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- 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.
Originally Aired: 1990-6-18
The Enterprise has a deadly encounter with the Borg. [DVD]
- Third time Riker saves his life by refusing command of another starship.
- This episode (both parts together) is often regarded as the best TNG episode ever done.
- Shelby after Riker's job. Even defeats him at Poker. Something rarely done!
- Riker trying to figure out why he's still resisting when starfleet offers him ships.
- The sight and music accompanying the approach of the Borg cube.
- Shelby's idea to release the Enterprise from the Borg.
- The Enterprise running and hiding.
- Picard's capture.
- Troi striking down Riker's decision to lead an away team.
- The firefight aboard the Borg cube.
- Seeing Picard assimilated.
- Riker ordering Worf to fire on the Borg cube. Truly one of the most badass moments of all Star Trek.
The controversy between Riker and Shelby was annoying. They're facing a major inter stellar war and all Riker can think about is his damn pissing contest with Shelby. I was impressed with Shelby's restraint against Riker's testosterone flaunting though. I was equally pleased with Riker admitting that he admires her. Still though, even after he admits he likes her, he strikes her down for no reason in Engineering regarding her request to continue working with Data and other times as well. That said, this is truly the most captivating, interesting, and exciting episode TNG has done so far. Only minor blemishes.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-07-30 at 4:50am:
- As the show opens, Riker leads an away team down to the destroyed colony. When they arrive, he asks O'Brien to confirm their coordinates. O'Brien verifies the coordinates and says that they are at the center of town. The next shot shows the away team standing at the edge of a gaping hole. No buildings ring the abyss. If the hole is all that's left of the colony and they transported to the center of town, shouldn't they be standing in the center of the pit?
- With the Enterprise concealed in the nebula, both Worf and Picard make statements about what the Borg ship is doing. How do they know what the Borg ship is doing? If the nebula is dense enough to confound the Borg's sensors, wouldn't it do the same to the Enterprise's sensors?
- Before the away team beams over to the Borg ship, Worf hands out phasers. Shelby then comments that they will only be able to use the phasers a few times before the Borg will adapt to the frequencies. Evidently, tuning these phasers is a big deal. Otherwise the away could fire a few times, use the controls to set a new frequency, and start firing again. However, in the episode "The Arsenal Of Freedom," Data continues to retune the frequency on his phaser to find the "precise frequency" to free Riker from the force field. If Data's phaser had this capability in the first season, what happened to the phasers in the third season?
- At one point, when Shelby boards a turbolift, she states her destination as, "Deck 8, battle bridge." She and Riker then have a disagreement, and she leaves as soon as the turbolift reaches her destination. However, the turbolift doors open into a hallway, not the battle bridge. "Encounter At Farpoint" showed two entrances to the battle bridge: both were turbolifts.
- The Enterprise seems to have solved its structural integrity problems. During the runaway acceleration of "Hollow Pursuits," the Enterprise began shuddering as soon as it passed warp 9.4. In this episode, the Enterprise sustains a speed of warp 9.6 for several hours and everything's fine.
- From JRPoole on 2008-04-17 at 4:25pm:
This is something I've wondered before, but I thought of it again watching this episode. Can Troi turn off her empathic abilities? If not, how is it fair for her to play poker? Couldn't she sense if someone was bluffing?
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2009-06-26 at 7:31pm:
The cool thing is, this episode wasn't just about the Borg. Riker's personal and professional life was under a microscope and you had Picard pondering man's role in history while talking to Guinan.
When you add all these small pieces to the main plot, you get a very enjoyable, movie-like episode.
- From Mike Chambers on 2013-11-18 at 12:11am:
A very good, but imho overrated episode. I'd give it a 7. The Riker/Shelby rivalry thing gets annoying very fast to me, and I thought Picard becoming Borg was interesting enough but ultimately pretty gimmicky.
- From Daniel on 2014-07-04 at 5:22pm:
I love this episode, as well as Part 2. One thing I want to say about this episode is that it's perhaps the best cliffhanger episode of any series! I shall never forget that famous ending with the music building and Riker giving the command "Fire!" Then... To be continued!
- Patrick Stewart performed the scenes where he is stripped by the Cardassians fully in the nude, so as to better act the part.
- Zombie Picard being interrogated.
- Gul Madred describing a peaceful, prosperous Cardassia of 200 years ago, before the military takeover.
- Madred's psychotic torture techniques.
- Jellico relieving Riker of duty.
- Data in red!
- Madred exposing his daughter to his work. That man is insane.
- Madred and Picard discussing Cardassia's history.
- Madred bluffing about holding Beverly and killing Worf to get Picard to be more cooperative.
- Picard eating a live Taspar egg.
- Picard defying Madred.
- Picard continuing to defy Madred while the pain device keeps him in constant agony.
- Geordi carefully trying to put in the good word to Jellico about Riker.
- Riker taking pleasure in Jellico's brief moment of humility.
- Geordi: "Do I wanna know how close that was?" Riker: "No."
- Jellico playing his minefield card to the Cardassian captain.
- Picard taking the pain inflictor controller and smashing it. Madred: "That won't help, I have many more." Picard: "Still... felt... good."
- Madred trying one last time to get Picard to submit to him by telling him that there are five lights. Picard, one last time defying him and continuing to tell the truth: "There... are... four... lights!" The guards try to help Picard get to the door, Picard pushes them away. He walks to the door with dignity on his own power.
- Picard describing his ordeal to the counselor and admitting that he was almost about to give in.
Two rivalries, one between Jellico and the Cardassian captain, and one between Madred and Picard. In both the Cardassians start out on top, but get outmaneuvered by the humans. With regards to Madred and Picard, we get an utterly amazing performance by Picard once again. Madred also did an amazing job showing us just how much of a twisted man he was. I like how in the end, Madred only wanted to break Picard. He wasn't interested in getting any information from him. He just wanted to win the rivalry. All things considered, this episode features one of the most impressive displays of acting and character usage ever shown on Star Trek. It's also one of the most disturbing episodes ever shown on Star Trek. A truly memorable showing.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-11-12 at 7:58am:
- Madred asks Picard the names and ranks of those who accompanied him on the raid. Picard responds with "Chief Medical Officer Beverly Crusher and Lieutenant Worf." Isn't "chief medical officer" more of a title than a rank? Crusher's rank is commander, in the same way that Riker's rank is commander and his title is first officer.
- Both Part 1 and Part 2 of "Chain of Command" suggests that the Cardassians were able to lure Picard into their trap simply by using theta band emissions as the bait. Is Picard really the only person in Starfleet who knows about these kinds of subspace waves? What happened to the rest of the crew on the Stargazer? Data seems to address these questions when he says that Picard is "one of only three Starfleet captains with extensive experience in theta band devices. The other two are no longer in Starfleet." But is this the type of mission that Starfleet feels must be lead by a captain? Isn't this really just a commando raid to seek out and destroy a Cardassian lab? Does it seem reasonable to send the captain of the flagship of the Federation on a grenade-throwing mission? And does it seem reasonable that the Cardassians would expect that they could capture Picard simply by transmitting a bunch of theta waves?
- From wepeel on 2008-05-04 at 6:11pm:
While DSOmo is once again on point with Picard saying the title Chief Medical Officer instead of Crusher's rank (like he was asked to), and is probably a writer oversight, one could make the argument that the writers deliberately wrote that line to illustrate the view that information extracted via torture is neither ethical nor reliable. Picard was simply too exhausted to give the most appropriate answer...
- From JRPoole on 2008-09-16 at 5:13pm:
This is one of the stronger episodes of the series, and one that's often overlooked.
The only problem I see here is that it seems a little unlikely that Star Fleet would choose to send it's flagship captain on such a dangerous mission. We're given some justification of that -- Picard is an expert on the techno-babble issue of the day-- but it still seems like a long shot for the Cardassians to lure him in this way. I can't imagine that Star Fleet couldn't simply train some special-ops task team on the subspace emissions and turn them loose rather than sending Picard. But that's a minor thing, and the this episode is more than worth the suspension of disbelief needed to get through it.
The torture scenes are acted wonderfully by everybody involved, and they're some of the most gripping scenes of TNG. This episode also features a great guest turn by the actor playing Jellico, as well as the one portraying Gul Madred. We also get that rarest of TNG treats, a Ferengi character not so annoying and overdrawn that the Ferengi at large seem unrealistic. This is quality stuff, and I give the two-parter as a whole a 9.
- From rpeh on 2010-08-01 at 11:26pm:
As far as I'm concerned, this is the best episode in the entire Trek oeuvre. The story is gripping from start to finish and then... Patrick Stewart.
His acting in the torture scenes was nothing short of perfect, and the final line in the scene with Troi... well. Perfect again. This is one episode where the TNG writers finally realised that had a serious actor on their books and gave him a chance to show off his talent.
It's almost as if every other actor steps up a gear given Stewart's performance. Frakes in particular loses some of his usual cardboard edge and gives a great show as Riker, and the others are almost as good.
It was the memory of this episode that made me get the old DVDs down off the shelf and watch them all again. Absolutely brilliant.
- From nirutha on 2010-11-21 at 11:28pm:
I really dig David Warner as Gul Madred. He has the perfect voice for that role, one that seems to belong to a man both sophisticated and sadistic. (He also voice-acted Jon Irenicus in a similiar role in the RPG classic Baldur's Gate 2.)
- From John on 2011-02-01 at 3:46pm:
Once again, DSOmo manages to suck all the mystery and fun out of a fictional show. I bet he's a lot of fun at parties. And funerals.
- From anon on 2013-12-29 at 1:14pm:
I feel kind of sorry for captain Picard at this stage. He's lived a very hard life. First he was a borg, then he lived a whole false life in 'Inner Light' (to suddenly discover your children and wife weren't real would be devastating) and now he has been tortured. Plus it appears that he has never been in a very serious relationship despite him appearing to want companionship.
- From Quando on 2014-03-19 at 9:47pm:
The whole "how many lights do you see" thing was borrowed (stolen?) from George Orwell's great novel 1984, in which the protagonist Winston was being tortured by the state and asked repeatedly how many fingers the torturer was holding up (there were only four, but the torturer insisted that there were five). Like Picard, in the end Winston said that he really did believe that he saw five fingers, although there were only four.
- From Axel on 2015-03-22 at 3:59am:
This two-parter was held back a bit by the scenes involving Jellico's interaction with the crew, but is redeemed by Picard's mission and subsequent captivity.
The Enterprise crew comes off as very whiny in this episode. Sure, Jellico may be an abrasive captain, but what is he really asking? That the ship be prepared for an emergency combat situation and shut down its research missions to be fully ready for that? Surely the Enterprise has contingency plans for this kind of thing, so it can't be that unusual for the crew to step up its game a bit. I think the conflict between Jellico and the rest of the crew was forced. Jellico's negotiations with the Cardassians did make for some great scenes, along with the plan to place mines on the Cardassian ships.
The Seltris III mission and Picard's captivity, though, are amazingly done. David Warner is one of the best guest cast members in all of TNG as Gul Madred. Patrick Stewart's research and preparation for this role pay off, and the two actors' performances are what make this two-parter pure gold. The final scene where Picard talks about seeing five lights was gripping and the perfect end to this story.
- 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 2006-06-21 at 1:56am:
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 8:48pm:
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 10:41am:
Did you notice how in one of the timelines Data had blue eyes? Spooky!
- From Paul on 2010-08-17 at 10:13pm:
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 5:51am:
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 3:33pm:
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.
- 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 9:45am:
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 5:56pm:
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 10:04pm:
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 4:02am:
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 6:34am:
Oh crap. I meant 'perky Bajoran'. Embarrassed apologies.
- From Quando on 2014-01-27 at 9:55pm:
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 6:58am:
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!
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of TNG Award".
- This episode won the 1993 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. This episode was the first TV show episode to be given such an award since TOS: The City on the Edge of Forever.
- Picard's reaction to his new location. "Freeze program! End program!"
- Picard talking to his "old friend" trying to get information about where he is.
- The revelation that the probe is making Picard live a completely new life and that for him, years are going by.
- Picard getting sick in his dream world thanks to the disruption of the beam transmission.
- Picard's wife's death.
- Picard's old friend returning from the dead to explain the probe to Picard.
- Picard having to rediscover who he is.
This episode is a fan favorite, and with good reason. The story that develops within Picards mind is captivating and just when it starts to seem familiar and warm, the characters explain to Picard what his new life really was. The idea behind the story is very simple. Picard is taken into a dream world by an alien probe in which he lives a completely new life. It's not the idea of the episode that is superb, but the execution. This episode features an absolutely stunning performance by Patrick Stewart as Picard. Arguably the best performance he's ever done. In the end, we're left with the tragic story of a civilization destroyed by their own sun going nova and a profoundly affected Picard. He will never be the same man again after this truly life changing experience. A TNG classic.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Rich Dixon on 2006-04-20 at 10:37pm:
Patrick Stewart never quite fully received the accolades and recognition from the Emmy's for his portrayal of Jean Luc Picard during his stint on TNG. The show as a whole was disregarded come Emmy time. We all know the reason why. It was a science fiction show, syndicated no less. In the early 90s, there was no way in hell a sci-fi show would be nominated for best drama on TV. Now in the 21st century, things have changed of course. Shows on Cable TV are routinely nominated. I still wonder if TNG and Stewart would garner nominations even still today. Not that the Emmy's are the end all to be all. My point is this. Somebody had to give this man an award! Stewart's performance in this episode was a tour de force. It was just stunning. The Inner Light although simplistic in its story telling, encompassed everything that Star Trek represents. The aliens in this episode will never be forgotten. At least not for Picard, who was controlled by an alien probe from a world long since vanished. During a span of 25-30 minutes, he lives a lifetime of another man complete with a loving wife and two kids. He watches them grow up along with the decaying of his planet. We watch as Picard stubbornly and defiantly refuses to play along with these people who seem to believe he's another man. Eventually, Picard assumes the life of this man and leads the life he never had and longed for. He has a family. He has a companion who is loyal, patient and nurturing. Picard's brilliant mind leads him to find ways to save his planet to no avail. Ultimately, the aliens reveal themselves and inform Picard the truth about themselves and their planet. This was their way of being remembered. What an effective way to let others understand who you are. Let them live a lifetime as one of you. One of the most moving and touching scenes came at the end, in Picard's ready room. Riker walks in and gives the captain the only contents that were found in the alien probe. A flute Picard learned to play as this other man. When Picard was first abducted, he didn't even know how to hold it properly. As Riker leaves the captain to his thoughts, Picard stares out the window. He begins to play it with a feeling and passion that conveys everything we need to know. These memories will stay with him forever. This is an excellent episode. It's the very reason why I loved this show.
- From Pete Miller on 2006-05-05 at 3:08am:
Is it just me or does the second version of picard (aged once) look a hell of a lot like Jimmy Buffett?
- From Pete Miller on 2006-07-18 at 10:30pm:
Sorry to come back and post again, but after I finished the series I decided to award my personal Best episode of TNG award.
When I picked my "Best of..." episodes, I took into consideration what each series was really about. The Next Generation is truly about exploring the unexplored, discovering new people and cultures, and above all self-improvement. It is not like DS9, which focuses on more darker themes and contains more action. The Next Generation aims to paint an optimistic picture of the future, and to affect its audiences profoundly.
The Inner Light accomplished all of TNG's goals. It is a masterful story of the tragic death of an entire species whose sun went supernova. The culture is not lost, however, but preserved through the memories of Picard, who is a changed man. It is a story of life in general, and of growing old and losing loved ones. The bottom line, though, is that the future is a bright one, and those things that we may consider to be lost causes today may yet live on in the future.
This was a very moving performance by Patrick Stewart, the best actor to ever grace Star Trek. It was a perfectly written story, demonstrating the awesomeness of TNG's writers. I cannot subtract any points from anything, and the episode basically epitomizes TNG.
It is with all of these things in consideration that I bestow my "Best of TNG" award to "The Inner Light". As soon as I finish Voyager I'll re-evaluate all episodes to find the best overall.
- From DSOmo on 2007-10-05 at 7:29am:
This is one of my favorite TNG episodes of all time. That is not correct. This is one of my favorite Star Trek episodes of all time! Jean-Luc Picard is one of my favorite Star Trek characters (it doesn't hurt having an amazing actor like Patrick Stewart playing the part.) However, yes, I have even "discovered" a problem with this episode.
- This is a society with the technological level of midtwentieth-century Earth. It manufactured a device that can create an alternate reality within an unknown alien mind. Look at what this probe accomplishes. It scans the Enterprise and overpowers the ship's shields. It finds Picard and attaches an energy beam to him. This energy beam creates an alternate reality so complete that "it is as real as his life on the Enterprise." Does this sound like a project undertaken by a community who have just begun to launch missles? In the late 1950s, if the nations of Earth discovered that the Sun would soon explode, is it even conceivable that those nations would be able to build such a device?
- From baron on 2010-12-11 at 7:49pm:
After watching this I found the society that he lived in pretty unbelievable. All Picard seems to do is play his flute and look through a telescope. How did he raise a family just by doing that? Wouldn't he need a job and income of some kind? This isn't a futuristic society with food replicators and unlimited energy. They say they have to grow crops. Towards the end they say the crops are failing. Where are they getting their food from then? They say it takes a day just to send a message to the next village. It's pretty impossible that society could have built the probe in the first place.
In an earlier episode someone mentioned that it would have been to impossible for a time traveler from the past to take a phaser and try to manufacture it back in his own society. Since their society wouldn't have the infrastructure in place to be able to manufacture it. Perhaps a phaser needs a mineral from another star system but they don't have the ability to leave their planet. But yet in this episode a 1950's era society can make technology more advanced than the enterprise.
- From Autre on 2011-03-04 at 7:32pm:
They are aliens, and regardless if they are in a 1950's era situation they are much different from humans. Rather than creating atomic bombs or weapons to destroy one another they all banded together as a race with a single goal in mind.
If you were to take every scientist in the world and work them to one cause it is very likely something astounding would come from it.
But again, the main point behind this is that they are aliens, and TNG has many episodes with aliens that appear to not be advanced but turn out having technological marvels.
