. Likewise, what if all four of them are idiots? Will they go ahead and take the smartest of the four idiots? Why are these four candidates not being compared against all of the other candidates who are applying to Starfleet Academy? This method is like Harvard saying it will admit exactly one candidate each from Galveston, Tampa, Billings, Chicago, etc. I also think it is ridiculous that not only is there only one Starfleet Academy on the whole earth, there is only one in the whole galaxy! So you have highly qualified candidates (probably millions) from the populations of dozens of Federation worlds all competing for one of only a few hundred slots in the next Starfleet Academy freshman class in San Francisco? Given all that, I have a sneaking suspicion that Mordok was deemed the "winner" here because of affirmative action (in a choice between the first ever Benzite in Starfleet and just another white human male, who do you think they are going to take?). I guess it's a good thing that Wesley can just try again at the next starbase and hope for weaker competition.
- Why was the commander of the Klingon ship standing in front of a Federation emblem set beside a Klingon emblem?
- When Worf addresses the Klingon commander, if you look up toward the top of the screen, you can see a microphone dangling over his head.
- This is the first Klingon episode in TNG.
- Seeing through Geordi's eyes was fascinating. I was just as disappointed as Picard when the questioning about Geordi and his VISOR was forced to cease.
- The dialog between Worf and the guest Klingons is great.
- Our first sight of the Klingon death ritual. Data's later explanation of the Klingon death ritual is just as good.
- The Klingons escaping the brig is excellently done.
The opening was highly thrilling. Especially with Geordi transmitting his visuals and the discovery of the Klingons. The rest of the episode plays out just as well. Only the antagonist Klingons' battle desires are nonsensical. But it doesn't hurt too much. This episode is a real thriller and a first season classic.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-06-03 at 4:31pm:
When Riker hears that the Enterprise will head toward the Neutral Zone, he suggests that they separate the saucer section. Yet, when the Klingon has a phaser pointed at the dilithium chamber, the Enterprise faces imminent destruction and no one even mentions separating the saucer.
- From a2a on 2012-02-09 at 1:41am:
What ever happened to the "least force necessary" ethos? As soon as there are Klingons on board, its as if everyone suddenly forgets that their phasers have a stun setting... Is the thirst for glorious battle really that infectious?
I can understand why Warf would want to kill the second Klingon (although I don't understand why no one gave him any flak for it, Picard included). But I completely don't understand why the security team clearly had their phasers on some "red hot, burn straight through to the opposite side of Klingon torso" setting. Not only did the first Klingon die because of this, but this recklessness with the phasers directly caused them to lose one of their own crew: during the escape, the second Klingon picks up a Starfleet phaser and shoots and kills a security officer - it was obviously already set to kill.
What gives? Do we all have a bit of Klingon in us or something?
In the very beginning, before the away team beams to the freighter, Riker instructs, "Set phasers to stun, and lets be ready for anything." I guess the stun setting is good enough for anything...anything except Klingons, at which point its OK to crank your boomstick up to maximum, unintended consequences be damned.
- From Cary on 2016-07-20 at 11:23am:
The Klingon commander is standing in front of a Federation emblem next to a Klingon emblem because of the alliance.
- From tigertooth on 2017-03-10 at 10:53pm:
So Worf shoots the Klingon, the Klingon falls face first... and crashes through the floor? Did I miss something or did that gangway shatter awfully easily?
- What was holding commander Riker in place? Something had to be actively generating that energy field. Yet they never tried to find the power source.
- Just after Data frees Riker and they're looking for the rest of the away team, another weapon attacks. When Data throws Yar out of danger, Brent Spiner has quite obviously been replaced by a stunt double.
- First Logan bitches about staying, then he bitches about leaving? WTF? OK maybe this isn't a "problem" because lots of people in real life act this hypocritical but it is still however annoying. Why didn't Geordi point out his hypocrisy? Because he was afraid of Logan's superior rank? Who cares about that Geordi, you were in command! Make him look like a fool!
- We have to assume that the Drake was lost with all hands because they never tell us what happens. Not a problem, but definitely a loose thread which the episode should have tied up.
- This is the first of many episodes in which Riker refuses a command (or talks about a refused command) and that refusal incidentally saves his life. Hmm!
- Riker: "No. The name of my ship is the Lollipop." Paul: "I have no knowledge of that ship." Riker: "It's just been commissioned. It's a good ship." The entire scene is remarkable.
- Notice how the second Riker is incapacitated, Picard takes the opportunity to plunge himself into immediate danger on the planet? Something Riker would certainly object to? The counselor objects, but PIcard doesn't seem to care.
- I liked the scenes with Geordi and Chief Engineer Logan. At first it seemed shallow but it grew on me.
- The scenes with the Doctor coaching Picard on on-the-fly medicine were extremely well done.
- Geordi and Troi's scene together is also well done.
