Star Trek TNG - Season 7
- It seems unlikely that Hugh's individuality could have caused so much chaos in the collective and that a whole ship of Borg would just somehow all become individuals. It makes sense that the Borg would have severed the renegade Borg from the collective though. We can rationalize this by saying the whole thing was some kind of fluke. But it's a stretch.
- This is the last Lore episode.
- Crusher in command of the Enterprise.
- Data trying to be funny amidst the torture.
- Beverly executing her tricky warp speed exit to get people off the planet.
- Beverly using metaphasic shielding to enter the sun's corona. Excellent continuity with TNG: Suspicions.
- Taitt destroying the Borg ship.
- Data's announcement that the emotion chip was damaged when Data fired on Lore.
- Data almost phasering the emotion chip.
- LaForge: "Maybe some day. When you're ready."
This episode provides the expected explanation for the Borg's seemingly silly behavior in the previous episode, along with Data's emotions. Lore, who believes himself perfect, happened to be in the right place at the right time when Picard returned Hugh to the Borg in TNG: I, Borg. Lore takes over the confused Borg and uses them to assemble an army. Also as expected, Dr. Crusher gets the nice screen time she deserves. She does an excellent job commanding the Enterprise. Unfortunately, despite these details, while the premise sets itself up weakly, the conclusion finishes the episode off even weaker than before. The only redeeming qualities are Beverly's performance commanding the ship and Data's final scenes with Geordi at the end. Beyond that, a disappointing plot.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-06-05 at 9:46pm:
Whith the Borg powerful once again under Lore, what do they have to show for it? They have only one ship protecting thier leader, which gets fried by the sun. On the ground, they have a large gang of Borg living inside a building. Where is the army of Borg that assimilate whole planets?
- From TashaFan on 2008-10-31 at 3:41am:
One thing that bothered me about the premise is, if the Borg assimilate individuals, every one of those individuals lived a whole life as an individual with a sense of self. So why would Hugh developing a sense of self for a few days be so disruptive to the collective or even to a single cube?
- From Zaphod on 2011-04-14 at 8:59am:
How can Data feel the urge to develop emotions if he doesn't already have emotions? How can he show signs of withdrawal without emotions? He doesn't have unpleasant feelings so what's the problem? Physical symptoms? Again, why would he even bother if these symptoms don't lead to negative emotions?
Why would he want to befriend anyone without emotions?
How can a character as badly written as Data be part of a TV show? A lot of questions and no good answers. ^^
- From ElGuapo on 2011-11-30 at 4:30pm:
Problem: When Geordi is strapped down to the table, you see him move his hand almost completely out of the restraint with ease. He slips it back in as if nothing happened.
A decent episode. It's good to see Hugh return, and I've always liked the Lore episodes.
- From dan on 2012-04-20 at 12:07am:
I loved this episode (both parts). It might not have been the deepest plot, but it was exciting in a way few Trek episodes are. Great continuity with Hugh, and Dr. Crusher using the metaphasic shield. The scenes with Geordi and Data were quite intense. Also loved seeing Data take out Lore one and for all.
- Terellians have four arms, according to Picard.
- Worf "having problems."
- Beverly trying to explain the concept of a buffet to the ambassador.
- Worf attempting to tolerate his diplomatic assignment.
- Data insulting Worf accidentally(?).
- Worf: "I am going to kill him with my bear hands. I will take him by the throat and rip out his esophagus!"
- Worf: "You are an insulting pompous fool and if you were not an ambassador I would disembowel you right here!"
This episode is entertaining though not very credible. The aliens motives just don't seem realistic at all. It's nice that they're not a bunch of psychotic obsessors but are in fact just conducting some harmless research, but their methods leave much to be desired. The pleasant redeems this episode for an extra point. It's always nice to see an understanding and compassionate cast.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Pete Miller on 2006-05-23 at 9:01pm:
I found this episode to be stupid, simply put. The whole idea was just dumb. However, the immense amount of Worf humor was priceless. That cancels out the badness, giving it a 5. Good rating.
- From djb on 2009-01-05 at 1:14am:
Voval says they are studying human culture. Why then, is Byleth learning about Klingon antagonism? Why was Loquel interacting with a half Betazoid? At the very end, you hear one of the Iyaarans say to the other, "fascinating species!" Which one?
- From Neil on 2009-10-18 at 2:18am:
It was fun to see Warf freaking out and offering to disembowel the other ambassador on the spot.
But in all this episode was disappointing, primarily because of what happened in the last few minutes. When Picard discovers the truth, he almost thanks the aliens, which is totally out of character.
Normally, we would see Picard give a fiery lecture about privacy and personal rights when an alien 'uses' people so blatantly. Particularly in his case when he was put through a lot of physical pain and emotional turmoil.
Those aliens would have faced a blistering verbal assault from Picard, not the friendly forgiveness that we saw. I don't know why the writers chose to do this, it's totally out of character.
- From Robert Koenn on 2011-06-19 at 2:42pm:
I gave the episode a 5 but as others have said, overall it was rather absurd but the humor, particularly related to Worf's problems, made it better than it might have been. My wife and I both broke out in laughter when the following scene occurred between Word and Data:
DATA: I have found that in moments of diplomatic tension, it is often helpful to find elements of commonality.
Worf considers this for a moment.
WORF: Ambassador Byleth is... demanding... temperamental... rude...
DATA: (innocently) You share all of those qualities in abundance. Perhaps you should build on your similarities.
There we or course many other humorous parts but that particular sequence was hilarious. There were the obvious inconsistencies such as why did they not simply orbit the alien world rather than use the alien ship and it almost appeared as though they were in an entirely different solar system when they had to crash land on the planet. Most episodes have such errors which are simply written in as the plot line dictates. It would be nice if technically things were more accurate.
- Captain LaForge's ship contained mostly Vulcans.
- I like the teaser, with Geordi's interface.
- Geordi phasering the door with his hand while he's the probe. Nice!
- Data attempting to appreciate poetry.
This episode is annoying in that I think the cast was too quick to dismiss Geordi's plan to find out if his mother was really down on that planet. Sure, he was wrong, but he really did have to try. Additionally, his try saved the lives of some aliens, yet this is not considered at all when Picard yells at him in the end! How insensitive! This episode really makes you feel sorry for Geordi. He loses his mother and he gets yelled at all episode! Finally, why do we never see this interface used ever, ever again?
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From L on 2013-04-27 at 6:02am:
Did they ever show or explain the probe that Geordi was virtually operating? Was it a humanoid robot? Remote contolled mecha? Ball of energy?
- From OmicronThetaDeltaPhi on 2013-05-14 at 9:44am:
It's a metallic probe in the shape of a cylinder, about 3 feet high and one foot in diameter. We know, because there is a scene in the episode where Geordi sees "his" reflection while using the interface, and it is actually the probe shown in the reflection. Geordi then jokes about it and says "I'm seeing my reflection in a panel. I forgot what a handsome guy I am". :-)
- From Daniel on 2014-01-11 at 6:40am:
An interesting side note: Ben Vareen plays Geordi's father in this episode. And Levar Burton (Geordi) played young Kunta Kinte, the father of Chicken George (played by Ben Vareen) in Roots.
- From Doug on 2016-08-30 at 11:51am:
Actually, Ben Vereen played Kunta's grandson in "Roots". however, Madge Sinclair (who played Geordi's mother) was also in "Roots". She was Bell, the wife of older Kunta (played by John Amos).
- The alien describing Picard being vaporized.
- Riker forcing more information from the alien who witnessed Picard's "death."
- Data questioning Riker going on the away team, since he's captain now.
- Data becoming captain!
- Worf: "Sir, they have taken Commander Riker. We must do something. We cannot just sit here!" Data: "On the contrary, Lieutenant. That is precisely what we must do."
- Picard appearing on the smuggler ship, voting to kill Riker!
- The engine trouble aboard the smuggle ship.
- Picard explaining why he wasn't vaporized. A beaming gun! Cool!
- Picard hitting Riker as soon as the smuggler captain walks in.
- Picard's conversation with the Romulan.
- The fake battle.
I loved seeing Data as captain and I absolutely love how Picard and Riker maneuvered whilst aboard the smuggler ship. This episode sets up an exciting premise to the two parter. The captain's supposed death is contrived, but well played nonetheless, and Riker's capture makes both the Enterprise plot thread and the smuggler ship plot thread quite interesting. Overall, this episode is wonderful very intelligently written.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From James on 2007-06-07 at 3:10pm:
I have to say I really dislike this episode. It seems to me like the series switches between a serial series (Jericho, Dominion War DS9 kind of) and a syndicated show (every crappy 80's show on SciFi).
My finance and I have watched everything from season 3 onward and it seems like the show went more serialized in th 6th season and then this piece of crap episode pops up.
1. Starfleet just lets the flag ship stay under Riker and then Data's command.
2. Riker and Data: I thought for sure they were going to make out at least twice in this episode
Data: I am sorry if this ends our relationship
Worf: no it is I....
3. Why in the hell does it take the entire cast (minus Data for once) to go down to the bar and find Picard?
4. My finance and I both think the acting in this episode seemed forces. Data was more robotic than he's ever been - despite all of the advances he's made in 6 years.
- From curt on 2010-04-20 at 1:31pm:
I think this is the only 2 episodes that Picard doesn't wear a starfleet uniform through the whole episode. Every other episode he has a uniform on, at one time or another.
- From Tallifer on 2011-03-12 at 3:18am:
I enjoyed these two episodes for the most part.
However one thing which I hated was how incompetent Worf was with a phaser during the firefight! He is supposed to be the chief of security!
- From Robert Koenn on 2011-06-22 at 7:44am:
Personally I gave this episode an 8 rating. I suppose that was mainly due to it being an exciting episode and a bit off the normal TNG story lines. I also enjoyed the aliens and the Star Wars like bar scene although it did get a bit out of hand when half the bridge crew showed up at the bar. There are always inconsistencies and rather absurd plot line devices so I've grown use to that. Picard playing a thief with his attire and Bronxy accent sounded a bit like in a Piece of the Action from TOS. And as someone else mentioned, these Star Fleet people are some of the worse shots in the galaxy.
- From dronkit on 2014-03-12 at 3:58pm:
Did I hear "I'm receiving a transmission fro admiral Chakotay?" at 8:08 lol
- Riker hitting Picard back. Go Riker!
- Data's chat with Worf.
- Picard: "Oh what a tangled web we weave. I have difficulty remembering whose side I'm on!"
- Picard: "Will, you always seem to be after my job."
- The "revelation" that the Romulan was a Vulcan.
- Worf's "health and safety inspections" idea.
- Beverly nervously introducing herself to the pilot of the Klingon shuttle and conducting her search.
- I love the behavior of the Klingon pilot.
- Picard taking over the smuggler ship.
- Picard carefully testing his "Vulcan" friend.
- Picard's solution to the resonator.
- Picard jokingly ordering Data to escort Riker to the brig and Data following his orders very thoroughly. Hilarious!
The second half of this episode retains the same level of excitement and intelligence. It goes slightly sour with the psyonic resonator, a super god weapon, suddenly real. I love the ending though. The weapon is useless against a disciplined mind! Overall this is one of the most memorable episodes of TNG.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From JRPoole on 2008-10-14 at 9:53pm:
This one just isn't working for me. The melodrama at the beginning of the first part with Riker and Troi hashing it out over Picard's death is badly acted and written. The psyonic resonator turns out to be exceptionally lame. The pain/control devices have been done to death. James Worthy's klingon character is just lame.
That said, there is some memorable stuff here. Data's interaction with Worf is well-done. And there is some good intrigue on a plot level.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2008-11-25 at 3:22pm:
They did all this work, in two episodes, to assemble the artifact, only to find a "gun" that takes 10 seconds to fire. I felt let down.
- From tigertooth on 2011-01-05 at 8:55am:
So what would have been the downside if Data had just ordered that the Enterprise fire on the pirate ship and disable it? I think I have to side with Worf on this one.
- From Robert Koenn on 2011-06-22 at 8:29am:
I was somewhat let down by the second half of this episode. The first 3/4s of it were fine and continued with the first halfs exciting plot and fair amount of action. However the ending was a big let down for me. As was stated in another review, the "ultimate" weapon was a real let down and the Vulcan peace versus war morality from Picard just came out as extremely lame. The Vulcan woman's reaction was totally out of place and I almost expected to see her go into a childish rant about it throwing it on the ground and stomping on it. Again, the plot line devices are just too convenient and everyone beaming into the cavern at the end seemed too convenient. So this one only gets a 6 rating from me.
- From dronkit on 2014-03-12 at 11:41pm:
"my name is actually T'pol and I'm a member of the [vulcan security]"
o.O They were taking lots of names from these episodes, lol
- From Axel on 2015-03-07 at 9:41pm:
The only thing I don't understand about this two-parter is why Picard would end up in the hands of these mercenaries in the first place. You'd think that tracking mercenaries who are stealing "Romulan" artifacts would be dangerous enough that he'd ask for some backup, or at least let someone know what he's doing. The rogue nature of this episode's premise is a little out of character for Picard.
That aside, it's one of the more enjoyable two-parters. There are a lot of twists and turns, and plenty of intrigue once Riker shows up on the mercenary ship. I really liked watching Riker and Picard try to play different sides of Baran, and also liked the Data-Worf subplot. Adventurous and compelling...nicely done.
- Picard lamenting about being invited to a dinner with a bunch of admirals.
- Data staring at his cat.
- The Troi cake.
- Data "oversleeping."
- Riker: "Talk about going nowhere fast."
- Picard trying to be useful in engineering.
- Data stabbing Troi.
- Worf attempting to command Data's cat to come to him.
- Data: "And you must talk to him. Tell him he's a pretty cat. And a good cat."
- Troi's Data cake.
- Data: "I wonder what Dr. Freud would say about the symbolism of devouring oneself."
This episode features good continuity with TNG: Birthright, when Data first discovered his dreaming program. It's nice to see more about this program. I'm glad they don't just sweep the whole incident under the rug like certain other episodes. The Enterprise's engine troubles were thoroughly fun to watch. Every time they try to go to warp the engines blows! Hilarious. Overall the episode is entertaining despite a rather weak plot.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Pete Miller on 2006-05-27 at 9:33pm:
I think that for these data dream episodes, the writers employed one of their teenage sons that trips out on acid all the time. The dream sequences are so extremely bizarre, I'm glad I've never experienced something that messed up.