- From Robert Koenn on 2011-04-29 at 3:46pm:
This was a very good episode but not nearly my favorite. In fact I rated it a 7. Stewart did do an excellent job of acting in the episode. But why I lowered my rating was that I did not find the scenario and the overall plot that exciting. While I could also say it was technically absurd, a race that seems to live a simple agrarian existence creating this marvelously advanced spacecraft that was launched on a very basic solid fueled rocket, that is not really my main complaint. It just wasn't that exciting or even enticing to watch Picard live this imaginary life. I am not a particular fan of massive doses of action or such but found this more of a soap operaish plot line. It appears I am the minority in this take on the episode but those were my thoughts while watching it. I found the interplay between characters much more interesting in the episode where Picard returns home and visits his brother.
- From Alvlin on 2011-05-27 at 3:45am:
I agree with Baron. While this is a great episode both emotionally & executionally, logically it has a HUGE flaw -- there is no way that such a "technologically primitive" society could manufacture & launch a probe that would be able to pierce the defenses of a ship 1,000 years into the future, not to mention reach directly into Picard's mind and play out a scenario based on his own reactions. A real strech which unfortunately hurts the overall credibility of this one.
- From Bronn on 2011-09-25 at 5:33am:
I just want to comment on some of the scientific critique's of this episode. One of the reasons I can buy is that I don't necessarily think their technology had to evolve at a similar rate to ours. Just because they weren't advanced in the field of space travel doesn't mean they weren't advanced in other areas-they just may not have been interested in space travel. It's worth wondering how interested humanity would be in space travel if this planet had no moon. The extreme advance of technology during the space race is partly owed to the existence of an easily definable objective: Let's put a human on the closest celestial object. It helps also to have such a close orbit body to fuel the curiosity of planet-dwellers, to give them an actual urge to reach space.
What we see of the planet during this episode also represents a single agrarian community. It's not necessarily the best cross-section. If you visited 20th century Earth and all you saw was a farming community in Nebraska, you might not catch on that we can generate nuclear power, or that there is a laboratory in Geneva that can isolate atoms of anti-hydrogen. The native culture in this episode may have simply had some specialization in ways to affect brain chemistry, and this was a technology unique to their development.
"But how does it pierce the defenses of the USS Enterprise!?" Well it's just possible that the Enterprise's defenses aren't designed to defeat the specific thing that the probe was doing. The shields are designed to repel only specific types of energy, and presumably solid objects (there are many inconsistencies with THAT). The shields clearly allow certain types of energy to pass through-as evidenced by the fact that the crew can actually see out a window even with the shields are activated, so visible light is not stopped by the shields. The crew is also still able to use communication frequencies with the shields up, so perhaps other parts of the EM spectrum are not screened out. It's not like this beam utterly defeats the Enterprise, since it takes the crew a whopping 5 minutes to figure out how to interrupt it (if that)-they are only stopped because removing it nearly kills Picard.
Okay, so there's a little bit of a hand-waving in that the probe apparently "scans" the crew, or least has some method of identifying that there are life forms on board the Enterprise, and it manages to isolate one to communicate with, but it's not like we ever learn much about how the USSE itself scans for lifeforms. There's not really an issue with bad science in this episode, at least not enough to destroy willful suspension of disbelief, unless you're just looking for reasons not to like it.
- From Rob on 2013-01-27 at 6:05am:
I love this episode, it could be my own personal experiences that leads me to this but it seems to me to be an analogy to a psychedelic induced state of mind wherein the 'traveller' can experience an entire lifetime in the blink of an eye.
Once returning to their original understanding of their reality and normal perspectives there is a struggle, a conflict between the person they were before the event, the person they were during the event and who they need to be to move on from the event. Everything that took place was easily as real as the present and past to them, completely linked with emotions and feelings as real as any other memory in their mind.
The only way for the traveller to move on is to merge the persona they lived into their ego, challenge the resistance from the higher ego and accept that they experienced a true existence and that perception combined with perspective is all there is, we accept our current one as the only one in order to live.
This analogy would have been complete if after returning to the enterprise when Picard was given the flute he was able to play it as proficiently as he did in the mental projection.
- From skye_sken on 2013-03-28 at 12:31am:
Just thought to comment on the allegations that a civilization such as theirs could not produce the technology needed for the probe to exist: I always figured the dreamworld that Picard experiences is rather an ideal representation of this people, or perhaps a "play" of a sort, rather than a full-on realistic portrayal of the advanced civilization they fostered just before the supernova event which eradicated it's people.
When you think of it, some might say that a fine way to express one's civilization would be through art. It can be argued that technology is kind of homogenic in the way that any alien species can produce the same quantative results and inventions, whereas art I would suppose is always subjective and thus unique. I mean, showing aliens a play by Shakespeare would cover an immense amount of human emotions, those we hold so dear to us, and in a way sleek the image of humanity for the alien specators (after all, not many of us would sooner paint impressions of war, rape, extortion and other realistic qualities expressed by mankind).
As someone before me noted, Picard doesn't seem to be doing any work, well, expect for his scientific research, which I guess many a folk do care for, and might deem important enough to sustain through their own labor. In the INNER LIGHT, art plays a key role in cultural preservation. In the dreamworld, we see art approached in the manner of the flute Picard gradually learns to play, the music of which in a way is a strong symbol of the lost people and a means to immortalize a part of their civilization.
While we're making assumptions, I guess it's possible that if Picard's dreamworld was indeed a play, it was not entirely truthful, and this civilization never actually disappeared in a super nova after all; Picard just became a buffoon of an elaborate cosmic jape. But that's not nearly as romantic an idea, so forget it.
- From railohio on 2014-07-27 at 3:03pm:
You guys are forgetting that while the probe was advanced, it certainly did not overpower the enterprise. The enterprise could have easily destoyed it, or severed the link (which they did), but they wouldn't because it would have been fatal to Picard. Even before he was connected by the beam, the Enterprise's mission is to explore new life and civilizations, so they could not simply destroy it on sight.
As far as creating the probe in the 1st place. We can say the beginning of the episode took place somewhere in the 1950's. He lived almost a full life on Katan so it is feasible to say 40 years passed. That would put the society somewhere in the 1990s. With 1990s technology, it was seem like a far stretch to create such a device. However with the entirety of the planet working on such a desperate cause, one can conclude that it is somewhat possible to create something like this.
Overall I loved this episode, and found it extremely interesting. A solid 9
- From Axel on 2015-03-25 at 3:53am:
I'm in the minority that didn't enjoy this episode, and it's not because of the technological issues discussed above. It's because I really can't believe Picard or anyone else doesn't give a second thought to the ethics of what the Kataan have done.
This probe is designed to take control of a person's conscious, force that person to relive a lifetime with the Kataan, and then awaken that person after making clear that this experience was just a recreation designed to keep the memory of their civilization alive. So twice you are confronted with years and years of your life being an illusion. The first time would be enough to make anyone question their own sanity. As for the second round of news at the end, Picard takes it pretty well. But the Kataan seem not to have considered (or cared) that others might not handle it that well. A person could leave this entire experience with serious mental and emotional problems rather than fond memories. Many might not have adjusted to living with the Kataan in the first place.
Maybe the Kataan think that the collective memory of their civilization is worth all of this. But that issue is never really explored. Instead, Picard is released from his fake probe life as a happy man with a flute, never once wondering about the roller-coaster the Kataan just put him through.
The acting in this episode is superb, not just Stewart but the guests as well. Still, the details of Picard's life with the Kataan isn't enough to redeem this one for me, nor was it interesting enough to put the episode's plot above average.
- From Harrison on 2016-06-25 at 11:50pm:
A dramatic masterpiece, by far the best episode of any of the Star trek series. Stewart's performance is simply magnificent.
Of course it is easy as pie to poke holes in the sci-fi logic underpinning the plot. That's true with any episode in the series, and it is hardly significant in light of the outstanding screenplay, character formation and plain old dramatic compulsion. A little suspension of disbelief won't harm you, and in the laws of the Star trek universe, there's nothing terribly difficult to accept.
- From dominic on 2016-06-26 at 5:11am:
The thought did cross my mind that such a primitive society shouldnt' have been able to build such an advanced piece of technology in the probe, but I was able suspend my disbelief and get over that.
What really bothers me about this episode is what Axel mentioned above. Surely the victim of this probe is put through an unfathomable amount of emotional trauma...not once, but twice. When Captain Picard "came back" and they asked him to go sickbay, I was totally expecting him to say something like "I don't need to go to sickbay. I need to see Counselor Troi." Not only did he not say that, but he didn't even see her. Was she even in this episode? Seems like a huge oversight to not have her play a more important role.
- Kelsey Grammer plays Captain Morgan Bateson in this episode. Grammer is well known as Dr. Frasier Crane on the TV shows Frasier and Cheers. He also plays the voice of Sideshow Bob in The Simpsons.
- The opening scene. Wow! :)
- Data's fast shuffling.
- Riker and Worf's suspicions that Data is stacking the deck.
- Worf getting emotional at the Poker game.
- Watching the collision and the Enterprise explode never got old.
- Beverly, Worf, and Riker predicting the hand Data will deal.
- Beverly knocking over her wine glass over and over again serving as a bad omen.
- Data replaying recordings of the disaster.
- Data stacking the deck with threes.
- Data realizing Riker's suggestion is correct.
Dr. Frasier Crane is to blame when weird stuff starts happening to the Enterprise... This episode is a TNG classic and truly memorable. Some people object to its repetitive nature, but I think it was well done. Nicely repetitive but not overly so. The only improvement I can think of is to perhaps cut one of the repetition scenes so that some time could be spent exploring Captain Morgan Bateson and his crew's culture shock as they come back to their lives in the Federation. Saving that, an exceptional episode.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Pete Miller on 2006-04-23 at 3:38am:
problem: How the HELL can casualty reports be coming in from all over the ship a mere 2 seconds after impact?? A little ridiculous.
Some of the stuff in this episode is just chilling. Like hearing Picard order all hands to abandon ship, while he's sitting there at the table
I love how they refuse to reveal the actual year at the end. Picard just craftily tells him to beam aboard, but doesn't say "well its actually ____ A.D." I thought I could finally know, but I guess we're just damned to deal with their stardates.
Wonderfully directed, Jonathan, wonderfully directed
- From DSOmo on 2007-09-30 at 7:15am:
- At the end of the show, Worf checks with the nearest starbase and discovers that the Enterprise has been stuck in the loop for more than seventeen days. If that is true, the crew hasn't been repeating the same fragment of time. If they were repeating the same fragment of time, the ship's chronometer would line up with the starbase's chronometer, since the entire universe would get reset at the beginning of each loop. Instead, the crew of the Enterprise must have been repeating the same actions, and somehow everything on the ship - including the crew's memories and the ship's chronometer - got reset at the beginning of each loop.
- The episode never adequately explains where the other ship came from. The show implies that the USS Bozeman has been caught in a loop for eighty years. If so, how did the Bozeman get started with its loop? According to Geordi, the Enterprise began its loop when the ship exploded. The captain of the Bozeman made no mention of any explosion before seeing the Enterprise. He simply said the time-space distortion appeared and was followed by the Enterprise. The Bozeman could have jumped forward in time eighty years when it entered the time-space distortion. It could have exited the distortion and collided with the Enterprise. That would explain the lack of explosion for the Bozeman. If that is true, Picard should be treating the Bozeman the same way he treated the Enterprise-C in "Yesterday's Enterprise." Just after the Enterprise-C came through the temporal rift, Picard realized that disclosing information to the crew of the Enterprise-C could fundamentally alter history if the Enterprise-C ever returned to its own time. In this episode, Picard's behavior is quite the opposite. He immediately invites the captain aboard for a conference.
- From djb on 2008-04-16 at 10:05am:
I love this episode, and always have, and the one thing I think that's lacking was already brought up: what the deal is with the other ship and why it's 80 years off, where the enterprise is only 17 days off.
- From online broker on 2009-10-04 at 9:17pm:
I love this episode, its my favourite of TNG, and has been since I was 12 and saw it on TV. I always thought it is called "Deja Vu"!
- From musterpuffer on 2010-03-04 at 9:11pm:
One of my favourite episodes ever, I love the repetitions which are slightly different from time to time. Jonathan Frakes is such a talented guy!
I think Data should have found the way out of the loop though: At one critical point they discuss whether to change course or not. Picard speculates that altering course might have caused the problem in the first place. But, the single reason the discussion arises is because they have become aware of the loop by now - hearing the echos etc. The very first time around there was no loop and no echos or other pointers so therefore there would have been no reason to change course. From which they might have concluded that there was no course change in the original timeline. But then the episode would have been a lot shorter so it's not meant as a criticism! Great stuff.
- From Jason on 2011-01-06 at 4:06am:
My question: how can the crew program the number 3 (recognizing Riker to be correct in his strategy for avoiding the collision) when they have no tangible memory of these (for them) still future events? The crew has no idea what is coming through the rift and yet they retain memory of who had the correct strategy of how to avoid it? Seems far-fetched and certainly not adequately explained
Otherwise an excellent episode and a season (and series) highlight
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-07 at 6:27pm:
When I think of my favorite TNG episodes, this always comes to mind first. Really skillfully done.
In answer to Jason's question: Seconds before the Enterprise is destroyed the last time, Data realizes his strategy was wrong, looks at Riker's 3 rank buttons, and sends the message to the next iteration. This is clearly shown, but easy to miss since it happens so fast and with no verbal explanation.
- From Zaphod on 2011-04-12 at 1:27pm:
I don't like this episode, not just because it indeed is very repetitive, but because of a couple of other reasons too:
1. Timeloops dont make any sense and the technobabble explaining them is complete bullshit, period.
2. Moreover there is no believable explanation for why they have memories of past runs through that loop. Dekyonparticles interfering with their brains or what? Where did I hear that before? ... Ah, that's it! I bet Geordi is wrong and the midi-clorians told them what happened last time! That's where the whispering came from too! Midi-clorians, Dekyon-Particles, both just pathetic excuses for magic mumbo jumbo, nothing more. Star Wars was about magic, at least before George Lucas screwed it, so at least they have an excuse.
Doesnt make sense at all. If I want to watch magic mumbo jumbo then Star Wars does a better job.
3. Why do they remember some unimportant things like the cards they got dealt but not important ones like using the tractor beam doesn't work? Very easy answer, plot convenience, that's why.
4. The story they repeat over and over again ... *headdesk* ... it's just boring as hell!
You might argue: "But the Enterprise explodes!"
Sorry, still boring, taking into account the poor special effects of that explosion and the annoyingly stupid explosion sound they play every f***ing time when a ship blows up in Star Trek.
- From Zaphod on 2011-04-12 at 1:57pm:
Since CAlexander didnt really understand your question, here's the explanation:
They altered the dekyon grid last time they went throught the loop and that alteration manipulated Data (his Brain seems to be sensitive to these dekyon field emissions) into unknowingly placing that 3 everywhere he went this time.
- From Zaphod on 2011-04-12 at 4:20pm:
Sry, it's me who didnt understand Jasons question. ^^
He asked for the message, I explained the delivery method. CAlexander is right of course.
- From Robert Koenn on 2011-04-19 at 11:39am:
I only rated this a 6 as I found the episode beginning to get repetitive and a bit boring as a result. Certainly there were minor differences each time which managed to hold my interest a bit but I told my wife, one more repetition and I'm giving up on it. Now at the same time I did find the idea somewhat interesting although flawed a bit but then while being fairly good technically ST still deals with some of these things as magic rather than technology. The crew interaction was good and that also kept me from turning it off. Still, one more time through this loop would have been it for me.
- From Rache on 2012-05-03 at 8:29pm:
My favorite TNG episode too!
- From Keith on 2013-08-21 at 8:46pm:
Love the episode, but absolutely hate the poker. Once a pair of queens is showing everyone should have folded, looking at the cards there is no conceivable way that Worf or Data should have stayed in for as long as they did, that is lousy poker, and while Riker may have wanted to bluff Crusher should have bet whatever the limit is before the last card giving him a possible straight. Finally, poker in general in STNG is silly. Poker only works if there are stakes or consequnces to betting, i.e. losing money, if played for points nobody folds and it is just a silly game of luck.
- From Daniel on 2014-05-03 at 10:10pm:
This episode brought about two questions for me; one purely hypothetical. First - Riker orders all crew to be ready at the escape pods, then Picard orders all hands abandon ship. Now, admittedly, there is no time for anyone to actually escape the ship. But, suppose a few crew members did manage to escape in time. What would happen to them in the repeating time loop? Would they be out of the loop and adrift in their escape pods? (Just a hypothetical.) The other question for me regards the habit that Riker has of putting his foot up on the console and assuming a pose like that. Like when he is standing next to Data at the helm and props his leg up on Data's console. Is it okay for a Starfleet officer to use ship equipment as a footrest?
- Not so much a problem but a nitpick. Geordi makes fun of his new officer for saying "please" to the computer when that is precisely what Data was doing in the last episode! I guess when Data does it, it's okay?
- Ensign Sonia Gomez will appear on the show only one more time (the next episode). Seems her confrontation with the captain resulted in a dismal career!
- The Borg were originally supposed to be an insectoid species but such special effects could not be worked into the budget.
- The Borg ship was originally supposed to be a sphere, but the cube form was selected so the show wouldn't be accused of plagiarizing Star Wars' Death Star.
- This episode establishes that Federation shuttlecrafts of this time period do not have warp drive.
- This episode establishes that Guinan is at least 200 years old and is "not what she appears to be." She and Q also have had some sort of previous business.
- Guinan interacting with Q.
- The sight of the massive cubic shaped alien vessel.
- Guinan: "When they decide to come, they're gonna come in force."
- The Enterprise battling the Borg.
- Picard begging Q to end the encounter.
Meet: The Borg. Q demonstrates interesting character in this episode by introducing the Federation to the Borg "far sooner than expected." As Picard said, Q may very well have done the the Federation a favor. The eerie music played throughout the episode is entirely appropriate, complimented nicely by Guinan's fear and feelings of absolute hopelessness due to her people's history with the Borg. Indeed, this episode sheds a great deal of light on her character and her history. The idea that an entire society can be unified under a collective mind is fascinating at first, but then you have to wonder what happens to the individual. This episode doesn't quite dive into this, but it's not hard to imagine. The Borg are a well presented mystery in this episode and unlike TNG: Conspiracy, I look forward to this alien's return.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From JRPoole on 2008-02-18 at 7:21pm:
This is perhaps the first truly important episode of the series in terms of long-term developments, and it's a fittingly good one.