- Riker regarding Data jumping: "Data, it's over ten meters!" Data: "11.75, commander." Yar: "Data, you may be sturdy, but not indestructible!"
- Geordi: "Relinquishing command, captain." Picard: "As you were, lieutenant." Geordi: "Sir?" Picard: "Mr. LaForge, when I left this ship it was in one piece. I would appreciate your returning it to me in the same condition. Do you concur number one?" Riker: "Absolutely, sir."
Excellent character development of Beverly and Geordi. Excellent performances by everyone. Every character had a good showing and a worthwhile purpose. Even the guests were great except for maybe Chief Engineer Logan. But he was only slightly annoying. (See problems.) One of the best of the first season. I don't like the premise nor the plot so much as I like the execution. This episode is a great example of how a mediocre idea can be made great by a good implementation. A pity that other episodes of this season with great premises couldn't have been better implemented and so exciting.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-06-04 at 1:36am:
- After Data removes Riker from the force field, Data mentions that they need to find Picard and Crusher. Since he was encased in the force field, Riker didn't even know Picard was on the planet, let alone lost. Given his belief that captains should stay on their ships, shouldn't Riker be really ticked off when he learns that Picard is on the surface?
- Picard saves the day when he agrees to buy the weapons system. The demonstration ends and the fourth pod evaporates. So why is La Forge still fighting the pod in orbit? Shouldn't it have evaporated as soon as the demonstration ended?
- Immediately after destroying the pod, La Forge drops the shields so they can beam the away team back. Isn't the star drive section still flying through the atmosphere? Aren't the shields the only thing keeping the ship from burning up?
- From djb on 2008-03-17 at 3:14pm:
I really enjoyed the battle sequence towards the end of this episode. The combination of the action with the music is very effective, and the tension is further increased by Geordi's mixed feelings about commanding the ship. Even though the actual "battle" was not very complicated, it was still quite expertly done, and made for one of the more memorable episodes from Season 1.
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-08 at 8:39pm:
Picard's decision to go to the planet is very odd. Normally I don't mind when the captain leads the away time, it is just one of those things you accept about Star Trek. But here my suspension of disbelief was really tested. Picard is told that the situation down on the planet is actively dangerous, and nothing seems to require his personal presence. If there is any time he should stay on the ship, this is it. Yet he beams down without even a security team. The worst part is that Troi reminds us he isn't supposed to be doing this! Yet we never even get an explanation for his actions. Maybe he had a precognitive vision that he needed to beam down and fall in a hole in order to complete the mission.
Something about the general plotting of the episode wasn't very appealing to me. But you are right, many of the individual scenes are well executed. I love the Lollipop dialogue.
- From Jeff Browning on 2011-09-20 at 10:08am:
The weapons were hilariously hokey and poorly done. The shooting was so obviously contrived to hide the booms that were moving them. Realizing this is before CGI, but still. Some of TNG special effects were quite innovative and effective. This episode does not show that, unfortunately. The other issue was that Geordi tolerates far too much from Logan. Its irritating. I have been around the military for much of my life. Logan's behavior was contemptible and would not have been tolerated.
- From mattymjp on 2013-07-16 at 9:18am:
First of all, great website! Am really enjoying reading your reviews, I've decided to start watching TNG from the beginning and your site is helping me to decide which dud episodes to miss (of which there are a few in the first couple of seasons especially)
Rewatching the first season has been a bit painful so far, it has dated and I'm looking forward to getting onto Season 3 onwards. Some of the acting is awful, although Patrick Steward is ALWAYS good, with Levar Burton and Brent Spiner the other stand-out actors in my opinion. Johnny Frakes does improve as time goes by though.
I wasn't a fan of this particular episode. Thought it was cheesy and left too many unanswered questions at the end. And they used the exact same shots for the saucer section separating as in Encounter at Farpoint. But it was a good Geordi episode.
- Yar gives a big wave to the captain when he leaves the cargo bay at the end of the episode... uh why? Supposedly it's because it was the last scene she filmed as a regular cast member. But there's no canon reason why.
- I don't know why, but I love the looks of almost disgust Picard and Riker and the rest of the crew give each other when the freighter Saction's crewmembers speak over the hail.
- That natural electrical charge sure is handy. Yar and Riker's discussion on it is also nicely done and technically correct.
- I love the initial plague fear at the beginning of the episode before they know it's a narcotic.
- Data: "I would estimate four billion, three hundred and seventy five million--" Picard, interrupting: "Thank you Mr. Data."
- Yar and Wesley discussing drugs.
- Riker being electrocuted, the look on his face, Picard refusing to back down, the whole scene was amazing.
- Picard disgusted at the end: "Just put some distance between us and this system."