- From Robert Koenn on 2011-06-23 at 7:35am:
I could only give this episode a 3. As the previous comment said, dream episodes in Star Trek tend to be quite bizarre and surrealistic and I suppose that throws my senses off a bit. I particularly dislike the warped camera views but that only happened briefly during the dream sequences. It was interesting that the dreams meant more than simply Data's imagination developing strange scenarios but were actually tied into this alien presence. However where these "creatures" came from, the lack of the prime directive in dealing with a new life form, and just general plot line seemed a bit absurd to me. Sometimes I know that just to develop a new episode the writers obviously search for a plot and a few times these plots have been quite poor.
- From thaibites on 2012-12-18 at 10:21pm:
I thought this was one of the better episodes. It's nice to have some surrealism instead of soap opera. It was a little like that 80's movie Videodrome.
- From Rob UK on 2015-02-25 at 5:25pm:
For me this episode falls flat on it's arse for one reason the unrealistic character representation in the way of Geordi, throughout all seven seasons he has less pussy than Data's cat and here he has some hot young ensign throwing herself at him and he is acting like she is an annoyance that he doesn't have time for
- Lwaxana talking Picard to death.
- Lwaxana calling Worf "wolf" again.
- Lwaxana telling Worf and Riker that their brains aren't sophisticated enough.
- Maques telling Troi about how her mother told him about her "need" for a husband.
- I like Troi's comments about how Lwaxana for some reason isn't wearing elaborate clothing.
- Data using his experiences dreaming to assist Troi decipher what's going on with Lwaxana.
This is a very interesting episode at first; I love the aliens who are so telepathic they have no need for verbal words, but must relearn how to speak in order to join the Federation. Another detail I liked was that they literally couldn't speak and needed a special device to amplify their weakened vocal chords. The episode very quickly ceases to be about the aliens, but about the personal demons Lwaxana was dealing with. This takes all of the intrigue away from the episode in my opinion. An exploration of Troi's lost sister is certainly worthy of story, but it was slapped on top of a for once interesting alien of the week, which voided plenty of important story time they could have received. I would have really enjoyed seeing these guys join the Federation instead of watching a chick flick emotional bonding between Troi and Lwaxana. The two stories should have been separated and made into two episodes. They conflict with one another badly here.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-06-13 at 8:09pm:
I consider this episode to be the sequel to Shades of Grey. If I was going to try to get a friend to watch Trek, I would hide this episode's disc under my couch.
Once again, we are watching a dream sequence, which is exactly what the previous episode was about. It is rare for me to become bored while watching TNG, but this one did it. I really had to strain to pay attention. The story unravels too slowly. It all leads up to a hidden secret at the end, but once you know that, there's no reason to watch it again. I give it a rare 1.
- From Brian on 2008-01-02 at 5:55pm:
A young Kirsten Dunst (from the Spiderman movies) plays Hedril in this episode.
- From Dio on 2009-01-18 at 5:55pm:
I agree with Orion, I just wasn't interested in this one. I gave it a 2, one point for getting to see the arboretum and one for having Kirsten Dunst in it :)
- From tigertooth on 2011-01-10 at 12:31pm:
The scenes where the alien is creating the link between Troi and Lwaxana are hilarious. So many stares and camera zooms... and they do this exact sequence twice!
And the scene where the wolf lazily lopes after Troi is also laugh-worthy. I can see why it would be hard to shoot a scene where a wolf looks like it's actually chasing Troi down a hallway, but that means that they should have used something other than a wolf for that scene. Really, why a wolf? Was it a reference to the fact that a dog was indirectly involved in the daughter's death?
It was also funny that Troi's childhood home looked so much like personal quarters on the Enterprise. Not a huge deal - there's only so much money to spend on building new sets, I'm sure - but odd.
It was quite clear that they were stretching for time on this episode. Maybe they should have added a subplot -- like the aliens being confused by interacting with Data since they can't read his mind. Perhaps tie it in somehow with the fact that Data, like Lwaxana, once lost a young daughter.
Finally, I hate to say it since everybody (myself included) loves Majel Barrett, but the climactic scene just didn't come off that great. Barrett is great at playing imperious Lwaxana, but her "grief-stricken" didn't come off so well.
- From Arta on 2011-11-28 at 3:40pm:
I liked the aliens at the beginning as well, but overall, I thought this episode was really terrible. The last few scenes where Lwaxana "dreams" about meeting the dead daughter were just embarrassingly bad. They made me cringe.
- From L on 2013-04-27 at 5:09am:
This episode made feel sexist for wondering if it was written by a woman. It was.
Please tell me women wrote some episodes that weren't just mushy emotional psuedo-psychoanalysis.
At least Lwaxana wasn't as irritating as she usually is. For a supposed telepathic ambassador, she is remarkably oblivious to the discomfort she invokes in those around her. Good for comic effect, but not series logic.
- From Rob UK on 2015-02-25 at 7:10pm:
Am i the only Trekky who hates the character Lwaxana Troi? Talk about providing the wife a free paycheck, Majel should have stuck to her regular character as the voice of the computer surely that was enough regular revenue, thank the Gods of mice and men that she spent the majority of this episode in a coma.
The character Lwaxana is for me the worst character in all of the Trekiverse, if i had to choose to spend an evening with Lwaxana or Barclay i'd choose Barclay every time, don't get me started on how much i hate Barclay.
- Picard and Beverly sensing each other's thoughts.
- Riker handling the Kes. I'm most fond of his beaming up one of the Kes without permission.
- The sad scene at the end, where Beverly rejects Picard.
This episode opens with another interesting idea, a new Federation world where only part of the planet is joining. I like Picard's discontent with this concept, it is really weird. The episode quickly becomes the long awaited confrontation of love between Picard and Beverly. The scenes where they read each other's minds are very convincing, and very entertaining. The episode comes off as a little annoying in the end though when Beverly rejects Picard. There's certainly realism and logic in Beverly's decision, but the entire point of this episode was to setting the romantic tension between Beverly and Picard, and this episode seems only to have made it worse.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Sherlock on 2006-10-28 at 11:53am:
I liked this episode. Granted, the whole premise with the Kes and the Prytt was a little bizarre, especially given that the Kes were totally paranoid and irrational. But I thought that the subplot with Picard and Beverly was great and long over-due. Beveryly usually annoys me as a character, but I really enjoyed her in this episode.
- From djb on 2009-01-06 at 10:55pm:
I liked this episode a lot. Aside from the Crusher/Picard story, it was interesting to see a world where the people hadn't unified under a single government. Most federation and allied worlds, by definition, are going to be unified, but they are going to be far outnumbered like planets like Kesprytt, or for that matter, ours, which are not.
The Picard/Crusher story was great. The romantic tension between them was a little over the top in the first season, but they wisely toned it down and made it subtle but consistent. It's great to finally have it directly addressed.
This episode shows a good example of something great coming out of a seemingly unfortunate situation: Picard and Crusher are captured and implanted with strange devices, but in the end they finally come to terms with the elephant in the room between them, which they might never have done had it not been for that experience.
The scene at the end was also well-done. We can't be exactly sure why Beverly turns him down (why?); in fact, I was surprised he even suggested pursuing something in the first place, considering it would be a conflict of interest (as illustrated nicely in "Lessons"). But it was poignant, and of course well-acted.
Factoid: This episode establishes that Earth was unified under a single government in 2150.
- From L on 2013-04-27 at 7:06am:
How are the Prytt allowed to get away with kidnapping Picard and Crusher without consequence? That was maddening. They should have been severely bitch-slapped.
I get that the Federation is supposedly above such things as petty retaliation, but that doesn't mean you have to let yourself be walked all over - they still have laws don't they? And self-respect?
- Much of this episode drowns in technobabble, but Data's idea to "warp coast" through the rift is simply ridiculous. Warp speed without a warp field? WTF is that? If it were possible, every ship would already be doing this. Furthermore, how was Data planning to beam away the entire crew at warp anyway?
- This episode is the winner of my "Worst Episode of TNG Award" and is therefore a candidate for my "Worst Episode Ever Award."
- Geordi describing his little "contest" with the Intrepid.
- Data attempting to train his cat.
- Serova killing herself to prove her theory.
This episode is very annoying. The idea that warp drive destroys the universe is simply ridiculous. Even if the Federation agreed to throw away warp drive altogether, what incentive is there for the Klingons, the Romulans, or any other race ignorant or uncaring of the danger from continuing to use it? The resolution in this episode is simply ridiculous too. A warp speed limit does not solve the problem, and nobody obeys the speed limit anyway. The implications of this episode are largely forgotten in future episodes, by necessity of course. Sure, a few episodes reference this one slapping the fans in the face that it's still canon, but I just can't accept it. There are rationalizations floating around about how new engine designs such as that used by Voyager allow ships to use warp "safely," but again, what about old ships still in service? What about ships used by other races? This episode just unleashes far too many cans of worms to be considered acceptable.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Pete Miller on 2006-05-27 at 11:36pm:
I felt really stupid when I JUST noticed in THIS episode that you can pull chairs out of the science and engineering stations on the bridge. I had seen people sitting there before, but never really thought about where the chairs came from. You learn something new every day....
I give this episode a zero not because of its non-canonness, but rather because of its purely political agenda. The fact that it is not taken into consideration in future episodes only proves the point that it is a standalone episode meant to promote a liberal environmental agenda. The warp drive is a metaphor for cars putting out exhaust, and the "rift" is a metaphor for the hole in the ozone layer. Putting restrictions on warp speed is like putting emission restrictions on cars. I would think star trek would be above trying to give Al Gore a pat on the back in the early nineties, but I guess I overestimated them.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-06-16 at 12:57am:
In response to the other comment. I hope that environmental concerns someday become less political. The automatic knee jerk reaction of placing all environmental movements on the "left" is rooted in bogus thinking. There are religious organizations that are organizing themselves into environmental groups. They believe that we are all caretakers. I advise that people take this under consideration before they post political rants on Star Trek websites.
- From Wing Fat on 2007-10-02 at 12:24am:
I agree that this episode is terrible and completely motivated by political agenda. The whole basis of Star Trek is the exploration of space. Why would you want to suddenly say that the technology that allows that to happen is bad and has to stop? You wouldn't, that's ridiculous. I kept expecting them to discover something they overlooked and find the whole theory was wrong after all, but they didn't, and when it gets to the end and Picard gives his "I was destroying the very thing that I loved" speech I felt, as a Star Trek fan, that I had been slapped in the face.
Star Trek has always tackled social issues, but if you want to point out the evils of polution do it in a more direct manner by having a mission to a planet that's poluted. You don't say "space flight is bad and needs to be stopped" when your show has always been about what a wonderous adventure space flight is.
- From JRPoole on 2008-10-29 at 10:50am:
I don't want to defend this horrible episode, but I do want to cast my lot with the person above who lamented that environmental issues are always political. The fate of the planet is (or at least should be) bigger than any political agenda. If you're interested in this kind of debate, I suggest E.O. Wilson's execeptional book "Creation." It's basically an open letter to a hypothetical Southern Baptist minister. Wilson, who, as an evolutionary biologist, is an agnostic, argues that conservation and taking care of the planet are issues that should be shared by both Christians and atheists alike. I like it because it'a an attempt to bridge the gap and stake common ground, something that people on either side of the political divide have seemingly lost the ability to do.
As for this episode, I agree that it deserves a zero. There is a lame attempt in a handful of later episodes to make in canonical, but it just doesn't stick. The agenda is heavy-handed, especially Picard's moralizing at the end, the whole thing is just plain dull. Trek has always been on the forefront of social commentary, and, as a general rule, it does a good job. Episodes like this one, though, are so thinly-veiled that they become annoying, much like the TOS episode featuring the half black/half white mime makeup aliens. I know that's a fan favorite, but I've always thought it was a really lame, overly obvious comment on race relations, much like this dreadful episode is a really lame, overly obvious comment on fossil fuels.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2010-01-14 at 9:20am:
Regardless of my response from years ago, I think that both sides can agree on one thing: this episode sucked. I think the wrting staff wanted to do an environmental episode, but didn't have a lot of good ideas. In the series, space travel was always made out to be a wonderous thing that helped humanity grow. Now it's a bad thing?
There was another episode where there was a planet with huge amount of air pollution. The race living on this planet created technology to take the pollution out of the air, but it could hardly keep up. It didn't go into any more detail than that. I can't think of what episode that is, but I think it could have been an "environmental episode" if the had fleshed it out more.
- From Paul on 2010-08-19 at 7:54am:
It would have been better if it was only in this small region of space there was a problem (as opposed to the whole universe). Initially I did think this was the case, that the rifts were limited to the vicinity of the alien planet, but then at the end of the episode they start talking about universal warp drive limitations. Shame
- From Florian on 2011-01-09 at 6:40am:
I don't see why there is so much hatred against this episode. Basically, I think the central idea is quite witty; it is another real-world problem transferred to a futuristic setting as seen in many successful episodes before. It is not uncommon in our world that many decades after the initial enthusiasm, a new technology turns out to be not that beneficial to our health or environment at all. Reacting to the newly discovered problem takes its time, particularly when the technology is meanwhile perceived as indispensable. Obviously, this always leads to a certain amount of denial before habits are changing. After the initial skepticism, this episode complies with the spirit of TNG's more enlightened mankind that the crew quite quickly accepts that habits must indeed be changed, a process that would probably not happen within the same generation in our current world. As an example, some 50 years ago highways were being extended and increasing car numbers seen as a sign of progress, while environmental concerns were considered the opinion of radical minorities. As opposed to that, only nowadays hardly anyone in their sane mind would actually doubt that car emissions do some harm and must be reduced or avoided in the future; emission restrictions for motorized vehicles, speed restrictions along environmental protection compounds and reducing/rerouting highways so as to preserve or regrow forests are commonplace and it has become totally natural to leave your car in the garage if you can reach your destination by bus or train, unless there are any heavy goods to transport.
Along the same lines, it is interesting how exactly the fundamental concept that makes the whole Star Trek universe possible as it is is questioned. After all, nature is not an intelligent being (unless we want to consider some esoteric claims) and cannot be reasoned with. No matter what other benefits space travel might bring, this will not reduce the problems caused by warp engines. Thus, reducing the deteriorating effects by imposing a warp speed limit is a straightforward step, even if not all warp-capable species will obey to those rules right away (after all, some third-world countries still polluting the air is not an argument against reducing pollution in the own country - somewhere, a start has to be made). Unfortunately, this is where the episode starts to turn irrelevant, as the speed limit is mentioned a few times later, and that's it. As stated in the episode, the speed limit may be ignored in the precise event that there's an emergency, which is exactly the one situation that we usually see when Enterprise is running out of time. So, the speed limit mostly affects all the off-screen vessels. Another, similar problem is that warp speeds and travel times have always been the archetype of a plot device on Star Trek, so realistically, the speed limit cannot have any deeper impact than being mentioned every now and then. For that reason, it might have been better to make another technology rather used as a tool than as the base of the adventures the culprit, such as phasers, tricorders or the transporter (which could all be replaced with more environmental-friendly, but more cumbersome alternatives).