Some of Picard's best moments are when he's antagonized by Q. You can really see his frustration that he's being toyed with by a petulant child who happens to be endowed with omnipotent powers. It offends his sensibilities that he's subjected to this, and it shows in his demeanor with Q. Even his plea at the end, when he admits that the Federation is outmatched by the Borg, is spiked with contempt for Q.
My only quibble with this episode is the interaction between Q and Guinan. I like that they know each other, but the way they raise their hands at each other like some kind of fantasy wizards seems out of character and rather silly. Still, this doesn't tarnish an otherwise excellent episode.
- From JR on 2008-10-26 at 5:46pm:
"This episode establishes that Federation shuttlecrafts of this time period do not have warp drive."
Thad had been established in Time Squared.
- From paidmailer on 2009-09-23 at 2:56pm:
Great episode, but isn't there one GIGANTIC plothole? If the planets destroyed look like the destroyed outposts in the neutral zone, then the borg were already there, so Q did not lead the borg to the federation, did he?
- From Inga on 2012-01-03 at 7:01pm:
"Q may very well have done the the Federation a favor" how is that a favor?
Also, agree with paidmailer.
- From Kethinov on 2012-01-03 at 8:15pm:
Paidmailer, no, it's not a plot hole. Q was trying to warn them that the Borg were a yet-unnoticed threat that they should begin taking seriously.
Inga, that's the favor that Q did for the Federation. He alerted them to the threat of the Borg that they had previously been oblivious to, but existed and was coming for them nevertheless.
- From Ggen on 2012-02-27 at 2:06am:
This episode is superbly done and full of great moments, "both subtle and gross," to quote Q.
It presents good continuity with events from last season, when both Romulan and Federation outposts were mysteriously "scooped up" by an unknown force. But most of all it brilliantly and seamlessly weaves together a number of great elements: the greenhorn Sonya subplot (itself useful in creating the social atmosphere on the ship, reminding us that there's a full complement of different characters, not just those we're most familiar with), Guinan's character development and history (with more background on the El-Aurians), the very first Borg encounter (and an exciting and dramatic one too), and a masterfully executed "Q returns" main plot.
All of this is done well and nicely tied together. Sonya is convincingly overexcited and shaky under pressure, the Borg are perfectly cold, creepy, and confidently indifferent, Guinan is mysteriously wise, and Q is... well, Q ("next of kin to Chaos," according to Picard, and arguably at his best, with plenty of great lines of his own).
This is exactly what a Q episode should be, and should've been all along. Less posturing and historical references, less "weird animal things" in costume dress, less inconsequential illusions and more serious threats, more real developments and dangers, including casualties.
(I love how Q refers to the loss of several sections across a number of decks, along with 18
crewmen, as "a nosebleed.")
Finally, I love how Q is the archetypal "trickster" figure. Neither obviously good and beneficial, nor explicitly malevelent - and how his actions often have seemingly unintended positive consequence (in this case, giving the Federation a "kick in its complacency," to quote Picard).
"In mythology, and in the study of folklore and religion, a trickster is a god, goddess, spirit,
man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and
The trickster deity breaks the rules of the gods or nature, sometimes maliciously (for example,
Loki) but usually, albeit unintentionally, with ultimately positive effects. Often, the
bending/breaking of rules takes the form of tricks (e.g. Eris) or thievery. Tricksters can be
cunning or foolish or both; they are often funny even when considered sacred or performing
important cultural tasks. An example of this is the sacred Iktomi, whose role is to play tricks and games and by doing so raises awareness and acts as an equalizer."
- From Mike Chambers on 2013-10-21 at 12:51am:
"Con permiso, capitàn. The hall is rented, the orchestra engaged. It's now time to see if you can dance."
Wow, what an episode! I can watch this over and over again, and not get tired of it. The only thing that I thought was stupid was when they went over to the Borg ship, and Data said something like "we were scanning for individual life forms" when Riker asked why their sensors didn't detect any life signs when there were that many Borg.
That's one of the stupidest "technical" explanations of the entire series.
- 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 2006-07-09 at 1:16am:
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 4:23am:
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 8:09pm:
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 8:20am:
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 4:21pm:
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 1:49pm:
If it's a 10, why isn't a candidate for your "Best TNG Episode" award?
- From Kethinov on 2011-10-07 at 6:49am:
Both parts of the episode would have had to be rated 10 for it to be considered.
- From Vlad on 2012-02-13 at 3:49pm:
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 10:03pm:
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 10:38am:
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 11:41pm:
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 12:32pm:
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 3:03pm:
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 2014-07-10 at 2:11am:
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 8:40am:
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.
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of TNG Award."
- This is the first Poker game episode.
- Data's total memory is somewhere around 90 petabytes with "a total linear computational speed of 60 trillion operations per second."
- It's nice to learn more about Picard's past through Louvois. That, and it's nice to get more small tidbits of info regarding Dr. Noonien Soong.
- Got to point out the beautiful model used on that space station.
- Data tearing down Maddox' argument (on many occasions in this episode).
- Data suddenly ripping the gift wrap.
- Pulaski to Worf in a happy tone: "I couldn't disagree more! We'll save that argument for another day." Regarding the novel gift from Worf.
- Riker objecting to prosecute Data. The whole adversarial scene is awesome.
- Riker gets a look of such profound happiness when he realizes that he has a good argument against Data. Then a look of such profound sadness when he realizes that using it may kill his friend.
- Picard's argument is that much better though.
- All of the dialog in this episode is articulate and well placed.
At what point does artificial intelligence become "alive" with the same rights and responsibilities as any other "real" person? This is a very high brow science fiction question but in very few places is it examined as eloquently as here. This episode is a TNG classic and one of the best Trek episodes ever written.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-06-24 at 12:39am:
Data: "That action injured you and saved me. I will not forget it." (Great line)
- Data tells Picard that Maddox was the only dissenting member of a sceening committee that approved his entrance into Starfleet. Maddox did this because he did not believe that Data was sentient. It seems reasonable that Starfleet would allow only sentient beings to attend the academy. However, since the rest of the members of the committee disagreed with Maddox's position, didn't they already imply that Data is sentient? If so, when did Data lose that label?
- Maddox asks the JAG officer if Starfleet would let the computer of a starship refuse a refit. But the comparison doesn't match up at all. Starfleet built the computers on starships. They did not build Data. If Data belongs to anyone, he belongs to Dr. Noonian Soong. All Starfleet did was find him.
- JAG officer to Riker if he doesn't prosecute: "Then I will rule summarily based on my findings. Data is a toaster." A toaster? That seems a little antiquated for the twenty-fourth century. Wouldn't a person in the twenty-fourth century illustrate their point using an everyday item for them - something like a food replicator, a tricorder, or a communicator?
- From TashaFan on 2008-09-28 at 11:34pm:
I LOVED the reference to Data being "a toaster"... because "toaster" is what the Colonial warriors in "Battlestar Galactica" called the Cylons, who are also a mechanized artificial lifeform. I wonder if Ron Moore, who went to spearhead the "reimagined" Battlestar series, had anything to do with this reference?
- From Razorback on 2009-06-26 at 1:26am:
A shocking episode.
They have stripped away all of the trappings of a normal star trek episode, and done away with the sense of intergalactic exploration that gives me a reason to continu watching.
Istead, they have created this terrible episode.
You ask me to justify this?
It has ruined me for the rest of star trek.
No oher episodes will have even the slightest chance of ever living up to this one, seemingly set up to allow patrick stewart to prove exactly why he is seen as one of the greatest actors of all time. Brent spiner and Jonathan Frakes also outdo themselves - the dialogue is wonderful, the character's magnificent, and the whoe issue outstanding - leaving us with the question are we not all man made machines?
I would also like to note the look on maddox's face at the end of the episode, as he relises that Cmr Data is far more wonderful than he'd ever imagined.
Definately a 10 rated episode - a wonderful example of exactly why star trek is more than a sci-fi show.
- From Ching on 2010-04-06 at 3:38am:
Thoroughly moving episode, but there are two things I question. One is to do with Picard's speech being, perhaps, unrealistically effective. I think I received it as one of those fictional events that has a perfect effect in it's story, but realistically would be questioned or perhaps a bit unprofessional (with Picard being so intimidating and emotional). But I'm much hazier on whether I find that an issue (and it wouldn't be a huge one) or not. I'm also not exactly well versed in court procedures to begin with.
The second issue is with Riker's role in the story. I know the episode makes it clear why he was unfit to have taken the prosecution role, but does anyone know why there's a rule that the next most senior officer of the 'defendant's' ship becomes 'prosecutor'? I know, at least, that a jury is chosen specifically as an impartial body of people, so why chose a prosecutor who's in agreement with the defender? Makes no sense to have your opposing forces biased in the same way, but it certainly created an interesting drama. And like I said before, I really liked this episode on the whole, despite some confusion about common sense.
- From tigertooth on 2011-03-24 at 2:12am:
I agree that the episode was great. My quibble: the first thing Riker does is call Data to the stand as his witness. Would he call a tricorder to the stand? Or the ship's computer? No, you call *people* to the stand as witnesses. If I was Picard, I would have said "There you go! Case closed!"
But anything that gives Picard (Stewart) a chance to go off on a righteous monologue is pretty much guaranteed to be great.
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-29 at 2:13am:
This is a fine episode. I especially love the way Picard starts his speech by dismissing the opposing arguments as irrelevant. The only caveat I have about this episode is that it portrays Starfleet's judicial system as oddly primitive and arbitrary.
- From Jeff Browning on 2011-09-23 at 11:24pm:
Agree with CAlexander's comment about how crude the Federation legal system appeared. As an attorney, I found it embarrassing. Several obvious issues:
1. Data can't choose his own counsel? He is told that Picard will represent him. Picard offers to replace himself, but Louvois makes no such offer. The choice of defense counsel is totally in the control of the defendant in all civilized legal systems.
2. The notion that Riker has to prosecute is absurd. He has a strong personal relationship with the accused. He is obviously not qualified. He would have to recuse himself.
3. Why didn't Maddox appeal? You're telling me that a ruling by a mere JAG officer in a remote star base is final?
You get the idea. Anyone with any legal training can find holes big enough to drive a truck through on this one.
- From One moon shirt on 2012-02-27 at 3:56am:
I would give this episode 100 if there was such a rating. This is some of the best Trek out there. The issue of slavery and human rights is classic, this is an episode that will always endure the test of time, people will be watching this one in the 24th century :)
- From Rick on 2012-10-10 at 4:11am:
This may well be the quintessential star trek episode. How do we treat new life forms?
A commenter above notes that this episode may be flawed because Maddox already made the argument that Data was not sentient and he lost. This point of view is flawed, however, because although Maddox made the argument that Data is not sentient, the Board may have ruled that Data could be admitted to Starfleet on alternate grounds. This is a technical legal point but it is certainly plausible. The board simply couldve punted on the sentience issue and ruled that Data was admissible to Starfleet for whatever reason.
The rest of Maddox's argument is rather poor upon further examination, as other commenters have noted. His entire reasoning is based upon analogy to other types of machines. Fatal flaw? No other type of machine is capable of or would refuse his examination. It seems pretty obvious to me that as soon as a being is capable of refusing to be destroyed (albeit potentially), it has earned the right not to be.
- From Rick on 2013-11-11 at 5:19pm:
One more thing. Even if Data is ruled to be property why would he be Starfleet's property? Isnt he still his creator's property? Maddox would have a tough time explaining how he was against Data being able to join Starfleet while also believing that Starfleet owns him. If I were the judge it wouldve been an easy ruling to say even if Data is ruled as property Starfleet has no ownership so the whole case is irrelevant.
- This episode is the winner of my "Best Episode of TNG Award" and is therefore a candidate for my "Best Episode Ever Award."
- Q's declaration that he's god and Picard's reaction.
- Q: "You're lucky I don't cast you out or smite you or something."
- Picard regarding Q being god: "I refuse to believe that the universe is so badly designed!"
- Watching young Picard fight the Nausicaans. He even laughed, just like the story he told Wesley in TNG: Samaritan Snare.
- Q: "Is there a John Luck Pickerd here?"
- Picard waking up next to Q...
- Picard alienating all his friends.
- Picard passing Q's test and seeing the results of his new life.
- Q making his point about how Picard's history of risk taking shaped his life.
- Q: "That Picard never had a brush with death, never came face to face with his own mortality, never realized how fragile life is. Or how important each moment must be. So his life never came into focus."
- Picard: "I would rather die as the man I was than live as the man I saw."
This episode is absolutely perfect from beginning to end. In many ways it reminds me of TNG: Family; but with a particular emphasis on Picard. The simple, yet profoundly powerful point this episode makes is done in an articulate downright moving manner. There are many things to redeem this episode. Firstly, it doesn't waste any time on pointless action scenes; in particular we don't see how Picard was injured at the beginning of this episode. Why? Because it was completely unimportant. Next, this episode presents Q in a completely unusual manner. As the series develops, it becomes clear that Q has something of an affinity, or perhaps a sympathy for Picard. Q begins to like Picard and wants to see him succeed; despite his adversarial appearance. As it was put at the end of the episode, it's almost hard to believe Q could be so nice. Finally, this episode allows the average viewer to connect excellently with Picard. Everyone has moments of their lives they regret or would like a chance to change. But like it or not, they are a part of who we are. Pulling a single thread in the tapestry of our lives would have profound effects on who we would become later. This episode is nontraditional in terms of the issues Star Trek usually tackles, but is nonetheless completely successful and one of the most memorable and moving episodes ever written.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Wolfgang on 2006-07-10 at 1:04pm:
-Lieutenant Picard !
- From JRPoole on 2008-09-18 at 3:58pm:
There's not a whole lot to complain about here, but I'm not as smitten with this episode as many fans are.
It's great to see Picard's past, and his evolving relationship with Q is certainly interesting. But I find the It's-A-Wonderful-Life theme of this episode is a bit heavy-handed and explained to death. I also think they could have done a better job writing the characters of the young Picard's friends, who both seem pretty broadly drawn and never really elevate out of stereotype.
Still, this is solid, and I can definitely see the charm, but I can't list it as one of the absolute best episodes. I guess I'll have to wait until I finish the series to make that call, though.
- From Dennis on 2013-04-02 at 10:05pm:
I couldn't wait for this one to be over, and I've never felt that way about any other episode. The stupid costumes and make up. The over the top acting by Picard's adversary's, Q, all of it just stupid. The story had nothing to do with the theme of Star Trek. It could have easily been an episode of Mayberry RFD. Sorry if I'm a little heavy handed but they can flush this one.
- Tim Russ, who plays Devor in this episode, goes on to play Tuvok on Voyager.
- I like the teaser of this episode, where Picard is micromanaging so many different things.
- Data attempting smalltalk.
- Picard granting Worf to be excused from the reception, but not Geordi. Picard: "Worf beat you to it."
- Data mimicking Hutchinson.
- Picard walking into a wall while he's attempting to leave Hutchinson's reception.
- Picard Vulcan neck pinching Devor.
- Riker unleashing Data on Hutchinson.
- Riker: "I have to admit, it has a certain strange fascination. How long can two people talk about nothing?"
- Picard pretending to be the barber who never shuts up.
- Picard killing the invaders of his ship en masse.
I like this episode quite a bit. The humor regarding Hutchinson and Data is slapstick but still tactful. The terrorist threat aboard the ship during the Baryon sweep is original, interesting, and thrilling. Most interesting though was Picard the killer! Picard murdered at least half a dozen people in this episode in defense of his ship; setting them all up to die one by one! This of course is the best part of the episode. Picard's tactics and trickery were superb and fun to watch. The episode maintained a consistent level of excitement all throughout and a fun level of humor at the beginning. The technobabble was borderline annoying, but served mostly as a successfully exploited plot device, so I don't dislike it too much. A great episode.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From djb on 2008-07-20 at 8:36am:
I've seen this episode many times, but I just got what might be a little joke at the end. This bit of dialogue between Picard and Worf:
"I only wish I'd had the opportunity to use it on a horse."
Reminds me of Mr. Ed....
- From JRPoole on 2008-09-22 at 10:17pm:
Not so much a problem as a WTF moment: Data mentions that ther are several Terralians living on the Enterprise, and that Terralia is one of only a few inhabited planets without any atmosphere whatsoever. How in the world can someone from a planet with no atmosphere exist in the first place--perhaps an underwater civilization? In any case, it's hard to believe they could function on a ship.
This episode is pretty incosequential in the long run, but it's a perfect 10 from an entertainment stand point. As mentioned in the review, Picard the killer is cool in James Bond mode here, and there is some serious McGuyver action with Geordi's visor being turned into a weapon. Come to think of it, Spock was doing that sort of thing long before McGuyver anyway.
- From JRPoole on 2008-09-23 at 1:56pm:
With the obvious exeption of the Borg conflict episode and the occasional random death-of-an-entire-civilization plot, this episode has to have one of the highest body counts ever recorded in a Trek episode. Picard kills pretty much all of the thieves and even indirectly blows up their shuttle. Plus, "Hutch" is gunned down and presumably dies as well.
The slapstick stuff with Data and Commander Hutchinson is funny and well done. I also love the way Troi rolls her eyes when Picard excuses himself from the reception.
- From Mark McC on 2009-02-08 at 1:58pm:
Some on the production team was obviously a fan of the Bruce Willis move, Die Hard, and decided to make Die Hard in Space! There's a whole raft of similarities, the staff/crew are both held hostage at a social function while our lone hero runs around the building/ship causing mischief. In both, what we assume to be terrorists actually turn out to be mercenaries doing it purely for profit.
Even the scene where Picard pretends to be Mott the barber is a reversal of the movie scene where Alan Rickman, the leader of the bad guys, fools Bruce Willis by pretending to be a clueless hostage escaped from his captors.
I enjoy Trek for the range and depth of social and moral questions it explores, but sometimes an all-out entertainment episode like this is a breath of fresh air.
Data and Hutchinson's slapstick is the icing on the cake, the comic timing and quick repartee between the two is fantastically done. 9/10
- From Markus on 2009-11-09 at 8:33am:
Didn't they forget to save Picard's fishes from the sweep?