A narcotic somehow maintains an economic balance between two groups of people. How many times have we seen this in our own history? And even today? Some say that cigarettes are "the stupid people tax," seeing as how the U.S. government taxes them heavily. They tax the "stupid people" and redistribute the money to better causes by funding schools, road maintenance, and other tax funded things. Many smokers say to non smokers, "if we didn't smoke, where would all that tax money come from?" A similar dilemma is presented in this episode. Without the revenue generated from the narcotic in this episode, the producing species would supposedly not have a way to sustain themselves. The problem with that argument is that it's a cop out--denial of the real problem by using a cheap short-sighted excuse. What these people are really saying is, "I don't want to change." If smoking was banned tomorrow, schools, roads, etc, would still get paid for. Taxes would simply be collected from elsewhere. And if this symbiotic narcotic relationship in this episode were to be instantly severed, which is essentially what Picard did, the two planets would eventually get over each other and learn to survive on their own. The given here is that overcoming narcotic addiction on a global scale is preferable to short term gains acquired by exploiting its production.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-06-06 at 3:04am:
Changed Premise: If the transporter can screen out bacteria and viruses, as mentioned in this episode, how could the young people who went on the field trip in the episode "Angel One" bring back a viral infection?
- At the end of the show, La Forge calls out the new heading, "9-7-0 mark 3-1-8." The episode "Datalore" establishes that each of the numbers given in a heading cannot exceed 360.
- From Jens-Ivar Seland on 2009-05-22 at 12:34pm:
Merritt Butrick, who plays T'Jon, also plays Kir'k son David Marcus, in Start Trek 2 and 3.
- From rpeh on 2010-06-20 at 1:33pm:
The god-awful "Just say no" exchange between Wesley, Yar and Data is the single most preaching, sanctimonious scene in Star Trek. Apart from that, it's not a bad episode.
- From Nick Counts on 2010-11-08 at 3:19pm:
Sobi is played by Judson Scott, who also played Kahn's right hand man in Wrath of Khan
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-13 at 9:00pm:
I found the Prime Directive issues raised in this episode very interesting. Picard's dilemma is much more abstruse than in the typical morality episode since the Prime Directive doesn't exist in the real world.
Picard's approach is interesting because, if he hadn't been aware of the political situation, he clearly would have given the Ornarans their engineering parts and told them they were not really sick. So Picard is not merely being neutral, he is actively manipulating the two sides in order to return them to the situation they were in before the Enterprise arrived.
The downside to the episode is that it strains credulity to believe that in 200 years, nobody on Ornara has ever realized he can't die from the plague or noticed what the Brekkans are doing. Perhaps the Brekkans control the government and media on Ornara, and anyone who realizes the truth is taken away by the secret police.
Also, how can the Ornarans be so stoned that they can't even remember how to maintain the space ships that they believe are critical to their planetary survival? You would think the Brekkans, at least, would try to correct the problem when the freighters started breaking down. Oh well, those silly alien races can be pretty short-sighted sometimes.
- From a2a on 2012-02-11 at 6:08pm:
The beginning of this episode made me realize something: I really enjoy how in TNG the Captain addresses and encourages the entire crew, and not just the senior officers (at least in these early episodes - for instance he did this also in Where No One Has Gone Before - and perhaps continues to throughout the series). It creates atmosphere and realism, and gives you a sense of the ship as a whole, with its full complement. When you see random crew men, they are no longer quite so random and forgettable, because they've been incorporated in some small but emotionally significant way into the main events. There's a real sense that the story is about them too, and not just about the main characters.
I'm not so sure about DS9, but this was something that was sorely lacking in Voyager, with a few exceptions. With Voyager, after a while you kind of get the sense that the ship doesn't extend very far beyond the bridge, the captain's quarters, and sickbay (and later the astrometrics lab). (BTW this is why I so strongly disagreed with Kethinov and very much appreciated Neelix' short-lived television show - it gave the ship a kind of social *atmosphere* (and incorporated the rest of the crew and their minor dramas and events...).
Anyway, I'm getting off topic. Little more to say about the actual episode. Quite a good one.
A possible problem in the technical ineptness of the addicted population: I mean, they supplied their drug-dealers with all the means of survival and even prosperity, right? (Who themselves had no industry besides cultivating and producing the narcotic.) So... how inept could they really be? If they could provide for the "necessities of life" of both their own planet and another dependent one, is it really conceivable that they can't maintain their ships, can't produce replacement parts, don't have the necessary tools, and can't align their engine coils or whatever?
The resolution of the episode hinges on this technical ineptness (on a societal scale, not just with this particular crew), and I'm not sure it really squares with their role as suppliers in the relationship...
- From 1ne Moon Circles on 2012-02-17 at 11:57pm:
I have done a ton of reading about Yar leaving STNG, I am still not convinced that Yar did not have a drug problem. If so the after school special scene between Yar and Young Crusher must have been so humiliating for her.
I agree with what some others have said about the drug addicts, if they were industrious enough to supply the drug dealers with all the their posh comforts
then could they really be so technicnly unaware and dim?