Plot-wise, the episode somewhat trickles down and fails to really build up much suspense. Particularly for a problem of this scale, it might have been beneficial to build up the story over several episodes (which was of course not yet usual in the days of TNG). As it is, all we have seen about the problem is a new colorful anomaly. The alien scientists refer to geological problems on their homeworld, but as we don't even get to see the homeworld, we have to take their word for it. Therefore, I'd give this episode a score of 3/10 points.
- From Robert Koenn on 2011-06-27 at 9:39am:
Well I rated it a 2 mainly because of technical inconsistencies. It was obviously a blatant plot line written to express an analogy with pollution in our world. But the worst part for me was that the plot line was basically ridiculous and only used for this episode while not be followed up with on future episodes or series in the Trek universe. I thought initially it only applied to this region of space as well and that might have made it more palatable but in the end it seemed that it was for the universe. There have been other episodes that stressed morale significance and I found some interesting as applied to our countries reaction to 9/11 with a much more enlightened view but this was a very poor plot line to express environmental concerns. I wonder if it was simply a vain search for a plot line or the writers coming up with an absurd plot line to stress a point.
- From Dstyle on 2013-09-09 at 4:45pm:
The Enterprise spent quite a bit of this episode being bumped and jarred through subspace rifts and whatnot, which reminded me of an obvious yet easy to forget fact: the set is not moving, the camera is. So when the Enterprise gets hit by enemy fire or a subspace distortion wave or is just having a bumpy ride, all of the actors are sitting there bouncing in their seats, which is a pretty funny mental image to have. You're welcome. :)
- From Bronn on 2015-08-02 at 12:53am:
I have a tough time with this one. I'm sympathetic to environmental issues, and I get Trek wanting to create an environment aesop. I like that there isn't a cheap solution because that would diminish the struggle of environmental concerns in the real world: we can't just invent a magical device that solves all our energy problems without any side effects.
What harms this episode is that it's picking on one of the necessary plot devices that underly the series. We like Star Trek, so we obviously just want to enjoy our entertainment without thinking that we're contributing to the destruction of reality just wanting to see our heroes go on adventures. We're not going to receptive to saying, "Well...guess they should all stop exploring and go home, then." It'd be like an episode of the Dukes of Hazard where someone tells the Dukes that they should trade the General Lee in for something more fuel-efficient. Viewers of the show aren't receptive to that message.
Moreover, the Enterprise itself is a pillar of eco-friendly ideas. Recycling on a starship is taking to its greatest extreme. I mean, Geordi is talking about energy efficiency of 97.2% on the ship: If we had a process that could do that, we'd solve so many real-world problems!
A better message would have been to say it's a problem with the anti-matter, which is the real source of energy on the Enterprise, and go with Geordi's plot of efficient energy use which is part of the subplot. If you say that Anti-matter reactions are producing small amounts of radiation, you can call the Enterprise crew out on the little ways they can save energy so they're using less, which is a MUCH better real-world environmental message. Have someone wonder if their ship really needs to be so big that they have these lush individual quarters as nice as small apartments. Turn the lights off when they leave a room. Save cups and plates instead of producing new flatware everytime you replicate a meal. It would have been EASY to make little continuity nods to that sort of thing in DS9 and Voyager. And then, it wouldn't be the magic tech creating a magic problem that's contrived to be very important here but will never matter again.
- From Mike on 2017-04-23 at 11:01am:
I think where this episode went wrong was in attempting to suddenly make this a problem for the entire galaxy. Initially, it sounded like something that was affecting subspace in the corridor and therefore any warp restrictions would just be in that one sector. Had they stuck with that, they could've gotten the environmental message across and been able to avoid any problems with canon. As the episode itself points out, there's no indication other warp-capable species will all abide by this or even agree with the findings. And, like I say, why this affects Federation warp travel everywhere and not just in the Hekarans' own sector is never made clear.
I get the sense it was Picard's reaction at the end that really soured a lot of people on this one. He basically makes it sound like the entire Star Trek endeavor is destroying the universe, which is a true overreaction. La Forge's reaction fitted the episode a bit better. He's confronted with warp engines-a think he's been working on his whole life-being responsible for destabilizing a particular area of space purely by doing what they do.
- Geordi can see clear differences between humans and Androids as evidenced by TNG: Heart of Glory. Geordi should have instantly recognized Juliana was an android.
- This episode establishes that there were 3 more androids before Lore, one of which is featured in Star Trek X: Nemesis.
- Data describing Lal to Juliana. Good continuity there.
- I like the music scenes in this episode.
- Seeing Juliana an android.
- Data describing the reasons he suspected Juliana was an android before.
This is one of the better "Data's past" episodes. Juliana was essentially the perfect android Soong set out to create, despite the ironic circumstances surrounding her creation. She fooled everybody, even herself. But the episode is severely lacking in overall plot. It's nice to get info about Data's past, but it literally dominated this episode. In the end it feels like a big stretched out waste of time, even if a nicely done one.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-06-17 at 9:43pm:
Season 7 seems to concentrate on fully developing the background of the TNG crew. Inheritance accomplishes by filling in more detailed information about his past.
But that is all this episode is, a chronicle of Data. It is only average when compared to the other Data episodes. I give it a 5.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-06-17 at 9:46pm:
How can Juliana live her whole life without knowing she was an android? You would think she would set off metal detectors, get an X-ray done, or accidentally open up the maintenance hatch that is on her head.
- From Paul on 2010-08-17 at 5:16pm:
Geordi would be unable to detect her as an android since she was designed to give off human vital signs etc.
- From John on 2011-02-05 at 12:02pm:
This episode is ok, though to be honest I've found myself skipping it when re-watching the series. I enjoyed when I saw it for the first time but, like others have said, it really doesn't have much of a plot.
It fits into a sort of sub-category of trek episodes that I find generally annoying: the "charming woman with a secret" episodes. Typically these episodes feature a talented guest actress as a woman who charms one or more of the crew, but who has some hidden agenda or other secret thing about them which eventually becomes the focus of the plot. In many cases, this gets old quick. In the case where the audience actually likes the mystery woman it's just as bad, because they are never referred to again.
I give this one a 4 myself, because it's nothing new, and not all that interesting either.
- From Robert Koenn on 2011-07-05 at 2:59pm:
I rated this episode a 5. I found it quite interesting and definitely a good Data episode. The story was fairly well done although there are always those plot lines that are written to carry the story as ridiculous as always. Whenever there is something questionable happening or to explain there is either a well it happened this way or a new technology is involved, not something logical. However my biggest gripe is that it would be ridiculous to think an android, no matter how advanced, would not realize it wasn't flesh and blood. That is totally absurd. It never got sick, it never cut itself, it never figured out that the food it ate was not normally processed as a biological being would be, and on and on. Soong could simply not have made everything so human that a thinking machine would not determine it was a machine.
- This episode is presumably the beginning of Worf's short lived relationship with Troi.
- Worf's surprise party.
- The crew singing "He's a jolly good fellow" to Worf in Klingon.
- Troi: "It wasn't easy to translate. There doesn't seem to be a Klingon word for jolly!"
- I love the first few scenes of small things changing.
- Worf proposing Troi become Worf's stepsister so that she could become Alexander's godmother. I love Worf's reaction when Troi tells him that would make her mother his stepmother. Worf, very seriously: "I had not considered that! It is a risk I am willing to take."
- Worf appearing on an alternate Enterprise.
- Troi married to Worf!
- Worf asking Data for details regarding "when, where, and how" Worf and Troi coupled.
- Worf becoming first officer and Riker becoming captain. I like the mention of Picard being killed by the Borg.
- Wesley appearance!
- The mention of the Bajorans overpowering the Cardassian Empire and becoming a hostile power in the galaxy.
- Thousands, maybe millions of Enterprises!
- Wesley: "Captain, we are receiving 285,000 hails!"
- One of the Rikers: "We won't go back. You don't know what it's like in our universe. The Federation's gone, the Borg are everywhere! We're one of the last ships left. Please, you've got to help us."
- Riker destroying his counterpart.
- Troi: "I know Klingons like to be alone on their birthdays. You probably want to meditate, you hit yourself with a pain stick or something."
This one's a classic. Worf was perfect for the role because he remained defiant of the changes in the timelines longer than anyone else would have. Another good detail in the episode is the incredible amount of continuities with other episodes. Too many to even list. All of them excellent and entertaining. This one is a gem among the 7th season and among all of TNG itself.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-06-20 at 9:56pm:
It is always fun to watch this episode. The problem with Worf switching realities becomes worse and worse. You start to feel bad for him. The only drawback is that the solution was too easy. Get in your shuttle, emit this kind of field, and off you go. However, that part is long after all the cool things happen. I'll never forget the Enterprises filling space, or the Enterprise from Borg infested space, who's Captain Riker refuses to go back. This episode it a balls to the ground classic. I'm giving it a 9.
- From Wolfgang on 2006-06-29 at 4:48pm:
The disappointing ending turns a nearly-perfect one into a superb one. I guess that a 2-part episode may have presented the room for a more dramatic final, although it could have been difficult not to frustrate the viewers, and to maintain the tension.
- From Jason on 2008-02-07 at 5:41am:
Did you notice how in one of the timelines Data had blue eyes? Spooky!
- From Paul on 2010-08-17 at 6:13pm:
Really enjoyed this episode, the scene with hundreds of thousands of enterprises! I also enjoyed the subtle changes that were unlaboured, like data's eyes and the picture on his wall constantly changing
- From Bronn on 2013-06-04 at 1:51am:
Agree with others that the ending was disappointing and rushed. There were some serious changes in some of the timelines, and especially with the last one, which could have been explored more. Science Fiction fans always love to ask "What if?" This episode could have been a two parter.
The first part could have ended with the revelation that Worf's shifting, and his inability to perform his duty had killed Geordi. That was a moment that was not very well explored in this episode. Deanna rather casually shows up in his quarters, lightheartedly mentioning that she'd heard he'd had some trouble on the bridge. It would have had real dramatic weight if she'd had this attitude of concern and nervousness in knowing that he'd screwed up badly enough that one of their dear friends and comrades had been seriously injured. The second of the two parts would have only had one timeshift, but it would have deal with Worf accepting some of the realities of his current universe in his attempt to get back. It's a different, and grimmer one, without Captain Picard or LaForge, and they'd end up losing Worf also (most likely, since we never see what happens in that timeframe after the shift back). The grim reality of a Deanna Troi forced to give up her husband and an Enterprise losing its first officer would have made for great drama. A second part of this episode would have been a greater contribution to Trek history than some of the later episodes in season 7, like Genesis and Sub Rosa.
- From TheAnt on 2013-11-04 at 10:33am:
A shuttle full of Worf's.
There's a bit too many episodes with time loops and alternative timelines in Star Trek.
But if we would have to remove one such, this is not one of those that would have to go. Since even though it is weird, and of course completely impossible, the idea presented here is indeed found in actual scientific discussions. That for every action with a choice - two timelines would be created.
Even the conservation of energy in creating the new split off universes would not be violated, in case the universe is a hologram - which is part of a hypothesis that have been introduced after this episode of TNG were made.
(Not that I even for a split second think the universe works that way, but consider it to be one interesting model only.)
The telling of the story is also better than for a few other alternative episodes in Start Trek. So with good science and one enjoyable story I give this episode a solid 8.
- Admiral Blackwell authorizes Picard to exceed warp speed limitations. What warp speed limitations? The ones they constantly ignore in most subsequent episodes because TNG: Force of Nature is ridiculous?
- Why didn't the Romulans make some kind of demand on the Enterprise for violating inter stellar treaty instead of just letting them leave?
- This episode establishes that a treaty with the Romulans prevents the Federation from developing cloaking technology and that it's kept the peace for about 60 years.
- Commander Riker faced a deep moral crisis in this episode regarding whether or not to tell Picard about his involvement in the coverup with Pressman. In order to solve his moral crisis, he sought Troi's advice in secret. She recommended that he review a historic holo program in which Commander Tucker of the first starship Enterprise disobeyed orders to save his captain. This holodeck visit is documented in the finale of Enterprise, Ent: These Are The Voyages... The events of Enterprise's finale are most likely spread across much of this episode. Here's my analysis of the integration between the two episodes: Riker went to the holodeck right after Admiral Pressman arrived on counselor Troi's recommendation, then discusses it with her in Ten Forward. Riker then goes back to holodeck, stays a while, then leaves the holodeck to look at the records of those who died on the Pegasus after talking to T'Pol about following his instincts. Troi comes in to talk to him. Troi and Riker then go back to the holodeck. Eventually Troi leaves to go counsel Barclay. Riker stays in the holodeck until Trip and Archer save Shran's daughter. These events all probably occur right after Pressman's briefing, just after the teaser, but before the Enterprise encounters the Romulan Warbird. In the next scenes, we can see the Enterprise entering the asteroid field through the windows. Data contacts Troi about a counseling session, then Riker enters Troi's office. Riker tells Troi about The Pegasus. "It's past office hours," so this scene probably occurs after Riker discusses his beard and whatnot with Pressman in Ten Forward and probably after Riker was injured by Worf. Riker then goes back to the holodeck and talks to the crew about Tucker. After watching the rest, Riker says to Troi he's ready to talk to Picard then exits the holodeck for the final time. These events probably occur right after Picard chews Riker out for keeping information about the Pegasus from him. The only lingering question is why Riker doesn't tell Picard before they take the ship into the asteroid. Instead he maintains the secrecy clear up until they reach the Pegasus and he and Pressman discover the cloaking device still intact. According to my timeline of events, Riker proposes to destroy the Pegasus as soon as they find it, which is after all the events of Enterprise's finale. Maybe he was hoping he wouldn't have to tell Picard anything. By the time he realized this wasn't true, it was too late and he was ordered to accompany Pressman. A worthy explanation, but it would have been nice if it wasn't necessary.
- Picard and crew's reaction to "Captain Picard Day".