- From Inga on 2012-03-20 at 5:01pm:
Is it me, or did Picard use a Vulcan nerve pinch on Devor?
- From Bronn on 2012-12-25 at 8:22am:
Picard executing the Vulcan nerve pinch is actually a subtle, but nice, continuity nod. Remember that he's been in a mind meld with both Sarek and Spock, by this point. He should possess quite a bit of Vulcan knowledge.
- From dronkit on 2014-03-09 at 3:19am:
A barber without hair? lol
- From Autre31415 on 2014-08-31 at 11:28pm:
Also ironic about the Vulcan nerve pinch Picard performs is that it was on a future Vulcan!
- This is the first TNG episode to feature a Runabout class vessel which are more commonly featured on DS9.
- Riker describing that his injury was the fault of Data's cat.
- Troi describing being seduced by an alien at the seminar.
- Picard: "There was no pause. He just kept talking in one incredibly unbroken sentence moving from topic to topic so that no one had a chance to interrupt it was really quite hypnotic."
- Everyone freezing in time except Troi.
- Troi freezing. I like the camera work.
- Picard's hand aging faster than the rest of his body.
- The sight of the Enterprise and the Romulan Warbird frozen in time.
- I love the eerie sights abord the ships, making it look as though the Romulans were trying to take over the Enterprise.
- Picard drawing a smiley face on the warp core breach.
- Time starting back up, the Enterprise exploding, then time reversing...
- The crew positioning themselves in key spots within the ship before they run time backwards to fix things.
- I like how Data has to step out of the way of one of the backward walking crewmen.
- The teapot scene in the end. Very well done.
This is one of the more unique TNG episodes, and certainly one of the most exciting. There's good continuity too with regards to Troi's acquired knowledge of Romulan technology from TNG: Face of the Enemy. The science of this episode is a little shady. For example, how can the life support systems of a slowed down starship support the normal-speed characters? It's best if you don't think about it too much I suppose. Time travel gives me headaches. While the excitement remains high, another detail I liked was the ending. In the end, no, it wasn't a Romulan attack on the Enterprise but in fact the Enterprise assisting a Romulan ship in need. They lost their ship, but the Enterprise saved most of the Romulan crewmembers and returned them to Romulus. A shame the Romulan Empire didn't seem to appreciative of this act. Nevertheless, the episode demonstrated the Federation's goodwill toward the Romulans despite past hostilities, and it presented a very unique and memorable story.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Pete Miller on 2006-05-22 at 1:42am:
One of my favorite episodes EVER. The whole concept was really cool, the story was engrossing, and I enjoyed the romulan-federation cooperation. The only thing keeping it from a 10 is that it's not profound or anything. Only episodes that move me deeply get 10's. But certainly a 9.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-06-04 at 8:52pm:
This episode is fun from beginning to end. The plot moves along nicely with enormous challenges for the characters involved, such as the warp core breach, Beverly receiving a point blank phaser shot from a Romulan, and the difficulties with working in a suspended environment. There are a lot of memorable scenes, such as when Picard draws the happy face. The science portion is also well explained.
Deserving of a 9.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-06-04 at 8:57pm:
I could be wrong about this, but when Picard, Troi, Data, and Geordi first see the Enterprise and the Warbird frozen, their descriptions don't seem to match up with what is shown. The refer to a second beam, but there is only one beam visible. I don't think they are talking about the photon torpedos that the Warbird is firing.
Correct me if I'm wrong.
- From Kethinov on 2006-06-05 at 4:56am:
I'm pretty sure the warbird was firing disruptors and that that's indeed what they were referring to, Orion.
- From Evan on 2008-05-26 at 2:36pm:
I don't think there's an issue with the life support per se. What would it need to do? (1) Keep the Enterprise warm enough and (2) provide enough air. The first wouldn't be affected by time, and the second wouldn't matter so much because there would be plenty of oxygen in the spaces available to last for the "fast" characters' short visits. The bigger problem is where the O2 that they breathe come from, since the air molecules would also have been slowed.
- From J Reffin on 2009-08-05 at 8:34pm:
A very fast moving episode packing a lot in to the time available.
One of the actors playing a Romulan can't help swaying slightly in the background when Picard is making a speech on the Bridge on the first visit (no - not one of the aliens). Must have been tough to hold a freeze pose for that length of time.
- This is the first Star Trek episode in which we get to actually see the Klingon homeworld.
- Kurn. Has everybody on edge. He is the very model of a modern Klingon.
- Kurn patronizing Worf.
- Kurn: "If it were a Klingon ship, I would have killed you for offering your suggestion."
- Kurn's reaction to human food.
- Worf confronting Kurn.
- Worf confronting the Klingon High Council.
- Worf: "It is a good day to die, Duras. But the day is not yet over." The first time the classic Klingon phrase "it is a good day to die" was ever used on screen.
- Picard trying to find a way to clear Worf's name.
- K'mpec urging Worf to dissolve his challenge.
- Picard holding his own against Klingon assassins.
- Kahlest insulting K'mpec's weight.
- K'mpec: "Kahlest, it is good to see you again." Kahlest: "You are still fat, K'mpec." Kahlest exits...
- Picard standing up to the chancellor of the Klingon Empire in defense of Worf, knowing that he may be about to start a war...
- Worf's discommendation.
A soap opera episode and a continuity goldmine. First, we get mention of Riker's experience aboard the Pagh. Then we meet Kurn, son of Mogh. Worf's long lost brother! Then we get to hear about Worf's past and about his father. This is also a milestone TNG episode which will have a serious impact on Worf's character in the coming years. We even get to see the great leader of the Klingon Empire who presumably forged the alliance with the Federation. Marvelous!
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-07-25 at 8:10am:
- Someone needs to replace the light bulbs in the transporter room. When Kurn beams aboard the Enterprise, the transporter platform is very dark. Maybe he called ahead to tell the transporter chief he wanted to make a dramatic entrance ;)
- Picard replicates a variety of foods for Kurn to sample. One of them is roast turkey. Why would the replicators aboard the Enterprise replicate bones? Doesn't this seem like a waste of enegy? Picard must be a real stickler for authenticity ;)
- From thaibites on 2011-02-05 at 5:05am:
To say that this episode is a soap opera brings dishonor to this episode. A soap opera is where some slut is having an affair with her boss, while her Mom is banging some guy upstairs, and then the boss wants to bang the Mom, but the Mom is now depressed because blah, blah, blah...
This episode is intense and obviously had a lot of energy put into it. I love how the Klingon homeworld is shown as a dark, sterile, foreboding place. The lighting is great! For me, this is the best episode of TNG so far, chronologically speaking. It's flawless.
- From CAlexander on 2011-04-22 at 2:12pm:
This becomes a really superb episode once the main plot starts. No wonder Klingons became popular, they had some strong episodes in TNG. It also adds a lot of dimension to both Worf and the Klingons to see that not all Klingons are as rigidly obsessed with honor as Worf – that he has essentially overcompensated for his Federation upbringing by trying to become the perfect Klingon.
- From Jeff Browning on 2011-09-28 at 2:48am:
Tony Todd who played Kurn, Worf's younger brother, also appeared in several other Star Trek episodes, two TNG episodes where he reprises the role of Kurn (as he does in one DS9 episode) plus one other DS9 episode (The Visitor) where he played the older Jake Sisco. This DS9 episode is arguably the best Star Trek episode ever. Certainly, Todd's performance was a major factor in that. Todd also plus the Alpha Hirgen on Voyager.
- From Jeff Browning on 2011-09-28 at 4:47pm:
Tony Todd who played Kurn, Worf's younger brother, also appeared in several other Star Trek episodes, two TNG episodes where he reprises the role of Kurn (as he does in one DS9 episode) plus one other DS9 episode (The Visitor) where he played the older Jake Sisco. This DS9 episode is arguably the best Star Trek episode ever. Certainly, Todd's performance was a major factor in that. Todd also plus the Alpha Hirgen on Voyager.
- From John on 2011-11-23 at 2:33am:
That I really like this episode. I tend to like most Klingon episodes, but this one in particular because it's the first time we get to meet Worf's brother Kurn, played so well by Tony Todd.
There's only one thing about this episode that confuses me. It's really a nitpick, but... when Picard first finds out the story behind why Kurn is there, he orders a course change to the first city of the "Klingon Imperial Empire". As opposed to the Klingon "non-Imperial" Empire. If it's an empire, then it's imperial. What's up with the redundance?
Other than that I think this episode is great.
- From Ggen on 2012-03-22 at 4:21am:
Another excellent episode. There are almost two separate halves here, each interesting in its own way: first Kurn as exchange commander, and then Warf's legal drama on the Klingon homeworld.
Kurn is a great character, with the tension on the bridge practically dripping off the ceiling... And the heartfelt scenes of loyalty between both Warf/Kurn and Warf/Picard were great. And finally the legal drama was excellent, with all its open court and behind-the-scenes elements.
I'd imagine this is how many of our earlier courts operated, complete with stabbings in the halls. Unfortunately, I also strongly suspect that our modern courts aren't a heck of a lot better, not when there's a "powerful family" involved, and there's a perceived threat to "national security." There are backroom deals, plea bargains, and all sorts of extralegal, purely political considerations. See the mock "trial" of MLK's assassin, James Earl Ray, for a very prominent example.
- From Daniel on 2014-07-02 at 10:04am:
I too loved this episode for many of the same reasons as others do. I like the introduction of Kurn and the seeding of a future storyline with Worf and the Klingons. I do have one nitpick about one particular scene... When Wesley Crusher is at his post to navigate and Kurn is in command, Kurn gives the coordinates and speed, then says "Execute" - which is the Klingon version of Picard's "Engage"... Now, any other Starfleet officer would have simply replied, "Aye, Sir!" And obeyed the command. But, Wesley, upstart brat that he is, replies very vehemently "Engage!" Thus correcting his commanding officer's choice of words in pure spite. No one seemed to notice this. If Kurn had noticed Wesley's smart-ass response, he would have killed him, as any Klingon would do. If Picard or Riker had noticed Wesley's contempt of his commanding officer, they'd have scolded him and possibly reprimanded him. Yet, somehow, the boy wonder gets away with being insolent. Doesn't seem right! What about the rigid Starfleet regulations and code of honor? Since when is it okay for a Federation Starship crew member to correct his superior officer... And spitefully too, since the correction is unnecessary?
- From Axel on 2015-03-03 at 2:13am:
John's comment made me laugh only because I thought the same thing. THe first time I saw this episode, I had to rewind and listen again because I thought I misheard. But "Imperial Empire" doesn't make a lot of sense. Was that in the script or was it just a flub-up?
That redundancy aside, this episode was awesome with lots of great plot twists. The Worf-Picard relationship evolves a lot in this one, and will continue to do so in "Reunion" and "Redemption" as they discuss Worf's family honor and their mutual struggles to balance between Federation and Klingon interests and cultures.
On a side note, Tony Todd is one of the better guest actors in Star Trek. He does a great job as Kurn in TNG and DS9, and also portrays an older Jake Sisko in DS9: The Visitor.
- Gowron's appearance. The eyes! The eyes!
- Picard encouraging Worf to challenge his discommendation.
- Gowron asking Picard to assist his installation.
- Picard suspecting Romulans as aiding the Duras' family.
- Worf discussing the truth behind his discommendation with Gowron.
- Guinan target practicing with Worf.
- Worf discussing Gowron with his brother.
- The Duras sisters confronting Picard privately in their house. Picard accuses them of behaving like Romulans!
- The battle between the Klingon factions.
- Gowron giving Worf back his honor.
- Worf resigning from starfleet to fight for Gowron's cause.
- Worf's send off.
- A Romulan Tasha Yar?
More Klingon soap opera and brilliant continuity. This episode opens with Picard encouraging Worf to challenge his discommendation (TNG: Sins of the Father) whilst the Enterprise is en route to the Klingon homeworld to observe Gowron becoming leader of the high council. Gowron meets them early, but tells Picard that the Duras family is still running amuck. Picard mentions that Duras was killed (TNG: Reunion) and attributes corruption to why the Duras family still has power in the empire. Additionally, we get great continuity with TNG: The Mind's Eye first regarding Picard's mentioning and suspicion of the Duras family having a Romulan connection and the revelation of who the shadowy Romulan figure is. A Romulan Tasha Yar? That's a little lame. But it does little to stain an excellent episode.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-09-03 at 7:02am:
- Near the beginning of the episode, Worf and Guinan practice together on the phaser range. Guinan tells Worf she had a bet with Picard that she could make Worf laugh before he made the rank of lieutenant commander. "Not a good bet today," he replies. The conversation seems to imply that Guinan has never made Worf laugh. In the opening scene of "Yesterday's Enterprise," Guinan did make Worf laugh. Was there an alternate reality that was caused in that episode by the older Enterprise coming through the time fissure and then returning so that Worf never laughed in Ten-Forward?
- When Gowron first tells Picard of the Duras sisters' challenge, Picard asks for details. Gowron has none, stating that women cannot serve on the High Council. That must be a new rule, because Gowron offered K'Ehleyr a seat on the High Council in "Reunion."
- As Worf prepares to leave the Enterprise, he packs his belongings in a large chest. Picard comes to his quarters for a chat. During the conversation, Picard says he will make sure Worf's belongings get transferred to the Klingon ship. Just before Picard escorts Worf to the transporter, Worf closes the lid on the chest and they walk out. However, while they were talking, a pan of the room showed Worf's bat'leth still hanging on the wall. In "Reunion," Worf explained to his son that the weapon had been in his family for ten generations. There is no way Worf would leave that behind. Was he hoping that Picard would remember to pack it also?
- When the family of Duras attacks Gowron, two Klingon warships attack, pummeling Gowron's ship. Picard observes the battle as Data narrates. At one point, Data says, "[Gowron's ship] has lost her port shield. It is unlikely that they will withstand another hit in that quarter." The shot changes to the main viewer of the Enterprise. As Data continues narrating, the graphics show Gowron's ship taking not one, not two, not three, but four more phaser hits on the port side, and in each of those hits the blast disperses as if the port shield still functions!
- From JRPoole on 2008-07-02 at 1:00am:
This two-parter would be a candidate for my best of trek award. The only small problem for me is the Romulan Tasha Yar, which, despite the explanation coming in the second part, is stretching it a little.
- 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 10:34pm:
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 3:26pm:
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 3:14pm:
Bajoran Hasperat = a fajita
- From Lt. Fitz on 2012-06-19 at 9:45pm:
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 2015-03-29 at 3:23am:
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.
- Data's pet cat, Spot, makes his first appearance in this episode.
- The previously mentioned but never before seen ship's arboretum is first shown in this episode.
- The character of Keiko was created just for this episode, but as O'Brien develops into a major character as Star Trek continues, Keiko's role expands.
- According to Data, Andorian marriages involve groups of four.
- Picard's speech at the wedding is identical to the one Kirk used in TOS: Balance of Terror.
- I like the detail that Data introduced Keiko to O'Brien.
- Data delivering the "good news" to O'Brien.
- Data insulting Vulcans in his log.
- Data experimenting with friendly jives and insults.
- Worf and Data discussing human weddings.
- Data asking Crusher to teach him how to dance.
- I want Data's cat... :(
- Data trying to make O'Brien feel more comfortable.
- Data frustrating Keiko.
- Data's intuition regarding T'Pel.
- Data's tap dancing lesson.
- Data confused about why they don't do a lot of tap dancing at weddings and Beverly's response.
- Data's partner dancing lesson.
- Data's disturbing smile while dancing. Utterly terrifying. The next time you want to make babies cry, show them a picture of that...
- Data: "I could be chasing an untamed ornithoid without cause." Beverly: "A wild goose chase?"
- Picard confronting the Romulans about kidnapping T'Pel.
- Data's poker analogy.
- The wedding.
This episode is a major character development episode not for Data, but O'Brien. Unlike many made up on the spot TNG characters, O'Brien and Keiko become important characters in later episodes. Specifically in DS9. Even setting that aside, this is a fantastic Data episode. There is continuity with TNG: The Measure of a Man right in the opening scene, as Data's log entry is addressed to Bruce Maddox, the man who tried to have Data's rights taken away. It seems Data holds no hard feelings for the man, and even wants to aide his cybernetics research! The side plot with T'Pel and the Romulans is interesting and appropriate with but one flaw. What was T'Pel's mission? Overall though, one of the most memorable TNG episodes I've ever seen.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-10-18 at 4:22am:
No major problems with this episode ;)
Just a couple continuity/production problems:
- Data orders food for Spot. The bowl that materializes contains a very small amount of something on the bottom. Yet, in the close-up, the bowl suddenly becomes over half filled with food.
- The wedding glass O'Brien and Keiko drink from appears to be empty. The glass is translucent, so it is difficult to tell. If there was any liquid in the glass, I think it would show up.
- From djb on 2008-02-20 at 9:06am:
- Notice how data's hands are twitching when he is explaining his findings about the transporter malfunction to the rest of the crew? I wonder if it as all related to Lore's facial tick. I'm more inclined to suspect it was just Brent Spiner being fidgety.
- This is one of the funniest episodes I've seen so far. It's up there with "Deja Q" in terms of how often it made me laugh out loud. Data's logically coming to conclusions that we find so obvious is priceless. I bet Maddox will laugh his ass off when he gets the letter. Worf's assessment of human bonding rituals is also funny; it reminds me of his description of Klingon mating in "The Dauphin." ("...he reads love poetry... he ducks a lot.") Also, Data's big smile is something to remember.
- Notice how Data's dance partner looks a lot like Tasha Yar? Seems appropriate given their connection. It wasn't Denise Crosby, but she sure did look similar.
- Nice balance of character development and overall plot advancement. Very interesting existential questions brought up in line with "The Measure of a Man." It seems Data doesn't take personally Maddox's desire to disassemble him. But... since Data is not really a "person" in many senses, one wouldn't expect him to.
- From JRPoole on 2008-05-05 at 3:50pm:
This is up there with the best TNG had to offer. I love episodes that give the viewer an idea about what goes on behind the scenes on a normal day aboard the Enterprise, so this one is a personal favorite. Data's attempts at uderstanding human behavior here are priceless, O'brien finally comes into his own, and overall this is phenomenal. My only (small) quibble is with the T'pel side-plot. It's interesting, and well-done, but it could have made a great episode of its own, and sometimes it cuts into the plot concering Data and the wedding a little too much. I still give this one a 10.