- From Daniel on 2014-07-09 at 1:06am:
Just one comment for this episode... In the scene where the Enterprise approaches the star, and the bridge crew is blinded by the bright light, Picard orders them to "mask out the photosphere", and a big black dot appears on the view screen and is moved into place. With 24th century technology, a big black dot is the best they could come up with to filter out bright light??? Kind of lacking on the tech level here.
- Geordi drops his phaser into the alien slime just after Riker is engulfed.
- The feasibility of the skin of evil alien is questionable.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- During the multiple Datas scene, one of them says, "It's me!"
- Data says the mad scientist guy's experiments were causing time ripples with a radius of 1000 light years or more, yet nobody seems concerned about the implications of such a thing being true.
- For some reason, Denise Crosby is still credited as Tasha Yar for the rest of the season, despite her death in the prior episode. I guess they couldn't be bothered to alter the opening credits.
- Picard's fencing match in the beginning.
- Picard: "Enough of this self-indulgence." Regarding his time on the holodeck.
- Picard's strange behavior on the bridge when he reaches his old girlfriend before anyone else know just who's down there.
- Picard, Data, and Riker meeting themselves from 5 seconds ago is awesome.
- Picard confronting his lost love regarding their unfinished business.
- Beverly fantasizing about Picard.
- Data navigating the obstacle course lab.
- Data talking to his three selves.
What this episode lacks in its attempts to be profound it makes up for in being a great character story for Picard with a wonderful action sequence for Data. Even by now, stories about characters being reunited with "old flames" are becoming something of a cliche on Star Trek. It's not necessarily unrealistic that in the course of scampering across the galaxy that some of the characters would meet up with people they used to spend a lot of time with, but at the same time it strikes me as a somewhat unimaginative way to force character development out of an episode. I can't help but roll my eyes and say "oh, of course there's somebody Picard used to know on that planet!" Despite this, the episode was solid and entertaining, if a bit unrealistic at times.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-06-07 at 2:34am:
- When the Enterprise receives the first distress call from Dr. Manheim, he gives only two coordinates to his location. How were they able to travel to the correct location? Three coordinates are needed for three-dimensional space.
- Jenice tells Picard she waited for him all day. She also comments that it was raining. Their rendezvous was at an open-air cafe! Did Jenice sit in the rain all day and wait for Picard?
- During the time rift, the multiple Datas question each other as to who is in the correct position. The middle Data says, "It's me!" In addition to the fact Data cannot use contractions, Data's response is also bad grammar. The correct response should be, "It is I!"
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-14 at 1:16pm:
The character development was amusing to watch. The other plot was too perfunctory, with unnecessarily huge implications that were ignored.
At the end, Dr. Mannheim asks to return to the research lab, and Picard says OK. I was flabbergasted. They should be hauling him off to prison for Reckless Endangerment of the Galaxy!
@DSOmo: I notice the rain issue as well, but I assumed the cafe was open-air from the sides, not from the top. I don't think the camera ever panned up to show whether or not there was a roof or canopy above them.
- From Percivale on 2011-12-06 at 11:17am:
I think the real mistake was deciding that Data wouldn't be able to use contractions. It makes no sense other than to make Data more identifiable as an automaton - which they try so hard to disprove throughout the series - and they obviously couldn't keep up with their own rule.
- From 0ne mooner on 2012-02-18 at 12:31am:
In which Data gets to be a hero. Win!
The guest star who plays the prof also plays Sigmund Frued on Bill and Ted's excellent adventure.
If riker is to buy a round at the blue parrot how is he to do this? I thought currency in the federation was obsolete?
- From mattymjp on 2013-07-21 at 3:05am:
Some interesting outfits worn by the female guest stars in this episode. That is all I have to say!
- Riker orders Geordi to increase speed to warp 6. Geordi responds with, "Aye sir, full impulse."
- Picard takes Riker into the transporter room alone to talk to him in private, yet when Picard yells "Energize!" it isn't Riker who beams him down. We don't see who or what did it so was it the computer? If so, why do we always see people operating the transporter? If it wasn't the computer, then some random transporter operator just heard all this classified information. Either way you spin it it's still a plot hole.
- Why would the aliens need to send a signal to their homeland at all? Clearly, they knew where the Federation was in the first place, as they orchestrated a conspiracy to take it over.
- This episode won an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Series.
- Data attempting to laugh.
- Data: "One can swim in moonlight?"
- Worf: "Swimming is too much like bathing." Apparently Worf hates being clean.
- Data: "In a manner of speaking, it is nothing but a lifeless hunk of rock. A useless ball of mud. A worthless chunk of--" Riker: "Thank you Data."
- Picard: "Relay those coordinates to the transporter room. I'm beaming down." Riker: "Alone, captain?" Picard: "Alone, number one!" Picard didn't want to hear any crap from Riker today! Way to assert yourself Picard!