- Picard arranging for a "Commander Riker Day" as revenge. :)
- Picard talking to Pressman about why he chose Riker as his first officer, a reference to what Picard told Riker upon their first meeting in TNG: Encounter at Farpoint.
- The revelation that Pressman was developing a cloaking device.
- The Enterprise cloaking.
So the Federation can't develop cloaking devices because of a treaty. That certainly explains why they've never used them, especially after TOS: The Enterprise Incident. I much enjoyed this episode, all except for a few small details. First of all, this is a much more powerful device than a simple cloaking device. Seems to me that phase cloaking goes beyond the scope of a regular cloaking device. Just how broad are the terms for that treaty? The Romulans and Klingons have never developed anything like a phased cloaking device, and the Federation completely abandons the research. The facts surrounding the usefulness of the technology leave me with a sort of sympathy for Pressman. Another detail I didn't like was the ending, where the Romulans just let the Enterprise go after a blatant violation of inter stellar treaty. The episode was good, but it could have been much better if they had chosen to handle the details a little better. I'm disappointed that we don't see this technology again. It would have been much less a disappointment if it was just a regular cloaking device, but alas they needed a reason for the Enterprise to actually use one, so they made this one uber powerful; utterly trite but still a decent episode.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Pete Miller on 2006-05-31 at 2:38pm:
Factoid: This episode features Terry O'Quinn, who plays the character Locke on the show "Lost"
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-06-18 at 11:28pm:
Pressman mentioned that the engineering section had been exposed to space for years, preserving everything. However, there is no way that the bodies stayed intact, since flesh explodes in a vacuum.
Also, the view screen showed the inside of solid rock as the Enterprise exited the asteroid. How is it lit up? I have never stuck my head inside a rock, but I'm pretty sure it would be dark.
- From Rob on 2008-04-24 at 6:19pm:
Just a note: When you said that the Klingons and Romulans never developed anything like the phased cloaking device, did you forget the Romulans did attempt it? Remember the episode where Geordi and Ro are accidentally phased. It's mentioned in the episode that it appeared the Romulan's were experimenting with a new system, which Geordi later realizes was involving a 'phased cloaking device'.
It wouldn't surprise me to find the Klingons haven't experimented with this (that we know of) considering how they feel about scientists overall.
- From Evan on 2008-05-26 at 12:26pm:
To the primary comment why the Romulan's just let the Enterprise leave, it's possible that they didn't expect to be able to do anything. If the Romulans attacked, the Enterprise could have just recloaked; its unlikely that the warbird would have been able to do enough damage before the Enterprise recloaked. At the same time, such an act would have very profound implications. I'm sure the warbird captain already knew what was going on.
Orion Pimpdaddy: first, no, flesh won't explode if exposed to a vacuum. "2001: A Space Odyssey" as well as TNG: "Disaster" get this right. (Or mostly right; in Disaster, Crusher says that she and LaForge should hold their breath when exposed to the vacuum. This is the wrong thing to do.) Second, the Enterprise does have exterior lights.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2010-01-11 at 9:46am:
I realize now that flesh does NOT explode in space. My bad. Thank you for the correction.
- From Robert Koenn on 2011-07-05 at 1:15pm:
I rates this episode and 8 mainly because I liked some of the technical parts and the conflict between Riker and Pressman. Obviously there are technical issues as with almost any episode of ST. But I found the ship imbedded in the asteroid believable, assuming the technology behind the phase cloak was viable. I found Pressman realistic as a power hungry military guy who wants to one up the enemy and was willing to do whatever to do that, Dr. Strangelove anyone? I liked the conundrum of his crew having mutinied against him and Riker finally challenging him. Now how the Federation got rooked into a treaty preventing them from using cloaking devices while their enemies can seems like another logic flaw in the plot used only to move the plot forward. Hardly a perfect episode but for me it was good nonetheless.
- From L on 2013-04-28 at 5:34am:
A definite Star Wars moment entering the asteroid.
The Romulan captain's politely threatening banter was great and well delivered.
Terry O'Quinn has very pretty eyes.
- From Mike Chambers on 2013-11-20 at 4:02am:
Love the episode. This one gets an 8 from me. However... problem:
- If the interior of the asteroid rock wall is visible outside the Enterprise while they're phased/cloaked, why is it magically invisible from the interior of the ship as they pass through it? Shouldn't everything have been pitch black and everybody blind?
- From Axel on 2015-02-28 at 11:39am:
I love how Worf is always so surprised when a Romulan ship decloaks and hails the Enterprise. The idea that the Romulans would talk instead of fight never seems likely to him :)
This episode made me curious about Starfleet's chain of command protocol and arrest procedures. When Pressman was commanding the Pegasus, the crew had to resort to mutiny to go against his treaty violation. But on the Enterprise, Picard, a junior officer to Pressman, formally charges a higher-ranking officer and takes him into custody for that. It's confusing unless Starfleet has delegated that kind of authority out to the ships; in the U.S. Navy, for example, I don't think it's possible for a junior-officer to charge and arrest a senior officer without permission from a higher authority. If you are given an unlawful order or deal with unlawful command influence, I believe you refuse to carry it out and when you have the chance, bring it to the attention of someone.
In Starfleet, if you have a rogue captain or admiral like Pressman, what exactly do you do since mutiny is clearly not the proper alternative? The First Officer of the Pegasus couldn't have charged and arrested Pressman like Picard did, so it's not clear how this kind of thing gets handled.
- Isn't leaving Nikolai with the Boraalans just the kind of cultural contamination this whole episode was trying to avoid? He's introducing alien DNA into a pre warp culture!
- Penny Johnson, who plays Dobara in this episode will go on to play Kasidy Yates on DS9.
- Nikolai transporting the Boraalans onto the Enterprise without permission.
- Worf callring the holodeck malfuction an omen. "The sign of LaForge."
- One of the aliens escaping the holodeck.
- Picard trying to convince the escaped alien to stay with the Federation.
- The stunt transporting the Boraalans to their new home.
- The escaped Boraalan committing suicide.
- Worf making up with Nikolai and proclaiming his actions honorable.
This episode features a very complex issue concerning the morality of the prime directive. A primitive culture is facing annihilation. If the Federation doesn't help, they all die. Personally, I don't see how letting them all die is preferable to saving them. Faced with 1. contaminating their culture and 2. making a concious decision to let their culture be destroyed despite the fact that you can easily save it, option 1. seems the best choice. That said, I agree with Nikolai's decision in this episode. Obviously, Nikolai crosses the line impregnating one of the villagers. But at least I agree with him on the principle that doomed people should be saved whenever possible. It disappoints me that Nikolai is not forcibly separated from his "new home" because an alien procreating with another species covertly is clearly just the sort of prime directive violation everyone was trying to avoid in the first place! The Boraalans will have (admittedly small) amounts of human DNA in their future generations! Despite that, I enjoyed the episode anyway, as it makes us all take a good hard look at the prime directive and just how well it applies to certain situations.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-06-22 at 9:56pm:
When the one Boraalan left the holodeck and dissapeared, never to come back, why didn't any other members of his species notice he was gone? Surely he had family.
- From Wing Fat on 2007-10-03 at 12:22am:
This episode has many holes. How did Nikolai have the knowledge and authorization necessary to lock the chief security officer (Worf) out of the holodeck (not to mention rigging that whole stunt in the first place)? Nikolai committed a laundry list of Starfleet violations, wouldn't Picard be bound to take him to a Starbase for some kind of hearing and punishment? Why is it one of the few remaining (and most prominent) Boraalans disappears and the others just go about their business like nothing happened? What's going to happen when Nikolai's baby is born and, because it's half human, doesn't have the same facial features as the other Boraalans? And less significantly, isn't that huge grin on Worf's face after he asks LaForge to generate a storm a bit out of character?
- From JRPoole on 2008-10-29 at 3:55pm:
The noted problems aside, I think this episode is mostly successful. I love episodes that explore the prime directive, and this is one of the stronger ones, perhaps even better than the proto-Vulcan society episode from a few seasons ago (can't recall the title).
I think Nikolai is absolutely right here. However, the best decision would have been to save as many of the Boraalans as possible and not even try to do a cover-up. They're going to die without Federation help. I don't see how saving as many of them as possible is a violation of the prime directive. Obviously, it's best not to interfere, but it's better than letting them die.
The best solution would have been to beam as many of them up as possible, keep them together, explain the situation as well as possible, and find them a new place to live. Not a perfect solution, but the best one possible. That would also erase the problem of leaving Nikolai with the Boraalans. I just don't see how leaving them to die is in the spirit of the prime directive at all. It ensures non-interference in cultural affairs and societal development. Here there's going to be no development without Federation assistance, and you might even argue that not helping them violates the prime directive because it allows a culture to be destroyed rather than preserved.
- From djb on 2009-01-26 at 12:49pm:
Atmospheric dissipation?! Are you effing kidding me?!?!! Make up as much Treknobabble as you want; you'll never convince me that a planet's atmosphere will spontaneously ... go away.
That aside, this episode definitely reminded me of Who Watches the Watchers (season 3), which was actually one of my favorite episodes. Far better than this one.
I do like the moral quandary it brings up. I'm surprised that Picard, who was always such a bleeding heart (second only to Crusher) took such a firm stance on this issue. After all, non-interference is kind of moot when there's nothing to interfere with.
Imagine how neat it would be if they just beamed them all into the holodeck, told them "we're aliens, from another planet; your world is dying; we're taking you to another one," then beamed them down to their new planet. The story would pass down from one generation to another until it just became myth, and most people wouldn't believe it. Then, a few thousand years later, the Boraalans achieve warp, they make contact with the federation (assuming it still exists), and maybe find out from federation records that the story was true after all! That would be awesome.
In addition to the issue already raised about obvious interference on Nikolai's part, this also occurred to me: what about his surgical implants? Could they last permanently? What if they became damaged? The jig would be up. I also wonder if the handful of Boraalans we saw have a large enough gene pool to repopulate a planet (the same issue brought up in Up The Long Ladder in season 1). Oh well.
Interesting ideas, but poorly executed.
Oh, and Worf's grin isn't out of character. He just doesn't do it very much. It adds depth to his character.
- From Tallifer on 2011-03-13 at 3:56am:
1. The prime directive is made to look ridiculous here. "Is it better to save life or to kill?"
2. But on the other hand, a culture which cannot survive without the same plot of land is not worth saving. The stray Boralan commits suicide because life in a universe of other cultures is unacceptable. Good riddance. Imagine if all the countless ethnic groups who have made happy lives in the Americas had thought that way.
3. Worf looks stupid in his disguise, and the whole Boralan male costume is horrible. Another reason top leave them on their dying planet.
- In one scene, the Enterprise was in standard orbit during the power transfer, which seems like an impossible situation to maintain, as eventually the Enterprise would be on the other side of planet, unable to maintain a moving beam on a fixed target. In another scene they were motionless, as they should have been in the previous scene. In another scene, they were in standard orbit again!
- This episode establishes that it is a trivial matter to change the color of one's eyes in the 24th century.
- The foggy Enterprise.
This episode is severely boring and cheap ghost story horror all set in a 24th century old Scotland clone colony. Quite trite. Have the writers not learned to how to write science fiction in the last few decades? Essentially the story amounts to Beverly quitting starfleet to sit alone in her house with a candle waiting for her phantom man to sweep her off her feet and Picard and crew becoming ghost hunters. Finally, the episode reeks of tastelessness when Beverly's grandmother is briefly and spontaneously resurrected by Ronin for absolutely no reason. In the end, Beverly kills the energy life form of the week out of anger; completing the circle of cliches.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Wolfgang on 2008-05-20 at 6:58pm:
Why did they make this episode? It's not even science-fiction, and certainly not Star Trek. Just a waste of time. If they wanted to put some spotlight on Crusher, why not give her a good episode...
- From Paul on 2010-08-18 at 8:43am:
I am Scottish so yet again I am forced to listen to the worst american versions of Scottish accents I've ever heard
Also if they were trying to recreate the Scottish highlands why did they use stones from Glasgow and Edinburgh?
- From Tallifer on 2011-03-13 at 5:36am:
I like stories where the ghosts are shown to be tricks, hallucinations, dreams, mere legends or hoaxes. That is the triumph of rationality which is fitting in a science fiction universe.
I hate stories where ghosts are explained by nonsensical pseudo-science. Which is more rational? The spirits of dead people haunting the world and possessing the living, or "anaphasic" aliens using "plasma" candles as foci and inhabiting people with green energy? Neither is rational of course, and the latter is just as stupid as television psychics and alien abductions.
- From thaibites on 2013-01-04 at 9:50pm:
Another one for the ladies. I think Dr. Beverly actually had a couple orgasms during this episode, which is pretty daring for TNG.
At least this one was better than the episode where where Dr. Beverly fell in love with a big intestinal sea cucumber.
- From L on 2013-05-01 at 10:26pm:
Beverly's performance was quite, um, erotic. It was clear what form the energy alien's 'gift' to her took. Her aura of post-coital bliss/addict with a fix was quite convincing.
There was nothing particularly wrong with the relationship as it seemed quite symbiotic, it could have worked quite fine in other circumstances. It did however make Beverly act like an irrational addict and cut ties to her friends.
But really this was just an excuse for a gothic genre episode. Worth it for Beverly's performance.
- From Sloganlogo on 2014-04-30 at 4:22pm:
small trivia…In the first Scene after the titles between Troi and Beverly you can clearly see a grave stone with the name McFly…The scene ends with Beverly asking Troi to walk with her to visit a house and off the go.
In the next scene Picard is chatting to a Colony local and in the background you can clearly see Troi in the background walking right to left. She ends up in the same position she was in the the last scene. I suspect they swapped the two scenes about.
- From rendraG on 2015-01-08 at 2:32pm:
Great ghosty fun with lots of olde world sets. Nice to see Picards almost death for love to overcome passion and the spell Ronin had casted over Beverly and her unfortunate but clearly sexually exhausted ancestors.
Ronins emotional and sexual domination of Beverly combined with the sensual acting of Gates McFadden make this the naughtiest episode in all of Star Trek. Woof.
- From Keefaz on 2017-02-18 at 6:45pm:
Amazingly rotten episode. Absolute guff from start to finish. The bizarre Scottish colony which has 25th century power and weather stabilisation facilities but also candles, open fires, dusty books and so on. Weird accents. Ghost sex. The creepy revelation the ghost has been preying on every female ancestor of Beverley.
A terrible episode, then, but one that is so odd and singular that it doesn't diminish the series as you couldn't even consider it a Star Trek episode.