- From thaibites on 2011-06-27 at 3:16am:
I've been watching TNG sequentially, and this is the WORST episode so far. I was shocked to see that so many people liked it. Another "soap opera" episode with very little sci-fi. And what's up with Kaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyko!?! What an emotionally unbalanced, useless twit! We have to treat that as an equal!?! If I was a woman who is striving for all women to be treated as equals, I would be angered and sickened by the writer's portrayal of Keiko as being a completely emotionally out of control woman. This episode is crap!
In the review, the website creator says, "It seems Data holds no hard feelings for the man..." Excuse me...HELLO???? Data doesn't have ANY feelings at all for anybody or anything. That's one of the big points of this episode!
- From Kethinov on 2011-06-29 at 3:56pm:
You don't need to have feelings to exhibit the qualities of bias toward an individual. It would be well within the realm of realism for Data to break contact with Maddox in an effort to avoid any further unpleasant dealings with him. In that respect, the phrase "hard feelings" need not be taken so literally.
- From Mike Chambers on 2013-11-22 at 4:25am:
Very surprised to see this episode rated so highly by everyone. It's a cute little episode with a few laughs, but belongs nowhere near the top of the TNG heap!
There's basically no sci-fi to be found, and it's not like we learn anything new about Data from it either. Overall just a very watchable, but go-nowhere filler episode that earns a very average 5 rating from me. Not something I'd put on heavy rotation. I did, however, enjoy seeing O'Brien get some more screen time finally.
- From Axel on 2015-02-28 at 9:02pm:
The last thing Data says to Maddox in "Measure of a Man" is that Maddox should continue his research and that Data is ready to help in the right way. So, apparently Data had no negative views of Maddox even immediately after the hearing. I like that the writers handled it this way and picked up the Data-Maddox relationship for this episode. It makes sense for the character to view Maddox's research as intriguing rather than hold a grudge, which would be a purely human thing to do.
Anyway, this episode had a lot of great stuff. It was funny, touching, and had several plots working together nicely from the perspective of Data.
I do wonder a little bit about the T'Pel thing. You'd think the Federation would be aware that Romulans might try to impersonate Vulcans. They apparently have different life signs, and a Federation ambassador would have very high clearance level which would require rigorous screening. It's somewhat surprising to me that a Romulan could do this at all. I'm sure there are explanations, but it seems to me that T'Pel/Selok gets away with an awful lot more than she should have.
- 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 2006-06-20 at 1:50am:
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 2007-10-12 at 3:01am:
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 2:42pm:
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 8:59pm:
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 7:11pm:
This was the very first episode i ever saw
- According to Satie, Picard has violated the Prime Directive 9 times since he took command of the Enterprise.
- Worf's reaction to being bribed.
- Sabin mentions Worf's father a traitor. I like that detail. As far as he's concerned, that's true, as he wouldn't know the secret the high command is maintaining.
- The revelation that the engine explosion was an accident.
- The revelation that Tarses is part Romulan, not Vulcan.
- Good contintuity, mentioning the Romulan spy from TNG: Data's Day. As well as the mentioning of Picard being assimilated in TNG: Best of Both Worlds.
- Picard getting Satie all wound up.
This episode examines a very real moral dilemma, but I found the way in which it did so utterly offensive. Nobody seemed to be in character until the end, except for Picard, and the paranoia exhibited throughout this episode just seemed ridiculous. The various plot threads didn't seem to connect very well, and loose threads are left behind. What happened to Tarses? How and why did a Romulan enter the Federation and take a human wife 100 years ago? All the interesting things about this story were neglected while it concentrated on fear, uncertainty, doubt, and paranoia.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Pete Miller on 2006-04-01 at 2:41am:
This episode is one of the few times I disagree with Mr. Kethinov. To me, this episode is what Star Trek is all about.
Negative : What's up with all the 70 year old Grandma Admirals in Starfleet? I do agree that some of the characters were out of character. And the episode lacks, shall we say, action. As silly as it may seem, a 10-rated episode for me has to have SOME action. So -1 for those things.
Positive : This episode builds a very intriguing and nicely done story right from the beginning with the Klingon spy. I liked how the grandma admiral gradually transformed from a typical bureaucrat into a ruthless monster. I would not say that the paranoia seen in the episode is at all ridiculous. It is quite real, as was seen partly in the McCarthy trials, but most prominently in the Salem witch trials. The mob rule sentiment makes your blood boil, yet it is extememly applicable to the world today.
"Witch hunting" in the sense exhibited in this episode is something that has occurred throughout human history. It is important to have episodes like this that remind us of problems within our culture. This episode is a manifestation of Gene Roddenberry's intentions at their finest, and as I said earlier they are what Star trek is all about. Makes you want to read the Crucible by Arthur Miller. Great Episode, I'd give it a 9, perhaps even a 10.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-05-07 at 6:26pm:
"Trial" episodes of Trek have never been disappointing, but most fall along a predictable plot line. The trial always gets out of hand with the protagonist about to win, but the defendant pulls off a remarkable comeback in the end.
It is always great to see Picard's moral conscience react to the things going on around him. This episode brings that out a lot. Worf, on the other hand, seems to be easily influenced by what is happening. This becomes out of line with his character as we know it. He may kill a person every now and then, but it is unlikely for him to conduct an unhonorable witch hunt.
Although the Drumhead immediately relates to some of the issues of the modern world, such as the interrogation of suspected terrorists, I just find this episode forgettable just hours after I watched it.
- From DSOmo on 2007-08-26 at 9:15am:
A Klingon exobiologist? Not a "normal" occupation for a Klingon. Doesn't seem like a very "warrior-like" line of work to me.
- From Firewater on 2008-03-03 at 12:47pm:
I have admired many of your TNG reviews although I will, respectfully, disagree with your comments on this one.
I believe making the characters "out-of-character" until the end propelled this episode's story. At it's essence, it *was* about fear, uncertainty, doubt and paranoia. It was an example of how even the best of men/women can fall to the influence of such things, despite their intentions.
All of the Romulan/Tarses shenanigans were red herrings. In the end, it was all a witch hunt with no verifiable ties to anything at all. To be honest, I see this as a very TOS episode, hinting at the way our society could easily shift back into McCarthyism even though (when this episode was aired) it was the 1990s.
In fact, I would even go so far to say that this would be relevant today post-9/11. So I would just suggest looking at this episode from a slightly different viewpoint.. I think it's highly underrated and worth another shot.
- From JRPoole on 2008-06-26 at 3:53am:
I'm in almost total agreement with the review here. I don't find this offensive really, but I do find it dreadfully dull, didactic, and obvious.
On the subject of Tarses' Romulan heritage, I think the most reasonable explanation is that his grandfather was a defector who lived his life posing as a Vulcan to avoid trouble. Probably only his family knew the truth.
- From Flot on 2010-09-24 at 11:40pm:
I agree with your view, and think this episode could have easily been fantastic if it didn't feel like it came out of nowhere, nor end with no real consequences.
I found it frustrating to watch because you could see that they were trying to take advantage of a lot of good content and continuity, but to no avail.
- From MJ on 2011-01-07 at 10:27pm:
I also agree with the vast majority of the webmaster’s ratings, but I would give this one a 7. The lack of explanation of Tarses fate doesn’t ruin it for me, nor does the lack of sufficient explanation for what exactly he did wrong (was it falsifying the application or the fact that his grandparent is Romulan?).
The drama of the episode is irresistible, and the issues it grapples with are both complex and timely; it would’ve been interesting to see how differently this might have been written in a post-9/11 world. I also don’t think everyone is quite out of character. Worf’s paranoia at the prospect of having a Romulan spy on board seems very fitting, for example.
The only other snag which knocks the episode down somewhat is that it seems strange that Admiral Satie would’ve been able to use tactics like this in all her investigations without throwing up any red flags. Sometimes it seems everyone at Starfleet are blind, despicable fools compared to Picard and crew.
But overall, I really enjoyed it!
- From Robert Koenn on 2011-03-16 at 12:43pm:
I personally found this to be a very good episode which I rated 8. I suppose a big part of that for me was the way it applies to our present Muslim fear mongering which is actually going on as I write with Rep. King's Muslim witch hunt in congress. It was so pertinent the way a powerful politician can gain fame by preying on the fears of the populace and undercutting our fundamental principles using this fear. It of course also reinforces that persons personae for personal gain. It was so great to see Picard handle this is such a moral and principled way that is portrays what one rationale individual can do to put these glory seekers in their place. I did not find the characterizations out of place and Worf has always been a character to jump off the deep end at a moments notice, not an inaccurate portrayal of his Klingon genetics at all. So for me using this alliterative to present day and historical events was quite good and I rated this episode quite high.
- From ChristopherA on 2012-06-19 at 1:13am:
This is an excellent morality play, though a little clunky a times. While it is true that the characters seem to fall into the witch hunt mentality somewhat too easily, morality episodes like this usually have to play rather aggressively with characterization in order to get to the point and fit the episode within the time available. Also, it can be hard to set stories in a utopia. Measure of a Man has exactly the same issues as this – it makes the Federation justice system seem awfully unfair – but it works if you just accept the premises and go with the episode.
- They never explain why Tarses lied on his application at all. So what if he is part-Romulan. Is the Federation racist? I thought it had been established that they had gotten over that. Perhaps the Federation is only racist when it comes to races that are currently enemies of the Federation.
- DSOmo: Although the Klingons love thinking of themselves as warriors in spirit, that doesn't mean they have no other occupations. Somebody has to fill all those support roles.
- From Quando on 2013-07-31 at 5:13am:
This episode raises a question I often ask about Star Trek TNG: why is there no lawyer assigned to the Enterprise? This is the flagship of the Federation, and it's not like this is the first time that having a lawyer around would have really come in handy (see, e.g., Data's trial in the Measure of a Man, or the episode where Picard is analyzing the really complicated treaty with the Sheliac Corporate looking for a loophole). I mean, the Enterprise seems to have everything else. They have a botanist, a bartender, several waiters in Ten Forward, a barber, and even an expert on 20th century earth history (Wyatt what's-his-name on The Long Goodbye episode). But the best they can do for poor old Simon Tarses, with his career and maybe even his freedom hanging in the balance, is appointing Will Riker as his "counsel" (practicing law without a license). Remember when they stopped at that planet where everyone was half-naked and peaceful for shore leave? They asked Lt. Yar (who, I assume, has no legal training at all) to review the planet's legal system, and she concludes that there is "nothing unusual". Except, as it turns out, that they have the death penalty for EVERYTHING - including stepping on the flowers. Nice job Yar (although, you almost got Wesley killed, and in the words of Galron, I consider that "no small favor"). Come on. The Enterprise needs a lawyer. I'd be glad to volunteer!
- From Troy on 2015-06-08 at 6:28pm:
Yes a lawyer for the Enterprise...make him an ambulance chasing Ferengi!
- From Chantarelle on 2015-12-23 at 6:07am:
Like other commenters, I mostly agree with the reviews on this website, however, I disagree with most of this one. I’ll agree that the premise of the episode, and the witch hunt involved was kind of clumsy and forceful, however, if that had been handled better, then I think the Enterprise’s reaction, and their being ‘out of character’, would have been completely believable. That’s the whole point of causing that kind of fear and paranoia. I especially liked Worf’s embarrassment at being swayed so easily.
Interesting to see that comments going back to 2006 talk about how relevant this episode is in ‘today’s’ world. Sadly, it seems to be even more relevant today than it was 10 years ago. Can only hope that people won’t still be saying that in 2026.
Eric, if you read this, I’d be curious to know whether you have reviewed your opinion on this one since posting the review, and whether your opinion may have changed at all either due to some of the comments here, or a rewatch? Not that I’m implying it *should* change. Just curious :-)
- Worf's love affair with prune juice begins here.
- This episode scored third place in the viewer's choice awards.
- Worf laughs at the thought of any human woman not being "too fragile" for him.
- The transformation from the starship Enterprise into the warship Enterprise.
- Tasha Yar's appearance.
- Picard not wanting to be specific of which ship he commanded: "This is Captain Picard of the Federation Starship... er... a Federation Starship!"
- Guinan's intuitions.
- The Enterprise D operating on such a nicely superior level of efficiency in the alternate timeline.
- Likewise I love the retro feel of the Enterprise C.
- Picard and Guinan arguing over which history is the "correct" history.
- Guinan freaking out over Yar.
- Guinan explaining Tasha's death to Yar.
- I like how the writers gave Yar a better send off in this episode than in Skin of Evil.
- Picard: "Let's make sure that history never forgets the name. Enterprise."
- The battle between Enterprise D and the Klingons.
The idea that a ship from the past entering the future and instantly changing history is fascinating. This episode has everything a great Trek episode needs. Excellent continuity, a genuine and interestingly new dilemma, action, and excellent character development. Tasha Yar's guest appearance was wonderfully appropriate and Guinan's involvement in the story was a rare treasure. Truly one of TNG's finest moments.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-07-24 at 6:59am:
- The major plot oversight in this episode concerns the personnel aboard the Enterprise during the alternate future created by the Enterprise-C. In the alternate future, the Federation and the Klingon Empire have been at war for twenty years. In war, people get killed. In fact, Picard says the Klingons have destroyed half of the Federation's fleet. Since people get killed in war, people get promoted quickly. It is inconceivable that Riker, Data, and Geordi would still be serving with Picard. They would have their own commands fighting the Klingons. Of course, this is a television series. The viewers want to see the same set of core actors from week to week.
- Picard has an odd sense of three-dimensional space in this episode. He meets with Guinan on the spacious observation lounge. He meets with Riker and Yar on the spacious observation lounge. However, when he meets with his senior officers, five in all, he crams them like sardines into his ready room.
- At the beginning of the episode, emergency teams beam over to the Enterprise-C. Dr. Crusher determines to take the captain back to the Enterprise-D. Dr. Crusher taps her badge and calls for transport. She then puts her tricorder away and reaches up to tap her badge again. At this point a befuddled look comes across her face and she puts her hand back down to her side. I guess she realized she didn't need to tap her communicator to shut it off.
- After Crusher leaves, Riker and Yar find a survivor in the wreckage. The survivor is buried under a bunch of rubble on a darkened main bridge. Riker and Yar dig him out. What's the first thing they do for him after he's out? They shine flashlights on his face!
- From CAlexander on 2011-04-21 at 2:14am:
One of the great Star Trek episodes. I'd like to add one more Remarkable Scene:
- Picard discussing how the war is going badly, and Federation defeat is inevitable.
- From Percivale on 2011-09-05 at 5:02pm:
A perfect Star Trek episode - worth a 10.
I feel that the ingenuity, energy and skill that went into this script surpasses any of the TNG movies (and most TOS movies) and feels much more epic.
Wouldn't it have been great as a film? The only important characters left out of this are Wesley and Worf. I don't know (and frankly don't care) what could be done with Wesley, but there's an obvious role for Worf - as a Klingon commander attacking the Enterprise, of course!
I especially love how they let Guinan really shine in this one. It shows the strength of her character and the depth of her relationship with Picard - even in a depressing alternate universe - and we are even left with another tantalizing clue as to the nature of her species. I don't think there is another episode where we are shown quite as clearly why she is on the Enterprise.
But the interesting cinematography, the dramatic tension, the moving ending - Man, I could watch this one over and over again (and have).
- From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-21 at 12:31pm:
I agree generally that this is a fabulous episode. For one thing Denise Crosby is terrific. Perhaps because she was unhappy in her role in season 1, she seemed to be lacking in that season. Her performances were rather wooden, I thought.
One logical issue: when the Enterprise D is holding off the Klingons, it takes the Enterprise C friggin' forever to go into the temporal rift! What's up with that? At the distance they were from the rift, they should have been through in a couple of seconds. As it is, it takes several minutes. Of course this adds to the tension, but it still creates a logical problem.
- From Sean on 2012-01-07 at 1:20pm:
As I write this, there are over 700 episodes of Star Trek and eleven movies, and "Yesterday's Enterprise" still stands as my favourite episode of all time, twenty years after it first aired on television. To me, this episode is a perfect representation of what Star Trek is about: hope for the future. In this timeline, Picard is still as loyal and reflective as his normal counterpart, but he's a man who's been turned bitter by decades of war. I love seeing his slow turn from stubbornly refusing to sacrifice the Enterprise C ("Every instinct is telling me that this is wrong, it is dangerous, it is FUTILE!") to slowly realising that Guinan has introduced an incredible idea: that this ship has altered history - badly ("I've weighed the alternatives. I will follow Guinan's recommendations").
Ultimately, Picard puts the needs of the many (the billions lost in the way) above the needs of the few (the crews of the Enterprise C & D). It's Star Trek at its very best. The fact that the crew all accept this is just beautiful - there's no dumb mutiny by a character who's looking out for his own skin, everyone realises that by sacrificing themselves, they are saving billions of lives and creating a brighter future for humanity. Even in this dark version of the future, the crew stays true to Roddenberry's vision of a united humanity. Even Riker, who clearly disagrees with Picard's decision, speaks to him with respect and once Picard makes his decision, that's it.
What truly makes this episode so perfect, though, is the performances. As I've already mentioned, Patrick Stewart is in fine form, as are all the other regulars. Tricia O'Neil gives Captain Garrett a tough, strong personality without ever making her annoying. Whoopi Goldberg is suitably spooky, yet Denise Crosby steals the show by giving Yar the send off she deserved - particularly the scene where she requests the transfer to the Enterprise C. Seeing her explain to Picard that she's "supposed to be dead" always moves me.
Of course, I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the space battle, which to this day is impressive to look at, hardly aging at all. I love how the ultimate fate of the Enterprise C - it's final stand and it's destruction by the Romulans - is left to our imagination.
Others may complain that it should have been a two-parter, or that Worf should have been on board the Klingon battleships, but I disagree. Having only one episode gives it a quick, almost panicked pace - after all, the Klingons are on their way! And we don't need to see the Klingons, or Worf, or any other part of this dark world, it's so much more interesting to see the story at the intimate level of just one starship. Often the best way to tell a large story is to just tell a small part of it.
"Yesterday's Enterprise" is Star Trek at its best. My favourite episode of not only The Next Generation, but all of Star Trek. "Let's make sure, history never forgets the name... Enterprise."