- Data talking to himself and the computer interrupting his rambling much like Riker did earlier.
- Quinn kicking Riker's ass and laughing at unbelievable blows he receives.
- Riker and Picard shoot the last admiral in the ass at once point!
- Remmick's death was so wonderfully gory.
This episode features nice continuity with TNG: Coming of Age and a valued look into a bit of the rest of the Federation. We get to meet three other starship captains and we get to see Earth as it exists in this century for the first time. Besides this novelty there is little else to redeem this episode. The actual plot is painful to watch, as conspiracy plots usually are. Regardless of the fact that this conspiracy does indeed pan out, I almost would rather it didn't as the level of gory shock value in this episode is too much, with the maggot eating scene stepping a bit over the line. I did enjoy the interesting humor at the beginning of the episode, with lines like "one can swim in moonlight?" and "swimming is too much like bathing" becoming absolute classic quotes in my opinion. However, again, aside from simple trivia, I find this episode nowhere near as profound as it tries to be and the apparent risk of the parasites some day mounting a full scale invasion at the end distinctly not menacing.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From a on 2006-09-07 at 11:43am:
according to Memory-alpha.org:
[did you know]...that the original version of the script for Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Conspiracy" did not feature alien parasites? The 'conspiracy' in question was simply a military coup within Starfleet, but Gene Roddenberry vehemently opposed such an idea, since he believed Starfleet would never stoop to such methods; thus the alien angle was introduced at his insistence.
- From DSOmo on 2007-06-08 at 4:29am:
- During the "Code 47" transmission, Keel tells Picard to trust no one. Later, after their covert meeting on the planet, Keel says, "This meeting never took place as far as Starfleet is concerned." Then, just as Picard is leaving, Keel says, "Tell Beverly 'hello' for me." How is he supposed to tell Dr. Crusher that he saw Keel if the meeting never happened and he isn't supposed to trust anyone?
- When Riker is attacked by Admiral Quinn, Riker calls Security. In the next scene, Geordi and Worf are running down the corridor. What happened to the rest of the security force? I realize that "extras" cost money, but sending both Worf and La Forge from the bridge is a bit much.
- When Data reviews all Starfleet command decisions for the past six months, the information rapidly flashes across his display screen. One of the graphics shown is a parrot! What does a parrot have to do with command decisions?
- From thaibites on 2009-12-02 at 8:49pm:
Don't listen to the lame review on this one. This episode rocks! Finally, a 1st season episode with some testicles.
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-13 at 10:52am:
- The idea of an alien conspiracy was interesting, but really suffered from compression into one episode. Imagine how much a show with more continuity, such as DS9, could have done with this concept!
- Perhaps this is why the aliens seem rather inept. Quinn beams over alone, then decides to have fun beating up Riker in hand-to-hand combat. He should have known Riker would call security; in fact, Riker is rather tardy about doing so. Basically, the Enterprise crew don't do anything clever, Quinn/Alien just hands them the victory on a silver platter. And the other aliens aren't much better.
- DSOmo's comments are spot-on as far as Keel's comment and the security team are concerned. It was just silly when the "security team" consists of Worf and Geordi. Geordi?
- From Nicolas on 2011-03-28 at 4:43am:
Why can't Data simply download the information instead of having to painstakingly read it on the computer screen?
- From CAlexander on 2011-04-07 at 11:57am:
Response to Nicolas: This is consistent with many other episodes. Data doesn’t have the ability to download data directly from the computer. His positronic brain is a unique technology quite different from that used by the Enterprise computers.
- From rpeh on 2011-06-03 at 4:42am:
This is a good episode with one or two wrinkles, the main one being the awful acting by most of the support cast. It's also pretty clear that money was running out, hence the lack of extras in the Enterprise security team and in Star Fleet HQ. It really detracts from the believability when the captain of the fleet's flagship is greeted by a total of four or five people.
I don't understand the comments in the main review about the conspiracy. I thought it was fairly well done, and I imagine we would have seen the parasites again had somebody not come up with the idea of The Borg.
- From a2a on 2012-02-12 at 6:53pm:
Wow. This was a rather shocking episode. There were quite a few uncharacteristic elements - not bad, not necessarily great, just rather surprising. I'm thinking here of the utter GORE, SHOCK and AWE, when Picard and Riker *violently decapitate* an investigator from Starfleet's inspector general's office. I did not see that coming.
As Picard himself admits, it was counter-intuitive and uncharacteristic for him. I don't know that I entirely agree that it was absolutely necessary (they didn't really *try* anything else, just went for the exploding head approach), but at the same time, I'm not prone to complain about or question the decision. I mean, somehow, in the strangeness of this episode, it seems appropriate. These was a rather insidious threat and the solution was rather ballsy...and apparently successful...