- In the junior officer Poker game, Ben has a King, a Jack, a Ten and an Eight. Lavelle has two Sixes and two Sevens. It is impossible for Ben to win no matter what his other card is! Why does Lavelle fold even though his victory is a certainty?
- Lavelle complaining about Taurik as his room mate.
- Lavelle attempting to be social with Riker.
- Picard chewing out Sito.
- Geordi bluffing about "testing the hull" of the shuttle and Taurik seeing straight through it.
- The two Poker games running simultaneously.
- Worf teaching Sito to stand up for herself.
- Sito standing up for herself to Picard.
- Sito attending the senior staff meeting and voluneering for the mission.
- Sito's tragic death.
This one's a classic. One thing I liked was one of the inclusion of Nurse Ogawa in the lower decks posse, reusing an existing character along with the three new characters. Besides the excellent acting by all characters, the main plot is enticing. A Cardassian, who's a spy for the Federation, needs to get back to Cardassian space. The two plot threads about the Cardassian and the junior officers are wonderfully integrated with one another and the ending is quite tragic and touching. My only regret regarding this episode is that we never see these characters again, with the obvious exception of Ogawa, as I especially liked Levelle and Taurik and it's a shame they're wasted. Though it should be obvious by now that Star Trek throws away good guests of the week all the time.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From FH on 2009-02-04 at 4:45am:
Sito is not a new character. She was in Wesley's team at the academy in "The First Duty".
- From askthepizzaguy on 2010-08-10 at 1:56pm:
I thought that the actor that played Taurik went on to play a vulcan on Voyager, Vorik.
Vorik is basically a Taurik clone. Similar to Tom Paris and Locarno being a clone.
- From MJ on 2011-04-25 at 6:04pm:
This is one of the best episodes of the seventh season of TNG, and is probably one of my top 10 for the whole series.
First, the concept itself is unorthodox. Not many television shows put their main casts in a side role and make the story revolve around a bunch of characters, some of which haven't been introduced before. It works, too, because the actors and actresses pull it off and we still see enough of the main cast-it's just that we see them through the eyes of junior officers. The writing is perfect because we instantly get a sense of the characters and their relationships with each other.
I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, including Picard's testing of this young ensign in order to prepare her for a dangerous mission, with the added benefit of having some nice continuity from TNG: The First Duty. Worf was well written in this episode too. His bonding with Sito was both believable and a nice fit to the overall story.
This one gets a 10 from me.
- From L on 2013-05-02 at 12:02am:
Genuinely moving at the end, and great to see the view from other members of the crew. I like how we were kept in the dark as much as the characters were, which is how it must be for 98% of the crew every time a red alert or an emergency is happening.
Incidental personnel aren't usually privilege to exposition, unless Picard does a weekly 'This week on the Enterprise' public announcement wrap-up.
Sad to know we won't see any more of the perky Cardassian. Loved the way Whorf and the Captain helped to build her up.
- From L on 2013-05-02 at 2:34am:
Oh crap. I meant 'perky Bajoran'. Embarrassed apologies.
- From Quando on 2014-01-27 at 4:55pm:
I just watched this episode again, and I think it is my favorite of the whole TNG series. I love that we get to see a "crisis of the week" in a way that the crew would actually experience it -- learning bits and pieces here and there but never really knowing exactly what is going on, even when it is over. I also loved the somewhat parallel but different dynamics between each of the senior officers and their corresponding junior officer counterparts (Riker/Lavell, Beverly/Ogawa, Geordie/Taurik, Worf/Sito). Lavell being terrified of Riker, but trying to kiss up to him, and Riker eventually realizing that he was being too hard on Lavell, possibly because he saw some of his own young self in him. Worf personally vouching for Sito and trying to give her more confidence and an opportunity to succeed, only to see her killed and feel like it was partly his fault (note how he protectively stands next to her when she is sitting in the observation lounge meeting the Cardassian). Geordie getting over his pride and annoyance with a show-off newbie and Taurik learning a little about how to interact with humans without coming across as a jerk. Letting the senior officers interact with new characters in the crew who are somewhat more developed than the usual "redshirt" extras lets us see old, familiar characters in a new light. Also, the ending of the episode is sad but perfect. The crew has to presume that Sito is dead based on some pretty strong circumstantial evidence, but in the end nobody really knows for sure what happened - and we the viewer don't even get to see it from our usual third person omniscient point of view. We get to see no more that the crew does, and even the senior officers don't know (indeed, there are no shots outside of the ship in the whole episode). Very true to life. My only complaint is that with the exception of Ogawa (IMO the least interesting of the four), we don't get to see any of these interesting characters ever again. I would have even liked to see a whole episode about Ben, and how he ended up tending bar on a starship. But this was the last TNG season, so I guess time had kind of run out. Even so, this is a really great story about the people on the ship and how they act and react to each other, and for that reason I give it a "10" and my vote as the best episode of TNG.
- From dronkit on 2014-03-14 at 2:58am:
Another favorite episode for me, when I saw it the first time years ago I loved it, seeing new characters developed, a civilian and lower rank officers, and I loved the new reformed Zito and her destiny was so sad.
Anyway I came to say: Troi playing poker?!? She should be banned!
- Nice to see Beverly in command.
- Data having lost his memory.
- Troi's "Riker bashing."
- Troi discussing her desire to gain rank.
- Data's physical. Data is an "ice man."
- Data lifting the anvil.
- Troi's holodeck simulation, getting herself killed.
- Data contradicting the school teacher about fire and water being elements.
- Troi arguing with Riker about being cut out from the tests.
- Troi ordering Geordi to his death in the simulation.
- Data proving the concept of radiation.
- Data losing his skin.
- Data impaled.
This is a very intelligently written episode giving us one plot where Data has to prove the concept of radiation to a primitive culture and another where Troi has to face ordering someone to their death to pass a promotional test. Both plot threads are interesting, and given a nice share of time. Troi's testing reminds me quite a bit of the one which Kirk faced and cheated on as mentioned in Star Trek II. And while sending Data into backward cultures is starting to become a cliche, it was handled well in this episode.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-06-19 at 9:50pm:
This a cleverly written episode. The pro-science arguements are woven into the plot seamlessly. Each scene is intriging and fun to watch. The things that happen are unusual, such as Data getting inpaled, Troi taking a test on the holodeck, people handling radioactive metal. What a great episode! My only complaint is that the protagonist blacksmith was a one dimensional character. If it wasn't for that I'd give it a 10, instead I'll give it a 9. I am surprised that people don't talk about this episode more.
- From Wing Fat on 2007-10-11 at 11:01pm:
You list no problems with this episode, but I think the fact that Data can (after a brief recovery period) speak high-level English but doesn't know what the word "radioactive" means could be considered a problem. Regardless, I loved this episode and consider it one of the best from Season 7.
- From JRPoole on 2008-10-30 at 10:42am:
This is a personal favorite. I absolutely love the scientist/teacher lady, especially her insistence on empirical knowledge, even if her "empirical" knowledge is dubious.
As for Wing Fat's comment above, I don't think this is much of an issue. I see it as a universal translator thing. I think it's meant that Data is conversing with the natives in their own language, partially via the UT and partially via his own innate ability to learn and decipher languages. The fact the the magistrate calls the English language something like "these symbols" seems to indicate this. Then again, you have to sort of suspend disbelief with UT issues anyway, and this episode is far from the worst offender in that category.
- From djb on 2009-01-30 at 3:59pm:
As Kethonov pointed out, it's good to see Crusher in command; I'd say it's good to see more women in command in general (this reminds me of what a shame it was to lose Yar in season 1).
I also like seeing Troi's more "professional" side; the producers finally wised up in season 6 and had her start wearing a regular uniform. I think the writers have done a disservice to Troi throughout the series (up until season 6 and 7) in keeping her character and dialogue relatively confined to her "counselor" role, where in fact she is also a lieutenant commander, a rank which is no small feat to obtain.
I like the continuity with Season 5's "Disaster," wherein she found herself in command and was definitely in over her head-- and that she wants to become a more capable officer.
The only reservation I have about this is that this highlights one of the necessarily unrealistic things about this show-- that everyone continues to get promoted but the senior staff/crew stays the same. In real life, people would get transferred (and killed) more often.
Now, of the seven main characters, we have one captain, two lieutenant commanders, one lieutenant, and three commanders! Also interesting how both Crusher and Troi outrank Data, who is technically third in command. How does that work?
As for the other plot, it's great to see Data be Data even without knowing who or what he is-- all by himself he discovers radiation and a cure for radiation poisoning, which no other character could have done. This whole section was very well written!
As for the antagonist blacksmith... some people just are one-dimensional. The guy was a jerk!
- From Drake on 2010-11-29 at 2:11pm:
This was the very first episode i ever saw
- From Mike on 2017-03-27 at 9:17pm:
Solid episode, and good continuity for the Troi character with TNG: Disaster. I agree that it's nice when the series puts different characters in command positions, like Data in Redemption and Gambit, Crusher here and in Descent, etc.
Regarding the promotion issue: Starfleet is written like a loose combination of a futuristic organization based on Federation principles, old Earth naval traditions, and a space exploration agency like NASA. I don't think promotion needs to be shown happening at the pace it would in, say, the U.S. Navy (which is very fast in comparison). Promotion in Starfleet seems to be as much about a person's desire to go into the next rank as it is about whether Starfleet is ready to promote the person. Take Riker passing up numerous promotion opportunities. A person's career is more in their own hands. Plus, even in the modern U.S. Navy, medical personnel may hold a certain rank, but aren't typically placed in command situations (the same goes for lawyers, chaplains, etc). It makes sense that Starfleet would allow you specialize in medicine, science, engineering or security, and only go for the command rank when you want to.
- Troi says the two alien personalities are like the sun and the moon; that only one can be in control of Data at any given time. Has she never heard of a solar or lunar eclipse? In fact, on Earth, there are cases when both the sun and the moon are visible at the same time. What a terrible analogy. They should have just used night and day instead.
- Data: "What does it feel like to lose one's mind?"
I'm not fond of this one. Brent Spiner's usual excellent acting is wasted on a silly android multiple personalities plot. The biggest problem with the overall plot is that it seems to go nowhere and make no point. It wanders aimlessly to the inevitable reset button conclusion. There is no character development because Data is out of character virtually the entire episode. Only Picard is interesting in the episode, because he's so fascinated by ancient cultures. Overall the idea behind the episode is a good one, but this particular implementation just came off as silly.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-06-25 at 2:24pm:
This is what happens when the writing staff takes LSD before creating the script. This is an absolute off the wall episode that differs from anything that has ever been produced in the Trek universe. Usually, having an off the wall episode brings vitality to a show, but Masks fails on many levels.
It is hard to believe that while the ship is being converted to an alien landscape, that no vital systems would disappear, causing destruction. By the way, where was the rest of the crew in this episode. Did they send everyone to their quarters?
On top of all that, this episode is just boring. The plot develops at a snail's pace as the crew tries to discover what the solution is. It feels like a bad three-hour movie. The dialog between Picard, Worf, Riker, and Troi is drab. There are attempts at humor ("the observation lounge is a swamp"), but nobody is laughing as they watch this episode.
The shameful thing is, the idea behind this episode is fantastic. It probably would have worked if the alien device did not possess Data. I would have rather seen the actual aliens appearing on the ship. The episode does not fail in the art department, however. It seems like they spent a lot of time and money to produce the set pieces.
I would give this episode a 0, but I'll give it a 1 because of its artistic quality.
- From David Murray on 2011-04-01 at 3:48pm:
I recently aquired the entire series of TNG and decided to watch them all from beginning to end. I was very pleased to discover that there were about 4 episodes that somehow I had never seen on TV before and so it was cool to get to watch "new" episodes of TNG. However, the last of these "new" episodes for me was Masks. I must admit I could barely make it through this episodes. I was cringing constantly at how horrible it was. Not only was it down right dumb, but it was also boring. Take the TOS episode "Spock's Brain" which people say is really bad. Well, it is bad. But despite out dumb it is, it is actually fun to watch. Masks is not entertaining in the least. In fact I'd probably have fallen asleep except for the cringing of bad scenes keeping me awake. I would probably rate this as the worst episode of all time.
- From MJ on 2011-04-26 at 2:10pm:
I guess I'm one of the few who didn't find this one so bad. Average, yes, but not horrible.
The main problem I have is how long it takes the crew to recognize that Korgano is the moon. Picard should have figured that out almost immediately. Instead, they stretch the problem out beyond believability. This is what makes a potentially solid episode average, in my view.
As for vital ship systems not falling victim to transformation, I suppose it could be explained that this archive is so advanced and sophisticated that it could recognize which aspects of the ship are safe to transform...after all, this thing apparently interfaced with Data and uploaded thousands of personalities into his system. Clearly the technology is beyond that of the Federation in some regards.
It does seem strange that such an advanced culture would be so superstitious as to believe in sun-goddesses and moon-gods. However, it could be that the creators of this archive were actually showcasing their own ancient history, rather than the way their culture was at the time the archive was built.
So I think some loose ends can be tied up here but I agree it's very dull at some points. With Spiner's acting, the set design, and at least a somewhat plausible story, I give it a 5.
- From Bronn on 2011-10-05 at 5:02pm:
I have to agree with the above commenter. It's by no means a classic episode, and the premise is silly, with a lot of nonsense science. But Spiner and Stewart are excellent actors who really want to make this high-concept (shudder whenever Brennan Braga ever uses that phrase) story work. What I love about Brent Spiner is that he really commits-they ask him to play a series of different mythological personalities that are taking over Data's programming, and he absolutely runs with it. Watching him provides the only moments when this episode is not completely absurd. I'd give it a 4, just based on how much I like Brent Spiner.
- From Arbit on 2012-05-01 at 5:03pm:
Just awful. Some "highlights":
- Picard getting impatient and deciding to just melt the comet (!??!?)
- Ancient civilization capable of creating a gigantic space temple many times the size of the enterprise living in fear of a sun god
- The crew struggling to identify the crescent-shaped companion symbol of the sun symbol (perhaps... they are antlers?)
- Alien communication device accidentally transmutes spaceship parts into crappy looking concrete blocks and random jungle foliage (I can see it causing power surges and other weird phenomenon, but what sort of communications tech screws up so bad it starts transmuting matter? Maybe I'll try to plug a USB flashdrive into an old PS2 port and see if my computer will transmute my couch into gold bricks)
- Picard literally talking the sun god to sleep
- Etc etc
Maybe the worst part about this episode is it was a waste of a totally awesome premise. An ancient 87+ million year old comet/temple, traveling in deep space to nowhere, starts to interfere with the ship's systems, projecting strange runes on readouts and materializing strange totems everywhere! What sort of Cthulian interdimensional horror have the crew uncovered? The crew, belonging to an intergalactic hippie empire, immediately assume it's an ancient repository of information. "Yeah right" you think. "And the creators chucked into deep space where no one had any reasonable chance of finding it? Set course for INSANITY, warp ten billion!!!"