- From meinerHeld on 2012-02-10 at 6:36pm:
Keith: "I like how the writers gave Yar a better send off in this episode than in Skin of Evil."
Three cheers for that one!
- From Ggen on 2012-03-21 at 6:21am:
This was a rather excellent episode. In fact, of all the time travel episodes throughout Trek, this has got to be one of my favorites, for several reasons: For one thing, this episode accomplishes so much more than just the typical temporal parodox. 1) It is also a "mirror universe" episode of sorts, because the alternate militarized timeline is so fundamentally different from the norm. [And rather awesome to observe, I might add. I've long wondered about the straight-up military dimension of Starfleet - nice to finally see it on display] 2) It is very much so a Tasha Yarr episode, and a damn proper one at that. Tasha's oddly timed and oddly executed first death is rather gloriously redeemed here. 3) We're introduced to the mysterious and unique Al-Aurian "perceptions beyond linear time," which is a neat concept and a useful plot device. 4) Finally, this time travel episode is the only one I know of where someone (in this case Picard) asks the crucial question, "Who's to say *this* history is any less proper than *that* one?" This typically unexamined question has been perpetually in the back of my mind throughout the rest of Trek, causing me to cringe every time I heard the words "polluting the timeline."
I also loved the high stakes of the final scenes - revealed when Picard admits that the Federation is doomed to lose the war within 6 months, failing some radical change of events.
I don't know if I entirely follow how all of the events tie together to the very beginning and the very end, when the Enterprise (in "present" time) stumbles onto the space-time anomoly, but in this case I'm willing to just assume it makes some sense.
- Warf calling prune juice a "warriors drink," and being sort of chauvinistic and piggish.
- Alternate Picard's jargon: "miltary log," "combat date," "battleship."
- From Mike Chambers on 2013-11-16 at 7:05am:
One of the best TNG episodes ever filmed, without a doubt. However, one major problem I noticed.
- Since the Enterprise-C traveling into the future caused such a radical change in the timeline, do you really think the Enterprise-D would have still been at the exact position in this new timeline that they were at in the old timeline? That is, at the site of the temporal distortion at that particular moment in time. I'd say the chances are practically zero percent.
Granted, there wouldn't be much of an episode if they weren't. It's just something I was thinking about while watching.
- This is one of many episodes to mention that the Romulans use quantum singularities as power sources.
- Troi's briefing from N'Vek
- Trio's abraisive meeting with Commander Toreth.
- Riker arresting Ensign DeSeve for treason.
- DeSeve delivering Spock's message.
- N'Vek blaming firing on the freighter on Troi.
- Troi and N'Vek discussing the failure of their plan.
- Commander Toreth's objections to Troi's new plan to cross into Federation space.
- Troi forcing her plan on N'Vek.
- Troi challenging Toreth's command.
- N'Vek firing a low powered disruptor to piggyback a transporter.
- N'Vek's death.
- Troi's escape.
A human defector to Romulus returns to the Federation and Troi unwillingly becomes a Federation spy on board a Romulan warbird. The political web weaved for this episode is a complex one, but definitely interesting. Seeing more of the inside of Romulan vessels is certainly interesting as well. The thrilling plot keeps you on the edge of the seat as the warbird and the Enterprise become ever so dangerously closer to one another, climaxing with Troi's extremely risky maneuver hailing the Enterprise under the guise of being a member of Romulan intelligence. Granted, N'Vek's death is a huge cliche and in this case extremely needless. There's no reason the plot couldn't have been further complicated by Troi pleading Picard to transport him out too, only to find that his fate was now sealed once the warbird went to warp. I enjoyed watching him vaporize, but it seemed entirely senseless. Having him simply remain on board while Troi escaped would have beared so much more emotion. Finally, this is possibly Troi's greatest episode in that she played the most important role and did so spectacularly. Bravo.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From JRPoole on 2008-09-17 at 2:58pm:
This episode is great. The plot hatched by N'Vek is far-fetched at best, but this it's worth it in the end. I love the way that Troi starts to throw her weight around, and I absolutely love the way that the Romulan people are presented as a very complex people. Recently they've been been fleshed out much more than they ever were in the past, and I like that Spock's work on Romulus is revisted here. Overall, this is top-notch. I give it a 9.
- From J Reffin on 2009-08-03 at 2:02pm:
It's a great episode, but The Inner Light (s 5) is in another league.
- From Inga on 2012-03-17 at 10:12pm:
I liked the Romulan Commander. A strong episode with strong female characters and an engaging plot.
- From Dennis on 2013-03-31 at 11:29pm:
I didn't know they could spend money. Riker tells Ensign DeSeve to go buy some civilian clothes because he doesn't want to see him in a Star Fleet uniform.
- From Harrison on 2013-08-24 at 10:52am:
Any weaknesses (there are few) in this episode are rendered trivial by the outstanding performance by Carolyn Seymour as the Romulan Commander Toreth. It's a compelling and memorable portrayal, of a calibre rarely achieved on television.
Marina Sirtis delivers a pretty remarkable performance, too. It's a little shrill in places, but her repartee with the Romulan Commander is pulled off wonderfully. It's almost jarrig how departs so thoroughly from the soft & sensitive "Deanna Troi" in this episode.
- The writers considered having this episode tie in more directly with DS9, replacing the Ferengi character we see in this episode with Quark. But some scheduling eliminated this possibility. :(
- The matter-of-fact matter in which the admiral dispersed her orders.
- Captain Jellico's enthusiasm.
- The command transfer ceremony.
- Jellico: "Oh... and get that fish out the ready room."
- Jellico criticising Troi's uniform.
- Jellico "being blunt" to Picard.
- The Ferengi claiming that "he's not a smuggler"; overly paranoid about an accusation not made...
- Beverly seducing the Ferengi into helping.
- Beverly and Worf picking on each other.
- Jellico's deliberate rude behavior to the Cardassians.
- The Cardassian captain giving (perhaps not so) subtle foreknowledge of Picard's mission with Worf and Beverly.
Like any cliffhanger, this episode can not be fully judged until part II. But standing on its own, there are several nice features. Certainly, the tension level of this episode is its greatest feature. Everybody is on edge. The whole episode is like an adrenaline rush. In addition, this episode sets up the premise for DS9. We're told that Bajor has finally won its freedom! A shame we don't get to hear Ro Laren's opinion on the salvation of her planet. The new uniforms of the Cardassians are also established here. Due to all this, I consider this episode the first episode of the DS9 era. Starting here, Star Trek takes a turn into a bold new direction.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Pete Miller on 2006-05-11 at 3:50am:
That whole thing with Jellico relieving picard in front of the whole ship PISSED ME OFF. I absolutely hate all admirals in starfleet. I STILL stand not having seen a decent one up to this point, and I've seen 5.5 seasons!!!!
Jellico is a complete bastard. Time to rant about him. "Get it done" is an asinine saying. I hate how he uses data as his personal bitch. He doesn't give a shit about people's feelings, or schedules. "I don't have time for a honeymoon with the crew". What an asshole.
Jellico ranks as a worse bad guy for me than a Borg or a Romulan any day of the week. I actually found myself enjoying the Cardassian making a fool of Jelico and the federation. That's not supposed to happen!
- From DSOmo on 2007-11-11 at 5:41am:
- While rearranging the Enterprise to suit his own taste, Jelico tells Troi that he prefers a certain formality on the bridge. He then requests that she wear a standard uniforn. After seeing Troi function in a standard blue uniform, you suddenly realize the injustice the creators have done to her character. In a standard uniform, Troi becomes a serious professional woman of the same standing as Crusher. Troi's character could have been just as effective, maybe even more effective, had the creators opted for something other than the obvious. Certainly Troi's physical beauty is not diminished by wearing a standard uniform.
- As the commandos navigate through a maze of caves on Seltrice III, a cave-in buries Crusher. Unbelievably, she's okay even though she was buried under a huge pile of rocks. Maybe the rocks were the Seltrice III equivalent of pumice?
- Shortly after taking over the Enterprise, Jelico tells Riker to change the functions of the Science I and Science II workstations on the bridge. They are supposed to be "dedicated to damage control and weapons status from now on." Yet when reporting that the theta band emissions from Seltrice III have stopped, Riker stands with Jelico in front of Science I and it still says "Science I" at the top and Riker is still using it for planetary scanning, not weapons status, as Jelico ordered.
- The creators reused the matte painting of the colony on Moab IV ("The Masterpiece Society") as an establishing shot just before the bar scene.
- From djb on 2008-05-31 at 8:07am:
Good episode. I like 2-parters, especially with this series because it's so episodic, i.e. there are hardly any interweaving storylines. 2-parters allow for a larger, more detailed story to unfold.
- I fully agree that it's high time we saw Troi wear a standard uniform. Too bad it's only for just over 1 1/2 seasons that she actually gets to wear something that makes her look dignified. Why hasn't she been wearing one up to this point? Surely it can't just be for ratings. Now she looks like an actual officer. Anyway, good call on Jellico's part.
- I'm confused as to why Jellico would want a four-shift rotation instead of 3. That means 6-hour shifts instead of 8, which means less work. What? Unless he's expecting the crew to pull double shifts, in which case, it makes sense.
- From Mike on 2008-06-13 at 3:08pm:
Absolutely love this episode, and Ronnie Cox was BRILLIANT as Captain Jellico. I actually would've like to have seen more of this character - it was very cool to see the Enterprise under a different commander.
- From Quando on 2014-08-16 at 1:43am:
I really like this episode specifically because Jellico is such a jerk. That is "real." Everybody has had a boss, teacher, parent, or friend like this before, so you can relate to the situation. And it finally lets us see some dynamic interpersonal conflict for a change. I know Gene Roddenberry's vision was that members of the crew would not be in conflict with each other -- rather, the conflict would generally come from outside the crew (aliens and others they encounter). That's OK I guess, but not very realistic and not as interesting as it could be. Compare with the approach taken in the new Battlestar Galactica where there are constant conflicts among the crew, and that is the most interesting part of the show.
- The premise, see my comments. Not necessarily unbelievable, but a bit absurd.
- Guinan on the holodeck, trying to play along.
- Data using "less obtrusive" methods of contacting Picard.
- Data carefully persuading everyone to leave the star system.
- Beverly suspecting Data a liar.
- Picard getting rid of Data in the briefing room so they can speculate about him.
- Beverly digging up more evidence against Data using the transporter.
- Data's "I cannot confirm nor deny that" attitude.
- Worf: "There are very few people on board who could have broken my wrist. Commander Data is one of those individuals."
- Troi being possessed and speaking in an eerily flanged bass augmented register.
- Possessed Troi breaking Worf's wrist.
This episode's premise doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Wouldn't it have been easier to just claim the wormhole knocked everyone unconscious for a day instead of trying to rig the ship to make it appear as only 30 seconds had passed? That way all the "clues" that were left behind would seem to be nothing but a normal consequence of a wormhole knocking you into bio chemical stasis for a day. Of course, then we wouldn't have an episode now would we...
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-08-24 at 6:44am:
- The computer apparently doesn't know that dead people don't move their eyes. When Picard and Guinan are in the holodeck at the very start of the episode, a holodeck character gets machine-gunned down. When Picard turns the man's head to face them, his eyes move around.
- At the end of the episode, Data narrates a flashback to the first encounter with the Paxans. During his narration, the episode shows Data waking everyone while the Paxans attempt to override the shields. The Paxans penetrate the shields and take control of Troi. After she breaks Worf'd wrist, Picard asks, "Who are you?" The Paxans, speaking through Troi, do not answer. They simply maintain that they must destroy the ship. The dialogue continues until Picard and the Paxans reach a compromise. Then Picard turns to Data and orders him never to reveal what has happened, to conceal his knowledge of the Paxans for as long as he exists. How did Picard know they were called the Paxans? The Paxans never mentioned their name.
- From JRPoole on 2008-05-08 at 2:46pm:
I agree with the general absurdity of the premise of this episode. How was Data supposed to cover up a whole day? If it was, say, Tuesday, and they woke up on Wednesday, how is that concealable? Even if the crew goes on thinking that only 30 have passed, won't there still be an unaccountable lag when they get back to a star base and it isn't the day they thought it was?
Also, the direction and staging is poor in this episode. For instance, Geordi comes to the bridge, asks Troi to give him a moment with the captain in private, and they proceed to stroll around the bridge chatting about Data's deception. It seems like something they should discuss in the ready room.
Still, there are some things to like about this episode, mainly Data's refusal to reveal the truth to the crew, so this one is a 2.
- From JRPoole on 2008-05-08 at 11:35pm:
I'm bewildered by the fan rating on this one. This one is more significantly higher than the host's rating than virtually any other episode. Is this one usually considered a fan favorite, or is this an anomaly?
- From Bernard on 2008-05-14 at 11:23pm:
Just to add to the above in the general berating of this episode...
Take Picards preposterous reaction to Data's evident deceipt. He threatens poor Data with the suggestion that starfleet will dissect him to find out what has gone wrong with him! Considering the events of the episode 'measure of a man' this is not a possible course of action... Data could be court martialled etc. but not taken apart (without his consent anyway)
Some really fundamental flaws with this episode that I agree with low marks as there is nothing else redeeming to save it
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2008-10-20 at 4:31pm:
I always look forward to watching this episode again. Seeing Data lie and lose credibility among the crew is facinating to watch. Also, the revelation that the crew has lost a whole day's worth of memory always amazes me, even though I have seen it many times.
I love the ending where Picard ALMOST turns the ship back to the planet again. If they had come back a third time, then aliens would have destroyed the Enterprise.
- From trekstar on 2011-01-03 at 3:02pm:
I've always liked this episode. I was always under the impression that the aliens didn't just wipe out their memory for a day, but also placed them back in time. Which means although they had "clues" of life going on a whole day, in the time frame outside the ship, only 30 seconds had passed. That makes more sense...I think:)
- From email@example.com on 2011-08-22 at 6:39am:
I think the negative reviews are a little unfair. The holodeck sequence sucks, and the premise is kind of outlandish, but I think it falls short of being absurd. In fact, it's got some redeeming qualities. The sheer uncertainty in the first 3/4 of the episode is quite exquisite. Data is protecting the crew by concealing the events of the past 24 hours... Wtf? This was downright creepy at times. I was trying to picture what kind of horrible, traumatizing, life-altering things might've transpired...
The real problem with this episode is not the premise, it's that the revelation is rushed to the point of ridiculousness. It runs like a Charlie Chaplin film, just a few steps too fast. (I like the episode but I'll be the first to admit it has some serious flaws) Here's a small one: what is up with Wharf getting all trigger happy on counselor Troi? All she did was get up kind of sudden, and he's ready to shoot/physically apprehend her? And then Picard says, "Who are you?" (Maybe it's Starfleet protocol to assume that anyone who gets up and quietly approaches you has been possessed by another lifeform?)
Not very believable.
Speaking of which, it just seems unrealistic how quickly everyone arrives at the "stalemate" position/solution. Captain Picard seems to lose all nerve whatsoever - it is expected that he would be diplomatic and conciliatory, especially when facing superior technology, but here he comes off as just downright spineless or something. It's not unreasonable that he would come to this kind of decision and suggest they all just "forget" the whole thing, literally, but I would imagine it would take some kind of process, dialogue, consultation, etc. Not quite, "Wait! Don't kill us! Just make us forget and we'll be on our way."
Since that part of the story is revealed as a flashback, narrated by Data, we are perhaps meant to infer that there were other events that took place off screen... but this hardly changes the viewer's experience. The real problem, as I mentioned, is that the producers simply didn't have the space to do what they needed and make it seem believable. They just couldn't cram it in the 45 minutes, it seems, or made the wrong decisions about how to manage that space.
So, interesting episode - not an outright disaster or absolutely absurd, just with a rushed, abbreviated, unconvincing conclusion, like a few other episodes. I'd give it maybe a 5/6.
- From firstname.lastname@example.org on 2011-08-22 at 7:13am:
(For a special treat, watch this episode right before or right after watching "TOS: The Menagerie." There are some great parallels between Spock's deception and Data's obfuscation, and their respective captains' reactions. One interesting observation - it seems a starfleet crew is much more likely to trust an oddly behaving Vulcan (even a half-Vulcan) than an android under suspicious circumstances.
There's probably some kind an innate distrust of technology at work, which isn't entirely misplaced. "TNG: Brothers" comes to mind, specifically the scene when Data became completely subservient to his creator's homing beacon. And of course Data's brother became more or less insane, so there is some precedent for that as well...
- From Rick on 2013-02-11 at 3:46am:
How is Data supposed to convince Picard that it took him a full day to revive them but in actuality it only took Data a few seconds? Wouldnt that be a big "Clue" that Picard may investigate further......
Of course you could come up with a response to this but the point is that Picard may not believe whatever excuse Data would give.
- From Daniel on 2014-05-24 at 7:03am:
I like this episode, though I agree it is a flawed premise. I just want to point out one other odd detail I noticed. The oddity occurs at the moment when the Enterprise is once again facing the Paxans (the second time), and the green energy stream takes over Troi, causing her to become a zombie and act as a Paxan. According to the timeline of the story, Troi is possessed by the Paxans (the second time) immediately before confronting Data. Yet, at the moment of her possession, Troi is in bed in a nightgown. But, a moment later, she confronts Data in full uniform. Now, why would the Paxan that possesses her need her to get dressed, or would they have any need to dress her while possessing her? Just wondering.
- From Axel on 2015-02-21 at 5:18am:
Maybe I'm missing something here. Those of you suggesting that Data could've claimed the crew was out for a full day, thus avoiding the problems of a 30-second deception: how do you then explain the male crew's lack of beard growth? That was a major factor in the crew second-guessing whether they really were out a full day, until they learned they'd been placed in stasis. The lack of outward physical change, like beard growth, could only be passed off if the crew believed they were out for a very short time.
Perhaps the Paxans are highly skilled as both barbers and mind erasers?
- From Rick on 2015-10-15 at 5:59pm:
To the people questioning the premise of the episode, and more specifically the time difference problem (i.e. how would they explain the difference in their chronometer with the next star base they encounter), you are forgetting that they think they passed through a wormhole. I believe it is reasonable to surmise that time passes differently inside a wormhole. Hence Data saying after they wake up that he will reset the chronometer with the nearest star base signal.