Though here we're left with a bit of a question mark and the eerie soundtrack playing over the credits. This is another uncharacteristic aspect for Star Trek - an ominous cliffhanger... This like a number of other things about this episode reminds one of a Hollywood horror flick rather than the show we're used to...
(The worms dinner scene and some of the writing in general is also sort of Hollywood, or almost Stephen King or something...as I mentioned, this is not necessarily good or bad, its just different and surprising, and I commend the writers for mixing it up a bit.)
I must also commend the special effects guys, because that's another thing that was very Hollywood here, in a definitively good way - the effects when Remmick's head explodes and the "mother creature" emerges were absolutely stunning. Imaginative, gory, detailed, disturbing and quite convincing.
So hats off for this bizarre shocker of an episode. (My jaw dropped at least once, which doesn't happen much.)
- From 1moonCircleEyesInDark on 2012-02-18 at 9:26pm:
Not only do Worf and Geordi(?) Show up when Riker calls security but ... Unarmed?!? However Crusher (a medical officer) IS armed? Ok I just didn't get that one? It is like a joke, a medical, science, and security officer walk into a bar and...
I hate to say it but I enjoyed seeing Riker get his butt kicked by grandpa, I think it was priceless. I do like Riker however, especially in later seasons.
The sound effect used at the end of the episode to indicate a disturbance in the force. (i.e. the communication from the bug things to their home world) sounded very similar to the sound effect (used more rhythmically) in the film Contact (Carl Sagan's not ST) when the transport plans are sent to earth from the Vega system.
Anyhow this episode for me was to full of plot holes to really be enjoyable. But I did like Data laughing and chatting with the computer.
- From Nadrac on 2012-05-06 at 8:07pm:
Very disappointing episode considering the buildup to it. Yes it had plot holes, stupidity. I just can't forgive one scene when admiral decided to go onto enterprise( he was a poor choice for this kind of thing considering the history Picard and he has ) anyway then starts a fist fight with Riker, not like it was unavoidable, geordi and worf was alredy mentioned but riker reported an emergency and it seems they bought the "he slipped explanation". For the the love of god, if you tell a story of them being sneaky be consistent, blown up star ship and altered orders were a great buildup for nothing, tail hanging out again watered it down and a single guy dying ended it.
2-3/10 ( just for the first part )
I am rewatching tng picking only the above average episodes based on rating, this was misleading.
- From mattymjp on 2013-07-23 at 5:27pm:
Good episode, they cut the gory bit at the end on SyFy though, had to watch it on YouTube.
- Why is Riker so disinterested in the ancient Earth spacecraft? Isn't finding stuff like this exactly the kind of thing starfleet is out there for?
- How does Picard make it into the 20th century people's quarters so quickly? Did he beam outside of the door?
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of TNG Award."
- Worf walks into the door on the ancient space vehicle expecting it to open.
- Picard, seems busy and annoyed: "What is it doctor?" Beverly: "It's the people from the capsule." Picard, confused: "Capsule, people, what people?" I just like the way he says that. Like he's in a rush or something. Then when Beverly says she thawed them, Picard says, "You what?" But then listened to her and accepted it.
- I like how Beverly explains how their conditions were terminal in the 1900s but not in the 2300s.
- Picard getting pissed at Data for bringing up frozen people and Data standing his ground.
- The 20th century girl's reaction to seeing a Klingon for the first time was silly, but Picard's line shortly after became famous. "Welcome to the 24th century."
- Data: "Her occupation: homemaker. Must be some kind of construction work."
- I like the question and answer regarding the Enterprise being an "American" ship.
- 20th century music man: "What is that?" Data looks behind him, oblivious to the fact that music man was talking about Data.
- Troi's briefing to Picard on what Romulans are all about is great.
- I absolutely love Data talking about how TV becomes obsolete by 2040. A TV show predicting the fall of TV! Then of course music man's shallow reaction. "You don't drink and you don't watch TV, your life must be boring." So true of people's interests today.
- Riker talking about how the unfrozen people have no redeemable qualities.
- The second Romulan briefing is just as impressive as the first. Everyone is alert, the discussion is intriguing.
- Picard: "Data, identify. What is the Q.E.2?" Data: "It was a passenger liner which traveled mostly Earth's Atlantic ocean during the late 20th and early 21st centuries." Picard: "He's comparing the Enterprise to a cruise ship?" Picard was obviously annoyed at the fact that the guests weren't aware of the fact that the Enterprise was the flagship of the Federation.