No, it's really just an archive and it accidentally started projecting its boring sun/moon god mythology onto the ship.
- From L on 2013-05-04 at 5:36am:
A proto-Egyptian/Sumerian civilisation's equivalent of the afterlife; they've somehow recorded the personalities and experiences of key citizens, stuck that record in a starship, inside a comet, and they replay themselves through any available medium once activated, ie, Data and the Enterprise's computer system.
Interesting and silly at the same time. What was so important about this scenario that a civilisation developed technology that only rational minds could produce, to replay something that only irrational superstition could produce?
An ironic public service announcement?
I like the idea of exploring the intersection between myth and high-tech ability, but was not convinced.
- From Daniel on 2014-01-25 at 3:01am:
My biggest complaint about this episode is that Picard - despite his extensive studies of mythology and ancient cultures - could not figure out that the crescent moon symbol he kept seeing was the moon. As many cultures use similar symbols, and he already knew the other symbol was the sun, it was an obvious correlation.
- Another reference to that horrible episode Force of Nature, Picard says they've been given authorization to exceed the warp speed limit.
- This episode establishes that the Enterprise was built at the Utopia Planitia Mars colony, eight years ago.
- There were thousands of people involvled in building the Enterprise, according to Troi.
- Seeing the inside of a warp nacelle.
- Worf "asking permission" of Riker to date Troi.
- Riker: "Worf, you sound like a man asking his friend permission to date his sister."
Some form of mental attack is causing people aboard ship to become suicidal. It's not very credible that people would immediately think of jumping into a warp nacelle to commit suicide; what's wrong a with a phaser set to kill? It's certainly easier to get ahold of a phaser to kill oneself than it is to jump into a warp nacelle without someone stopping you. The time in this episode is largely wasted on trying to discover the source of all this; not enough time is spent on the developing relationship between Troi and Worf which is what the episode was supposed to have been about.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Dave on 2006-10-13 at 9:24pm:
Wasn't the reason they jumped into the warp core is that the dead guy was buried nearby in a bulkhead? They didn't experience the urge to jump until they were on the deck overlooking the core.
- From Rob on 2008-04-24 at 6:50pm:
I have to say that your review kind of missed the point. This wasn't about Worf and Troi in the conventional sense... their whole courtship was part of a delusion suffered by Troi (except for Worf's first tentative exploration of starting a relationship with Riker). They never actually got together. And Troi wanted to follow Kwan into the plasma stream because that's where the "empathic echo" was located due to Pierce having committed suicide there after killing the two lovers.
- From 7 Of 14 on 2008-10-09 at 9:47am:
To me this episode is a mess; the distinction between reality and the hallucinations was incredibly badly handled and kills the story. I had to read a detailed episode synopsis online to clear the confusion in my mind, a sign the episode fails to work coherently.
The whole issue of the bones found in the bulkhead doesn’t make any sense as it was all a hallucination anyway. Why would Troi hallucinate such irrelevant details? What a mess; "Sub Rosa" is a thousand times better.
- From Dave on 2009-01-21 at 9:03pm:
Bit of a geeky thing this - but hey. I paused this on Lt Kwan's crew record to read what it said. It appears he was posted to the Enterprise and two other starships on the same stardate - not to mention making Lieuteneant on the same date. It also makes no reference to when he served at Utopia Planitia - which Troi says it does. If they're going to go to the effort of creating the computer screen detail, they might as well make it right. Still, digital TV and live pause weren't around at the time....
- From ElGuapo on 2011-12-12 at 4:22pm:
If the only reason Troi tried to commit suicide was because her empathic abilities tied into the empathic echo, why did Kwan commit suicide? He wasn't telepathic, so the empathic echo shouldn't have affected him.
A poorly executed plot line that should have had more focus on Troi and Worf. 3/10
- From Marvin on 2012-09-08 at 9:48am:
Plot holes you could fly a starship through.
As mentioned by Dave, utterly inconsistent data on Lt Kwan.
Troi makes a big deal of "not seeing these" (pointing to a solar cell!) during her experience, yet they are all over the place during her vision.
And then we learn that Troi and Worf's liaison, the only piece of real content in the whole episode, takes place during her mind-trip?
- Much of the science in this episode makes little to no sense. Why would a cat de-evolve into an iguana? Or a human (Barclay) into a spider?
- According to Data, there are 12 male cats on board that could have impregnated Spot.
- This episode was directed by Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher). She did a surperb job; though this is the only episode they let her direct!
- Ogawa pulling cactus thorns out of Riker.
- Barclay's self-diagnosis.
- Worf's "enhanced guidance system" glitching.
- Data describing to Barclay injuries to the crew Spot has inflicted on her previous babysitters.
- Worf and Troi's odd behaviors near one another.
- Barclay with lots of energy.
- Worf's attack on Troi.
- Worf venom attacking Beverly.
- Amphibious Troi.
- Neanderthal Riker.
- Spider Barclay.
- Picard and Data duplicating Troi's pheromones and Picard luring him away from Data.
- Primal Worf.
This is an extremely entertaining episode. It's a shame the science behind it is a bit questionable. Then again, much of the science of this episode isn't questionable. Data's cure is very innovative. The idea to create a cure based on the natural defenses of a pregnant woman is certainly original. The episode has such a fast and fun pace that by the time it's over, you wonder where the rest of it is. This is a controversial episode because of the bad science involved, but in my opinion the bad science is pretty minimal; compare it to something like Voy: Threshold, or TOS: The Alternative Factor, then you might agree with me that the technical issues of this episode are largely minor. That said, I very much enjoyed this one.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-06-28 at 12:39pm:
Whether you believe in evolution or not, you'll probably agree that the science in this episode is really bad. This is so in the initial transformations, where cats turn to lizards and humans turn to spiders, but also in the part where everyone returns to normal. How can a brain, like Riker's, shrink in size and then return to its original size while keeping all of the original memories intact? I also question how half the crew did not end up dying from the wild animals running around. Perhaps it was because they were all huddled together in certain areas of the ships, as Data specifies, but I have to believe that a large number still would have died.
If you can get past the bad science of the episode, you may find the rest entertaining enough to watch, deserving of a 5.
- From JRPoole on 2008-11-03 at 10:15am:
Usually episodes that feature truly bad science annoy me to no end, but I'm willing to let it go with this one simple because it's so much fun.
As the person above noted, the science isn't all that bad with some suspension of disbelief. If we all evolved from a common ancestor in the form of a unicellular organism, you can posit that there are reptilian and even insect DNA fragments lying domant in our genetic codes. Human embryos have gills and tails, for instance. Sure it's a stretch, but the visual effects and makeup were all done well and it's great fun if you don't take it too seriously.
What I do have a problem with is the idea noted above about everyone returning to normal. It's ridiculous to think that the structual properties of the new bodies and the memories encoded in the now physically changed brains would remain intact. Still, I enjoyed this one throroughly. I'd probably hide this episode if I was introducing someone to TNG, as it is pretty goofy, but it's action-packed and entertaining, so I gave it a 5. They can't all be classics, and all I ask of filler episodes is to be entertaining, and this one definitely delivers.
- From SS on 2009-01-16 at 10:49pm:
The science could have been a lot worse. "Introns" really are sections of the genome that do not code for anything and certain sections have indeed been identified as leftovers of our evolutionary past.
Mammals evolved from reptiles, which evolved from amphibians, so Troi's change works. Ogawa made a good australopithecine, and Riker made a good erectine (although Data identified him as australopithecine, he was much too large to be anything other than Homo). The spider is much harder to justify, as arachnids are not part of humans' evolutionary past, but it made for a good scare.
There are obviously some major problems that others have identified, but it's all in good fun. This isn't one of my favorite episodes, but for season 7 it's well above average.
- From Albert on 2009-07-08 at 3:53pm:
Another rare bad episode in my opinion, I agree with another reviewer that it's mainly the bad science that makes it insulting. Sorry to repeat another comment almost word-for-word, but Riker's brain shrinking seems like it would do permanent damage. Unless they are trying to say something unkind about Riker in this episode.
Every crew member surely would have suffered permanent brain damage and physical deformities from this illness.
The primordial version of Worf is the best part of this episode, it makes me wonder if in a first draft he was to be the only on affected, and started to hunt through the ship like the alien in Alien. I would have liked a version like this better.
- From Keith on 2013-02-02 at 10:54pm:
Troi is in Sick Bay after Worf's attack, then in her quarters when Picard and Data reenter the ship, then back in sSick Bay when Worf is intent on mating with her. Surely Picard and Data did not bring her back to Sick Bay.
- From TheAnt on 2013-11-05 at 10:38am:
This is one questionable episode indeed, but it made in a way that almost make me think that the authors of the script told themselves that 'We've violated physics so many times, and the internal ideas of Star Trek, so we better violate Biology bigtime now in the last part of the series as well."
When I did see the episode the first time, U initially thought it were some sort of anti-genetic engineering propaganda piece. But the solution which indeed utilized genetic engineering contradicted that idea.
(So that was one idea I got when still watching this.)
SS is indeed correct about the introns, but those loose segments left over from our earlier stages of evolution would not combine to make other complete organisms.
Even so with the extremely bad science the story might still have been able to fly, if they had made a few details more believable.
Sadly that's not the case, and with one completely deflating ending, that the shot Crusher gave Backlay had started all this. I can only give this episode a weak 4, and those points given only for the horror action elements and SFX such as Barclay as a spider and Neanderthal Riker.
- From Axel on 2015-03-06 at 10:45pm:
The science problems don't really bother me as much as some people. If someone watches this episode and thinks, "Wow, I had no idea humans evolved from spiders!" I think that speaks more to the failure of public education than it does Star Trek's handling of evolutionary biology. Besides, most of the transformations are believable, such as Riker, Ogawa and Picard himself. And as mentioned before, it's not as if Star Trek hasn't sometimes fumbled other scientific concepts.
The acting is what I enjoyed most about this episode. It gave the cast a chance to try some new things, and for the most part I think it was very entertaining. Dorn's performance was a lot of fun; Frakes did a great job playing the smaller-brained devolving hominid; and Schultz got to play Barclay on steroids, which was pretty enjoyable.
As opposed to DS9 with its story arcs, TNG's 7th season feels like it was just wrapping things up as it went along while also pushing the sci-fi envelope a bit. Some of it worked, some of it didn't. This episode wasn't memorable, but it was fun enough. I'd give it a 6.
- Beverly claims that the Traveller is from Tau Ceti. But he's actually from Tau Alpha C according to TNG: Where No One Has Gone Before and TNG: Remember Me.
- This episode marks the beginnings of the Maquis.
- Wesley reuniting with the crew.
- Picard arguing with the admiral, pointing out the disturbing historical parallels with forcibly removing Native Americans.
- I love the way Picard handled the admiral. He was very diplomatic.
- Wesley's "attitude" in engineering.
- Anthwara citing that Picard's ancestor participated in an atrocity against the Native American people.
- Wesley making a complete ass of himself spoiling Worf's covert transporter plans.
- Time stopping before Wesley's eyes.
- The peaceful ending.
A much needed episode to conclude Wesley's story. Offscreen, he was written out of the show due to some retarded TV show politics, but thankfully the writers gave him a nice send-off here. Additionally, this episode features a fantastic bit of irony. Picard is ordered to forcibly displace some Native Americans from their new home. Besides the great historical parallels, this episode has great implications. These events are what spark the Maquis rebellion against the Federation. The peaceful ending in this episode is awesome. But misleading. Watch the next DS9 episode to find the beginnings of the Maquis! A stellar episode.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Goblin on 2009-01-29 at 8:44am:
I thought this episode was really boring actually. I don't think that this deserves anwhere near as high as an 8.
- From schn on 2010-11-12 at 6:49pm:
I get that this episode was meant to show someone walking away from Starfleet, but that is very easy to do when you have super powers.
- From MJ on 2011-01-05 at 12:37pm:
I hated this episode.
What bothers me is the politically correct, New Agey brand of spirituality the episode gives the Native Americans. While trying to make them look like the good guys here, this “magical, mystical Indian” portrayal is just as racist, and just as inaccurate, as the “barbarian-savage” portrayal you got from early white sources in the Americas. The American Indian belief systems varied widely from tribe to tribe, and also the way the Indians interacted with nature was just as varied across the Americas. The notion that they were like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before the white man’s arrival is patently ridiculous. And, now enter one of TNG’s strangest characters, the Traveler, and his vague explanations for how he taps into the raw energy of the universe to do what he does, all of which is apparently on par with what the Indians believe, and all as part of some journey of self-discovery for Wesley? Where is the usual TNG in all of this?
Well, it’s there, actually. It’s just interwoven with all this PC stuff. It could be a really good episode that tackles a meaningful, real-world problem: whether it’s right for a government to force people from their homes for the “greater good” of a peace settlement. But that takes a backseat to the Wesley plot. I thought "The Ensigns of Command" did a much better job with this problem.
I can appreciate what the episode was trying to do. It’s the Seventh Season, and TNG needs to tie up all the loose ends. Last we saw of Wesley, he had gotten in trouble at Starfleet Academy for participating an illegal dare-devil stunt, and was subsequently held back a year. Not exactly a good finale for a character who played a major role in several seasons of the show. And, I do like how Wesley has a bit of a chip on his shoulder here, not bouncing back all fresh and perky after a miserable year at the Academy being shunned by his classmates. I even like the idea of him becoming disillusioned with Starfleet and wanting something different. It just didn’t seem this was a good sendoff for the character.
Maybe what bothers me the most is that Wesley will actually be exploring the Galaxy in a far more significant way than Picard and crew, which takes something away from their mission and storyline. Their ship, with all its technology and its highly trained crew, won’t get nearly as far as this boy wonder hopping around higher existence with the Traveler and possibly some Indians. It’s ultimately unsettling because at the end of “All Good Things” we’re told that amazing new discoveries are what await Picard; seems Wesley’s the one actually having all the fun. I never liked the Traveler to begin with. As superior life forms go, the Q Continuum was TNG’s stroke of genius. This Traveler just gets in the way of the whole plot and adds a “feel-good” element that TNG would be better off leaving alone. Science fiction is not science, but one of the things I’ve always appreciated about TNG is that at least they have plausible explanations for some of what goes on.