This episode is difficult to understand but I think they did a pretty darn good job of covering all the bases.
- This problem is common in many TNG episodes, but I hate how the red alert sound doesn't match the red alert lighting.
- The auto destruct sequence seems overly rigid to be practical. And 5 minutes is too short. Especially when you have to start it from engineering and stop it from the bridge. Fortunately, the system is later changed.
- Why is the computer voice inconsistent in this episode? The Bynars?
- The title of this episode when converted from binary to decimal is actually 201.
- This is the first episode to mention Parises Squares.
- This episode establishes some great and kind of interesting continuity with starfleet rank. The starbase's highest ranking officer is a commander. Picard outranks him as a captain. This is continuous with the DS9 series and other TNG episodes.
- This episode was originally intended to come before The Big Goodbye, which would have been far more appropriate. But oh well. This is acceptable.
- When Data orders the ship to be auto piloted out of the star base, a lot of other reviewers bitched about how they could save half the ship by detaching the saucer. But in less than 4 minutes? I don't think so.
- This episode won an Emmy for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series.
- The Bynars working aboard the Enterprise.
- Worf taking the Parises Squares game so seriously.
- Riker: "Keep notes. This may be valuable to scholars in the future." Geordi: "Really?" Riker: "Well think about it. A blind man teaching an android how to paint? That's got to be worth something in somebody's book."
- Riker playing with the settings of the woman on the holodeck.
- Minuet and Picard talking in French.
- Data "awaiting inspiration."
- Picard and Riker valiantly trying to save the ship.
Riker's jazz indulgences along with Picard and Riker being seduced by the holodeck was a bit overused in this episode. And I'd have preferred it if we learned more about the Bynars. Still, this episode is a real action packed and highly interesting thriller. The technobabble at the end is annoying, but the episode is still largely entertaining and, well, just good. The greatness of the episode largely overwhelms its minor flaws.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-06-02 at 4:04pm:
Worf: "If winning is not important, then, Commander, why keep score?" :)
- The Bynars were planning on abducting Riker, not Picard. Minuet says to Picard at one point, "your being here was just a fortunate happenstance." But when Riker started downloading the information, he couldn't do it alone. It took both him and Picard to get the transfer started. It took two people to reactivate their computer, and the Bynars only arranged for Riker to stay?? If Picard hadn't "happened" along, everyone on their home world would have died.
- The autodestruct clock is composed of LEDs. It looks "out of place" on the Enterprise.
- When Picard and Riker try to board a turbolift, a sign flashes, "Access Denied." But the computer voice says, "Bridge Access Denied." How does the computer know that they wanted to go to the bridge?
- From djb on 2007-12-13 at 9:11pm:
Continuity error: In this episode, when Picard and Riker initiate the auto-destruct sequence, they agree that there is only one option for time: five minutes. In episode 2x02, they both initiate the auto-destruct sequence again, and are given an option of how long before it detonates, and choose 20 minutes. Was this feature upgraded at some point?
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-03 at 9:38pm:
I really like this episode.
- When I first watched the episode, I thought it was a cool concept that the Bynars somehow made Minuet transcend the normal holodeck limitations and become something Picard and Riker had never experienced before.
- This is the most believable "take over the Enterprise" plan I can remember seeing; it wasn't one of those plans that a 10-year old child could see through and defeat.
- I generally liked the execution of the evacuation and the retaking of the bridge; they didn't feel overplayed or underplayed.
- I especially liked how they didn't feel compelled to use the cliche of having the self destruct dramatically count down until the last possible second before being switched off.
- From g@g on 2012-02-07 at 1:30pm:
Altogether great episode. The whole docking triumphantly at the starbase thing sets up some great contrast for the ship later being hijacked and warping away, while the crew watches on helplessly, and its captain and commanding officer begin to awaken from an elaborate ruse.
Also, I noticed some excellent subtleties, which I have to assume were intentional. At about 31 minutes, Riker and Picard walk *in perfect lockstep* to the weapons room (I mean that literally), to discuss their "absolute agreement" about setting the self-destruct sequence. That's just excellent.
A few minutes later, at 34:50, as they're about to beam onto the bridge they simultaneously take a deep breath and lower their shoulders. Again, a nice touch (this one may or may not have actually been choreographed) that emphasizes the synchronized two-man command/crew/fighting machine they've now become.
And, of course, it takes both of them working simultaneously, as a pair, to access the Bynars filesystem. I hadn't quite realized just how neatly all of that fits together...
So, good episode.
PS Minuet is fascinating - a hint at future highly sophisticated holographic life (the Doctor and other "photonics" in Voyager, or that whole holographic village in DS9).
PPS Riker is enjoyably irreverent and sort of piggish in the beginning (calling Jeordi blind, telling the computer Blondes and Jazz don't mix, and instructing it to make the girl "more sultry,"). I think I like this rough-edged Riker of the early seasons...
Good stuff all 'round.
- From John on 2012-03-05 at 2:42am:
While the second half of this episode is quite good, the first half, nearly all of which consists of introducing Minuet, is incredibly boring.
On re-watching it, I found myself skipping the first half entirely.
4/5, because only half of it is worth watching, and the half that is is good but not great.
- From Rick on 2014-07-27 at 4:02am:
Your first problem is not entirely accurate. You state that Minuet's comment that Picard being a fortunate happenstance means that the Bynars didnt contemplate the fact that they needed Picard and Riker. You misinterpret Minuet's comment though. The Bynars noticed Riker taking an interest in Minuet so they used her as a distraction to keep Riker. The Bynars would have then looked for a different way to distract Picard but it was "fortunate" (as Minuet said) that Picard fell prey to the same distraction. I hope this clears up your confusion.
- A crew member gets in the turbolift with Picard and Darren but doesn't specify any destination! Is she wandering the ship aimlessly?
- Picard, frustrated that Stellar Cartography is consuming all of the ship's resources.
- Picard's rather abrasive first meeting with Darren.
- The Chopin performance.
- Picard playing Frère Jacques with Darren.
- Darren playing the Moonlight Sonata.
- The scene with Data and Geordi where they hear Picard and Darren's music.
This episode is delightful in that it presents the first convincing romance for Picard. I also like the continuity with TNG: The Inner Light regarding Picard's flute and the story concerning the probe. Finally, the music in this episode is great. The best scene in my opinion is when Darren plays the first part of the Moonlight Sonata in the Jeffrey's tube juncture for Picard. I have to take off points for the fact that we never see Darren again though. As moving as this episode is, its lack of consequences is extremely annoying.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From djb on 2008-08-19 at 2:03am:
I loved this episode. At first I was afraid it would be a little dull, but it quickly turned around. I liked how you could tell from Picard and Daren's first conversation that they would become an item. Since I am a musician myself, I really like the musical connection the two of them have, especially since it refers to "The Inner Light," which is an excellent episode to be reminded of.
I find myself consistently enjoying Picard love-interest stories, mainly because they're not treated at all cavalierly, as with Riker (for the first few TNG seasons anyway) and Kirk. Picard takes love, like everything else, quite seriously, and he's not at all a skirt-chaser, and I identify with and appreciate that. I enjoyed Vash ("Captain's Holiday"), I enjoyed Kamala ("The Perfect Mate"), and I enjoyed Eline ("The Inner Light"), and I enjoy the continuing romantic tension between Picard and Crusher, though the producers have wisely toned it down since Season One. In the scene in sickbay between Daren and Crusher, you can see hints of jealousy on the part of the doctor (brilliantly acted by McFadden), which show that that's still a viable plot thread.
The one problem I have is Daren's hokey roll-up keyboard. They could have easily thought up something not only cooler, but more realistic; any pianist, seeing a keyboard just under three octaves, and scoff. Daren certainly manages to get a lot more than three octaves' worth out of it! Also, not being able to press keys that actually go down would be rather confusing to any pianist. Plus, the keys definitely look bigger than real piano keys. Fortunately, we don't see it too much after the love interest plot takes off.
The other problem, of course, is that due to the heavily episodic nature of the series, we never hear from Daren again. (Reminds me of "The Game".) I mean, we hear Picard say he's in love with her, and they wisely decide that it's a conflict of interest, but you'd think we'd see him keeping up some kind of communication with her! Oh well.
The scene between them toward the end is brilliantly written and acted.
- From John on 2011-09-04 at 3:56am:
Though I guess it's part of the remarkable scene with the Moonlight Sonata, I really loved it when Picard played that folk melody from "Inner Light" in the Jeffries Tube. It reminded me of just how amazing that episode was, and how amazing that little tune is.
- Why did Riker order the helmsman to raise the shields?
- How can one talk during transport?
- This is the first episode in which Picard orders "tea, Earl Grey, hot."
- The destruction of the Yamato.
- Captain Varley's logs.
- Wesley's history lesson regarding the Iconians.
- Picard: "Now that should not have have happened." Regarding the replicator messing up his tea.
- Geordi running to the bridge trying to stop the captain from capturing the probe then almost dying in the turbolift.
- Picard: "Welcome to the bridge, Mr. LaForge."
- The computer electrocutes LaForge then to save him, Data throws him halfway across the room. I love the facial expression on Data's face when he realizes he used too much force. And I love the short dialog between them afterward.
- More away team bickering between Riker and Picard. Riker puts up more of a fight, but so does Picard.
- Riker: "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships named Enterprise."
- Troi: "In another time or place, this could be funny."
- Riker: "If it should become necessary to fight, could you find me some rocks to throw at them?"
- Riker to Taris: "Perhaps we should postpone the war until our more immediate problems are solved."
- Picard, more or less, "Data, decipher this language. Now." Ah Data, Picard's personal away team laptop.
- The look on Riker's face when he says to Troi, "You're jumpy," is great.
- Data's over explanation of how he deciphered the language. Picard, more or less, "Yes, yes, just translate." Poor Data. So under appreciated.
- Data: "I believe this is manual override." (Giant flash of light opening a gateway.) Data: "That was not manual override."
- Brent Spiner's acting as a damaged Data was wonderful.
- Picard has a couple of good "final" lines before his brush with death. "I hope that was not a stutter." Regarding Data. Then "very shortly, anywhere will be preferable to this room."
- Worf just appearing on the bridge.
- Data's resurrection and confusion.
- I love the countdowns in the alien languages (Iconian and Romulan).
This is an exciting episode right from the beginning. Very short into the episode there is fear of a catastrophic design flaw which is milked for all its worth. Then we get an even bigger implication: Iconian technology is destroying the ship accidentally and at the same time must be kept away from the Romulans to keep them from getting a major tactical advantage. Despite heavy politics and heavy tension, the episode bears great archaeological and cultural tidbits. The revelation that the Iconians might not be conquerors and that they were slaughtered by those fearful of them is fascinating. The discussion about it between Picard, Data, and Worf is apt and interesting. This episode very easily could have scored a 10. I take one point off for no follow up and one point off for the "destroy it all now!" attitude. I understand why Picard made that decision, but that Iconian gateway is a wonderful bit of technology that could have been studied in great detail. Picard just blows it up over political fear. Seems reckless. Nevertheless, a wonderful episode.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-06-24 at 7:25am:
- Are computer viruses unknown in the twenty-fourth century? Even unsophisticated, twentieth-century hackers knew about reinitializing a computer system and reloading all the software.
- Every accomplished programmer understands that computer users need to be protected from accidents. That's why the more user-friendly programs tell you when you are about to do something disastrous. For instance, while trying to delete or overwrite a file, the program will usually ask the user to confirm his or her actions. Doesn't blowing up a substation seem like a fairly serious course of action? Wouldn't the programs make this fairly difficult to accomplish? Obviously not, because all Picard has to do to close the bay doors after launching a probe is tab a button three times.
- From JRPoole on 2008-01-25 at 6:07pm:
The talking during transport thing doesn't bother me that much here. It always seems that there is a moment between the transporter beam grabbing hold and the moment when your atoms become converted into energy, and it seems reasonalbe to assume that motor functions could still work during that moment.
Regardless, I agree with the review here. This is a taughtly constructed, exciting episode and one of the best of the second season.
- From KStrock on 2009-01-14 at 3:10pm:
I think you should mention that the solution to the entire problem on the Enterprise is ridiculous:
Tech Support: "Did you try shutting down the computer and restarting it?"
Really? Just shutting down and restarting? It almost seems like a joke by the writers in a time when PCs were starting to really appear in homes.
- From rpeh on 2010-08-25 at 1:10pm:
I agree with what's already been said: a very enjoyable episode with a few minor problems.
The panel on the Iconian console is really annoying. If everything is done through three taps of different colour blocks, that only gives you 27 different functions, and why bother with all the fancy symbols in each block?
"Shut down and restart" is a bit of a cliche now, but at the time it was probably fair enough.
The gateway itself reminds me of TOS: The City on the Edge of Forever, and I agree it was a shame it was destroyed. Also, as a big fan of architecture, it seems odd that Picard was so keen to do it.
Still. I'll give it an 8.
- From CAlexander on 2011-04-13 at 9:56pm:
Definitely an interesting episode, I thought it was a good one.
- Picard's stated reason for staying in the Neutral Zone - due to the risk of a design flaw - makes no sense. Surely it is more risky to offend the Romulans than worry about a possible design flaw that could manifest at any time, or never. Maybe it was just an excuse and he really just wanted to stay for other reasons.
- Blue blue blue? A few simple button presses to destroy the base? No wonder the Iconians didn't survive! The Enterprise would have been destroyed many times over if they had such a control system.
- There is something quite odd about how Picard says "I doubt any Iconians survived this orbital bombardment" right after he beams down into a fully functional and beautifully intact command center.
- From Inga on 2012-01-01 at 6:37pm:
Why didn't Picard or that other Captain inform the Starfleet of this discovery? Can a mere starship captain make such a decision himself?
- From Ggen on 2012-02-24 at 10:16pm:
This episode starts up with a wicked, satisfyingly frenzied pace. Within the first few minutes we have an exploding Federation Starship, a tense face-off with a Romulan ship, the threat of catastrophic systems failure on the Enterprise, and hints of an ancient civilization with powerful technology.
But the same thing that makes this episode so riveting also costs it a few points at the very end. In the last few minutes, Data is pronounced dead, Data is pronounced good as new, Picard is held captive on the Romulan ship, Picard smugly escapes via transport, an out of control Romulan ship is about to self-destruct, the Romulan ship is back to normal...
With so many dramatic turnings and reversals, the ending of this episode feels simply *rushed*. It needed another 20 minutes or so to wrap everything up.
- Episode very cleverly sneaks in what would otherwise have been gratuitous-feeling exposition about the Iconians by having Wesley bring it up with Picard... to have Wesley ask Picard, as if he was a little kid asking about myths and fairy tales, is of course utterly ridiculous... but the writers cleverly get away with it by making it a false pretense and not Wesley's real reason to talk to the captain.
- I liked the tortured look on two nameless crewmen's faces as Pulaski first bitches her heart out to some poor soul, and then gives a semi-ironic pep talk about splints and practicing medicine "with your hands." It's as if the writers are giving us someone to sympathize with. "Yes, yes, Pulaski is intolerable, we know... hang in there..."
- Marc Alaimo played Gul Macet in this episode. He later goes on to play Gul Dukat in DS9. They're virtually identical characters, why did the name have to change? Granted Dukat sounds cooler, that's no excuse...
- Maxwell says O'Brien was his tactical officer on the Rutledge. So O'Brien goes from being a high ranking officer on the Rutledge to a chief petty officer on the Enterprise? Isn't that a demotion? Not impossible a situation, but certainly unlikely and annoying when no explanation is given.
- This is the first episode to feature Cardassians, a race which will become majorly important later in TNG and in DS9.
- In the Ten Forward scene, the Cardassian orders Kanar. In the coming years, we will find out that it is the favorite drink of Cardassians. Virtually every Cardassian we ever see drinks it at some point.
- O'Brien and Keiko discussing food.
- first sighting of a Cardassian ship and the ensuing battle.
- The Cardassians trying to be friendly with an abrasive O'Brien.
- Picard carefully handling Macet's transponder signal request.
- O'Brien carefully discussing Cardassians with Keiko, trying to understand, but not wanting to reveal his hate.
- Data: "It appears to be a Cardassian supply ship." Macet: "How would you know that?" Picard: "We are able to make that determination." I love that enigmatic response...
- Picard backing down and giving Macet the transponder frequency he asked for.
- Watching the battle between the Phoenix and the Cardassians on the computer.
- Picard discussing anger with O'Brien.
- O'Brien describing the horrors of killing a man to the Cardassian in Ten Forward.
- O'Brien: "It's not you I hate, Cardassian. I hate what I became, because of you."
- Macet chastises his officer for breaking into the Enterprise computer. All his arrogance gone; seems he's been completely humbled after seeing his warships destroyed.
- Seeing the Nebula class starship. Beautiful design.
- Maxwell justifying his mass murder and Picard's responses of rationality.
- O'Brien's chat with Maxwell getting him to see reason.
- Picard digging into Macet about how Maxwell was right all along about the secret buildup.
Including O'Brien and Keiko as major characters in this episode just one episode after their wedding was perfect. It shows us that the writers aren't going to just brush these great characters aside because their 15 minutes of fame are over. That said, this is a major character building episode for O'Brien. We learn tons of great things about O'Brien and we also get a great introduction to the Cardassians and their deceptive and warlike nature. Well done.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-08-20 at 7:34am:
- When the Enterprise first locates the Phoenix, Picard orders the con to lay in a course for the Phoenix at warp 6. After the Phoenix destroys the warship, Picard asks how long till they intercept, and Data replies, "At our present speed of warp 4 ..." When did the Enterprise slow to warp 4?
- At one point O'Brien enters a turbolift with two Cardassians. As it travels, one of the Cardassians asks O'Brien to have a drink with them. When the turbolift reaches its destination, O'Brien mouths off to them and heads for the doors. The doors on the turbolift wait until he approaches before opening. Compare this to the operation of the turbolift doors in other episodes. As soon as the turbolift reaches its destination, the doors open. They do not wait for the person to approach. This is normal operation for turbolift doors.
- From Rob on 2008-04-14 at 12:13am:
The only part I don't like about this episode (and it's so minor it shouldn't matter, but it's distracting) is the design of the Cardassian armor/outfits. They are fugly. I'm so glad that they are changed by the time they become a major baddie on DS9... especially those utterly ridiculous helmet-thingies they wear.