- Picard to Offenhouse: "We are in a very serious and potentially very dangerous situation." Offenhouse: "I'm sure whatever it is seems very important to you. But my situation is far more critical." What arrogance! Picard: "I don't think you are aware of your situation or how much time has passed." Offenhouse: "Believe me, I am fully aware of where I am and when. It is simply that I have more to protect than a man in your position could possibly imagine. No offense meant, but a military career has never really been considered to be upwardly mobile. I must contact my lawyer." Picard: "Your lawyer has been dead for centuries." Offenhouse: "Yes, I know that. But he was a full partner in a very important firm. Rest assured that firm is still operating." Picard: "That's what all this is about... A lot has changed in the last 300 years. People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We have eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We've grown out of our infancy." Offenhouse: "You've got it all wrong. It has never been about possessions. It's about power." Picard: "The power to do what?" Offenhouse: "To control your life. Your destiny." Picard: "That kind of control is an illusion." Offenhouse: "Really? I'm here, aren't I? I should be dead. But I'm not."
- No surprise but the rest of Picard's scene with the 20th century people is great.
- I love the doctor trying to keep from getting pissed at music man in sickbay when he asks for drugs and sexually harasses her.
- Data's scene with music man was good too. I like how directly he explained 24th century politics to him. Music man: "What is that neutral zone?" Data: "It is a buffer zone between the Romulan Empire and the Federation."
- I love how Picard kept refusing to be as aggressive as Riker and Worf wanted toward the Romulans.
- The Romulan ship decloaking is absolutely thrilling.
- Worf's outburst and the revelation that his parents were killed at Khitomer by Romulans.
- Picard's discussion with the Romulans onboard the Romulan ship was fantastic.
This episode makes an interesting statement regarding freezing a person after his or her death to preserve their life woven together with a thrilling, mysterious, edge-of-your-seat Romulan plot. I like how everyone assumes Romulans are responsible for the outposts being destroyed only to discover later that they were not responsible. The military tension on board is very like the Red Scare and fear of Communism, which of course this episode is supposed to represent, like many early Romulan episodes. I also like how the previous hostile history with the Romulans makes diplomacy with them now a carefully played complex chess match. Virtually this entire episode is one great moment after another, and we even get some valuable character development along the way, such as a bit about Worf's past. The frozen people and Romulan plots compliment each other very nicely in many ways too. For example, by uncovering these people out of time, the characters get a chance to tell us how much the Federation is an improved version of us. And Picard only reinforces this in his dealings with the Romulans. A great show.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-06-09 at 3:52am:
- Why does the Enterprise just hang in space waiting for Picard to return in the shuttle? Why doesn't the Enterprise warp over to get him? It can travel much faster than a shuttle, and as it turns out, speed is of the essence. As soon as Picard reaches the bridge, he sets a course for the Neutral Zone at warp 8!
- When Offenhouse wanders onto the bridge, Riker orders Security to have him removed. The Security guys do rush over and grab him, but then they get mesmerized by the decloaking Romulan ship. What kind of military discipline is this?
- While Riker is talking to the recently thawed humans, Picard pages him. Riker gets up from his chair, walks over to a companel, touches it, and responds. Riker is notorious for not touching anything when it comes to communications. And why would he get up and walk over to a companel when he could just slap his chest? Obviously it is a plot contrivance to allow Offenhouse to see how they work so that later in the episode he can bother Picard.
- From carsonist on 2009-03-28 at 10:14am:
I was proud of myself for recognizing that the Romulan you see on the left is the actor who later plays Gul Dukat. He still has the same speech patterns.
In all, a good episode.
- From onlinebroker on 2009-09-21 at 6:39am:
Best episode in season 1, but the end feels a bit weird. So the romulans didnt destroy the outpost, who did? Nobody cares and they just leave? Weird.
- From thaibites on 2009-12-02 at 11:05pm:
BORING...we needed less losers from the past and more Romulans.
- From Roland on 2010-04-16 at 5:42pm:
This episode, IMO, sets the stage for the introduction of the Borg
- From rpeh on 2010-06-20 at 4:58pm:
One of the most overrated episodes. The whole thing is so rushed, you have to assume it was originally intended to be a two-parter and got cut down later on. Beyond comic relief, the frozen humans offer nothing and the only purpose of the Romulans is to come out with that awful "we're back" line.
In brief: the humans serve no real purpose; the Romulans serve no real purpose... so what is the purpose of this episode?
- From Bernard on 2010-06-21 at 2:36pm:
I agree completely with rpeh. This episode is decidedly average. There is some talk of the palpable tension when the Romulans make their appearance? Well someone must have forgotten to tell me about it because there is little tension in this episode about 21st century humans trying to deal with waking up 300 years later. While that is an interesting premise it it very rushed and wasted on this episode. As is the reintroduction of the Romulans. They do not threaten, or hint at aggression. There simply is no 'game of chess'. They simply appear near the end to huge hype and there is no payoff at all.
Overall I would say the fan rating of 6.5 is a pretty good indicator, I'd give it a 5 or 6.
- From linearA on 2010-09-03 at 12:58am:
I was bothered by the preachy talk about how people in the 24th century no longer fear death. Still, I was able to overlook the episode's shortcomings, and I consider this the first top-notch episode.