- From Trekstar on 2011-01-31 at 12:31am:
This episode makes me cringe. I never actually hated Wesley Crusher, but every so often he would say or do something so lame and so cheesy. I think the character wasn't fully developed because the writers didn't know what the hell they wanted from him. Not only do they give him the dumbest lines in this ep., but they give everyone else dumb lines when they are around him. Like the eye rolling crap that Data says when he sees Wesley for the first time. I personally wish they would have made Wes angrier and angrier in each ep he did, then have him(with the help of his time traveler friend) become a Darth Vader type bad guy. Sweet lil Anakin becomes Darth Vader; sweet nerdy Wesley Crusher becomes...something! Oh well, they instead wrote this masterpiece. One last thing, the traveler really bugs me. I guess they are going for a mystical feel to this guy, but to me he seems too creepy, like a pedophile who's been lurking in the shadows, watching Wesley grow into a man so they can skip off into other realities together. The point: I hate this episode, and I hate the way they said good bye to Wesley Crusher!!!
- From John on 2011-02-06 at 6:30pm:
I have to agree with others that this episode definitely exploits a stereotype to tell its story. One thing I hate about this episode (and this extends to Voyager episodes about Chakotay) is the cheesy flute music. Why has this one musical form been used as a meme for all Native Americans? Are we supposed to believe that all the people who first populated the Americas listened to one style of crappy music? It's utter nonsense, and basely false.
Another thing for which the writers ought to be ashamed is referring to the settlers as "Indians". This happens repeatedly, and each time it makes me cringe. This is the 24th century -- by all other indications, humanity has moved beyond these dated and racist terms. Why not just call them "settlers"? That is, after all, what they are.
I really don't like this episode. The only thing that redeems it at all for me is that Wesley finally goes away.
- From Dorvan on 2013-08-11 at 8:59pm:
This episode was written as my 13th birthday present by Ron Moore. Most of it was based on a conversation my mother had with him about Star Trek failure to include Native American characters. For the most part I liked it and it was a good send-off for Wesley...However I did have a huge problem with the cliche Native American stereotype. Picking on Picard because of something his ancestor did. I am sure that with any good research you can link anyone to a bloodthirsty ancestor. Dumb. That flute is annoying…vision quest is the answer to everything…we speak to the bear...all they need was a catch phrase like Hackuchimoya…
This episode would have been better off with some actual research into Native culture.
- From Keefaz on 2017-02-21 at 5:15am:
A pretty feeble episode. Amazingly ham-fisted treatment of Native American culture. I thought we'd agreed not to refer to them as 'Indians' decades ago, so how this slipped into the script is beyond me. And the episode works on two different levels of bullsht in that the quasi-Native American rubbish about spirit animals (incidentally, how could a Klingon or Vulcan be a spirit animal, no different to a parrot, as claimed here?) turns out to be a fabrication by The Traveller.
Best scene: a fight breaks out which could, potentially, reignite a Federation-Cardassia war and Wes and The Traveller just stroll off, beatifically, into the sunset.
- This is the only TNG episode in which Quark appears.
- Quark makes a reference to the Pakleds in this episode.
- Worf's preoccupation with Alexander.
- Worf participating in the Klingon ceremony telling the story of Khaless and Molor.
- Alexander defeating the actor Molor.
- Riker mentioning the Duras sisters' incident on Deep Space Nine. Good continuity.
- K'mtar's speech to Alexander about the appeal of becoming a warrior.
- Quark's conversation with Riker.
- Alexander's lesson in the holodeck.
- K'mtar trying to encourage Alexander to become a warrior.
- Riker uncovering a Klingon Bird of Prey.
- Worf regarding the tarnishing of the good name of the Duras sisters: "You cannot tarnish a rusted blade!"
- Future Alexander telling his story.
This episode features a pleasing Klingon story. Alexander still does not want to be a warrior, Worf's family's status in the empire is still being challenged by the Duras family once again. The plot twist at the end revealing K'mtar to actually be Alexander from the future was excellent. Made a rather ordinary albeit above average Klingon episode much more exciting and interesting. Another well done episode.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Daniel on 2014-01-25 at 7:17pm:
I really like this episode for many reasons. I am partial to any Klingon story episodes. A nice feature of this episode is when K'Mtar is teaching Alexander how to fight on the holodeck. It gives us a glimpse into Klingon hand-to-hand combat strategy. Interesting factoid; James Sloyan, who played K'Mtar in this episode, also played Setal/Admiral Jarok in the STTNG episode, The Defector.
- From englanddg on 2014-08-02 at 2:00am:
This is one of my favorite episodes of season 7.
They knew the end was coming, and the writers were certainly tying up loose ends this season, and their dealing with Alexander (even though they brought him back in DS9) was masterful.
When it first aired, I just thought it was an interesting show, but every few years I do a re-watch of all the Star Trek series (that's what I'm doing now)
Oddly, I find that they help me center myself, as I grow older. I find that each time I watch them, as I progress through the stages of life, I find something different that I never found before (probably why ST has touched so many, especially TNG)...
As a father now, decades later, rewatching this show just tonight, I think it touches on many of the feelings, challenges and fears I've faces as my daughter turns into a young woman.
Rearing a child is the scariest thing I've done in my life, for all of the reasons indicated in this episode.
I think that aspect alone, deserves praise. I would rate this episode an 8 out of 10, for those reasons.
- From Mike on 2017-04-23 at 2:41pm:
Until this episode, I wasn’t a huge fan of Alexander. I found Wesley Crusher a lot more tolerable. But they finally came up with a great plot involving Alexander. The messages about children wishing in hindsight that they’d been more receptive to their parents’ teachings, and parents learning to let their children find their own destinies resonated powerfully. And I like the reappearance of the Duras sisters. It portrays these Klingon feuds as potentially lasting generations.
- The Enterprise travels at maximum warp in this episode. I guess we're all very quick to forget about the events TNG: Force of Nature, eh? Not that I care too much, I rather like the fact that that dreadful episode is being ignored.
- A very similar technology to this subspace transporter used by Bok will be used in Ent: Daedalus. It seems just as unstable in this century as it was in Archer's!
- Riker: "The Ferengi government is debating an amendment to the Rules of Acquisition. It could be a while until we hear from them."
- Picard: "You'll never look at your hairline again in the same way!"
This episode would have been much more effective this supposed "son" of Picard's actually ended up being for real. Instead, we get a TOS style reset button, for our characters are not allowed to incur lasting consequences! *rolls eyes* This episode bears decent continuity with TNG: The Battle, for Bok has returned. It's convincing that Bok would pull such a ridiculous scheme, but watching it all play out is frankly a little boring. Since Picard does indeed have no son, all the character development between Picard and his new son is thus wasted, and the episode itslelf comes off largely as a waste of time. Normally I wouldn't count off much for that, but in the late final season of a show, there shouldn't be filler episodes!
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From JRPoole on 2008-10-30 at 3:03pm:
Ughh. Ferengi are almost always terribly executed on TNG. Ughh. Picard's son turns out not to be. Ughh. How the hell did Bok a) find out about a two-week affair of Picard's from a quarter century ago, b) find the kid, c) manipulate his genes without his knowing about it, and d) know the Enterprise would be near Caymore in the first place. On top of all this, we have an interesting idea for a planet--a colony in collapse following the Cardassian war--and we never even set foot on it.
Science alert: if you change someone's genes, the cells will be different when they reproduce. In a few cell cycles, you'd have a completely different person.
This is terrible. Utterly, utterly, unwatchably terrible. The son is a complete douche, and not in an interesting way. His acting is terrible, he's badly written, and his reaction to being transported unexpectedly is completely unbelievable. The first episode with Bok wasn't that great in the first place, so it's not the best episode to return to here. I can't believe this is one of the pentultimate TNG episodes. I vaguely remembered it from the first run, and I figured it was lost in the middle of the series somewhere, not featured prominently at the end.
- From John Smith on 2011-10-23 at 12:28pm:
Not a very good episode by any means but it does contain one of my favorite scenes in all of TNG: someone finally telling the ever presumptuous Troi to buzz off. She has never met this person before but she, unsolicited, takes it upon herself to see if he wants to open up her about his whole life. His response was quite appropriate and refreshing in that the always sanctimonious Troi was put in her place.
- From Shani on 2014-12-16 at 4:47am:
From memory alpha: "Sagan noted that the original premise ("Fugue") was a lot darker than the aired episode. "The idea was that Bok had genetically engineered this kid from birth and advanced his growth and had been giving him memories of Picard abandoning him on the Stargazer. Then Bok was using one of the mind balls to give Picard these vague flashes of false memories, making him think that it was possible he had this sort of fugue-like experience where he basically abandoned his son on the Stargazer and blocked it out of his mind. I don't know if it would have ever worked or not, but it was kind of a really interesting, dark aspect and it gave you a sense of abandonment and trying to recapture this sense of a son he never had. Then it turns out that it's not that at all." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)"
Why did they not make that episode? That would have actually been brilliant and interesting to watch. I can see them trying to argue that it would be too dark for TNG but it would have been brilliant
- From tigertooth on 2017-02-10 at 10:04pm:
The first question Picard would have asked was "Why is Bok warning me about the fact that he's going after my son? Why wouldn't he get my son first?" The warning was the obvious signal that this was Bok's trap. Completely ridiculous that Picard and crew fell for it.
- Uhh... so... the Enterprise develops an intelligence and even reproduces! And then suddenly just stops? For no reason?
- This episode is a candidate for my "Worst Episode of TNG Award".
- The Enterprise starting to freak out.
- Data holding back a car.
More filler, this time worse because we've got bad sci fi to go along with it. Throw in the stock holodeck malfunction along with a no consequences plot, among many other things, and we've got ourselves one hell of a cliched episode. Besides the cliche, the science in this episode is really, really bad. I just find it hard to believe the Enterprise could come alive and reproduce, then never do it again, all of which for no reason.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From RichD on 2006-05-03 at 5:23pm:
What an atrocious, abysmal episode. Lazy writing, uninspired acting, and erratic pacing. The Enterprise gives birth? What is going on? At this point in time in the series, in the 7th season, we should have never, ever been subjected to such a complete waste of time. My goodness. I can only think of one other episode that was worse, Shades of Gray.
- From -ezm- on 2010-06-02 at 3:25pm:
Absolutely terrible episode. Bottom 5 for sure. To think that All Good Things would only be 3 episodes later.
- From Paul on 2010-08-19 at 10:40am:
I felt violently sick while watching this episode. Not sure if that was related to its intense badness.
Also interesting to note is the guy that plays the train conductor is also Jeffery Lebowski in 'The Big Lebowski'. I recognised his voice and couldn't work it out for ages ^^
- From ElGuapo on 2011-12-14 at 2:14pm:
Another computer turned intelligent episode... At least this one wasn't as bad as the one with the little repair robots that turned self-aware. Still, an awful episode. The only saving grace is the.. wait... I can't think of anything.
Oh wait.. I know.. maybe the new lifeform will look cool when TNG hi-def comes out in 2012! Right now it looks like the pipe screensaver from Windows 95.
- From L on 2013-05-09 at 2:27am:
Using a mixed historical holodeck scenario to explore the ship's 'mind' seemed like cheating and cheap production values. I guess they made it justifiable, but it was pretty cheesy as a metaphor.
Picard saying they have a responsibility to respect the ship as any other living being is just stupid.
It's a highly crucial tool and a mobile environment that supports the crew's life; its developing intelligence is a serious problem as its desire for individual freedom is in immediate conflict with a desire to keep your environment supporting you and your crew's life. It demonstrated it was willing to kill them all when it started to use life support energy to reach the second star.
This is no time to be a hippie, an immediate lobotomy is called for!
I did like how in the end he said that the Enterprise's consciousness was the sum of their experiences and adventures over the years, so in a sense the crew was also the parent of the new life-form. A nice way to think about it.
But it was still a pretty unrealistic reaction to a ridiculous situation.
Good parts -
The analysis of Prospero and Shakespeare in the first scene.
Data out of the holodeck still with crazy hair and moustache.
Introducing the concept of consciousness as an emergent function of complexity. If only they had explored it in a better plot.
I'm sure there's been some ridiculous lines in seven years of The Next Generation, but Troi's
"I think we should follow that man, that brick might be an important clue.",
has to be one of the greatest.
- From Emily on 2014-02-10 at 6:50pm:
I think for you to truly understand this episode it would be beneficial to have a deeper understanding of The Tempest.
In some ways I think that the ship’s intelligence, trying to break away from the confines of the ship in to a higher state of being is in many ways comparable to Ariel in The Tempest, a spirit who we are told is imprisoned within a tree (a thing of the earth in which a spirit of the air does not belong).
Ariel is freed from this chamber by Prospero and in return he obeys him as a servant. Prospero uses Ariel to control the forces of nature (it is worth noting here that the term ‘magick’ in Shakespeare’s time could be used to mean wisdom about natural forces/elements) in order to complete his mission of diplomacy. This is undeniably similar to the relationship between Captain Picard and The Enterprise.
As the play progresses, Ariel itches more and more for complete freedom from his earthly tasks. Prospero is a man of his word, and eventually releases Ariel once he has done everything Prospero has asked of him.
Another interesting thing to note about this episode, is that it is very close to the end of TNG. The Tempest was Shakespeare’s last (and arguably best) solo work and a lot of the play parallels Prospero’s magic art to Shakespeare’s art as a play write. At the end of the play (this is the scene shown at the beginning of the episode) Prospero says goodbye to his magic, and indeed the epilogue to the play can be interpreted as Shakespeare’s heart-warming goodbye to the theatre. Perhaps the use of this play is a nod to the fact that the writers would shortly be saying goodbye to TNG.
I could probably continue to research and write for days about the symbolism in this episode, the use of opposites, the exploration of the psyche, the ‘Brave new world’ and how this all relates to The Tempest and further to humanity.
However as this is and old article on an old webpage I’m guessing my efforts would amount to very little. I think what I’m saying is that this episode has a lot more to it than what you have taken prima facie and if anyone reading this has decided to just take a look at this episode and The Tempest in maybe a little more depth they will be greatly rewarded by what they find, and furthermore what I have written would have been worthwhile.