- From JRPoole on 2008-05-06 at 2:12pm:
This episode is a perfect 10 until Maxwell shows up. I love the idea of a renegade captain, but Maxwell is written and acted so broadly that the character doesn't really rise above cliche. Parts of his interaction with O'brien are still moving, and Picard's chilly exchange with him after bringing him into his ready room is awesome, but overall, he's not one of the most memorable guest characters.
Nearly everything else about this episode is great, though. Our first introduction to the Cardassians is a good one, and I love the way that Picard handles the tense situation. Even though Maxwell is right, and the Cardassians are up to something along the border, he knows that boarding the ship would lead directly to war, something he wants to prevent.
The plot of this episode is crafted exceptionally well, with no easy answers and a lot of gray area to explore. Despite his violent actions and the coming court martial, Maxwell has in effect been a peacekeeper. He killed nearly 700 Cardassians without real provocation, but his actions ultimately led to Picard sniffing out the plot, which undoubtedly prevented an eventual Cardassian attack. We can posit that the Cardassians, knowing that the Federation's Star Fleet is reeling following the Borg incident, have beefed up arms along the border for a foray into Federation territory. Picard's frosty little speech to Macet at the end of the episode put the dampers on this plan, making Maxwell a sort of hero in disgrace since his outlaw actions led to this chain of events.
Macet himself, like several other Cardassian characters we'll see later, is a well-drawn character. I get the feeling that Macet, like Picard, wants to avoid war--I tend to take his speech about some people needing war at face value--but he still is required by duty not to spill the beans about the border ramifications to Picard.
Finally, this episode, like a lot of great Trek episodes, studies the nature of command very well. Picard's interactions with O'brien and Maxwell are indicative of his command style, as his handling of the incident of the Cardassian attempting to access the computer system. Macet's handling of this incident is interesting as well, and the actor playing the busted Cardassian is great. He implies with his eyes that he was acting on Macet's orders and is bewildered by Macet's reaction, but his sense of allegiance makes him follow orders. Contrast this with Picard's speech about Maxwell earning his crew's respect and allegiance.
All in all, a great episode. I rated it an 8, but this one is not far from being a 10.
- From CAlexander on 2011-04-22 at 2:55pm:
A tense, exciting episode. The plot, and the performance of Picard, are awesome. I tend to agree with JRPoole that the characterization of Maxwell is not very convincing and is a weak point in an otherwise superb episode.
- From Nadrac on 2012-05-14 at 11:18pm:
As an even bigger fan of ds9 i am quite enjoy to see familiar faces "back", happy for change to dukat i would have never taken him seriously with that helmet ;)
- From Jake on 2012-09-20 at 3:41am:
I wonder if the writers planned to have O'Brien in DS9 way back when and gave him more development in this episode and the last because he would have a larger part in the Cardassian arc in DS9. This episode feels like a DS9 prequel on my rewatch.
- From Praelat on 2013-11-27 at 6:42pm:
Regarding the Macet-Dukat change: At the time of this episode, Gul Dukat would be commanding Terok Nor, supervising the Cardassian operations on Bajor. He would have no business chasing the Phioenix. Making Macet and Dukat the same character would make no sense.
- Riker starting to freak out.
- The insane "officer" from the Yorktown.
- Riker seeing and hearing things in his second acting of his play.
- Data complimenting Riker's ability to play a demented character.
- Riker refusing to believe Beverly's, Worf's, and Data's appearances were real.
- Riker realizing he's still in an illusion.
This episode features an excellent acting performance by Johnathan Frakes as Riker. The plot itself is a little weak; the motives of the people who captured Riker aren't entirely explained. Nevertheless, this is still an excellent episode and a fun one to watch. As Data points out during the episode, Frakes presents an extremely convincing madman!
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Pete Miller on 2006-05-21 at 9:48pm:
Yeah, yeah. good acting by frakes. However, acting doesn't get you anywhere if the plot is incoherent, which the plot of this one is. The entire thing is unbelievably fucked up, and just impossible for the viewer to follow along. It took me like 15 minutes to sit there and rationalize what was real and what wasn't, and just figure out the whole thing. And they didn't even explain it well at the end. I didn't care for this episode at all. It's like star trek on PCP. I can't believe someone gave it a 10.
- From Robert Koenn on 2011-06-07 at 1:16pm:
Myself and my wife didn't care much for this episode either, we rated it a two. There have been three or four dream based episodes like this and there were some on DS9 as well. The dream sequences seem to get out of hand and the surrealistic scenes of the dream episodes never play well with me. While I managed to pick up on what was reality and what was dreamed a short way into the episode, I was telling my wife this scene will end up being a dream, the numerous episodes of dream became far too much. And the beginning where you are given the scenario apparently was a dream as well but necessary to setup the episode which didn't play well with the overall logic and flow. Frakes did do an excellent job of acting but as mentioned previously, that can't make up for a very flawed theme.
- From Ggen on 2012-04-22 at 10:19am:
This is a brilliant episode that goes straight into my personal TNG hall of fame.
The writing in this episode is consistently top-notch, as is Jonathan Frakes' performance. The story has some superficial similarities to a previous great showing from this season: Ship in a Bottle. Gotta love the multiple levels of illusion.
I've actually had some amazingly vivid dreams where I've "woken up" inside what turned out to be yet another dream, and then had yet another false awakening, and so on... So I can identify with Riker a little bit in trying to sort out fact from self-generated fiction. I also know the feeling of your subconscious throwing up clues that something's not quite right here (in Riker's case, it was the recurring cut on his head that served as a sort of "reality check"). And of course there's the ever-present problem of memory, also similar to remembering dreams (or remembering you're dreaming while inside a dream) - when Riker's on the ship, it's almost as if he has access to one set of memories, when he's inside the hospital, a different set. The ship memories have their own internal logic, but then make no sense from the perspective of the other reality, and vice-versa. Anyone who's messed around with lucid dreaming will find a number of things familiar here.
That's part of the damned awesomeness of this episode: it's a considerably sophisticated psychological episode, well beyond the token Troi psychobabble. The whole thing really made a damned lot of sense.
As Riker eventually realized, the preparation for the mission, the preparation for the play, the play itself, being transplanted *inside* the play, all of that was self-created from recent memories in his mind's attempt to hold itself together and regain consciousness. The way it all plays out - the switching back and forth, that one alien being the "one constant," the "reflection therapy," the multiple layers - is all pretty much brilliant.
- - -
This line was just a bonus: "That's not a phaser. It's a knife. You took it from one of the food trays."
- From thaibites on 2012-09-22 at 12:33am:
I really enjoyed this episode tremendously. It was great to see Riker completely out-of-control and manic. He's usually so perfect - a true Renaissance Man. Which is probably why they did this episode, so that he could break out of his "perfect" mold. Or maybe they were addressing complaints about Riker's character?
I think the comment by Pete Miller really sums up this episode well. He says the plot is incoherent. Well...YES! What do you expect from a story about a man slowly being driven insane? I think it was a brilliant decision by the writers to do this, and they should be applauded not panned.
- From FH on 2016-01-23 at 4:46pm:
Nitpick: When talking to Picard, Riker expresses his desire to find an excuse to not participate in the theatre play, whereupon Picard says he'd be asked to replace Riker, and he doesn't want that, either. This doesn't sound like a healthy state of an after-work theatre group, which normally live on the enthusiasm by those involved.
- Sarak freaking out and getting emotional.
- Geordi and Wesley arguing.
- Data's string scene with Sarak crying.
- Beverly freaking out at Wesley.
- O'Brien starting a brawl.
- Sarak's vulcan helper admitting Sarak's weakness.
- Picard and Riker arguing.
- Picard confronting Sarak.
- Sarak freaking out in front of Picard.
- Picard freaking out after the mind meld. Marvelous acting.
An excellent episode from a fanboyish standpoint. We all remember Sarak from TOS/TAS. The chance to see him in his later years is indeed appealing. I for one will never forget Picard's performance venting Sarak's emotions. Truly great acting. Very touching. A fine episode. My only regret is not seeing Spock.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-07-29 at 3:26pm:
- When Picard approaches Sarek about the mind meld, he comments that it is the only logical choice. Wouldn't another Vulcan be the more logical choice? There is a Vulcan on Sarek's staff, and there are also other Vulcans on board the Enterprise. "The Schizoid Man" featured a Vulcan medical doctor.
- When Sarek and his wife beam off the Enterprise, they join hands. This puts their hands outside the transporter containment field. Thankfully, the transporter still manages to work "correctly." Otherwise, Sarek and his wife would be handless when they arrived at the transport ship.
- From Mario on 2012-02-16 at 2:24am:
"An excellent episode from a fanboyish standpoint." I disagree with you on that.
I really don't care if Sarek is Spock's father. It doesn't affect the story at all, which is - at least to me - the exact opposite of a SciFi fanboy story: It is rather a quite universal tale of coming to grips with one's mortality - and a really good one too.
It's about losing control because of ageing, an aspect which is more and more important in our ageing society. The denial of losing his mind, the difficulty of accepting help, the fear of becoming an undignified burden to your loved ones, the silent tear during the concert - everything about this episode was beautiful and touching.
Your only regret is not seeing Spock? And that cost the episode 3 points? What a shame...
- From Ggen on 2012-04-09 at 3:58am:
A pretty good episode. Interesting just how illogical vulcans can be - not only Sarak with his debilitating illness, but also his vulcan aide (at least until Data pushed him a bit).
I thought the mind meld was used appropriately here and in an interesting and rather novel way.
One thing they could've been mentioned was why Sarak didn't meld with his vulcan aide instead (it could've easily been explained that the illness could be transferred among vulcans through melds, plus Picard has the benefit of a diplomatic mind). It made sense, pretty much, just had to fill in the dots on your own...
- The Enterprise beamed Geordi and Scotty through the old ship's shields. Maybe they were weak enough or something.
- The Dyson Sphere concept is based off of a non Trek related SciFi idea, named after its creator, Dyson.
- According to this episode there have been "5 Federation ships" by the name Enterprise.
- The sight of the Dyson Sphere.
- The sight of a TOS transporter rematerializing Scotty.
- Scotty not aware of how much time had passed.
- Geordi, regarding rigging the transporter to survive: "That's brilliant!" Scotty: "I think it was only 50% brilliant. Franklin deserved better."
- Beverly, on Scotty's health: "I'd say you feel fine for a man of 147."
- Scotty fumbling over the new technology.
- Scotty: "I was driving starships when your great grandfather was in diapers!"
- Data explaining synthehol to Scotty.
- Scotty: "Synthetic scotch. Synthetic commanders."
- Scotty: "What is it?" Data: "It is... it is... it is green." A reference to Scotty's famous line in TOS: By Any Other Name.
- Scotty: "NCC 1701, no bloody A, B, C, or D."
- The original Enterprise on the holodeck.
- Picard: "Aldebaran whisky. Who do you think gave it Guinan?"
- Picard and Scotty discussing the ships they miss.
- Scotty, with regards to the holodeck: "Computer, shut this bloody thing off."
- Geordi trying to cheer up Scotty.
- The old ship holding the Dyson sphere open with its shields.
- Geordi discussing his adventure with Dr. Brahms with Scotty.
The simplistic plot is perfect because it allows us to spend more time on Scotty and less time on SciFi concept of the week. The greatest thing about it though was the SciFi concept of the week was a wonderful idea. So the whole plot just wove together into to an impressions show. Everything in this episode was geared toward impressing the viewer. Especially if the viewer was a longtime Star Trek fan. Yes, this episode is completely fanboyish. Oldschool TOS character returns and an obscure but well documented SciFi concept given a cameo as well. This whole episode seems to be a cameo. But it couldn't have been done better and I enjoyed it greatly.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-10-10 at 8:49am:
- When the Enterprise first discovers the Dyson's sphere, Data states it is 200 million kilometers in diameter. Riker responds, "That's nearly as large as the Earth's orbit around the Sun." The Earth's orbit around the Sun is approximately 297 million kilometers. I leave it for you to decide if a difference of 97 million kilometers qualifies as "nearly."
- When Scotty rematerializes, his arm is in a sling. Later, Crusher states that he has a hairline fracture of the humerus - the long bone of the upper arm. Surprisingly, Scotty seems to feel no pain as Geordi bumps the arm several times and gives it a good whack right where the injury is!
- When Data discovers Scotty doesn't care for the taste of synthahol, he tells Scotty that Guinan keeps a store of true alcoholic beverages and proceeds around the bar to fetch some. Can anyone just help themselves to Guinan's provisions?
- From JRPoole on 2008-09-07 at 1:30am:
I agree with everything here. One nice touch to this episode is Scotty's relationship with Worf. He refuses to shake Worf's hand at the end of the episode. I like this because it's true to his character and it's not a pollyanna feelgood ending, as some things never change.
- From KStrock on 2009-01-23 at 1:43pm:
In reference to DSOmo and the alcohol.
In Season 2's episode "Up the Long Ladder", Worf states that true alcohol can be replicated. Although then we would't be able to reference the "It is...green" scene.
- From Ali on 2009-03-22 at 6:04pm:
When Scotty is first brought back, and Riker tells him he is from the Enterprise, Scotty assumes Kirk is commanding it, and Riker has to explain the time passage, etc.
But Kirk is dead at this point (or believed to be by the world). According to the Generations movie, he was picked up by the Nexxus, and Scotty is one of the first ones to find out he is gone.
So, did Scotty forget this? At first, I thought maybe Scotty had been placed in this beam before the Kirk incident, but then Scotty never returns to the earlier time from whence he came, so Kirk's death must have happened beforehand.
Someone tell me if I am missing something here!
- From Someone Else on 2009-05-04 at 1:11am:
No, you're right, and this is the main problem with this episode - however, bear in mind that this episode was filmed a considerable time before Generations. And, who knows? Maybe being stuck in the transporter buffer for half an aeon can lead to temporary amnesia or something.
- From Daniel Blessing on 2009-09-16 at 9:30pm:
Beamings happen all of the time between Federation ships while shields are active. I am surprised you have not mentioned that as a problem in more of your episodes.
My only reasonable explanation for these occurrences is that the Federation ships are all provided with either a universal transponder code, or they are provided with every commissioned ships transponder codes, including old, lost, and out dated ships. This could explain how they were able to beam the two of them out while the shields were up. They also are able in certain episodes to beam people aboard while their OWN shields are active... This could be a bit harder to explain, unless again, my theory is applied? They are able to beam thru the shields if they are aware of how to "penetrate" them.
- From direktbroker on 2009-10-06 at 12:13pm:
Nice thought,but no good Daniel, just think of all the times they could not bring back their own teams because their own shields are up due to some terribly artificial threat in orbit.
- From rpeh on 2010-07-19 at 11:21am:
I may be an old softy, but the bit on the holodeck where Scotty raises a glass to his all crew and toasts them with "Here's to ye, lads" always brings a tear to my eye.
Of course, Bones was still alive in the very first episode and Spock's still around too, so it's not totally impossible that he could catch up with two of his best friends from the old Enterprise.
- From Jadzia Guinan Smith on 2010-08-18 at 4:22am:
The Dyson Sphere, although a popular device in sci-fi, is not a "sci-fi concept"; it's a hypothetical structure proposed by the very real and very brilliant theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson.
Good review, though and a fantastic site overall. Count me as your newest fan!
- From Zaphod on 2011-04-13 at 1:05pm:
Dyson himself refered to that idea of him as a joke btw.
I nevertheless wished they would have concentrated more on it and even the slightest bit on its creators and less on Scotty. I really like him but using such a wonderful idea as the Dyson Sphere only for the usual Star Trek problem of the week is a waste. So for me it's just an okay episode, way above the crap u would expect from a TNG episode though.
- From John on 2011-08-30 at 3:53am:
Once again, DSOmo proves that he does not understand the concept of narrative writing. He also proves his desire to tear down things other people in enjoy with petty nitpicking.
Riker's statement that the diameter of the Dyson sphere is "nearly the orbit of the earth around the sun" is meant to to fire the imagination of the viewer by planting the idea that the sphere may be habitable. We find out later that it is (or was). Perhaps it's not close enough to the mean orbital diameter of Earth to qualify as "nearly", but who cares?
- From Will on 2011-10-30 at 1:41am:
Earths orbital radius may not be the same in 300 years for all we know.
- From Inga on 2012-01-12 at 12:51pm:
I really wish they would explore the Dyson Sphere more, though.
Also, maybe I just missed something here, but how did the Enterprise get free from the pull at the end of the episode?
1. The helmsman said they've lost main power and the auxiliary power is down
2. Then she stated that they were still being carried by the initial motion of the tractor beam and that the impulse engines were offline. She also said "I can't stop our momentum."
3. They couldn't use the maneuvering thrusters, until they diverted the remaining auxiliary power to them.
4. Then, they achieved orbit, yet it seems they couldn't escape it (?). I mean, why else would they wait until their shields went down and the solar flares would burn them up? Couldn't Picard order Data to scan for another exit from a safer location?
5. So when Geordi contacted the Enterprise, how did they manage to escape?
I feel like I just missed or misunderstood something, though :/
- From railohio on 2014-06-03 at 11:00pm:
If anyone is disappointed by this episode, he should read the novel "relics." On top of including every single part and line of the episode, the book adds a whole section of information. In the novel, they actually send an away team down to the planet before making their escape through the jammed doors. The book goes through a great depth of description of the surface inside the sphere, as well as a deeper exploration of Scotty's inner consciousness. Even if reading is not your thing, I strongly recommend reading the novel based on this fantastic episode
- From Jadzia Guinan Smith on 2015-06-02 at 3:26am:
@Zaphod: the Dyson sphere concept was published in an academic paper in the journal science and it was definitely NOT a “joke”. What Dyson did say was that he was not “serious” – not in the sense that he was “joking” but in the sense that he didn’t think it was ever going to be a plausible technology for anyone to find useful. But he DEFINITELY thought such a sphere was technically possible. HOWEVER, his version of the “sphere” was not a solid structure like the ones you see in sci-fi, but rather, a collection of structures spread out over a region of space constituting a “sphere”.... so I guess, in way, we’ve come full circle and our host is (in a limited sense) correct in describing the star trek version of the sphere as a “sci-fi concept.”... touché...