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-27 at 11:49pm:
I don't rate this episode very highly, but it did have its moments. When I first watched this episode, and saw the huge new Warbird uncloak in front of the Enterprise, I thought it was pretty cool. The Romulan plot had some definite suspense. But most of the episode was dedicated to the cryogenics plot, which totally clashed with the Romulan plot; the suspense was broken up by silly 20th century antics. Also, the suspense is something of an unfulfilled promise. Of course it sounds interesting to say "The Romulans disappeared mysteriously, nobody has seen them for 50 years, and now they are back!" It sounds like a teaser to make you watch a TV show. But when nothing interesting is really ever made of the premise, it is hard to give it any brownie points.
Some of the 24th-20th century clashes are interesting as far as how they develop and explain the Star Trek universe. Picard's statement about how the purpose of life in the 24th century is self-improvement, not survival or making money, is particularly memorable to me. But primarily the screen time was spent with the 20th century humans annoying the Enterprise crew, which I didn't find entertaining.
- From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-20 at 11:17am:
This episode fleshes out one of the main themes of TNG: the idea that life is no longer about acquisition of material wealth, power, fame, or any of the other external status symbols that we strive for, but is instead about internal things: Intellectual, artistic and spiritual pursuits.
That is, as long as the pursuits are not in the form of organized religion, which is generally panned by TNG. But I digress.
The idea that the Federation manages without a concept of currency is commonly expressed in TNG, as it is here. This seems rather preposterous, frankly. Currency is required for any kind of reasonable economy, and in places like Utopia Plenetia we see huge works going on. How is this managed? How does the Federation manage to obtain valuable commodities like dylithium from other races without some form of currency? In Voyager where the crew is frequently running short on stuff, they resort to barter, a rather inefficient way of organizing economic transactions.
The Ferengi certainly have a currency in the form of gold-pressed latinum, but this is a symbol of how they are less evolved.
- From Helium on 2012-02-19 at 12:46am:
I think the next time I get a sales pitch from my ISP attempting to sign me onto a TV contract I will quote Data "That particular form of entertainment [will
become] extinct in the year 2040". I really hope he is right. I hope on demand video and OLED screens 3D or whatever is coming will evolve to make TV (and pushing ADS 24/7) completely obsolete. I also hope that our species does in fact survive the 21st century. I often think that with so many Offenhouses, perhaps we will evolve into the Ferangi or perhaps even the Borg (although that would take much longer than a mere 300 years).
Anyhow I am getting slightly off topic. I LOVE this episode. There is so much to ponder. So many reasons to fall in love (again) with the United Federation of Planets. It makes me want to raise the flag, go to Starfleet Academy and put on a tight fitting jump suit. Alas I will not live that long however, after viewing this episode one can only hope we live up to our potential as a species. Let us all prove to Riker we can indeed survive the 21st century.
- From doulos23 on 2013-12-24 at 1:32am:
I believe at the core of whether this episode is liked or not has a lot to do with one's personal agreement with the Roddenberry-ian philosophies or not. It is no secret that Gene's vision was of a techno socialist Utopia. It is an easier pill to swallow the pedantic lecturing of so-called "unevolved" selfish 20 Century man if one agrees with the "promise" of such a future - and one is forgiving of Anvilicious programming. I love Trek, but caricatures are straw men no matter your personal worldview.
- From Amine on 2015-05-15 at 10:00am:
What's with the judgment of cryonics? What a condescending reaction they all had, especially Riker with "no redeeming qualities"... how dehumanizing! There is a contradiction in them doing medicine at all and then scorning people for staying alive in this way. And Picard essentially wanted Data to murder those people in the beginning of the episode. Bizarre.
- From tigertooth on 2017-03-18 at 1:41am:
As others have indicated, I felt the two plot strands didn't mesh together well and neither was very satisfying. We spend most of our time with the unfrozen people, but then never really resolve their plot. Instead the climax goes to the Romulan plot, but given the fact that the destroyed colonies are never mentioned again, that's unsatisfying as well.
There were elements in both plots that could have been developed better and made into good episodes (probably separate episodes), but as it is, this is kind of a mess. Not terrible by any means -- probably in the top half of 1st season episodes -- but not that good.
- From Mike on 2017-03-29 at 12:43am:
Riker: "It's a pity we can't take them ourselves. Having them on board is like a visit from the past."
Picard: "That would take us in the wrong direction. Our mission is to go forward..."
This is an odd thing to hear Picard say when you realize, after watching the entire series, that he almost became an archaeologist and it's still his main hobby.
What is believable though is the behavior of the 20th century humans. My favorite is Offenhouse, only because he represents so many of the things you hope humanity will indeed eventually move away from as imagined by Star Trek.
The impending encounter with the Romulans looms over this episode nicely, building tension that doesn't disappoint. Best of the first season by far.