- From Daniel Antil on 2014-08-31 at 5:18am:
I agree this is one of the worst episodes. It's almost a guarantee that any episode which relies on the holo deck for its storyline is generally insubstantial. There are so many things wrong with this episode:
1. The holo deck becomes the vehicle for the ship's computer to take over the ship??? It just can't happen!
2. Data, despite his strength, cannot stop a car from moving forward if he is merely squatting on the ground - it is simple physics - he would need proper leverage and weight balance.
3. The man who takes the gold brick and puts it into an empty slot in a wall... What does it mean??? There is obviously something symbolic about it, but they don't explain it at all!
4. The ship creates a life form in the cargo bay??? So many things wrong with that!
5. When the life form is complete, it simply passes through the ship's hull and flies off into space... Why? Where did it go? And why the heck doesn't the Enterprise follow it??? That should be the primary mission - investigate and keep tabs on a life form the ship created!
6. After the holo deck turns off, Data, Troy and Worf are still holding drinks in their hands... Drinks they got from the holo deck train.
That's just a basic list... There are dozens of other flaws in this episode. It's a stinker!
- From Carolyn on 2015-08-28 at 1:45pm:
This is one of my favorite episodes. Very creative, funny and thoughtful. I can't believe the reviews I am reading here!
- From GVT on 2016-08-02 at 3:28am:
I found Emily's comment very helpful in understanding this episode...thank you Emily. This episode does require a more metaphorical interpretation since, as L mentioned, having starships running around becoming self-aware and doing whatever they choose would spell disaster for the crews of those vessels. I find entertainment in the absurd so I rate this episode a 6...but with insight gained from Emily's post a 7.
- The Maquis attacking a Cardassian ship.
- Ro taking her ship through the Enterprise's shields and beaming away medical equipment.
- Ro Laren betraying the Enterprise crew.
- Picard's reaction to learning of Ro Laren's betrayal.
This episode is finally TNG doing something valuable with its finite time left after two bad episodes in a row. Some nice points are the continuity with DS9: The Maquis, and the return of Ro Laren, a character who almost became a missed opportunity for a good episode. If only TNG could have wrapped up more of its loose ends. The graphics were certainly above TNG's average, and the story of Ro Laren's betrayal was enticing. Though I like what happened to Ro, I really wish we could have seen her again. It would have been more interesting if her contract was inclusive such that she became a member of the crew of Voyager or something. Oh well, all things considered it was a great episode considering it was the last stand alone TNG episode.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Pete Miller on 2006-06-04 at 6:34pm:
Wow! Having Ro Laren on the cast of Voyager would have made that show WAY better. I bet it would have been much more popular, too.
- From JRPoole on 2008-11-05 at 10:26am:
This has always been one of my favorite episodes because it looks at the Federation from an outside perspective. The Federation has always been presented as somewhat infallible; the politics of the show are rarely in disagreement with those of the Federation itself. This is a little different.
I think that everyone was right here. The Federation was acting in its best interest in the treaty with Cardassia. The Maquis certainly have a valid point, and their militancy, especially for the Bajorans among them, is understandable. Ro made the right moral decision by joining them, and Picard's insistence on duty is also understandable. All this also sets the tone not only for Voyager, but for what DS 9 becomes as well. I give it an 8.
- From Paul on 2010-08-19 at 11:14am:
Bajoran Hasperat = a fajita
- From Lt. Fitz on 2012-06-19 at 5:45pm:
It seemed to me that Picard had very deep feelings for her - sort of like a daughter to him. I felt like he was more upset that he wouldn't be able to continue in occasional relationship with her on federation terms than he would have been about her simply defecting. It was a very moving episode for me. Although I felt the Ro character was a bit overwritten, I sympathized with her a great deal.
- From Axel on 2015-03-28 at 11:23pm:
The Maquis got more attention in DS9, but this is one of the few episodes in TNG where there is a valid alternative position on an issue to the one the Federation takes. This time, the moral dilemma is not Picard's but Ro's. I think it's a great way to tie up the character given her past issues with Starfleet.
It was pretty obvious from the beginning that Macias was going to sway Ro to the Maquis side, so maybe they could've used a more morally ambiguous character. Still, this episode had a lot of great continuity and a really good plot.
- This episode recreates the past so well that they even copied one of the technical problems of the first episode. Data and O'Brien's positions appear to be reversed.
- This episode (both parts) won the 1995 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.
- Picard beginning to drift through time.
- Picard appearing during the time of the first episode.
- Yar appearance!
- Data's maid regarding Data's grey streak: "Looks like a bloody skunk!"
- Picard's odd behavior during the first episode.
- Data's objections to "burning the midnight oil" turning out (almost) exactly as before.
- The USS Pasteur. Captain Beverly Picard!
- Q's game of yes/no questions.
Troi's relationship with Worf finally reaches its apex, but the series ends and we never see them together again! One thing I liked about this episode was the remarkable detail the put into Picard's past experiences. The uniforms of the 7-years-ago Enterprise D were exact. Looked just like the first season! And Tasha's return was nicely done. The cliffhanger is exciting, one of the most exciting of the series, though not as much so as TNG: The Best of Both Worlds, Part I. I was nevertheless impressed with this episode.
No fan commentary yet.
- People like to bitch about "warp 13" in this episode, but those orders were given during one of Q's future fantasies, so who cares?
- Data sat in the helmsman's position during the present in this episode.
- This episode (both parts) won the 1995 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.
- A clean-shaven Riker!
- Picard investigating the anomaly in all 3 time periods.
- The three nacelled Enterprise!
- Geordi's regenerated eyes and Ogawa losing her baby.
- Q showing Picard the primordial soup.
- Picard senilely describing a temporal paradox and Data catching what he's actually talking about.
- Picard manipulating the Enterprise in all 3 time periods.
- Picard: "Mr. Data, you are a clever man in any time period."
- The sight of all 3 Enterprises together.
- Q: "I'm going to miss you Jean-Luc, you had such potential. But then again all good things must come to an end..."
- Picard thanking Q.
- The crew discussing the changes in the timeline.
- Picard joining the Poker game.
- The last line on of TNG TV series: Picard: "So, five card stud, nothing wild, and the sky's the limit!"
This episode finishes off with a bang, much more exciting than the first part. The issue of Troi and Worf's relationship is neatly tied up here. It would have been nice if in the TNG movies it was at least somewhat addressed, but it's certainly better than no explanation at all. The series ends making just as grand a point as it began with. Humanity is evolving and its collective mind is expanding. I like the sense of camaraderie at the end of the episode, both between Q and Picard regarding their relationship; Q really is a good guy, guiding humanity, and protecting humanity as they grow. Also the camaraderie between Picard and his crew as he finally plays Poker with them for the first time. This episode is a wonderful conclusion to Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-07-08 at 9:16pm:
I give All Good Things a 10 overall. I did not rate Part 1 and Part 2, since I watch it on DVD and have no idea where the halfway point is.
The episode itself is actually better than all the TNG movies. Everything about it is genius. Having the episode take place in three time periods is genius. Having the episode be a sequel to the very first episode is genius. I always look forward to watching it again.
- From Tony on 2008-09-09 at 12:23am:
The whole idea of working among diferent time periods and Picard in that "one moment" open to new posibilities and things to explore is great, but there is one problem: the movies and series set after this episode in time seem to show that humanity didn't expand in ways predicted in this episode and just settled back into their old ways. Admittedly, our current minds are not highly evolved enough to comprehend such endevers, but it does seem odd that both humanity doesn't advance (except maybe in VOY: Relativity dealing with an even farther future) and that the Q doesn't seem to care. This is not a strike against this episode, but a strike against future episodes relating to this episode.
- From JRPoole on 2008-11-05 at 3:09pm:
I just finished the entire TNG series, so this is a review of the series as a whole as well as a comment on this episode.
"All Good Things" is phenomenal. It's intelligently written, fleshes out the characters well, and filled with fanboy fun stuff that doesn't get in the way of a good episode. I gave it a 10.
TNG overall was also solid. Like the original series, it had its lame moments, but it was able to take the original concept and turn it into a sleek, intelligent show that took itself seriously but was still still fun. The best moments of TNG ("Measure of a Man," "The Inner Light," the Klingon saga episodes, the Borg invasion, Wesley's continuing journey to higher astral planes, et al) get at the heart of what Trek was really about. Now I'm looking forward to seeing DS9. I've seen a good bit of it, but a lot of it will be new to me.
- From djb on 2009-04-03 at 4:20am:
I loved the 3D space battle scene. Unfortunately throughout most of Trek, the potential allowed by the three dimensions of space is wasted and most everything is in two dimensions, as if they were in a ship on the ocean. The brief battle scene here with the Enterprise arriving from a totally different angle and orientation was brilliant, and I wish we could have seen more battle scenes like that.
- From Ali on 2009-04-12 at 12:21pm:
I love this episode too, but I think the science is a little bit iffy.
Since Picard establishes that changes in timelines don't affect each other (i.e. Deanna doesn't recall him ordering a red alert on his first mission), then the fact that the first amino acid doesn't bond in the past shouldn't affect their known future or present...
Multiple Universe Theories generally say that if an event is changed in the past, it will not alter the present; rather, create a new alternate Universe with that decision. And since there are infinite universes that exist where life did not end up occurring on earth, it wouldn't be that amazing. Life would have continued as normal to their perspective...
- From Jadzia Guinan Smith on 2011-10-01 at 9:49am:
If it's a 10, why isn't a candidate for your "Best TNG Episode" award?
- From Kethinov on 2011-10-07 at 2:49am:
Both parts of the episode would have had to be rated 10 for it to be considered.
- From Vlad on 2012-02-13 at 10:49am:
This is one of my favourite episodes in all of Star Trek, but one little problem kills the magic for me...
An early draft of the script, which was discarded for budget reasons, had the future crew stealing the Enterprise from a museum. Which meant that they started the search for the anomaly in the Enterprise and not the Pasteur.
In the final version of the script they were on the Pasteur.
Later, present-day Data says that the resonance pulses (or whatever they were called) inside the anomaly were identical "as if all three originated from the Enterprise".
But they didn't!
Anyway, aside from this little nitpick I have with the episode it's a fantastic send-off for TNG.
- From michael on 2012-08-07 at 6:03pm:
If the anti-time reaction in the future goes backwards in time - how were they able to see it in the future? From the point of origin it travels backwards. From the perspective of linear time it would be impossible for anyone perceiving the forwards movement of time to see a reaction that moves precisely in the opposite direction?
- From Captain Keogh on 2013-03-17 at 6:38am:
I loved this episode, just saw it on 26.12.2012 and thought it was brilliant, I gave it a 10.
- From thaibites on 2013-04-16 at 7:41pm:
This is a great send-off for TNG. It's obvious a lot of thought was put into this episode. For example, I love the shot of Baby-face Riker they lifted from the 1st season. It was ingenious how they had new audio from Frakes while the shot shows Picard looking at the monitor, and then cuts back to Riker actually saying something from the season 1 footage. It was seamless and shows a lot of attention to detail.
But the bigger aspect here is that All Good Things is what Star Trek is all about - pushing frontiers and going where no one (man) has gone before. Plus there's a lot at stake here - the existence of humanity (and the existence of every species between Earth and the Neutral Zone). This is awesome science fiction and TNG at its best!
- From L on 2013-05-09 at 8:32am:
This definitely was a great finale, epic and exciting. But a little frustrating too.
Why do the Q continuum continue to torture Picard? They create some nonsensical dilemma and accuse Picard of being the cause when it was solely due to them that the crisis existed in the first place, just so they can force him to make some grand act they approve of.
I thought the dilemma and its solution was totally irrational and may as well have been a dream, but it is implied that to evolve humanity must stop exploring real world science and technology and devote more time to this sort of thing. It seems they want to hold them back more than anything.
I was annoyed at Q seeming to revert back to his earlier character after all they'd been through together, but felt better when it turns out he was acting under orders and did try to help after all.
It was awesome seeing how irritable Picard was as an old man, and seeing Troi in a mini-skirt. It was a shame Guinan didn't make an appearance for the last episode.
The last scene was perfect and uplifting.
- From Dstyle on 2013-09-23 at 11:03am:
This episode first aired when I was in middle school, and I remember being very annoyed at the fact that the anomaly, which is supposed to be moving backwards in time, was somehow moving forward in time after it was created. It was the first time I ever noticed any logical inconsistencies in my favorite show (which is kind of funny now, looking back on all the various logical inconsistencies throughout TNG's run), and it still hinders my enjoyment of this episode. But I guess it would have taken too much screen time for the future crew to create the static warp bubble in the past by slingshotting around a sun or something.
I've always wondered why star ships always seem to be on the same plane when they run into each other, so it was good to see the future Enterprise approach and attack perpendicular to the Klingon Birds of Prey. Shame future Star Trek's didn't continue with this.
Everyone thinks future Picard is crazy, but they inexplicably (or perhaps touchingly) humor him because he is Jean-Luc Picard. He refuses a brain scan at Cambridge, insisting instead that they immediately get a ship to the neutral zone. The "present day" crew, on the other hand, believe Picard completely, in part because Beverley was able to show (via two brain scans) that he had accrued two days worth of memories in a matter of hours. Why didn't future Picard immediately insist on the same brain scans? Wouldn't it have been much, much easier to get everyone on board with him (and to avoid being sedated) by easily providing evidence that what he was saying was true?
Future Geordi is married to a woman named Leah. Leah Brahms, perhaps?
- From Jai Parker on 2014-07-09 at 10:11pm:
After a generally disappointing Season 7 TNG ends with a massive bang! Easily the best finale of any Trek series and 20 years on this is still one of the best grand finale's of any TV series IMO.
I just wish they'd left the story here, rather than trying to reinvent TNG as a series of half baked sci-fi action films with a horribly out-of-character Picard at the helm.
As with the Star Wars prequels I pretend the TNG films didn't happen and it ended with "the sky's the limit!"
- From englanddg on 2014-08-02 at 4:40am:
The only thing I'll add is that the previous episodes were all setting up for this, outside of summing up loose characters (as fan service).
Many of the derided episodes (when taken on their own) are in fact building the audience to this climax...
Where Picard finally loses his mind.
It was a quite brilliant story arch, across episodes, while still paying fan service to characters in interesting ways as they writers knew the show was dead after this season.
Extremely well done.
- From Mike Chambers on 2016-08-25 at 10:55am:
This has already been mentioned by another commenter, but I want to reiterate. The one thing that always bothered me about this otherwise amazing finale is, if the anomaly only grows backwards through time then how the heck were they able to go back several hours into the future and see it??
It's been a while since I've watched this, so maybe I'm forgetting something but I don't recall any explanation for it. Seems like a pretty massive oversight.